On Mechanics, Collected!

It's a pretty wonderful time to be a gamer.

Problems. Some things come up again and again. Sometimes those problems become solved. I'd figure I'd collate some of the brilliant fixes to classic problems that the OSR hivemind has produced in the last month. All credit goes to these brilliant minds. I am simply paraphrasing these rules with links for the edification of my readers.

If only we could send these insights back in time to the genesis of the hobby!

Climbing on Large creatures.

Large creatures have damage resistance to attacks based on their size, reducing 5 points of damage for every size category over medium size. Each time you successfully climb on the creature, you remove five points of damage protection. Rule by Scrap Princess

Zak's Modification. Each time you successfully climb on a large creature you receive a +2 to hit and damage.

Climbing is a Strength or Dexterity check. In Pathfinder, it is likely a climb check versus the combat maneuver defense.

Mass Battle Simulator 

This elegant mechanic simulates attempting to cross a dangerous chaotic battlefield.

There is an encounter table. The players have a goal. The length of time it takes to resolve the first encounter is the number of encounters the players must pass to achieve their goal. It is also the modifier to the roll to determine the next encounter. Details and the step by step process are at Across the Moshpit, by Zak S at his blog D&D with Pornstars.

Dynamic Sandbox Encounters

This gem comes to us from Eric Treasure from The Dragon's Flagon, a blog I was happy to find. There's some good stuff there.

One of the nice things about OSR play is the lack of complexity as well as the impartiality of the Dungeon Master. How to use this in the context of sandbox encounters?

Each encounter is assigned a die type according to its volatility. Large dice for situations that are very stable and small dice for volatile situations. Roll the die after time has passed. A minimum result means the situation gets much worse, where a maximum result means that it moves on its own towards resolution. A result one less then the minimum or maximum result causes the same effect to a lesser degree. Read about Lines in the Water at The Dragon's Flagon

Upgrading Megadungeon Towns

So, the players keep dumping gold into the local economy. How does this affect the town? The Dungeon Fantastic has the answer!

Set thresholds for services and goods. For every set value of coin the players spend in town, move the category threshold up by one. For example on 2d6, you might need a 15 for a level 5 cleric spell, and a 12 for a magic item, and 9 for potions. After the players spend 20,000 gold, the categories are all shifted, requiring a 12 for whatever cleric spell they are looking for and a 9 for magic items. Read more about Player Impact on the Megadungeon Town at The Dungeon Fantastic


  1. I like the thought put into climbing on monsters. Ever since seeing it in Dragon's Dogma, I've been wondering why it isn't done more in RPGs.

  2. Thank you for this post, -C. I've been feeling completely drained lately. These posts are superb, and I feel reinvigorated from having read them.

  3. Now I want to climb on large animals.

  4. I'm glad you liked that idea - and your example is a good one. I'm doing it primarily with gear, but it makes perfecf sense with spells, especially for D&D. Level caps until X is spent, the town is too small for a Raise Dead casting cleric to be posted there until you spend Y, and once you spend Z alchemists start stocking healing potions in anticipation of sales and the price drops a little from competition.

    And thanks for the link. It's pretty amusing for a GURPS 4th edition blog to be thrown in with the "OSR hivemind." Heh.

    1. The Fantasy Trip (Chainmail to GURPS) was published first in 1980, collecting the core books being published in 1977 and 78 with additional information.

      The revised broad version know as GURPS was published in 1986. GURPS has more of a claim to be part of the OSR hivemind then many other projects.


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