Sunday, August 14, 2011

All is fair

One thing I have always disliked about games is that they treat player characters and monsters as separate entities, often with different set of rules. This makes it harder for players to play as monsters and it makes it harder for game masters to keep track of all the rules, unique abilities, traits, feats, skills and whatnot. What it does do successfully is streamline the introduction of disposable enemies.

Since I already knew the player class early levels by heart, but had little to no interest in the monster manual (up until the 'Tolkien campaign' I've mostly made my own monsters) and given the rather low amount of individual races Middle Earth had to offer, I've allowed each monster to have character classes. These came complete with feats, skills, abilities, and occasionally even prestige classes.

This means that the player characters stop being 'special' and become equal with everyone around them, they are no longer born heroes, 'chosen'. What does that mean? For starters, believability and immersion, a true sense of achievement when dispatching foes. Not everyone can be the son of a hero who's village has been burned down by orcs and who swore revenge, or the long lost heir to the throne, or chosen from birth to bear the mark of the winged ram et cetera ad infinitum. Fact is that most people in a fantasy world are average and must pay for their renown and abilities with blood, sweat and tears; characters and monsters included.

This of course means that monsters were given the same privileges as characters including house rules such as rolls for improbable events and rolls for uneccessary heroism. Most fights only had one or two particularly heroic npcs make these rolls (usually the last surviving one) as it would hardly seem plausible if a hoard of 50 goblins could each invoke the elements of fate and chance in combat. For the bulk of encounters it was assumed that the monsters had already used their rolls for the session before encountering the player characters.

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