View Full Version : Ninglan

08-10-2010, 09:43 PM
I'm starting up a D&D game with a hybrid OD&D 1e and B/X ruleset. I have a few players who have never played any RPGs and/or only later editions. I started playing in 1981 and took a break for a while. looking for a few players to round things out, no experience with RPGs or the older games needed. No freaks - responsible adults only. :p

never played the older versions? come see what the fuss is all about. :cool:

game will be weekly, day TBD depending upon availability fridays and sats are no good as i'm a gigging musician. sundays may open up but right now i'm a player in a pathfinder game but if i die i may bail and open up sundays.

08-11-2010, 07:11 AM
I live in Portland, right across the river. I have only played D&D 3.5e and I was hoping to pick up a 4e game but I may be interested in seeing what 1e was like. I'd like more info about the campaign and game mechanics.

08-11-2010, 08:23 AM
hey stan i can almost hit the bridge with a rock from here. (not quite).

feel free to email me at Navi180@aol.com and i can send you more info. mechanics are pretty simple.

i'm using b/x modifiers which means 13-15 +1, 16-17 +2 18 +3 9-12=0 8-6 is -1 4-5 is -2 and 3 is -3. I'm going to probably use ascending AC and BAB rather than tables as it works out to the same math and I find that making the AC= the number you need to hit is a lot easier than looking on 5 charts - so that part should be familiar to you and as a dedicated old school player that took me 1 minute to figure out and 2 extra ones to convert the negative ACs and tables to BAB. :lol:

the campaign is tougher to describe but it is set in a world that looks suspiciously like new england and particularly CT, but isn't, (no shanarra post apocolyptic mystery here, i just thought using a familiar map would be fun). What the players do know is humanity took over this area of the world about 1-2000 years ago and wiped out or chased off most other races and monsters, other PC races were marginalized, orcs were enslaved. what you would normally call hobgoblins were pushed back to the north wastes (canada?). After a golden age humanity got more and more fractious with petty warring kingdoms and fiefdoms. 60 years ago all hell broke loose when humans found out just how large the HG population had become when they sacked kingdom after kingdom. These days they occupy as far south as the worcester area with a definite presence in springfield and perhaps even hartford (on the map). they seem to have avoided the coast. players are going to start out in - where else? what would be near middletown on the map. :biggrin: In the meantime, rumors of strange sightings of creatures thought to be extinct have popped up. The campaign will be pretty sandboxish, but will have several plot choices you can look into, some dead ends, some long term, and if you have no buisiness going someplace at your level i'll give you a subtle hint.

There is a certain level of character death at low levels of 1e-B/X, but i will be using dead = negative 10 hp or maybe negative con. not dead =0. That said, i'll try not to kill too many characters, I'll start you off at max hp at 1st level.

anyhow e-mail me and i can send you a lot more info. I'm really kind of looking forward to playing with some folk that never played the older games.

08-11-2010, 03:45 PM
Some rules for those of you in the know

Abilities use the B/X modifiers, no % STR but some esoteric 1e modifiers like system shock and % to know a spell

To hit "tables" are 1e with the 5% increases found in Dragon#80 instead of the big jumps, also fighters start out as thaco19 like they did in older versions.

As the B/X tables don't let you have a bonus of 4 for hit points and AC i give all thieves a bonus of 1 to AC on top of any DEX to mimic their general fear that everyone is out to get them (they are). Also Fighters get +1 hp per die on top of CON bonuses to mimic the higher CON bonuses available in 1e.

Weapon proficiencies are as in B/X, that is classes are proficient in all weapons they can use. Fighters get to specialize in weapons every 3 levels in place of proficiency slots in 1e, but only at +1 to hit. All fighters gain +1 damage on all weapons every 3 levels. I allow non fighter classes a few more weapons than 1e does, some clerics can use normally "forbidden weapons".

Saves are as in 1e, but once again I use the Dragon #80 tables for 5% increments. also all 6 stats can modify saves as in C&C.

No races as classes, i don't allow dual classing as in 1e, but do allow multiclassing. However, multiclassed characters level as a unit like the B/X elf, not like the 1/e F/MU where each class levels separately.

