Saturday, May 1, 2021

Reskinning Saves for Fun & Profit

 I'm not the first person to do this - not by a long shot - but when I wrote up the pregens for ScrumCon, I elected to change the names of the saving throws.

On the surface, this seems a no-brainer for anybody who's throwing genre-emulation house rule attempts at a wall to see what sticks.  Surely the saving throws should be against whatever the common threats are; or, to put it another way, reading the list of saves should tell you something about the campaign.  Why wasn't this more common during the G+ OSR bloom?

I think it's a fun conceit and I'm going to stick with it for a while, but there are some reasonable precautions that must be taken.  I can't rename saves willy-nilly; or rather, I shouldn't rename a save in a way that changes the things to which it applies - not without some thought.  It's all well and good to rename 'Dragon Breath' (or 'Breath Weapon' if you prefer) to something better suiting your campaign as a hit of flavor, but that save still needs to be something a thief would be good at.  Otherwise your save numbers will start to make less and less sense as the PCs go up in level and get a little more differentiated from another.  Also, we should be cautious that a save that previously got used a lot doesn't become a rare save just because of the name change.  This is all an experiment, and we have to acknowledge that experiments - especially house rule experiments, and double-especially ones that seem Very Clever Indeed - can fail.  We must be vigilant for that failure and be willing to repair!


Accomplished wizard the Phenomenal Phopp and his peacock familiar, Xerxes, desperately try to remember which saving throws they're good at this week.


Old Saves vs New Saves for Wampus Country

Death Ray & Poison is now Horrible Death! encompassing poisons, death rays, any convenient save-or-die type effect, and Obvious Death Magic.

Magic Wands is replaced by Dark Science!  which includes weird technology, magic items and artifacts, any cosmic tech surrounded by a nimbus of Kirby dots, Elder God Cthulhoid Nonsense, and probably psionics.  PCs in Wampus Country don't have psionics, but a visiting brain-eater might.

Paralyze/Petrification is now Marvelous Transformation!, something that happens in Wampus quite a bit.  If we're turning something into something else by any means - spell, curse, faerie glamour, gorgon breath - this category applies.

Dragon Breath is Legendary Peril! which as of right now probably includes not only breath weapons, but other massive or storied attacks of legendary creatures as well.  When that mountain giant throws a house at you, you use Legendary Peril to dodge.  Grumpy whale with a clock in its side tries to swallow you whole?  Legendary Peril.

Staves/Spells is now Uncanny Sorcery!, covering all spells and magical effects not from other sources.

Will this breakdown work for my B/X games?  Only time will tell.


6 comments:

  1. horrible death and legendary peril seem too similar, honestly, it feels like there's gonna be too many situations where there's gonna be a question of how legendary is legendary enough. I love marvelous transformation tho, that's a good one!!

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    Replies
    1. I guess in my mind I'm parsing it as 'horrible DEATH' and 'LEGENDARY peril', if that makes any sense at all?

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