Tyche's Favourites/Play

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Chapter 6: Adventures[edit]

Time and Wilderness Movement (p93)[edit]

Remounts - if the party has two mounts per character (including henchmen/hirelings), they may move at double the long-distance movement rates shown. This is double the speed of the slowest mount in the group. If the party has three mounts per character, they may move at 2.5 times long-distance rates. If the party has four or more mounts per character, they may move at triple the long-distance rates.

Design note: It's not often considered in dungeon-based games, but if you have more than one mount (which you should; you don't ride your warhorse for general travel, and you don't use a riding horse in battle) you can travel much faster than if you're keeping one mount relatively fresh.

Sea Vessels (p95)[edit]

All galleys are replaced as follows:

Vessel Sailors Rowers Marines Ft per Round Miles per Day Cargo AC Shp Notes
Small galley 5 60 5 60'/150' 90/60 2000 1 75-100 Hemiolia or pentekonter
Medium galley 5 120 10 60’/135’ 90/55 3000 1 80-105 Trihemiolia
Large galley 10 180 15 60'/120' 90/50 4000 2 95-120 Trieres/Trireme
Light war galley 15 230 30 50’/120’ 75/50 5000 2 115-140 Tetreres/quadrireme
Medium war galley 20 300 75 45'/120' 72/50 6000 2 125-150 Penteres/quinquireme

Design note: The ships listed broadly fit for the period, though most have far too many marines as standard. Space and weight were at a premium, and too many non-essential bodies aboard threatened the seaworthiness of the ship. I also needed to separate two of the most common war galleys, fours and fives from each other, and add a new category of medium galley.

Initiative (p100)[edit]

Add Dexterity and Wisdom bonuses/penalties to 1d6.

Design note: I'm giving characters with good Wisdom something here.

Defensive Movement (p101)[edit]

Entire section re-written as follows:

Once two opposing combatants are within 5' of each other, they are engaged in melee. Engaged combatants may not move except to perform defensive movement. These types of defensive movement may be used by both characters and monsters.

A fighting withdrawal allows a combatant to move backwards at 1/2 combat movement. However, there must be a clear path for this movement. If an opponent follows the withdrawing combatant, the withdrawing combatant may attack the opponent on the opponent’s initiative, when he enters reach.

A full retreat occurs when a combatant moves backwards at a faster rate than 1/2 of combat movement. The combatant making the movement forfeits his attack this round, and all his opponent attacks with a +2 bonus until the next time his initiative number comes up. Furthermore, an opponent engaged with you who has not yet acted may act on the retreating combatant’s initiative number and therefore simultaneously with the retreating movement. In addition, if the retreating combatant is carrying a shield, it does not apply to their Armor Class during the retreat. Thieves may backstab retreating opponents.

Design note: Given there's no spellcasting, the only thing left in the declaration phase is defensive movement, and it seems a clunky and unnecessary additional step to me. So instead we change the way defensive movement works slightly, to give a reason to considering a fighting withdrawal over a full retreat. This simplifies the flow of the combat round and means everyone makes their decisions and acts on their initiative, not before it's rolled.

How to attack (p102)[edit]

On an roll of 1, roll d20 on the mishap table. If using a spear, polearm or javelin, take -4 to the roll.

Roll Effect
1 Weapon breaks
2-4 Sunder attack on weapon; Reflex save to avoid breaking.
5-7 Disarm; Reflex save to avoid losing your weapon.
8-9 Slip; Reflex save to avoid falling prone.
10+ Nothing additional

Design note: Weapon breakage/loss is a thematically appropriate thing to happen, so here it might do 2.5% of the time.

Missile Attacks (p103)[edit]

Missile attacks with thrown weapons may use either Strength or Dexterity adjustments.

The table is amended as follows.

Weapon Short Range (0) Medium Range (-2) Long Range (-5)
Javelin Up to 40' up to 80' up to 120'
Sling Up to 50' up to 100' up to 200'
Spear Up to 15' up to 30' up to 45'

Design note: Once again, two weapons criminally undervalued by D&D, made more appropriate to the period. Furthermore, a fighting spear really wasn't suitable for throwing.

Damage (p104)[edit]

Add your Strength adjustment to damage with melee or thrown weapons. Only composite bows, made for that character's pull, may add Strength adjustment to damage.

Effects of Damage (p104)[edit]

Record your Bloodied value underneath your hit points; this is equal to one half of your full hit points. The first half of your hitpoints represent bruising, minor fatigue, minor cuts and grazes. Drop into the second half (Bloodied) and you're into major fatigue, heavier bruising, more serious cuts, muscle pulls and so on, which give a -1 to hit, Proficiencies and saves and movement is reduced by 30'.

Hit zero (and up to negative your Constitution score) and you're in danger of going unconscious, having to make a Fort (Poison and Death) save every round to stay with it. Even then you're at a -2 to hit, Proficiencies and saves, and movement reduced by 60'. Fail a save or drop below negative your Constitution and you're unconscious (and we get into Mortal Wounds).

