Posted: 31 May 2010 in Settings
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My gaming plan for the year calls for me to switch systems each quarter, so I’m starting to think ahead beyond the April to June period which was in theory set aside for 28 Months Later and the All Things Zombie rules.

Next up will be Savage Dungeons, and a range of solo dungeon crawls. One thing that solo games turn out to be very good for is learning the rules; I suspect they will be equally good for running those campaigns I will never get around to otherwise. Specifically, one thing I’ve wanted to do for a few years is run the adventures from Heroquest, Advanced Heroquest, and Warhammer Quest as one long dungeon crawl campaign. I ran my kids through the basic Heroquest scenarios as a D&D 3.5 campaign some years ago, and it worked pretty well. So, the plan for July to September is to start that, although there are too many adventures to finish it in this quarter, especially since I intend to run each one three times; once under Savage Worlds, once under Warrior Heroes, and once under D&D 4th Edition.

Dramatis Personae: D&D 4e

  • Barbarian: Human Fighter, using the Great Weapon Fighter build. This is the closest you can get to a barbarian if you’re only using the basic Player’s Handbook, and as I’m starting with the Heroquest adventures, in which the Barbarian carries a two-handed sword, this is the obvious build. He has a two handed sword.
  • Dwarf: Dwarven Fighter, using the Great Weapon Fighter build. I can’t immediately see how to give him the detect and disarm traps, which were racial abilities in Heroquest. He has chainmail, some rope, and a two-handed axe.
  • Elf: Eladrin Paladin, using the Protecting Paladin build. In Heroquest, the elf carried a healing potion and could cast some spells, but was also viable in combat, and was hard to pin down in melee; so this seems like a good match, with Lay On Hands standing in for the Potion of Healing. The Elf (sorry, Eladrin) has a longsword.
  • Wizard: Human Wizard, using the War Wizard build. What can you say, he’s a wizard, and he shoots arcane projectiles. He has a dagger and a spellbook. He also has a ritual book containing the rituals for Comprehend Languages, Magic Mouth, and Tenser’s Floating Disk.
  • Dungeon: Will be generated using the D&D 4th Edition dungeon generator.
  • Monsters: Will require more thought, as D&D subscribes to the Sorting Algorithm of Evil and none of the other games do. I’ll make that up as I go along.

Dramatis Personae: Warrior Heroes

I’ll assume all of these chaps are Stars, Elite trained, starting with Rep 4, Hardiness 1 and SS 2. Except the Barbarian, who is made up to match the Heroquest figure, all of them take their statistics from the Random NPC table on p. 15 of the WHAA rules.

  • Barbarian: Rep 4, AC 2, Alignment TW, two-handed sword.
  • Dwarf: Counts as a Thief due to his proficiency with traps. Rep 4, AC 3, Alignment RM, weapon “various” which I shall interpret as two-handed axe, hur hur hur. I’ve boosted the armour from AC 2 as in Heroquest the Dwarf starts in chainmail.
  • Elf: Counts as a Healer to explain the healing potion he gets in Heroquest. Rep 4, AC 2, Alignment SS, Sword.
  • Wizard: Obviously a Caster; Rep 4, AC 2, Alignment TW, Dagger. I’ve reduced the standard NPC spellcaster Rep of 7 to 4 to bring this character in line with the others.
  • Dungeon: Will be generated using the WHAA lair generator.
  • Monsters: Are pretty much all in the Rules As Written, except fimir. I’ll worry about that when I meet one.

Dramatis Personae: Savage Worlds

Last because they take up the most room in the post! Some slight changes from the direct conversion in the original trial, to make them a better match to my personal view of the tropes. These are built using the basic Savage Worlds rules and the free web supplement Wizards & Warriors.

