Monday, December 1, 2014

Classic 4E from Necromancer Games

On February 28, 2009 the following post was made by Clark Peterson to the Necromancer Games forums:

"OK guys. I am getting ready to jump into 4E (and Pathfinder too, settle down). 

Here is my plan: I am going to create "Classic 4E": a set of alternate content for 4E to replicate the old school way of playing D&D. It will work in conjunction with the 4E PHB. 

It will contain the classic races--elf, dwarf, half-elf, halfling, human, gnome, etc. No dragonborn, no warforged. Now, that said, if you and your DM want to use that content from the PHB you can. 

It will contain the classic classes--fighter, ranger, paladin, rogue, cleric, druid, wizard, monk, as well as some 3E favorites such as the barbarian and bard. 

It will have some rules changes: 

--things will not be tied to the grid, they will be done in feet. 
--there will be no more hopping around the grid teleporting, but movement in combat will still be stressed 
--the old powers that have to do with things other than combat will make their return 
--spell memorization will return in a fun new way 
--powers will be more limited for the classes, but more useful. Not every class is a wizard 
--alignment returns (optionally) 
--buffing is not forbidden anymore. 4E took away buffing spells. I dont mind putting them back. 

I want to do this the way Paizo is doing Pathfinder. I want to develop it as a community. I will soon be opening a "4E Classic" forum with a thread for each class and race etc. We can post incremental updates of our rules compiled as a pdf as alpha and beta. The final version will be available as a pdf and perhaps in print as well since people love thier printed game books. 

But I want to develop this together. 

So what do you think? 


I read those words and my interest level was pretty high.  I had already decided to go with Pathfinder after buying the 4E PHB, DMG, and MM rule books.  I could tell that 4E was moving in a different direction than I was interested in at that time.  The goals of this project seemed more in line with what I was interested in from my D&D gaming.  I would continue to check in from time to time to see what kind of progress or suggestions had been made. 

Further down in the thread is a proposed Classic version of Smite Evil:

Smite Evil [Classic] Paladin Attack 1                                                                                                                                                         
Your weapon shines with holy radiance as you strike your evil foe.
At-Will • Divine, Radiant, Weapon
Standard Action Melee weapon
Target: One Evil creature
Attack: Strength vs. AC
Hit: 1[W] + Strength modifier radiant damage. If you marked the target you gain an additional bonus to the damage roll equal to your Wisdom modifier.
Increase damage to 2[W] + Strength modifier at 21st level. 

Even further down the thread is a proposed Classic version of Magic Missile:

Magic Missile [Classic] Level 1 Wizard Spell
A missile of magical energy flies unerringly to its target
Encounter  Arcane, Force, Implement
Standard Action Ranged 100 ft. (20) + 10 ft. (2)/3 levels
Target: One creature within range and in line of sight per missile
Attack: Automatically hits the target unless target has total cover or total concealment
Hit: 2d4 + Intelligence modifier force damage per missile
Increase damage to 3d4 + Intelligence modifier force damage per missile at 21st level.
You fire an additional missile at 6th, 12th, 18th and 24th level when you cast this spell. If you fire multiple missiles you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single missile can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for resistances or roll damage.
Special: You can use this power one additional time per encounter at each multiple of 3 levels, i.e.: 2 times at 3rd level, 3 times at 6th level, 4 times at 9th level, and so on, though never more than once per round. [Note: this may be deleted if a spell point system is used, which it appears will be the case]

On page three of this same thread Elton Robb suggested the following changes to the Classic version of Magic Missile:

Magic Missile [Classic] Level 1 Wizard Spell
A missile of magical energy flies unerringly to its target
Encounter  Arcane, Force, Implement
Standard Action Ranged 100 ft. (20) + 10 ft. (2)/3 levels
Target: One creature within range and in line of sight per missile
Attack: Automatically hits the target unless target has total cover or total concealment
Hit: 2d4 + Intelligence modifier force damage per missile
Increase damage to 3d4 + Intelligence modifier force damage per missile at 21st level.
You fire an additional missile at 6th, 12th, 18th and 24th level when you cast this spell. If you fire multiple missiles you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single missile can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for resistances or roll damage.
Special: You can use this power once a day.

Why the changes?

