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45

I believe it is a matter of story, and less a matter of mechanics. Mechanically, any monster, any NPC, any curse, any trap, anything the players encounter will have a solution, a stat to beat, and you as the GM would have calculated their chances and deemed it possible for them to defeat (speaking in generalities) The way to make the Undead scary is not to ...


15

Planescape: Torment is based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition from the 1990s. THAC0, for example, only exists in that edition and a couple contemporary D&D editions (very late AD&D 1e and Basic supplements) - it's not a term found in other games. Armor Class doesn't work the same across D&D editions, let alone other tabletop ...


13

Fights aren't played out on grids. Well, they are played out on grids, on tables - but in "real" life they take place in dungeons and swamps and forests. Use this to your advantage. Make one fight in a tight hallway so your players have a hard time maneuvering or are trapped between two sides. This makes your players change tactics between fights. If you ...


12

They fall. A spell's entry, plus the general rules for spells, together give a complete description of how it changes reality. AD&D spells tend to be very open to creative use, by extrapolating logical consequences from the effects a spell describes, but there's no rules or tradition support for extrapolating extra reality-changing effects than those ...


12

The key to fear is the unknown. It is familiarity that breeds the complacency you see. So, in your case, do not use creatures your players know. And give the ones they do know different, unexpected abilities. I once ran a campaign where my personal rule was to never use a monster out of the book. There were certain ecological niches - the orc niche, the ...


9

There really isn't such a thing as "optimisation" in 2e. Stats are not nearly as important as picking your fights wisely, and level bonuses (i.e., THAC0 improvements) and magic gear (even a very little bit) will quickly swamp the minor difference between a STR 9 fighter and a STR 18/00 fighter. There's not as much "keeping up" with each other either, because ...


9

Gaining an animal companion wasn't a thing druids could do any better than any other class in 2nd Edition, at least not without using kits* and other options from non-core books.† (This was more the province of 2e rangers, who acquired animal companions instead of human followers at higher levels.) To get an animal companion in 2e as a druid you had to do ...


9

A high INT character will have a lot of proficiencies (each language you gain from your INT means a new proficiency slot). You could make an interesting character based on your background - an ex-hunter and tracker who can also set snares wouldn't necessarily be great at fighting, but can contribute quite a bit. Alternatively, a lot of languages (including ...


9

Damned are the Dead Before you had the American Zombie trope as the default of undead (slow, mindless), fantasy typically treated the undead as somewhat aware, damned and suffering. It's more horrifying when you realize that those poor folks are living (unliving) in torment, and they cannot sleep, cannot hope for death and this is what they will turn ...


9

I have looked into both the Players Handbook and the Dungeon Masters Guide and I have not found the numbers you provided. The player handbook says different characters get single XP rewards by class and lists examples, for example a fighter gets extra XP for defeating enemies. No formulas are given. The Dungeon Masters guide lists as an optional rule a ...


8

A reasonable idea is to make the character's "profession" be different from his "class." Make a character who is a thief, for example, but thinks of himself and proudly declares his job title in-game to be a great warrior. Classes are already a concept that are mechanics-only and are not generally referred to in-game except in the most specific ones ...


8

In AD&D 2e, the DM improvises. SevenSidedDie gives a well articulated answer, based in the culture of how D&D (3.x and 4e) are played now: the spell cleanly stops having an effect when it's stated maximums are exceeded. That said, this question was asked for AD&D 2e, which had a very different culture around how to interpret the rules, and what ...


8

Context is the single most important factor for making combats varied in a simple combat system like AD&D 2nd edition's. There are few combat options because that's not where the variety is meant to lie: the variety is in why you fight. Context includes the obvious terrain and PC goals, but also includes: Opponents' non-combat goals Opponents' purpose ...


8

Your example sans thief is answered on page 34: “Not all mythoi are opposed to the shedding of blood. Indeed, some require their priests to use swords, spears, or other specific weapons. A war deity might allow his priests to fight with spears or swords.” It then gives a list of suggested deities (by “mythoi”, by which they mean things like “death”, “hunt” ...


6

Most PC action takes place away from friendly NPCS In many campaigns, most of the time you would want to use magic there are no friendly NPCs around. If the players are in a dungeon surrounded by goblins, but no friendly villagers, then they can use it with no fear of social reprecussions. In short, as long as you are running a "dungeon crawl" this may ...


