Sunday, September 11, 2011

Playing AD&D

We played Mindy's AD&D game tonight. Her game is sort of generic AD&D, and I say this not as a put down, but rather to clarify that it isn't any specific campaign world, and there isn't anything that deviates heavily from the basic rules of the game.

This is in contrast to Mike's game, which is going to be heavily Nordic/Viking themed. He has decided to move away from using the Hellfrost setting in lieu of something of his own (?) design.

A few thoughts...

1. We spent too much time screwing around in town. This is mostly our own fault.

2. Had a rules disagreement with the DM. A spell which was supposed to do 2d4 damage was changed to doing 1d4+1d6+1d8. The initial reason for this is that is was "more fun." Later, it was decided that the spell did more damage from being cast in an enclosed area. (Inside a dungeon room) My gripe was mostly based on the fact that, at 1st level, 2d4 is survivable by most of the party, whereas 1d4+1d6+1d8 would have killed anyone in the party but me. She did offer a saving throw, which the spell doesn't normally allow, but I refused it mainly so that we don't create crazy precedents of saving throws to spells that don't allow saving throws. I'm willing to take my licks if it means that, once we have regular access to said spell, the bad guys will be taking theirs.

3. I like Mindy's minimalist approach to races. Her version of AD&D 2nd edition gives everyone a couple of little bonuses, without getting into the whole "elves can surprise on 1-3 if they are 90 feet away or only with elves and halflings etc etc" level of racial abilities. Even humans get a few little bonuses. I have to admit I don't understand where the human bonuses come from (+1 to hit with two handed sword and quarterstaff, for some reason) but I find that it is part of the charm.

4. So far, Mindy hands out xp rather arbitrarily. We seem to receive a flat amount at the end of the session. I know that JB over at B/X Blackrazor has quite a bit to say about xp and the awarding thereof. One thing that arbitrary xp makes me want to do is avoid combat. If we're getting the same xp whether we snuff every single evil cleric in the temple, why not just sneak past them, or scare them off with magic or something? Likewise, if treasure does not generate xp, why the hell bother with the small change like copper and silver? (We use the harsh coin weights from days of yore: 10 coins weigh a pound!) I would like maybe at least a cursory breakdown of what, exactly, we got the xp for. If it's mission based, that will change the way we play. If we get bonuses for clever ideas, that will change the way we play. Josh has suggested that the rate of advancement is set, maybe enough to level the "average" classes every two or three games, since this campaign runs every other week, and since we started it kind of on a lark and haven't really determined if it is going to go on for any particular length of time. If that's the case, I'd also like to know. Heck, I'm not even sure if she's decided yet.

I do enjoy me some AD&D. Next week is the start of Mike's Viking game. At this point, I'm torn between playing a Skald or playing a Roman missionary stranded in the North. (Well, it's not really Rome, but per Mike it is essentially Rome with the serial numbers filed off.)

Game on, cats and kittens.


  1. Oh, boy...just drag me into it, why don't you? I'm already having to put out fires at my own table!
    ; )

  2. Female AD&D DM? Kick ass.

    ...but yeah, XP for GP all the way.

  3. Seems like a lot of AD&D happinging lately.

  4. This is Mike. Still can't get gmail to work with this. Well here are my thoughts.
    The wording of the spell was very confusing. The mage casting it was only able to cast it because of a wild magic roll. No one should be able to throw that spell at 1st. Part of why I don't like all the wonky mage kits or illusionists.
    Mindy gives out bonuses to humans for balance and incentive to play a human. Otherwise with all those bonuses, you have a group of all non-humans.
    With XP, in Mindy's Rifts games, they were all arbitrary as well. I personally prefer XP for combat in AD&D, with bonuses for excellent roleplaying, ingenuity, or cracked me up. But that is up to each GM I think. Also how many adventures the GM wants the PCs to take to level up.
    The campaign coming up will be "in your face Viking/Roman". More like the movies 300 or Centurion than Spartacus in 1960. Humanity on the bleeding edge,,,and they are losing. The Roman capitol was squashed flat. The Vikings are more like Conan (with Arnie) mixed with heavy metal jacket. Put another way, the Hellfrost world had too much civilization,,,