Thief skills are like 2e where you can choose which skills to shine in, but this is done a little differenly.

There are no "skills" as such, but classes and races will be better at some things than other characters (e.g., elves, rangers and druids will be better at survival skills in the woods). Anybody can attempt to do anything, I use a simple formula to determine probability and modify by ability score, class, race, and level. Someone who succeeds at a particular attempt can become better at it over time, but based on past success, not as a point buy system.

Hit dice are as 1e, F=d10, C=d8, T=d6, MU=d4. Starting hit points are max, second level will be only the top half of the die, after that you roll and keep it.

Spells are from 1e and any other spells will be considered but may have to be altered or put in a different level if they are overpowered. Cantrips and Orisons (minor cleric spells) are allowed. There are no "healing surges" but clerics can trade a 1st level spell for a few cure minor wounds for 1d4 hp to make low level survivability a bit more likely (a bit more).

Clerics get extra spells for high WIS as in 1e, Magic users also get extra spells for high INT using the same scale.

Combat is fast paced. Initiative is D10 but closer to B/X rather than the cumbersome 1e version. No speed factor, weapon vs AC tables, etc. Non weapon combat is d20 non lethal using a simple scale, grappling is more of a STR check, but simple compared to 1e. Like I said, you can attempt anything. No minis except to indicate "my guy is about here".

XP is a cross between 1e B/X and OD&D in terms of what monsters are worth, 1 gp=1 XP as well. Xp tables for advancement are 1e, but I'm giving B/X tables a close look so i might modify them slightly. They do differ based upon class.

Armor is as in 1.5e (UA). Armor carries no DEX penalties or armor check penalties, but does slow you down. Thieves should use leather, but can use others with the 2e penalties. Magic users have very strict armor use penalties. I'm using a motif like "wizard's first rule" where the more you have between you and the world, the more likely your arcane spells are to fail or backfire. Magic users will be stupid to use armor, they might not even like to carry much as too much could interfere with spellcasting. Elves that multiclass can use armor with less penalties, but will most likely want to stick to leather or eleven chain.

Races are standard 1e types, but I'm using the pathfinder type Gnome with their magic toned down a bit. There are no level limits for races, although their XP may be higher at very high levels (working that out). Races can be any class, although some classes will be more difficult for some races to a degree. Racial bonuses and penalties for abilities will be close to 1e with a few modifications.

Alignment is standard 1e, but you don't need to declare it right away unless you are a cleric, druid or paladin. I don't go rules lawyer on alignment, rangers and assassins can be more alignments than in 1e, paladins must be LG but can travel with characters of any alignment as I think this will make the game more interesting (and a bit funny at times - think order of the stick).

There's more but those are the big ones I can think of.

08-13-2010, 05:58 PM
combat is listed as 25/75 nominally- there's a good reason for this - combat in the older systems gets lethal very fast. The two links below are pretty good. The first links to a downloadable PDF that describes older style gaming pretty well, the second is an interview with Frank Mentzer (who wrote the BECMI rules for TSR which later became the RC more or less) About a third of the way through the interview Frank describes rules vs rulings very well without bashing newer games.



08-21-2010, 10:28 PM
Attack bonus

Normal human -1

Man at arms 0

Fighter 1st level +1, up one per level and maxxes out at 17th level @ +17

Cleric 1st & 2nd 0, 3rd +1, 4th & 5th +2, 6th +3, 7th & 8th +4, 9th +5, 10th & 11th +6, 12th +7, 13th & 14th +8, 15th +9, 16th & 17th +10, 18th +11, 19th maxxes out @ +12

Thief 1st & 2nd -1, 3rd & 4th 0, 5th +1, 6th & 7th +2, 8th +3, 9th & 10th +4, 11th & 12th +5, 13th & 14th +6, 15th & 16th +7, 17th & 18th +8, 19th & 20th +9, 21st maxxes out @ +10

Magic User 1st -2, 2nd & 3rd -1, 4th & 5th 0, 6th & 7th +1, 8th & 9th +2, 10th +3, 11th & 12th +4, 13th +5, 14th & 15th +6, 16th & 17th +7, 18th, 19th & 20th +8 21st maxxes out @ +9

Keep in mind the different XP progressions keep the cleric and thief very close in attack bonus and hit points for about 8 levels. Also the MU is a lot farther behind the thief than he looks for the same reason. All other classes use these 4 progressions depending upon type.

