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Zain
2011-03-22, 11:13 PM
While looking in a used book store, I happened across the players handbook, dungeon masters guide and monster manual 1st ed. Anyway, I've played a fair bit of 3.5, and I'm looking into running a game, any things I should avoid?

lothos
2011-03-23, 05:17 AM
Hi,
I DMd a lot of AD&D in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The biggest problems with AD&D 1st edition was that there was some pretty big areas where the rules were really vauge or just missing. So people made up house rules to fill them in.

Take the spell Wish. It was a 9th Level "Magic User" spell. An MU was almost identical to a wizard in 3rd edition, they had d4 hit dice, poor melee... lots of spells they learned from books. The thing about wish was that it didn't have an XP cost, instead it aged you 3 years.

1. What if you are an elf wizard ? 3 Years is a lot less significant to an elf than to a human. The rules said nothing about wish aging variable amounts based on your race. So some DMs went one way, some another. There was a nastly staff called something like "A staff of aging and withering" that aged the victim... it did so a variable amount based on race, the longer lived races getting aged more. But Wish.. no information just "3 years"

2. Could you just wish your age down ? Game balance says no, because otherwise you just wish 10 times for things you want and spend every 11th wish reducing you age by 33 years. However it said nothing about wish being able to affect your age, so some DM's allowed people to wish thier age down.

3. There was a rule that wishes only raise stats over 16 by 1/10th of a point. But the rules say nothing about how much wish raises stats under 16. Does it raise them 1 point ? Can you wish a stat directly up to 16 in a single wish no matter how low it was ? Depending on the generosity (and experience) of the DM, you would get different rulings.

Another example - there are no rules about 2 handed melee, at least not in any of the 1st edition books I have (which is most of them). Wield a longsword in 1 hand or 2... same damage.

Also, there is no rule to say what stat determines your to hit bonus for ranged attacks. 3.5 edition has the extremely sensible rule that it's dexterity. in 1st Edition, because it didn't say, a lot of DMs assumed that strength was the stat that governed your ranged to hit bonus, because that's the stat that gives you plusses to hit... it never says anywhere that that only applies to melee.

One more example - I want to convince an NPC to do something. In 3.5 there are pretty clear rules for this. In 1st Edition, there are no skills. If you bought "Dungeoneers Survival Guide" and "Wilderness Survival Guide" there were "nonweapon proficiencies", but they were a lot less clear than the 3.5 skill system. So how does the DM decide if you convince the NPC ? Basically he makes up a probability on the spot, he might assign some kind of modifier based on your charisma (the rules say nothing about this) and then roll the dice. It's basically the DM just making up the rules as he goes along.


I have fond memories of 1st edition AD&D. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was trying to be negative about 1st Edition. I've never actually played 2nd, 3rd, 3.5th or 4th edition. But after reading some of the 3.5 edition rule books (so I could get the jokes in OOTS), I have to say I'm really impressed with the 3.5 edition. The core rules are so wonderfully crafted and well balanced. I know all those expansions allow clever players to unbalance the game and make certain classes (Wizard, Cleric, Druid) awesomely powerful... but the core rules to me look reasonably (not perfectly) balanced.

I haven't read much of 4e rules, but what I have seen, I dislike quite a lot... I reserve the right to change my opinion though if I ever have a proper look at it. Still, it's probably more complete and balanced than 1st ed.

You may find 1st edition AD&D a little odd if you have played later editions first. Here are a few things that may surprise you:

1. Illusionists are rubbish. No one ever plays an illusionist unless they are 100% in to role playing and don't care if their character is weak. I thought it was quite funny when in this strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0565.html), Roy played a gnome illusionist. They are the only subclass of Magic User available in 1st ed. They do not get to choose regular magic user spells, ONLY illusions. They can if they want to fill their 7th level slots up with 1st level magic user spells......... wow.

2. Cleric, Druid and Illusionist spells only go up to 7th level.

3. The lower the number, the better the AC. Your AC starts at 10 and can go as low as -7.

4. No Stat can ever go above 25... except for the special stat "comliness" which for gods only can be in the 26-30 range. Most stats are capped at 18 without lots of wishes or magical books. A strength of 23 is stronger than a lot of gods.

5. Size makes no automatic difference to AC, to hit, speed.....

6. If you want Barbarians, Cavaliers, Thief Acrobats and a couple of other classes you need the "Unearthed Arcana" rulebook.

7. Multiclassing is only available to demi-humans. Humans can't multiclass, but certain multiclass combinations are allowed for certain races. Humans can "Dual Class", but the rules for it are very unclear. You stop being one class and become another... you can't use your old class abilities until you reach the same level in your new class. Do you keep your old hit dice ? Who knows. Can you wear armor and cast arcane spells ? Who Knows.

8. Race / Class combination rules mean only certain races can be certain classes. If you don't have unearthed arcana, you can't have paladins who are not human. Also most classes (other than thief (which means "rouge" in 3.5 terms)) have a maximum level limit for races other than Humans.

9. Some classes have maximum level limits no matter what race you are. Druids only go up to 14th level, unless you have unearthed arcana, then they go up to 23rd level or something like that. Assassins are not a prestige class, they only go to 14th or 15th level.. something like that.

10. Being a bard is.... weird and unclear. You have to first be a Fighter, then a thief for a bit, then you become a bard. Something like being dual class. It's not clear if you keep the hit points from the old classes, there is a suggestion you loose your hit points both times you switch, so after 5 levels or something of fighter, you effectively become a 1st level thief... weird. Rich actually mentioned this in this strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0222.html). Actually he also mentioned there that "multiclass" wasn't allowed the same way it is in 3.5 ed.

