Tag Archives: D&D

OSR Melee Weapon Damage House Rules

If you look at old versions of D&D (OD&D, B/X, BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia, 1e, 2e) they have lists of weapons with varying damage (or not – varying damage is optional rule in some versions). Newly written OSR games as well as newer versions of D&D have their own tables – and bring some innovation as well.

If you start looking into these tables there are inconsistensies, making some choices objectively inferior to others (examples below). I don’t like that. I prefer when there are both pros and cons – risk and reward – in a choice.

Proposed House Rules

Different classes have different capability to do damage, but to reach that potential a proper weapon is required.

1d41H Basic weaponsAllDagger
1d62H Basic weaponsAll but RogueStaff
1d61H Standard weaponsAll but WizardWarhammer
1d82H Standard weaponsAll but Wizard, RogueSpear
1d81H Martial WeaponFighter, Elf, Dwarf, RogueLong Sword
1d102H Martial WeaponFighter, Elf, Dwarf2H Sword

Basic weapons are mundane everyday items (dagger, staff, club).
Martial weapons are rather large AND use blades for extra effect.

Compared to BECMI/Rules Cyclopedia it really changes very little in most cases.

Extra Features

To make weapons different each weapon can have an extra features reflecting its nature. Typically:

  1. Weapons can be versatile (used in 1 or 2 hands) OR they have an extra feature
  2. Non-martial weapons can have extra features (to compensate for lower damge)
Bastard SwordM12
Battle AxeM12
ClubB12
DaggerB11d10 damage when used for sneak attack or at DMs descretion at intimate range
FalchionM11d6+1 damage (slightly better than 1d8)
Great AxeM21d12 damage, disadvantage to initiative
Hand AxeS1Can be thrown
Long SwordM1+1 damage when rolling 1.
Pole WeaponM2Can be used from behind ally.
Advantage to initiative 1st round.
RapierM1May choose to roll initiative with advantage, for 1d6 damage
Short SwordS11d8 damage when used for sneak attack or at DMS descretion at intimate range
SpearS12Advantage to initiative.
Can be thrown.
StaffB12Advantage to initiative when 2H
Two Handed SwordM2+1 damage when rolling 1
WarhammerS12

Above list is just an example. Any weapon IS a basic, standard or martial weapon.

Practical Use

These rules set the wielder in focus, not the weapon:

  1. Can the character use the weapon at all
  2. Does it match the characters potential (a martial weapon for a fighter)
  3. Is it 1H, 2H or choice
  4. Are there any extre features

The features could depend on the wielder. A dwarf may use it as a throwable 1H hand axe, but a halfling may use it as a 1-2H axe.

Weapon Quality and Damage

Some weapons are inferior or superior.

  • Inferior: -1 damage on best two rolls (5,6 on 1d6)
  • Low quality: -1 damage on best roll (8 on 1d8)
  • Standard quality
  • High quality: +1 damage on natural 1. (10x price)
  • Superior quality: +1 damage on natural 1,2. (100x price)

This should be compared to magic weapons doing +1 always. Bad quality could reflect bad maintenance and condition.

Shields

Shields give +1 Armor Class (some new OSR games may be different). I employ the house rule that a shield can be sacrificed to save the wielder from a blow that would otherwise be deadly.

Two Weapons

I employ the house rule that anyone fighting with two weapons gets advantage on initiative. If the two dice show same result, the attack is made with the 2nd weapon (only). If the second weapon is not smaller than the first, that attack is made with -2.

After playing a bit of 5th edition, I think multiple attacks is an annoyance and a mistake. Then there is always the question whether you can actually effectively use two weapons at the same time, and whether you can use your off-hand effectively. My proposed rule can be thought of as “it does not hurt to hold a weapon in your off-hand, occationally it can be your best option”.

Initiative

The standard BECMI / Rules Cyclopedia rules state that the wielder of a 2H weapon loses initiative. I see two problems with that:

  1. There is already a penalty of using a 2H weapon: no shield
  2. I think of 2H weapons as fast (staff, spear) or long reach (pole arms), which should be rather good to initiative

I am experimenting with using advantage/disadvantage (roll 2 dice, use the best/worst) for initiative. If you find that offensively 5th edition, you can of course use +2/-2 instead.

Background

The following paragraphs are just background and reasoning behind the house rules proposed above.

Expected Damage

If you do 1d8 damage and want to do better, what do you prefer? Table shows hits required to kill an enemy with 4, 10 or 11 HP.

4HP10HP11HP
1d81.422.762.97
1d4+31.002.192.38
1d6+21.172.282.44
1d8+11.252.372.51
1d101.332.362.59

Why is 1d4+3 better than 1d10? Why is 1d6+2 better than 1d8+1? This is a bit counter intuitive. They all do 5.5 HP damage, on average (except 1d8 doing 4.5). The reason is that an opponent with 4HP is always killed in one hit with 1d4+3, but survives 3/10 with 1d10. And after a few blows, any enemy may end up with 4 remaining HP.

An abstract system

It is important to recognise that D&D in general, OSR in particular, has an abstract and simplified set of rules. Not everything is in the system. A perfect simulator would need to consider:

  • Manufacturing cost
  • Durability
  • Need for maintenance
  • Cost of maintenance
  • Efficiency against different armors, and perhaps enemies
  • Speed and range
  • Training required
  • Strength required

At some point you get to the point where you reason that a more experienced fighter will beat anyone even if he is armed with only a broken chair and a handful of sand. Perhaps 1d6 for all weapons is not so bad after all?

Inconsistencies

Here are a few strange things

  • A Bastard sword can be used in one or two hands, for 1d6+1 or 1d8+1 damage respectively. That means it is a better 1H weapon than the 1d8 longsword AND a better 2H weapon than the 1d10 2H-sword. It is just better.
  • In BECMI a dwarf can use a 2H Broad Axe for 1d8 damage. Or a 1H Long Sword for 1d8 damage. There is no advantage using an axe (initiative is lost and a shield can not be used).
  • A hand axe is cheaper than a short sword, but can also be used as a thrown weapon.
  • Spears are generally underestimated

Bästa versionen av Dungeons & Dragons?

Den bästa versionen av Dungeons & Dragons är den jag just nu spelar med mina vänner.

Den bästa versionen av Dungeons & Dragons är också den omåttligt populära och aktuella versionen (5e). Och så resonerade även jag när jag skulle köpa D&D för ett tag sedan. Men, vad skulle inte vara bäst med 5e?

