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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Iím currently in an OSRIC game. Iíve just joined, and itís fun.

    The only way Iím familiar with optimizing a character in this edition is to roll well on stats and to hope for cool items, neither of which helps me really.

    Is there something Iím missing?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Librarian in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Not much, and a lot boils down to a couple good choices, and some luck.

    One optimizer's choice is to get as proficient as you can with Long Swords, because if your DM is determining magic items randomly, the most common type of weapon is the Long Sword.

    You can also optimize your race and class selection. If you are demi-human, it's usually a good idea to multiclass with thief, simply because you will eventually hit the wall in any other class. On the other hand, it's usually BAD idea to single-class as a thief, especially as a human, because thieves largely suck.

    If you've got some experience under your belt, you can also optimize humans to dual-class... someone who was a 3rd level thief and became a 1st level magic-user has a 15 Dex, a 17 Intelligence, and 3d6 HP at 1st level, and will, once they hit 4th level as a Magic-User, be able to do some thief things, use some thief weapons, and generally be more well-rounded than a single-classed magic-user, at relatively little cost to them (the XP cost of level 3 thief is minimal). If you're dual-classing, you can also optimize your class order (going fighter->cleric is better than Cleric->Fighter, because clerics get d8 HD and don't get bonuses for high Strength or Con like fighters do; similarly, thief->fighter sticks you with lower HP than a pure fighter).

    But, compared to what you see even in 2e, much less 3.x or 5e, optimization is much less of a thing.
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Klorox View Post
    Iím currently in an OSRIC game. Iíve just joined, and itís fun.

    The only way Iím familiar with optimizing a character in this edition is to roll well on stats and to hope for cool items, neither of which helps me really.

    Is there something Iím missing?
    Just that optimization is so very much not the point.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    rredmond's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    1e is, generally, a bit more deadly than most systems. It's best to pick a character you might enjoy, or one that the dice choose for you :D in case you are rolling up a new one in a session or two. ;)
    Have fun is key, but if you get the rolls my oldest daughter usually likes going Elven Fighter-Magic User-Thief. Good luck!
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    knag's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    One optimizer's choice is to get as proficient as you can with Long Swords, because if your DM is determining magic items randomly, the most common type of weapon is the Long Sword.
    This is a big thing. In all the published modules, from TSR or in the OSR community, long swords are by far the most prominent magic weapon out there, so you might as well be proficient in it because you'll likely end up using one.

    If I could expand on weapon choice a little, one area of "optimization" that was actually intended in AD&D (I would argue) is weapons vs armor. The problem is that the system slows down combat (unless the DM has done a lot of prep) so many if not most DMs throw out this rule. It's a shame though, because weapons vs armor incentivizes the use of things that are not long swords. Mostly this applies to Fighters and subclasses, but if you carry say, a mace or a military pick, you might chose to use that weapon when faced with an opponent in plate mail because it gets a much better chance to hit when these modifiers are used. If the system is used I recommend looking at the table and equipping your character with weapon options to deal with different armor types.

    For spellcasters, there is optimization possible in the spells you have in your book. But how you get those is very DM-dependent. By the book, everything after 1st level should be found out in the world, so you get the spells that the DM puts in front of you to some extent. But still there are spell maximums and you need to be selective about what spells you learn. In other cases, the DM allows some character selection as you go up in level. Certainly some combinations of spells are better than others, but that's a much longer discussion.

    In general, of course, as others have said AD&D isn't about optimizing a build.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    In modern D&D, characters are customized in character design, and your optimization goal is to walk into a game with a more powerful character than other players.

    In early D&D, like AD&D 1e, your character can't be designed to be that much more powerful than others. Optimization is done by imaginative play. The more powerful character is the one played by the more competent, imaginative player.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    "Optimization" in 1e is less about getting the ideal things, and more about figuring out effective ways to utilize what things (stats, gear) does come your way.

