Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Advancement Tables to reduce Dice Rolling in Combat

One of the distinctive things about Spellcraft & Swordplay is that it tends to reward advancement by giving additional attacks (or Combat Rolls) rather than the more usual bonuses to rolls.  I like this idea as it keeps the combat scale from exploding unlike, say, AD&D wherein you have to invent negative Armour Class to balance out the large hit bonuses of high-level characters.

And yet, I'm thinking about changing that for Under the Dying Sun.  First of all, the a harsh, survival game is designed for lower-level play.  36th level guys don't ever really worry about finding food and water.  Second, I've massaged the combat bonuses down already from the S&S Rev. rules, plus reduced ability bonuses through adopting the 2-12 scale rather than the 3-18.  And third, I don't really like rolling dice that much.

This third is rather a gamer heresy, I know, but there it is.  Since I used to love throwing dice as a younger man, I'm going to put the blame on Champions.  I played several long-running campaigns in the 80's with a guy whose sole delight was in making characters so strong that when they hit someone, they filled the table with damage dice.  His favourite character, Golem, had STR 80, which, if I recall correctly, meant that he rolled 27D6 for damage with a pushed, haymaker (HERO players know what I'm talking about; the rest of you can look it up). I always feel a bit trepidatious throwing dice.  One of the things I love about S&S is that I can handle 2D6, which is the core mechanic.

So, I'm thinking now of having the combat progression straddle a middle-ground between S&S and Ye Auld Game.  Here's the current version:

One notable difference from YEG is that I give everyone a slight bonus upon reaching Level 2.  I'm not sure that I have a great reason for this; the resultant scheme just seemed to fit better.


  1. I must check out S&S, as my recent trip through Chainmail and Ready Ref Sheets has piqued my interest in the old Chainmail attack tables.

  2. Obviously, I like it. But I'll say this: I was kind of sceptical about S&S. I finally looked at it at the same time as Swords & Wizardy, a game I expected to like much more, and was surprised to find that preferred S&S. A lot of it has to do with really digging 2d6.