-Less brave in smaller numbers. Represent through a morale penalty when alone?
-Fire ("Even as [Frodo] swooned he caught, as through a swirling mist, a glimpse of Strider leaping out of the darkness with a flaming brand of wood in either hand"; not necessarily a special vulnerability)
-Special blades of Westernesse (could be magic weapons in OD&D)
-Holy names (Gandalf: "More deadly to him [than Frodo's sword] was the name of Elbereth". This could be considered equivalent to a Cleric's Turn Undead)
-Poor vision in strong daylight. Instead they "sniff". There are also statements that their power is literally diminished in daylight (perhaps a -2 to attacks?)
-"they needed garments and weapons provided by Sauron to give them form. Consequently, they could be defeated by attacks that destroyed their disguises, forcing them to return to Sauron to receive new ones" (the rushing water in FOTR being one example of this; not sure how to represent this in D&D)
The Unfinished Tales "Hunt for the Ring" would be a good place to mine for more details.
-Water. ("My father nowhere explained the Ringwraiths' fear of water. In the account just cited it is made a chief motive in Sauron's assault on Osgiliath, and it reappears in detailed notes on the movement of the Black Riders in the Shire: thus of the Rider (who was in fact Khamûl of Dol Guldur, see note 1) seen on the far side of Bucklebury Ferry just after the Hobbits had crossed (The Fellowship of the Ring I 5) it is said that "he was well aware that the Ring had crossed the river; but the river was a barrier to his sense of its movement and that the Nazgûl would not touch the "Elvish" waters of Baranduin. But it is not made clear how they crossed other rivers that lay in their path, such as the Greyflood, where there was only "a dangerous ford formed by the ruins of the bridge" (p. 277). My father did indeed note that the idea was difficult to sustain.")
Last Edit: Nov 21, 2020 22:21:39 GMT -6 by Zenopus
They were mostly unnamed, but Tolkien did give the name Khamul for the 2nd-in-command. From here:
Few of the Nazgûl are named or identified individually in Tolkien's works. Their chief, also known as the Lord of the Nazgûl and the Black Captain, appears as the Witch-king of Angmar during the Third Age, instrumental in the destruction of the North-kingdom of Arnor.[T 8] In Unfinished Tales, his second-in-command is named as Khamûl, the "Black Easterling" or the "Shadow of the East".[T 9] Three of the Nazgûl were great Númenórean lords;[T 1] in his notes for translators, Tolkien speculated that the Witch-king of Angmar, a northern kingdom with its capital at Carn Dûm, was of Númenórean origin.[T 10]
According to the Hunt for the Ring in UT: "..it was Khamûl who came to Hobbiton and spoke to Gaffer Gamgee, who followed the Hobbits along the road to Stock, and who narrowly missed them at the Bucklebury Ferry (see p.360)" and "Of Khamûl it is said here that he was the most ready of all the Nazgûl after the Black Captain himself, to perceive the presence of the Ring, but also the one whose power was most confused and diminished by daylight"
RPGs are like sitting around a campfire with my buddies when I used to go hunting and fishing- having a beer, talking about the day's events (or bad luck), BS'ing and lying about old times. A "virtual camp fire" could never even approximate that, let alone replace it.
Sure, that's what my local groups are to me. I've been with one of them for over 10 years now.
But what if we all moved to different parts of the country and still wanted to get together occasionally for games, say once a year or even once a month?
What if I moved somewhere rural and couldn't find an RPG group within a reasonable driving distance?
What if the only local groups I could find were all playing D&D and I'm bored of that and want to play EPT but no one local is interested?
What if a fantastic GM was running a one-shot game in a different state?
What if I played in or ran a great game at an out-of-state con and wanted it to continue?
What if my partner works nights and I have to watch the kids, and only have time to play after they are asleep?
What if I were disabled and couldn't regularly get out of the house? What if I became immunocompromised and couldn't be near others?
Virtual gaming simply provides more options to increase gaming accessibility.
