Thursday, May 13, 2021

Literally Rewriting the Rules

It's been over a month since my last post, but I haven't been working on my campaign much. Instead my D&D efforts have been focused on creating a comprehensive wiki of the 3rd edition rules.  It's not the most interesting thing to blog about, but it's all I've got right now, so I'll gamely pound out a few paragraphs about it.

I decided to take on this mammoth task after a few months of working on my 3rd edition campaign, and getting frustrated with the rulebooks.  I know that there's the d20 SRD, but that has its own deficiencies: it doesn't include a lot of the classic IP, and it's still written out as blocks of text.

Those blocks of text are one of the main reasons I took this project on.  Trying to find a relevant rule in the books is much harder when it's buried in a column of words, many of which are superfluous to the game.  I'm converting them to point form as I fill in the wiki entries, which I find much more concise and easier to navigate.

The other frustration, and honestly the bigger one, is the way that 3rd edition constantly refers back to other sections of the book.  Take, for instance, the spell acid fog, a not particularly complex spell by 3e standards.  To get its full effects, you need to refer back to solid fog.  Then when you go back to solid fog, it refers back to fog cloud.  A complete description of acid fog requires looking up three different spells and parsing them all, which isn't going to happen during play without stopping the game for a bit.  So while I write the wiki, I'm making sure that all the info I need is right there on a single page. Here's what acid fog looks like:

It's not the most aesthetically pleasing effort, but unfortunately WikidPad doesn't offer much in the way of formatting.  I think it's going to help me a lot in terms of getting the rules right though.  3rd edition is full of stuff like this, particularly in the spell descriptions, and I'm hoping all of this effort will help things run a bit more smoothly when unfamiliar spells pop up.  (That's going to more frequent now, as one of my players is hitting the mid-levels as a wizard.)

Another reason I wanted to create this wiki is that I'm slowly house-ruling 3e until it plays more to my liking.  Rather than having a sheet of house rules, I'd rather be able to edit the rules directly in a place that everyone can access.  It a bit unfortunate that step one of that process is typing up hundreds of pages of rules, but I honestly enjoy this kind of busywork. I'm weird like that.

Currently I'm a bit over 200 pages into the Player's Handbook, in the spells starting with C.  There's a lot of work ahead, though I suspect that the Dungeon Master's Guide won't take as long.  No doubt my progress will slow down when I start playing again, but for now I'm plugging away at it whenever I get the chance.

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