Saturday, September 28, 2013

Knights and Snails

There is a whole genre of illustrations of knights fighting snails in illuminated medieval manuscripts. There are various explanations for why monks laboriously copying books would draw a confrontation between a knight and a deadly snail. Symbolically the snail stood for the deadly sin of sloth; a monk might decide to illustrate them on that basis. Pragmatically the monks were often gardeners, so this may have been a bit of satire based on their own experience and the uselessness of professional knights. No one's really sure.

AD&D, of course, had the flail snail, a multi-headed monstrosity of a giant snail. But I see some potential for using snails of about the size in the manuscripts, an implied 2' to 3' tall and fighting against armored humans, as monsters. These are probably no more than 3 HD, although they should have very good AC (maybe the range of 4 to 2) to represent the protection of their shells. Their movement rate would naturally be very slow, and they'd attack with their pseudopod-like bodies.

The interesting question is their slime trails. This has plenty of real-world uses but if we're making a D&D monster it should be something with some mechanical impact. It's a bit on the nose, but one possibility is that the slime causes opponents to act as if under a slow spell. For straight-up damage it could be acidic, working like the attack of an ochre jelly: destroys wood, leather or cloth, and does 1d6 or 2d6 damage per turn if the victim fails a saving throw. Alternatively it might be poisonous, with the precise effect depending upon the individual referee's rules for poison.

Some snails might have magical properties to their slime, or in their shells. For instance the slime might bring on hallucinatory visions (something I think is under-utilized in fantasy games) or the shell might be immune to some form of attack such as lightning. And both can be powerful magical ingredients; in real world magical thinking, snails are associated with divination and love magic.

The reason I'm presenting all this as possibilities is that I think any time you have a giant snail in a game, it should be unique. These oddities of illumination deserve no less.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The roleplaying in old school RPGs

Apologies that my postings have slowed down lately. I've been doing some work on non-blog gaming projects and most of my game writing time has gone toward that lately. Unfortunately for the blog that may continue for a while.

In the games I've run in 2013, I've found that roleplaying is often a stronger suit of old school gaming than I think people give it credit for. Mostly people think of roleplaying as "something you do in town," or areas where players engage in amateur dramatics. I've had that, sometimes to good effect as players get advantages (like getting on the good side of an NPC, or indeed the bad side). But it's viewed as kind of peripheral to the main event, something you do if you have time.

But that's not how older D&D is built at all. It's a game that encourages roleplaying in crucial ways that really make an impact on the game. The structure I like best is how it's built in the OD&D rules: players make offers to the monsters and the referee makes a reaction roll to see if the offers are accepted.

It's not just "roleplay it out" - this is a set of concrete rules that is built to handle the roleplaying interaction between PCs and monsters. And it does it well, encouraging prolonged negotiations - 6, 7 and 8, the most common rolls on 2d6, are "uncertain" and call for more discussion. Higher Charisma PCs get bonuses, and good or bad offers result in adjustments to the roll.

The impact of the 6/7/8 "uncertain" rolls really encourages some creativity. PCs who are trying to pull one over on monsters or get them to join have to think on their feet as they are met with skepticism or confusion. Good rolls might be "blown" on a relatively simple offer such as "don't attack" to initiate a truce.

Other parts of the simple OD&D rules play into this. For instance, the language rules - which unfortunately gets toned way down in Moldvay - put players in the boat of strategic choices about what monsters they may face in the future. Magic-users, particularly in OD&D and Holmes where there is 1 language per point of Intelligence over 10, should be strong polyglots and useful negotiators.

In practice, this form of roleplaying is crucial in older D&D. Since combat is a failure state, it becomes critical to avoid combat whenever possible. Good roleplaying (defined as making good offers to the monsters) gets a material bonus in not having to fight and risk resources. Smart players are ones who bluff, bully and negotiate their way through a dungeon rather than rolling the dice and hacking their way through. That seems entirely fitting within the literature that inspired the earliest games.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A flexible standard for OSR Compatible

In my last post I discussed creating an open standard for "OSR Compatible" in RPG products so that supplements and modules could be released independent of the various clone games out there. I think the stat block I presented doesn't give the degree of freedom that such a standard needs, but I think there's a solution.