---------- Post added at 11:28 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:17 PM ----------

World of Ninglan

The World of Ninglan is undergoing a large scale change. After centuries of human domination the world power structure is changing dramatically. A large and powerful hobgoblin empire from the north is quickly taking over the world. As the old stories and legends go, a thousand years ago the world was wild, monsters and magical critters wandered the earth, and humans were just one race among many. This was the age of the heroes and wizards of legend and fairy tales. According to the stories, humans subdued and took control over a large area of the world. It is hard to know how much of these stories are true. During their thousand year era of power, humans tended to oppress and marginalize all the other races. Hobbits hid as usual and pragmatically traded with the talls when they needed to. Elves became more aloof and withdrew their communities deeper in the dark woods and to the west. They dealt with humans but were non confrontational and got their way via their intellect, subterfuge, and tact. Dwarves were a constant thorn in the side of humanity, who needed them for some items of trade. Frequent skirmishes took place, dwarves sticking to inhospitable places in the mountains and underground, even though they came to prefer the above ground style of life. If dwarves wanted an area, they got it, but humans were far too numerous to take on in all out war. Gnomes were uncommon and almost wiped out. Gnomes were seen as especially magical and humanity went through a very anti magic phase ending only about a century ago. Many gnomes also kept to the west. Orcs were used as a slave race, originally being submitted to human rule by mages and evil kings, over time they became the favored slaves, along with humans from lands now forgotton. Most half Orcs are crosses with the human slave race. Most other humanoids had been rumored to have been extinguished, but since the new war, rumors pop up about strange sightings. If anything, even before the new wars, the original large human kingdoms split up into smaller lordships and cities, and one would imagine that patrols and campaigns to keep the world monster free became less frequent. Of course, at the current time the old stories are often seen as just that, so why patrol for a myth?

Hobgoblins are humans’ intellectual equals. Hobgoblins are on average a bit bigger and stronger than humans. Hobgoblins look human with very angular features. Their skin coloration is grayish bluish with some individual being more purplish or jet black. There appear to be slight racial differences as if the tribes that were forced together kept their individual lines pure. The differences are slight but noticeable, and one would assume they look very different to a hobgoblin. Most appear to be of one “type”. Their hair is jet black and almost always worn short and slicked to their head. Females and the odd male have long hair, although many females have short hair as well, particularly the soldiers. They have no, or never wear, beards. Their armor tends to be black. There are some derogatory nicknames for hobgoblins based on their features that humans use. Hobgoblins are decidedly Lawful evil, with some individuals tending towards lawful neutral or neutral evil.

Hobgoblins were involved in small wars with the humans during the race wars a thousand years ago, and various hobgoblin tribes and nations were all wiped out or forced to the north wastes. The wastes were separated from northern human territories by a huge inhospitable mountain range. After a few hundred years, trade opened up with the hobgoblins playing the deferential role. However, fifty or sixty years ago it was noted that the hobgoblin population had skyrocketed, rare glimpses of their cities indicated massive structures, and their quality of life were better than expected. Soon after the human border towns were all sacked in a surprise group of raids. This was followed by the taking of the human kingdom on the border. Since then the hobgoblin empire has waged a series of successful wars on the human kingdoms, slowly moving south and expanding just short of the coast to the east, and to the west. It seems the hobgoblins were extremely patient and built up armies as well as human and other slaves. The regular goblins themselves are rarely seen and seem to be a worker caste, they look like miniature hobgoblins, but uglier and with decidedly greenish gray skin. Rumors of hobgoblins riding dragons during sacks are frequent. Dragons are the stuff of old legend, thought to have been fictional or extinct. Likewise there are rumors of larger humanoid like creatures fighting on the side of the hobgoblin army, but descriptions vary so much as to make them impossible to figure out.

