Introducing myself, and a thought
I heard about Old School Hack on the Accidental Survivors Podcast. I really enjoyed reading the game. I had more fun reading it than I had in reading any other rulebook, ever. It's sublime. I hope to run a session at some point.
I have an idea for the game. I'm not sure everyone will like it, but, here goes: I enjoy random generators of all sorts of things and I think this would work very well with Old School Hack. One of the things Kirin talks about as being a strength of the game is how it can be played on the fly. Random generators could help. The next version or expansion of the game could maybe provide lists of random: downtime/traveling encounters, treasure generators (could be finding an encrypted note), monster generators, etc. This could fit onto 1-2 pages. It would be great for creating everything for adventure seeds to humorous distractions, depending on the mood of the players or the GM. They could be taken seriously or lightly.
Old School Hack already has a list of personal backgrounds, which I like very much. They are not too specific but each has flavor. This is key for a random generator. I think the type of generators I'm talking about would have to be longer lists to keep the sense mystery and fun.
Thanks for reading.
Uh, and I just saw the random monster generator on the forum three or four below my post. You guys are awesome. Still, it might be good in print, complied in one place. I only play canonical Old School Hack, haha.
I actually think the random "Adventuring Goals" list is way too generic and could use a lot of work. I tend to make customized ones that push the adventure I'm interested in running, throwing out fun specific names, places, and other hooks.
Hopefully after GenCon I'll get back deep into the swing of things, compiling the starter adventure and other good stuff, as well as starting more intense work on the Heroic Game.
"I actually think the random "Adventuring Goals" list is way too generic and could use a lot of work. I tend to make customized ones that push the adventure I'm interested in running, throwing out fun specific names, places, and other hooks."
Really? I disagree. I like the adventure hooks as is. The problem with randomness is that it isn't smart, as we humans are. You'll never be able to do any good piece of work using randomness without a prodigious amount of luck, and this applies to backstories and RPG plots. Virtually all that randomness is good for, in general, is to kick-start our creativity. Make the tables too specific, and creativity suffers.
How I visualise the "Adventuring Goals" table being used is that after the roll, the GM and player would talk a little (not too much, maybe about a minute or two) about the way that the result could be interpreted. This would allow for some more player control (if I read the rules and APs correctly, player control is one of the key features of this game), and keep the generic part of the game.
For example: Player rolls a 7.
GM: A dangerous person in power must be stopped, and you're the one to do it, eh? How about you have to stop Archmage Zagyg, counsellor to the king?
Player: Cool, and I could be one of his bodyguards.
GM: No, that would be too simple. Can you think of anything else?
Player: Oh, I know! I'm his disinherited son.
GM: Better. All right, all you know is that Zagyg is up to something really nasty. Your mother...
And so on.
What do you think?
It's actually quite pleasing that the rules work for you as-is. Obviously the more quirky little specificities you can work into an AG the better, and I find randomly-generated ones to be a wonderful tool for when it's tough to come up with more spontaneously-generated ones, and they do add that fun little "roll a dice, get a surprise!" element which is a great part of old-school gaming. If a player just wants "to seek Fame & Fortune" as an Adventuring Goal, the first thing a GM should ask is, "Why?" and the next should be "How?"
I usually pitch it like this:
"Okay, next up everyone should decide on an adventuring goal, something that helps define why you've decided to risk life and limb and poverty to go out adventuring. It's great if it's a reasonably feasible goal you can progress towards, but don't let that inhibit you."
"If you can't think of anything, you can also roll randomly and I'll shoot one your way, which you can choose to use if you want or at least use to give you a sense of scope for tweaking or making up your own. Or even just roll again."
I think it's quite important that players completely own and embrace their character's adventuring goal, so final say really is in their court. Of course, sometimes players pick Adventuring Goals that are just too absurd, vague or non-engaging on any level or are somehow actively damaging to the collaborative spirit; it's hopeful that you or other players will see this and pressure for something different and more manageable.
Some OSH DMs enjoy the mental and creative exercise of forming an adventure completely on the spot out of the character's Adventuring Goals. This is laudable, but not for everyone - though it's rather crucially encouraged that DMs at least figure out ways to "touch on" the adventuring goals as much as possible - so for those wanting to do a little pre-prep, I think it's certainly handy to figure out ways to integrate with the Adventure Goal creation process.
As a DM I love scene-setting and I want to bring the players into the Adventure Authorship that I'm wanting to bring to the game, and I can do it by encouraging or asking players to insert bits & pieces that I've either come up with or cribbed from inspirations & stories. So I might do a quick "adventure pitch" before the Adventure Goal choosing to give people a sense of placement, or I might have a custom Adventure Goal generation list with Adventure-specific hooks that people can work off of.
So for instance, a peek into my Starter Adventure Notes:
Twelve Reasons You Might Be After the Wondrous Rod of Zehir
You've heard the Rod has "Stiffness Restorative" properties and you're eager to get that pesky problem fixed.
You have a sibling in the Misbegotten Cult and here's your opportunity to really show them up.
Zehir the Magnificent was a family ancestor and darned if you're not going to live up to the legacy.
Your father was once a prisoner in the Despondent Citadel and for four long years he kept the family keepsake hidden up his (whistle) only to lose it shortly before release.
You are a collector of fangs and come from a long and proud line of fang necklace-makers.
A purveyor of Miystical Antiques once told you that hidden inside the Rod of Zehir is a formula for the true secret of Transmutation.
The demon Tootholyx lies imprisoned beneath the Despondent Citadel and he has sworn undying enmity to your family line, so better go make sure he's good and locked up.
Engraved on your weapon are the words, "Through Bravery in the Face of the Despondent Circle will true Mastery Come".
The Assassin that murdered your mentor has taken up with the cult and fled into the Valley with them in pursuit of the Rod.
You've heard the Broken Fang wolves are the fiercest in the land and how awesome would it be to have a pet wolf?
That girl/boy that you TOTALLY HAVE A CRUSH ON is next up on the Misbegotten Cult's portable sacrifice list.
If anyone managed to clean out the Despondent Citadel it would make the IDEAL go-to location for a profitable Adventurer's Tavern.
Just coming up with this list is basically the same as writing an adventure! An added bonus:
Ten Things that Might Happen to Someone if you point the Rod of Zehir at them and say "FZOOT":
(warning, totally gonzo)
Transforms into a small and hopefully ridiculous animal.
Disintegrates the hell out of them.
Enlarges them into Bigness.
Not just enlarges, but Ogrifies.
Turn them "Sticky". Everything sticks to them, or they stick to everything.
Melt them into gelatinous, boneless, but still somewhat mobile "goo".
Opens a gate into the Void, or the Abyss, or some other horrible place. Either explodifying them or casting them into, depending on narrative value.
EnDwarfens. Haha. "Happy Juice" from having been turned into a dwarf?
Duplicates the person, both duplicates are at half size.
Automatically sacrifices them to the demon Tootholyx, most likely summoning him in the process.
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