Monday, November 28, 2011

An interesting OSRIC "rule".

So I'm doing a little prep for my soon-to-begin all-new campaign (more details on that in the days to come). We're using OSRIC as the "base" ruleset (and I mean "base", those of us with the original 1E AD&D stuff will be using those books too), so I'm scanning through the OSRIC book, mostly because its a good mainline extrapolation of the various interpretations of AD&D's idiosyncrasies.

At any rate, on page 118 is an optional "Random Experience Variable" rule, which basically states you adjust the xp needed to gain a level by plus or minus 1d20 x the level to be gained. So, if I'm reading this correctly, you're headed toward 5th level, and you roll a 12, the xp you need to to level is plus (50%) or minus (50%) 600 xp. That's an interesting optional rule.

Does anyone know the origin of this rule? Was it a common houserule that I never heard of? When do you figure out what your variable will be, at the start of a new level?

Interesting stuff, so anyone familiar with this please chime in.


  1. Totally new one on me. I'm interested in finding out where it comes from though!

  2. Sounds incredibly odd to me. But then again, I wasn't around the in AD&D heyday.

  3. That bit was from the mind of the editor in chief Stuart Marshall. I believe its primary purpose was to distinguish OSRIC from (ahem) similar works.

  4. DuBeers has it right. I don't see the point of it really though.

    Also, it's just d20 x level, so in your example +/- 60 points not 600.

  5. i thought it was a fun little rule when I read it, designed to give OSRIC some distance from its source. I would be tempted to use it 'just because', but in reality it would just be one more thing to keep track of.

  6. This one is a "no comment" from the legal side. You will not find a source. Note that there has never been a random xp factor in any version of the game, and that this (in theoretical and structural terms) causes all of the numbers in the xp system to become fluid rather than table based. IF THE RULE IS ACTUALLY USED, OSRIC's xp system becomes entirely different from anything in the past. The entire numerical progression changes from the ground up because of that little, virtually invisible rule.

    I have to leave people to draw their own conclusions about the purpose of the rule. Keep in mind that OSRIC was originally designed to be used for writing modules, and consider how much effect this would have if OSRIC were only being used for the purpose of writing modules. Where would this show up in a module? That's all I think I can safely say.

  7. Sweet.

    Now what if we made something useful out of it? Maybe give PCs the choice whether to roll on a table of special abilities with attendant XP modifiers at chargen. Maybe you get a special flaw, which makes you level up slightly sooner, or a special edge that makes you level up slightly later. Or you just get something neutral, good for roleplaying, but nothing that gives a modifier. If you change the XP cost for level 2, extrapolating outward, you might see something like this:

    Level 1 - o XP
    Level 2 - 2,000 XP
    Level 3 - 4,000 XP
    Level 9 - 250,000 XP
    (+250,000 per level thereafter)

    Fighter with special bonus
    Level 1 - 0
    Level 2 - 2,500
    Level 3 - 5,000
    Level 9 - 320,000
    (+320,000 per level thereafter)

    Fighter with special hindrance
    Level 1 - 0
    Level 2 - 1,500
    Level 3 - 3,000
    Level 9 - 192,000
    (+192,000 per level thereafter)

    Classes that don't exactly double every level until 9 are a problem. See Magic-User and especially Druid.



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