Monday, September 16, 2013
A Proposal: OSR Compatible
I've been slowly working on a few things, and one issue that has come up is - what system should everything be compatible with? The early OSR clones started as ways to produce material compatible with AD&D (OSRIC) or B/X D&D (Basic Fantasy and Labyrinth Lord). But now there is a proliferation of clones that are played on their own. Each has some amalgamation of rules differences from the next, including armor class and similar concerns. Little or none of these make much difference in the long run.
Because I have it handy, here's a stat block from B2 Keep on the Borderlands:
AC 7, HD 1, hp 4 each, #AT 1, D 1-6, Save F 1, ML 8.
Also handy is a stat block from N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God:
AC 5; MV 12"; HD 2; hp 10 each; #AT 1; D 1-6
The first is a B/X module, the second an AD&D module - the B/X line actually has a bit more information. What I'd propose is that, instead of indicating compatibility with say OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord or Swords & Wizardry or any other particular clone, OSR games use a generic standard compatibility as follows:
Monster Name & number appearing - Monster's name with the number appearing in parentheses afterward.
Armor Class (AC) - give the descending AC. Different games with ascending AC use different bases, so it's not useful to list ascending ACs. There will be a slight difficulty where an unarmored person with a shield would be AC 9 in AD&D and AC 8 in B/X D&D, but this isn't big enough to worry about.
Movement rate (MV) - listed in feet, i.e. 120' rather than 12". Easy enough for OD&D and AD&D players to drop the 0; scale inches tend to confuse things.
Dexterity (Dx) - listed 3-18. This is for several games which use Dexterity to break ties in initiative (or Holmes D&D and its clones that use them to determine it in the first place).
Hit Dice (HD) - number of hit dice. Optionally this can include B/X style * for special abilities.
Hit points (hp) - a number of hit points. This should be in every stat block. List multiple creatures as "a,b,c,d" or "x each."
Number of Attacks (# AT) - the number of attacks per round.
Damage (D) - this is listed as a range, i.e. 1-6 or 2-7. Multiple attacks should be listed sequentially with "/" between each, such as 1-3/1-3/1-6.
Special Attacks (SA) - list any special attacks.
Special Defenses (SD) - list any special defenses.
Save - this is listed as a class and level. Typically monsters save as a fighter of level equal to their hit dice.
Morale (ML) - morale rating from 2 to 12. 12 is the highest morale rating and indicates least likely to flee.
So the first monster listing from B1 In Search of the Unknown would look like this:
Orcs (4) - AC 6, MV 90', Dx 8, HD 1, hp 5,4,3,2, #AT 1, D 1-6, Save F1, ML 8
The black widow spider would look like this:
Black Widow Spider (1) - AC 6, MV 60' (in web 120'), Dx 15, HD 3*, hp 13, #AT 1, D 2-12, SA poison, Save F2, ML 8
Write-ups for monsters would include all of the above plus Intelligence. Treasure type would have to be determined by the individual referee; it's too disparate across games.
I'd really like to make "OSR Compatible" a thing. Maybe someone with better Photoshop skills than I would be able to make up some kind of logo and release it open-source? I'd like to put it on my own future releases including Dungeon Crawl #4. Also - any additions or changes would be welcome.