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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Delving Deeper: Referee's Guide

This is Part Three of a critique of the Delving Deeper rules system and the changes from the original rules it includes. Part One covered character classes. Part Two covered spells. This time, it's the referee's rules for building dungeons and wilderness, and running the game.

Most of the procedures described are the same as the original, or close enough. Combat and saves are about the same; all the miscellaneous adventure event rolls have been regularized to a 1d6 roll. This winds up working similar to my own situation roll approach, except that DD assumes low is bad, high is good, whereas I assume that low = no change, high = change, so that I don't have to change target numbers as often. Evasion in the wilderness has been simplified to fit into this 1d6 model and looks pretty good.

The reaction table has the range of an Uncertain result extended (5 to 9, instead of 6 to 8.) This is also used for morale rolls. The subduing rules, though, seem very confusing. Here's how I interpreted the Delving Deeper subduing rules as written in the currently-available version:
  1. Declare that all attacks will be to subdue, and start keeping track of subduing damage separately;
  2. Divide subduing damage by total hit points and convert to a percentage (same as original rules, up to this point;)
  3. Roll morale on 2d6; a result less than the percentage means the opponent is subdued.
This would cause Average dragons to be subdued after 3 or 4 hits, which couldn't possibly be the intention. However, we discussed this on the ODD74 forum and the errata will now clarify that step 3 is a percentile dice roll, not a standard 2d6 morale roll. This probably won't make it into the upcoming box set, though.

Treasure stocking rolls have been tweaked to eliminate the "Treasure by Dungeon Level" table. The "Wandering Monster by Dungeon Level" table has been altered so that only 1st and 2nd level monsters appear on Level 1, but some of the more powerful monsters have been moved to lower levels, so it may work out the same; a medusa is now a 2nd level monster, for example. On the other hand, a random trap type table has been added, with some pretty good descriptions

Wilderness movement rates have been changed. DD switches to the 6-mile hex, then reduces movement to 2 hexes per day, or only 1 per day if encumbered. If you assume it's using a 3-mile league (one hex = 2 hours travel,) this reduces total time spent traveling each day to 4 hours max, which may be a problem, depending on how you interpret this. Marine and aerial travel rules are about the same, although like the LBBs, DD doesn't define any of the sailing terminology; also, for some reason, tacking appears on the aerial movement table as well; I'm not sure if this is an improvement or an error.

If your crew is dumped overboard, DD simply assumes that half of them drown immediately, which is a time-saver. It still uses d6 rolls for the remainder of the crew.

The sample dungeon in DD and also the wandering monster tables include deliberate sci-fi elements, perhaps to recapture the more gonzo feel of some of the original dungeons. I'm OK with this, but other people will need to adjust their wandering monster tables accordingly. This is also true of the DD monster book, which I will get to next.


  1. Just wanted to say I've really enjoyed this series of posts on Delving Deeper. I quite like the books, but not being too familiar with the Original D&D rules it's nice to see where they diverge.

  2. Try putting the gonzo elements in italics and put them at the bottom of the table so you can roll the full die or a smaller die to exclude gonzo results.


    1 Normal
    2 Normal
    3 Normal
    4 Normal
    5 Gonzo
    6 Gonzo

    So you can roll d4 or d6 depending on your game style.