Thursday, March 31, 2011

Informal Stonehell Poll: AEC or Not?

My design schedule is finally clearing up, allowing me to actually start looking at the Stonehell sequel as an actual task to accomplish rather than a wistful dream. I’m beginning to collect my scattered notes and to try and remember where I left off. As I’m doing so, a matter has arisen that the first book didn’t have to deal with: The Advanced Edition Companion.

When I wrote the first book, the AEC had yet to be released and all the material found in Down Night-Haunted Halls either came directly from Labyrinth Lord Revised or was homebrewed by yours truly. With the sequel, I now have access to official Labyrinth Lord supplementary material that wasn’t available before. And, quite frankly, I’m on the fence about what to do with it.

One the one hand, keeping Stonehell Dungeon in line with what’s included in the main rulebook allows me to keep the dungeon slim and sleek, and also provides impetus to create funky monkey homebrewed stuff to fill in the cracks normally occupied by materials from the Advanced game. On the other hand, by referencing the official versions of monsters, magics, and spells that I’d normally have to improvise and riff off of, that frees up space in the book to add completely new material, monsters, or more details about the dungeon. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.

My question then to you folks who are currently running, borrowing from, or thinking about running Stonehell is “What would your preference be for the sequel’s rule base: AEC or strict Labyrinth Lord Revised?” I’ll state now that I’m extremely unlikely to include anything from Realms of Crawling Chaos or any other supplemental material that appears between now and the book’s release, simply because I want to make things easy for the largest percentage of gamers and I know that not everyone who follows the Labyrinth Lord path has all the supplements.

I have my own bias, but I figured I’d engage in a little marketing surveying before I commit myself. Chime in with comments or via an email and let me know what you think. Thanks!

29 comments:

Rob Conley said...

It depends on how universal, in terms of rules, you feel that the product needs to be. For example Blackmarsh is strictly OD&D + Thief, as it is one of my Points of Light/Lands of Adventure setting. It target is for all classic edition.

My upcoming Scourge of the Demon Wolf is a Majestic Wilderlands, so I go full bore on using the material I develop in the Majestic Wilderlands supplement. However what it mean in practice is that I have a few strange classes, and added ability modifiers to the standard stat line.

For example Blargh the Mighty, .....;ABL Athletic +1, Stealth +2; .....

If your product reflects your idea of a specific setting then it should go full bore with the ruleset you use for that setting. View it as implementing classic D&D for a particular setting or locale.

But keep in mind that really we are
talking inches when it comes to AEC, OSRIC, LL, S&W,in adventures and settings.

ChicagoWiz said...

If I were doing it, I'd probably stick with what I started with, but also perhaps write up a little document and release it as a PDF that talks about using AEC w/SH and how you'd have done it differently. Maybe designer notes kinda thing?

Alex Schroeder said...

When I play, I just use the Labyrinth Lord book and my house rules. I do have the AEC, however, so if NPCs use Spells from the AEC or Monsters from the AEC show up, I'd just have to remember to bring it to the table.

Plus, I like "funky monkey homebrewed stuff".

blizack said...

It seems like most people are using LL + AEC, but I'd go with ChicagoWiz's suggestion nevertheless.

bighara said...

When I'm writing LL materials, my process is to write what I think makes sense, then look and see where it falls vis a vis the books, usually in this order:

1) Is it in core LL, or can I find something in core LL that will serve? i.e. Do I really need to distinguish between a crocodile and an alligator? (Crocs are in it, 'gators are not.)

2) If it's not in core LL, is it in AEC or is there something I can use in AEC? If so, I'll use that.

3) If all else fails, it's time for NEW CONTENT. I will try to keep new content in line with what's in books, giving examples like "Equivalent to the ___ spell (LLXX), except instead of fire damage the target may be pecked to death by chickens."

Michael Curtis said...

If your product reflects your idea of a specific setting then it should go full bore with the ruleset you use for that setting.

That's why I'm asking. Stonehell is "officially" a Labyrinth Lord product by which I mean is sports the LL compatibility logo and the books directly cites page numbers in the LL rulebook. And while the majority of us can easily convert things on the fly or have access to materials that give game stats for creatures and spells not included in the LL rulebook, I want to keep things as trim as necessary. I guess what I'm asking is does the average group using Stonehell have LL or B/X as the default "rule book on the table" or or more groups running LL + AEC now?

Michael Curtis said...

If I were doing it, I'd probably stick with what I started with, but also perhaps write up a little document and release it as a PDF that talks about using AEC w/SH and how you'd have done it differently.

A good suggestion, but Mr. Lazybones cringes at the thought of more work. I suppose I could get some blog post out it though.

Michael Curtis said...

Alex, blizack, and bighara: That's the kind of information I was looking for. Thanks.

Joshua said...