I feel that 4e borders on Superheroic. There's a good case for this, and Superheroism is too high an austerity level for classic play. Reducing it to once a day while maintaining it's machine gun effect makes it a special "main gun" type power (akin to the Wave Motion Gun in Leiji's classic Manga -- Starblazers). This will make it precious to the wizard, as the wizard won't be overpowering the fighter. It makes the magic more limited in this case.

Moving on to page 4 of that thread and there is even another proposed change - this time by phoenixfeather - to the Magic Missile:

Magic Missile [Classic] Level 1 Wizard Spell
A missile of magical energy flies unerringly to its target
At-Will  Arcane, Force, Implement
Standard Action  Ranged 100 ft. (20) + 10 ft. (2)/3 levels
Special: You can use this power a number of times per day equal to your Intelligence modifier (minimum 1), but only once per round.
Target: One creature without total cover or total concealment within range and in line of sight per missile
Effect: 2d4 force damage per missile.
You fire an additional missile at 6th, 11th, 16th, 21st, and 26th level when you cast this spell. If you fire multiple missiles you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single missile can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for resistances or roll damage.
Special: This power may not benefit from modifiers or abilities that affect damage rolls. 

I still find it all a fascinating read.  It has become even more interesting to me since I have found a co-worker friend of mine that is unloading all of his 4E books for a steeply discounted price.  I now have quite a collection but I still have not played rules as written or otherwise.  One of these days I am going to have to give it a test run.  

It seems that all discussion of Classic 4E has been dead for some time now.  Honestly, I do no think it was going to be an easy fix of whipping up a quick document of a few pages to use in conjunction with the 4E manuals.  I am pretty certain that it would have required another manual of several hundred pages to get it to work once you started assembling information on a Classic 4E version of races, classes, spells, powers, etc. 

It is a shame that this project just stopped and was never completed.  It was easy to see that there were people interested in seeing the results.  I know that Clark Peterson gave it up but does anybody know if a dedicated group of fans continued this work?  If so, does anybody know the secret handshake to qualify for receipt of this material.  Yes, I know about some of the proposed 4E clones games and I have information on them.  I am just curious about this particular project.   

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII Trailer - George Lucas' Special Edition

It's bound to happen!

LEGO Star Wars The Force Awakens Trailer

I have no doubt there will be a LEGO Star Wars Episode VII game so there might as well be a LEGO movie trailer also...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser

I am somewhat surprised by the lack of attention received by the recent unveiling of the Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens teaser.  In case you have not seen it, here it is.

I have watched it several times and I have a few thoughts about the trailer.  The storm trooper in the opening scene is obviously different from the clones in the previous movies.  My first thought was that it was someone using the armor as a disguise but they could be using new clones or even several sources for the clones now. The little rolling droid, the background equipment, and the woman riding the speeder type transport had the appropriate Star Wars look so nothing is jarring from a visual standpoint.  The scene with many storm troopers seems to show varying heights for some of them so this could be further proof that there are many different clones instead of just one man cloned repeatedly. I am not sure what to make of that light saber.  Is it malfunctioning?  Is it the best work that person could do?  I just do not know.  I like the fact that the X-Wing fighters looked ragged and showed signs of use and battle.  The rolling sequence with the Millenium Falcon kind of gave a cockpit feel to the scene.

Those are my thoughts on the teaser trailer.  I will get to see where I was right and where I was wrong in December of 2015...   

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Zombies for Your Viewing Pleasure

Zombies and the zombie apocalypse have been riding a wave of popularity for quite some time now.  There have been many movies about zombies - 28 Days Later, Warm Bodies, Shawn of the Dead, Diary of the Dead - ranging from the serious to the comedic.  Even if you do not watch it there is no doubt that The Walking Dead is a certified hit for AMC.  It is so popular that The Talking Dead airs after the episodes and a spin off show is in the works.  This has also led to SyFy showing Z Nation and recently picking it up for a second season.  I usually check for web series in genres that I enjoy but I had not previously checked for zombie apocalypse type web series until a short time earlier tonight.  I have not watched any of these series but if you are curious then you might want to check out some of the shows listed below.

Dead Road: 8 completed episodes out of planned 11 are available for viewing.

