Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More AD&D?

My players and I played two sessions of AD&D.

Some of the players asked me, when making their characters, if this was going to grow into anything larger. I said no - which allowed min/maxing for a one-shot, like CN fighters alongside a LG paladin (a no-no, but if it serves a greater good for one mission, the paladin can do it) and sub-optimal stat choices like a low INT score for a wizard because CON and DEX would be more useful right now.

And I'm sticking to that. This post isn't reversing that decision.

But it did get me thinking, will we do this again? And what about a campaign?

That's two trains of thought to work out.

Another Module Playthrough?

Yes. Unhesitatingly yes. This was a lot of fun. I'd be willing to run either a pre- or post-Unearthed Arcana module with pregens (if it comes with them) or self-generated PCs (if not). There are a few on my short list that I might do that with - WG5 I've run in GURPS but was fun in AD&D as well. WG6, perhaps would be fun with AD&D instead of GURPS, A4, the Mud Sorcerer's Tomb from Dungeon Magazine #37 . . . that might be it. Too many have read S1 to make it playable as a real challenge and S4 suffers from the same issue plus re-used setpieces in my games.

S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks would be better in GURPS than in AD&D. That would make a great DF small side campaign.

But yes, I'd do it, especially if the players have an itch to scratch and it's not something already plundered for my GURPS gaming or memorized by too many of my players. Something that benefits from a rush of nostalgia or is just structured in a way that the GURPS skill system and magic system won't short-circuit.

A campaign?

Much less likely, but possible.

It would have the advantage of players getting used to AD&D, not getting thrown off the deep end of a mid-level high-challenge adventure that demands you know your spells, the monsters, and the rules well to survive. It would also just be fun, because AD&D is a different sort of entertainment and challenge than GURPS.

It would have the disadvantage of grabbing us by the back of the head and grinding our faces in the nitty-gritty weirdness of AD&D. Tracking XP. 10 gp to the pound (and if you make it 100 to the pound, you really need to drop XP value to 10% to keep the challenge:reward the same). XP divided by level. To use training costs or not. Magic item identification issues. The agony of rolling 1 HP on your level up twice in a row (funny in a one-shot, painful otherwise). The dizzying madness of Resist Fire, Potions of Fire Resistance, and Rings of Fire Resistance all having different mechanics from each other. THAC0 with breakdowns thanks to repeating 20s.

In other words, I'd have to house rule the hell out of it. Do that enough and I'm the path of making a retro-clone to add to the massive slurry of them out there right now. Pick a retro-clone and then ask myself why I'm not just playing another game from the choice pool.

It's doable, of course, and it can be fun. But it's not as simple as it sounds. It would also mean doing that instead of other things, like Gamma Terra and Dungeon Fantasy. It's possible we will do it but it would be more involved than a one-shot.

But I can see more AD&D in our future. It was a fun trip down memory lane, and it makes me appreciate what I have and why I chose to have it.

14 comments:

  1. If you are going to house rule the hell out it then you better off starting with Swords & Wizardry Core rules and add in the bits and parts you want. You can download an rtf document from here.

    https://web-beta.archive.org/web/20150305191206/http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/cleanwpfilecore4.rtf

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    1. Thanks for the link. Honestly, though, the fact that I'd need to house rule the hell out of just about every system, or convert instead of playing straight up as written, just means I'm less likely to do it at all. Playing AD&D straight up for a mini campaign is less work than playing GURPS in my campaign, and playing GURPS in my campaign is a lot less work than house ruling AD&D or a clone and playing that.

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    2. I hear you, I have specific ideas about what goes into a Majestic Wilderlands campaign regardless of system. I haven't run another D&D 5e campaign in MW for this reason. My S&W based variant is close enough that the added work seems pointless. So I just purloined Advantage and Disadvantage from the 5e SRD and a few other elements and that is good enough for me.

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    3. Oh speaking of D&D 5e, Adventures of Middle Earth is a worth book for you to look at if you have the inclination. Still D&D 5e but a very different take on how classes and other stuff interoperate.

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    4. You've pretty much gone the route I would probably end up going. And the work required makes me think I'm better off just playing the other game we enjoy so very much - GURPS.

      I'm not a big Tolkein fan, so I haven't really looked into AoME at all. Worth it even if I'm not interested in the setting?

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    5. Yes it is an excellent example of low fantasy where magic is more subtle than overt. And a good example of how to take a particular edition of D&D, alter to fit a setting, but still have it be D&D 5e.

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  2. osric or castles and crusades a bit more refined or streamlined yet familiar

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    1. I suppose, but then instead of using the books I have, I'd have to:

      - read those systems
      - ensure they change the stuff I don't like to stuff I do like, and retain the stuff I do like
      - get familiar with those rules.

      I'm not actually looking for new systems. The additional work involved in this probably sinks "Run an AD&D campaign" down to nearly zero. And if I'm going to run a non-AD&D campaign, well, I do that already. I don't need it to be D&Dish or D&D compatible. See what I'm saying? It's hard to explain exactly, but it becomes a lot of work to do something that ends up not being the thing that's at least partly tempting to do in the first place.

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    2. OSRIC can serve as a AD&D condensed. The goal of the author and the community that they were part of is to preserve AD&D 'as is'. The reason for OSRIC was a first as a publisher reference to lay out what could be derived from the d20 SRD for use for making a AD&D module. The author also sought legal advice how to use US precedent to make the work even closer to AD&D than a d20 extrapolation could achieve.

      After OSRIC was released people found it handy as a reference but it was rough in some spots for that. So the 2nd edition (current) edition was released in the form of a traditional core book.

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    3. Nothing against OSRIC, but it's really AD&D for a campaign, or nothing.

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  3. When we did campaigns in junior high, it was mostly a series of modules. We ignored the in-between stuff; people healed up, and got a chance to shop. And then, "You are standing in front of a set of rotting doors...."

    I guess it is "railroading" in today's parlance, but it has the virtue of simplicity.

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    1. And the virtue of just giving you the stuff you want the most, over and over.

      We had complaints about gaming when I was a kid, but it wasn't lack of downtime, lack of agency, lack of building castles and having mass combat over territories. We pretty much wanted to play a series of modules and get healed up in between.

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  4. I have always wanted to give AD&D (or really, any of the very old systems) a try, but I haven't had the chance yet. I remember reading through what I believe was a 1st Edition D&D handbook and finding the format hell to read, though!

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    1. They aren't well-organized, and we re-experienced that playing AD&D for two sessions.

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