The Opal Houses of Van-Karal, part I (was: Wild D&D: random advancement and One Table To Rule Them All)

found here:

The genre I love most in roleplaying games is Shadowrun. My not so secret love is fantasy, and old school D&D in particular. I’ve written several FKR D&D posts on my blog (for instance here, here and here), but today, I’d like to present something new: Old school D&D random advancement tables a la Jeff Rients, combined with the freeform magic systems of Wonder& Wickedness, Marvels&Malisons and Hamsterish Horde of Hexes, and the Results Table of Salvage Union (my friend Eric wrote a very interesting review on it on his blog – by the way, Salvage Union is a Quest system game. You can download the entire game for free here).

This FKR game takes a couple of Quest ideas and combines them with random advancement tables to create interesting characters right out of the box.

Describe your character’s weak and/or strong stats. STR, INT, WIS, DEX, CON and CHA. Use words, not numbers.

Describe his looks in three details.

Pick a class: Fighter, Cleric, Magic-User, a Race-as-Class, or a variant of them.

You get 10 hp and 10 Adventure Points. I’ll explain AP in a bit. To make the game more old school, you can have Magic-Users start with less hp.

Now, surf over to Zak’s Class System, choose your class and roll THREE TIMES on that advancement table to determine your character’s Abilities.

If you’re playing a Magic-User, pick one of the above magic systems. I recommend Wonder&Wickedness first, you can expand later. Pick 3 spells, or determine them randomly. Then, roll on the Wizard/Witch random advancement table TWICE.

Damage: unarmed attacks subtract 1 hit point, most weapons subtract 2 hit points. Zero hp means you’re down, below zero, you’re dead. Armor might mitigate that.

Healing: On the first day of complete rest no hit points will be regained, but every day thereafter 1 hp will be re-gained until the character is completely healed.

Adventure Points: each of the Abilities you rolled costs Adventure Points to activate. The referee determines how many AP each one costs. The cost should be between 1 and 3, and in rare cases more if the Ability is very powerful. You get 5 AP after each session. AP do not refresh.

When a character is doing something which he is fully capable of doing, it succeeds, no roll needed. If risk or chance is involved and chances are less obvious, roll a d20 and the ref narrates the outcome. There are NO modifiers to that roll. Use the following table (yanked from Salvage Union):

Sample characters:

Goel the 4th
1st level Fighting-Man
10 hp
10 AP
+2 vs. toxins/poisons (2 AP)
when hitting successfully: deal damage and knock a man-sized opponent back 10 feet (2 AP)
+1 in combat (1 AP)

Quecig Veny
1st level Wizard
smart, but weak
10 hp
10 AP
Spells (require INT save, but no AP): Plasmic Key, Bewitch, Recall, Death Ray, Serpent’s Kiss (I rolled two additional spells on the advancement table)

Webfang the Shadowy
1st level Dwarf
10 hp
10 AP
extraordinary memory for lineages and history: +2 reaction and morale when reciting (1 AP)
+1 in combat (1 AP)
an eye for obscure dwarvish magic items. Unless the ref has already specified the origin of an item, you may declare any found magic item of less than artifact status to be Dwarven Made™. This applies even if it is not normally usable by dwarves. Now it is. Furthermore, it has additional powers ONLY usable by dwarves. Usable only once (5 AP)

2 thoughts on “The Opal Houses of Van-Karal, part I (was: Wild D&D: random advancement and One Table To Rule Them All)

  1. Maybe the players can use AP to influence the roll on the d20 table. +1 2AP, +2 5AP? Also do the AP build up over sessions? if I finish a session with 7 and I get +5 the start of the next one do I have 12 now? Otherwise pretty self explaining.. very nice and simple.. except for having to have magic system books at hand. A quick google bought up this but I am sure there are lots and lots of others.


    1. Hey Bob, yes, good idea! I’m not sure if the game gets too meta using this. I’ll have to try it to see how it works. And yes, the AP are accumulative. And you’re absolutely right about the spell lists. Glad you like it!


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