So there's a lot of differences. You will have to fill in a lot of the blanks. If you want to go for a self consistent set of rules, you could do a lot worse than fill in the blanks with stuff from 3.5... but then you might find you want to avoid that to have something different and distinct from 3.5 ed.

Whatever you do, don't drink 2 potions at the same time :-)
(see Dungeon masters guide - potion miscibility table)

hamlet
2011-03-23, 07:56 AM
To the OP: Welcome to the Dark Side. Help yourself to some cookies!

Avoid? Well . . . nothing specific jumps to mind as things needing to be avoided, except for assuming that AD&D plays at all like 3.x. It doesn't. If you can get that through your head first, then the rest of it becomes better and easier.

A word of caution, being a DM in AD&D is about rulings, not rules. As Lothos points out below, there are a lot of points in the rules set where things are a little unclear and it'll be entirely up to you to decide how they work. On the spot. In front God and all your players. And make it look as if you knew all along. It's about style, man.



Hi,
I DMd a lot of AD&D in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The biggest problems with AD&D 1st edition was that there was some pretty big areas where the rules were really vauge or just missing. So people made up house rules to fill them in.

Yup. The quintessance of a good DM. Make stuff up and make it look as if you're not.




Take the spell Wish. It was a 9th Level "Magic User" spell. An MU was almost identical to a wizard in 3rd edition, they had d4 hit dice, poor melee... lots of spells they learned from books. The thing about wish was that it didn't have an XP cost, instead it aged you 3 years.

1. What if you are an elf wizard ? 3 Years is a lot less significant to an elf than to a human. The rules said nothing about wish aging variable amounts based on your race. So some DMs went one way, some another. There was a nastly staff called something like "A staff of aging and withering" that aged the victim... it did so a variable amount based on race, the longer lived races getting aged more. But Wish.. no information just "3 years"

2. Could you just wish your age down ? Game balance says no, because otherwise you just wish 10 times for things you want and spend every 11th wish reducing you age by 33 years. However it said nothing about wish being able to affect your age, so some DM's allowed people to wish thier age down.

3. There was a rule that wishes only raise stats over 16 by 1/10th of a point. But the rules say nothing about how much wish raises stats under 16. Does it raise them 1 point ? Can you wish a stat directly up to 16 in a single wish no matter how low it was ? Depending on the generosity (and experience) of the DM, you would get different rulings.


I do not have a copy of the AD&D 1e wish spell in front of me at the moment, but I do believe you're mixing 2nd edition stuff in here. The spell in the 1st edition players handbook is not as explicated as it is in 2nd edition, and not nearly so as it became in 3rd edition. Essentially, a wish spell, depending on the DM, was either a huge boon, or a huge kick me sign. Sometimes both at the same time. And yes, it would be up to you, the DM, to decide just how things work. You have to interpret the wish, determine if that wish would work or not, and decide just how you, personally, want to interpret it based on circumstances in the game (i.e., who's granting the wish?, who's casting the spell?, the alignment adherence of the wisher, your mood at the moment, etc.) and inform the player of any visible effects. Generally, a good rule of thumb, I find, is to first examine who's granting the wish (a god, genie, other mortal?) and what their stakes are in the matter, and then to decide whether they'd be likely to pervert the intent of the wish against the wisher, interpret it painfully literally, or perhaps understand the intent and err on the side of generosity. It's up to you.



Another example - there are no rules about 2 handed melee, at least not in any of the 1st edition books I have (which is most of them). Wield a longsword in 1 hand or 2... same damage.


By "two handed melee" I presume you mean dual wielding. And you're mostly correct, it's not written down in the PHB, though I think it's in the DMG. In any respect, it's listed in the 2nd edition PHB under combat. You get penalties based on your DEX. If you don't like that, however, you can just as easily change it to better reflect how you envisage the world. If it's really important, you can get a copy of OSRIC for free from Lulu where it definately is listed out nicely. Along with a bunch of other nice rules that you might want to incorporate.



Also, there is no rule to say what stat determines your to hit bonus for ranged attacks. 3.5 edition has the extremely sensible rule that it's dexterity. in 1st Edition, because it didn't say, a lot of DMs assumed that strength was the stat that governed your ranged to hit bonus, because that's the stat that gives you plusses to hit... it never says anywhere that that only applies to melee.


Yes there is. It's listed in the ability charts in the first chapter of the PHB. High Dex provides bonuses to hit in ranged combat. Strength to melee. It's spelled out in a chart and can be easy to miss if you don't know to look there, but it's pretty clear if you look at a character sheet.



One more example - I want to convince an NPC to do something. In 3.5 there are pretty clear rules for this. In 1st Edition, there are no skills. If you bought "Dungeoneers Survival Guide" and "Wilderness Survival Guide" there were "nonweapon proficiencies", but they were a lot less clear than the 3.5 skill system. So how does the DM decide if you convince the NPC ? Basically he makes up a probability on the spot, he might assign some kind of modifier based on your charisma (the rules say nothing about this) and then roll the dice. It's basically the DM just making up the rules as he goes along.


Or, you don't have to roll dice at all. This is the essence of role playing in the older editions. If you had to convince the NPC of something, you the player had to interact with the DM portraying the NPC (fairly) and actively convince him of it. You may have to remind yourself that while you might not have, your character has a Charisma of 18 and that should count for something even if you the player might not be quite as compelling. A good DM will factor that in, as he would factor in just the fact that you made an effort rather than simply "what dice do I roll?".




I have fond memories of 1st edition AD&D. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was trying to be negative about 1st Edition. I've never actually played 2nd, 3rd, 3.5th or 4th edition. But after reading some of the 3.5 edition rule books (so I could get the jokes in OOTS), I have to say I'm really impressed with the 3.5 edition. The core rules are so wonderfully crafted and well balanced. I know all those expansions allow clever players to unbalance the game and make certain classes (Wizard, Cleric, Druid) awesomely powerful... but the core rules to me look reasonably (not perfectly) balanced.