  • Barbarian: Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigour d6. Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d6, Notice d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Stealth d6, Survival d4, Tracking d4. Charisma 0, Pace 6, Parry 4, Toughness 6. Hindrances: Greedy, Loyal: Friends, Overconfident. Edges: Berserk, Brawny. Gear: Greatsword: Str+d10.
  • Dwarf: Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d10, Vigour d6. Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d6, Lockpicking d6, Notice d6, Repair d6, Shooting d6. Charisma 0, Pace 5, Parry 5, Toughness 8. Hindrances: Greedy, Loyal: Friends, Slow, Vengeful. Edges: Brawny, Low Light Vision, Tough. Gear: Great Axe: Str+d10, Chain Hauberk: +2, Rope (30′).
  • Elf: Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigour d6. Skills: Fighting d8, Guts d6, Healing d6, Notice d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Survival d6, Tracking d6. Charisma -2, Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 5. Hindrances: All Thumbs, Enemy: Orcs and Goblins, Greedy, Outsider. Edges: Agile, Low Light Vision. Gear: Bow: 2d6, Short Sword: Str+d6. The Elf gets Healing skill in lieu of the Healing Potion he would get in the boardgame; because spellcasters in Savage Worlds all have access to the same range of powers, there’s no need to make the Elf a pseudo-cleric.
  • Wizard: Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigour d6. Skills: Fighting d6, Guts d6, Healing d6, Knowledge (Arcana) d6, Notice d6, Riding d4, Shooting d4, Spellcasting d8. Charisma -2, Pace 6, Parry 6, Toughness 5, Power Points 10. Hindrances: Loyal: Friends, Outsider, Overconfident. Edges: Arcane Background (Magic), New Power: Detect/Conceal Arcana. Powers: Bolt, Deflection, Detect/Conceal Arcana, Healing. Gear: Dagger: Str+d4, Staff: Str+d4.
  • Dungeon: Will be generated using Advanced Heroquest, with the optional rules from Terror in the Dark. This lets me retain the Heroquest missions without knowing what the board layout and encounters look like in advance.
  • Monsters: Are in the basic Savage Worlds rules for the most part, or the Bestiary Toolkit. I’ll have to get creative with fimir, a kind of reptilian Cyclops which has vanished from later Games Workshop games; but other than that, we’re good.
  1. R Singers says:

    How well do you think Savage Worlds and Wizards & Warriors could be used to replace Basic D&D to do Keep on the Borderlands for two kids? I have a 5 and a 7 year old who are fascinated with the idea of D&D games.

    • andyslack says:

      SW works well in terms of producing a fast-moving, fun game; I often run D&D adventures under SW rules and have no problem at all with it – I find I don’t need to do a lot of preparation either, most of the basic monsters are in both systems, and by using trappings you can convert the rest on the fly. (“Kobolds? Meh, use the Goblin stats and a different description, nobody will ever know.”) However, SW doesn’t work well as a “D&D emulator”, because parts of the core design philosophy are different; so if you’re looking for something that feels exactly like D&D, you may be disappointed.

      For that age range, I’d be tempted to insulate them from the rules and focus more on the story anyway, so it’s actually more about which rules set you’re more comfortable with as the DM. (Having said that, I’m continually amazed by how quickly kids absorb game rules.) I’d also make it as “concrete” as I could by giving them beads or something to represent power points, hit points etc. – I started my youngest with Lego mini-figures for the characters and monsters (we had fun building them too), on a big grid to regulate movement, and that worked very well.

      If you go with SW, bear in mind that both PCs and monsters are tougher at low levels than in Basic D&D, and spellcasters are more flexible. Players also have more choices in how they develop their characters as they advance.

      • R Singers says:

        We’ve played a couple of games of Talisman 2e and the 7yo has been reading my D&D 3e books. I was actually thinking of making up a series of cards for everything to make it easy. Maybe I should just introduce him to Tannhauser tho. I’ve been through small project initiation process hell today and I’m not sure how much life I have left in me 🙂

        I’ve been wondering about your solo dungeon crawls. I wonder if you could use wiki software to create a 3D dungeon for people to play solo. Have one page per room, with wiki links to other rooms and items of significant interest. It could actually grow quite organically into something quite fun.

  2. andyslack says:

    Actually, on reflection I think Warrior Heroes (at least the Rules As Written) does subscribe to the Sorting Algorithm of Evil; as your adventurers “level up”, they face gradually bigger groups of enemies, so the encounter difficulty does increase.

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