At the start of any book with the OSR Compatible logo (we still need one), there should be a box with a description of the stat block. For D&D type games, I see this looking something like what follows:
This module is OSR Compatible, and will work with most old school fantasy RPGs and their modern clones. It was designed with the classic game in mind but can be adapted for your game of choice.

Encounters are listed in the following format:
Orcs (4) - AC 6 (13), HD 1, #AT 1, D 1d6

Armor Class is given both descending and ascending values. An unarmored character is AC 9 (10) and chainmail gives AC 5 (14).

Unless specified, all encountered creatures and men are assumed to have the same movement rates as normal men and to use the same saving throws as a fighter of the same level as their hit dice.
The important notes to hit will be:
  • The boilerplate indicating compatibility. I think talking about "original," "advanced" and "classic" games will let us indicate compatibility in a broad and understandable way without stepping on any toes.
  • Encounter format. A basic stat block for illustrative purposes.
  • Armor class. This should always be described and an unarmored character's AC given, along with an example of one armor type (typically leather, chain or plate).
  • If you choose not to include movement rates, armor class, hit dice, or damage, give a brief description of your default values. For instance, if all creatures are assumed to attack once per round for 1d6 damage, say so.
  • If you use any stats other than the basics, present a brief description and what value is better. For instance, Moldvay-style morale would be described as: "Morale is given as a number between 2 and 12. Creatures with a high morale are less likely to flee from combat."
Ultimately what I'd like is to have an official "OSR Compatible" logo, and a website ( is available) describing what the designation means for a product, giving instructions for publishers, and having links to publishers of OSR Compatible products.

To be clear - this is a self-designation, not a license, and I'd want to have the logo be licensed via Creative Commons CC-BY (by attribution, allowing it to be used in derivative works without requiring that the larger work be released as a CC license).

How does this strike people? I think it's going to be easier to build consensus around a flexible standard than to come down with a list of things that someone has to use, and it's best to be up front about exactly what parameters we're using so that it's as easy as possible to convert.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Proposal: OSR Compatible

I've been slowly working on a few things, and one issue that has come up is - what system should everything be compatible with? The early OSR clones started as ways to produce material compatible with AD&D (OSRIC) or B/X D&D (Basic Fantasy and Labyrinth Lord). But now there is a proliferation of clones that are played on their own. Each has some amalgamation of rules differences from the next, including armor class and similar concerns. Little or none of these make much difference in the long run.

Because I have it handy, here's a stat block from B2 Keep on the Borderlands:
AC 7, HD 1, hp 4 each, #AT 1, D 1-6, Save F 1, ML 8.

Also handy is a stat block from N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God:
AC 5; MV 12"; HD 2; hp 10 each; #AT 1; D 1-6

The first is a B/X module, the second an AD&D module - the B/X line actually has a bit more information. What I'd propose is that, instead of indicating compatibility with say OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord or Swords & Wizardry or any other particular clone, OSR games use a generic standard compatibility as follows:

Monster Name & number appearing - Monster's name with the number appearing in parentheses afterward.

Armor Class (AC) - give the descending AC. Different games with ascending AC use different bases, so it's not useful to list ascending ACs. There will be a slight difficulty where an unarmored person with a shield would be AC 9 in AD&D and AC 8 in B/X D&D, but this isn't big enough to worry about.

Movement rate (MV) - listed in feet, i.e. 120' rather than 12". Easy enough for OD&D and AD&D players to drop the 0; scale inches tend to confuse things.

Dexterity (Dx) - listed 3-18. This is for several games which use Dexterity to break ties in initiative (or Holmes D&D and its clones that use them to determine it in the first place).

Hit Dice (HD) - number of hit dice. Optionally this can include B/X style * for special abilities.

Hit points (hp) - a number of hit points. This should be in every stat block. List multiple creatures as "a,b,c,d" or "x each."

Number of Attacks (# AT) - the number of attacks per round.

Damage (D) - this is listed as a range, i.e. 1-6 or 2-7. Multiple attacks should be listed sequentially with "/" between each, such as 1-3/1-3/1-6.

Special Attacks (SA) - list any special attacks.

Special Defenses (SD) - list any special defenses.

Save - this is listed as a class and level. Typically monsters save as a fighter of level equal to their hit dice.