Vitamin Z: Season 1 - 8 completed episodes.

The Zombie Apocalypse: 2 episodes; scroll down a little bit to see the episodes available.

The Last Stand: 5 episodes.

End of World: Just a trailer so far...

Chronicles of the Dead: A large collection of episodes, teasers, and behind the scenes videos.

I have not watched a single episode of any of these shows yet.  I just linked to them as I ran across them and will view them later.  Has anybody reading this watched these?  I am sure there are even more zombie apocalypse web series out there.  Do you have any recommendations?


Thursday, November 20, 2014

SteamCraft Kickstarter Loot!


I was surprised when my wife got home with the mail in hand yesterday and I discovered that my rewards for backing the SteamCraft Supplements Edition Kickstarter had arrived.  I received the Wake the Dead introductory adventure trilogy in a combined format, the Shadows over Newport Neo-Victorian Gothic Horror Supplement, and a GM Screen.  I had not originally opted for the GM Screen but they threw that in because I had helped out with some feedback several times.  Pretty cool move!  I have some reading to do and I will post on these items in more detail at a later time...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Initial Thoughts on the AiF Restatement Project

In my last post I mentioned the Adventures in Fantasy clone project that I am working on currently.  While there have been many clone games, of both the retro and neo variety, this game will not use the OGL as a basis.  I aim to restate the rules in a clearer fashion to the best of my understanding; anybody that has read through this game will understand what I am talking about.  Now, on to some thoughts related to this project.

Why Am I Doing This?
Adventures in Fantasy has been a source of fascination for me.  On one hand, it gives a look at how Arneson would have possibly done things differently; of course, much of that is up for debate with Snider as a co-author when you look at Powers & Perils. On the other hand, the rules read like they were one or two edits away from a much more manageable and understandable system.  I have entertained the thought of doing a Book IV: Book of House Rules for some time but I think a restatement would actually be a better idea.  

Another consideration is the availability of the boxed game.  I have no knowledge of how rare Adventures in Fantasy is but I do know that there are still many role-players that have never seen or even heard of this game.  I was fortunate and bought my copy at a time when the price was less than $20.  I have seen some outrageous prices - around $200.00! - for a copy of a complete boxed set.  Do not misunderstand me on this issue.  I believe that Adventures in Fantasy is definitely a fascinating piece of gaming history but I also think some of the sellers are pricing this game at an unrealistic price.

What Is The Name?
I am currently using the name of A.S.P., or Arneson and Snider's Percentile-Based, Fantasy Adventure Gaming Rules for this project.  The name is not that catchy but it gets the point across and will be okay until something more suitable comes along.  I have received some excellent suggestions from Havard in this thread over at The Comeback Inn.  I suspect I will likely use one of his ideas but I am also open for other suggestions.

Will There Be Changes?
Of course, there will be differences between the rules as written and the rules as restated.  I am aware that the rules themselves can be redone with relative ease by stating them in a different manner.  In contrast, someone can fairly and legally cry foul* if the tables, location names, and other such areas are just reproduced exactly.  There will be changes in those areas.  The important thing is that the rules will be presented in a format that is much easier to comprehend.

* Of course, now I wonder if just simply stating my intentions are enough to consider this a derivative work?  

Final Thoughts
In addition to those initial thoughts behind the restatement project, I have made a few basic decisions...
  1. The format for this project is planned to be a single volume instead of three booklets.
  2. I have been working on the character creation section of the rules.  After a large section of it is completed to my satisfaction I will post it up for some feedback.
  3. There are several threads on The Comeback Inn detailing ideas for house rules.  If the posters that originally posted those house rules are agreeable, then I would be interested in including them in the final version; maybe in sidebars or an appendix?
  4. If anybody has any good links for some appropriate public domain art that I could use then I would highly appreciate it.  
  5. I think some Appendixes at the end of the rules would be a neat idea.  Maybe they could include a bio on Arneson, a bio on Snider, inspiration, etc.
  6. If anyone is interested in collaborating on this project, I would definitely be open to it.
That should just about do it for now.  More later...


Friday, November 14, 2014

A Little Bit of Necromancy...

