Quote: It captures that environment perfectly. I mean big, burly men with alien skin tones (or skeletor-esque monster men) butchering sick, twisted, child killing sorcerers was almost a religion in those days. There was never any debate over smashing in the sorcerers head because it wasn't a sterile, church mom friendly melodramatic wizard in a silly hat twisting his mustache, he was a sick bastard with his pants off, chewing on a root and approaching the innocent townsgirls he'd tied to the altar to complete his satanic ritual to his dark masters.
The One Page Rpg Searchers of The Unknown has many good ideas for simplifying Dungeons and Dragons. But many remain unconvinced and cling to what is familiar. Here is where I will put some general ideas for fixes.
1. Make first level play and death fun again by expediting character creation. Either remove stats or use a word choice description system for stats.
2. Story stuff > stats. This really works in the apocalypse world D&D hacks and I'd like to carry it over.
3. Rewards for barely clothed characters. I would argue that the loincloth should be seen just as often as platemail. Prince Valiant actually fought in this way often (not in a loincloth, though it is funny to imagine) typically using lighter armor to out maneuver his opponent knights. Tarzan is another. Perhaps an initiative bonus.
4. Fixing the broken XP system. Carousing would work much better in a campaign where gold was rarer and not a necessary evil for advancement. 100xp/HD.
5. Actually, I like everything in SotU for playing monsters. They advance, can read scrolls. It works.
6. Use New monsters for big-bad bosses. James Raggi's esoteric creature generator.
7. Find a new way of creating description blocks from Clark Ashton Smith's writing: free online: http://www.eldritchdark.com/
Character Generation: stats (stolen from elsewhere)
Here's how I'd do the 'pick 'em' method
1. Choose race
Dwarf - Tough
Wood Elf - Agile
High Elf - Wise, Agile, Soft
Hobbit - Weak, Very Agile
Human - Increase any one attribute one step
2. Choose class
Fighter - Strong
Magic User - Intelligent
Cleric - Wise
Thief - Agile (Hobbit Thieves gain Intelligent instead)
Multiclass - choose one from among classes
3. Improvement/Customization. Do this step twice.
Roll 2d6; each die indicates one of the attributes.
- If the two dice are the same, raise the appropriately numbered attribute one step.
- If the two dice are different, raise one of the attributes rolled one step and lower the other one step (your choice).
Hobbit Fighter: starts as Very Agile (Strong and Weak cancel out). First roll: 6 2; player chooses to be Dull-Witted and Charismatic. Second roll: double fives; since the character is already Very Agile this has no effect.
So we get a Dull-Witted, Very Agile, and Charismatic hobbit fighter.
Human Wizard: player chooses to start as Very Intelligent. First roll: 1 5. Character chooses to be Weak and Agile. Second roll: double threes; character is Wise.
So we get a Weak, Very Intelligent, Wise, and Agile magic user.
Third character: High Elf F/MU. Character decides to be Intelligent from class and gets Wise, Soft, and Agile from race. First roll: 1 2; as a fighter the player doesn't want to be weak, so now he's Strong, Wise, Soft, and Agile. Second roll: 5 3; player decides again to boost the physical aspect and is now Strong, Soft, and Very Agile. A guard of the high court with magical training, this fellow's set out to experience the wider world…
Fourth character: Human Thief. Player decides to be Intelligent and Agile. First roll is a 63: Charismatic and Foolish. Second roll is 45: Soft and Very Agile. So we have an Intelligent, Foolish, Soft, Very Agile, and Charismatic thief - perfect!
Last one: let's go for a Cleric this time. Strong and Wise, this fellow starts out. First roll: 61. With the charismatic thief and warrior in the party, the player goes for Very Strong and Annoying (whatever the neg. charisma one is). Second roll: 5 3: now he is Clumsy and Very Wise.
So we get a Very Strong, Very Wise, Clumsy, and Annoying Cleric.
I am totally using this system or a similar one in Caverns & Chimeras whenever I get around to publishing it.