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49

History D&D started as a series of little booklets, now called "original D&D" (OD&D). These booklets were basically barely-edited versions of the house rules of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. In 1977, TSR hired J. Eric Holmes to develop a Basic D&D game. This was a dark blue, boxed set containing D&D in a single book, plus a module (B1 ...


29

The caller is an archaic role that is only relevant when the play group is very large. And by very large, I don't mean six or eight players, I mean ten or sixteen. Our sense of what a "large" group is has adjusted drastically downward since BD&D was written, and consequently the purpose and utility of a caller is no longer obvious. The gameplay ...


20

Remember that encumbrance is limited, and it determines movement rate. That 100-cn difference between chainmail and plate armors is equivalent in encumbrance to an entire week of food, or 200 arrows. Extra ammo or faster movement may make the difference between success and failure in an adventure. Be 10% better protected in the occasional fights that ...


17

One of the biggest reasons for wearing Chain Mail was the price. Since starting cash was random, at first level, you might not even have enough cash to buy Chain Mail without borrowing from your friends. Once you had the cash for Plate, there'd be little reason to go back. Also, as others have said, some classes were limited specifically to chain (the ...


13

I think the Role Playing consequences of wearing plate armour greatly outweigh any game mechanics. Depending on where you are if you wonder about a town wearing a suit of full plate then people are going to think that you are ready for a fight, heck it takes half an hour to get into the stuff. Chainmail, especially a chain shirt can be slipped on like a ...


12

ACKS has removed the "Identify" spell but it has replaced it with explicit mechanics to identify magic items in other ways. p210 of ACKS: "Sages and other characters proficient in Magical Engineering or Loremastery can identify common or famous magical items simply through their knowledge of such things. Potions may be identified by sipping them, or by ...


12

The reading of B/X leaves it open. In the period when it was for sale I can't remember a group that allowed a thief to roll twice. This is problematic at low levels because first and second level thieves have a lower probability of finding a trap than non-thieves. A 1 in 6 chance is 16.67% while first and second level thieves have a 10% and 15% chance ...


9

BX doesn't put the same weight on the ability scores as you appear to, so beware that adding an ability score advancement mechanic will redirect some of your players motivations away from looking for harder-to-achieve bonuses to their effectiveness. On the other hand, you don't have to worry much about breaking the balance of the game with this, because ...


8

I think all the suggestions you've contemplated so far are very good. An additional one you could consider and include: Allow the players to spend time in a nearby Library or Mage Guild to research the nature of the item and perhaps find out the properties of it. Here the cost isn't as much a factor(as say hiring some to cast identify or retrieving ...


8

Usually one doesn't count the total rounds of a combat just to do it. You might be counting them because of spell durations or other specific reasons. In general you're concerned about overall passage of time because of torch and other large scale durations, which is why this rule exists, so players don't say "well that only took three rounds so we move on ...


8

No the 120' per 10 minute movements doesn't include searching for either traps or secret doors. On page B21 of Moldavy's Basic Rules for D&D and page B22 both actions (secret doors, traps) require search of a specific area (specified as a 10' by 10' on B19) and the search takes a turn (10 minutes) to perform. The searching referred to in the movement ...


8

Moldvay is great... in part because it's short. Tom and I spoke at some length about the 'tack' he would take. I later used a lot of ideas that he omitted because he just didn't have room. The following will address the BECMI treatment, being the most detailed expansion of Moldvay's data. At this distance (almost 30 years), most players consider the two ...


8

It's worth noting that other early games did not use XP. Timeline 1975 Tunnels and Trolls uses either AP (Adventure Points) or EP, depending upon edition. Runequest (1976) and Traveller (1977) didn't use experience points at all. 1974 & 1976 † Original Edition D&D doesn't use XP nor EP. Electrum are mentioned, but non-standard, and Experience ...


7

ACKS is closely derived from B/X by way of Labyrinth Lord. Ascending AC is one of its differences as explained here. The esteemed Mr. Conley does a good job of describing the other things ACKS is designed to do "out of the box", although I think the rules for running a thieves' guild and sending out your underlings to do hijinks are also worthy of mention. ...


7

The primary reason for wearing chain over plate was cost and encumbrance. Story reasons, however, often added other reasons. Reasons like climbing, sneaking, etc.