Yes, the core rules can be quite fun I imagine. I tried them myself, but they just didn't work out too well. It's really a matter of opinion. When it comes down to it, if you're having fun, who the hell cares what somebody else says about your fun? Throw a D12 at them and get back to the game!




You may find 1st edition AD&D a little odd if you have played later editions first. Here are a few things that may surprise you:

Ah the list . . .:smallsmile:



1. Illusionists are rubbish. No one ever plays an illusionist unless they are 100% in to role playing and don't care if their character is weak. I thought it was quite funny when in this strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0565.html), Roy played a gnome illusionist. They are the only subclass of Magic User available in 1st ed. They do not get to choose regular magic user spells, ONLY illusions. They can if they want to fill their 7th level slots up with 1st level magic user spells......... wow.


Actually, well played illusionists are not rubbish. They can be quite the terror on the field if they're clever and use what they have well. No, they aren't going to be dishing out huge amounts of damage, leveling mountains and burning armies, but the illusionist is really about misdirection, tricker, and subtlety.



2. Cleric, Druid and Illusionist spells only go up to 7th level.


Correct. But look at the power that can be brought to bear(sp?) by a 7th level Clerical or Druidic spell. Scary stuff, dude. And heck, Flamestrike and Call Lightning (itself a 3rd level spell) can both be used as seige weapons!

But remember, clerics' strengths lie as much in the balance between magical prowess and the ability to pull a mace out and kick but and take names. It's a balance of powers.



3. The lower the number, the better the AC. Your AC starts at 10 and can go as low as -7.

Actually, -10 is the generally agreed upon best possible AC barring special circumstances.

And lower AC is better is not that hard to grok. It stems, I believe, from the idea that "first class armor" is the best, "2nd class armor" is less good, etc. And, for the most part, you don't have to worry too much about it since you'll be looking up to-hits on a table anyway.



4. No Stat can ever go above 25... except for the special stat "comliness" which for gods only can be in the 26-30 range. Most stats are capped at 18 without lots of wishes or magical books. A strength of 23 is stronger than a lot of gods.

Yer channeling 2nd edition, and getting it slightly wrong, too.

In 1e, the charts only went up to 18 IIRC. The gods themselves could go higher, but I think their max was 25.

By 2nd edition, the hard cap, even for deities, was 25, which was god like abilities.



5. Size makes no automatic difference to AC, to hit, speed.....


That is correct, but such can actually easily be house ruled if it tickles your fancy.



6. If you want Barbarians, Cavaliers, Thief Acrobats and a couple of other classes you need the "Unearthed Arcana" rulebook.


Also correct, though they're not really required for fun play. There are some nice spells, magic items, and such in there, though, that make it a worthwhile book to track down.



7. Multiclassing is only available to demi-humans. Humans can't multiclass, but certain multiclass combinations are allowed for certain races. Humans can "Dual Class", but the rules for it are very unclear. You stop being one class and become another... you can't use your old class abilities until you reach the same level in your new class. Do you keep your old hit dice ? Who knows. Can you wear armor and cast arcane spells ? Who Knows.


It's not that unclear. As for dual classing, it's based on an older vision of careers and life that just doesn't "click" for modern people today who do not, nor ever have, live in a world where "you are what you do" was a major thing and you probably would end up doing what your father did for a living. Changing profession was a HUGE thing, akin to remaking your life. In that light, it makes more sense.

And, for the record, you kept your old hit points, but dropped back to first level. Then, you didn't gain new hit points until your hit dice level (i.e., the level of your new class) exceeded that of your old. Then you started gaining more HP and your old abilities "kicked back in" without penaltyso to speak.



8. Race / Class combination rules mean only certain races can be certain classes. If you don't have unearthed arcana, you can't have paladins who are not human. Also most classes (other than thief (which means "rouge" in 3.5 terms)) have a maximum level limit for races other than Humans.


That is correct according to RAW. Yes, even back in those days we had RAW/RAI fights. However, this is very easily house ruled, and was in fact one of the very first things house ruled by most DM's.



9. Some classes have maximum level limits no matter what race you are. Druids only go up to 14th level, unless you have unearthed arcana, then they go up to 23rd level or something like that. Assassins are not a prestige class, they only go to 14th or 15th level.. something like that.


Yup. And monks, druids, and assasins all had to face challenges in order to displace their betters to advance in level. Also, easily removed if you dont' like it.



10. Being a bard is.... weird and unclear. You have to first be a Fighter, then a thief for a bit, then you become a bard. Something like being dual class. It's not clear if you keep the hit points from the old classes, there is a suggestion you loose your hit points both times you switch, so after 5 levels or something of fighter, you effectively become a 1st level thief... weird. Rich actually mentioned this in this strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0222.html). Actually he also mentioned there that "multiclass" wasn't allowed the same way it is in 3.5 ed.


Heh, won't disagree with you there. But if you grab OSRIC, you can find a class bard that doesn't have so much wonkiness that fits very well in AD&D 1ed. Or you can use the 2nd edition bard.



So there's a lot of differences. You will have to fill in a lot of the blanks. If you want to go for a self consistent set of rules, you could do a lot worse than fill in the blanks with stuff from 3.5... but then you might find you want to avoid that to have something different and distinct from 3.5 ed.

Whatever you do, don't drink 2 potions at the same time :-)
(see Dungeon masters guide - potion miscibility table)

Or, simply write stuff down as you make it up. Come up with a neat way to adjudicate a situation? Put it down on paper for the next time it happens so you can make it work the same way without having to reinvent the wheel.

And you're absolutely correct. Be careful with drinking potions. Boom.