Morale (ML) - morale rating from 2 to 12. 12 is the highest morale rating and indicates least likely to flee.

So the first monster listing from B1 In Search of the Unknown would look like this:
Orcs (4) - AC 6, MV 90', Dx 8, HD 1, hp 5,4,3,2, #AT 1, D 1-6, Save F1, ML 8

The black widow spider would look like this:
Black Widow Spider (1) - AC 6, MV 60' (in web 120'), Dx 15, HD 3*, hp 13, #AT 1, D 2-12, SA poison, Save F2, ML 8

Write-ups for monsters would include all of the above plus Intelligence. Treasure type would have to be determined by the individual referee; it's too disparate across games.

I'd really like to make "OSR Compatible" a thing. Maybe someone with better Photoshop skills than I would be able to make up some kind of logo and release it open-source? I'd like to put it on my own future releases including Dungeon Crawl #4. Also - any additions or changes would be welcome.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Notes on playing B2 Keep on the Borderlands

I ran some more Moldvay B/X D&D last night, switching from B1 In Search of the Unknown to B2 Keep on the Borderlands. Overall I found the module more satisfying, although there's plenty of Caves of Chaos waiting for the next session.

The Keep itself worked out well. The PCs got very into interaction with the various characters, including the Curate. It was an interesting prelude to the actual adventure. It also set them off on the track of the hermit to the north of the Keep, which was an encounter they handled well. They defeated the puma quickly and one player was able to knock down and overbear the hermit himself, tying him and taking him back to the Keep, which netted them a small reward.

For tripping I used an attack roll and then a Strength roll to overbear the hermit. Anyone who says classic D&D combat is boring has little imagination - the "rulings not rules" attitude made the encounter interesting.

Once the PCs headed into the Caves of Chaos, they were surprised that they were multiple caves but wound up picking the goblin cave. They wound up fighting goblins in the first room they entered, and lost one PC; they outnumbered the goblins and beat them, finding the money in a barrel. (The character who got the "Bree-Yark" rumor from one of the guards was a dwarf and knew it was wrong since he knows goblin.)

They encountered the wandering goblins after that, and successfully got them not to attack with a good reaction roll. The dwarf tried telling them a story that their chieftain was going to sell them to a giant as slaves, but the reaction rolls kept them skeptical, and the PCs wound up casting Sleep and killing them. They avoided a larger room of goblins and went to another guard post, where they killed a third group of goblins.

It wasn't a terribly profitable adventure for the PCs, which kept the XP fairly low. That's a danger of the first expedition, but I'm interested to see what tack they'll take in the next game. A large number of PCs makes the combats easier but spreads the XP thin. Outnumbering in older D&D, I'm convinced, is the main key to victory.

B2's map was straightforward compared to the mapper's nightmare of B1. Yet it's a much more tactically interesting environment, since there are so many different possible entrances. The home base and wilderness map also make it really quite good, although the wilderness is not exactly full of lurking peril; it's fairly safe as long as the PCs aren't a few squares from a numbered encounter.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Disasters in the Underworld

Historically, we as humans have spent a lot of time digging holes in the ground. Throughout that history, we've had those holes collapse or blow us to holy hell. Coal miners have been known to bring canaries underground so that the birds would die from carbon monoxide poison while the miners still had a chance to escape alive. Even in modern industrial mines, a blowout can still lead to fatalities and miners spending days or weeks trapped underground with limited food and no sunlight. In Centralia, Pennsylvania, a coal mine fire started in 1962, is still burning in 2013 and will continue to burn unabated for 250 years.

In Dungeons & Dragons there's so much we can take out of this. The point I want to reach is in making underground disasters a challenge and not an annoyance or a simple declaration of "rocks fall, everyone dies."

The first type is to take a disaster that happened in the past. It becomes dungeon dressing: this is a collapsed hallway. Perhaps it conceals treasure, or a short cut, or a danger so awful that someone tried to bury it beneath the earth. Or maybe it's just a cave-in. There could be any number of horrors lurking in the earth, both giant insects and various tunneling monsters like the bullette. A wholly or partially collapsed dungeon area is fair game for being inherently dangerous; if it collapses, the existing fall should have served as adequate warning.

