Saturday, October 24, 2015

Notes on OD&D - Part 5

Onward with my reading of OD&D.  Let's dig right in.  (Oh, and if you are reading these on your smart phone, try turning it sideways; it will be easier to read).

Men & Magic
  • p13 - Non-Player Characters continued
    • Capture of Non-Player Monsters
      • Morale dice can cause a man or intelligent monster to be subdued or enter the service the player characters, provided they can speak the same language.  They will not need morale checks "for a time", and such monsters are salable (more about this in Volume III).  
    • Loyalty of Non-Player Characters (Including Monsters)
      • Elves and Dwarves will serve with "relative loyalty" if they receive their pay regularly, and are treated reasonably. Bonuses will be expected for hazardous duty.  When first accepting such service the GM will roll to determine how loyal retainers are, taking into account Charisma and the amount of payment being offered. 3d6 are rolled.
      • The players are not to be informed of the loyalty score.
        • Loyalty Score   Morale
          • 3 or less = Will desert at first opportunity
          • 4-6 = -2 on morale dice
          • 7-8 = -1 on morale dice
          • 9-12 = Average on moral dice
          • 13-14 = +1 on moral dice
          • 15-18 = +2 on moral dice
          • 19 and above = Never need check morale
      • Moral for NPCs is checked when highly dangerous or unnerving situations arise, using the above table, or the reaction table from Chainmail.
      • Periodic checks should be made with bonuses and minuses based on length of service, rewards, and treatment. 
    • Relatives 
      • One relative can be designated by the Player for the Player Character's inheritance if the character should disappear without death being positively established for one game month (or whatever timespan the GM decides).
      • Should inheritance come into play a 10% tax must be paid on all goods and monies. 
      • The relative starts at the lowest level of the class he opts for, but gets the advantage of starting with whatever equipment and money has been inherited.  
      • Note:  I do not think this means that the relative can be played by the Player whose character has been lost, but rather acts as an NPC.  However, I can't quite be sure of that as the phraseology is a bit ambiguous on this point.  It may be that the relative is played by the player who lost their previous character.
      • If the original character should show up again, they can reclaim their inheritance (Referee's option as to the willingness of the relative to return the inheritance) , but pay another 10% tax on it to regain ownership.  The relative may be allowed to stay on as an NPC at the GM's discretion.  Such a relative would be at a lower loyalty (0 to -6) and potentially plot to regain possession of the inheritance.  
      • Characters without a relative will lose all their possessions should they dissappear and not return before the specified time period for that society / kingdom which is used to establish "death".
      • Overall, the Relatives rule is very interesting.  We have to assume that it served a purpose, but I'm not really sure what the purpose is.  If we think, again, in terms of a military wargame where armies are in play, and characters are more or less considered highly individualized "Pieces" on the board, then perhaps it makes sense that a "disappeared" character can still provide his team / army with men, money and equipment to continue the overall fight.  One wonders, in fact, what a "disappearence" actually entailed.  My guess is that the game was divided into two parts.  The wargame board game style with armies, and then more individualized games where the primary or most powerful characters went on dungeon adventures ... in which they might vanish and/or be captured.  If so then the "upper level" game could still go on, and this would lend continuity to the larger scale battle above ground.  This of course is just a hunch, and there is not evidence to indicate this is true in the book thus far.  However, at least it would make sense and explain why this rule exists and what it was intended for.
    • BASIC EQUIPMENT AND COSTS
      • The selection of items is strictly up to the players.  
      • Costs are in Gold Pieces.
      • Players may buy and sell items to one another, in which case Gold and items will be transferred from one character to another.
  • p14 - Equipment List 
    • A general list of items, including weapons, armor and equipment follows along with the cost in Gold Pieces.  Some examples:
      • Dagger ... 3
      • Hand Axe... 3
      • Sword... 10
      • Morning Star... 6
      • Haliberd... 7
      • Two Handed Sword... 15
      • Long bow... 40
      • Quiver of 20 Arrows... 10
      • Draft Horse... 30
      • Light Horse... 40
      • Warhorse, Medium... 100
      • Warhorse, Heavy... 200
      • Cart... 100
      • Small Merchant Ship... 5000
      • Large Merchant Ship... 20000
      • Leather Armor... 15
      • Chain Mail... 30
      • Plate Mail... 50
      • Helmet... 10
      • Shield... 10
      • 6 Torches... 1
      • Lantern...10
      • Flask and Oil...2
      • Wooden Cross... 2
      • Silver Cross...25
      • Holy Water / Vial ... 25
      • Belladonna, bunch... 10
      • Iron Rations (for dungeon expedition) 1 person / 1 week ... 15
    • "Other items cost may be calculated by comparing to similar items listed above"
    • One might note that some of these prices seem rather askew in terms of actual value.  For example, I would have to seriously question how it's possible for leather armor to cost 15, and Plate Mail to only cost 50.  Or a Horse only cost 30, and a Heavy Warhorse 200.  But then again, I suppose that maybe it is simply my impression that one would find far greater disparity of prices in the medieval world than these.  It is possible, I'm sure, that the price disparities we find in the modern world would seem outrageous to our forebears, and that this list of relative prices would seem reasonable to them.  Hard to say.  But to my eye, some of the items on this list seem either too expensive or too cheap by far.  For example again, 6 torches costing 1 Gold Piece?  Gold?  Really?  That's a LOT of money for six torches, given that one ounce of gold has historically been valued as the price for a noble man's suit of cloths.   So it seems six torches would not be a valid relative value.
    • I have always found these equipment lists in OD&D to be magical for some reason.  Even to this day it reminds me of that magical feeling ... one of amazing magical potential for characters in a fantasy world.  I can't really explain this feeling, but it is definitely magical in nature and strongly associated to the Men & Magic booklet.
Ok, that's all I have time for today.

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