One last bit of advice for somebody DMing AD&D is to be fair. There aren't as many rules tying your hands in this edition, so it's really up to you to play fair and make sure that you are seen as being fair. You can be harsh within the constraints of that guidline, or you can be generous, or both. But above all, be even handed and neutral.

Matthew
2011-03-23, 08:50 AM
AD&D purposefully has a large amount of "grey space", which the game master is encouraged to fill. Some errors of memory have been made above, and even Hamlet has not quite gotten it right on the subject of missile attacks. :smallwink:

In first edition AD&D, dexterity is used to modify the hit roll for missile attacks usually, but "specially constructed" missile weapons also add strength bonuses to hit and damage (see DMG, p. 64).

Another point worth making is that the number of years a character ages from casting wish is very much secondary to the immediate system shock roll they have to make to survive! :smallbiggrin:

hamlet
2011-03-23, 09:18 AM
Some errors of memory have been made above, and even Hamlet has not quite gotten it right on the subject of missile attacks. :smallwink:


:smalltongue:

I was speaking in general terms, not specific terms.

And stop poking fun of my memory. Just cause I can't remember what I ate for supper last night does not mean that I have Alzheimer's!

Wait, where was I?

Greylond
2011-03-23, 05:07 PM
While looking in a used book store, I happened across the players handbook, dungeon masters guide and monster manual 1st ed. Anyway, I've played a fair bit of 3.5, and I'm looking into running a game, any things I should avoid?

The best way is to read them all, cover to cover...


...and when you are done, Read them again. The play some, and read up on what you don't understand during play...

That's pretty much what we had to do, but we didn't have the Internet where we could go to ask questions... ;)

meschlum
2011-03-23, 10:33 PM
Also, watch out for psionics.

They work more or less fine as a way for monsters to threaten PCs (and are rather common as such), but they Should Not Be Used by players, or as a means of conflict between NPCs.

Why?

Being psionic means two things. If you're a player, you get one (or more) cool powers, a random (but usually low) number of power points to fuel it with, and access to psionic combat.

Psionic combat is the second thing. Against psionic beings, the entire attack / defense edifice boils down to psionic point attrition, with the point cost being very similar for both the attacker and defender. Using a more expensive attack lets you do more damage (costs the defender more points), using a more powerful defense lets you take less damage (costs the defender fewer points - but you paid more!), and picking the perfect defense for each attack (or attack for each defense) saves a bit.

Once a psionic being is out of psionic points, psionic damage coms from hit points instead. Non-psionic beings just need to make saving throws, and most psionic attacks don't work on them.

But still, a 300 psionic point powerhouse can expect to spend around 100 points in crushing a feeble 100 point opponent. Facing off against four such feeble beings means the uber psionic threat will die.

Almost all demons have psionics. So you just need to get five or six Type I's to decide to brainblast Demogorgon, and the Prince of Demons is toast.

Demons are chaotic. Sadly, devils have psionics too.


Assuming you ignore all that, the varied psionic specific threats can and will deplete a psionic PC's point reserve, then devour her.

So you don't let PCs have psionics, and you don't have psionic combat happen. Otherwise, it's fine!

Bosh
2011-03-24, 04:38 AM
The best thing about 1ed is that it's very very modular, if you think that some part of the rules are annoying or stupid just drop them and everything will be fine in almost every case. For example hardly anyone uses the weapons vs. armor chart. Also the basic game balance is quite good and surprisingly robust so you can make **** up without the game going screwy. Just keep in mind that low level characters are a LOT weaker than in later editions and early levels are often about sneaking around and being bastards rather than being heroes kicking down doors. Low level play in 1ed has been described as "fantasy ****ing Vietnam" which is pretty apt...

ken-do-nim
2011-03-24, 05:57 AM
My advice is that when questions come up, make up a ruling as fair as you can in game to keep things flowing, then make a note of it and after the game is over, take the time to come up with a better ruling. Keep a running file of house rules.

Oh ... and illusionists rock. They really do.

Partysan
2011-03-30, 05:38 AM
Let's get this out of the way because it begins cluttering this very nice thread:


I have fond memories of 1st edition AD&D. I wouldn't want anyone to think I was trying to be negative about 1st Edition. I've never actually played 2nd, 3rd, 3.5th or 4th edition. But after reading some of the 3.5 edition rule books (so I could get the jokes in OOTS), I have to say I'm really impressed with the 3.5 edition. The core rules are so wonderfully crafted and well balanced. I know all those expansions allow clever players to unbalance the game and make certain classes (Wizard, Cleric, Druid) awesomely powerful... but the core rules to me look reasonably (not perfectly) balanced.


No. The PHB is practically the worst balanced book in all 3.5. I won't go into why this is, because I want to save the topic, but you will easily find out on this very forums.

Cyrion
2011-03-30, 10:12 AM
I think the thing I had to shift my thinking most for in going from 1e to 3.5 was multi-classing, though you're probably going the easy direction. The dynamic is very different between the two systems (largely because of the XP structure).

Take a 3/3 cleric/wizard for example- In 3.5 this character is probably in a party of people who are 6th level in a single class, and the cleric/wizard is well behind the power curve relative to other characters' abilities and the monsters you're likely to be facing. In 1e, this same character is in a party of characters who are probably 4th level (the party thief might be 5th). The cleric/mage is much more versatile in this situation and is rewarded for having an immense battery of spells.

Tengu_temp
2011-03-30, 11:26 AM
No. The PHB is practically the worst balanced book in all 3.5. I won't go into why this is, because I want to save the topic, but you will easily find out on this very forums.

Maybe what he meant is that it's wonderfully balanced in comparison to AD&D? Zing.

GreyMantle
2011-03-30, 12:22 PM
Maybe what he meant is that it's wonderfully balanced in comparison to AD&D? Zing.

