Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here's a rule I need to remember

"A character surprised by a monster may drop whatever he is holding –on a die roll of 6"
I just rediscovered this gem on page 10 of Doctor H’s All-Natural Health Tonic Elixir & Shoe Polish, more commonly known as Holmes Basic D&D. Being what it is, no rules are given for how long it takes to retrieve a dropped sword, torch, or map. Or rules for whether you need to make a roll just to find your sword in the underworld gloom. Or whether the torch sputters out or rolls away. Or rules for whether the map happened to land in a puddle and is now ruined. Which means I can be as mean-spirited about such details as my blackened little DM's heart desires. Huzzah!

Here’s a rule that I do remember and use regularly, from the same page:
"Many dungeons contain traps, such as trap doors in the floor. If a character passes over one a six-sided die is rolled; a roll of 1 or 2 indicates that the trap was sprung and he has fallen in, taking one or more 6-sided, dice of damage."
I like how the word "traps" is italicized, like it’s some foreign concept being introduced to the public for the first time. Maybe before Raiders of the Lost Ark people didn’t understand how dangerous it was to go into underground temples and steal golden idols? Professor Jones teaches us so many valuable life lessons. "Nazis. I hate these guys." being my personal favorite, and probably more widely applicable than "Don't look into the Ark of the Covenant."

On at least two runs of mine in the past six months an entire party successfully passed over a trapped area without setting it off. One time they even backtracked through the same square later during the adventure and the trap remained undisturbed. As much as it would have amused me to see one or more adventurers fall into that pit, I also really dig knowing how oblivious they were to the danger. It's my little secret.

Here's one last Holmes quote:
"MELEE RESOLUTION -- CONQUER, WITHDRAW, SURRENDER OR DIE!"
That's got to be one of the coolest section titles ever.