  • 5e finns inte på svenska
  • 5e är inte den enklaste versionen att lära sig och att spela
  • 5e kostar ca 1500kr för Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide och Monsters Manual (det finns billigare starlådor, men om du vill fortsätta spela så räcker de inte)
  • Smaken är som baken: olika spelare gillar olika versioner olika mycket, så det kan hända att just du och din grupp faktiskt skulle föredra en annan version.

Låt mig ge en förenklad bild av olika versioner av D&D (se wikipedia för detaljer).

1974-1977-2000-2008-2014-
Original D&DClassic D&D
Advanced D&D (1e, 2e)
D&D 3eD&D 4eD&D 5e

Om man frågar sig vilket spel som är enkast men också genomarbetat och bra, så blir svaret Classic D&D. Det heter såklart bara Dungeons & Dragons, men det brukar kallas Classic eller Basic för att skilja ut det.

En rolig sak med Classic är att det släpptes på svenska i slutet av 1980-talet av Titan Games.

Dessa två boxar täcker spel för rollpersoner med graderna 1-14. På engelska finns ytterligare två boxar (Companion och Master Rules för graderna 15-36). Alla dessa fyra boxar finns samlade i en enda bok som heter Rules Cyclopedia som släpptes 1991.

I mångas ögon var och är detta den bästa versionen av D&D. Men produktionen lades ner i början av 1990-talet och självklart blev produkterna allt svårare att få tag i. Därför uppstod en rad retro-kloner, spel som inte heter Dungeons & Dragons, men som i väldigt stor utsträckning är samma spel – och som är kompatibla när det gäller äventyr och annat. Så för dig som vill spela “Classic D&D” i Sverige idag 2020 finns flera bra alternativ:

  • Rules Cyclopedia (print-on-demand eller PDF från dmsguild.com)
  • Monster & Magi (en svensk retroklon som finns på Bokus och Adlibris eller gratis nedladdning)
  • Svärd & Svartkonst (en svensk retroklon som är ännu enklare och inte så nära originalet)
  • Basregler och Expertregler från Titan Games (begagnat)
  • …eller någon av en stor mängd retrokloner på engelska, både i tryck eller som (gratis) nedladdning

Tvärt emot vad det först kan verka, så är detta inte på något vis en återvändsgränd för mycket nöje med D&D.

  • dmsguild.com säljer alla gamla D&D-äventyr som PDF (på engelska)
  • Monster & Magi erbjuder flera äventyr
  • Svärd & Svartkonst erbjuder flera äventyr

Är Classic bättre?

Jag har precis börjat spela Classic igen (Titan Games D&D) efter att ha spelat 5e ett tag, med blandade känslor. Det återstår att se om gräset är grönare på andra sidan. Det som talar för Classic är att det är ett enklare och snabbare spel. Om jag skulle spela med unga människor i Sverige så skulle jag absolut välja D&D Classic på svenska.

Det finns också en trend som heter OSR (Old School Revival) som handlar om att hitta tillbaka till rollspelens ursprung. Utan att gå in på detaljer så är min mening att rollspelen blev mer och mer avancerade under 80-talet och 90-talet – det fanns såklart en efterfrågan från spelare, och en marknad att tjäna pengar på. Sedan försvann intresset för bordsrollspel mycket på 2000-talet, och jag tror en bidragande orsak var dataspel (Diablo, World of Warcraft). Ett dataspel är alltid överlägset ett rollspel när det gäller möjligheten att hantera taktisk realism och djup på ett snabbt sätt. Men till slut ersätter inte dataspelen helt rollspelen – det är en annorlunda upplevelse. Och kärnan i vad som gör rollspelen unika fångas helt även i ett mycket enkelt klassiskt rollspel. Jag tycker på samma sätt att man kan ana med nyare versioner av D&D (inte minst 5e) att de är designade med dataspel i åtanke (också).

Jag har skrivet mer om OSR (länk).

En annan sak som kan upplevas som en fördel eller nackdel med Classic är att eftersom det är så enkelt, så är det också väldigt enkelt att hitta på egna husregler som passar din grupp.

Vilken retro-klon eller Classic-D&D är bäst?

Jag är inte alls i stånd avgöra vilken retroklon som är bäst, eller om den är bättre än Bas/Expert från Titan Games.

Men retroklonerna uppstod därför att originalet blev svårt att få tag i. Sedan några år finns Rules Cyclopedia att köpa tillsammans med allt gammalt som publicerats till classic (på dmsguild.com). Om allt det funnits tillgängligt 1995-2015, så hade det troligtvis inte funnit så många retrokloner.

Med det sagt så är självklart inte Rules Cyclopedia från 1991 det perfekta D&D i alla avseenden. Olika retrokloner har ändrat vissa saker i avsikt att förbättra. Så för den som jämför retro-kloner finns några huvudsakliga skillnader:

  • Ras som klass: I D&D är alv, halvling och dvärg egna klasser. Människor kan vara krigare, magiker, präster och tjuvar. Men det finns inga alv-tjuvar eller dvärg-präster. Många retrokloner gör annorlunda.
  • Räddningsslag: I D&D finns 5 olika typer av räddningsslag. I vissa retrokloner finns bara 1 räddningsslag, eventuellt modifierat av grundegenskap (som 5e), eller andra lösningar.
  • Pansarklass: I D&D har man PK9 utan rustning och PK3 med plåtrustning – lägre är bättre. I många retrokloner har man vänt detta (precis som i 5e) så att högre PK är bättre.
  • En del retrokloner är mer T20-baserade (medan D&D ofta använder 1T6 eller 2T6 för att avgöra saker).

Styrkan i Rules Cyclopedia är mer avancerade saker som ofta saknas i retroklonerna, och att det är omfattande och komplett

  • Regler ända till grad 36
  • Färdigheter och “Weapon Mastery”-regler
  • Många formler, monster, magiska föremål, osv
  • Regler för fältslag, mm

Min egen avsikt är nog att använda Titan Games D&D, men med Rules Cyclopedia som referens i bakgrunden (och i den händelse jag behöver hantera karaktärer över grad 14) eftersom det är precis samma spel.

För den som vill börja spela D&D på svenska så skulle jag föreslå Monster & Magi. Det finns regler upp till grad 20, och skulle man vilja plocka in saker från Rules Cyclopedia så tror jag det skulle gå bra.

Även om Svärd & Svartkonst känns väl minimalistiskt för mig, så finns det mycket intressant att läsa i den snygga regelboken! Det finns lite valfria regler för strid, perspektiv på erfarenhetspoäng och hur exempelvis vandöda (levande döda) hanteras som helt klart är bra nytänkande!

