Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Multi-edition stat column, and Giant Ground Stirge!

I'm very much heartened at the successes of the retro-clones. I think they are our best chance at continued old guard publishing ventures. In my imaginings of the best possible future for The Game, Wizards would release TSR D&D to the fans and concentrate on their own game, whatever they want to call it. I know this won't happen. Hasbro holds their leash and it's notorious for sitting on IP even if it does nothing with it.

I see alot of individual old school Renaissance publishers putting out material for their various retro-clones, Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, OSRIC, Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game, and they are all largely interchangeable, content wise, with each other, and with Original Dungeons & Dragons, Basic Dungeons & Dragons, and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.
I worry abit about fragmenting of the Renaissance though, since the clones are being played as much as games in them selves, as they are used as publishing vehicles.

I know, I know, I worry too much. Can't help it, it's in my nature to look for problems before they make themselves known, and head them off. I make a great first officer, but an unsettling captain.
Anyway, I have some ideas of publishing some stuff of my own to add to the OSR, but I don't what my stuff to be only applicable to one retro-clone. I want a broadly inclusive Domain of the Old Guard.
To this end, I thought I'd see if I could write up a compilation monster stat column that would be fairly easily used with all the clones, and their progenitors.

I cross indexed the monster stats for all the old school D&D games that I had on hand to see what stats carry over from game to game, and what new categories appeared. Then I squashed them all down to a single column, and separated all the stats that appear in every edition of The Game. I moved them to the top of the column for utility, and then arranged the others below in order of how I most often need them.
Stats that appear in all editions, say so to the left, the remaining stats have the games they are used in also listed to the left.
I'm sure most people reading this blog are familiar with the games abbreviations, but just in case.
Original Dungeons & Dragons-OD&D.
Swords & Wizardry-S&W.
Labyrinth Lord-LL.
Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game-BFRPG.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons-AD&D. (OSRIC )
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, second edition-2E.
Hackmaster fourth edition-HM4E.
I also split the column into a combat statistics block, and a general information block.

Should I manage to carry through on my project, this is the arrangement I'll use for all monsters that will appear in The Old Guard Guide. I hope this way, my stuff will be useful to the widest possible gaming audience.

I've also got a new monster to show off the system!

Old Guard Multi-Edition Monster Stat-Column.

The Giant Ground Stirge.

Combat Statistics Block
All editions. Armor Class :5
All editions. Hit Dice :4+4
All editions. Movement :8" (max when fleeing)
All editions. Number of Attacks :1
All editions. Damage/Attack :1-6
S&W, AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Special Attacks :blood drain
AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Special Defenses :natural camouflage as elven cloak.
AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Magic Resistance :nil
S&W, LL, BFRGP. Save (as) : 4 hit die monster, or 4th level fighter

General Information Block
AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Frequency :rare
OD&D, LL, BFRPG, AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Number Appearing :1-3
OD&D, AD&D. % in lair :30%
AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Intelligence :animal
LL, BFRPG, 2E, HM4E. Morale :low
LL, AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Alignment :neutral
AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Size :M, six feet long.
OD&D, LL, BFRPG, AD&D, 2E. Treasure Type :nil
S&W, BFRPG, AD&D, 2E, HM4E. Level/XP Value :4th/150+3 per hp
AD&D, HM4E. Psionic Ability :nil
2E, HM4E. Climate/Terrain :woods and scrub lands
2E, HM4E. Organization :solitary
2E, HM4E. Activity Cycle :nocturnal
2E, HM4E. Diet :living blood
2E. THACO :17
HM4E. AKA :Throat stabber.

The Giant Ground Stirge is a solitary, nocturnal, stalking predator which lives on fresh blood just as it's small, winged cousins do. Capable of remaining motionless for hours, the stirge will slowly approach sleeping or otherwise unaware prey, freezing in place if it's intended victim stirs, and only returning to it's stalking once it is certain it has not been detected.
The stirge's hide is brown and bark-like, and it is covered with branch-like appendages with sparse,"leaves", which seem to flutter in the breeze.
In poor light, when the stirge prefers to hunt, it will likely appear as a broken, scrubby,tree.

In an attack, the stirge attempts to stab it's proboscis into the victims artery. If it's first attack hits, it will wrap it's long, segmented legs around the prey to immobilize it, and then drain blood equal to 1-8 hit points per round until it reaches a total of 30 points. If it's first attack misses for any reason, the stirge will speedily retreat and try again the next night.

* All right, damn it! For no apparent reason, blogger insists on smashing all my stats to the right. I had them in a center point column nice and neat and it keeps pushing everything to the left when I publish the post. now it looks like a pile of letters and numbers. Does anyone know how to prevent this?
** still not right, I had a column of open space between the stats and the abbreviations, but it won't publish that way.


Brunomac said...

Giant ground Stirge< nothing has gotten my attention like that one in a looong time. I gotta see a picutre.

I think they are our best chance at continued old guard publishing ventures<

Agreed! So far I have found great free PDF's all over the place, but sooner or later I gotta start spending on the better looking stuff (like Knockspell).

Max said...

Looks like you have some stray html tags in there somewhere. Are you editing in 'Edit HTML' or 'Compose.' The former is better for making format changes.

In re: the monster. At first I was wondering why it had tree camo, then I thought about the various bugs that've evolved incredible foliage camouflage. Do you think of flying stirges as bug-like too? To me they're bird-bat types things.

E.G.Palmer said...

Thanks guys! I'll try and repost again. I'll get it straightened out eventually. The stirge seems to mutate by edition. The earliest ones are the winged, six legged bat with a proboscis things and they seemed to pick up more insect-like traits later. Artistic license I assume. Stirges are one of those weird creatures that don't fit into a normal taxonomy I think.

ancientvaults said...

Don't forget, in Swords & Wizardry one needs to list Descending AND Ascending Armor Class. (Which makes AC 5 AAC 14)

Other than that, I honestly believe that this is a top notch idea.