During these new hobgoblin wars the elves have remained nonintrusive; the dwarves have fought on both sides depending upon clan and region. Hobbits have stayed hidden; gnomes have also rarely ended up on both sides but tend to be more focused on self preservation and their own magic. Hobgoblin direct attacks upon elves or dwarves have gone very badly for them, and they have far more hatred of human oppressors at this point to spend time on the other races. Orcs have had a bit of a free for all, as have slave races in general. Orcs, half orcs, and the human slave race still face prejudice, much more so in the human cities which have not been attacked yet. Many have fled entirely and make up a new and growing population of orcs and humans in the wild. In their heyday, Orcs were primarily chaotic evil or chaotic neutral and never became organized due to constant tribal wars. They are not as stupid as they seem, but are ill tempered, prone to fits of rage and hold grudges, feuds and honor killings were common, and they still tend towards them. Modern free orcs, half orcs, and the pure slave race humans are more neutral or chaotic neutral in alignment, and tend to be nihilists and bitter. Pure orcs are more than a match for the average person. They have brownish to olive skin and are highly muscular and tough. They tend to have large canines and are rather unattractive.

Characters will start near the city of Midton, The hobgoblins occupy as far south as Warchester, and have a presence further south. Humans are reluctant to attack these smaller groups of Hobgoblins as similar acts in the north resulted in the destruction of the areas the attacks occured in. Old ruins and haunted areas are rumored to be in the less hospitable areas of the world, but they are the of the same legend quality as most other old stories. Cities to the far north are all reported to have been sacked or occupied, although the HG seem to have avoided the coast. Territories far to the west are rumored to be magical, but these stories are of the fairy tale flavor. However folk travelling from the west are notorious for strange stories. To the east of Ninglan is the sea, notable coastal cities include Rovdunce, Bowstone, and N’aven. To the south of N’aven is the long isthmus of G’ilan. Strange lands are rumored to be over the sea.

Prejudice and fear against magic still exist in most human areas even though it has been a century since magic was actively persecuted. Still, schools of magic have remained in existence and particularly in the last century they have made a comeback. Southern cities have reportedly not been attacked and supposedly still have their orc and human slaves. A high level of fear and desperation is noted in human travelers from the south as they dread the inevitable.

Charater races are pretty standard in appearance and disposition. Dwarves are serious and dour in general, excellent at crafting weapons and armor, and working gold and jewels. They are THE miners of the world. Female dwarves do NOT have beards. They range from about 4 to 5 feet tall, although a 5 foot dwarf would be seen as huge, and there are of course some 3.5 foot wee dwarves. Dwarves live longer than people. Elves are tall and thinner than humans, elves are especially long lived. Blonde hair and blue eyes are typical, although they can have any skin and hair coloration. They all have pointy ears. Elves range from flighty and playful to almost Vulcan like coolness and logic. They make exceptional magic items as a culture. Half elves vary in appearance, some look more elvish, and some look more human. They face some prejudice on both sides, but are also looked up to by many humans, and fully accepted by many elves. Half elves are not rare, as an elf on the prowl is hard for any human to resist. Half elves live longer than humans, but not nearly so long as elves, generally dying before their elfish parent. Half elves have a bit of their own subculture as well, so many half elves had two half elven parents, etc. Hobbits are exactly as they are in the book. About 3 feet tall, hairy feet, and eager to stay home, eat good food, drink good drink, smoke good smoke, and die in bed. Any hobbit who goes out adventuring will be seen as a madman by his or her fellows. Oddly enough, successful ones will live on in legend and become folk heroes. Hobbits tend to live longer than people, but not so long as dwarves. Gnomes are of the “pathfinder” variety. The same height as hobbits, gnomes are essentially the biggest of the fairy folk. Skin and hair color run the whole spectrum, and their hair may have more than one color, and tends to be a crazed shock like the hair on a manga character. Unlike hobbits who range from thin to stout, gnomes are slender like elves. They also have elf like pointy ears, where hobbits have semi pointy ears like half elves. Gnomes tend to live in small groups or singly, sometimes with the other fairy folk. They can be merry or serious, but tend to be pretty intense. They also live longer than people, somewhere in the range of dwarves and elves. Half orcs are generally bigger than humans, but not so big as their orcish ancestors. They tend to have larger canines than people and pointy ears. Their skin is generally brownish olive, eyes and hair are usually black. Orcish genes are a bit unpredictable so the odd orc has horns, a thick ridge running down the forehead almost like a klingon, fangs, etc. As such, some half orcs have these mutations too, but as prejudice is already very high against half orcs, it is assumed that players will not play orcs with these deformities. Some half orcs can actually be quite attractive, if a bit exotic looking. The half orcs are almost all mixes with the human slave race. Humans in the area are primarily white as it is a temperate area of the world. However, all races are represented as descendants of immigrants (although it may be so long ago that they really don’t know where they are from save for legend). The “slave race” looks vaguely like a cross between American Indians and Pacific Islanders. The slave race has their own oral legends of their old nations and tribes. The truth is, it has been so long since they were enslaved, it is hard to know where they are from. The slaves of all kinds do manual labor in the cities, some do farming for lords but in general agriculture is a peasant activity. The slaves are not limited to traditional “american slave” roles, often acting in the same way as greek or roman slaves – running households, teaching, etc. Some slaves are even set free or buy their freedom, although this is rumored to be very rare in the south, and much more common in the west. (the west is a strange place).