Jag har svårt att se att jag skulle rekommendera någon att leta efter D&D Titan Games begagnat när M&M och S&S finns.

För den som föredrar ett engelskt spel så tycker jag utgångspunkten är att originalet (Rules Cyclopedia) är det bästa alternativet. Men det finns många bra retroclones på engelska. De jag skulle titta på först är:

  • Basic Fantasy Roleplaying Game (Mentzer / d20)
  • Castles and Crusades (1e / 3e)
  • Dark Dungeons (Moldvay / BECMI / Rules Cyclopedia)
  • Dungeon Crawl Classics (d20 / D&D)
  • Five Torches Deep (5e simplified)
  • Labyrith Lord (Moldvay / BECMI)
  • OSE / Old School Essential (B/X)
  • Sword & Sorcery (Original D&D)

Slutsats

Det här med att välja D&D-version som passar för dig och din grupp är inte helt enkelt. För att verkligen kunna ha en riktig uppfattning måste man såklart provspela. Men om man vet vad som finns så är det nog lite lättare att göra ett klokt val när man köper ett spel.

Jag hade nog inte köpt D&D 5e förra året ifall jag kände till Rules Cyclopedia och Monster & Magi då.

Rollformulär Titan Games D&D

Här följer rollformulär för svenska Dungeons & Dragons av Titan Games.

Rollformular-TitanGames.pdfOriginal Spelarens Handbok, (C) Titan Games
Rollformular-DnD.pdfMitt eget rollformulär, 2 sidor, anpassade för mina husregler
Rollformular-DnD-2on1.pdfMitt eget rollformulär, båda sidorna bredvid varandra på en A4-sida

Reading old Dragon Magazines in 2020

I discovered that old issues of the Dragon magazine are available free for download. When reading about old versions of Dungeons and Dragons there are often references to the Dragon Magazine.

I entertained myself browsing through the first 100 140 issues (June 1976 to August 1985) and took notes of articles I find can be of value today.

  • OD&D is mostly covered up to #25
  • After #25 most things refer to AD&D 1e (which for most practical purposes is quite compatible with OSR clones and Classic D&D)
  • There is virtually no content to be found specifically written for Classic D&D
  • There is a separate Dungeon magazine which also is downloadable for free, and which almost only contains D&D modules (adventures), so I have only noted a few such modules from Dragon magazine.

This is a list of articles I found in Dragon #1 – #130 that I found particularly relevant in 2020.

You are most welcome to give feedback on my list!

About D&D

#pagesTitle or type of article
77Gary Gagax on D&D***
823On Realism (Joke)***
1615-16,21Gary Gagax on Realism, Game Logic and more****
1636Game Balance***
2417-19Gary Gagax on Melee in D&D****
2628-Gary Gagax on OD&D and AD&D****
28Gary Gagax on OD&D and AD&D****
3512-13TSR plans D&D and AD&D****
3916-18Women want equality***
5214-15On Classic D&D by Holmes/Moldvay****
7645-52Index of previous Dragon Magazine
7726-29On Classic D&D by Mentzer****
8438-44On Companion D&D by Mentzer****
9512-13The influence of JRR Tolkien on D&D and AD&D***
1028-10Realms of role playing***
1038-10What the 2nd Edition will be like by Gary Gagax
10356Profile: Gary Gagax (never sleeps)***
10763Profile: Elmore
11241-64Index of previous Dragon Magazine
12240Gary Gagax “Farewell”**

Creatures (new AD&D 1e)

Creatures for AD&D 1e can probably be used with little effort in OSR gaming.

#pagesTitle or type of article
27The Horast
3043Crust
3239Crawling Claw
3356Frost
3518-19,42-43Angels
36Krolli
376-Neutral Dragons
3810-Dragons
427-15Demons, Devils, Spirits
4244Necroton and more
4488-Ice, various creatures
4566-Dust Devil, Sand Lizard
4810Sea, various creatures
5166Piranha Bat
5248-49Rhaumbusun (Crocodile-basilisk)
5430Jabberwock
5559
60
61
62
Devil Spider
Surchurr
Dyll
Poltergeist
***
**
**
****
6148-49Umbreas and more
626-11Dragons (faerie and more)
6528-30Dragons (yellow, orange, purple)
6620-21Oriental (different spirits)
6656-57Vultures, Hawk, Skeleton animals
7412-15Landragons (non flying dragons)
9020-23Bats, 6 types****
918Goristro Demon
9444-54Creature Catalogue II
9538-39The many shapes of Apes***
10140-55Creature Catalogue III**
10220-28A collection of Canines (dogs)
1108-14Dracolich
11542-45Snakes
11638-44Sea Creatures
11864-67Spiders
11946-53Creatures of the Woods
12434-37Aaracockra
1347-14Dragons
13742-49Prehistorical animals
13822-35The ungrateful dead
13970-74Rare beasts of Forgotten Realms

Creature Lore

#pagesTitle or article type
1414-Interview with a Rust Monster
2531-33Interview with an Iron Golem
2542Vampires, Variety of**
2636Lich, Blueprint of****
507-12Dragons: Fighting strategies
7115-18Mind of the monsters
766-8On Beholders
7866-68Ecology of Mind Flayers
806-8Psycology of Dopplegangers
8127-28Ecology of a Basilisk
8718-20Ecology of a Dryad
8822-24Ecology of a Rust Monster
9229-31Ecology of Ettins***
9424-26Ecology of Chimera
9522-26Ecology of a Cockatrice****
9725-27Ecology of a Gorgon
9919-20Ecology of Will-i-wisp
103
105
35-46
24
The Centaur Papers
10433-36Ecology of the Ochre Jelly
10616-17Ecology of the Maedar
10932-34Ecology of a Displacer beast
11550-54Ecology of a Harpy****
11632-35Ecology of a Minataur
11733-36Ecology of an Anhkheg
11942-44Ecology of the Korred
12456-57Ecology of a Gelatinous Cube
12510-12Ecology of the Greenhag
12629-34Undeads
12641-43The ecology of the Shade
12921-23Drow
13136-39Ecology of the Aboleth + Stats
13142-46Ecology of Hook Horror + Stats
13417-22
24-26
28-30
33-36
Give Dragons a Fighting Chance
Serpents (Dragons) and Sorcery
Dragotha (a Dracolich)
Ecology of the Red Dragon
13654-56The Golems Craft
13727-32Ecology of carnivorous plants
13942-43
86-89
Golems (hiding)
Ecology of spectator (+stats)

Greyhawk

#pagesTitle or article type
5218-24Birthplaces in Greyhawk
56
57
18-
13-
Countries
6314-17Sea Barons and more countries
86
87
88
89
90
30-34
23-27
8-11
20-24
24-28
Gods of the Seul Pantheon

Knowledge

These articles are mostly not about rules but other useful knowledge.

