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Thursday, November 21, 2013

RMA: Halfling

I know I've been gone a while, but here is something to mull over.

I've been working on a Moria-related project lately, and that got me thinking about hobbitses.

The PC races often are unusual encounters. As I have noted previously, "monster" listings and PC race descriptions are not always 100% identical. 

Halflings are probably even more unusual because, apart from the above:

A) There are probably very few DMs for which they are a go-to encounter.
B) They are rare random encounter, only appearing in two places on the BX charts ("city/inhabited" & dungeon level 1).
C) Halflings as monsters? Seriously??

The Stats (from Moldvay):
AC: 7
HD: 1-1
Move: 90' (30')
Att: 1 weapon
DMG: 1d6 or by weapon
No. App: 3-18 (5-40)
Save: H1
Morale: 7

Since halflings tend toward Lawful, they aren't likely to be marauding through the countryside. However, there is something to keep in mind here. Namely, that at low level, they are the most lethal class in the book. 

No, seriously! Look at the stats.

  • There is no penalty to their scores in BX, so that halfling can be sporting an 18 ST
  • +1 to initiative* 
  • +1 on missile fire*
  • Attacks as a fighter (best to-hits)
  • The best saves (along with dwarfs)
  • Their hiding ability
  • No weapon or armor restrictions, except for size

*NTM any DEX mods

Their only drawbacks are:
  • Slower movement than humans (90' vs. 120'), but faster than dwarfs!
  • No big/2H weapons
  • PC halflings get d6 instead of a fighter's (or dwarf's) d8 HD. Honestly, I don't know that you can actually count that as a disadvantage except against one class in particular. Also, the NPC/monster version gets a d8-1 so that's even LESS of a disadvantage. 

So these little furfoots are actually pretty tough!

As an encounter, you can be running into a dozen or so of these little guys. Considering that they are very good at ambushing, you can be in for a hail of arrows out of nowhere if you aren't careful.

Granted, their morale isn't awesome, but that makes sense. They aren't rabid fanatics. Chances are if they are fighting you, you've somehow threatened them or their home.

In their villages, you have the added wrinkle of running up against their leader (up to 7th level!) and maybe a dozen 2HD militia. Not a fun time if you've got them feeling prickly. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I Tap the Floor Ahead of Me With My 10' pole

I have recently become disenchanted with the sandbox setting. I find it is far too difficult to keep players motivated or to build up momentum for the campaign. Too often, PCs just flail around looking for the next hook to drop into their laps.

With this in mind I am pursuing a new type of adventure for me. The mega dungeon. I'm going to try running Greg Gillespie's Barrowmaze for my group. It is an excellently written dungeon crawl with many interesting features. Furthermore, I am hoping that it will give my players a little more structure without being an absolute railroad. I'm using LL/AEC and a few house rules.

I also chose a published module instead of writing my own because it would reduce the amount of prep time required on my part. I am a lazy, lazy creature.

I've added a few things of my own, like fleshing out the nearby town and giving it a name: Lychgate. I don't plan for the PCs to spends gobs of time there, but if they have a rough sense of the major NPCs and whom to talk to about what they need, I'll call it good enough.

We've had one session, and while the party didn't get very far, there were only three of them (plus a torchbearer/porter). The thief got poisoned by centipedes and that resulted in killing a week back at town while he recovered. In the end, they fought a few undead, opened a barrow, and got some treasure, so it was a good session by my reckoning.