Both elves and dwarves have cultures with varying frequency of contact with the human world, players will be assumed to be from the cultures more likely to interact with humans. This is because the most distant dwarf and elf cultures are mysterious even to the more “social” dwarves and elves. To an extent, the same thing will be true for gnomes.

08-24-2010, 11:43 AM
OK so this is what my rules mean - feedback indicated that a lot of folk are in the dark about some of these older rules - my bad.

Ability scores – these are from Moldvay Basic originally. As in later editions the modifier is the most important derivative from the score. There are some extra modifiers for things like resurrection, system shock, and extra spells for INT and WIS, but the modifier is of primary importance except for ability checks and the like, where the actual score becomes more important.
3: -3
4-5: -2
6-8: -1
9-12: 0
13-15: +1
16-17: +2
18: +3
Scores above 18 are +1 for each integer above 18 (e.g., 20 is +5)

As 1e allowed for +4 on a score of 18 for some things I included an extra bonus for fighters and thieves (as they were the two classes most likely to benefit from these). All thief types get an additional +1 to AC in addition to DEX bonus as they are certain people are out to kill them (they are probably right), all fighters types get an additional +1 hp per die in addition to CON bonus. I got this idea from one of the many DMs who run 1e with the Basic ability score modifiers.

To hit tables
Normal human -1
Man at arms 0
Fighter 1st level +1, up one per level and maxxes out at 17th level @ +17
Cleric 1st & 2nd 0, 3rd +1, 4th & 5th +2, 6th +3, 7th & 8th +4, 9th +5, 10th & 11th +6, 12th +7, 13th & 14th +8, 15th +9, 16th & 17th +10, 18th +11, 19th maxxes out @ +12
Thief 1st & 2nd -1, 3rd & 4th 0, 5th +1, 6th & 7th +2, 8th +3, 9th & 10th +4, 11th & 12th +5, 13th & 14th +6, 15th & 16th +7, 17th & 18th +8, 19th & 20th +9, 21st maxxes out @ +10
Magic User 1st -2, 2nd & 3rd -1, 4th & 5th 0, 6th & 7th +1, 8th & 9th +2, 10th +3, 11th & 12th +4, 13th +5, 14th & 15th +6, 16th & 17th +7, 18th, 19th & 20th +8 21st maxxes out @ +9

Keep in mind the different XP progressions keep the cleric and thief very close in attack bonus and hit points for about 8 levels. Also the MU is a lot farther behind the thief than he looks for the same reason. All other classes use these 4 progressions depending upon type.

