Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #2: No +1 Swords

Dungeoneer the RPG is fast paced and easy to learn, and yet is packed with depth and tactical game play. You can set up your game session in moments and enjoy playing for hours.

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warpweaver
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Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:33 am

Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #2: No +1 Swords

Post by warpweaver » Tue Feb 13, 2007 4:58 pm

No +1 Swords

Way back in the day the big kids next door let me join them for a dungeon stomping adventure. I will never quite understand why the 15 and 16 year old guys wanted to play with a 10 year old kid, but heck, stranger gaming groups have been formed. Way stranger.

We were playing with the very first set of fantasy role playing rules available. Before 1st edition, before the blue book. No editions, no modifications, just three little brown books covered with simple black and white art. I still remember a beautiful witch with a comely friend on page 27 .... There were supplements and other stuff available at the time, but not to us, we lived way out in the sticks and were thus unaware of the most recent stuff. The only extra rules we had were in a zine published by some local guys. Back then the rules were simple and the game was fun.

We ran around in a maze-like dungeon full of bloodthirsty orcs, stupid trolls and burbling magic fountains. Eventually one of us got his hands on a +1 sword. We were all impressed. Within our group, he became the local hero. Always at the vanguard, he would charge forward hacking apart everything. Most importantly he would take down the wights. (They could only be harmed by silver arrows and enchanted blades.) He would swing his mighty 1d6+1 weapon and the monsters woudl go down like ripe wheat. He had a mighty 14 strength, which provided no attack or damage bonuses at all! (But it did let him add 5% to earned experience point rewards!.) Back then just about everything did 1d6 damage. No ones chance to hit would change until they reached fourth level.

I had heard of one guy who had made it all the way to fifth level. When I started playing that was just a rumor, we all expected to die well before that. I did not hesitate to play a hobbit that could not even go to any level higher than fourth. Fifth level seemed ridiculously far away.

The bonus to hit, the bonus to damage and the ability to harm those wights without wasting our precious silver arrows was very important. That +1 sword meant the world to us. It was a thin shining sliver of metal that held back the darkness of the dungeon. When its wielder died at the hands of a wight, I still remember the feeling of awe I experienced as I pried that +1 sword out of his clammy grasp and continued the mad rush forward. Now with the awesome power of the +1 sword in my own hands, I went into a frenzy. When the previous wielder of the sword rose again as a wight behind me, I cut him down like a sapling and then began a happy hackfest among the remainder of our foes. A few lucky die rolls later, I stood alone upon a huge pile of dismembered wights.

I was 10 years old.
I was a god among men.
It was awesome.
Conan, Lancelot or Hercules had nothing on me.

It is this kind of experience that Dungeoneer Adventures strives to produce.

I had a +1 sword. It didn't have a name. We never referred to it as 'magical'. It was just 'the +1 sword'. No one else had one. Sure one guy had that coin with 'continual light' on it (who knew where he found a 5th level Bishop to cast it for him?). Some other guy had a bag that always had what he needed inside it (including a fresh chicken at dinner time). I had 'the +1 sword', and I was proud. I folded up that character sheet after the adventure and knew that next Thursday night, between suppertime and bedtime, I would again revel in the awesome power of my mightily armed hobbit.

Oh how times have changed! The games we play have changed as well. These days a plain old +1 sword is almost a disappointment. A first level d20 fighter can easily have +6 to hit before the game even starts (BAB +1, Str 16, weapon focus and a masterwork blade). When that fighter gets a hold of a +1 sword, the increase in combat power is nominal. If he is replacing a masterwork blade, his chance to hit will not even change. WTF!

Slowly but surely, a constant escalation has occurred over the history of gaming. Nowadays, a '+1 sword' means almost nothing. What you really want is the 'excellent, keen, smoldering +6 longsword of the harrowing feral dire weasel'. Some of you may remember having sat in front of a computer for about 63.2 hours, just to upgrade your sword from +378 to +383. How did a fun filled nights entertainment get turned into an amateur math quiz?

With the current generation of rules, no one will get that amazing rush over a '+1 sword'.

In Dungeoneer Adventures we have taken care to refresh the RPG genre.
We have taken out the tedious number crunching.
We have sped things up and removed slow, boring, incremental progress from the game.
Each and every treasure you find will make a real difference in how you play.
In a world where everything is escalating out of control, we bring the RPG back where it belongs.
Power in YOUR hands.

Get ready to roll 1d6 where +1 means a heck of a lot.

You are the hero of your own story.
Stomp through the dungeon.
Watch as your foes cower before the might of your amazing magical weaponry and insanely powerful spells.

Play is fast.
Combat and furious.
Dungeoneer Adventures makes for a great night of entertainment, not 6 months of tedious grinding.

