I am writing up this quick little update to recommit to my blog and working on my game and to shill for Greg Gorgonmilk, Gavin Norman, and their digital press: Necrotic Gnome Productions.
Over the last few years the work these guys have been pumping out has set the standard for what I expect from gaming materials. The art is evocative and well conceived, the rules/hacks/tables can be easily shoe-horned into any campaign, and they just hit my D&D sweet spot.
One of their most recent productions takes the classic old school D&D considerations, resolves a conflict and brings it to us in simple, playable form. D&D in its earliest forms had no thief, robber, or rogue classes. The thief came later, and to many, including me, it has found a sweet little niche in our games. But adding the thief class to the game takes something away from the other classes. It's a case in which by defining what a thief is, we have a also defined what characters from other classes are not. Thieves were gifted a slate of rules allowing them to remove traps, open locks, etc. The implication of these new rules is that other classes are not allowed to do these things. Or at least characters of other classes cannot do these things with any level of dependable skill.
The conflict that accompanies the thief's entrance into D&D is that it turns one character into the bad guy... murder-hobo. Many of us see the whole party as being a gang of murder-hobos traipsing through the wilderness, killing monsters, and stealing their loot. Greg and Gavin have given us the Cross-Class Subterfuge Protocols.
This sweet. little volume discards the thief class and explicitly turns all characters "back" into murder-hobos. They have developed a simple d20 saving throw/skill roll for when a character wants to be sneaky. A character's probability of success increases as it levels up. This is similar to the system used in Crypts and Things.
Another recent release form the Necro Gnomes is Wormskin 5 the creepy guardians of the ancient dolmens of the mighty forest: the Drune. Each issue details an area of the wood, adds monsters or new classes, and more. Issue 5 details hex crawling in Dolmenwood and it can easily be modified for crawling in any campaign.
I am finished with my shill. Really check out their great work, on their blogs as well as on RPG Now/DTRPG. Greg, Gavin, thank you for the great contributions to my game.