First the level of the player-characters can be dropped by monsters if sufficient levels can be dropped so they cannot be completely restored. Restoration of levels should cost a minimum of 10% of the character's wealth (hirelings should leave unless fairly paid). A trap is usually the best way to accomplish this... i.e. a paralyzation machine which holds the characters for interrogation by a spectre, a machine which feeds on energy levels when activated - 1-8 levels/melee round within 60' (no off switch), an artifact which raises everyone within 10' 2-12 levels (functions once a month), a demon which follows a group or individual (attacking every other ecounter by surprise) which drops the character one level. then teleports out... 12 HD, 80% resistant to magic... due to a cursed item or geas, or a curse which drops a player to first level until an impossible mission is performed.
Raising the level of the monsters is undesirable becuase it is unfair to new players and prolongs combat too much. A better approach is to modify the saving throw by -l per level of spell or hit die of monster for natural abilities. Monsters can be trained, gaining +1 to +6 hit probability. Raising the level of the monsters is undesirable because it is unfair to new players and prolongs combat too much. A better approach is to modify the players' (& monsters) saving throw by -l per level of spell or hit die for natural abilities (such as dragon breath). Monsters can be trained, gaining +1 to +6 hit probability. Monsters naturally adapted to certain environments gain +l/HD. Hit probability in dim light or fog may reduce by -3 except for monsters adapted to same, & by -4 versus invisible opponents. Magic swords glow in the dark therefor monsters can only be surprised by entering a room. Surprised characters lose ~2 on saving throws and completely surprised lose -6. Being unprepared or unaware of any danger can drop a saving throw by -8.
Eliminating the player-character which unbalances a game is desirable only a last resort. Usually an entire group is responsible. The method is extremely simple, eliminate the body... i.e. teleport to the moon, devour by monster, an absorbing artifact, or an incurable disease of unknown origin. Players object to heavy handed and arbitrary methods so make certain this is justified. As a final strike, a black hole in space can begin absorbing +1 from every weapon, 10% from every device, and 1 level from every character per week as it passes through the solar system (sic)... unless chaotic in nature!
Shrewd Slants From The Sagacious Sage
Hyborian hi-jinxes! Continual light will only make vampires fall back... not kill them... even if equal to full daylight. Thus relates Gygax the Eternal Wizard . . from personal experience no doubt. Wielders of the Whip take note!
Speaking of our Bacchanalian Benefactor. . . look forward to a spell-binding new supplement on establishing your campaign... next on his must do list. Scintillating surprises are promised, so be prepared for action packed assistance, novices. Incidentally, our judges average less than two years experience so the gentle geniuses at TSR have a real winner this time.
ITEM! Protection from Evil keeps out invisible stalkers, elementals, conjured animals, antimated objects, aerial servants, golems, simulci, summonded monsters, skeletons and zombies- madcap mages memoir.
ITEM! Thunderhold is now history but our mildly maniacal staff has already commenced an epoch-making all-new saga for your next cataclysmic compendium of milestones. Another castle full of capers and coloful characters to enchant your eager earls. Pardonable pride allows us to indicate the increased quality of the dungeons and caverns.
ITEM! Since my suit resulted in an unbelievable 'judgement against myself, my quarters have been moved to a little known nook below the Sage's Guild. Woody will lead you there if you meet him at the Flipping Frog this evening. We must teach that Audacious Archon a lesson ourselves. Bring your warriors!
Tips From The Tower
At long last our first installment is out! One reason for the delay was this red-suited elf magicuser... the Makistakator and I were windwalking along when though the clouds came this red glow... I thought that it was this fire elemental I'd lost concentration on before teleporting from Mars, years back... but this was an elf with 2-8 flying reindeer! in any case, he put a 'slow spell' on us and flew off with his big bag of booty. Another reason was due, ironically, to an increase in quality of our features. There is a corollary that states that the more money you spend the more work you make for yourself! We've gotten some of the kinks out by getting most of our material typed by a couple of dexterity 17 types... who still occasionally ask 'thaumaturgi-what?' 'Ferrybottom Ferdweathet?!
Now that this installment is ready, work on the guide has accelerated and is due to be ready to mail by the end of the month. To restate, the guide is not included with the subscription and must be purchased separately. We kept the price down to $3.50 for this reason and it looks like it will run more than forty pages. Likewise the 'Judges Reduced Scale City Map' is handy but the print is small
and to have included it would have increased the subscription cost. Besides it says the same things that the big map says! We will still be limited in the future by postage etc. but not by the amount of material. However, in the future we will only offer optional features after they are ready.
We have several variations on the guildmember subscription theme-
As of January 15th we will pay all postage, but will require a minimum order of $1.00. In addition, to our products we now have the multi sided dice, D&D; supplements, Metamorphosis Alpha etc.
A few people wrote to ask whether we would include descriptions for the dungeon levels. Before going to Lake Geneva, we had considered it, but dropped the idea after talking to many of you there. In order to answer this request, we have provided the new feature on MCMs which details a middle range type monster and coharts that you can 'plug into' an empty spot. The Sunstone Caverns descriptions are in the same format- so you can add or subtract. However, to be more descriptive- room by room, would take up a lot more space and introduce a new problem of choosing the occupants of the rooms. All of Bob's dungeons would murder all of my players, and likewise, mine would leave his players yawning. It is our feeling that that is up to each judge. However, if you want more DL description, let us know.
Again, due to space considerations, we presented the background for the Dwarven Castle somewhat more loosely than for the City State. This is similar to what Bob and I have done for some time- namely trade lists of rumors, lists of dignitaries, lists of army-types; these we would use as the need arose. However, the City State is more of a focal point, with something for everyone.
Keeping track of the various NPCs, legends etc. can get confusing. Its best to cross off NPCs as they get killed (though they might come back) and rumors as they're spread (or five houris can get attacked by goblins every week!) Unless you've got a better memory than I, its handy to scribble notes on location etc. in the margins as you go.
One dismayed ref wrote about his troubles with players giving away magical items to low level types. An easy way to take care of that is to either require that the reciever pays a fair price (or a makes a fair trade) for the item (plus weapons might be worth 2-12,000 OP per plus, for example) or the giver may give the item away at no charge if he (the giver) 'pays' in experience points equal to the GP cost of the item. The only exceptions would be Paladins and other Law/Good types. Otherwise, a magic weapon is supposed to be a rare and special thing and for people to hand them off is unrealistic.
ERRATA Overall our initial guidelines booklet proved to be quite complete. Following are a few minor omissions, if you have any questions on others please write. However, it is important that you realize that our contributions are only guidelines. Each judge has the final say as to which he will include in his campaign and which he wishes to alter.