Let the games begin!
bye for now,
richard pocklington

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Ogrepuppy
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Re: Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #2: No +1 Swords

Post by Ogrepuppy » Fri Feb 16, 2007 8:10 am

warpweaver wrote:We have sped things up and removed slow, boring, incremental progress from the game.
Really, I hope that includes "AaOs" and "flanking" and "move" or "full-round" actions and.....well, I think you get the point. ;)

warpweaver
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Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:33 am

Re: Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #2: No +1 Swords

Post by warpweaver » Sat Feb 17, 2007 11:00 am

Ogrepuppy wrote:
warpweaver wrote:We have sped things up and removed slow, boring, incremental progress from the game.
Really, I hope that includes "AaOs" and "flanking" and "move" or "full-round" actions and.....well, I think you get the point. ;)
While we have stripped down combat removed the superfluous complexity, we kept flanking.
In fact we both simplified flanking and substantially increased its value.

From the current draft of the Dungeoneer Adventures Hero's Guide:

TACTIC: Flank: Choose a local hero in a challenge. You win a challenge of the same type (melee, magic or speed) against their target if they win.

Description: To flank is to attack a foe already involved in a challenge with one of your allies and thus use your positional advantage to inflict additional harm should your ally take the upper hand.

Effect: When you flank a foe, if your ally wins a challenge against the foe, you are considered to have won the same type of challenge against that foe. i.e. If they win a melee challenge you can inflict a melee wound on their target.

Signature: This is the rogues signature tactic.

Utility: Flanking is most useful in concert with strong allies who will win challenges against tough foes who have multiple wounds.
bye for now,
richard pocklington

jason.richardson
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Posts: 161
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Location: Savannah, Georgia

Re: Dungeoneer Adventures: Designer Diary #2: No +1 Swords

Post by jason.richardson » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:02 am

warpweaver wrote:No +1 Swords

Way back in the day the big kids next door let me join them for a dungeon stomping adventure. I will never quite understand why the 15 and 16 year old guys wanted to play with a 10 year old kid, but heck, stranger gaming groups have been formed. Way stranger.

We were playing with the very first set of fantasy role playing rules available. Before 1st edition, before the blue book. No editions, no modifications, just three little brown books covered with simple black and white art. I still remember a beautiful witch with a comely friend on page 27 .... There were supplements and other stuff available at the time, but not to us, we lived way out in the sticks and were thus unaware of the most recent stuff. The only extra rules we had were in a zine published by some local guys. Back then the rules were simple and the game was fun.

We ran around in a maze-like dungeon full of bloodthirsty orcs, stupid trolls and burbling magic fountains. Eventually one of us got his hands on a +1 sword. We were all impressed. Within our group, he became the local hero. Always at the vanguard, he would charge forward hacking apart everything. Most importantly he would take down the wights. (They could only be harmed by silver arrows and enchanted blades.) He would swing his mighty 1d6+1 weapon and the monsters woudl go down like ripe wheat. He had a mighty 14 strength, which provided no attack or damage bonuses at all! (But it did let him add 5% to earned experience point rewards!.) Back then just about everything did 1d6 damage. No ones chance to hit would change until they reached fourth level.

I had heard of one guy who had made it all the way to fifth level. When I started playing that was just a rumor, we all expected to die well before that. I did not hesitate to play a hobbit that could not even go to any level higher than fourth. Fifth level seemed ridiculously far away.

The bonus to hit, the bonus to damage and the ability to harm those wights without wasting our precious silver arrows was very important. That +1 sword meant the world to us. It was a thin shining sliver of metal that held back the darkness of the dungeon. When its wielder died at the hands of a wight, I still remember the feeling of awe I experienced as I pried that +1 sword out of his clammy grasp and continued the mad rush forward. Now with the awesome power of the +1 sword in my own hands, I went into a frenzy. When the previous wielder of the sword rose again as a wight behind me, I cut him down like a sapling and then began a happy hackfest among the remainder of our foes. A few lucky die rolls later, I stood alone upon a huge pile of dismembered wights.

I was 10 years old.
I was a god among men.
It was awesome.
Conan, Lancelot or Hercules had nothing on me.

It is this kind of experience that Dungeoneer Adventures strives to produce.

I had a +1 sword. It didn't have a name. We never referred to it as 'magical'. It was just 'the +1 sword'. No one else had one. Sure one guy had that coin with 'continual light' on it (who knew where he found a 5th level Bishop to cast it for him?). Some other guy had a bag that always had what he needed inside it (including a fresh chicken at dinner time). I had 'the +1 sword', and I was proud. I folded up that character sheet after the adventure and knew that next Thursday night, between suppertime and bedtime, I would again revel in the awesome power of my mightily armed hobbit.

Oh how times have changed! The games we play have changed as well. These days a plain old +1 sword is almost a disappointment. A first level d20 fighter can easily have +6 to hit before the game even starts (BAB +1, Str 16, weapon focus and a masterwork blade). When that fighter gets a hold of a +1 sword, the increase in combat power is nominal. If he is replacing a masterwork blade, his chance to hit will not even change. WTF!

Slowly but surely, a constant escalation has occurred over the history of gaming. Nowadays, a '+1 sword' means almost nothing. What you really want is the 'excellent, keen, smoldering +6 longsword of the harrowing feral dire weasel'. Some of you may remember having sat in front of a computer for about 63.2 hours, just to upgrade your sword from +378 to +383. How did a fun filled nights entertainment get turned into an amateur math quiz?

With the current generation of rules, no one will get that amazing rush over a '+1 sword'.