Other kinds of disasters than simple collapses could be interesting. Fire is one very dangerous thing; at low levels, a party will tend by its nature to have torches and/or lanterns. In general, there are plenty of flammable gases underground. A methane leak 50 years ago could make the air (or, as we know from modern gas mining, the water) flammable. Areas in an old mine or similar area might have the chance of causing a dangerous flare-off. On the other side you have possibilities like the Centralia mine, where there is literally a long-standing fire underground.

The second type of disaster is the one that only exists in potential. The most obvious of these is the inherently unstable area, where the local stone is weak and prone to shift catastrophically. The legend of the "tommyknockers" is drawn from the knocking sounds made by wood mine supports as they buckle and fail in advance of a cave-in. This is generally a feature that can make dungeons very dangerous, but players are likely to find it grossly unfair if the referee simply has a cave-in kill the PCs, however naturalistic that may be.

Such disasters can be foreshadowed in various ways. Noise is one; queer rumblings deep in the earth could be a dragon or balrog, but they could also be the signals that the earth is waiting to reclaim our band of adventurers. Popping and knocking in a wood-reinforced mine, or even the occasional support that is cracked down the middle or falling, can be one way of signalling this. All of this creates a sense of danger, and creates a time / action pressure on the PCs. It's one way to create what I've called in the past "fast" levels - levels that don't encourage in-depth exploration.

Of course there's also the possibility of PCs being trapped in the underworld. This can be a really railroad-ish tactic for a referee, although it can also really turn the "exploration" aspect of the game up if it leads to a new or different area of the dungeon. In a way this is a deeply Gygaxian trap, something like his teleporters that create a sudden need-to-find-the-exit situation in the underworld. This works particularly well if the cave-in happens to be a sinkhole down to a new level.

Last, a military solution would be an interesting cave-in situation: it is possible that some monsters or enemies have built a counter-mine intersecting with the "normal" dungeon that causes a collapse and then reveals a waiting ambush. For instance, undermining most of the way through a floor might make a normal person fall through it and become vulnerable to the attack below. In general counter-mines are a really fascinating way to fundamentally change a dungeon from beneath the ground.

As usual with my "idea" posts, I'll yield the floor with the question: what have you done with disasters, large-scale fires, cave-ins and other catastrophes in the dungeon?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dungeon Crawl #4 - Chivalry, Sagas and Scheherazade

I was happy with the content of Dungeon Crawl #3 and its reception, but overall too much of the magazine was written with my byline. I'd really like to get a diversified crew on board for the fourth issue, for both longer articles and shorter pieces written by other people.

The theme for the fourth issue of Dungeon Crawl is medieval legends and mythology. This is a broad category with several fields within it, and I'd welcome submissions that are inspired by any of the following:

  • Chivalric Romances. Any of the chansons de geste in either the English (Arthur) or French (Charlemagne) cycles and their descendants.
  • Teutonic and Norse Myth. Think of the Nibelungenlied, the Sagas of the Icelanders, and by coincidence also Beowulf.
  • Folkloric heroes of the type of Robin Hood and William Tell.
  • Non-European medieval legends and folklore. Think The One Thousand and One Nights and generally Arabic / Persian stories.

Of course, the key here is "inspired by." That's a fairly broad category; whether you want to do a sandbox with a Sherwood Forest vibe, a dungeon out of the One Thousand and One Nights, magic items inspired by the Germanic myths, or monsters out of the chivalric tales, there should be plenty of ground to cover.

Submissions for Dungeon Crawl #4 are due by October 31. Send ideas to wrossi81 at gmail to confirm. Anything from a single monster up to a multi-page adventure is welcome.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cryptid Wednesday: The Pope Lick Monster

It's a short week, so you may not have noticed it's Wednesday already. This monster is appropriate for any bridges or high crossings you may have in your campaign setting.

Pope Lick Monster

Hit Dice: 4+1
Armor Class: 7 [12]
Attacks: By weapon (1d8+2)
Saving Throw: 13
Special: Suggestion
Move: 12
Alignment: Chaotic
Challenge Level/XP: 6/400

There are several types of goatmen in the world, but the Pope Lick Monster is among the more dangerous. This solitary creature has the hind legs of a goat, with thick curly hair that is sometimes mistaken for a sheep, and the deformed upper torso of a man. It has an alabaster face with a broad nose and wide-set eyes, and its hair matches the fur on its legs.

