Tuesday, December 20, 2011
A Couple More Quick Thoughts-
First- The Horde boxed set- Did TSR ever release any other campaign setting that they instantly nuked as part of their marketing strategy? It occurred to me as I was flipping through the contents of the boxed set that TSR published exactly eight things for this entire setting, including the boxed set for the setting itself (The Horde TSR 1055). There were three tie in novels- The Empires Trilogy (Which I incorrectly identified as the Hordelands trilogy in my last post); Horselords by David Cook, Dragonwall by Troy Denning, and Crusade by James Lowder. There were three tie in modules, these were the Hordelands trilogy; Storm Riders by Troy Denning, Black Courser by Troy Denning, and Blood Charge also by Troy Denning. Lastly, TSR released the Forgotten Realms Horde Campaign, which is part history book for the events detailed in the novels and modules and part Battle System supplement; it kind of reads like an Osprey book but with crappier art, Doug Chaffee is no Angus McBride.
My point here is that everything they used to market the campaign setting boxed set completely destroyed the campaign setting as presented in the boxed set. Yamun is dead, all of the tribes are unraveling into a bunch of warring rivals rather than the unified Horde presented in the boxed set; in short, they nuked the boxed set to market the boxed set. Furthermore, and I alluded to this in my last post also, even the adventure in the boxed set assumes that all of the characters are going to be foreigners that get caught up in dealing with the natives as the enemy. The three published modules feature the Horde as the enemy. The three published novels feature the Horde mostly as the enemy, always as the other. Since this is the era of 2nd edition AD&D and we have a plethora of campaign settings ranging from the fairly vanilla Forgotten Realms to the slightly off Dragonlance to the pretty out there Darksun to the fairly wild Planescape and Spelljammer; and there were all of those historical settings too Vikings, Celts, Charlemagne's Paladins, and the other ones I don't own. I also did a little research on the internet and saw that Al-Qadim was pretty heavily supported with modules and boxed sets and books, so what the hell, why not the Horde (or Kara-Tur, but don't get me started there)? You think maybe, between their strategy of making the campaign setting not particularly playable as a character from that setting, their marketing strategy of making everything in the campaign setting boxed set irrelevant, and their complete lack of support for the setting in any way after it's initial release might have had something to do with it's lack of popularity as a setting? A "Complete Horde Handbook" detailing how to make and play characters from that setting might have breathed just a little life into it, and we know TSR loved to print them for every conceivable topic.
Second- You ever wonder why EGG decided to make three core classes for OD&D instead of just two? Wouldn't things have been so much easier if we had just had Fighting Men and Magic-Users? His separation of divine magic from arcane magic has led to a lot of weirdness over the years and I am not really sure where he got it from. All of the pulp sword & sorcery fiction he liked to read pretty much has just one type of Magic-User, whether he's called a Priest or a Sorcerer is really irrelevant. Think of how much effort it would have saved having just one spell list. Sure, spell casters would have to pick whether they wanted to have an assortment of healing/Cleric type spells or go with more offensive Magic-User type spells, but they already have to pick how offensive/defensive/other they want their spell list to be anyway, that's a huge part of the tactical burden of playing a spell caster, and that's why the smartest tactician in the group usually plays the Magic-User. Even if he'd rather be playing the Paladin.
I don't mean to be down on Clerics here, although Clerics are really just light Fighters with some Divine abilities; actually I think their Turn Undead ability is probably more helpful than most of their spells, which leads me to-
Third- I have been rolling this one around in my head for a couple, three days and I chatted with my Cleric loving wife about it a bit, Cleric Cure X Wounds spells kind of blow. I mean they're great at low level, but once you start leveling up a Cure Light Wounds spell just ain't what she used to be. So I got to thinking, let's say you're a 10th level Fighter and I'm a 1st level Fighter, assume I got lucky and I have 10 Hit Points at full, you have 56 at full because you were only slightly luckier than average and neither of us has a CON bonus. A Cure Light Wounds Spell heals 1d8 points of damage and can be cast by a 1st level Cleric, sometimes multiple times if he has a WIS bonus. At 1st level, even with 10 HP, the maximum of 8 HP the spell can heal is a nearly mortal wound on me, not a light one, but with your 56 HP it's maximum of 8 HP healed is barely healing a scratch on you. So I had a thought that maybe, we should be healing based on the Hit Dice of the Character being healed, rather than arbitrarily healing a nearly mortal wound at the light wounds healing level on low level characters and only scratches on higher level characters, who really get to suffer when it comes to Cure Serious and Cure Critical Wounds spells. I didn't really want to say anything, but Cure Serious and Cure Critical Wounds are really shit spells for their levels, essentially equaling two and three Cure Light Wounds spells respectively, only you have to be 7th and 9th level, respectively, to cast them. There are way better spells out there by then to be casting and if your party really needs the 2d8+1 Cure Serious Wounds when everyone in the party is roughly 7th level- the Thief will average 1 level higher, everyone else 1 level lower and catching up before you level again- you guys are in pretty bad shape, even worse when the same thing happens at level 9 and you all really need that 3d8+1 Cure Critical Wounds spell- I contend that the only one in the party at 9th level that this would be a critical wound on is the party Magic-User, and maybe not even him.
I haven't really thought it through in a number crunchy rules kind of a way, because I see the immediate drawback of it screwing over low level characters by only healing them a hit point or two every time they get a Cure Light Wounds spell cast on them, but the idea is intriguing to me simply because it makes more sense.