[Nithia] Broken rules in HWR2?

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[Nithia] Broken rules in HWR2?

Postby Havard » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:03 am

This came up in a discussion over at the Mystara Reborn group on Facebook:

Dek Shari wrote:I love the whole concept of Nithia, but I think this is one of the Gazetteers most riddled with fudgy rules and clearly confused mishmash of BECMI and AD&D. The Specialty Priests presented here are downright broken (overpowered). Tower of Sekhaba and Thanatos's Masterplan are OTOH great inspirations for adventures.


Bruce Heard wrote:The author had good ideas but a lot of problems executing them effectively.


Pol Ginés wrote: I liked the heat penalties that made light armor and weapons logical and necessary... most of those weapons are really interesting for a Hollow World campaign.

But, yes, in combination with BECMI rules (such as Weapon Mastery) they were complicated to use.


Dek Shar wrote:i I agree. My rules for heat exhaustion and freezing took inspiration from the ones presented in HWR2 and work just fine


What do you think here at The Piazza? Do you agree that many of these rules need a fix? Has anyone had a go at mending them? IIRC the Nithian Weapons were later adapted to the Weapon Mastery Rules by Bruce Heard in Dragon Magazine? Anyone ever make changes to the Cleric rules?

-Havard

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Re: [Nithia] Broken rules in HWR2?

Postby Big Mac » Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:22 pm

Dek Shari wrote:I love the whole concept of Nithia, but I think this is one of the Gazetteers most riddled with fudgy rules and clearly confused mishmash of BECMI and AD&D. The Specialty Priests presented here are downright broken (overpowered). Tower of Sekhaba and Thanatos's Masterplan are OTOH great inspirations for adventures.


...and

Bruce Heard wrote:The author had good ideas but a lot of problems executing them effectively.


I think there were a lot of issues like this in various D&D products.

This is where changes in D&D editions could actually have solved problems (with evolutionary changes) instead of shaking up the entire system (with revolutionary changes). It's a real shame that the "too many settings" mantra came along and cut off support for so many cool campaign settings. A new Kingdom of Nithia could have taken all the cool themes, but started again from scratch. And then BECMI fans could have looked to the new rules (and retro-converted them) to patch anything in the original rules that didn't work for them.

If people are saying these rules are problematic, has anyone gone further and posted their own "bug fixes" on Vaults of Pandius?

Pol Ginés wrote: I liked the heat penalties that made light armor and weapons logical and necessary... most of those weapons are really interesting for a Hollow World campaign.

But, yes, in combination with BECMI rules (such as Weapon Mastery) they were complicated to use.


Has anyone looked to see what rules Al-Qadim and Dark Sun have for this sort of thing? TSR must have been reinventing the wheel with this sort of thing. Maybe another designer came up with another way to implement this. :)

Dek Shar wrote:i I agree. My rules for heat exhaustion and freezing took inspiration from the ones presented in HWR2 and work just fine


Did Dek Shar post his rules? Do you think he/she would be willing to donate them to VoP?

Havard wrote:What do you think here at The Piazza? Do you agree that many of these rules need a fix? Has anyone had a go at mending them? IIRC the Nithian Weapons were later adapted to the Weapon Mastery Rules by Bruce Heard in Dragon Magazine? Anyone ever make changes to the Cleric rules?


I'm actually getting less interested in rules over time. There are so many cool ideas in D&D. Some (like Bruce said) are not executed so well. I know I've struggled to understand some rules myself. I can see why some of the uber-old school players just want to get the GM to make stuff up on the fly.

My own preferred way to go now is to turn to 3e's d20 mechanic for as many things as possible (not because I buy into the "balance" philosophy, because I don't). That gives me less stuff to learn. But this isn't 3e stuff, it's going to be used by BECMI and/or AD&D fans.

Surely, there must be some way to "flatten out" some of these rules and fold the cool concepts into existing rules mechanics.

I'll be interested to see what other systems people have tried. It's easy for us fans to say that a designer "got something wrong" but designing stuff that is going to be used by a bunch of people you never met is a tricky business. And designing fan material that is better than official designers is not as easy as it sounds. This sounds like an exciting challenge. :D
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Re: [Nithia] Broken rules in HWR2?

Postby Havard » Fri Oct 21, 2016 6:22 pm

I'm trying to work my way through these rules.

Limitations:

  • Illiteracy: Nithian characters must spend a skill slot in order to learn how to read and write. (This is a modification of the rule in the HW boxed set)
  • Armor Limitation (Level 1). Clerics, Fighters etc may not use any armor that gives an AC better than 5 (not including bonuses for Dex, magic or skills).
  • Cultural Weapons limitation: Nithians are limited to using the weapons associated with their culture.

