Thursday, May 7, 2009

House Rules for AD&D 1st Edition

I am currently gathering interested players to play in a campaign of AD&D, 1st edition. However, before I run the game, there are some things I am going to need to iron out. I will use this blog as a sounding board to the solutions I think of. Currently, I'm digging through the books in search of things that don't make sense or that I find lacking. I addressed the first of these on a fairly recent post about magical writings and the read magic spell.

Classes
-The bard needs to be reworked to be a character class playable from 1st level. He should have druid spells primarily, but I can see including a few appropriate things like charm person or command.
-The barbarian needs to be reworked to play well with the spell casters. He will not have a berserk ability.
-Possible inclusion of a berserker class
-Possible inclusion of a summoner/conjurer class, possibly non-magical in nature
-Rangers and Paladins can use the appropriate scrolls (possible, not for sure)
-Option on replacing demi-human clerics with druids, with the exception of the half-elf, who should have either option.
-Option on variant clerics by deity
-Option on removing the cleric entirely in favor of a more "casterly" priest type class

Combat
-Characters get max hit points at first level
-Weapon Type vs. AC needs to be cleaned up. I do want to use it, though, to make weapon choice matter. Also, Trollsmyth's recent post on the Warrior's Kit has the wheels turning in my head. Maybe something similar to 2nd edition's table.

-A friend of mine homebrewed an injury table based on damage type. I feel like this is something that could be looked into.
-Crossbows need to be better than bows. Options I'm thinking include more damage (Alexis from Tao of D&D went that route) or possibly rolling additional damage dice on the roll of max damage. (Expoding dice)
-Option on all weapons rerolling on max damage, with crossbows or similar weapons penetrate on max and max-1, so they'd reroll on a 5-6 on 1d6.

-Characters do not automatically fall unconscious or die at 0 hp, but hits render injuries or incapacity based on a chart a la Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
-Weapon Speed and Casting Time factors into initiative. Option on the Hackmaster rule where initiative over 10 carries over into the next round. Some small weapons like daggers might have negative weapon speed

Other
-More language diversity (not one common tongue, generally)
-No alignment tongues (Though secret languages such as druidic, Thieves' Cant, etc.)
-Nonweapon proficiencies. Option on basing this off the Hackmaster skill system but removing the "parody" skills. (Actually the skill list will probably get a large pruning) Not 100% on this yet.
-Option on social class for characters, possibly imported from Oriental Adventures or Hackmaster


More as they occur to me, and I will post my solutions or rethinkings as I tackle them.

13 comments:

  1. ryan,

    if you are interested
    i can send you my word file for skills that i submitted to fight on

    contact mw at
    abbadon at clearwire dot net

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ryan, just a couple of thoughts.

    Crossbows need to be better than bows. Options I'm thinking include more damage (Alexis from Tao of D&D went that route) or possibly rolling additional damage dice on the roll of max damage. (Expoding dice)

    I know the 2E Birthright setting gave crossbows the respect they (historically) deserved. IIRC they had slightly better damge than equivalent bows and had an armour piercing capability at short range, ignoring n points of AC from armour.

    -Weapon Speed and Casting Time factors into initiative. Option on the Hackmaster rule where initiative over 10 carries over into the next round. Some small weapons like daggers might have negative weapon speed

    Wasn't this introduced in Unearthed Arcana? I distinctly remember a lurching realisation that unless their weapon was set against a charge a character wielding an awl pike (speed 18 or so) wouldn't get an attack until late in the second round of combat.

    Looking forward to seeing where you go with this.

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  3. Crossbows should be fine if you are using the weapon type versus armour rules. Personally, I do not, so I rate crossbows by strength, granting base damage 1d6 and +1/+1 for every higher grade. This is typically balanced by long reloading times.

    Actually, come to think of it, I wrote most of this sort of thing down in my Alternative Weapon Table:

    http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/view.php?id=651931&da=y

    I would not bother with weapon speed to be honest. Casting Time should always adjust initiative, but you get all sorts of problems with regard to movement when you use weapon speed as a blanket adjustment to initiative.

    The rest of your house rules look fine to me.