6

Based upon the old Dragonlance series, they did indeed have a race of sea elves that had some information about them. There might be some old modules in the Dragon and Dungeon magazines that might cover an underwater society. If not, here are some ideas. Building may not be the way we think; what good is a hammer underwater. Perhaps growing corral for ...


6

Narration is everything for getting a battle interesting. When players have a good idea I don't focus only on the rolls too much, and I try to reward those ideas with a nice bit of narration. If the players don't come up with good ideas themselves, show them what is possible from time to time with the NPCs, using team moves or other options. (This goes for ...


6

Overused tropes are bad There was a joke in one of the Austin Powers movies where the bad guy is going to be run over by a steam roller, but the steam roller seems to be traveling slower than walking speed and takes forever to cross the room before it hits the guy. To me, undead seem to be like this. You get stupid minions who are slow and more annoying ...


6

Make them mechancially different You said it right in the question that the players now just think of the undead as a bunch of stats, stats they know quite well. They will be at least more cautious, if not actually afraid, if they know that they do not know what the stats are for these creatures, at least not initially. So, make them mechanically ...


5

It's been a long time since I have looked into 2e books, so I'd rather go into the story aspect. If something does not fit rule-wise, you as a GM can fudge it, if it's not logical story-wise, being the GM will not help you :) A wizard has been used to infiltrate an organisation that in turn causes harm to the royal family. That's a devious plan, very ...


5

Nope. Guidelines for how wealthy or magic-powered PCs were didn't really become important until 3e introduced a system that cared about balance enough to need official guidelines. In 2e, everyone just winged it and it worked fine. Your provisional rule is pretty much how it was always done: pick some numbers, play! The actual numbers picked are pretty much ...


4

The Pathfinder Campaign setting has the Sun Orchid Elixir, which functionally reverts the imbiber to a random starting age for their class. It's a minor artifact, and the sale of it is heavily controlled by Thuvia, but I think this fits the bill for what you're wanting. It's on page 301 of The Inner Sea World Guide.


4

Not A Typo, Gary Said So Gary Gygax wrote an article in Dragon magazine #96 about the Ranger/Druid multi-class ("New jobs for demi-humans - Dwarven clerics, elven rangers, and that's not all...", April 1985), and Frank Mentzer wrote a follow-up ("All about the druid/ranger - A classy explanation, better late than never", Dragon #100). As AD&D 2e was ...


4

Why does Strength matter? Ultimately, AD&D is a class-based system; it's designed to reward you for playing to type, and sometimes punishes your very severely for not doing so. Here are the main ways Strength will affect you as a fighter: Fighters don't do very much other than, well, fight. The only non-combat abilities the class grants you are ...


4

Build an encounter so that their standard library of tactics is ineffective. Make them run And give them a time limit. Have the villain retreat with the loot/hostage/activation key to a secure location. This forces the players to move hazardously through the dungeon, not taking time to thin out opponents, spot ambushes and disarm traps. This is ...


4

Monsters are blocks of numbers plus a fanciful description. The player will listen to the description and then deal with the numbers. How you use them is what makes the difference. Let's review certain fact about undead: They hate life This is a common trait to most undead, and the lest intelligent they are, the more is their behaviour influenced by this ...


4

THAC0 and AC are terms very specific to some version of D&D. AC means Armour Class and lower means less probabilities to hit. THAC0 means To Hit AC 0, that is the number needed to be rolled in a d20 by the attacker to hit a defender with AC 0. If the defender had bigger or smaller AC the number needed to hit would be adjusted accordingly. Answering ...


4

Update: I am mis-remembering slightly. This answer definitely applies to AD&D 1E DMG (I have now just seen a copy), but the same tables may not be available in the 2E DMG. If that is true I suspect groups I played in used it to help build higher level parties in 2E, effectively using the 1E DMG as a sourcebook for some of the extra tables. 1E and 2E ...


3

The shadowfell is a distinctly D&D 4e thing. For AD&D 2e, you most likely want to use either the plane of shadow or the negative energy plane instead. If you use the negative energy plane, it's very easy to find a suitable monster - any undead spellcaster would fit. The obvious choice would be a lich, but you could also use something a vampire or ...



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