This.


(Roughly speaking)

hamlet
2011-03-30, 12:42 PM
Must we?:smallmad:

John Campbell
2011-03-30, 02:16 PM
Maybe what he meant is that it's wonderfully balanced in comparison to AD&D? Zing.

That's at least as laughable. 3.x systematically removed practically everything that kept casters in check in the good editions, in the name of "simplicity" and "players don't like being told 'no'", while simultaneously nerfing practically everything that made non-casters good.

Tengu_temp
2011-03-30, 03:53 PM
Actually, it's true that AD&D is more balanced than 3.x. Not really that balanced, though - the point where wizards start to dominate everyone else is simply set higher. And other classes have their own problems, too - for example, thieves are mostly used as skillmonkeys and clerics as healbots, both classes are very weak in actual combat. And druids are clerics with (mostly useless at higher levels) shapeshifting abilities in exchange for worse spellcasting and weapon/armor proficiencies.

ken-do-nim
2011-03-31, 05:48 AM
Actually, it's true that AD&D is more balanced than 3.x. Not really that balanced, though - the point where wizards start to dominate everyone else is simply set higher. And other classes have their own problems, too - for example, thieves are mostly used as skillmonkeys and clerics as healbots, both classes are very weak in actual combat. And druids are clerics with (mostly useless at higher levels) shapeshifting abilities in exchange for worse spellcasting and weapon/armor proficiencies.

Wow, to hear 1E described in 3E terms ... ick. Wizards never start to dominate everyone else. Thieves at high levels are good at just about anything. Clerics are incredibly versatile; they have combat spells, divination spells, summoning spells, you name it.

I'll admit that playing with weapon specialization as written in UA does make the other classes look worse. The classes are better balanced without it.

Zombimode
2011-03-31, 06:12 AM
And other classes have their own problems, too - for example, thieves are mostly used as skillmonkeys and clerics as healbots, both classes are very weak in actual combat. And druids are clerics with (mostly useless at higher levels) shapeshifting abilities in exchange for worse spellcasting and weapon/armor proficiencies.

Im sorry, but do you actually know the rules? Yeah, AD&D (any edition) has its problems, lots of them I would say. Those you have listed are NOT.

Clerics ROCK. They have lots of Save or Lose, mass protection, Save or Dies, and even some strong damage spells. On top of truly excellent survivability: very good saves (right from level 1), good hit dice, good armor class.
I cant count how many times the clerics in my AD&D group were the last ones standing turning the tide of a seemingly lost battle. Or how terrifying enemy clerics proofed to be for the group.

Druids have even better spells then clerics. Why do you think its worse?
Many of their spells are incredible versatail. And at higher levels their summoning power is umatched. "Say Hi to my nigh-invincible horde of elementals."
For the shapeshift ability: the utility power provided by this stays the same regardless of level and is considerable: stealth, scouting, special movement forms (flying, climbing, swimming, burrowing).
For its combat use: well, dont turn into a black bear or something. There are much better combat forms, like a Giant Weasel or some dinosaurs. Yeah, maybe even those wont cut it anymore at higher levels. But some animals come with cool special abilities. Those will remain usefull even at high levels: Giant Wolverines have a nice "breath" weapon, poisonous snakes have... well poison (that can range from "mildly annoying" to "lots of damage" to "save or lose" to "save or die"), constrictor snakes to incapaciate ceratin types of enemies. Or if you just want to deal damage, search for an obscure animal (hm, maybe a Morrin) with lots of attacks and tell your party members to pile up bonus damage buff upon you. It wont matter if your attacks deal only 1W2 damage if you get +8 or more on damage and have 4 or more attacks.
Their weapon selection isnt really much worse. The scimitar is rather solid.
Armor appears to be worse, but once you realize that the important restriction is "not made of metal" it becomes easily trivialized. The Monster Manual itself has numerous examples of heavy armor made of creature hides (like Behirs, Ankhegs, and of course Dragons which provide the best armor possible).
Druidzilla is not really new in WotC D&D.

For Thieves you may have a point. I dont consider it a problem if the thief is not as useful in combat than the fighter - thats somehow the point. But overall the package of the thieve may not be as usefull to be in par with other classes. In my groups I have never seen a single class thief which might be an indicator, that something is wrong with the thief, but it also means I cant really comment on how a single class thief preforms in AD&D. We had fighter/thieves and mage/thieves, both of them were just fine.

Premier
2011-03-31, 08:57 AM
I'm a bit too busy right now to write out a treatise or get into diatribes, but you might want to read this (http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming/3159558). Not written for AD&D specifically, but it makes valid points.

Matthew
2011-03-31, 12:09 PM
Must we?:smallmad:

Apparently we must...

hamlet
2011-03-31, 01:38 PM
Apparently we must...

Can't we all just . . . get along?!?!:smalltongue:

Mark Hall
2011-03-31, 01:51 PM
Can't we all just . . . get along?!?!:smalltongue:

I refuse to get along with you 1st edition loving psychopaths. :smallbiggrin:

MY KUNG FU IS GREATER!

hamlet
2011-03-31, 02:03 PM
I refuse to get along with you 1st edition loving psychopaths. :smallbiggrin:

MY KUNG FU IS GREATER!

Hey!

That's 2nd edition loving psycopath to you, bub!

At least get it right!:smallsmile:

GreyMantle
2011-03-31, 03:36 PM
I'm a bit too busy right now to write out a treatise or get into diatribes, but you might want to read this (http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming/3159558). Not written for AD&D specifically, but it makes valid points.


That article was honestly pretty interesting. I especially liked his discussion of relative powerlevels.

However, as this (http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/misc/rules-rulings.html) correctly, points out, a lot of it is extremely fallacious.

