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Showing posts from June, 2015

Three Reviews: Creature Compendium, On the NPC, and Kefitzah Haderech

Inspired by a Lulu coupon, I did a little shopping.

Old School Adventures™ Accessory CC1: Creature Compendium by Richard LeBlanc
92 pages, $10.96

I didn't especially feel the need for a monster manual—what's easier than making up a monster? But I wanted to have one lying around for the kid to pore over—what's more inspiring than a bunch of monsters? This has certainly done the job. The kid has been writing up little adventures since he first saw this book.

It's a beautifully organized book. There is a full page at the beginning that clearly explains every statistic and notation you'll find anywhere else, all monsters are fully stat'ed for 0e and B/X, there are complete treasure tables in the back, and an index of XP values calculated for no less than six different OSR editions. And every entry is illustrated, which, really, is the sine qua non of monster manuals.

The book is presented with the assumption that you have a more standard monster manual of some kind …

Dice: Attribute Checks

I've been using attribute checks a lot, lately. My PbP game is Beyond the Wall, which uses attributes and additive skill bonuses. At home, I've been playing Holmes with the kid, with straight attribute checks bolted on.
Now, there is a powerful spartan appeal to the default 1d6 skill check of OD&D and B/X. And there's a curvy elegance to the 2d6 check of Traveller and *World. You can use OD&D-style attribute bonuses with 1d6, and B/X-style bonuses with 2d6 without breaking anything. But I've been using using the standard d20 vs. Attribute Score. 
Largely, this is because I hate to not use the attribute scores. They are such a prominent part of the character sheet, we expend such hope and energy on rolling them up, and they are so central to how we envision our character—how could we not use them?
With the kid's games, I've found this especially gratifying. The kid grasped the significance of the attributes, and how to apply them to a single roll of a d…