Monday, September 3, 2012

Preliminary thoughts on the ADOM Lite RPG

Just some thoughts as part of the ADOM: The Resurrection project (the one with the least dependencies) is already moving. I have been putting some thoughts into the ADOM Lite RPG. Here's a short summary:

  • 64 pages is awfully short for a complete roleplaying game. Even todays rather rules light games like Castles & Crusades by now consist of several 128 pages manuals. So we'll really have to be conservative with the design approach to fit everything into the game.
  • ADOM Lite shall be a complete game (races, classes, character generation, combat, magic, monsters, treasures, corruption, dungeon generation and whatever else) nonetheless. As I have some experience with trying to write very compact RPG rules (the Maddrax RPG being the most successful as it actually was published in Germany and was the first RPG ever to be published in a pulp fiction line and the probably the cheapest complete commercial RPG ever at a price of 2,50 EUR - with a supporting line of by now more than 300+ source books [the pulp fiction line itself] as well as my so far incomplete attempts at Hexer & Helden, The Fantasy Game and Gaia Gamma) this should be possible albeit not trivial.
  • ADOM Lite needs a differentiating trait so that it really has a reason for existence compared to many other game systems that you could use for roleplaying in Ancardia. Corruption shall be that differentiating (most important) trait. CoRrUpTiOn As In "A vErY iNtErEsTiNg TeMpTaTiOn To Do ReMaRkAbLe ThInGs AnD... pAy A pRiCe"!
  • ADOM Lite primarily will be about fast and quick random dungeon crawls... as dungeon crawls are the primary topic of roguelike games.
  • ADOM Lite will only loosely be based on the actual rules in ADOM Classic as most of the rules are almost impossible to translate into a fun and playable tabletop experience. I'm going to translate the spirit of the rules but not most of the mechanics.
  • ADOM Lite will contain information on Ancardia to be settled on a firm foundation.
  • ADOM Lite will be kind of old school (details to follow).
  • ADOM Lite will offer a quick character generation process (old school).
  • To make this possible with nine attributes I will use 2d6+4 as a base value for attributes, modified by race, class, star sign and (usually) random talent. This makes for 18 die rolls as for old school D&D which generally seems to be regarded as "fast enough". (congratulations to the box donors... you also will get 2d6 with the box ;-) ).
  • ADOM Lite will (at least according to current plan) only use a single d20 to resolve all actions and events during actual play. Fast and simple. 
  • It will not be a derivative of the D20 system.
  • In order to pack as money monsters as possible I intend to a kind of random monster type generator (packing some templates, too), intermixed with some iconic classics.
  • A random dungeon generator (in the spirit of the AD&D 1st edition DMG random dungeon generator) hopefully will be included, but probably simpler and more compact.
  • I hope to include all races and classes from ADOM Classic, although classes most likely will be limited to level 10 in play.
  • To compensate for the level limit multi-classing (similar to ADOM II) will be included.
So far the preliminary thoughts. I already have been fiddling with rules details but it's much to early to post that stuff. Feedback welcome ;-) !


  1. I like the streamlining and the random dungeon generator idea. It would be cool if this was something that could be played somewhat casually, without a lot of setup and such. I know I've called off a lot of games of Shadowrun and similar games because I didn't have time to do all the prep-work as storyteller. ADOM Lite sounds like it could be a good "off night" game for a lazy DM like me.

  2. Konstantin Zhukov has a splendid suggestion on Facebook: "It would really be cool if the ADOM Lite could be played by a single person. I know it's generally impossible with pnp games, but still it would be cool."

    Tunnels & Trolls has proven that solo play is perfectly possible. Now Tunnels & Trolls did that by publishing tons of solo adventures... but if the focus of ADOM Lite is dungeoneering my guess is that this should work. At least I used to play solo AD&D 1st edition using a group of player characters and the dungeon generator in the DMG. I really like that thought :-)

    I'll add it to the list of differentiating traits to be aspired... thanks Konstantin!

  3. Only feedback I have is bring it on! I've been wishing I could take my friends along for the ride through Ancardia for years, soon I will finally get that chance. The most exciting bits for me would be the ChAoS system and the random dungeon generation as those things I liked most about the game. Also, not sure how many of the races and classes you're planning on including, but the more the merrier!

  4. Solo play would be excelent. I also like the idea of "fast and quick random dungeon crawls". It shouldn't be too difficult, just add the Ancardia flavour. After the great campaign I'm actually in the mood for some novel set in Ancardia and ADOM Lite RPG could be a small plaster ;)

  5. I'm so excited. :)

    But I'm hoping that the RPG system will eventually become more widely available even if the original edition of the rulebook remains limited. It'd be cool to own one of only a few hundred copies, but it'd be sad if that meant the system never got more than a few hundred players.

    "In order to pack as money monsters as possible"

    Many, yes? Don't let your new riches go to your head! :P