Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Seven Sins

A discussion about alignment over at odd74 prompted some thought on my part about using the seven deadly sins as an alignment system. A weakness for gambling, drinking, or lechery can get a character into all sorts of trouble (and getting into all types of trouble is, of course, the fun part of d&d).

It occured to me that DA's Special Interests system already encompasses the seven sins. There are seven interests, and each corresponds almost perfectly to gluttony, lust, wrath, greed, pride, sloth, and envy.

The obvious ones are wine, women, wealth, and fame equating to gluttony, lust, greed, and pride, but the others merit an explanation. Song dovetails to wroth, as it is essentially instigating bar fights and paying off the damages. Religion represents sloth, due to the ubiquitous representation of the medieval clergy as such (although to be fair, they were also as commonly attributed the aspects of the other sins). This leaves envy as the driver of hobbies, which tends to not be far off from what I observe: collectors covet material goods, practitioners of a skilled hobby envy their betters, and even gamers hunger for a higher level.

This of course poses the problem: Which alignment are monsters? Do mindflayers attend AA meetings?

Ascribing a quality such as gluttony or lust to every keyed monster in the dungeon is a great way to prescribe motivations to your monsters, and make simultaneously them all comical assholes. Look to Vance: Rhialto is lecherous, Mazirian envious, and Cugel espouses all seven.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive

Its the go-to source for live concerts, old movies, audio-books, and public domain texts.

It hosts everything from old issues of Weird Tales to medieval manuscripts to serious scholarly research. There are tens of thousands of live concerts, dating back to Dead tapes from the 60s, and updated daily with new shows from local bands all over the world as they are played.

The Internet Archive has recently become quite popular within the OSR for the illustrations that can be freely used from many public domain texts. I have seen three comprehensive retroclones which have utilized art from the archive, and its not hard to see why they chose to do so: many of the illustrations are simply stunning.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Dave Arneson's Special Interests

"Dave liked the Special Interests system. That was how things worked in the early days... When I create PCs or NPCs I tried to make sure that they have some sort of hobby or personal area of interest baked into their persona."

-Greg Svenson

The special interests system for awarding experience to players in Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign is, much like the rest of the text, humorous, bizarre, nearly indecipherable, and really fucking cool. I have tried to clarify and compress Arneson's intent, while preserving his original language wherever possible. The document is linked on the sidebar to the right.