The Pope Lick monster is named for a creek that its bridge passes over; there may be others living at other crossings. The bridge itself is an old, rickety and narrow bridge about 100' over the water. The monster's extranormal power is its voice, which is able to act as a Suggestion spell luring victims out further. Sometimes it goads them to leap, or to walk over a dangerous portion of the bridge (3 in 6 chance of falling through) or even to attack their compatriots. Victims who resist will be attacked with its rusty, blood-stained axe (+2 to hit and damage due to 17 Strength).

It is believed that this monster is the result of some horrible evil ritual, or else a fell hybrid of human and goat, and it has lived for at least a century. Whether others exist or not is the subject of fertile speculation.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Getting Basic: Wandering Monsters

Since the hangout games I'm currently running are using Basic / Expert as their system, I thought it would be useful to discuss some of the differences between it and OD&D. The majority of the system is very similar, although in many places more detailed, similar to my earlier Holmes / Moldvay comparison of magic-user spells.

In Original D&D, the referee checks for wandering monsters once per turn. No matter what, you roll the die and see if some monster is incoming. Holmes moved this back to once per three turns. This changes the rate of wandering monsters on average from 1 per hour (6 turns) to 1 per 3 hours (18 turns). Moldvay switched the turn length back to 2 turns, leaving it at 1 per 2 hours (12 turns). One interesting twist is that OD&D and Holmes both used 6 on the wandering monster die to indicate a monster, while Moldvay switched it to 1. Since I have a d6 where the "1" is the Eye of Sauron, I use this to indicate wandering monsters and therefore gravitate towards the Moldvay style even when I'm running OD&D or Holmes. Even though I don't run in Middle-Earth it seems appropriate.

OD&D had a system that Mike Mornard recently pointed out is extremely dangerous. There is a high chance that wandering monsters are well above the "level" of the dungeon - the first level can have 4th level rated creatures, and the third can have dragons and balrogs. Only 1/3 are from the level 1 chart, 1/3 from level 2, and 1/6 from levels 3 and 4. This makes dawdling in an OD&D dungeon extremely problematic. Holmes levels out the power curve: at level 1, 2/3 of all monsters are from the level 1 chart, 1/4 are from level 2, and 1/12 from level 3. Moldvay doesn't go with any of that, instead using a level 1 chart only for level 1, level 2 just for level 2, and level 3 just for the third level of the dungeon. Moldvay still has plenty dangerous creatures on level 1, but nowhere near as many as in OD&D or Holmes. Notably it's the first version of classic D&D where you can't run into ogres on level 1 of a dungeon.

Unlike OD&D and Holmes, Moldvay does not suggest altering numbers of wandering monsters based on party size. The numbers are calculated for dungeon level, and turn up regardless of how many PCs are in the party. I prefer this because it enforces the idea that the dungeon exists objectively regardless of the PC party, rather than adjusting to them. Moldvay follows Holmes in adjusting OD&D's encounter distance from 2d4x10 (20-80 feet) upward to 2d6x10 (20-120 feet).

Another departure is that Moldvay suggests varying the rate a bit. This is not a reflection of OD&D or Holmes, but is an interesting idea. Some areas and activities may increase the roll to 1-2, while some activities (Moldvay specifically mentions staying in one place and sleeping) make them less frequent. This can be used to excellent effect if you want to make "fast and slow" dungeon areas as I had discussed previously; a fast area could have higher wandering monster traffic, while a slow one could have Holmes's rate or lower. In any case it's primarily a question of the referee rolling correctly.

The final contrast is that all of Moldvay's creatures are in his monster listing. OD&D didn't have this, throwing out references like giant rats, spiders, giant hogs, and thouls - none of which is listed in Monsters & Treasure and each of which is meant to be made up by the referee. As a coincidental note, Moldvay actually wrote up stats for the thoul in his Basic Set, which had been in The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures but never received a listing.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing on the Moldvay list is the humans. At level 1, there are Acolytes, Bandits, and Traders. Acolytes (level 1 clerics with no spells) can be any alignment, while Bandits are Neutral or Chaotic and Traders can be any alignment. This makes for some really interesting dilemmas, since a group of pilgrims wearing plate mail and carrying maces could be Lawful acolytes, or Chaotics; they could also be bandits dressed as clerics to fool opponents. A group of armed men could be traders or bandits and you wouldn't know right away. It's a recipe for some tense encounters.

