July 18, 2012

Castle Vorndrang Introduction and House Rules

As I was working on section 1D (which is ready from a week but I'm waiting to publish) I decided it was time to write up some kind of introduction for the Dungeon of Doom, and to decide on the rules to use once and for all. Since I want this dungeon to be used in the widest possible range of situation and for the widest possible range of players (from the reckless noob to the experienced grognard), I think that straight By The Book Whitebox OD&D is the way to go. After all, I can definitely see me using its rules as a base to easily convert the game to other systems (like B/X, Second Edition AD&D or even Pathfinder). Thus, here is the short introduction and some of the House Rules I'm planning to use. Enjoy!
"In ages past Castle Vorndrang has been one of the most prominent bastions of the Dwarfkin in the wild north. Ruled by the Clan Vorndrang it prospered for a thousand years, enduring the raids of the dire Goblins and the uncountable perils of the Underworld. Then, a couple of centuries ago, it fell under mysterious forces. It is not clear if the doom of the Dwarfs came from their own greediness, or if the Witchking of the nearby Realm of Zarhad helped in some measure. What is certain is that the Gates of Vorndrang were firmly closed, not to be reopened again. Until now. Careless of whatever eldritch power lies behind this inexplicable event, hordes of reckless adventurers have rushed in the nearby town of Hazen Hollow, attracted by the legendary hoards that presumably await in the deep dungeons beneath the keep. The few who returned from Castle Vorndrang alive carried immeasurable treasures and tales of horrors beyond the human comprehension. It is now your turn to descend into the unknown, and meet your fortune (or your fate) down in the bowels of Castle Vorndrang."
Character Creation
  • Determine Abilities rolling 3d6 straight down the line, modifiers work as per the 3LBBs with the following exceptions and modifications:
    • STR > 14 is +1 To Hit and Damage for all;
    • WIS > 12 is 1st level spell for Clerics;
    • DEX > 14 is +1 To Hit (missiles) and +1 AC for all;
  • Class Fighting-man, Magic-user or Cleric, Race Human, Elf, Dwarf or Hobbit. Elves can be Fighting-men OR Magic-users, Dwarfs can be Fighting-men or Clerics, Hobbits must be Fighting-men.
  • Every character begins with 2d6x10 gp (Clerics must return unspent moneys to their church).
Roll 5+ on a 6-sided die to succeed in a skill-check. Racial modifiers, as well as heavy armor penalties apply according to the following table. Note that “armor penalty” only applies to regular armor, as magical ones are considered to be lighter and smoother.

Racial Modifier
Armor Penalty
Break doors/Lift bars
Climb rope
Find secret doors
Elves +2
Find traps*
Dwarves +2
Foraging and hunting
Elves +1
Halflings +2
Listen at doors
Humans -1
Move silently/Surprise
Halflings +1
Read maps
*This include locating slanting passages, new constructions underground, pits, etc.
**”No” if the helmet is removed.
Note that this skill system works more or less as the one detailed in Volume III, if a bit modified. With regard to armor penalty medium metal (chainmail) is -1, heavy metal (plate) is -2. I didn't take ability modifiers to skill checks for a more 0e feel (if you know what I mean).
Works as detailed in the 3LBBs with the following exceptions:
  • Maximum hp at 1st level. You can re-roll all of your HD at the start of every expedition.
  • Initiative is either à la 3rd Edition (without Dexterity modifier, players have the possibility to re-roll after having declared their action every round) or B/X, according to the pool of players.
  • If using d6 weapons, two-handed roll twice and go for the best but always act last no matter what initiative is rolled.
  • Fight with shield is +1 to AC, Fighting-men can fight with two weapons with +1 To Hit and Damage.
  • Knocked out at 0 hp, characters can go as negative as Level-1 before death. Magic-users and Clerics must roll against Intelligence/Wisdom if knocked out not to forget their spells.
  • Bind 1-4 wounds after each combat, or stabilize a fellow at 1 hp. Potions of healing restore from 0 hp (i.e. a character at -3 who drinks a Potion of Healing and rolls 4 on the die awaken with 5 hp).
  • Molotov cocktail: roll to hit, if miss roll d8 for random direction and d6x5' for random distance from the intended target, if critical miss (1 in 20) it blows up your face. d6 damage to target and d4 damage to anyone within 5'. Throw your lantern for d8/d6 damage.
As always, if you find anything wrong with my English just ask.


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