Saturday, February 16, 2008

What I've Been Doing Wrong

I made a resolution to re-read my DMG from cover to cover. It has been a very long time, probably 15 years since I did that. When you use a book like this only as a reference to check rules when problems arise, you begin to let some basics drop. You can't quite remember a rule and don't want to break up the flow of play by looking up the specifics when a ruling on the fly will work just as well...then the next time it comes up you remember the rule made on the fly and don't even think to look up the real rule...and that's how different campaigns get different feels...because they start having different rules without you even knowing it.

I've been surprised by some of the things I've been doing "wrong" for years as a result. Most of them my players would never notice. Some of them are actual rule changes I've made as house rules, and some of those with the player's consent.

We haven't been able to play in my world for a long time, too many IRL conflicts, and it looks like the next time we have a chance to play is March 22 or 23. I might actually be able to read the whole DMG and PH by then, in addition to session prep. Hope springs eternal.

Among the things I've been doing wrong, that I've discovered so far, is that I'd been assigning a speed factor of 3 to natural weapons like claws and bites. The DMG says they have no speed factor. A discover that is bad news for the players, but delights me! Of course, there is the optional table that assigns an initiative modifer to natural attacks by size of creature, and I'm contemplating that...tiny is 0, gargantuan is +12 to initiative, which is essentially assigning a speed factor to the entire creature, even though they say that natural attacks have no impact on speed. I think with this table, the segments added to your initiative roll for a medium creature is +6.

I don't think I'll use it, or if I do, I may modify it. My reasoning is, ff people, which are medium sized, don't have a +6 to their initiative roll in addition to the speed factors, then why should creatures with natural weapons? It seems to me it would have been better to have medium creatures be 0 and give incremental bonuses to smaller creatures and penalties to larger creatures, if you do it at all.

In other matters related to speed and combat, I also haven't been using the attack modifiers for magical weapons to also reduce speed factors. A +1 long sword not only hits better, it is faster by one than a normal long sword.

There are other things, and maybe if I sit and read with the lap top fired up, I'll list some more discoveries of fundamental things I've been doing wrong here...if I don't think it is too embarassing to do so!

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