More Troll Questions from Random Wizard

Random Wizard is doing another Top 10 Troll questions. Honestly, these don’t seem near as Trolly as the last ones, but I figured I’d go ahead and do them anyway.

(1). Should energy drain take away one level of experience points from the character? Yes or No? If no, what should level drain do?

It really depends. At low levels, level drain doesn’t seem as bad (even though getting hit a few times with it will drop you to level 0 and you turn undead), but at higher levels, the high amounts of XP needed for leveling makes this a bit more punishing. In the system I cooked up awhile back but never finished (like so much in my life), level drain hit for a fixed amount of XP that varied depending on the power of the undead.

(2). Should the oil used in lanterns do significant damage (more than 1 hp in damage) if thrown on an opponent and set on fire? Yes or No? If yes, how much damage should it do?

1d4 burn damage per round. It corresponds to what you see in movies, at least.

(3). Should poison give a save or die roll, with a fail rolled indicating instant death? Yes or No? If no, how should game mechanics relating to poison work?

I have mixed feelings about save or die with poisons. Most poisons are slow acting. I think a fail should incapacitate the victim after a few rounds, during which an antidote, if any, may be administered.

(4). Do characters die when they reach 0 hit points? Yes or No? If no, then at what point is a character dead?

0 is dead. Anything under 0 is dead and mangled.

(5). Does the primary spell mechanic for a magic user consist of a “memorize and forget system” (aka Vancian)? Yes or No? If no, what alternative do you use?

For human magic users, yes. Elves function more like sorcerers, since magic is in their nature. They can’t learn magic from a book, but are randomly able to select their spells. They can ‘lock’ in these spells or choose to ‘forget’ them and replace them with another.

(6). Should all weapons do 1d6 damage or should different weapons have varying dice (1d4, 1d8, etc…) for damage?

I like varying damage, but definitely think that what is there in the tables needs to be adjusted. Sure, daggers get to be 1d4, but that the bs D&D longsword is the only one handed weapon that gets 1d8 damage is stupid. Spears are better and should be at least as good mechanically.

(7). Should a character that has a high ability score in their prime requisite receive an experience point bonus? Yes or No?

No. If you ask me, the opposite should be true. People who have it easy and can just waltz through life grow more slowly than those who have to try harder.

(8). Should a character with an strength of 18 constitution get a +3 bonus to hit points, or a +2 bonus to hit points, or a +1 bonus to hit points or no bonus to hit points? And should other ability scores grant similar bonuses to other game mechanics?

Strength is strength, con is con. I do believe, though, that Charisma and Comeliness should be separate stats. One can be charismatic but ugly and vice versa. If it’s not its own stat, it can be average of Strength and Con.

(9). Should a character have 1 unified saving throw number, or 3 saving throw types based on ability scores (reflex, fortitude, will), or 5 types based on potential game effects (magic wand, poison attacks)? or something else?

I like the 5 type saving throw system, but I like throws against individual skills even better. The latter gives some flexibility: do you try to muscle your way out of your bindings (STR) or do you try to wriggle free (DEX)? The 5 types are a lot easier to manage and factor in leveling up. But you get a lot of weird things falling into the categories. “Oh, crap, a rock is falling on my head, time to save against dragon’s breath!”

(10). Should a cleric get (A) 1 spell at 1st level (B) no spells at 1st level (C) more than 1 spell at 1st level?

I like the idea of the 0 spell acolyte. They’ve not yet been fully initiated into the mysteries of their faith. It also answers the question about why a cleric would adventure. I’d read once (sorry, if I remembered where, I would link it) that Clerics, as healers, would be too valuable to communities for those communities to allow them to go adventuring. Well, a spellless level 1 acolyte isn’t going to have that value, and is therefore expendable to the church. He could be out adventuring ‘on mission’ to earn his way into the holy mysteries of his order.

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