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49

E. Gary Gygax notes in several places that the class limits and level limits were both game balance and to force the game to be humanocentric. I'll let EGG speak for himself (Dragon #29, Sept. 1979, p. 12): The character races in the AD&D system were selected with care. They give variety of approach, but any player selecting a non-human (part- or ...


40

In general in play they were ignored or just treated as an abstract language with no further comment. As to where they came from, here's an answer from Gary Gygax on Dragonsfoot! As D&D was being quantified and qualified by the publication of the supplemental rules booklets. I decided that Thieves' cant should not be the only secret language. Thus ...


39

Reprising and revising a list I originally posted on RPGGeek: Swords and Wizardry - White Box is rules compatible (mostly) with classic D&D whitebox with some nods to Moldvay compatibility (namely, racial classes as options); S&W Core is actually AD&D 1E mostly compatible. Both have an "BAB & ascending AC" option. Knockspell is the house ...


39

How do I tell the players "This house rule sucks and we shouldn't do it anymore?" That's exactly how you do it! Say, "This house rule sucks and I think we shouldn't do it anymore." If they object, well... then they don't mind the paperwork. If they agree, then you don't have a problem. Either way they don't feel cheated, because they're part of ...


29

Swords & Wizardry is an OGL port of the original, 1974 edition of Dungeons & Dragons. It also includes select rules and classes from the three official OD&D supplements. There is also the "White Box" version which is a strict implementation of the original core box. There are various commercial versions of S&W and S&W White Box, as well ...


29

You Should Be Dead, But... Save-or-die mechanics are pretty awful for straight-up challenges. I mean, you wouldn't exactly get a lot of tactical thrills from a game that boils down to "Flip a coin to see if you lose," would you? But that's not the only way they've been used. Practices and opinions vary pretty widely in the OD&D/OSR community, but one ...


26

This totally depends on how the trap is designed! As the DM, you are the authority to which you should appeal. If you think of it before the thief starts messing with the trap (and therefore not yet indicating to you how they're approaching it and possibly biasing your choice), then you can just decide what kind of trigger this trap has. However, if you ...


21

Some years ago I made just such a system; I've made it work for D&D, RuneQuest 2/3, Pendragon & Ars Magica, so I suppose it is reasonably generic. This is a "pure genetic" system, and does not allow for the effects of environment. The first step is to retrieve - or recreate - the original dice rolls involved in creating the parent characters' ...


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 ...


19

The progression went like this Chainmail was a set of rules for wargaming with miniatures. People wanted to fight the battles they read about in Lord of the Rings, Conan, and other fantasy novels of the time. So the Fantasy Supplement was added. Dave Arneson was inspired by David Wesley Braunstein game to create his own version. He used the Man to Man and ...


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 ...


17

Yes, yes it will. I do have experience with BFRPG. It's a very tidy clone of Basic D&D with some nice mechanical bits from d20, but it's still very much BD&D at its core. (I have experience with that too.) Judging what feel and style of campaign you're going for by your question and comments, giving full XP for gold will level them too fast: The ...


16

I tend to use something like Tarot cards for things like this. One to three cards for a location, major npcs or sometimes even player characters. One just to give a general feel of what might happen. Different decks normally have slightly different pictures. Sometimes looking at the card will give me inspiration, sometime the reading of a card. The suit of ...


15

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 ...


14

Play, write or referee one of the older editions of Dungeons and Dragon. Older edition meaning every version of AD&D/D&D prior to D&D 3.0. Although some will quibble on AD&D 2.0. Some may talk about play styles but if you survey everybody that you could remotely include in the OSR. The only common thing you can say is that "They play older ...


14

They are defined on p97 of the Dungeon Master's Guide Concealed doors are doors hidden in some way: Behind a curtain Covered with plaster Trap door under a rug A PC can normally find a concealed door just by checking his surroundings well. Secret doors are portals that look like a normal wall to the naked eye. Typically it takes more effort to ...


14

It appears that you have conflicting interests: a lack of permanent character death, but a real threat of death which involves real problems. There are no obvious ways to reconcile these two points. An easy way out of permanent character death reduces the problems associated with dying, and having a god decide to resurrect a player seems too much like Deus ...


13

It is a D&D style fantasy setting where the adventure results from the conflict arising from the clash of culture, religion, and society. The book itself is meant to do two things, first it is a collection of my house rules for Swords & Wizardry and all editions based on the original 1974 roleplaying game. second it is an overview of the Majestic ...


13

Combat in the old-school systems is immensely faster. Yes, there are also fewer interdependencies between actions than in WotC-era editions, which reduces the amount of tactical wrangling over what each player should do; but even apart from a simpler choice of actions, everyone taking actions at once just vastly simplifies the process of getting the round ...


13

The first rulebook including it was D&D Supplement 1: Greyhawk, on page 7. This predates AD&D by several years. It also places it squarely into Gygax's purview. They're in Hackmaster 4E and AD&D 2E as well, plus in OD&D.


13

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 ...


13

The primary reasoning for this is because of Gygax's study of anthropology. Priests during the dark ages often favored staves and other blunt objects that could be used more for policing and self defense against other weapons than actual harm. Thus if used properly they would not cause bleeding (directly) but maybe severe bruising or a broken bone. EDIT ...


12

I've run a megadungeon for one-off sessions. Obviously making a megadungeon for just one session like that is a bit of a waste of time, but it can work really well if the players know that you've used or are planning to use the dungeon for other groups. I've had players get really into changing things and leaving little messages for other groups, once they ...


12

Choosing a ridiculously over powered race is important. There is no level adjustment in 1E Svirfneblin, Drow and Derro all gain innate spell casting powers, numerous bonuses and magic resistance! Dragonlance Minotaurs gain enourmous Str and Con. The first edition Bard is also tasty... but I can't beleive no one mentioned Psionics. Stupid and arbitary ...


12

There were a few reasons, some based in mechanics-logic, other more setting-logic specific. The first is simple. As Gary said in the AD&D DMG, his game was human-centric. He came right out and said it. I'm not at home or I'd go get my copy, but I am 99% certain he mentions the heavy bias in specific there. As was mentioned in a few dragon magazine ...


11

Apparently there was an entire book on the topic of Krynnspace. There's since been a fan book updating that material. The Dragonlance FAQ confirms the connection. So Krynn looks pretty accessible, assuming you want that in your game.


11

Yes. in my experience both Basic AD&D and OD&D (1st and 2nd) run faster than 3e/3.5 and 4e and indeed PF. Why? Combat Extra feats, manoeuvring and counting squares, attacks of opportunity (and trying to avoid them) adding up multiple bonuses from powers/abilities (bards songs, situational, etc) all work to slow down combat. Yes the to hit DC's are ...


10

Don't forget the entries for the One Page Dungeon contests. There's at least one (Tomb of Song) in the first compilation that might work for you.


10

OSR is, for me, defined by gamers, games or publishers adherence to one or more of the following traits: playing or supporting one of the "old styled" games, such as D&D editions from the '70s, Tunnels & Trolls and so on concentrating more on players' skills and ideas than PCs' skills having a small body of rules, privileging rulings instead it's ...


10

The closest is probably Richard Graves’ The Mad Demigod’s Castle, available on Dragonsfoot. It doesn’t write up the ruins, but it does write up level 1, and contains connections to the various Castle of the Mad Archmage levels.



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