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Showing posts from April, 2011

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Part 5

Spying: This section details another class function for the Assassin: that of a spy. Now this one, I really, absolutely cannot comprehend why this information is not in the Player's Handbook, as it apparently represents a core function of the assassin class.

That being said, I also think this moves (or at least should move) the assassin out of the "must be evil" realm, as it's now possible to have a character who was trained in the arts of killing and stealth, but focuses on espionage, killing only if absolutely necessary. I also can see this being a function of the thief class; it seems to be solely restricted to assassin as an attempt to further differentiate the assassin from the thief (and let's face it, the two classes are more than a bit redundant overall).

Now, onto the system. It uses the percentile resolution, setting up a base chance of success based on the spy's level and the difficulty of the task, following this table up with examples of what con…

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Part 4

DEATH
A brief section addressing the various means of death characters can face and meet in AD&D. It provides a table that the DM can use to determine each character's maximum age, at which point the character will die of old age (and cannot be resurrected, though it doesn't address reincarnation). Interesting addition, but I have to wonder how many campaigns actually made it far enough that a character died of old age? On the other hand, I suppose it could be useful when dealing with things like haste spells, curses, etc.

Next we see a discussion of death from disease or infestation, basically saying that death doesn't make the infestation go away, and any characters resurrected still suffer from the lingering effects. In other words, if you die from syphilis, you'd best have a cleric on hand to immediately cast Remove Disease or you're going to rather quickly die from syphilis again.

Not so sure about that bit, given that diseases and parasites generally can…

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, Part 3

Kinda bummed at the lack of comments yesterday.  I was hoping this'd generate a bit more discussion.  Anyway, here's part three.

CHARACTER AGE, AGING, DISEASE, AND DEATH

Character Age: Pretty standard fare for games of the 70's and 80's; tables for determining starting age for player characters, followed by age ranges for human and demihuman species (including subraces of elves and dwarves--this is somewhat intriguing since these subraces won't show up as PC types till Unearthed Arcana). Following the age category table, we see ability score modifications based on age. Again, the typical; as you get older you get weaker but wiser and more intelligent...which is amusing considering that we now know that IQ actually drops as we age, but I guess it represents experience and education.

Next we have the number of years added to a character's effective age for the casting of certain spells or imbibing of certain potions. Useful stuff...again, for players. Should'v…

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Part 2

CREATING THE PLAYER CHARACTER
Generation of Ability Scores: Not much to say about this section. Here we get options for those who don't like 3d6, straight down the line. Gygax clarifies that 3d6 straight is the default, but that the system isn't the best system, as it tends to generate mediocre characters with short life expectancies. Here we see four methods of character generation, which clearly lend themselves to four different styles of play. These include the standard 4d6, keep 3, arrange to taste; roll 12 times and keep the best six; roll each stat 6 times (in order), keeping the best individual 6 results; roll twelve sets of character stats and keep the best set. My feeling, not having tested these, is that method 3 is the most "munchkin" of the bunch, with method 4 a close second. Methods 1 and 2 seem somewhat balanced in terms of creating good characters without making ubermensch, but that's just a gut feeling.

Non-Player Characters: This section seems com…

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Part 1

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Okay, folks, here we go...the first post in my exegesis (as it were) on AD&D, first ed.  Enjoy, feel free to comment.  These types of things thrive on discussion.  We're starting with the Dungeon Master's Guide.

Also, I should note that I am only transferring my original posts from this thread on RPGNet, and not transferring the whole discussion over.  This is not because I want to silence the original posters, or because it wasn't a good discussion.  On the contrary; it was a great discussion and several of the responses made me change my views on certain aspects of the game.  It's just that the thread in question is monstrous in scope and I had to clip somewhere, so I stuck with the original posts authored by me.  Discussion can then begin anew, and I'll try to acknowledge where I've changed my views as I have the time.

So, now...on with the show!


Foreword: you know, I don't think any of us give Mike Carr the credit he's due. This guy's name …

Resurrecting "Where I Read AD&D"

Those few here who know me from RPG.Net may remember a few years ago I had an aborted thread entitled, "[Where I read] AD&D First Edition."  The thread went on for a good long while; I started with the DMG and would read and break down each section as I went along, and post blog-style about my thoughts.  People would then respond, tell me what they agreed with, and tell me where I was demonstrably wrong (heh).  I had planned to finish the DMG, then move on to the PHB, then Monster Manual, then the other books in the series, one by one.

It was a good thread, but life got in the way before I could finish the DMG and move on to other books.

Well, this blog has gotten quiet because as I've said I don't feel like I have much research left to do on OD&D.  So, I've decided to resurrect the AD&D reading here.  I'll start by transplanting my original posts, one by one, from RPG.net over here.  I don't know that I'll do one a day, but I'll wor…