Friday, October 16, 2009

The Land of Two Rivers - General Concepts

More musings for me, but I'll put them here for general comment. These are basic concepts I'll be plugging into my Tombs of Hulkursag, to introduce my Mesopotamian-based setting. This is Swords & Wizardry we're talking about (Core/Whitebox - if values or something differs, I'll mark Core rules prefixed by C: and Whitebox prefixed by WB:)

Classes -

Cleric and Fighting Man are the primary classes. Magic Users are seen as in league with the demons or the dark waters under the world. Elves are a type of human, albiet with strange attitudes and powers. Dwarfs are similar, but from the hills and mountains.

Equipment / Weapons / Armor

Economy is "based" on grain and silver. A silver "talent" is a measure of silver - everything is expressed in "s". The "currency" is silver nuggets, rings, "pieces" (think like nuggets but shaped), spheres. The silver is measured. Grains, items are traded either by their weight or their worth in silver. Copper is a less valuable metal, but is also used.

Metal items are rare and expensive. Most items are stone, clay or wood.

Armor available: Leather -2[+2], Cloth/Padded, -1[+1], Wood shield -1[+1], Leather cap

Armor less available or very expensive: Copper Ring -3[+3], Metal helmet, Metal "plated" armor -4[+4], Breast plate (adds +1 to Leather or Cloth, or is just -1[+1])

Weapons readily available: Club, Hammer (stone head C:1d4 WB:1d6-1), Hand axe (stone head 1d6-1), Light Mace (stone head C:1d4, WB:1d6-1), Spear (stone head), Staff, Short Bow/arrows, Javelin, Sling

Idea is that the stone items don't do as much damage.

Metal Weapons, less readily available, but no reduced damage: Hand axe with copper head, Penetrating Axe with copper head (use Battleaxe stats) Maces with copper head, copper dagger, copper short sword, copper sickle sword (1d6+1 Core, 1d6 W/B)

Bronze swords are considered +1 weapons. These are extremely rare.

Cleric spells/Magic User spells - more to come on this, as the cleric is going to be the "magic heavy".


Anonymous said...

Great stuff so far. Looking forward to more!

Rod said...

Nice. Don't know if you're still looking for books to research this project, but if you are then "Ancient Mesopotamia" by Leo Oppenheim is an interesting read. A classic D&D backstory:

"...real prosperity came to a Mesopotamian city only when it had in its midst the palace of a victorious king . . . . The sanctuaries then grew rich, were sumptuously decorated, and received grants in land and workers . . . . From this affluence they relapsed into a drab and wretched existence, the people living among ruins, the sanctuaries dilapidated, and the city walls crumbling. Debt-ridden, in the hands of rapacious administrators, the inhabitants were an easy prey for invading enemies and the raids of those who lived in the open country."

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Rod - I have a whole ton of books on on auto-request; that is one of them. I've not been able to get it thru the library yet.

Bard said...

Ancient Mesopotami IS D&D. Period. :-)

After about ten years of hiatus a started DMing, and my core world is based on ancient Mesopotamia, so I'm looking forward to your product... My aproach is a little different, I'm aiming for a btb 1ed ad&d, but cities, society, the myths will be very much mesopotamian.

A website you may find usable:

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Bard - that site is amazing! Thank you!

Alexis Smolensk said...

Point in fact; many weapons were based on farming tools ... which were necessary for an agrarian society, particularly that produced grain: forks, flails, hand scythes and so on. Can we assume these would also be included among 'readily available weapons'?

Michael S/Chgowiz said...

@Alexis - Get out of my head - I was thinking about that as well in my research.

For the module, I'll probably just make suggestions on how to "port" Swords & Wizardry to my Sumerian setting.

For my setting, I will probably lump in the farm implements into "like" weapons. Certainly they might serve, but they're also likely to not be as suitable - it's amazing how well we created weapons early in our "civilization". I may knock off a point or two of damage.

It seems that the weapon of choice was the mace, axe and bow - at least from my research.

I really would love to go back to school and get an appropriate degree to work on Mesopotamian projects. It gives me such a thrill to trace "us" back to those beginnings.

Anonymous said...

I suggest that stone, bone, and wooden weapons simply have a 1 in 6 chance of being broken in a combat where they're used. Keep the stats the same. Don't know what to do about cost. This creates an opportunity cost in that a smart player will have his character carry two weapons instead of one, which reduces how much treasure he can carry. Occasionally it may leave him with no weapon if he fought multiple times on the adventure and rolled poorly on the d6.

Alternately, say that a wood/bone/stone weapon breaks if you roll a natural 20. This can replace the roll for recovering lost ammunition as well.

If you're not willing to use weapon decay rules, instead consider that the stone/bone/wood weapon is just at -1 to hit.

I just really like the d6 damage for all weapons :P