#pagesTitle or Type of article
2032-Demonic Possession
2250-54Pole Arms
2512-13Social classes in D&D
3221-Celts
3926-27Bows*****
4541-43History of Dwarves
4549-51Castles*** (historical)
5013-Raising a Dragon
526-13Clerics
5855-59Swords*** Quality of swords?
5916-20Gypsies** Special “class” rules of limited use.
5949-55Halflings
606-14Elves
6128-33Gnomes
6325-31Humanoids (and their Deities)
6351-54Plan before you play
6367-71Coins*** (historical)
6547-53Celtic mythology
6556-62Law***
6563-65War**
6818-22Ice Age Adventureing
697-15Runes
7224-29Barbarians*****
75
76
8-33
23-44
Hell and Devils
7554-57Orcish language
8014-16Five things to DMing Success****
8022-28Castles
8512-14
15-17
Clerics: Special Skills & Thrills
Dragon Magazine #85
Clerics must be deity-bound
****
**
9030-33Political Game
9036-60Gladsheim / Norse Mythology + Module****
9118-34The Nine Hells Revisited
926-10Clerics – missions and playing
9312-17World Building
9324-30How to pronounce monster names
9410-16Large Scale Logistics
978-Deities and their faithful
986-10Dragon Hoards
9811-13Dragon Teeth
9815-16Dragons of Dragonlance****
9822-24Detailing a fantasy world
9828-32Knowing whats in Store*****
998-10The neutral point of view (between good and evil)
10536-42,55Parallel gaming worlds
1068-12The laws of Magic*
10716-21The six abilities
10722-25Increasing ability scores
10812-20The Role of Nature
10928-30A dwarf’s beard is more than hair
11122-26Out-of-control campaigns
11310-26Welcome to Hades
1159-36Thieves
11538-40Clerics: Weapons of choice**
11628-30Aquatic Elves
11716-17Feuds and Feudalism
11740-42Fun without Fighting
11743-45Henchmen, Hirelings & Followers
1188-14,18-20Gladitorial Combat
11910-29Druids (several articles)
12244-45DMs ten commandments***
12316-30The Mystic’s College
12514-16Woodlands of the Realms (trees)
12518-19Code of Chivalry
12542-45Glory, Danger and Wounds
12615-24Vampires
1288-14Welcome to Waterdeep
13070-78If looks could kill
13228-32Trap Design
13327-33Roman Pantheon + stats
13518-19Usages of Rope
13526-29When Game Masters go Bad*****
13618-20The long arm of the law
13628-32Inns (with price lists)
13634-38Fifty ways to foil your players
13755-58Festivals
13844-49Plague
13936-40Speaking with Spirits

Magical Items

#pagesTitle
2624-Deck of Fate
3035-36Extranous Magic Items
7336-40100 Unusual Magic Items
7418-24Blades of the (Forgotten) Realms
7718-24Curses and nasty items
8034-36Treasures rare and wondrous
8228-30Magic Jewelry (13 items)
8626-28A few magic items
8914-18Six very special shields
9152-62Treasure Trove (47 magic items)
9949-52Seventeen new treasures (Magic Items)
10230-34,89-Nine Wands of Wonder
11546-47Nine magical harps
11746-47Nine magical masks
11748-51Magic rings
12564-67Magical maps of Greyhawk
12726-31Bows and Crossbows
13310-11Arrows (and Quivers)
13520-24Arrows

Modules (Adventures)

A few I found interesting.

#pagesTitle or article type
7842-56Citadel by the Sea
8035-45Adventure + City
9246-53Adventure
10243-54Valley of the Earthmother

Rules, Lists

These are optional rules, items and other lists.

#pagesTitle or type of article
3219-20Permanent Damage
2419Diseases
2923Rewarding Heroism*
2924-25Taverns & Inns + Menu*****
31Criticals & Below 0HP
324-5Poison
3430-31Beware of Quirks and Curses: Magic items are not always nice****
3847-48DM Hostile Magic Users
3934-35Criticals
43Witches
4860-62Instant Adventures***
5410-Ruins
59
60
6-10
16-21
Cantrips***
?
5957-60Poison
6842-53+last 3Weather (Greyhawk)
776-13Tarot cards
787-33Psionics
816-17Poison
8214-19Healing Herbs
8310-19Gems
858-11First Aid
9946-48Magic Swords
10416-19Pick Pocketing (lists)
10622-23Doors: Open them if you dare
10714-15Reactions*
10828-29Cantrips for Clerics
10842-26The plants of Biurndon
11227-31Cloaked in Magic
1148-21Witches
1169-27Maritime Adventures
11722-24Dungeoneers Shopping Guide****
11822-29Jousting rules
12417-32Aerial Adventuring
13040Ingredients of (alchemists) potions
13377-80Berserkers (NPC class)
13646-48Recharge of magic items
13716-24Treasures of the Wild
14054-55Knives

Random World

#pagesTitle
1715Sights and Sounds***
2110Random Town Events***
4130Doors***
4932-33Names***
8030-34Random Treasures/Items
10514-18Wayfarers***
10530-35The well equiped victim***
11422-24Grave Encounters**
11548-49Dungeon floor design***
11560-61Doors (50 of them)****
12116-19Japanese Names**
13122-30Random Natural Caves
1368-14Random City
1378-14Hunting – whats for dinner
13734-41Weather system
13750-52Encounter tables wilderness (pre history)

Fiction / Short Stories

These should be Fantasy short stories.

