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51

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 ...


25

#AT means Number of Attacks per combat round. Sometimes it is written in long-form as "Number of Attacks", sometimes with the abbreviation "#AT". The example given is of a creature called a "Farmer". It has Armor Class 7, and is Level 0. It has 6 hit points, attacks once per round (#AT 1), and does 2-8 points of damage (i.e. 2d4) on a successful hit. It ...


22

Player mapping as an assumption it was assumed that all games would occur in the "Theatre of the Mind", Partially correct. One of the things that has not translated well over time is a standard "table" assumption that goes back to the original game (a convention that Basic D&D and AD&D continued). Part of the older ToTM includes a player ...


20

These are two editions I like and know well. And I'm at a loss with even where to start trying to explain the differences to someone thinking they're similar. The trouble is that every edition after AD&D 2nd edition wasn't a revision, it was an entirely new game that just used similar labels and a few somewhat related mechanical pieces. Between Basic/...


20

One of these is covered, the other is not mentioned The key to door #3 is There's a locked chest in #5 and the key is The key to door #11 is For further reference, Door 37 is also locked and the key is Door 40 is locked and the key is Door 41 is locked and the key is Door 48 is locked and the key is Door 64 is locked and the key is All information ...


18

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 ...


18

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 is ...


17

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 ...


14

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 ...


14

There are two different trap mechanics presented in Moldvay's Basic D&D rules, the general one that uses 1d6, and the thieves' ability that uses d%. The reason for this, although it is far from obvious, is that the game distinguishes between two different types of traps. What Moldvay knew (but mostly failed to communicate) was that exactly one mechanic ...


13

In the revised original B2: Keep on the Borderlands (revised, 1981) the key to room #3 is in room #5, described on page 15. The key for #11 appears to have been inadvertently omitted, not deliberately made lost or non-existent to pose an intentional lockpicking or door-bashing obstacle: Due to the contents of the room, it doesn't make sense to conclude ...


12

The Moldvay edition uses Souvenir, according to the unofficial TSR & WotC Font Usage FAQ. For other editions, you can check there as well.


11

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 ...


11

Yes, you can run Isle of Dread as an AD&D module as-is, but there will be occasional hiccups. With only a few modifications (to the module), however, it can run as smooth as if it were originally written for AD&D. I played through Isle of Dread in a 2e AD&D game as a player. I have asked the DM of that game for his opinion, as well as read ...


11

The key thing is to have your own map laid out beforehand. I ran into this problem when I was programming adventure games (Scott Adam's type) back in the day (Vic-20/Commodore 64 era). I created a maze where directions didn't correspond to the actual direction taken. The method is to lay out the locations in a grid fashion (regardless of actual location in ...


10

Retreat is for when you all need to run! Fighting withdrawal is always better for disengaging from combat, if it will actually do the job. A withdrawal only works if the opponent is unable or unwilling to follow to maintain the combat engagement – if they do, you've wasted a turn failing to disengage. The other purpose of a withdrawal is to back into a ...


10

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 ...


10

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 ...


10

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 ...


9

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 ...


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

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

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 ...


7

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 ...


7

First, your question doesn't really fit the mindset that B/X embodies. Asking: So why do they need a high wisdom? is incorrect. Clerics benefit from a high wisdom but there is no reason in B/X you can't run a character with a wisdom of 3 as a cleric. You'll just advance slower than other clerics. 3.x and on have been games about playing optimized ...


7

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 ...


7

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 ...


6

Downtime - the Enemy of Fun Gaming The biggest issue facing "large" parties is downtime. As in, the time spent not engaged by the game, because other people are going. Having run games for groups as large as 13 players, and 23 PC's (Yes, most had 2 PC's), downtime management turns to several different elements. One of which is ... The Caller The ...


6

The encounter is more like a very lethal trap. It occurs unless the PC's are either specially prepared or very paranoid/lucky. It's definitely not fair. Detect magic will reveal the chair-cum-magic jar, as would detect evil. Especially detect evil as it reveals evilly enchanted objects within 120'. Note that in this edition the saving roll is dependent on ...


5

Yes the intent is that the DM rolls an attack for any creature within melee range of the person retreating. For older edition D&D this is best stated on Page 70 of the AD&D DM Guide. Breaking off from Melee. At any time a creature can decide to break off the engagement and flee the melee. To do so allow the opponent a free attack or attack ...


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