During Virtual Gary Con my son & I played together in a session of Tunnels & Trolls run by fantastic GM who lived in New Zealand and players in other parts of the U.S. I got to play T&T for the first time ever. We continued the game with the same players for a few weeks after. All made possible by virtual gaming.
Last Edit: Nov 12, 2020 11:16:53 GMT -6 by Zenopus
Also, as a mod warning, we support all forms of OD&D gaming here, including playing OD&D on-line, be it play-by-post (we have games of this going on currently here), text chat, virtual tabletop and/or video conferencing. Please refrain from overly hostile attacks on these forms of gaming. From an accessibility point of view alone, not everyone can even play face-to-face.
That's not accurate. Roll20 does indeed have the option to use video/audio instead of avatars.
Although many use a simultaneous Discord channel or Zoom meeting instead since the quality is better. So Roll20 board in one window, Audio/Video on another. As I mentioned on the first page, since quarantine started I've been playing in two games this way. Each generally meets every other week.
I still far prefer meeting face-to-face, but it's been great without that being available.
For maximum impact, I'd highly recommend reading the stories in the same format that Gygax et al were reading at the time, generally slim paperbacks.
For Conan, read the ACE/Lancer paperback series, including the DeCamp/Carter stories - there is non-Howard stuff there that influenced D&D. These stories are often "monster of week"-type stories, which are very D&D.
Leigh Brackett's Sword of Rhiannon is amazing. It starts on a Burroughs-esque Mars but there's a big twist. Chris Holmes gave me an ACE double of it that also has Conan the Conquerer (aka the Hour of the Dragon) on the other side.
Margaret St. Clair's The Shadow People is another great one. Vast underworld lit by phosphorescent fungi and populated by evil "elves".
So... is a gnome PC limited to 4th or 6th level F-M?
We can find some info on level limits for Gnomes in the Monster Manual because the entries for this still conform to the OD&D + Greyhawk conventions.
Gnomes: The highest level fighter is mentioned is 6th level. The highest level cleric is 7th level. The highest level of "magical abilities" is 4th level (rumored) (later revealed as illusionist in the PHB).
We can then compare this to the entries for Dwarf, Elf, Halfling.
Dwarf (Hill): Highest level fighter mentioned is 8th. This fits GH, which expanded the original 6th level limit from M&M to 7th for STR 17, 8th for STR 18.
Highest level cleric is 7th. This fits GH: "Among the dwarves themselves, but never as a player, there are clerical types. Dwarf clerics are found as high as 7th level (Lama)..."
Dwarf, Mountain: (this is in a sub-entry at the end) Can work up to 7th level fighter with STR 16, 8th level fighter with STR 17, 9th level fighter with STR 18. This is essentially the GH limits for dwarf fighters, plus one. This is a new expansion of limits not found in Greyhawk.
Elf: Highest level fighter/magic-user mentioned is 6th/9th. This fits the highest levels mentioned in Greyhawk; Elves with 18 STR can work up to 6th level fighter, and those with 18 Int can work up to 9th level MU.
Highest level cleric mentioned is 6th (a 6th level fighter/6th level MU/6th level cleric), which also fits their GH limit.
Halfling: Highest level fighter mentioned is 4th, which fits with Men & Magic. Their limits weren't expanded by GH.
Tallfellows & Stouts: (in sub-entries at the end): Tallfellows can work to 5 or 6th level with 17 or 18 STR, respectively. Stouts can work to 5th level with 18 STR. This is a new expansion not found in GH.
* * * * *
Extrapolating from above, we could assume that Gnomes can work to 4th level fighter using just M&M, but if using Greyhawk, can work to 5th level with 17 STR and 6th level with 18 STR.
All of this fits Gary's typical pattern of expanding level limits with each iteration of D&D. Some of these levels were further expanded in the PHB, and then again with Unearthed Arcana, which also allowed bonus levels to single-class characters.