#pagesTitle or type of article
1-7The Gnome Cache
214-Short Story
423-25Roads from Jakalla** Ok D&D, not much of litterature.
518-24Short Story
612-14The Forest of Flame****
712-15The Journey Most Alone** (planes and mystery)
1222-30Short Story
1322-28The Stolen Sacrifice*****
1510-11The Gospel of Benwa** (creation story, law, chaos & neutrality)
15
16
23-
25-
Green Magician (1/2)
Green Magician (2/2)
2442-43Monty Haul and the
Best of Freddie
***
Power game session
31Short Story
356,39-40Oasis****
386-The Cup of Golden Death****
447-Short Story
467-Short Story
5450-51Abomination****
5524-36The coming of the sword
5836Short Story
6031-32Short Story
6673-74Friends in High Places***
7111-13The blink of a Wizard’s eye*
7371-72Short Story
7911-12The Ordeal* (and not fantasy)
8118-22Short Story
8265-69Short Story
8326-30Short Story
8457-63Short Story
8528-35Valkyrie Settlement
8556-62A stone’s throw away (Dragonlance)
8659-63Short Story
8859-63Short Story
8955-61Short Story
9186-93Short Story
9355-61Short Story
9457-63Short Story
9560-67Desperate Acts
9863-67The forging of fear*****
9963-67Short Story
10022-32Short Story
10162-66And Adventuring To …
10564-68On the Rocks at Slabs
10869-75The Grey Stones
10970-75Valkyrie
11066-76The Wizards’ Boy
11362-71A Difficult Undertaking
11849-56Across the Fog-Grey Sky
11963-73The Pawns of Crux
12047-50Dragon Meat**** (humourous)
12151-63Love and Ale (Dragonlance)
12263-67The Prince’s Birthday
12363-67Palimpsest
12557-63The passing of kings
12644-49Well Bottled at Slab’s
12836-42The Spirit Way
12958-64The old ways are best
13042-49Shark Killer
13141-45Out of hand
13449-55Eyes of Redemptions
13555-60Karl and the Ogre
13641-45The curse of the Magus
13857-64Between Lightning and Thunder
13947-49The visitor
14047-51Flesh and Blood

Art – B/W

#pagedescription
2926
38
Three warriors and a horse
Warrior – roman style
**
***
3520Bowman in Chainmail**
3826
32
49
Woman on Throne
Warrion on Horse
Troll, Dwarf
***
***
**
398Dark Paladin****
4512
16
18
61
Alchemist
Coat of arms (Shield + Two axes)
Anvil with sculpture
Castle against night sky
****
***
***
*****
5413Wizard and huge spider net***
5957Poisoned nobleman***
6322
28-30
Bandits
Goblins (3x)
**
***
6660Nobleman with Drinking Cup**
7110
19
22
54
Two old wizards
Elegant man with flute
Rogue with sword
Lich / Death god
****
**
***
****
727
10
58
Mounted knight
Female knight on Unicorn
Man with sword at wall
****
***
***
8022Castle****
8538
45
49
58
77
Viking on Longship
Executioner
Orc with axe
Hung in tree by mob
Ruin: Gate & Trees
***
**
**
**
**
928
22
24
45
Priest with warhammer
Witch or Sorceress
Dwarf with warhammer
Hiding elf / Hunters with bows
***
**
***
**
944Wizard (?)***
9829-32
62
Shop interiors: Smith, Leather, Tanner
Blacksmith
****
****
12019Angry dwarf with club****
1315
41,42
Two knights jousting
Dwarves
***
***
13213
24
40
53
A few ships
A Demon (?)
Woman drawing, man standing
Man and witch (?)
**
***
****
***
13448
69
Barbarian (?) with Dragon
Ogre
***
**
13545Wizard****
13918
19
26
27
36
Woman – tottooes in face
Wizard
Old Merchant
Two village women
Ritual and demon
***
****
***
***
**
14017
25
29
31
Old man in library
Portraits of priests/shamans (2)
Coat of arms (Dragons and swords)
Wizard (and dead/defeated man)
****
****
**
***

Art – Full Color

#pagedescription
723Warriors having passed a river**
666
7
Old man inspecting sword(s)
Monk in armory
****
****
7281Mounted knight and goblins***
9059Elmore: Dragon & Warriors*****
13315Warrior + Death Knight(?)****
13423Fighter / Dragon***
1377Hydra & Warrior***
13915Wizard***

D&D Classic: House Rules

I thinking about playing D&D Classic again for a more simple and old-school experience compared to D&D 5e. So I am basically talking about these versions:

  • Basic/Expert (B/X)
  • Basic/Export/Champion/Master/Immortal (BECMI)
  • Rules Cyclopedia

However, all rules are a bit subject to taste, and I will put a few house rules here. They may change over time. Some of these rules come from, or are inspired by, OSR clones (in particular the Swedish Svärd & Svartkonst).

Named Weapon

A character can name one weapon which gives +1 to hit and +1 to damage. Only one weapon can be named at a time, and change of weapons can only happen between adventures.

Sacrifice Shield

A shield can be destroyed to save the wielder from a strike that would otherwise give him 0HP. This can only happen once per combat.

Thieves can attack with Dexterity

Thieves can use Dexterity instead of Strength when they attack with a weapon doing at most 1d6 damage. Damage is still Strength.

Death and more

D&D Basic is deadly. 0HP means death. Poison is often saving throw or death. Petrification is instant and permanent. Let us give each character three lives per adventure.

  1. st death (or similar) results in unconsciousness. A successful (suitable) saving throw will make the character recover in his own during the next turn (not round) at 1HP. A failure means death, unless character is cared for during next turn.
  2. nd death (or similar) as 1st death. Also there is a permanent injury. If the saving throw succeeds it is just esthetic but if it fails it comes with a suitable penalty.
  3. rd death is definite.

Movement and Encumbrance

Let us start with the baseline:

Coins
(20/lbs)
Encounter
(feet / round)
Running
(feet / round)
Encounter
(m / round)
Monsters
150(50) Spectre
0-4004012012120(40) Hydra
401-8003090990(30) Hobgoblin
801-12002060660(20) Skeleton
1201-16001030330(10) Beholder
1601-24005151

(I got rid of feet/turn when exploring dungeons).

I suggest:

ArmorMax DEX
AC
Encounter
(feet / round)
Running
(feet / round)
Encounter
(m / round)
None, Leather4012012
Scale-211
Chain-210
Banded-130909
Plate-18

A character can carry a number of items equal to his Strength. Small items can be carried together in a sack/backback (which counts as 1). For every extra item carried, movement is reduced by 10feet/1m per round. If you use grid, round down.

500 coins or gems count as one item.

Background: this is complicated. I have a Swedish D&D with metres instead of feet. Neither pounds nor coins are very convenient to recalculate. I kind of like the 5e dexterity limitation to heavy armor. At the same time it may be more in the OSR spirit to let heavy armor limit movement to make escape harder. I also makes sense to let Strength have something to do with it.

Weapon Damage and Initiative

See separate article.

Coinage

Treasure tables are multiplied by 100x instead of 1000x. Value of Gems and Jewels are in sp, not gp. Characters get 1XP for 1sp.

