Thursday, June 9, 2011

Shield me from the bandwagon!


Musings on the shield debate and the Goodman Games DCC - jumping on two bandwagons in one post.

I've been using a Shields Shall be Splintered house rule for almost a year (you can see the full list on this old house rule blog post).  A shield becomes a portable save vs death for any fighter carrying it, and creates a real difference between the two-handed fighters and the sword-and-board styles.  Since most D&D fighting is either one-on-one or small groups, sacrificing a shield in a duel is meaningful and dramatic.

If I were running a game in the ancient world without heavy knights in plate mail, I'd adapt something like the following chart I saw over on Strange Magic to reflect the importance of shields to pre-plate warriors:

Unarmored: AC 9
Leather: AC 8
Chainmail: AC 7
Shield only: AC 6
Leather + Shield: AC 5
Chain + Shield: AC 4 (same)
Plate: AC 3 (same)
Plate + Shield: AC 2 (same)

One might consider giving legions and phalanxes with advanced shield tactics an even higher AC boost for their shields when in formation.

The DCC Hoopla
Wow - I barely got the Goodman DCC RPG Beta downloaded and onto the tablet and the blogosphere is already flooded with a million "I love the art" posts.

I'm trying to reserve judgment until giving it a good cover-to-cover reading and projecting how it would play at the table (I doubt my group will want to playtest it ahead of time, and Goodman is ignoring GenCon for hosting a playtest).  We still have 6 months before it officially comes out.

I imagine the analysis will be an exercise similar to evaluating retro-games - "Okay, they changed X or Y from traditional D&D, why'd they do it, and is this a better game for it?"  From what I could see on a quick read through, DCC RPG has a lot of swing - critical tables, random spell results tables, and disposable characters.  I like swing, Swing is Fun, but it will need to be experienced to really judge it.

But all the classic D&D art copies made me laugh.  A+ for nostalgia.