Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kremm-Vs-Kremm; a separation not a divorce.

In T&T some of more persistent complaints has been the magical system.

Often it comes in the form of criticizing the various spell names, especially as they have occurred in previous editions of the game. Apparently the spell "Yassa Massa" itself is too racist a term for the Gygaxian crowd. That same crowd that defines entirely separate species as "races" and happened upon the "Dark Elf," which was an elf who was an elf, but evil because of the color of its skin and where it lived, away from sunlight where skin tones would actually become lighter-- but hey, let's not get cogent or anything. Lordheads know that the role-playing spells of "Charming" persons and monsters aren't about enslaving anybody, and any flippancy in the matter of subjecting someones freewill to yours was just juvenile. Then there was the camp that just thought that casting spells based off of a Attribute point system was simplistic. Indeed, spells, of a certain level, could be learned by the score, but only s few, maybe even only one, maybe as many as three, depending on how many spells the PC, rather player would "choose" (write down, in pencil, to erase, as needed, on his character sheet), that could be cast, at least in a 24-hour elapsed amount of time on the game table, as defined by the GM. If that last bit is starting to sound a little to over-thought, we are in agreement.

And there was the more specific crowd, who worried about T&T's main spell-casting attribute being Strength. Why they argued that every picture they ever saw of a real magic user, they should have said "magician," was of someone that was not built like Conan the Barbarian. And any mention of Zeus and Merlin being rather muscular, or at least endurable, would be countered by mentions of Gandalf, hidden behind so many robes (but wielding a sword to some effect) and a pointy hat. And these days, there is Harry Potter. But hey, it could be said that Ken St Andre's rule about Wizards being only able to carry smaller weapons (less than three six-sided dice worth of damage) supported these arguments-- which in my opinion is wrong and ill-thought in the first place. Still it was a popular point of contention, regardless of my thoughts on the matter.

So in the 7th edition and 5.5 edition of T&T, the solution of the magical Attribute was created. In 5.5 it was the POW Attribute, to be used instead of STR according to the real rules of the 5th edition. So solid a thought that a few thousand paper sets of rules ought to be published a few weeks before the 7th edition would come out, despite 30 years of obstinate silence before then. Now the 7th edition, at least as written by Ken St Andre, was a little cleverer. He came up with the Wizardry Attribute, which by itself was not that big of a deal-- WIZ was POW which had been STR, no deep thinking there. But not only was spell-casting constrained by the DEX and INT requirements, which was always the case in earlier editions, probably negating criticisms of "magic being too easy in T&T;" but the Kremm Vs Kremm rule came into existence.

Now for those of you around here that aren't in the Know of the latest and hippest T&T happenings, the
Kremm Vs Kremm rule states, "... a character with a lower (WIZ) score cannot cast normally cast spells directly upon beings with higher (WIZ) scores...". Not surprisingly, as with most decrees that Ken St Andre proclaims, the rule works. But in this case, only up until a certain point. I find it a little problematic at least in formatting my adventures for the group at the table in front of me when I run T&T.

Okay when a group of less than a handful of players and only one Wizard is rated at first level, it makes a lot of sense for that group to not challenge the group of the same number of hobgoblins and a goblin Wizard rated at third level. But, any GM or player who has read the rules can figure this out. I spent many a night staying awake, actually that would be Thursday AM, between 10am and noon, for me, staying awaking worrying about whether my opponents would over power my player-characters. And as willing as they were, the math could heavily outweigh any strategy that they could come up, outside of me mustering up a few "Wizardly" NPCs to help out. And in case anyone here reading this blog hasn't noticed, it's only kinky the first time. Yes gathering a platoon of magi is fun and can provide a few laughs, but not when the occurrence takes every other day of the week.

So then I'd add this or that artifact to help matters out, a Skull of the First Ork, a "major artifact," should certainly add a boost to any Attribute given right? But after about three sessions it became a little cardboard-based better suited for a video game. I mixed it up with level-based matrices and even more magical artifacts; but the truth was never far away.

The question was, could the Wizard every really challenge anything that he could not already beat? In play my solution was rather breath-taking. This in both terms as to the GM and the players, and it added a lot to campaign which was on-going in front of the both of us.

When my campaign's 10th level Wizard, G.- went up against a certain Balrog, named Dh....j'Q... , with a score of mini-Wizards, and his true friends; a sudden collapsing of the floor beneath the thirty-some odd Wizardlings,
would mean a sudden and unexpected 37 "power" point discrepancy for the heroes in the upcoming conflict. Of the four players at the table in front of me, I had only John that was reckoning what was happening around the PCs. And so when they came to the skeletal remains of the long lost Wizard-king Heraphous the following encounter would ensue :

"Make an SR, a "Saving Throw," on your WIZ score." I said.

"What Level?" Was John's, the Wizard's, question.

"Just roll your dice and add your Wizardry to it." I answered.

Now John rolled a "132" result (DARO Rules always rule, by the way).

Well, I've got "'129' and the group was engaged in 'Spectral combat.'"

Essentially I had the PC, in front of me make a SR versus his WIZ score and the opponent's(s). In short both opposing parts of the conflict had to roll over their opponent's WIZ score, using two six-sided dice and adding their respective Wizardry scores, as expressed on their character sheet. I could go so far as to say that having the Wizard and Rogue character roll above their target's WIZ score works as a drama-enhancing convention when it comes to T&T role-playing.

1 comment:

  1. I don't like the hard boundary rule for kremm vs. kremm either. Rolling SRs against each other as you describe is an easy solution and works a lot better imho.