Friday, September 05, 2014

Microlite 20 Dark•Heritage revisions

I've released a new version of the m20 DARK•HERITAGE rules.  You can download the 27 page pdf on the DARK•HERITAGE page of this blog, clicking on the m20 logo on the side (it looks like a d20 landed on 20), or by simply following this link.  I've actually shortened the document slightly (although some of that may be due to formatting.)  The following bullet list summarizes the changes made:

  • Sorcerer class was removed entirely.  Instead, I've added the Expert Class (which I already used in my m20 STAR WARS game, with "fantasy-ed up" affinities replacing some of the sci-fi ones.
  • Magic is now available to anyone of any class who chooses to learn spells.  This format was borrowed more or less as is from the d20 Call of Cthulhu book, and it works very much the same way, although spells still have levels, because it's easier to do it that way then to customize the Sanity cost of each individual spell.  This means that "eldritch tomes" like The Necronomicon or The Book of Eibon had to be introduced overtly into the game rules.  That's not a bad thing at all.  The game retains it's "swashbuckling horror" vibe.  PCs can, of course, choose to forego magic altogether.  It's a much more cautious and sensible approach, in many ways.
  • Fixed the ranges on ranged weapons.  Reading through them, it struck me how ridiculously short the ranges were in the prior version.
  • Improved the use of Heroism points.  They were practically useless as they were at lower levels.
  • Removed a small handful of spells and monsters that felt "too D&D" to fit the DARK•HERITAGE milieu.
These changes, other than the fairly significant upheaval in how magic works and the class associated with it (or not, as the case now is) don't change the game all that much.  For those who pay attention to that kind of thing, I consider it a revision, not a "new edition."  The previous changes I've made would be considered minor errata, not worth even a full decimal point; this revision would make it m20 DARK•HERITAGE v. 1.1.  I've fixed a few minor typographical errors and other changes, and for version control, I'm adding them as a second decimal point.  As of this typing, we're actually on version 1.1.4.  I don't anticipate that it would ever roll all the way to 2.0, and unless I think of something significant to change, I don't even anticipate a revision to 1.2.

A few developer comments on the changes.

The Heroism point change (and the ranged weapon change) make combat a little bit more effective and swashbuckling in feel.  On the other hand, the elimination of the sorcerer class and the adoption of a Cthulhu-like magic make magic less predictable and therefore a little bit scarier.  That said, for folks who like playing sorcerers, an Expert with a jacked up MND score (therefore, a nephilim would be best from a stat perspective) and the Sorcery affinity (maybe even taken more than once) is arguably actually better at casting spells than the Sorcerer would have been.  However, depending on your GM, you don't know for sure what spells you'll have in your repertoire.  It's not as simple as always counting on having magic missile or whatever, as you would in D&D--you may end up with an odd and eclectic spell list.

Anyway, check it out.  The entire document is only 27 pages (and that includes a page of OGL, a page of character sheet, a table of contents, a title page, and 3-4 pages of "discussion"--the rules themselves are fairly short.)  I'm always curious about feedback.

1 comment:

Joshua Dyal said...

Although the file itself is 27 pages, I've done a little looking. The first two pages are title page and table of contents. The last two pages are character sheet and OGL. That means that it's really only 23 pages long. A little over two pages is introduction and rambly noodling over theory, and the last page only has a few lines on it. That means that the entire rule-set, including spell and monster list, is only 21 pages, really.

And yet... I feel like the game is really and truly complete. You don't need anything else to play (other than dice and a group, of course) with just those rules.

Of course, tactical players and chargen gearheads won't find this attractive, but I'm creating a ruleset that works for me, and neither of those styles really plays to me.