Friday, April 30, 2021

The Long Awaited* Analysis of the OSE Druid and Why They Are Terrible

 *Long-awaited by JB, and I think that's about it. 

So some months ago, one of the players in my OSE game rolled up a druid. After a couple of sessions, he retired the character, having found nothing but frustration with it. 

"How could this be?" we asked. The druid had long been considered a beefy character class by many of us. For fuck's sake, man, you have to roll certain stats to qualify! Not just any schmuck coming off of 3d6 in order can be a *druid*  (Granted, the requirement in OSE is just charisma 9, whereas in AD&D it was wisdom 13+ and charisma 15+) 

Let us, as Tears for Fears would say, break it down again. 

Hit Dice: The OSE druid gets a d6, compared to the d8 of the AD&D druid. However, almost everybody in OSE has lower hit dice, just like B/X. Fighters only have a d8 instead of a d10, thieves have a d4 instead of a d6, etc. Perhaps it is because we had no B/X druids, and we always knew them as a d8 hit die class. Still, this is hardly criterion enough to dismiss the class. 

Weapons/Armor: Ah, here we go. The AD&Druid can use the scimitar, a d8 bladed weapon that doesn't even exist in OSE. All weapons, in OSE's default rules, do d6. There are optional rules for the damage variants we know and love, with d8 and even d10 weapons. This oft-used variant leaves OSE druids in the dust, stuck with a meager selection of d6 weapons at their disposal. Armor selection is unchanged. This still seems like a thin pretense under which to cast the druid out. 

Spells: OSE druids begin with a single 1st level spell slot. AD&D started the druids with two 1st level spell slots, and AD&D 2nd started them with a single slot, but a high wisdom score could net them some bonus spell slots. However, one must note that OSE starts almost all the divine type spellcasters off with no spells at 1st level. Like the original B/X design, they have to reach 2nd level before their deity starts doling out the dweomers. Having a spell slot makes the druids better than clerics. I must confess, I have a house rule allowing for a bonus spell slot for clerics with wisdom of 13+. I may have done the druid dirty in my campaign by having this house rule. (I added little bonuses to the four basic classes to encourage players to roll them.) At any rate, we can hardly dismiss the druid based on spell slots, since in the RAW they're better off than all of the other divine spellcasters. (Even the drow race-class, which gets a slot at 1st level but can only use it for one particular specific spell.)  

Is it perhaps the selection of spells? I know the first thing the player lamented was the absence of shillelagh. This spell allows the druid to imbue a club or staff with magic energy to deliver a pretty potent (for 1st level) mystical beatdown. This spell is absent from OSE. The only solid spell the druid has at first level is entangle, and that particular spell is useless in most dungeons, as there isn't any of the required plantlife. Lacking cure light wounds as an initial spell selection, the druid's magical contribution to the party is quite limited. 

...and maybe that's it. Maybe the beginning druid of OSE is so undesirable because they aren't as prepared for combat as the cleric, and while they do get spells right off the bat, the spells are...underwhelming. In fact, the most valuable contribution the druid made to the party was using animal friendship on the big, necklace-wearing rat in Cave A. (Who, by the way, is objectively better than any character who was in the party at that time.) 

I cut off this analysis, which was going to go much deeper, because a.) I am unlikely to continue running my OSE game, and 2.) I just don't care anymore. I am fickle and easily bored. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Not Gaming

OSE has been on hiatus for April, as one of the three players isn't available. 

Honestly, I don't think I'm going to restart it. 

I've had some interest in starting up a game of Fantasy AGE, and I've even thought a couple of ideas for settings. One of the players keeps trying to steer us toward playing something PBtA, but it turns out I actually don't like PBtA that much. It was a weird fling, but it's over. 

Ultimately, my distaste for gaming over Discord has finally reached the point where I think I'd rather just play a computer game if I can't game around a table with people. 

For the time being, I just keep buying gaming shit as a substitute for actual gaming. I picked up Candlekeep Mysteries. I picked up Whitehack, 3rd edition. I got the mountain of Deadlands shit I got for backing the kickstarter. It's all presently gathering dust in my basement. I'm probably going to pick up Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft, even though I'm all but certain I'll never run it. 

I'm going to KanCon. They're having it in person. I trust your average person to observe safety protocols as far as I can throw them, but fuck it...I'm vaccinated. I lick parking meters. 

Oh, and OSE druids suck because of BOFA.