So, I hate using the term "old school" as it just evokes a somewhat grognardian outlook on RPGin' that I just want to avoid if at all possible. BUT, that said, I love the idea of the "old school" dungeon and systems. I know, I know, I'm a hypocrite. This is one of the reasons that I love Fourthcore and Goodman Games circa 3.X (sadly their 4e stuff just wasn't able to really give that feel very well, despite some great ideas.) Goodman Games has a game system coming out in early 2012 called Dungeon Crawl Classics that is inspired heavily from older editions of D&D that I am beyond looking forward to. At FreeRPG Day this year I happened to pick up their supplement and have been inspired and left wanting since first reading it. And then WotC released in Dragon 403 an interesting article entitled Heroes' First Steps which entails rules for creating level-0 characters within the 4e rule-set. Awesome, right? Now, I've yet to give the rules a shot and as a result am going to withhold passing judgment until then.
But, now that we have moved passed the above text-wall, down to my idea: "old school" style deadly dungeon crawl with 4e level-0 characters.
Now, in terms of making it as "old school" as possible, I'd like to employ a bit of randomness to it (though not with ability score generation as that's something I am thrilled is not in common use any longer.)
Here's what I am thinking:
Power Source: Roll a 1d6 to determine power source.
Race: Roll a 1d10 to determine race. (Sticking with just Essentials races for simplicity, love it or hate it.)
Ability Scores: Either pick the Promising or Prodigy array.
- Promising (14,14,12,10,10,10)
- Prodigy (16,12,12,10,10,8)
Skills, Feats, Equipment, Defenses, Hit Points, etc: As per the Dragon 403 article.
Each player would play 3-4 randomly generated characters in a puzzle (and occasionally combat-heavy dungeon) that is specifically designed to leave each player, if they are lucky, with 1-2 characters apiece with the possibility of leveling up to 1 (and then followed by a deadly dungeon meant to weed them down to 1 apiece, again, if they are lucky.) The crucial focus here is on the difficulty and deadly puzzles ala the original Tomb of Horrors and its ilk.
What's the verdict on this crazy/deadly/evil idea? Thoughts on building deadly puzzles, traps, and encounters for a level-0 dungeon crawl?
Until next time,