Saves – Saves in the older versions are of five types (although I and some other DMs use a slightly modified version of the breath weapon or death magic save for saves against traps or other “oh crap!” moments not covered). They are PPD (poison, paralysis and death magic), PP (petrification and polymorph), RSW (rod, staff and wand), BW (breath weapon), and S (spells). As I converted to bonuses rather than save numbers these are expressed as bonuses. The Number to hit (DC) is that which a normal human would need to roll as indicated on the old charts. I modify the DC up or down for situations, just as DMs have done since the game began – this is even in the 1977 monster manual where some monsters have weak or very toxic poison, etc. I also use some modifiers to saves based upon all 6 ability scores sort of like they do in C&C so STR modifies paralysis and constriction, INT modifies Arcane Magic and Illusion, WIS modifies Confusion Divine Magic, Gaze attack, Petrifaction, & Polymorph, DEX modifies Breath Weapons and Traps, CON modifies Disease, Energy Drain and Poison & CHA modifies Death Attack Charm and Fear

PPD (DC 16 on d20) – for “oh crap” saves start cleric at +4
Cleric 1st & 2nd +6, 3rd & 4th +7, & 5th & 6th +8, 7th & 8th +9, 9th, 10th & 11th +10, 12th, 13th & 14th +11, 15th, 16th & 17th +12, 18th +13, 19th maxxes out @ +14
Fighter 1st +2, 2nd & 3rd +3, 4th +4, 5th +5, 6th & 7th +6, 8th +7, 9th +8, 10th & 11th +9, 12th +10, 13th +11, 14th & 15th +12, 16th maxxes out at +13
Magic user 1st, 2nd & 3rd +2, 4th, 5th and 6th +3, 7th, 8th & 9th +4, 10th through 14th +5, 15th, 16th & 17th +6, 18th, 19th & 20th +7, 21st maxxes out at +8
Thief 1st, 2nd & 3rd +3, 4th through 7th +4, 8th through 11th +5, 12th through 15th +6, 16th through 19th +7, 20th maxxes out at +8

PP (DC 17 on d20)
Cleric 1st & 2nd +4, 3rd, 4th & 5th +5, 6th +6, 7th & 8th +7, 9th, 10th & 11th +8, 12th, 13th & 14th +9, 15th, 16th & 17th +10, 18th +11, 19th maxxes out @ +12
Fighter 1st +2, 2nd & 3rd +3, 4th +4, 5th +5, 6th & 7th +6, 8th +7, 9th +8, 10th & 11th +9, 12th +10, 13th +11, 14th & 15th +12, 16th maxxes out at +13
Magic user 1st, 2nd +4, 3rd & 4th +5, 5th through 7th +6, 8th & 9th +7, 10th through 12th +8, 13th & 14th +9, 15th through 17th +10, 18th & 19th +11, 20th maxxes out at +12
Thief 1st +4 2nd through 4th +5, 5th through 8th +6, 9th through 12th +7, 13th through 16th +8, 17th through 20th +9, 21st maxxes out at +10

RSW (DC 18 on d20)
Cleric 1st & 2nd +4, 3rd & 4th +5, 5th +6, 6th through 8th +7, 9th through 11th +8, 12th through 14th +9, 15th through 17th +10, 18th +11, 19th maxxes out at +12
Fighter 1st +2, 2nd & 3rd +3, 4th +4, 5th +5, 6th & 7th +6, 8th +7, 9th +8, 10th & 11th +9, 12th +10, 13th +11, 14th & 15th +12, 16th maxxes out at +13
Magic User 1st & 2nd +7, 3rd & 4th +8, 5th through 7th +9, 8th & 9th +10, 10th through 12th +11, 13th & 14th +12, 15th through 17th +13, 18th & 19th +14, 20th maxxes out at +15
Thief 1st & 2nd +4, 3rd & 4th +5, 5th & 6th +6, 7th & 8th +7, 9th & 20th +8, 11th & 12th +9, 13th & 14th +10, 15th & 16th +11, 17th & 18th +12, 19th & 20th +13, 21st maxxes out at +14

BW (DC 20 on a d20) for “oh crap” saves have magic user start on a 3
Cleric 1st & 2nd +4, 3rd through 5th +5, 6th +6, 7th & 8th +7, 9th through 11th +8, 12th through 14th +9, 15th through 17th +10, 18th +11, 19th maxxes out at +12
Fighter 1st +3, 2nd & 3rd +4, 4th +5, 5th +7, 6th & 7th +8, 8th +9, 9th +11, 10th & 11th +12, 12th +13, 13th & 14th +15, 15th maxxes out at +16
Magic User 1st & 2nd +5, 3rd & 4th +6, 5th through 7th +7, 8th & 9th +8, 10th through 12th +9, 13th & 14th +10, 15th through 17th +11, 18th & 19th +12, 20th maxxes out at +13
Thief 1st through 3rd +4, 4th through 7th +5, 8th through 11th +6, 12th through 15th +7, 16th through 19th +8, 20th maxxes out at +9

