Thursday, December 19, 2019
Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 Review
Here is Endzeitgeist's review of Crimson Dragon Slayer D20.
It's a solid review, but there's something I'd like to address - the "broken" cleric class. Before getting into details, all 4 classes are kind of broken in their own way. Which means that each one is "the best" in its own way, assuming you stick to class abilities.
I'm copy/pasting my comment, just in case it disappears from the internet. Not because of anything the reviewer is doing, but software glitches, etc...
Thanks for the review, hoss!
Regarding the cleric, in play I've found that his unlimited healing works rather well. Let's say an adventuring party of 5 PCs has 2 clerics (something you might actually see, if playing Crimson Dragon Slayer D20).
This last round was brutal on the PCs. 1 guy down and unconscious (a fighter), and 2 others badly wounded (a cleric and sorcerer). There are still a couple monsters remaining. Does one cleric heal the unconscious fighter? Would that even make him conscious again? What about the wounded members of the party? Is 1d6 healing going to prevent the sorcerer from dropping if hit next round? Wouldn't it make just as much sense for the clerics to attack rather than heal, in this instance? I feel like it's a toss-up, and an interesting dilemma for those playing a cleric.
As for the thief's backstab, I see what you mean. Personally, I like things kind of nebulous so the player is forced to come up with some sort of cunning plan or sneaky maneuver to get that bonus. If he's willing to put in the creative work every single round, there's a possibility (depending on the circumstances) of continual backstabbing. A lot depends on the GM, player, and environment.
So, I've already gone into detail re: the cleric (his lack of spell list is another drawback) and touched on the thief. The review mentioned how over-powered the wizard can be (any spell, as long as he has enough HP to cast it). And, if you take a good, hard look at the fighter, he obviously owns the battlefield - the most damage, the most HP, adds +1 to both to-hit and damage every level.
Incidentally, if the cleric wants to aid the wizard (allowing him to cast higher level spells) by healing him right away, that's a very doable and legal "cheat". However, the cleric is then focusing on the wizard, and not those on the front lines.
The fantasy worlds I run are so deadly that even in a one-hour game with only 1-3 combats, PC deaths happen frequently.
On the other hand, compared to old D&D, the cleric, along with his other 3 pals, probably seem super-powered. If I remember correctly, the old school cleric didn't even get a spell, prayer, or whatever until 2nd level. And I'm sure that was usable once per day. And he probably started with 3 HP. And the party had to walk uphill to get to the dungeon... both ways!
And that's precisely why I love the OSR. It's not necessarily shackled to however they played in 1979. It's a mix and match of everything from the last 45 years! Of course, a few traditional tenets must be followed, but those are also malleable and hard to pin down.
In any case, CDS D20 works great for quick and dirty online games containing one or more noobs. I've been using this system / hack / house-rules for almost a year now. That's not a ton of playtesting, but it's held up remarkably well so far.
You can download the FREE PDF here. They're also included as an appendix in Cha'alt. Speaking of which, check out the latest Kickstarter campaign for Cha'alt: Fuchsia Malaise.