Healing (p105)[edit]

Natural healing is equal to half your level in hp per day. If this is less than 1hp, then you take a number of days equal to that fraction to recover one hp. This is halved if a character is Bloodied (once you are above ½ maximum you return to the normal rate). This is doubled if under the care of someone with the Healing Proficiency. Furthermore, for every week of complete rest (no major exertion such as combat, running, swimming and so on), you recover an additional amount of hit points equal to your Con bonus.

Note that the healing times required to return to 1hp from the Mortal Wounds table still apply.

Design note: Dual-pronged change here. One turning hit points into actual measure of health - though you aren't meaningfully injured until you get to 0, and improving natural healing rates unless you've dropped into incapacitated.

Saving Throw Categories (p108)[edit]

Only three saving throws are used, translated as follows:

  • Petrification & Paralysis becomes Reflex. In certain circumstances, apply your Dexterity bonus/penalty to the roll.
  • Poison & Death becomes Fortitude. In certain circumstances, apply your Constitution bonus/penalty to the roll.
  • Staffs & Wands becomes Will. In certain circumstances, apply your Wisdom bonus/penalty to the roll.

Design note: My group much prefers the simpler three-save approach of D20, which is what we've done here.

Sunder (p109)[edit]

There is only a -2 penalty to sunder javelins, which suffer a -6 penalty to their save against breaking.

Design note: What javelins have gained in range, they've lost in durability.

Mounted Attacks (p112)[edit]

If hit by a mounted charge, fixed spear, or struck with a natural 20, a mounted character must make a Reflex save to avoid being unhorsed, taking 1d6 damage in the process. Knock Down attacks against mounted characters are treated the same way. Characters with the Riding Proficiency get a +2 bonus to this roll.

Design note: Simple addition here, it didn't feel like the standard rules had really considered how a character might be involuntarily unhorsed.

Experience (p113)[edit]

No award or tracking of experience points (XP). All classes have had their XP tables equalised by addition of class features, and instead the characters gain levels when it seems appropriate due to their activities in-game. No doubt this will be by mutual agreement.

Design note: It's pretty unanimous that we're happy to dispense with XP altogether. Tracking money is more than enough accounting for this game.

Chapter 9: Treasure[edit]

Only use pages 204-210, ie the non-magical stuff.

Masterwork armour and weapons

There are two better-than-normal qualities for weapons and armour (but not shields or ammunition), good and exceptional. Good items cost four times the listed price, have one special property and give +2 against Sunder maneuvers. Exceptional items cost ten times the listed price, have two properties, and give +4 against being Sundered.

The other mechanical impacts are as follows:

  • Good weapons: +1 initiative or +1 damage.
  • Exceptional weapons: +1 to hit and with either +1 initiative or +1 damage.
  • Good armour: Reduce Encumbrance by one stone.
  • Exceptional armour: Reduce Encumbrance by one stone and +1AC.

Better quality armours are tailor-made for their wearer, and cannot simply be taken from one person and worn by another. They require the attentions of an armourer to refit them for a new wearer, and until that has happened, function as regular armour of the same type.

Design note: While there's no magic items, there is still well-crafted gear, available for a price. Thus as both loot and stuff to get, I've included them here. I do wonder if x4 and x10 might be too cheap, but on the other hand how would anyone afford it if they were too expensive.

Chapter 10: Secrets[edit]

Aging and Death (p248)[edit]

Aging is not a fixed property. Instead the time in which penalties start to apply depends on a number of factors, which together are called Prime. To calculate Prime age, roll your hit die, add or subtract your Strength and Constitution modifiers and add/subtract this result to 35. This gives your Prime. This will range from 30 to 49.

Prime= 35 + (HD roll +/- Str and Con modifiers)

The reworked aging chart is thus:

Category Range
Youth 13-17
Adult 18 - Prime
Middle Aged (Prime +1) - (Prime +20)
Old (Prime +21) - (Prime +40)
Ancient (Prime +41) - (Prime +60)

Furthermore, the effects of Middle and Old age are ameliorated somewhat. Those new ability score adjustments are as follows:

  • Youth: -2 Str, -2 Int, -2 Wis
  • Middle Aged: -1 Dex, -1 Con
  • Old: -1 Str, -1 Dex, -1 Con, -1 Cha (Cumulative: -1 Str, -2 Dex, -2 Con, -1 Cha)
  • Ancient: -2 Str, -2 Dex, -2 Con, -2 Cha (Cumulative: -3 Str, -4 Dex, -4 Con, -3 Cha)

Design note: Maybe it's that I'll be 35 next year, and I have two parents who will be 60 at the same time, but both the hurdle ages and the adjustments seem far too severe to me. People who are in good health, look after themselves and got lucky with their genes don't show the effects of aging the same as others less fortunate do.

Not only that, this is the era in which you had veteran phalangites still fighting in their 60s and even 70s, and commanders dying in battle in their 80s and 90s. These were not frail people with one foot in the grave, but still vital even into what we'd normally consider to be elderly. Not only that, strength doesn't drop off that much, it's fitness and flexibility that go with age.

This also inserts some variety into aging, and allows for premature aging as well as extended longevity.

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