Spells (DC 19 on a d20)
Cleric 1st & 2nd +4, 3rd through 5th +5, 6th +6, 7th & 8th +7, 9th through 11th +8, 12th through 14th +9, 15th through 17th +10, 18th +11, 19th maxxes out at +12
Fighter 1st +2, 2nd & 3rd +3, 4th +4, 5th +5, 6th & 7th +6, 8th +7, 9th +8, 10th & 11th +9, 12th +10, 13th +11, 14th & 15th +12, 16th maxxes out at +13
Magic User 1st & 2nd +7, 3rd & 4th +8, 5th through 7th +9, 8th & 9th +10, 10th through 12th +11, 13th & 14th +12, 15th through 17th +13, 18th & 19th +14, 20th maxxes out at +15
Thief 1st & 2nd +4, 3rd & 4th +5, 5th & 6th +6, 7th & 8th +7, 9th & 10th +8, 11th & 12th +9, 13th & 14th +10, 15th & 16th +11, 17th & 18th +12, 19th & 20th +13, 21st maxxes out at +14

Classes – I use 1e classes. Cleric Druid Fighter Paladin Ranger Magic User Illusionist Thief Assassin Monk & Bard. Both the monk and bard were given a face lift in Dragon magazine and I adopted those classes – (like at least 50% of DMs did as they were a heck of a lot more playable). I let races choose from more classes than they could in 1e. I ditched 1e dual-classing (switching classes mid career) altogether. I will let folk multiclass (two classes at once) even if human in some cases. I make multiclassed individuals level as a unit like the B/X elf (all B/X elves are F/MU) - (that is, you need to fulfill the total XP requirement for both classes to gain a level). This isn’t as bad as it sounds – it generally means you are about a level behind the other players at any given time. Classes use the 1e hit dice (clerics D8, fighters D10, thieves D6, wizards D4)

Races – I use the 1e races (human, elf, dwarf, gnome, halfling, half elf & half orc.) All the racial abilities are 1e, with a few B/X bits. (this is close to 3e and 4e – some ability bonuses and penalties, elves are resistant to sleep and charm, etc). I did ditch the gnome in favor of the pathfinder gnome as I found that race to be far more interesting, I just had to tone it down a bit in terms of magic ability. No monster races allowed unless it is a reincarnation, although I might let a player convince me to let them try a humanoid race no bigger than a human.

XP – for monsters this is about 50-100 XP per hit die plus any bonuses for special abilities. 1 gp = 1 xp as well. For player character advancement, 1e and basic are pretty close with some divergences so I’m tinkering a bit. However, each class has a different requirement. This reflects differences in power. Thieves level fast, and this makes up for the fact that they are a weaker class than the others. This may seem odd to people used to a unified XP table, but a ton of experiments on my part met with failure in trying to unify the XP table without doing major surgery on the classes. It’s not as bad as it seems – at any given XP level the classes are pretty close in terms of power. For an example, to get to 2nd level a cleric needs 1500, fighter 2000, magic user 2500, thief 1250.

Speed factor and weapon vs AC – These are optional mechanics in 1e that I don’t use as they just slow the game down without a benefit (IMO)

Weapons, Weapon Proficiency, Specialization, Mastery –Classes are automatically proficient in the weapons they can use as in B/X – (this is just like 3e or 4e for the most part). I allow a few extra allowed weapons to some classes (e.g. wizards and thieves can use bows). Fighter type classes can specialize in a weapon every 3 levels for +1 to hit. They can stack this 3 times on any given weapon. Fighter types also gain +1 damage to all weapons every 3 levels. Weapons do different types of damage, but this doesn’t change due to size of opponent (as it does in 1e). However, I am giving some consideration to allowing fighters an extra +1 or +2 damage vs large opponents as the 1e “variable weapon damage vs size” seems to have been an attempt to give fighters an edge.