6

1973: woodgrain box D&D. 1974-76: supplements come out for D&D 1977: Holmes collates the "basic" set, incorporating much of Supplements 1 & 2 into the rules. White editions of original rules sold as "Classic D&D", AD&D announced. 1979: AD&D starts to be released, with the PH, based firmly in Holmes' work. 1981: Moldvay simplifies the ...


6

There is little game mechanic reasons for one or the other ... but in real life there was a world of difference. Plate is hot to wear and restrictive of your movement; imagine going to the loo. Most people required servants to help them put it on correctly and to get on and off a horse. Chain is more bendy, and you can wear it for longer periods, and it's ...


6

As one of your players, I am about as biased a respondent as could possibly answer this question. But I'm not the one with the box of crossbow bolts, so I'll have a go at it anyway. As an old-school DM thirty years ago, I expanded the definition of "read magic" into a form of "identify." When mages inscribe their magic on the world, I reasoned, they cast a ...


6

Reaction should always be rolled before the DM even reveals the presence of the monsters. They may call out from the darkness for parlay, or greet the party with open arms. Once you're rolling initiative you've already made up your mind that it's a fight and it's too late to gain anything of use from a reaction result that doesn't imply a fight. One of the ...


6

A cleric can turn undead instead of attacking normally. The cleric can then roll on the table if he can turn any undead. If the roll succeeds, 2d6 hit dice of undead will flee. Turning undead can be done as many times per encounter and per day as you like, there is no limit. Initiative in D&D was handled by rolling a d6 for the group as a whole, so ...


5

"Searching" in that context just means investigating their surroundings. It means that the DM shouldn't add extra time when the party chooses to interact with the environment, unless it ends up taking enough time that the party is prevented from making forward progress during that Turn. It means there's room within that movement speed for quick, narrated ...


5

It's design is basically an expansion of B/X D&D. It still has race as class but expands the number of racial classes into a section labeled Demi-Human Classes for example there is a Dwarven Vaultguard and a Dwarven CraftPriest. It adds proficiencies which are skill and abilities mostly non-combat oriented. They represent something that the character ...


5

The advice I give in this circumstance, and the method I use, is to allow level 1 and level 2 thieves to use the default 1-in-6 for detect, and the 10% or 15% for removal only. The thing is, Moldvay's rules are pretty requisite on application of common sense. And common sense is that rolling to detect should be a single try, succeed or fail, so use the ...


5

In older D&Ds, not everything is tied tightly into things written on your sheet. Assuming that it works like modern D&D and that you can bring in modern D&D assumptions about what matters most—what's on your sheet—is a common mistake that can lead to de-optimising a character. There are mechanics that only appear within the adventure notes, there ...


5

They get all their attacks every round, and roll to hit separately for them. They can even move and use all their attacks—it's not like D&D 3e, with its "full attack" limitation! They can split up their multiple attacks against as many engaged opponents as they like. The exception to that is if the description specifically says that they have to ...


5

Go to Drivethrurpg and select the rules system "D&D" and the subsystem "Basic/BECMI" then sort by price (resulting page). This includes several free beginner adventures for B/X D&D but you'll have to search the list to find the ones that meet your needs. There is also a shared spreadsheet of products released in the OSR (a loosely affiliated set of ...


4

The most detailed answer I could find is on page 84 to 85 of AD&D 1st edition DM's Guide. On Page 85 Gygax gives extensive examples of what he considers to be Special Abilities and what he considers Exceptional Abilities (a term not found in Basic D&D). While AD&D is not Basic D&D both have their original development in OD&D and I would ...


4

There is maybe another option, that you have not mentioned and it's that you can "decide" that magical items do "speak" in your mind when you touch them. Depending on their age, power, intelligence and, I'd say, creator, they'll "speak" plain and straight or though riddles and tricks that may (or may not) help understanding the nature of the object.


4

Overview of D&D retro-clones Check out the retro clones on that link. Most everything there was created while at least thinking of the legal aspects of what could be used without problems. As a plus, the materials can generally be downloaded in several readable formats which you should be able to write a simple parser for. AD&D -> OSRIC D&D ...


4

Come on people...the dice! Adam mentions that the Holmes version came with chits instead of dice after a while. When it came with chits, it also came with a coupon for a set of polyhedra. These were terrible, soft, twisted and awesome! The white d20 would turn pretty spherical and roll forever after a year or so of play. The blue d12 was as soft as ...



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