D&D Rules of Engagement (5e)

When I DM D&D, combat should be interesting, challenging, relevant and drive the story forward without being tedious and boring.

I want my players to jump into the right fights, for the right reasons, without too much hesitation.

I want my players to avoid unnecessary fights and fear the dangers of combat.

Flight and avoiding combat entirely is sometimes a necessary choice for the players to survive.

As a DM I need to be consistent and fair. Enemies must not be much more dangerous than they appear, at least not without a way out. Enemies that appear to be more powerful than the players are deadly enemies and will capture or kill the player characters.

If my players are actively seeking clues to whether they should engage in combat or not, I shall give them clear and helpful information.

Rests: I will usually apply the gritty rules for rests: 1 night for a short rest, 1 week for a long rest. I will occationally grant faster rests.

Background

I like the fast resting rules (1 night for a long rest, 1 hour for a short rest) because it keeps the story going forward.

However, I have now learnt that the resting rules can be (ab)used to engaging into unnecessary combat not caring too much about injuries, rather than finding non-combat solutions. I have also learnt that player characters in D&D 5e are quite powerful and having the characters always rested means I have to make opponents consistently more powerful and combat takes longer time.

I expect a typical session to take 4-5 hours, the characters start rested and there should be 3-5 combats. About 1-2 rests should often be enough.

The purpose of this is to make D&D combat interesting, challenging, relevant and drive the story forward without being tedious and boring.

The Revorian Age (D&D Setting)

This is an outline for a D&D setting that I call The Revorian Age, following after The Hyborian Age (essay by E Howard, wikipedia), where the stories of Conan take place.

Most of what Howard wrote I consider lore and history…

… however during the Hyborian age, there was a much smaller continent on the other side of the planet called Maringia. This was an ancient contient that had existed during the time of Atlantis and that mostly survived the (first) cataclysm. Maringia was home to D&D races and beasts that never walked the Thurian continent (at least we are not told in the Conan lore).

The second cataclysm shatters Thuria. Also happening:

  • volcanoes erupted
  • a short (100s of years) ice age covered parts of the lands
  • land sank and raised, even affecting Maringia
  • hordes of orcs, goblins and other creatures of darkness that had dominated but been bound to Maringia, found ways to Thuria
  • a few refugees of Thuria made it to new lands
  • eventually, also elves, dwarves, gnomes and halflings and other good creatures spread to the new lands

Thousands of years passed, new peoples and eventually lands formed (as Howard described), originiting from the peoples of the Hyborian age, but mixed up with the lore of D&D.

This post-Hyborian age is called The Revorian Age and it is a place of

  • Ancient remains of the Hyborian age (and possibly its deities)
  • Everything you want in a D&D world
  • Earth-like deities, cultures, peoples, lands (just as “The Danes were decendents of pure-blooded Vanir” as written by Howard, there may actually be Danes in your D&D world, and if they look like anes, fight like danes and sound like danes, why not call them danes?)

But why?

I have written before that I am not too fond of Forgotten Realms.

I like the world of Conan and the history and cultures of Earth more interesting than the lore of Forgotten Realms (or other published D&D settings). And for simplicity, I can call a viking a viking (truth is that even Forgotten Realms and D&D are full of things with very specific references to earthern cultures: berserkers, minataurs, the deity Tyr, paladins and so on).

I like to outline a homebrew world as the campaign goes on, and into The Revorian Age I can plausibly draw familiar things.

On D&D Wilderness and Civilizations

D&D campaigns take place in a world (of the Material Plane in the D&D multiverse). According to DMG (p9) the world is probably:

  • overseen by gods
  • ancient
  • shaped by conflicts
  • magical
  • untamed

In our own world (the earth), man had spread to all continents 10 000 years ago. 1000 years ago I would not call our world untamed. Obviously parts of Americas and Siberia were mostly untamed (and Antarctica still is). Even if technology had stayed at D&D-level with time fewer and fewer parts had been wild and untouched. On earth man spread first (to all continents), then civilizations came and often fell.

Questions about a D&D World

Why, in a D&D world, where people have magic and supportive deities, and the history of advanced civilizations is longer (that is how I interpret ancient) than on earth, are large parts of the world untamed? What makes

  • civilizations less likely to grow large
  • wilderness resist being inhabited and controlled
  • civilizations remain small (city-state-like), old, and yet advanced
  • technology not advance beyond medieval level (not my focus, but it is obviously a bonus to answer this one too)

Answers about the D&D world

I can come up with some possible answers

1. The gods want it this way: a deity spawned a culture somewhere, and in that place that people will prevail, but the further away they go the weaker they become, and as they reach the territories of other deities their expansion will eventually halt. But this leaves us with the usual god-problems:

  • why do the gods want it this way?
  • if the gods peacefully agree, how comes their followers dont?

2. Evil and Chaos: earth has no orcs or dragons to hold human civilization back. D&D has. But this leaves us with more questions:

  • why do not lawful civilizations eventually eliminate chaotic tribes or races (who clearly have less capability to organized defense), as arguably happened on earth?
  • why does not good defeat evil , or the other way around, after millennias of conflicts?

3. The world is too hostile: mountains, deserts, forests, seas are simply too hard to conquer, and it can defend itself from the wheel of civilization. Further questions are:

  • can powerful neutral creatures can be part of this?
  • can chaotic evil creatures can be part of this?
  • can good, mostly chaotic, creatures be part of this too?
    (elves defending the forests voilently against lawful good people)

4. Nature is barren and scarce of resources, simply not worth conquering. This seems quite plausible, but then my D&D world should be barren, with occational oases suitable for civilizations.

5. Abundance locally, people contempt: no need to spread. This makes little sense with humans but for elves and halflings it is quite natural.

How can it prevail?

So why is a country, some monsters or a people not destroyed by its neighbours, or the good or evil that oppose it? Lets make some thought experiments.

I huge forest is not being chopped down by the country of men, because it is guarded by elves and other ancient creatures who are truly contempt there.

Red dragons in a mountain range are not hunted down by the peoples of the lands around them, because the mountains are too unaccessible, and the dragons are careful not to hunt too voilently among men.

Dwarves live in a habitate of their own that only creatures of the underworld compete with, so Dwarves and Men (or elves) pose limited threat to each other, although they benefit from trade.

Halflings can have a little nation perhaps in a corner of a reasonably friendly civilization. Trade benefits everyone, the halflings are not a threat, and their country is not on a strategic crossroads or resource.

Some militaristic nations can coexist if natural borders are making invasion hard.

