Chapter 8: Equipping for Adventure

Old School Revival at its best?

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Blacky the Blackball
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Chapter 8: Equipping for Adventure

Post by Blacky the Blackball » Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:12 am

Well, There's been a bit of a delay, since I had family come to stay and then had a major deadline at work that required me to work in the evenings... but I'm now back in the swing of things and I've nearly finished Chapter 8.

I started off with money - hence my posting about coin sizes - and then quickly went on to equipment lists.

There's nothing controversial in this chapter so far - unless you count me adding "Donkey" to the list of pack animals!

I'm not sure how far to go with this chapter, though. So far, I've planned it as follows (starting with the stuff a first level character might want to buy, and moving steadily upwards) :
  • Mundane Equipment
  • Weapons
  • Armour
  • Pack and Riding Animals (plus tack and carts and so forth)
  • Ships (plus booking passage on ships)
  • Services and workers (starting with ship's crew, going on to scribes, castellans, mercenaries, etc.)
  • Buildings (Castles, temples, and so on)
  • Siege Weaponry
So far, I've done as far as animals and I'm about to start ships.

Does it seem sensible putting all that in this chapter? Or would you expect buildings and workers to be in the Dominions chapter (which is where the RC puts them)?

On the one hand, building costs won't be relevant until characters are setting up dominions, but in the other hand putting them here means that there's a single place to go if you want to look at buying things...
Last edited by Blacky the Blackball on Fri Apr 23, 2010 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Dark Dungeons] - Chapter 8: Equipping for Adventure

Post by Ashtagon » Wed Oct 14, 2009 11:02 am

It seems to me there are three distinct categories of equipment, each of which either arguably belongs in its own chapter or as part of anotehr themed chapter.

Personal Equipment
* Mundane Equipment
* Weapons
* Armour

The Traveller
* Pack and Riding Animals (plus tack and carts and so forth)
* Ships (plus booking passage on ships)
* Services and workers (starting with ship's crew, going on to scribes, castellans, mercenaries, etc.)

The Ruler
* Buildings (Castles, temples, and so on)
* Siege Weaponry
* Services and workers (again, but focusing on different occupations)
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Re: [Dark Dungeons] - Chapter 8: Equipping for Adventure

Post by Blacky the Blackball » Wed Oct 21, 2009 11:09 am

I've nearly finished this chapter now.

For the moment I'm keeping it all in one chapter - mainly because the other chapters that I might put stuff in haven't been written yet!

Anyway, I've now finished the costs and descriptions of: basic equipment, weapons, armour, pack and riding animals, land transport, ships and boats, buildings and fortifications, hirelings, and mercenaries.

All I've got left to put in is miscellaneous services and siege weaponry.

The rules for hirelings (hired low level NPCs to come on an adventure and act as porters and help out in combat) were strangely incomplete in the RC. It says that they get paid a fixed sum rather than expecting treasure, and says that they should be about half the level of the hiring party. Then it says to see the chapter on treasure for more details.

But nowhere does it give even a vague indication of how much they should be paid - and the treasure chapter doesn't actually give any more details other than to suggest that if a hireling is ordered to test a magic item to see if it is cursed, then the hireling will expect to keep said item.

I've filled in some of the blanks. Firstly I think that the hireling rules are held over from the old B/X sets and failed to take into account higher level characters,so I've said that the "half the party's level" is up to a maximum of 5th level. It seems silly that a 24th level party would be hiring 12th level hirelings - those hirelings would have their own adventuring careers by that point!

Secondly I've actually provided some costs. To balance things out, I've set the cost for hiring someone to be a tenth of the total XP they would need for next level, so for example a 3rd level fighter needs a total of 8,000xp to reach 4th level - so will cost 800gp to hire. Similarly a 1st level thief needs a total of 1,200xp to reach second level - so will cost 120gp to hire. I've put these costs in a table so that they don't have to be worked out each time, and included a 50gp cost for hiring a commoner.

The bit I'm stuck on at the moment is for hiring spellcasters. Since the RC rules don't (generally - there are one or two exceptions) have spell components or xp costs for casting, it isn't exactly a lot of work for a caster to cast a spell. Basically you're only paying for a minute of someone's time.

On the one hand, I could see magic-users not wanting to be constantly disturbed by people asking for spells - so I could imagine them setting prices high to discourage being disturbed unless they get decent compensation for it.