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  4. Keeping in mind always that the biggest problem with crossbows is their reloading limitations. They cannot be reloaded on horseback, or most places where good footing isn't available, or waist deep in water - as water will damage the mechanism - or in any way quickly. Yes, I give them more damage, but once they are fired that is pretty much its whole practical value in a combat, except by crossbowmen well out of the melee.

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  5. Alexis- In my high school campaign, I do recall crossbows being used once per combat, and only if the party had some distance between themselves and the enemy. Eventually crossbows fell out of favor because a bow could be fired much more frequently for the same damage yield. I'd like to recapture the "fire and forget" crossbow. I noticed that Hackmaster actually gives more damage for crossbows (d8for light and 2d4+1 for heavy), whereas Unearthed Arcana seems to list less damage for them. (A heavy quarrel does 1d6 and you can only fire it once every other round?)

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  6. As far as I can see, Unearthed Arcana has the same statistics for light and heavy crossbows as the Player's Handbook (both 1e and 2e), which is to say 1-4/1-4 and 2-5/2-7. In OD&D Supplement I, Greyhawk, all crossbows and bows do 1-6/1-6. The real change came in Combat & Tactics, which went with 2-7/2-9 and 2-9/2-11.

    Reloading a light crossbow from horseback should be fine, but a heavy crossbow not so much.

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  7. "Reloading a light crossbow from horseback should be fine, but a heavy crossbow not so much."The usual tendency is to think in terms of the modern crossbow in assessing its use. All crossbows from the Medieval period included a stirrup which one stepped into in order to allow the device to be reloaded. This is impossible from horseback.

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  8. The usual tendency is to think in terms of the modern crossbow in assessing its use. All crossbows from the Medieval period included a stirrup which one stepped into in order to allow the device to be reloaded. This is impossible from horseback.As far as I am aware, this is not true. By no means did all medieval crossbows use foot stirrups. Many used a belt and claw device, or were simply drawn back by hand. They were nowhere near as powerful as ones drawn using a foot stirrup, but they certainly existed. When reloading from horseback it is going to be a question of leverage. Have you any particular articles in mind? It sounds like an interesting subject.

    More importantly, however, the DMG assumes that only light crossbows are usable from horseback in its troop categories, which would be rather strange if only shooting was intended, so for the purposes of the game I am convinced that light crossbows were intended to be shot and reloaded whilst mounted.

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  9. Whoops, not "belt and claw", I meant "Goat's Foot", of course.

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  10. Matthew:

    Whoops! All during my 2nd edition campaign in high school, we played with crossbows doing 1d6/1d6+1. Perhaps my damage is too extreme... as I mentioned, Hackmaster does 1d8 for light and 2d4+1 for heavy.

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  11. I think probably rather a lot of people "upped" the damage for crossbows for second edition. I know we did. For comparison:

    Rules CyclopediaLight Crossbow: 1-6
    Heavy Crossbow: 2-8

    Baldur's GateLight Crossbow: 1-8
    Heavy Crossbow: 3-10

    Swords & WizardryLight Crossbow: 2-5
    Heavy Crossbow: 2-7

    Labyrinth LordLight Crossbow: 1-6
    Heavy Crossbow: 1-8

    OSRICLight Crossbow: 2-5
    Heavy Crossbow: 2-7


    My feeling is that it is primarily a game balance issue. Bear in mind that in AD&D you can add strength bonuses to hit and damage to very strong bows, so unless crossbows enjoy a similar benefit they are always going to be outmatched as an option, even when their slow shooting rate is overlooked. Damage ranges of 1-8 and 3-9 are probably still a somewhat underpowered option for a fighter, but not too bad for a company of 0 level mercenaries. I still prefer my solution, but that is hardly surprising. :D

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  12. If you want to have bards playable right from the get-go at 1st level, why not just use the Bard class as it was implemented in 2nd Edition AD&D?

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  13. Because I wanted to keep bards close to their druidic roots as introduced in 1st ed.

    The class that I ended up using was actually sort of a cross between the 1st and 2nd edition bard.

    Incidentally, the campaign that this post was preparing for has been over with for two years. Next time I might just use the 2nd edition bard, or I might just run it without bards.

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