To hit some of the more salient points:

Just because your game has a metric tonne of rules does not necessarily mean that you and your DM are going to be any more or less creative. If anything, having more rules gives you more inspiration and information from which to draw for stories and characters. Sure, some RPGer who's been playing for decades will be able to thematically differentiate two mechanically identical 1st level human magic users. But someone who's only seen the LotR movies and played Dragon Age or whatever will probably be able to make his characters a lot more interesting when he sees that he can take the feat "Raised in Fire" for one of his characters, and "Born of the Shadow" for the other.


A (somewhat) obscure analogy I feel fits the matter very well is comparing the ruling style of a sovereign inspired by Machiavelli's Il Principe and Hobbe's Leviathan.

Machiavelli expects his prince to be a master who is capable of doing anything. He doesn't need to rely on advice or laws; all that matters is he be personally hardcore, dedicated, and versatile. And, if he is, great: that realm is going to be awesome. But if he's a tool, or weak, or indecisive, his realm will fall apart.

Hobbes, on the other hand, doesn't expect that of his Leviathan. That's why he writes so much about contracts and social contracts and binding laws: because he realizes that most sovereigns will need the help of impersonal entities to arbitrate and rule effectively.


My point should be clear by now: If you DM is personally awesome, and (s)he has awesome players between whom there is an implicit bond of trust, then yeah, your game is going to be fastpaced, exciting, and generally neato.

But maybe if your DM is not perfect at coming up with unique characters and mannerisms on the fly, or he doesn't trust himself to make up rules describing how one might do [x], then he all this nifty tome of rules that he can consult. (The only problem then is when the rules themselves are significantly flawed, which 3E's are indubitably so in many regards.)

Matthew
2011-03-31, 04:02 PM
That article was honestly pretty interesting. I especially liked his discussion of relative power levels.

However, as this (http://www.thealexandrian.net/creations/misc/rules-rulings.html) correctly, points out, a lot of it is extremely fallacious.

If I remember rightly, it is not supposed to be ironclad, just a comparison of two different styles, exaggerated for effect. The author has explained his aims a few times since its first appearance. Taking things too literally, a failing the Alexandrian sometimes seems particularly prone to, will miss the point.

ken-do-nim
2011-03-31, 08:29 PM
For Thieves you may have a point. I dont consider it a problem if the thief is not as useful in combat than the fighter - thats somehow the point. But overall the package of the thieve may not be as usefull to be in par with other classes. In my groups I have never seen a single class thief which might be an indicator, that something is wrong with the thief, but it also means I cant really comment on how a single class thief preforms in AD&D. We had fighter/thieves and mage/thieves, both of them were just fine.

Most of the thieves I've seen have been part of a multi-class as well. It is a very popular class to multi with. I do personally enjoy playing single class thieves; they rocket up levels and reading scrolls at level 10 is a lot of fun. Of course it helps to have a magic-user henchmen who makes them for you.

Mark Hall
2011-04-01, 10:23 AM
One thing I do with thieves is broaden, somewhat, the times backstab will be effective. Not as broad as 3e's sneak attack, but thieves get to use it a lot more often. In C&C, when Sneak Attack becomes available, that tends to be how thieves get things done.

Tre of the Wood
2011-04-02, 12:05 AM
Personally I prefer 1st ed to the newer ones, as long as you don't mind a few house rules. There are errors here and there, and the DM just has to make something up and stick by it. For instance, the Monk is described as being able to talk to animals like a druid. However, druids never get this ability -- they have to cast a spell or transform into one. So what do you do? Your call. Also, the game is better if you add sorcerers. Oh ,and by god, just skip the section with psionics. It is SO not worth it.

A note, there is a rule for ranged +hit AND +damage in Unearthed Arcana. They are just not clearly labeled. You have to read the whole set of rules and extrapolate. And AC can go to -10.

Tre of the Wood
2011-04-02, 12:13 AM
Druids have even better spells then clerics. Why do you think its worse?
Many of their spells are incredible versatail. And at higher levels their summoning power is umatched. "Say Hi to my nigh-invincible horde of elementals."
For the shapeshift ability: the utility power provided by this stays the same regardless of level and is considerable: stealth, scouting, special movement forms (flying, climbing, swimming, burrowing).
For its combat use: well, dont turn into a black bear or something. There are much better combat forms, like a Giant Weasel or some dinosaurs. Yeah, maybe even those wont cut it anymore at higher levels. But some animals come with cool special abilities. Those will remain usefull even at high levels: Giant Wolverines have a nice "breath" weapon, poisonous snakes have... well poison (that can range from "mildly annoying" to "lots of damage" to "save or lose" to "save or die"), constrictor snakes to incapaciate ceratin types of enemies. Or if you just want to deal damage, search for an obscure animal (hm, maybe a Morrin) with lots of attacks and tell your party members to pile up bonus damage buff upon you. It wont matter if your attacks deal only 1W2 damage if you get +8 or more on damage and have 4 or more attacks.
Their weapon selection isnt really much worse. The scimitar is rather solid.
Armor appears to be worse, but once you realize that the important restriction is "not made of metal" it becomes easily trivialized. The Monster Manual itself has numerous examples of heavy armor made of creature hides (like Behirs, Ankhegs, and of course Dragons which provide the best armor possible).
Druidzilla is not really new in WotC D&D.


You have to role-play druids. At higher levels, the idea is often not to use abilities for the wrong purposes. One of me favorite things about druids is that their spells would be extremely useful for a siege or defending a castle, but it is something a druid would never do.

John Campbell
2011-04-02, 01:23 AM
For instance, the Monk is described as being able to talk to animals like a druid. However, druids never get this ability -- they have to cast a spell or transform into one. So what do you do? Your call.