Some people can live in secluded barren places where it makes little sense for larger civilizations or evil forces to invade and destroy them.

Some people can be protected by their deity in their home territory.

Orcs (or similar evil creatures) can populate large areas of quite barren land. They are not quite organised enough to defeat civilizations in richer lands, but raising an army to destroy them is simply not worth it or possible.

Mountains, deserts, treacherous sea waters and swamps can hide ruins of old civilizations or very odd civilizations, if they are far from tracks and trade routes.

A type of landscape (mountains, islands, steppes) may be suitable to a particular nation or civilization, that is not very interested or capable of expanding into other regions.

A huge barren wilderness can simply not sustain a dense high civilization. So it can be populated by wild animals, outlaws, smaller tribes (perhaps in an oasis) and chaotic creatures that don’t tend to organize themselves in larger societies anyway.

A civilization may have consumed or destroyed a naturally rich environment, leaving itself in a harscher but balanced state.

Drawing a different map

Most D&D maps show land and sea, mountains, hills, forests, sometimes deserts, major rivers, names of nations and towns/cities. That is obviously not everything. I used to play a collectible card game, METW, where regions (in Middle Earth) were classified as

  • Freedomains
  • Borderlands
  • Wilderness
  • Shadowlands
  • Darkdomains

This makes sense also in D&D. Who rules the country and what can be expected there?

Freedomains would be lands probably controlled by the playable races (or other good creatures). Crimes are not left unpunished and justice is not arbitrary. Evil creatures take a huge risk entering into freedomains the borders are probably patrolled. Obviously covert evil can lurk in freedomains. Also, everyone is not free and rich. There may be limited slavery and discriminating structures. In D&D terms these lands are Lawful Good.

Borderlands are mostly inhabited by the same people as a freedomain, but things are rougher. There may be raids or conflicts with people och creatures of neigbouring regions. Justice may be arbitrary, up to the local chief, or mostly absent. This land would be Chaotic Good.

Wilderness is land that is mostly not inhabited, cultivated and controlled. It is probably unsuitable for larger settlements. You may find both good or evil, or nothing in Wilderness. This land would be Neutral.

Shadowlands are dangerous places dominated by evil and absence of law and order. Bands of raiders and bandits, or clans of orcs or goblins may dominate. The alignment of the land is Chaotic Evil.

Darkdomains are lands of tyranny and slavery. They are controlled by evil necromancers, vampires, orc lords, red dragons, evil clergy or other cruel dictators. There may be covert resistance and opposition, or not. This is Lawful Evil lands.

Obviously every political aspect of a country can not be described in terms of free vs dark.

In the METW game there are also holds (towns or similar) of the same types:

  • Freeholds
  • Borderholds
  • Shadowholds
  • Darkholds

All can be found in wilderness. You can expect to find Freeholds in Freedomains, and so on. But there are of course other options, for example:

A freehold can be a stronghold of good in dangerous or hostile lands.

A borderhold can be a particularly troublesome part of a freedomain nation, or simply a place close to dangerous borders. Or an unusually civilised place in shadowlands.

A shadowhold can be a nest of bandits in borderland, or in darkdomains (where it would be an unusually free and open place).

A darkhold can be found in lands where organised evil has not been defeated.

Conclusion

In D&D there are nine alignments and any land will be colored by the people or creatures that live there (if any). There will be conflicts between different lands, particularly of different alignments. These conflicts are also the source of adventures and intrigues.

Just as it makes sense to know where the forests and mountains are, it makes sense to have a clue about the different regions and their alignments and relationships. Ultimately it is about understanding the balances and imbalances, and being able to explain why one land or ruler does not dominate everything around it.

D&D Single Combat House Rules

This is a draft of thoughts. Everything is subject to change.

The basic assumption in D&D combat is that the fighters want to kill each other as quickly as possible. Each attack is meant to cause maximum damage and the sooner the enemy is dead the better.

There are situations when this is not quite true. I have in mind single combat governed by rules (the rules might be that the first fighter to leave the fight zone loses, that the fight ends at first blood, or similar).

Another aspect of this is that such a fight, using standard rules, would perhaps be very quick. However from a storytelling perspective it could be desirable with a long fight to allow for side events, drama, hope and despair and betting.

Also, even if two fighters want to kill each other, they may (perhaps for no other reason than tactical and self preservation) not want to rush it.

These house rules apply to situations when two champions, in single combat, want to compete in fighting or compare their fighting skills.

House rules for Combat Threat Levels

I propose house rules (for D&D 5e, but I don’t see why they could not work with other systems) with 4 different threat levels of combat:

  1. Display (trying to impress, reading your enemy)
  2. Competetive (trying to win, following set rules)
  3. Aggressive (trying to cause injury, not quite a controlled fight)
  4. Deadly (trying to cause death, the standard D&D rules)

Combat Sets

The way these rules work is that an entire single combat is divided into sets (using the tennis term for lack of a better). Each set is resolved at an agreed threat level (1-4) and is expected to take a few rounds (standard rules). Between the sets other roleplaying can take place with other characters. There may or may not be breaks of no fighting between the sets in the fight.

Typically the threat level is raised as the single combat goes on. However, just as nobody can be forced to fight at all, nobody can be forced to fight at a particular threat level. If one champion goes for Deadly, then Deadly it is.

A common criteria for ending such single combat could be first blood (an outcome at Competitive level). The DM could decide that such single combat will start with a set at Display level. Then things get serious with a set at Competetive level. If the loser does not accept to lose he may raise the stakes to Aggressive level (if context allows).

Anyway, a single combat could go on for any number of sets, at any set level (less than 4), that makes sense given the story and the context. Five rounds of display combat and a jury deciding winner is possible. Two gladiators fighting set after set at aggressive is also possible.

Rules for one Set

These rules obviously do not apply to Deadly combat.

Set Points: Each champion starts every set with Set Points equal to his current Hit Points. For hi-level champions, the DM may decided that 1/2 or 1/4 Set Points are used (to make the set shorter). During the set, damage is dealt in set points instead of hit points.

Initiative: Each set starts with a new initiative roll. The loser of the last set has disadvantage. The champion with initiative in the last set has advantage. A champion surrendering a set automatically loses initiative for the next set.

A combat set: Fighting follows the normal rules, except all damage is dealt as set points, not hit points. A set is lost when a champion reaches 0 set points. I champion can also choose to surrender a set, in his turn as his only action, after he just lost set points.

Domination points for winning a set

The winner of a set receives domination points equal to the threat level (1-3). If an impartial jury or spectator would decide the winner, the champion who has won the most domination points (regardless if they are spent) wins the fight.