I've looked at AEC, and have no inclination to use it, so to the extent that a Stonehell sequel relied on it that would be just more stuff that I'd have to fill in myself.

Robert Fisher said...

My first reaction is that it is better to stick with straight LL as much as possible. I’ll probably use some AEC stuff in my next LL game, but I’m going to pick and choose and probably not use that much.

On the other hand, I can easily sub in something different if you include something I don’t want to use. And that’s true no matter what the source.

If it were me, I would probably feel free to use some stuff from AEC but try to limit it. If going whole hog AEC, then I might as well use OSRIC instead.

rmckee78 said...

I use OSRIC for my Stonehell campaign so it does not directly effect my game. I have both LL and AEC so I will have access to all the info. I feel like many of the people using Stonehell probably have access to most of the information in its TSR form even if they do not have AEC. I will be purchasing it no matter what.

Next session my players are going to war with the hobgoblins using Stonehell as a base in the region. We will be using Battlesystem.

I am well over a year into the campaign and we are still having a lot of fun with it. Plus the world that I have built up to house Stonehell is serving as the basis for my weekly C&C game

Hamlet said...

Speaking as a virtually guaranteed sale for the next book anyway . . . I'd say keep it straight LL Revised rules as the original, with maybe a little appendix in there about how AEC might be integrated. Just makes things simpler.

BlUsKrEEm said...

I personally don't use the AEC. It's a nice book and all, but I think it complicates a simple system. I own a copy, I suppose, but only in PDF form, so it would be inconvenient for me if the next Stonehell expected it's use.

The Iron Goat said...

I would guess the majority of people running this aren't using btb anything. Personally, having you waste precious space filing the serial numbers off an Illusionist spell or something seems counterproductive.

Pat said...

Well, AEC is a free download w/o the art, right? Or am I misremembering?

In any case, pretty much everyone has the TSR PH & DMG regardless of whether they have the AEC - I'd use whatever is in the AEC without hesitation.

Chris said...

I'd like to see you keep Stonehell 2: Nixthisis Bugaloo mainly LL, but with as much labour-saving referencing of existing magic, monsters and such from LLAEC as takes your fancy.

IIRC you had a few 'AEC-isms' in Stonehell 1 (spells and effects that weren't listed in LL, but which we all know from 'folk D&D'). It didn't do any harm after an initial "Huh? What the...?" moment.

Carter Soles said...

I like bighara's three-part system a lot, but all other things being equal, I'd say use the AEC as much as you lie. It is freely available to all, so why re-invent the wheel?

Carter Soles said...

correction: "lie" = "like"

Beedo said...

AEC is a free download, and borrowing monsters from AEC for Stonehell wouldn't be a problem (and shouldn't be disruptive, even to pure LL campaigns).

Taketoshi said...

I'm currently using only LL, and not likely to switch over to using AEC for some time (if at all).

If you used AEC material in the new product, I'd incorporate it easily enough into my game, but for comparative ease of use and consistency between sections I'd probably prefer strict LL.

Vanadorn said...

Stay basic - add your own funky stuff.

My 2 coppers.

Geoffrey said...

I wouldn't use AEC, if for no other reason than that the first Stonehell book doesn't use it.

Tom H. said...

I'd prefer not adding the AEC, particularly since the first doesn't have it.

Nojoy said...

Just bought Stonehell, love it... and in 2 weeks we start our campaign around it. I won't be using LL though, going with Mentzer basic all the way.
Having said that, it seems really inconsistent to switch systems in between books. I'd prefer it to remain LL basic only with a pdf supplement for AEC on the side.

(Side note: I completely LOVE the box canyon in SH... really hope my PCs explore it for all it's worth. You really fleshed it out so that it has more to offer than a way into the dungeon proper. Can not wait for the next book.)

austrodavicus said...

Our group has two separate LL + AEC campaigns at the moment, however I agree with other commenters here, keep any supplements to the same rule set as the original for continuity's sake. If people want to add AEC stuff, there's no reason they can't do it themselves at their own gaming table.

Cindy said...

No AEC.

James said...

For me personally, I'll roll with it, either way. Like The Iron Goat said, how many of us are running anything btb?

Roger the GS said...

I have been brewing my own thoughts about compatibility and what should go in published products. They'll be going on my blog this weekend if all goes well, in case you're interested. A short answer is "less is better, the competent DM can adapt to system as desired." For example, I don't think anyone who writes about DMing in the OSR would have any trouble adapting one-page dungeon entries to their game even though they are commanded to be mechanics-free.

Mike said...

I'd vote to stick to LL with funky bits tacked on. I don't currently use the AEC, but have tacked a few house rules on to my game. That said, a conversion to AEC wouldn't deter me from purchasing part 2. If there is something from AEC that just "makes sense" and doesn't have a compliment in LL, adding it really wouldn't be that different than some sort of house rule.