In Dungeoneer Adventures we have taken care to refresh the RPG genre.
We have taken out the tedious number crunching.
We have sped things up and removed slow, boring, incremental progress from the game.
Each and every treasure you find will make a real difference in how you play.
In a world where everything is escalating out of control, we bring the RPG back where it belongs.
Power in YOUR hands.

Get ready to roll 1d6 where +1 means a heck of a lot.

You are the hero of your own story.
Stomp through the dungeon.
Watch as your foes cower before the might of your amazing magical weaponry and insanely powerful spells.

Play is fast.
Combat and furious.
Dungeoneer Adventures makes for a great night of entertainment, not 6 months of tedious grinding.

Let the games begin!
Your post speaks so strongly to my personal feelings about the current version of D&D we are offered. I read parts of this through tears.

Man, I sure miss the 'ole days of gaming with my neighborhood pals, playing basic D&D, drinking too much kool-aid and having trouble sitting still, and using our friend's Smurf figures for miniatures.

:(

OURUlz
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Location: texas

This sounds like the greatest idea ever. . .

Post by OURUlz » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:20 am

I'm an old gamer thats pushing forty and I can remember when +1 sword was a big thing. What you guys are attempting to do is absolutely fabulous. I've been playing games with my nephews and trying to get them ready to play dungeons and dragons. First thing I did was go out and buy the boardgame Descent. They loved it, I loved it. It felt just like one of those old dungeon crawls only with an enormous amount of eye candy to go with it. Next, I got the the D&D miniatures game, thinking that this would be the next logical stepping stone. Well, they hated it and I hated it. My ten year old nephew stated it the best, "This has too much math in it. If I want to do math I'd do my homework."
Anyway, I'm a special ed teacher and I know what is going with young people and what trends are coming up the pike. Online gaming is killing the Rpg industry, and video games are influencing what kind of expectations kids have when they sit down and have fun. Kids still like boardgames, but they had better be just as flashy and easy to jump into as a video game if they are going to compete. Also, Standardized testing is killing literacy. Kids have been forced fed reading so much in schools that its no longer a leisure time activity. By they the time they are 14 they don't want anything to do with reading, much less reading volume upon volume of Rpg rules.
I'm excited about The Dungeoneer RPG. I think it is on the right track as far as what kind of direction the RPG industry should take. I think Wizards of The Coast has screwed up with their fourth edition D&D by alienating their base customers and that the market is ripe for a brand new take on the RPG. WoTC is thinking about how they can get their hands on World of Warcraft type money. They aren't thinking about making a damned good game that everyone would want to play. The last time I checked their was 500,000+ hits on the criticism and concern thread of 4e. I hate to be them two months after launch when they figure out what a stupid, ill concieved idea they bet the farm on.
Anyway, the potential of combining a game like dungeoneer with dungeon crawl classics is a stroke of genius. Good luck guys. I hope this game succeeds, I know me and my nephews will definately give it a whirl.
Nobody wants to do the math to hit Armor Class 42...do you here me? Nobody.

gilgalad
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Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:36 am

Post by gilgalad » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:13 pm

As a 50 year old DM from the days of the boxed rules and every incarnation since I read this thread with misty-eyed nostalgia. Dungeons and Dragons had that wonderful "unknown" quality to it in those days where the simplest thing was a delight to play through and players explored and discovered their personal "play-world".

Even Gygax's AD&D said in the player's handbook that a large percentage of the fun was uncovering the "mystery" of the rules. I agree that 3rd edition has had the unhappy effect of making things less mysterious and more numerical so I don't run it anymore. Honestly the stats were absolutely ridiculous to figure out and keep track of. My players have expressed a dissatisfaction with it to the point that we are now running earlier incarnations of the game again.

For you to deliver what you're promising in Dungeoneer is a tall order indeed. I hope that it can be done and done well. We've talked about it in the group and will take a look at it when it comes out. Hopefully before the release of 4e so it doesn't steal your thunder. (Though of course it takes the time it takes.)

warpweaver
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Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:33 am

Post by warpweaver » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:05 pm

We recognize this is a difficult challenge.
We greatly appreciate your support and thank you for your questions.

Onwards to Glory!
bye for now,
richard pocklington

gilgalad
Ill-Fated Peasant
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:36 am

Post by gilgalad » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:30 pm

Well I went out and bought a deck of Dungeoneer cards. The Haunted Woods of Malthorin and I will be having a good look at it over the weekend to better understand what your take is on gaming. Looking forward to it!

And by the way, concerning your original post here warpweaver, you are right! The Amazon on page 27 of the original books is a real eyeful alright. I remember springing one on my players back then and none of them could bring themselves to attack her! (None of them offered her their coats either... :wink:)

I also agree with OURUlz. I think that wotc is purposely purging part of its fan base and trying to go after the new blood. It's a darn shame if it's true. However, the potential for this game of yours is great indeed. I collected both Heroquest with its expansions and Warhammerquest and enjoyed them! I'm getting more excited by your new style of hybrid game! Maybe the magic of gaming can return. "To carry a sword instead of a walking stick....just once!"

Onwards to Glory! I'll second that.

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