Thursday, January 21, 2016

Interlude: Fantastic Heroes & Witchery - "Weird Tales" Style

Before we go on to the magical next section of the Great Multi-Year Retro-Clone Read-Through, I'd like to take a minute to revisit one of the things I glossed over when talking about Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, namely the "Weird Tales" character creation mode.

This intersects nicely with the recent completion of  Hugo Award-nominated blogger Jeffro Johnson's survey of First Edition Dungeons & Dragons' famous Appendix N, which I highly recommend as containing lots of meaty analysis of both the individual Appendix N works and the overall relevance of the list to fantasy gaming, both then and now. Right now, in fact, it's easy to see how FH&W's Weird Tales options (nonhuman races include Primates, Reptilians, and Winged Folk, while classes include Psychics, Riflemen, (Technological) Savants, Sky Lords and Wild-brutes - and that's not even taking the supplemental material into account) line up with the more gonzo, less categorized style Jeffro describes. One important innovation is the implementation of "Earthlings" as a sort of human sub-race - many of the Appendix N entries rely on this "modern-day human gets transported to the Weirder setting" setup.

But for this exercise, I'm going to be aiming for something a little, well, Weirder, and so using the 4d6-drop-lowest attribute-rolling method. My results are:
STR: 10, DEX: 10, CON: 11, INT: 14 (+1), WIS: 14 (+1), CHA: 10

Well, that sets me up for almost any of the Weird Races I'd like, except for the Revenant (basically semi-solid ghosts) which, inexplicably, require an 11 in CHA. On the other hand, that DEX roll kind of cuts off most of the Weirder classes, although it's at least high enough that I can use the Reptilian race (which reduces DEX by 1) with it. Hmm, a Reptilian Savant - who does that remind me of . . ?

Using Dr. Dinosaur as a PC portrait never gets old.
Anyway, it seems that in FH&W the Reptilians can, much like dragons in D&D, come in different colors, with different powers to match. For a tech specialist, the blue Storm Reptilians, with their +2 to saving throws and half damage against electricity, seems handy.

As I mentioned before, FH&W characters get to roll two dice for their starting HP, with the "Vitality Points" die type determined by the class and the "Wound Points" by race - in this case a d4 and d8, rolling 2 and 6 respectively.

Disappointingly, while there are some substantial lists of Sci-Fantasy equipment, most of the weapons are far to expensive for even a really good (15!) 3d6(10) roll. Even a stun baton costs so much that there's barely enough left for a backpack and a set of goggles.

So that's one possible iteration of a Fantastic Heroes & Witchery "Weird Tales" style character. While this one came out with a bit more of a post-apocalyptic feel than I had intended, just with the options in the book the possibilities range from winged warriors to gun-slinging apes to psychic ghosts, with the chance of a typical human to contrast the difference always present.

It doesn't get much more Appendix N than that.

Shocker, Neutral Blue Reptilian Outlaw Savant

Level 1, XP 0, VP/WP 2/6 , AC 12(8)
STR: 11, DEX: 9, CON: 11, INT: 14 (+1), WIS: 14 (+1), CHA: 10
Saving Throws to INT +2
Saving Throws to DEX +2
Saving Throws against electricity +2, takes half damage
Skill Checks to CHA and reaction rolls +4 with reptiles other than other Reptilians.
Equipment: Protective Goggles, Stun Baton, Backpack, GP10

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