All told, Moldvay has a very worthwhile take on wandering monsters. I think his pace is better than in OD&D or Holmes, especially considering the explicit advice to speed it up or slow it down. There's less chance of a wildly difficult encounter on the first few levels, and he really expanded the charts to give variety and some real tension to human encounters.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

On Running B1 In Search of the Unknown

Last night I ran a session of B1 In Search of the Unknown using the Moldvay Basic Set. I've always liked the idea of B1 because of its dynamic dungeon key, where monsters are placed and treasures hidden by the individual referee before the game; as classic modules go, that makes it easier to run B1 for players who have played or even run it before.

I did a fairly "light" stocking on the first level, leaving some unguarded treasures - which turned out not to matter because the players didn't find a well-secreted gem. But the empty rooms turned out not to be too big of a factor.

An early encounter was with goblins who I had in the dining room (room 3). This killed one of the NPCs rounding out the party but had the interesting effect of the PCs capturing several goblins and using them as guides, and out of the three captured goblins one even survived. The rumor table really worked, because the PCs knew about the room of pools and had the goblins lead them straight there. I always find such treks in a dungeon to be really interesting, because they reveal a bit about the layout but just a very specific subset. Goblin fear of orcs also helped the PCs out because they knew where I had placed them. (I ruled that the goblins weren't that adventurous and hadn't explored much beyond that part of the dungeon, but the pool room was so close they knew how to get to it.)

The room of pools is probably my favorite element in the module. The PCs were pretty methodical about it, and I allowed a saving throw against the pool of muting which meant it had no effect. They used the fish to "test" each pool that was suspect, which helped them avoid the pool of sleep, though they also avoided the aura pool because the fish looked stunned for a few moments. It was an effective way to get to the healing pool, which provided welcome HP after the scrap with the goblins.

A few later encounters just "felt right," including a monstrous black widow spider hiding above the bed in the mistress's room. (It lost initiative three times and missed the one attack roll it got, which was enough to do it in.) The valuable mirror was under the pillow and promptly found in the thorough search of the room. Another was a shrieker in the garden room, which of course had the intended effect of drawing wandering monsters - in this case some kobolds. Monsters kept failing morale checks and surrendering, so they now had a kobold and a goblin along who didn't like each other.

In the end, combat managed to kill the dwarf, as the party ran into a programmed kobold encounter - the kobold with them betraying the party. The PCs got out with some good loot from it, if nothing else. The dwarf's demise managed to derail their plans for a permanent goblin servant because no remaining PCs spoke goblin.

The biggest impact of the Moldvay rules was the damage factor. The party's fighter had a two-handed sword and a 17 Strength, and 1d10+2 is more than most of the monsters in B1 can handle by a high factor. Monsters would've been harder in Holmes with all d6 damage. Without a magic-user there was no other major shift away from Holmes. Moldvay's morale rules proved once more why they are my favorites - this group of players was the most creative with their captives of the ones I've seen. As I noted above, initiative rolls really mattered because I kept making crappy rolls for initiative, but I roll initiative even in OD&D.

Because of multiple store rooms, there were two good observations. The first was - "I think we're in an IKEA, not a dungeon." (The difference is the furniture here was already assembled.) The second was how much B1's first level feels like you're raiding somebody's house. This is one of the real oddities of the module. The module also was a pain for the mapper but since so much hangs off of the central area with the kitchens dining room and the landing from the first corridor, it all fits back together.

B1 was only nominally moved to Moldvay by adding morale scores. I was using a brown cover copy of the module instead of B1 for that reason, but there's a dwarf who has exceptional Strength and another whose Constitution score isn't high enough to qualify for the class. There's also a place or two using 3d6 under stat as an ability check instead of the B/X Expert method of using 1d20 roll-under; I find each to work pretty well despite the different probabilities.

All in all it's a fun module to run, and Moldvay worked as well as I expected it to. PCs are a bit tougher than in Holmes because of how ability scores work, but it's still the same fundamental game. I really think B1 could use some re-skinning though in the future. If nothing else, to avoid the "fantasy IKEA" effect.