Thursday, February 20, 2014

OSR Creature/Encounter Specs

In this post, Wayne Rossi proposes the idea that OSR modules should adopt a relatively standard stat line for creatures, based on a synthesis of the best parts of the existing corpus of adventures. I won't reblog his full proposal, but in essence, he would have creatures (taken from his original post) listed in an encounter as:
Orcs (4) - AC 6, MV 90', Dx 8, HD 1, hp 5,4,3,2, #AT 1, D 1-6, Save F1, ML 8
Black Widow Spider (1) - AC 6, MV 60' (in web 120'), Dx 15, HD 3*, hp 13, #AT 1, D 2-12, SA poison, Save F2, ML 8
This should be pretty self-explanatory and familiar to anyone who has played a pre-3e version of D&D with the exception of Dx (dexterity, useful for breaking ties in initiative, retrofitting "touch AC" or other purposes) and "ML", or Morale Level, which only exists in some variants of OSR D&D. The idea is, throw 2d6 for ML or less to stay in the fight. An ML 7 has an average chance to stick around, whereas an ML 12 will fight to the death.

Wayne also proposes an INT listing, which I wholeheartedly endorse. I'd like to see a switch to modern dice notation also (so 2-12 becomes 2d6, for example), but I digress.

The ML stat gives me an idea for one additional stat that would not be part of the raw creature description, but would be part of the stat block for the encounter:

MO (Motive) - one of "Guard", "Defend", "Explore", "Rest"

Guard - The creature(s) are screening access to some nearby location.
Tactics - Stand and fight. Send one creature to warn the location if the players are winning.
Defend - The creature(s) are inside of a camp of some sort
Tactics - The creatures will not intentionally abandon their camp.
Explore - The creature(s) are investigating the location
Tactics - Fight until 1/2 are wounded or killed, then attempt to disengage
Rest - The creature(s) have set up camp and are unprepared to fight
Tactics - Will count as surprised for 1-3 rounds, then will Defend.

In all motives, a morale failure will result in the creatures fleeing as usual.