Thursday, November 18, 2021

When It's Time to Party, We Will Always Party Hard

My Old-School Essentials game that started six months ago has continued weekly - almost uninterrupted - for 27 sessions now. We started playing OSE by-the-book and we haven't really introduced many house rules at all. It has been a great exercise in listening to what really matters for our table, making rulings for that, and ignoring the rest. There are probably many great house rules that we don't use, but why bog down our brain space with rules that will never come up?

That said, every good table has their own quirks that get codified over time as "house rules." One of our most interesting house rules has been our table's take on the classic carousing house rule: waste your gold to earn more xp!

Adventurers earning care-free bonus XP. No strings attached. Really!

I offered my players multiple ways to waste their gold, giving them a menu of choices with varying degrees of risk such as:

  • Full-blown carousing that could leave you penniless or an accidental criminal
  • Flashy purchases that could draw unwanted attention
  • Costly donations that don't offer much xp for your money, but give you karma (read: future xp) for your next PC
These options led to a lot of emergent gameplay scenarios. We had a murder mystery scenario arise after a night of drunken bocce ball. We had a recurring rival party of former circus performers come to town, seeking the PC who had displaced them as lead acrobat. Even though there are known risks, players always bite. The rewards are so tantalizing. Bonus XP, without the hassle of more dungeon delving and treasure hauling!

Ar first, I included some conditions: you could only carouse for up to your level x 100 XP or something like that, but during play those conditions proved really unnecessary. In the adventures that we have played (lots of Gavin Norman's stuff, plus two from Gus L.), the PCs didn't wind up with enough raw coinage (after hauling it back, selling it, buying gear and other necessities) to have an absurd amount to waste anyway.

So, I trimmed them down to fit in a nice and neat single column of rules, integrated with the XP rules from the OSE SRD in a single PDF below. You won't find any fancy tables of gonzo carousing mishaps here - I'll leave those to other blogs. Just a simple guide to implementing them into your B/X clone of choice. Enjoy!

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