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Andras, Electrum Pieces and OSR Project

Comparison of Classes

One of my favorite authors for Dragon Magazine was Paul Crabaugh. For the handful of articles he wrote for D&D, I always appreciated his Class and Monster Generators. One the stated goals for Andras was to have a similar class creation system for DMs to use to better customize their world.

In 2e, a system was presented, but it states very plainly in the beginning that existing classes cannot be re-created using this system. In fairness, the same was true for Crabuagh's Customized Classes In Dragon #8. In some ways, it never felt right that I couldn't just re-create existing classes.

After a few months of experimenting with various systems, the conclusion is that the xp numbers are largely arbitrary. That may not be a surprise to anyone, but I thought that there might be a way to get reasonable close to the numbers, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Oddly enough, I can reach the numbers exactly for Basic Fantasy. Just not anything similar to 2e.

In the various experiments, there was a tension between the value of combat prowess versus the value of magical access. If combat was undervalued, the warrior group gained levels rapidly and the rogue group tended to have too many skills for the same xp levels. If magic was undervalued, there was little incentive to be a magic-user.

So as I wind down to a final version of the class generator, I find that Priests and Psionicists have the same XP progression level. Personally, I like that because I tend to characterize Psionic characters as anti-clerics. In other words, in function, they appear to generate magic in the same way, the difference is the source. Priests gain power from a deity and a psionic character gains power from within. It serves to make the psionic characters a persecuted group and also allows for deities to grant more anti-psionic miracles.

However, when the specific mythoi options for priests are used, their progression is a bit faster in my customized class system than a standard cleric. The main reason is that a specific mythos priest has access to half of the miracles that a cleric can access. In 2e parlance, that 8 schools with major access and 1 school with minor access versus 3-4 schools with major access and 1-3 schools with minor access.

The effect is not as pronounced with mages versus specialty wizards because of the bonuses that specialists gain.

In case you are wondering, my system makes the standard 2e paladin need almost 3000 xp to reach second level. Needless to say, I'll probably end up re-doing the paladin anyway. I want a battle priest/paladin/avenger class where alignment isn't so much a restriction as the specific deity served.

Maybe most surprising of all may be the fact that psionic powers are the most expensive form of magic.

I hope to have the generator ready in spreadsheet, pdf and php format soon. If anyone is interested, I will be happy to share the current working spreadsheet. I would upload it to the site, but it changes daily as I crunch numbers.

Categories
Andras, Electrum Pieces and OSR Project

More than an Implied Setting for Andras

Using a tutorial on Campaign Cartographers, I was able to generate this artistic map on the Midosean region of Dwaneyarda (literally, "second earth"). I figured that the OSR doesn't need another toolbox without at least an implied setting. Dwaneyarda will be fleshed out in some detail, but not enough to be a full-fledged setting unless folks really like it. Having a setting makes it easier for taking ideas and adapting it to your game of choice. Dwaneyarda will also demonstrate the implementation of the rules and serve as a place to provide examples.

Many, but not all, the names are derived from a conlang called Lingwa de Planeta.

Here are some things that you need to know about Dwaneyarda:

  • The Midosean region is one of only two major bodies of water on the planet. The other major body of water, Nordeosean is a vast arctic sea that lies far north of this map.
  • Spells used by Priests are collectively referred to as miracles.
  • The use of psionics is as widespread as the use of magic.
  • Some schools of magic (along with spheres of miracles and disciplines of psionics) are more accepted than others. For example, the Necromancy school of magic is practiced in secret.
  • Dwaneyarda has a solitary continent.
  • The place names will be provided with an English Translation of the name. Materials created will have both names, but maps will always have the Dwaneyardan names.
  • The names of anything pertaining to player information (classes, kits, spells, schools of magic,etc) will be in English with Dwaneyardan in parenthesis.

Here is some information about the Midosean region shown on the map:

  • The Vakuamar (literally, the "empty sea") is an area of strong magical activity. Some believe it is a gateway to the multiverse. Others believe that it is an aberration of nature generated by the unfettered use of magic.
  • The borders of the Vakuamar are not literal - sailors have encountered it everywhere on the Midosean. However, most encounters take place north of the Isla Raduga ("the Rainbow Islands") so maps are drawn with it there.
  • The Lumataui is the great lighthouse than can be seen from almost anywhere in the Midosean. It was built for sailors to navigate around the Vakuamar. If the light of the Lumataui is not visible, you are likely inside the Vakuamar.
  • The cities on the map with towers are autonomous city-states. Those without towers are vassal states to another city. There are hundreds of villages, each with allegiance to one of the city-states not shown on the map.
  • The main road connecting the cities on the western side of the map is called Hunte Kamina (literally, the joined road)
  • The river is called the Anchun-Riva (literally, The Safe River). The origin of the name is uncertain though it may refer to the fact that the Vakuamar doesn't affect boats on the river. Branches of the river share the same name. Residents of the Midosean region do not make reference to the various branches of the river calling all of it Anchun-Riva. When describing the branches, they reference landmarks.

Here are all the place names translated into English:

  • Blisemar - By the Water
  • Bliyarke - By the Light
  • Isla Raduga - Rainbow Islands
  • Jamile - Beautiful
  • Lumataui - The Light Tower, The Lighthouse
  • Onok - On the Point
  • Pakamine - The City by the Road
  • Syaomar - Small Water or Bay City
  • Urb d'Arbre - The City of Trees, Tree City, Lumberton
  • Vakuamar - The Empty Sea
  • Versunorda - Northward
  • Zuyeste - Easternmost, The Farthest East

Feel free to use the map if you like it. If anyone is interested, I'll post the GIMP xcf file and the brushes I created. I like the format of this map because it is less tactical than a hex map or a spatially correct map.

Categories
Andras, Electrum Pieces and Portal Sites

New Project and Downloads

After quite some time, there is finally a name for my 2e-inspired clone: Andras. It is a word I coined because of some similarity to words in some Uralic and Nordic languages that mean 2nd.

It has its own project page that will feature links and downloads.

I've also updated the Downloads pages to feature content for Basic Fantasy and Older Editions of the world's most famous role-playing game.