All Nithian characters suffer from the following limitations due to their cultural bias. To compensate for these limitations they gain some benefits linked to their class (Class Specializations). A Nithian PC could overcome his cultural bias and leave his original culture behind, but doing so would also mean loosing those benefits.

Even including the limitations above, some of the benefits given in HWR2 seem too powerful to be balanced. Clerics and Fights could be allowed slightly more powerful advantages though since they are the ones most strongly penalized by the armor limitation.





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Re: [Nithia] Broken rules in HWR2?

Postby Havard » Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:32 pm

Class Specializations (Revised)
FIGHTER
  • Archer -- May never wear "full armor". May never use shields other than buckler, +2 to Attack and Damage with Bows. (Note: Changes only made to reduce unneccessary complexity)
  • Charioteer -- May attack and drive his chariot at the same time without penalites. Must spend skill slots to
  • Heavyman -- +2 to atk with all cultural Melee Weapons. +1 with thrown cultural weapons. -2 with other missile weapons. Must spend one Skill slot to gain the "Shield Back" Skill (HWA2).
  • Spearman -- +2 to attack and damage with all spears and javelins. May not use "Full Armor".
  • Runner -- Automatically succeed at Heat Exhaustion Checks in Combat. +2 to other Heat Exhaustion and Endurance Skill checks. +3 to first attack against an opponent. These bonuses only apply when Runner is unencumbered.
  • Khopesh -- +1 to attack, damage and AC when wielding a Khopesh. May use the Khopesh as a thrown weapon (rng 10/20/30).
  • War-Cleric -- These are listed under fighter, but it has to be a mistake. The description clearly says they are Clerics. I will adress them under Cleric specializations later.

Notes: For the most part, the changes I have made have been to simplify the rules. Simple bonuses instead of re-rolls, additional charts etc. Given the limitations mentioned in the post above, the Fighter specializations do not appear to be all that overpowered. In fact i am thinking about giving them some more benefits.




MAGIC USER
  • Mage-Scribe -- TBD
  • Monoth -- TBD
  • Templar -- TBD

CLERIC
  • Cleric of Horon -- TBD
  • Cleric of Ptahr -- TBD
  • Cleric of Pflarr -- TBD
  • Cleric of Ranivorus -- TBD
  • Cleric of Rathanos -- TBD
  • Cleric of Thanos -- TBD
  • Cleric of Isiris -- TBD
  • War-Cleric -- TBD - Note: War Cleric was listed under Fighter in HWA2 p 21, but the description makes clear that these are Clerics.

-Havard

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Re: [Nithia] Broken rules in HWR2?

Postby Havard » Sat Oct 22, 2016 10:35 pm

THIEF
  • Royal Seal Bearer -- Gains Disguise Skill for free. At 10th Level, these characters may magically polymorph himself into a small animal. Thief abilities are as one level higher in domestic/urban environment. Must spend 100 GP per circle to maintain status.
  • Lockmaster -- +10% to Open Locks, at 5th level may construct a "Flowkey" that allows opening magical locks and magical barriers. Use Open Locks ability -25%. Limitation: Lockmasters suffer a -1 penalty to all attack rolls.
  • Guardian -- +10% to Find Traps and Remove Traps. +1 to saves against harmful effects from traps. If there normally is no save, Guardians will get a save to avoid all damage from the trap.

-Havard

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Re: [Nithia] Broken rules in HWR2?

Postby Cthulhudrew » Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:51 pm

Interesting. The issues in HWR2 have long nagged at me, but I've never really gotten around to doing anything with/about them, but I like the idea of this thread. If I come up with something further, I will chime in.

BTW, to answer your earlier question, Bruce did indeed update the HWR2 Weapon Mastery tables in one of his Known World Grimoire articles (Dragon #182).
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Re: [Nithia] Broken rules in HWR2?

Postby Havard » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:12 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:Interesting. The issues in HWR2 have long nagged at me, but I've never really gotten around to doing anything with/about them, but I like the idea of this thread. If I come up with something further, I will chime in.

BTW, to answer your earlier question, Bruce did indeed update the HWR2 Weapon Mastery tables in one of his Known World Grimoire articles (Dragon #182).



Thank you!
I will probably do a second revision of these class specializations once I have done all of them. So far they actually seem under powered if you take into account the limitations linked to being a Nithian in the first place.

-Havard

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