You're a Monk? Well, just like a Druid, you can talk to animals all you want.

No one said they'd talk back.

hamlet
2011-04-04, 07:38 AM
You're a Monk? Well, just like a Druid, you can talk to animals all you want.

No one said they'd talk back.

Actually, it's a reference to the Speak With Animals spell that is on the Druid spell list. Not some inate ability.

Morghen
2011-04-04, 09:35 AM
HackMaster is the game you're looking for if you like the feel of old-school gaming but like rules explaining how things work.

It's NOT nerfy like anything after 2E and it's got a dangerous feel like 1E tried to instill.

It's a great system.

MeeposFire
2011-04-04, 01:36 PM
I was always confused by 1e bards in relation to that half elves could become them. This is strange since half elves can not dual class yet bards require that you dual class twice. They don't even bother to point out that this is a special exception they just state like it is not a big deal. That happens a lot then.

olthar
2011-04-05, 10:36 AM
Hi,Whatever you do, don't drink 2 potions at the same time :-)
(see Dungeon masters guide - potion miscibility table)

Man I loved that. Honestly, I think the biggest difference between 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th is magic. In 1st and 2nd edition magic was something dangerous to be feared. Magic users and priests could use magic, but only in the vaguest sense of the word use. Magical items existed, but they were as often as not dangerous to the user.

3rd/3.5/4th came along and magic had rules and guidelines. There came along this idea that people have a certain amount of money per level and with this money came magical items of all sorts. In many ways this is where the rules vs. rulings thing came.

While I disagree with the most basic part of the examples given, I actually agree with the dichotomy. There were always rules, but if I threw something that didn't fit a rule at the players in my 1st and 2nd edition games then it was an interesting challenge. In my 3rd and 4th edition games (with the same players) when I throw something that doesn't fit the rules at them, then they complain about where the rule for that appears and want me to cite my source books. 3.5 and 4 (especially 4) could probably be run without a DM there. As long as there is an idea of the world and some mechanic for figuring out the rooms and stuff like that, the supremacy of rules makes it so that it could be run DMless. In 1st and 2nd edition, besides creating the storyline, the DM was the arbitrator of rules and rulings in a much more real manner.

viking vince
2011-04-06, 09:55 AM
I was always confused by 1e bards in relation to that half elves could become them. This is strange since half elves can not dual class yet bards require that you dual class twice. They don't even bother to point out that this is a special exception they just state like it is not a big deal. That happens a lot then.

I never worry about Bards. Even with various cheater roles for stats, no one ever gets good enough for a Bard.

Arbane
2011-04-06, 11:57 AM
Man I loved that. Honestly, I think the biggest difference between 1st/2nd and 3rd/4th is magic. In 1st and 2nd edition magic was something dangerous to be feared. Magic users and priests could use magic, but only in the vaguest sense of the word use. Magical items existed, but they were as often as not dangerous to the user.

3rd/3.5/4th came along and magic had rules and guidelines. There came along this idea that people have a certain amount of money per level and with this money came magical items of all sorts. In many ways this is where the rules vs. rulings thing came.


This is kind of a big deal. In 1st Ed, magic items weren't "part of your character build", they were "weird **** that happened to you".

hamlet
2011-04-07, 09:34 AM
This is kind of a big deal. In 1st Ed, magic items weren't "part of your character build", they were "weird **** that happened to you".

Plus, you could use a magic item for a very long time with only a vague idea of what it did beyond "that one interesting thing."

Mutazoia
2011-04-13, 11:20 PM
3. There was a rule that wishes only raise stats over 16 by 1/10th of a point. But the rules say nothing about how much wish raises stats under 16. Does it raise them 1 point ? Can you wish a stat directly up to 16 in a single wish no matter how low it was ? Depending on the generosity (and experience) of the DM, you would get different rulings.

1 point per wish up to 16


Another example - there are no rules about 2 handed melee, at least not in any of the 1st edition books I have (which is most of them). Wield a longsword in 1 hand or 2... same damage.

Most melee weapons were 1 handed only (only hilt space to hold with one hand)...the two handed sword had the damage factored in already. The only weapon that could be used either way was the bastard sword, which had a listing for being used one or two handed. (as a side note later editions (3.x) would confuse this as two different weapons)


Also, there is no rule to say what stat determines your to hit bonus for ranged attacks. 3.5 edition has the extremely sensible rule that it's dexterity. in 1st Edition, because it didn't say, a lot of DMs assumed that strength was the stat that governed your ranged to hit bonus, because that's the stat that gives you plusses to hit... it never says anywhere that that only applies to melee.

It was dex. If you had a bow built for strength you got to apply your str mod to damage.


One more example - I want to convince an NPC to do something. In 3.5 there are pretty clear rules for this. In 1st Edition, there are no skills. If you bought "Dungeoneers Survival Guide" and "Wilderness Survival Guide" there were "nonweapon proficiencies", but they were a lot less clear than the 3.5 skill system. So how does the DM decide if you convince the NPC ? Basically he makes up a probability on the spot, he might assign some kind of modifier based on your charisma (the rules say nothing about this) and then roll the dice. It's basically the DM just making up the rules as he goes along.

This was covered with a Chr. roll, but the DM would have to come up with an arbitrary number for you to beat.



1. Illusionists are rubbish. No one ever plays an illusionist unless they are 100% in to role playing and don't care if their character is weak. I thought it was quite funny when in this strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0565.html), Roy played a gnome illusionist. They are the only subclass of Magic User available in 1st ed. They do not get to choose regular magic user spells, ONLY illusions. They can if they want to fill their 7th level slots up with 1st level magic user spells......... wow.

Illusionists are PMD's (Polish Mine Detectors) basically you threw them into a room first to see if they set off a trap...if the Illusionist lived the room was safe.