But on the other hand, clerics are there to serve their communities for the glory - and promotion - of their religion. It seems strange that a cleric would, for example, stick a large price on a Raise Dead spell for any reason other than an arbitrary "game balance". Unlike later editions, it doesn't cost the cleric anything to raise someone other than a minute of their time. There's no "5,000gp worth of diamond dust" or anything. Basically, if the cleric can cast the spell, then they've nothing to lose by raising as many people as they can and everything to gain in terms of popularity and public support. After all, if the cleric doesn't raise someone, they're just wasting the spell slot for the day.

So I find it hard to justify inventing a large price-tag for clerical spells. It seems more realistic that there might be a waiting list sometimes, but only the most die-hard mercenary of a cleric is going to price themselves out of reach of peasants; whether for casting a Cure Light Wounds on little Jimmy's broken arm or casting a Raise Dead on thatcher Bob who's fallen from the roof and broken his neck.

Of course, the really interesting bit is when there has been a goblin attack and there were 17 people killed in it - but the local cleric is only 10th level and can therefore only raise one per day and only if they've been dead for 12 days or less. Five of those people aren't going to get raised, and someone has to decide which five. That's hard enough in itself, and I don't think any amount of money is going to let a wandering adventuring party push in front of the queue and get their party member raised at the expense of another one of the locals...

Thoughts, anyone?
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Re: [Dark Dungeons] - Chapter 8: Equipping for Adventure

Post by dulsi » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:17 pm

I've generally assumed that clerics wouldn't normally want to raise the dead. Yes it increases the number of followers but death is part of the natural order disrupting it is not to be taken lightly. The quality of the followers is not the same. Gods want true believers not those who follow simply because of the benefits it gives them. I also generally assume 10th+ level clerics are in low supply.
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Re: [Dark Dungeons] - Chapter 8: Equipping for Adventure

Post by Ashtagon » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:29 pm

Perhaps a soul, once raised, can never again provide the metaphysical energy that deities need to survive. As such, deities will be reluctant to allow mass raising of the dead, and instead reserve it for those individuals who can give them a long-term advantage.
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Re: [Dark Dungeons] - Chapter 8: Equipping for Adventure

Post by Blacky the Blackball » Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:07 pm

That's interesting. I was expecting suggestions about how to make rules around the fact that clerics are likely to cast spells for free, but both of you responded with suggestions for how to avoid the issue of clerics raising people for free rather than how to deal with it in game mechanics terms...

Well, here's what I've currently ended up with in terms of buying the services of a spellcaster:
Spellcaster for Single Spell: Sometimes a character doesn’t need to employ a spellcaster over a long term. They simply need a single spell cast, whether it is to identify a magic item or to raise a dead companion back to life.

The issues involved in this vary depending on the type of caster. Magic-users and elves tend to set artificially high prices in order to not be constantly disturbed with petty requests. Generally, this will be a cost of 10gp/caster level for each consultation (whether that results in a spell being cast or not). Druids set similar prices, but will generally be interested in an equivalent value of goods, since they have little use for money.

Clerics, on the other hand, vary tremendously. While some secretive cults will simply refuse to cast spells for outsiders (or will only do so if paid in a similar manner to magic-users), the clerics of most mainstream religions are dedicated to good works and spreading the popularity of their religion. As such, they will generally cast spells for free, especially if it is for something they consider to be a good cause.

However, the problem in this case is availability rather than cost—particularly for healing (and raising) clerical spells or others that would compete for the same spell slots. There may be a waiting list for such spells, as locals also need them. A few clerics may accept a bribe to push adventurers to the front of the queue, but most will not since their own lay members and followers come first.

When trying to get a spell cast by a mainstream cleric, roll 1d8 and consult the list below:

2 or less = Spell is available immediately.

3-4 = Spell is used up or not learned, but will be available the following day.

5-6 = There is a queue of people wanting the spell. It will be available after 1d6 days.

7-8 = There is a long queue of people wanting the spell. It will be available after 3d6 days.

9 or more = There is no cleric who can (or is willing to) cast the spell at this time.

Most of the time, the size of the temple or chapel will not affect the roll, since larger temples have more (and higher level) clerics but also serve greater numbers of lay worshippers. However, if there is a particular reason for a high level cleric to be in a small temple, the roll should get a –1 bonus; and if there is a particular reason for a large temple to have a shortage of high level clerics then the roll should get a +1 penalty. Similarly, if the desired spell is 2nd level or less the roll should get a –1 bonus and if the desired spell is 5th level or higher the roll should get a +1 penalty.
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Re: [Dark Dungeons] - Chapter 8: Equipping for Adventure

Post by Blacky the Blackball » Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:46 pm

Finished - and uploaded for your pleasure (along with the latest revision of all the earlier chapters) at the Wiki...
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