Monday, August 24, 2015

One Character, Nine Systems: Part 5

Last week, I proposed an experiment of generating the same character in nine different editions/variations of the D&D game. In the first post we introduced Junco Eliade, now it's time to give him some crunch. In this iteration we'll use:

Much like the Basic boxed-sets, this incarnation of the D&D includes everything in a single volume with no expansions. Which might be its greatest selling point,

Race: Dwarf
Class: Dwarf
As a redux of the "Basic" line, the Rules Cyclopedia has race-as-class. 

Level: 3rd
Minimum XP: 4,400 (split evenly between to 2 classes or 4000 each)
Alignment:  Lawful
Hit Dice: 3d8+3
Average Hit Points:  17
  • Str: 9
  • Dex: 16  -- +2 to missile attacks and Armor Class
  • Con: 15 -- +2 hit points per die
  • Int: 16 -- 2 additional languages
  • Wis: 11
  • Cha: 8 -- -1 on NPC reactions, Max 3 retainers, Morale 6
AD&D introduces racial ability limits (both upper and lower), as well as racial ability adjustments. All of Junco's rolled stats fall within the range for dwarves. His Constution has been increased by 1 and his Charisma decreased by 1 by virtue of the AD&D dwarven racial traits.
With a Strength score of 9, Junco just barely meets the ability requirements to become a Fighter. His 11 Wisdom is more than sufficient to qualify as a Cleric, but does provide him with a % chance of his spells failing.
Dwarf Abilities:  

  1. Armor: A dwarf may wear any kind of armor, and may use a shield.
  2. Weapons: A dwarf may use any small or medium melee weapon. (If you're unsure as to whether a weapon is small or medium, see the Weapons Table in Chapter 4.) They may not use longbows, but can use short bows and crossbows.
  3. Dwarves are good fighters. Like fighters, they know the Lance Attack and Set Spear vs. Charge maneuvers.
  4. Infravision is the ability to see heat (and the lack of heat). Dwarves have infravision in addition to normal sight and can see 60' in the dark. Infravision does not work in the presence of normal and magical light. With infravision, warm things appear red, and cold things appear blue. A creature could be seen as a red shape, leaving faint reddish footprints. A cold pool of water would seem a deep blue color. Characters with infravision can even see items or creatures the same temperature as the surrounding air (such as a table or a skeleton), since air flow will inevitably show the viewer their borders, outlining them in a faint lighter-blue tone. Until they move, they will be very faint to the eye; once they start moving, they become blurry but very obvious light-blue figures. Infravision isn't good enough to read by. A character can use his infravision to recognize an individual only if they are within 10' distance . . . unless the individual is very, very distinctive (for example, 8' tall or walking with a crutch).
  5. In addition to Common and alignment tongues, a dwarf can speak the languages of the dwarf, gnome, goblin, and kobold races.
  6. Dwarves can sometimes detect traps (specifically, traps built into stone-work or heavy construction, not other types of traps such as rope-traps in the forest or spring-out needles built into a jewelry box); they can also detect sliding walls, sloping corridors, and new constructions. If your dwarf character wants to search for such things in an area, tell the DM. You have 1 chance in 3 to find them. The DM will roll 1d6, and a 1 or 2 will indicate success if there is anything to find; a result of 3-6 means your dwarf detects nothing. You may check once for each trap, sliding wall, sloping corridor, or new construction. You must tell the DM if you want to look for anything; the detection is never automatic.
This version of Junco is the least multi-lingual yet, being able to speak only 8 languages (Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Kobold, Goblin, an alignment language, and 2 of his choice).

The Rules Cyclopedia introduces some interesting abilities for higher-level dwarves. While Junco loses his clerical powers in this edition, he will eventually gain the ability to make multiple attacks and perform special combat maneuvers (like a Fighter), establish a stronghold as a "Dwarf Lord", and suffer only half damage from damage-causing magical attacks.

Cleric Abilities:
Not applicable.
Fighting Man Abilities:
Not applicable.

Attack Rolls: 
Demihumans advance in attack probability at the same level as Fighters up to "name level" (9th for Dwarves). Thus, Junco strikes an unarmored opponent on a roll of 10+ on 1d20.

Saving Throws:
  • Death/Poison:  8+ on d20.
  • Wands:  9+ on d20.
  • Petrification/Paralysis: 10+ on d20.
  • Breath Weapon:  13+ on d20.
  • Rods/Staves/Spells:  12+ on d20.

The major thing that sets the Rules Cyclopedia apart from the original B/X line is the introduction of rules for varying levels of "Weapon Mastery" and Weapon Choices, as well as a Skill system. 

As a Dwarf, Junco gains 3 "weapon choices" at 3rd-level. Similar to his AD&D version, we will use 1 slot to gain a "Basic" skill level with the Heavy Crossbow, and the 2 remaining slots to gain the "Skilled" level of training with a Staff.  He can use all other weapons allowed to dwarves at an "unskilled" level, with the normal chance to hit, but dealing only half damage. At the Basic skill level, the various weapons are basically the same as they work in previous editions, but at higher levels of mastery, they gain additional properties. Since Junco is "Skilled" with the Staff, we'll enumerate those here.
  • Weapon Mastery:
    • Staff (2 slots): The staff is a two-handed, medium melee weapon. 
      • +2 on all attack rolls (the staff has a primary attack group of "All").
      • Damage 1d6+2
      • Gain a -1 bonus to AC against 2 attacks per round
      • Can attempt to Deflect one melee or thrown weapon attack per round by making a save vs. death ray (this is in addition to attack actions and the AC bonus).
      • Despair: If Junco deals maximum damage on an attack with his staff, or takes no damage in a round by using his Deflect ability, up to 4HD of opponents must make immediate morale checks (once per fight). 
In addition to the Weapon Mastery options, the Rules Cyclopedia includes a system of "General Skills". All 1st-level characters start with a number of skill slots equal to 4 plus their ability modifier for Intelligence, and additional slots every 4 levels thereafter. Thus, Junco has 6 skill slots available to him. Skills work by rolling equal to or less than the relevant ability score on 1d20. Unlike AD&D's proficiency system, skills do not have variable costs. Junco's skills are selected to reflect his role as a traveling scholar and holy-man.
  • Skills: selected from the list of  Sample skills in Chapter 5
    • Mysticism (Wis)
    • Healing (Int)
    • Leadership (Cha)
    • Knowledge: Theology (Int)
    • Cartography (Int)
    • Knowledge: Philosophy (Int)