    To quote Kenny Rogers: "Every hand's a winner, and every hand's a loser, and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep." It's pretty much the 1e adventurer's credo.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Yeah, pre 3rd edition D&D /AD&D was vastly less worried about individual optimization and competency than it was caring of group effectiveness.

    The 'best optimization' you can do is be smart as a player and work together as a flawless unit with the other players.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    As others already said optimization does not happen at character generation, it happens during play.

    So your strategic and tactical coordination of both your resources and your fellow allies is the optimization. That 10' pole, that bag of oil or flour, that piece of chalk or piton, that PC cooperation, all these are optimizing your side's situational context to win. And since that 'build-to-win-before-there's-a-fight' is in-play dependent, it means its setup'll be different each time -- that's the part of the fun! Instead of a solitary char-gen game played at home, it is a cooperative improv game played at the table.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Quote Originally Posted by opaopajr View Post
    As others already said optimization does not happen at character generation, it happens during play.

    So your strategic and tactical coordination of both your resources and your fellow allies is the optimization. That 10' pole, that bag of oil or flour, that piece of chalk or piton, that PC cooperation, all these are optimizing your side's situational context to win. And since that 'build-to-win-before-there's-a-fight' is in-play dependent, it means its setup'll be different each time -- that's the part of the fun! Instead of a solitary char-gen game played at home, it is a cooperative improv game played at the table.
    That being said (and I agree, though it's a play dynamic as much as a versional thing), having a bit of versatility in your PC will help. And that depends on what 2E option rules are in play. For myself, I always assume non-weapon proficiencies are in play, so that colors my advice.

    So, utility: have a ranged and melee weapon available.

    Use a NWP to give yourself some social utility. It may be a crutch to role-playing, but it'll also serve as a focus: etiquette, local history, or grooming. Something that you can use as advantage.

    Look over the list of secondary skills. Pick on and thing about how it might affect your adventuring.

    Exploit your equipment list. And your teammates.

    I mean *HELP* your teammates. 2E is very much a cooperative improve. Learn everybody's strengths and play to them. Hard. Walking away from an encounter is OK.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    At low levels, any martial should have a backup mace, quarterstaff, or morning star for skeletons.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Troll in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay R View Post
    At low levels, any martial should have a backup mace, quarterstaff, or morning star for skeletons.
    I mean.... this is actually a key thing, right? Not "have a quarterstaff", but the higher order point of "be prepared". While 3e and beyond are mostly about optimizing your One Trick, earlier versions tend to be more about having a set of tools to handle a variety of situations.
    Last edited by kyoryu; 2020-08-05 at 11:25 AM.
    "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)"

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Yes, to re-stress thorr-kan, Jay R, & kyoryu's salient point, part of optimization can be found in preparedness. It's that diversity of options that keeps you flexible in the face of a changing (fictional) world. These resources -- different gear & different ally strengths -- allow creative seizing of opportunities.

    As a lesson on such strengths, I recommend a campaign of slow leveling single-class challenge. You'll be surprised how diverse a handful of the same classes can truly be (even with optional skills & the like turned off). Beyond races, spells, & thieves' skills, you may find even Fighters's gear flexibility & teamwork coordination surprisingly deeper than previously thought.

    This old skool is a different way of seeing, playing at the game's context in the moment. It's fun! I hope you enjoy it.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Play a bard. They are the most powerful class in 1st ed, a combination of Fighter, Thief, and Druid/Magic-User. Of course, they are also insanely difficult to qualify for.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Orc in the Playground
     
    knag's Avatar

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    Default Re: Is there a way to optimize a character in this system?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason View Post
    Play a bard. They are the most powerful class in 1st ed, a combination of Fighter, Thief, and Druid/Magic-User. Of course, they are also insanely difficult to qualify for.
    I'm playing my first bard right now after decades of play! Rolled 4d6 in order and came up with mostly 15s and 16s!!!

    Not really relevant to the thread but I'm super psyched and had to share.
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