Back to Basics II

Heroes of the Fallen lands is a good book. I really, really like it. The mix of races and classes is classic, almost too classic. I like the differentiation between martial and spellcasting classes. I like the art, the size, the writing, it’s a fabulous mini PHB.

But it’s not perfection, because it’s not 64 pages long, and not the (near) complete game that Moldvay and Mentzer managed back in the day. To be fair, it wasn’t trying to be, but what if it was?

I’d start with this list:

  • Stop at level 10. Seriously.
  • Mix in the races and classes from Forgotten Kingdoms, then take an axe to the also rans. I’d pick human, dwarf, elf, dragonborn, tiefling. Then I’d keep all the classes except druids, rangers, paladins and warlocks.
  • Lose all the skills, use the stats instead. Skills can reappear as abilities.
  • Put rituals in.
  • Lose the entire concept of feats.
  • Add in inherent bonuses as default.
  • Put magic items in a DMs section and make them freaky.
  • Put in a bestiary, plus encounter and adventure building guidelines
  • Make combat looser. Grids are not the default.
  • Combat lengths must go down to less than 20 mins as the default.
  • Take out the setting assumptions, and add in world building guidelines.
  • Put it in a box, with dice, character sheets, and an adventure.

Speaking of putting an adventure in, how about a modern take on Keep on the Borderlands? Post to follow. 

 

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Back to Basics II

  1. I love Keep on the Borderlands, (And the Return to Keep on the Borderlands). I have to agree with you. I think their idea of returning to the basics, wasn’t really basic enough. I too have though about “what if feats were a thing of the past”. OR “what if powers were severely limited?”

    I also agree with the overabundance of races as well. Diversity is great, but when it comes to core books, I think more pages should be devoted to game play than diversity. But that’s just me.

  2. I don’t know if its of relevance, but in A Song of Ice and Fire that we’re playing recently you don’t have stats and skills, just abilities like Marksmanship or Athletics, which are sort of an amalgamation of the two, with specialities that help fine grain the detail if you really need to know that someone concentrates on Crossbows or Strength. Your post above just reminded me that it could be something you’re interested in given previous comments. 😉

    • Indeed. There’s a lot of kibbitzing going on backstage at Wizards right now about skills. I’m interested to see how that shakes out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something along the lines you’ve mentioned Gaz.

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