2. Cleric, Druid and Illusionist spells only go up to 7th level.

a throwback from the older (original) edition when the max level you could attain was 10



7. Multiclassing is only available to demi-humans. Humans can't multiclass, but certain multiclass combinations are allowed for certain races. Humans can "Dual Class", but the rules for it are very unclear. You stop being one class and become another... you can't use your old class abilities until you reach the same level in your new class. Do you keep your old hit dice ? Who knows. Can you wear armor and cast arcane spells ? Who Knows.

demi-humans could mulit-class but had a level cap to off set this. Humans didn't have level caps but could only have one class at a time. You kept your old hit dice, you could use your old abilities any time you wanted but didn't get experience for anything you did with them until you reached the same level in your new class, and you still had the class restrictions (MU's couldn't cross class into fighter and then wear armor when they cast spells)


8. Race / Class combination rules mean only certain races can be certain classes. If you don't have unearthed arcana, you can't have paladins who are not human. Also most classes (other than thief (which means "rouge" in 3.5 terms)) have a maximum level limit for races other than Humans.

See above


10. Being a bard is.... weird and unclear. You have to first be a Fighter, then a thief for a bit, then you become a bard. Something like being dual class. It's not clear if you keep the hit points from the old classes, there is a suggestion you loose your hit points both times you switch, so after 5 levels or something of fighter, you effectively become a 1st level thief... weird. Rich actually mentioned this in this strip (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0222.html). Actually he also mentioned there that "multiclass" wasn't allowed the same way it is in 3.5 ed.

The 1st ed bard, known as the God Bard...yes an optional and broken class (fixed in 2nd ed). You had to multi class fighter, theif, then, finally Druid. At this point you were a 5th lvl fighter, 5th lvl thief, 5th lvl Druid, who gets rest at a 1st level bard...they were way back in the Appendix for a reason.




Whatever you do, don't drink 2 potions at the same time :-)
(see Dungeon masters guide - potion miscibility table)

There's only a slight chance of blowing up...there's also a chance of one or both potions becoming permanent. :smallbiggrin:

Matthew
2011-04-14, 11:31 AM
The only weapon that could be used either way was the bastard sword, which had a listing for being used one or two handed. (as a side note later editions (3.x) would confuse this as two different weapons).

Not that I recall, they just had the bastard sword in D20/3e, which could be used one-handed if the exotic weapon proficiency was taken.



It was dex. If you had a bow built for strength you got to apply your str mod to damage.

And to hit, in fact.



This was covered with a Chr. roll, but the DM would have to come up with an arbitrary number for you to beat.

Or just decided one way or the other.



a throwback from the older (original) edition when the max level you could attain was 10

Not really. In the original version of D&D characters had listings up to about eighteenth level, but not all. Spell levels were six and five for magicians and clerics, respectively. Clerics, mind, only went up to about twelfth level on the tables. Illusionists as they originally appeared went up to thirteenth level, which was pretty standard, but with Greyhawk levels explicitly went considerably higher, as did spell levels. The disparate spell levels certainly owe their existence to earlier versions of the game, but not because of level caps.

Mutazoia
2011-04-14, 01:36 PM
Not that I recall, they just had the bastard sword in D20/3e, which could be used one-handed if the exotic weapon proficiency was taken.

Technically that should have been the other way around. A bastard sword was basically a two handed sword where the blade hand been broken and a new point hammered into it, giving it the length and general heft of a longsword but had the two handed grip for the occasional baseball swing. I can't count the number of time's I've heard some one say "My character's using a two handed bastard sword." and narrowly avoided a sound thwacking.



Not really. In the original version of D&D characters had listings up to about eighteenth level, but not all. Spell levels were six and five for magicians and clerics, respectively. Clerics, mind, only went up to about twelfth level on the tables. Illusionists as they originally appeared went up to thirteenth level, which was pretty standard, but with Greyhawk levels explicitly went considerably higher, as did spell levels. The disparate spell levels certainly owe their existence to earlier versions of the game, but not because of level caps.

I believe the earlier versions (would have to dig mine out of storage to confirm) did as well. That is earlier than the basic (old blue box) D&D. But I could be wrong :smallsmile:

Matthew
2011-04-14, 02:09 PM
Technically that should have been the other way around. A bastard sword was basically a two handed sword where the blade hand been broken and a new point hammered into it, giving it the length and general heft of a longsword but had the two handed grip for the occasional baseball swing. I can't count the number of time's I've heard some one say "My character's using a two handed bastard sword." and narrowly avoided a sound thwacking.

I am not sure where you are getting your information, but I think you may have been misled. Although broken swords could be reassigned, or even unbroken blades cut down to serve a new purpose, swords were newly forged in all shapes and sizes, including as "bastard swords". Here is a useful link on the subject of sword terminology: ARMA Sword Forms (http://www.thearma.org/terms4.htm#Medieval%20&%20Renaissance%20Sword%20Forms%20and%20Companion%2 0Implements).



I believe the earlier versions (would have to dig mine out of storage to confirm) did as well. That is earlier than the basic (old blue box) D&D. But I could be wrong :smallsmile:

In the original 1974 set fighters and clerics go up to 10th level and magicians up to 16th on the tables, but those are not actually caps on the levels, as the "levels above those listed" section explains (the attack matrices go up to 16th level for fighters). In that set spell levels go up to six and five, but the Greyhawk expansion then sends them up to nine and seven. Apparently that is what AD&D was based on, developed in parallel with the Holmes (1977) version. The Holmes version is sometimes touted as the "basic" version of the "advanced" game, but that has to do with some editorial work by Gygax, presumably for marketing reasons (which is why Holmes and AD&D do not match up). It is quite a mess, when all is said and done. :smallbiggrin: