Vaults & Vagabonds


Vaults & Vagabonds Character Creation Part 1.5

In my previous post about ability scores in Vaults & Vagabonds i laid out some details around what they mean and how they should be determined. I omitted the complete and necessary steps to create a character in my game, because I figured I could do it later. However, for the sake of organization I decided to outline the steps I have in my head before I go any further in the describing the character creation in detail.

  1. Roll 3d6 six times and assign to the abilities in order.
  2. Choose a character class.
  3. Roll hit points using your class' HD. Reroll 1's at 1st level.
  4. If your class is a spellcaster choose beginning spell(s) from a list provided by the referee.
  5. Copy to-hit-numbers and saving throws from your class.
  6. Choose alignment.
  7. Roll for money or starting equipment pack. Update your character's Armor Class (AC) if necessary.
  8. Roll for one unique mundane item.
  9. Choose (or roll if you want) gender.
  10. Give your character a name.

And that's it. For now. I don't believe more will be necessary, but it might change. The steps need not be done in this order. It just made the most sense to me right now.

#RPG #OSR #vaultsvagabonds #mygame #charactercreation

Vaults & Vagabonds Character Creation Part I

Progress is slowly being made on Vaults & Vagabonds. Thoughts and discussions exists outside this blog, but for the sake of organization and sanity I must write down some of the progress. The outlines given here are not formatted nor final and should, at best, be considered preliminary to the finished document.

Previously I listed some of the principles of old school games as I understand them. I started playing RPG's in the late 80's, first using the Basic rules, but quickly expanded to the 2nd edition of the game. One might say that I've never really played in an old school game, but then again very few people have. I guess most people today only use second or third hand sources to base their play on. With this in mind, i.e. that I don't have first hand experience with the old style, and that my background mainly is from newer versions of the game, I start with the basics and see how it evolves from there.

Ability scores

To determine ability scores roll 3d6 six times and assign the six totals (3 – 18) to the standard abilities in order.

The ability scores generate bonuses that sometimes will be added to specific die rolls. The bonuses mainly apply when rolling d20 to accomplish difficult tasks with an uncertain outcome. How this works will be explained in detail later. Other uses of bonuses will be explained below.

Note: Penalties (negative values) always apply to all classes. Bonuses might only apply to specific classes.

The bonuses are as follows:

Score Bonus %
3 -2 -10%
4 – 7 -1 -5%
8 – 13 0 0
14 – 17 +1 +5%
18 +2 +10%

The six abilities are as follows:

  • Strength (STR) is the physical strength of a character. It determines how much they will be able to lift and help them bash down obstacles. STR is the primary ability for Fighters.
    • STR bonus is added to damage in melee for all classes
    • Fighters add their STR bonus to hit in melee
    • Fighters add their STR % bonus to XP received
  • Dexterity (DEX) signifies the overall quickness, reaction and coordination of the character. DEX is the primary ability for Rogues.
    • DEX bonus is added to hit in ranged combat
    • DEX bonus is given to Armor Class (AC) when unarmored or wearing leather armor
    • Rogues add their DEX % bonus to XP received
  • Constitution (CON) is the overall health and fitness of the character.
    • CON bonus is added to total hit points (hp) per level. Total hit points per level is never less than 1.
    • CON bonus adds to see if a character is recoverable after going below 0 hp. This is explained in the rules for combat and death.
  • Intelligence (INT) is the knowledge level of your character. It denotes how much information they will remember, how good they are at reasoning and understanding abstract concepts. INT is the primary ability for Wizards.
    • INT gives knowledge of one extra language for every point above 10. These need not be selected at character creation, but can be assigned through play. A background for why or how the character know the language must then be given.
    • INT of 14 or above also signifies writing and reading in all the extra languages the character knows.
    • INT bonus adds to total number of spells a wizard can record in their spellbook. The formula per spell level is wizard level + INT bonus - (spell level x 1,5)(rounded up). Minimum is aways 1. This is different than the number of spells a wizard can cast per day.
    • Wizards add their INT % bonus to XP received.
  • Wisdom (WIS) can signify both how spiritual or how worldly the character is. It is in either case an ability that says how attuned to the world the characters are. WIS is the primary ability for Clerics.
    • WIS of 14 or above gives 5% more XP for any character.
    • In addition Clerics add their WIS % bonus to XP recieved.
    • WIS bonus adds to total number of spells (prayers) a cleric may know per spell level. The formula per spell level is cleric level + WIS bonus - (spell level x 1,5)(rounded up). Minimum is aways 1. This is different than the number of spells the cleric can cast per day.
  • Charisma (CHA) signifies the character's personality, their ability to inspire action in others and influence opinions. CHA is both the ability of the entertainer and the leader. In game it will heavily affect reactions, how many followers a character can have and their morale.
    • CHA bonus adds to the base number of followers a character may have. The formula is 4 + CHA bonus with the minimum always being at least 1. Note that there is no restrictions, besides money, to the number of hirelings and regular mercenaries a character may have.
    • CHA bonus adds to loyalty and morale of retainers, followers and mercenaries. The formula is 8 + CHA bonus.
    • CHA of 14 or above gives 5% more XP for any character.

Next up: Character Classes

#vaultsnvagabonds #rpg #osr #mygame #charactercreation

Principles of Old School Gaming

I've been toying with the idea of writing my own little Player's Handbook for possible forthcoming old school games. I'm currently playing, and enjoying, a Castles & Crusades-campaign, with some modified rules, but real old school it definitely isn't. The simplified, combined with the improvisational and procedural, rules of old school is becoming more and more appealing to me, and I need to solidify and put to paper what I ideally would like to play. In the process I will pick and choose from my betters of course. Many blogs are inspiring, and also rulesets like Labyrinth Lord, The Black Hack and even maybe the slick skill-solution from Castles & Crusades will possibly be a part of my house rules.

However, before I begin the process of putting the rules together I need to define some of the principles of old school gaming.

What is the game about?

  • The game is about player ingenuity, not character abilities or power level
  • The game is about exploration and survival in a dangerous environment
  • The game is about creative problem solving
  • The game is about making choices, and facing consequences
  • The game is about improvising with what is at hand, and uncovering what is hidden

How does it work?

  • Character generation is quick and easy
  • Solutions are seldom found on the character sheet
  • The character's backstory is happening now
  • The game takes place in a sandbox
  • The game is open-ended
  • The world is not static and it will evolve whether the characters get involved in current affairs or not
  • The farther out, down or up the harder it will be
  • The game is lethal and unbalanced.
  • Be prepared. Be aware of portents. Never fight fair. Be smarter. Apply tactics. Run!
  • The real killer is the dice
  • The decision of the referee is final. Rulings, not rules.
  • Player agency is the driving force
  • Random tables will surprise both players and the referee through encounters, treasure and events
  • Experience (XP) rewards from spending gold, and defeating, overcoming, befriending or bypassing opponents and obstacles
  • Metagaming is allowed, as there is no strict line between player and character knowledge
  • There will always be several solutions to a problem, many might be hidden, or even unknown to all

#OSR #RPG #mygame