A domination point can be spent later in the single combat, giving advantage to one of your own rolls, or disadvantage to one roll of your enemy.

Surrendering a set

Surrendering a set is about getting out before you openly lose a set (which has more severe consequences). The penalties follow per threat level:

  1. Lose 1d4-3 HP
  2. Lose 1d4-2 HP
  3. Lose 1d4 HP

Losing a set

The loser of a set rolls below based on threat level (reroll if not applicable):

  1. Lose 1 HP and roll 1d8
    1. Reroll for Threat Level 2 (lose no more HP)
    2. Almost fell, knee in ground
    3. Lost position, almost stepped out of fight zone
    4. Weapon mishandling (hit ground or similar)
    5. Clearly hit by attack
    6. Cought off guard
    7. Damage to clothes or similar
    8. Inbalanced after being attacked
  2. Lose 1d4 HP and roll 1d12
    1. Reroll for Threat Level 3 (lose no more HP)
    2. Laying on the ground, pruned
    3. Partly/shortly broke the boundaries of the fight zone
    4. Disarmed
    5. Piece of armor removed (-1d2 AC until refitted)
    6. Grappled, possibly on knees
    7. Outmaneuvered in humiliating way (+1 domination to opponent)
    8. and over: Hit and bleeding (Lose 1d4 HP if already Hit and bleeding)
  3. Lose 1d8 HP and roll 1d12
    1. Roll once for Lingering Injury
    2. Unconcious for 1d6 rounds, disadvantage for entire next set
    3. Weapon broken (if magical or superior just badly disarmed)
    4. Armor broken (-1d4 AC until repaired)
    5. Grappled and disarmed on the ground
    6. Blade to neck, or similar
    7. Far out of fight zone
    8. and over: Massively bleeding, gory (Lose 1d8 HP if already Massively bleeding)

The circumstances surrounding the single combat decide if the fight is over or not. The intention of these rules is that the loser of one set should be allowed to compose himself shortly before the fight goes on.

Escallation

Obviously a PC or NPC may decide in the middle of such a single combat fight set to attempt to harm or kill the enemy. D&D is after all a RPG so it cant just be against the rules. Such PC or NPC can take one single Escallation action in his turn, which starts a new set at the new desired level. The opponent wins initiative automatically and gets 1 domination point.

Magic, poison and other effects

These rules are intended for normal fights. A sword +1 or an armor +1 can work just normally. But something like a flaming sword that cause extra fire damage may not be allowed. And these rules are clearly not written with magic missile in mind. If in doubt, don’t use these rules.

D&D House rules for 0HP, injury and death

Draft: consider the below a draft, I may make changes after more game testing or feedback.

In Dungeons & Dragons (5e) the sensible way to understand HP damage is as scratches, concussion and exhaustion. It is all healed after a long rest. However if you reach 0HP you fall unconsious, and then you will live or die within 3-5 turns (30 seconds).

First I want to say that I appreciate D&D and its simple and forgiving approach to damage. I also appreciate that 0HP does not mean immediate death. That said, I think there could be a little more going on between 1HP (fully fighting) and 0HP (high risk to die in 3-5 rounds).

These house rules make use of

  • Hit Dice (PHB p186)
  • Death Saving Throws (PHB p197)
    (but modify roll with CON, and other effects than 3+3 check boxes)
  • Lingering Injuries (DMG p272)
  • Exhaustion (PHB p291)
  • Negative Hit Points (not in the standard rules) means character is unconscious.

When a character reaches 0 HP she becomes unconscious and unstable. That activates the house rules.

Death Saving Throws

Death Saving Throws are made until the character is conscious (although they just decide recovery rate for a stable character). Roll d20+CON. Success is 10 or higher.

While the character has Hit Dice available, spend one Hit Dice and roll a Death Saving Throw every round. On success, recover HP for the Hit Dice as if spent during a short rest.

While the character has no Hit Dice, roll a Death Saving Throw after every minute (or 1d12+5 rounds). On failure, get one Exhaustion. On success recover one HP. If the modified result was at least 20, recover one more HP. A natural 1 gives two Exhaustion and a natural 20 gives one more HP (a total 3 HP is possible on a natural 20).

Stabilizing

A character is stabilized:

  • When standing at at least 1HP
  • When treated with Wisdom (Medicine) DC 10 for a minute
  • By any magic healing effect

Recovering Consciousness

A stable Character recovers consciousness when she reaches 1HP. While unconscious, roll Death Saving Throws every round/minute as above, but receive no Exhaustion on failure.

A character that recovers from such unconsciousness is incapacitated for the next round and has disadvantage on everything until after a short rest.

For practical purposes, a stable unconscious character with zero Hit Dice can after the equivalent of a short rest have 1d4 HP and no disadvantage.

If taking further damage while unconscious and stable character is again unstable.

Risking Lingering Injury

When a character is reduced to 0 or less HP, she has the option to immediately

  • spend one Hit Dice, and
  • remaining conscious (not incapacitated and no disadvantage) if at least 1 HP, and
  • roll once on the Lingering Injury table.

This can be seen as a bold final move that the fighting character makes to stay in battle even if it means injury.

Harsch conditions

Falling unconscious, being abandoned in bad conditions (a desert or the winter), perhaps lacking food, water and opportunity to rest and care for the wounds can obviously jeoperdize survival and recovery, at DMs discretion.

Background

The reason and logic behind these D&D house rules is that in reality, creatures who suffer trauma and become unconsious rarely die within 30 seconds (5 rounds). It is also hard to imagine an ally doing first aid within 30 seconds. The original rules of D&D 5e are very beneficial to large groups of characters with magical healers among them (esp Healing Word, which immediately heals at a distance). However, they make it very dangerous for a member of a smaller group without healers to become unconcious.

So, these rules make it less deadly to reach 0HP. But it also hurts more to become unconsious and you are not back on your feet fighting in a few rounds.

Ultimately D&D is not about killing the player characters, but about story telling and adventures. These rules are there to replace death with something more interesting, without making damage, injury or death much less scary.

On NPCs

As is mentioned in the core rules, most enemies simply die at 0HP. These rules can be used for important NPCs and player characters.

On D&D

D&D is a simple and fast game. I don’t want to intruduce rules that feel like they rather belong in another game. Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler. I have tried to make it simple but perhaps I can do better.

These rules are not to be used very often. But when the characters of my players are a little spread out, and one of them reaches -1 HP, I just don’t want her to die.