Gnomes and hobbits/halflings both came to my attention as being essentially similar player character races in the 1e AD&D Players Handbook. They were given different stat modifiers and class restrictions, but I always wondered why they weren't simply rolled together.
In the unauthorized French translation of Holmes Basic, the translators did exactly that: they translasted Halfling to Gnome, but left the monster list entry for Gnome unchanged. Halflings don't have an entry, so essentially they are completely replaced by Gnome PCs.
Does anyone recall the movie, Return to Oz, where Nomes were Claymation'ed into earth elementals?.
I just saw the Return to Oz again for the first time since the '80s, and it holds up really well. Beautiful visuals and fairly dark - the movie begins with Dorothy having PTSD. It was a Disney movie so it's on D+ for anyone who has been subscribing to that, e.g. to see the Mandalorian.
The Chapel of Silence from Dragon #50. Great concept, fun to play— especially if/when the PCs are struck dumb, meaning the players aren’t aloud to speak. :-D Needs a little modification (the BBEG is too strong for the expected level, IMHO), but it’s a strong adventure with imaginative traps and a great backstory plot.
I've never run Chapel of Silence, but I have been thinking about it and the Creature of Rhyll for sessions at Gary Con sometime, since these adventures were the Holmes-era dungeons published in Dragon magazine.
I like the unconventional layout of Chapel. How do you think it would do in a 4-hour slot?
As far as I know, Mollie Plants is a real name; although conceivably it could be a pseudonym. I once came across someone who said they gamed with a neighbor's "Aunt Mollie" in the '80s, who was the same as the author of the Chapel of Silence. See here.
She also co-authored a Judges Guild Journal contest-winning adventure "The Treasure of Barlawn" with Ned and Bert Plants, presumably relatives.
I've been playing in two biweekly on-line games since the spring. Both were FTF games that have moved onto Roll20 during the plague. One is a Deadlands/Savage Worlds campaign with my original local group, the other is Barrowmaze/BFRPG campaign with a group in another state started by a former member of our local group who moved away.
The GMs have been doing a great job, and it's been fun to learn how to play on-line. It's fun to see a map and play around with our icons. I also played in some great games in Virtual Gary Con back in the Spring, some together with my kids. It's a great adjunct.
But I will go back to FTF gaming with my local group as soon as possible once it is safe to do so.
Last Edit: Oct 14, 2020 16:57:41 GMT -6 by Zenopus
Interesting - though, seriously, at this point, the researchers are reaching a bit to keep the Tolkien brand in the store with fresh publications. An unofficial 14th (!) book on the "History of Middle-Earth"?! Who's read the first thirteen?
Wait, what thirteen? I thought HOME was 12 volumes? Are you counting "Unfinished Tales"?
The linked article refers to UT as the 13th volume. But there is also a separately published volume that is an index of the HOME series. UT is a HOME volume in all but name (really it is #0), but the index could be considered a more "official" 13th.
Just when I think I'm set for Tolkien books for life, another interesting one pops up!
Now I have three on my list, the others being John Garth's new one, The Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien, which looks at all of places in the UK which inspired Tolkien, and a new edition of the Unfinished Tales, illustrated for the first time by Lee, Howe and Nasmith.
I'm currently reading the first volume of the graphic novel (manga) series Delicious in Dungeon, which is a D&D parody and very, very strange and unsettling. Much of it is a how-to-survive in the dungeon by eating monsters, including detailed recipes. I heard of it a while back but just came across it at our local library.
I've noticed some of the "interesting to a wider audience" posts on the FB page already. Are any of those in the section of the board which is "members only"? (I.e. anything from the "Dungeons and Dragons" section is like this.) It might be frustrating to see a cool link, then find out that you have to join in order to read the thread.
As far as I can tell, right now all of the links are to areas of the board that are viewable to the public. But we will need to keep in mind that anything in the "Dungeons & Dragons (1971-1979) - Members Only" section will not be accessible to the general FB audience, unless they are also members here.
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2020 6:37:46 GMT -6 by Zenopus