I have not posted since my birthday two months ago so I will give a few words on what has been going on around here.  The slowed pace of posting has been due to work demands;  while that sucks for free time it is good for other things.  I do hope it cuts back a little bit though.    I would like to get back to posting at least once a week and will attempt to do so soon.  So, on to some assorted updates.

House Hunting: We are this close to making the jump to home ownership.  We have been browsing a lot but we have not found the perfect match yet.  There has been several that we really like but we also have to take into consideration the special attention that my oldest son will require at times in school.  We were assured that his current school would have an isolated classroom with a specially trained and certified teacher.  In short, the school failed to make that happen but they are not required to transport him to a school that is set up like that because they have a designated classroom; yeah, that's a loophole that means just because the space is there and the teacher is not then they do not have to provide that service.  I suspect that they get a tax break, kickback, discount, reimbursement or some other such incentive for just having the space available but that is unconfirmed.  There are two schools that are much better qualified but the rules say we have to be in the school district for him to attend.  I think we are on the right track and may have some packing to finish soon...

Reading: I am still plugging away at A Song of Ice and Fire.  I have currently read 617 pages of A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book of the series.  I am still enjoying the series but I am definitely going to do some lighter reading next;  maybe something similar to the Narnia or the Prydain books.  I am curious about taking on Jordan's Wheel of Time series or Sanderson's Mistborn series but I may wait until I get some less dense reading completed.  

Watching: I just completed watching the entire fourth season of The Walking Dead this weekend.  I may just be my favorite season yet. It was interesting to see everybody get separated and then come back together in the final episode.  The ending has me excited about seeing the conclusion of the Terminus story-line.  It looks like some intense stuff is coming soon on the show.  I am really curious about the spin off show coming soon.  I also discovered Deadwood and I am currently halfway through the second season.  If western gaming was as intense as this show then I would definitely be doing some!

Gaming: I am really interested in the Dragons at Dawn system after reading the rules.  Expect some posts about this great game in the future.  I have also started a new project - I am going to attempt a clone game of Adventures in Fantasy.  I can understand more and more of it with each examination but I would rather have the rules restated in a fashion that is more player friendly to understand.  I think there is a reasonably well done game hidden in the boxed set but it is a jumbled mess as the rules are currently presented.  No telling how long this will take but there will be some posts and previews coming soon...

Kickstarter: I recently received notification that the products rewarded for backing the SteamCraft RPG: The Supplements Edition project have been shipped!  There will be posts about the adventures and supplementary material I will receive in a short time.  This was the first Kickstarter I backed and I am looking forward to seeing the end results.  Hopefully, my shipment makes it today...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Megaverse® Beckons...

I took vacation today because it is my birthday.  I just felt like chilling at the house instead of busting my hump.  I caught up on some Netflix viewing that I had wanted to do so I was wondering what to do next. Then it dawned on me that the children were in school so a trip to the FLGS would not have to be rushed or spent monitoring their browsing activity.  

I went to Wizard's Asylum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  There are other hobby stores in the area but I specifically wanted to look for the products of Palladium Books®.  I looked at all of the products before I decided to get the following three books:

Dead Reign Sourcebook Three: Endless Dead
Dead Reign™ Sourcebook Four: Fear the Reaper
Rifts® Sourcebook One™ - Revised and Expanded  

I bought the two Dead Reign™ books for 50% off.  There were other copies on the shelf at full price.  I have no idea why they were marked down.  I could  not tell the difference between the condition of the ones I purchased and the ones on the shelf.  Maybe it was over-stock?  Maybe they were browsing copies? Maybe they were "gently used" by the store for a game night, demo, or something else?  I have no idea but I do have a complete run of the published Dead Reign™ books.  

At one time I had the original version of Rifts® Sourcebook One™ but no longer.  I am basically starting over on my Palladium Books® collection.  I had numerous books but decided to trim down my collection.  I seriously advise doing this unless you are absolutely certain you will never want to use those books again!  I got rid of everything but the Rifts® Ultimate Edition™ I have kept for all of these years.  I have a recurring urge to use Rifts® and open it up every now and then to start planning.  Now the time is right to get serious about it so I have started planning some purchases for a campaign starting off in the West involving vampires, bandits, etc.  I even signed up to be a Megaversal® Ambassador and I will have some news on events or demos on that front soon.


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