I'm using only the three core classes, but my Cleric is heavily modified to be less of a priest (I can't see why a priest would adventure with a group of mad people slaying even humans on their way haha).
I also don't like gonzo on monsters, but I'm constantly thinking in at least one or two bizarre humans to break the ice a little, because every time I've tried to keep a serious game the players ruined it anyways. lol So I just decided to embrace a bit of their thing, if I don't mock some npcs myself players will do it.
For Magic, the Zenopus' Holmes Ref is a good example, if you can't explain the Spell in one line, I will think it's overengineering.
I've read a lot of Monster Manuals through the years but I don't use any of them, I like them for their drawings. I think about a creature, I decide a Hit Dice between 1~4, an AC between 9~5 and I write down some special attacks if it's an interesting creature... Like a Crocodile would attack twice if inside water, or something like that.
I confess that I like simple systems and to simplify everything but in my case I think it's already an obsession at this point. I used to like matrixes, tables and complex formulas on games, nowadays I'm avoiding even funny dices, I think they're too complex. haha 1d6 for HP and damage and we're done.
I'm currently DMing Age of Conan so we only have humans... I was designing an Elf, as there is mention of them on the novels and comics, but more as a myth, so I didn't go further. I'm not a fan of Halflings and Dwarves, so Conan or something alike is perfect for my tastes, I don't know why since I enjoyed reading The Hobbit years ago. I think I prefer low-fantasy.
I'm talking about the number of choices in your campaign. There are tons of spells, monsters, magic items, settings, and even classes (if you consider the fan-made classes available on the web during the 2E era). Do you need all of them in your game? If not, how would you determine the maximum?
There's no right or wrong answer for this question; it all depends on your needs.
It becomes too much when the referee is overwhelmed by how much they need to track for each player, or when gameplay requires too much detail to be tracked by players. Otherwise the sky is the limit.
For example new players in my campaign only get to play as fighters, clerics, or magic-users; but I do allow them to play advanced character types (I don't have additional classes, just skills/special abilities/and restrictions) once they have played at least a session or two. I try to place the burden of tracking all this stuff on the player so that it doesn't slow me down. This way players get to choose the amount of detail they want to track, and are rewarded with a playstyle/roleplay that suits their needs.
More choices = More Novelty
That said, I really hate additional races. It adds a lot to the referee overhead; like additional passive abilities that apply in specific situations (e.g. elf detect secret doors), NPC/Monster Reaction adjustments, enforcing race restrictions, etc.
I tend to stick with the basic classes and races myself. I first began gravitating toward this trend near the end of the 2E era. I originally enjoyed the class and race handbooks, but after all the Player's Option series and other books came out, I had to say enough. That didn't please some of my players, since they wanted to use some class they found on the internet or didn't like the way some rules were done in the core rules. But that meant more stuff that I had to keep track of, so I had to put a cap on things. When 3e came along with all its prestige classes and new rules, it drove me back to older editions of the game.
I'm a relative newcomer to OD&D, so I don't have as much experience running it. But I would allow thieves along with the 3 core classes to new players and some of the other classes to more experienced players. I'm not averse to allowing half-elves, half-orcs, or gnomes, but I'd give any more races a pass.
Grognard Day: If an old-school D&D player sees his shadow, it means his group will spend six more weeks playing 5E.
The primary lightsaber colors are red, green, and blue. The primary pigment saber colors are cyan, magenta, and yellow.
RIP: Levius Heights, Oscar Schipps, Benvolio Bucket. I wish I could have played you longer.
Post by ampleframework on Mar 27, 2021 11:30:21 GMT -6
An OD&D gnome is just a slightly smaller, hairier Dwarf anyway. A lot of these expanded demihuman options shouldn't require new mechanics at all. Wanna have an Elf grandmother? Cool. Which side of the family do you take after?
"Beyond the reach of human range, A drop of hell, a touch of strange."