My thoughts on Raggi´s Eldritch Cock

The freebe James Raggi´s Eldritch Cock has been out for long time by now, and with it the new “alpha” version of possible next-edition-rules for LotFP. So, I am a little late to the party with my thoughts about them. But this will not stop me from posting them, the devil may care (or not!).

First things first, I like the new rules. They have really good concepts behind them, and I LOVE it a lot that the designer has in mind that everything shall stay compatible with earlier releases.

But right there, I see a problem with the new Hit Point progression during “Level-Up”. By the old rules, a character would slowly increase in hit points. It was safe to assume that a level 1 to 2 could die throughout the very first fight, but it was also safe to assume that a 4th or 5h level character -could- take the first two hits in a fight and survive (unless he or she was fighting some kind of high-damage opponent).

With the new rules, even a 5th level character with high Constitution might be stuck on “8 hit points”, which means death is likely after the second hit (especially with the new changes to damage, where every weapon deals d8 damage). I think that this will limit “backward compatibility”, as older high-level adventures may turn out to very lethal for “the new breed of adventurers”. I do not see an ease solution for this, so. Perhaps a “no increase” result (per the new mechanics for hit point increase) should at least give a character +1 increase in hit points for this level up (+0 for those with CON of 3-4 and +2 for those of CON 13-18). This would guarantee that there is some progression and that seasoned veteran have more than 8 hit points some day.

The Saving Throws feel a bit odd as well. The old rules had Saves against Breath Weapon/Paralyze (basically, everything agility based) and Poison/Death. How is WISDOM supposed to help with this? I would rather suggest to apply the dice-pool mechanic for generating Saving Throw pools to Dexterity and Constitution respectively. After all, a character tough like a bull but just as “smart” should have better chances to surviving potential deadly physical harm than a frail bookworm.

Last but not least, I will miss Elves and Clerics. I won´t miss Halflings, and I for sure can go without dwarfs (and at least ONE player of my group will disagree here.. and simply make small, sturdy, ax-wielding characters from that point on). But I liked having a distinction between “Clerics”, as the vassals of some “Order”, and Wizards as those who deliberately toy with “Chaos”. The Elves I will miss the most. There are some very good examples of how to portray  Elves in LotFP-releases (Weird New World and two entries in Scenic Dunnsmouth) without hugging the tree-hugger cliché of old in regard to them. The non-LotFP release Gardens of Ynn has wonderful “Thorn Elves” as well, and the Aelf-Adal of the Veins of the Earth are simply “Nightmare Elves” to me. And I love them all for that. There are so many ways to re-invent them as spirits of the wild, as Thuata Dé Danann or any other less-then-cozy form of ancient beings… and with the right mindset, I still feel that they will make good player characters.

My two cents.

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