Underground Con is this weekend in Calgary. I am DMing two B/X D&D games. If you are in southern Alberta come out to Marlborough Community Hall in Calgary and join in one of my games or one of the other great looking games that will be going on. It is no problem registering at the door.
For interest sake I pulled out one of my copies of Isle of Dread. For most, it is the benchmark for hex-crawling modules. I wanted to approximate the ratio of hexes-to-encounters. Using the methodology mentioned in my last post there is a 1-in-3 chance of a hex having a monster for a hexes-to-encounter ratio of 3:1 which gives me approximately 133 monster encounters in my 400 hexes.
Just eyeballing the number of hexes on the island, I would guesstimate that there are approximately 400 hexes (has anyone actually counted them? I am far too lazy). Using the numbered island map from the module which as 24 encounters and adding 5 for the number of locations on Taboo Island, there are a total of 29 encounters on the island. Let's round up to 30. I am assuming that all numbered encounters on the map are with monsters which may not be correct. I took a quick look and didn't see any exceptions but I could be wrong. This gives a ratio of 13 hexes to 1 encounter.
My hexes are far more densely populated with monsters than those on the iconic island. I'm okay with this. One reason I am okay with a higher number of encounters on my map is that it is for an open, exploration focused game in the West Marches style. I want the PCs to go out into the wilderness and find stuff. Also, the there is an explicit social contract that characters will try to return to town at the end of a gaming session so the quicker implied consumption of resources that will result from more encounter will not be an issue.
I am currently stocking a wilderness hex map. It is 20 hexes by 20 hexes numbered 0 to 19 in each direction.
I have mentioned in the past that I stock wilderness hexes in the same manner as I stock dungeon rooms. Each hex is treated as a "room" and I roll on the table in section E "Stock the Dungeon" on page B52.
Instead of rolling 400 d6's I set up a simple random number generator in each cell of a 20 by 20 cell spreadsheet in excel with a vlookup function that referred to a table that matched the one on page B52.
Below are the very high level contents of my 400 hexes:
"To choose a class, a player should first look for his or her highest ability scores." - Moldvay was a rabid power gamer ;) As an aside I always loved playing clumsy thieves, sickly fighters, clerics that are lacking common sense, etc. It is funny how often these "sub-par" characters can sometimes last in a campaign.
Strength, Intelligence, et al are called "ability" scores instead of attribute scores, stats, etc. The word "ability" is also used throughout the descriptions.
"Strength" is a measure of muscle power and the ability to use that power.
"Intelligence" is the ability to learn and remember knowledge, and the ability to solve problems.
I noticed a number of times in the descriptions terms (or closely related terms) that become "skills" in later editions - balance, endurance, intuition, knowledge, etc.
Ability Score Adjustments - "This adjustment shows that a character may practice hard and learn how to fight or reason well..." I always new the option for the 2-for-1 swap but I don't remember ever reading this sentence before. As such I find it somewhat perplexing that Constitution cannot be raised or lowered.
A very short description about Hit Points and what they are. No talk about them being part luck or divine favour such as found in the 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide.
Surprise, surprise... I love the standardized -3/+3 ability score bonuses.
"Maximum Number of Retainers" - at one time or over the life of a character?