Thief Skills – Thieves have a number of skills they use percentile dice (or D20 if it’s all in 5% increments) to see if they succeed or fail in. These are: Pick Pockets - (which I include sleight of hand in), Open Locks, Find or Remove Traps - (find traps/disable device), Move Silently, Hide in Shadows (like a lot of DMs I let you do both at a decreased success rate as in Stealth), Hear Noise, Climb Walls, & Read Languages. In 1e and basic these go up by a set amount every level. In 2e this was altered so thieves had a pot of 30 “points” per level that they could assign as they chose to these skills with the restriction that they could not put more than 50% of the “pot” in any one skill per level. I’ve decided to give this 2e system a try with one twist I stole from another DM. Any time a thief attempts a skill and succeeds, one % point is automatically earmarked for that skill at the next level. I modify the difficulty of some skills by situation, and award some modifiers for intelligence or other relevant abilities (bonuses or penalties). So a thief with a 30% chance to pick locks might get a bonus of 25% for a simple lock, or might get a penalty of 20% for a very difficult lock. FWIW, anyone can try to do any of the things thieves have listed as skills – they just won’t do as well as a thief.

Armor – Shield +1, large shield +2 Padded or leather +2, studded leather or ring mail +3, hide or scale mail +4, chain mail +5, splint or banded +6, plate mail +7, field plate +8 and absorbs 1 point of damage per damage die, full plate +9 and absorbs 2 points of damage per damage die. Thieves wearing armor other than leather incur penalties to their skills, and wearing no armor gives them bonuses. Wizards incur extreme chance of spell failure/backfire from wearing armor, although elves incur less of a penalty in this case. There are armors such as elven chain and ones made with adamantium or mithril, but these are very hard to find. Armor has no DEX checks or penalties – this is straight up old school.

Combat and Initiative. – Very simple. D10 initiative, add DEX modifiers. Minis can be used, but no grid, no five foot steps, move actions, etc. There are a handful of rules but I stick to the much simpler basic version as 1e is out of control. It ends up much faster than 3e or 4e. (or BtB 1e!).

Spells – I use some from everything, the more the merrier. For the most part the spells are from 1e players handbook, the basic books, and the 1e Unearthed arcana. The list is made available to players. Any other spells from other editions or home made will have to be looked at to figure out if they need changes and to determine what level they are best suited for. All Spellcasters have 0 level spells they can swap at a 4:1 ratio for a 1st level spell. Clerics and druid freecast (choose a spell at will) – wizards need to remember their spells. I am thinking of playtesting allowing wizards to swap out a spell, but there will be a chance of failure. All casters get bonus spells for high INT or WIS – this makes little difference in mid to high levels, but gives low level casters more spells at the start. (High WIS gives clerics extra spells in basic and 1e already – like a TON of DMs, I allow wizards to get them for high INT).

Alignment – I use the 9 alignments (LG, LN, LE, NG, N, NE, CG, CN, CE) but not as a rules lawyer. I allow some alignment leeway in things like rangers (can be any alignment not just good) and assassins (can be neutral not just evil) I also let Paladins travel with some bad folk (1e forbade them from travelling with evil charaters). It makes for a more interesting (and funny) game.

Skills – Any named skills are very global class/race based areas of skill or knowledge. (e.g., elves, rangers and druids would have a better chance at survival in the woods). Anything not forbidden is permissible, so anyone can try anything they want, they might just suck royally at it. Characters get to have a background and secondary skills from a profession. Players get a good deal of leeway making up their backstory which helps them be good at other things. There are a few different mechanics for "ability checks" I use, which one depends upon the task and the probability structure. D20 roll high with modifiers (just like a DC check), D20 roll under your ability, Xd6 roll under ability (2d6 for easy tasks, 3d6 for average, 4d6 for hard, 5d6 for “you’ve got to be kidding me!”), and percentile dice % chance of success with modifiers for each abilty score. Character level also plays a part in success. I'm very aware of the probability spread on each of these and hand them out to players if they care. Another thing I’m giving a try is what I’m using in thief skills, so if you succeed at a particular attempt I’ll give you a % increase next time. You have to keep track of this, so you could end up with some weird crap on your character sheet like “+10% to use of grappling hook”.

Other house rules – As I use the B/X modifiers, a bonus of 4 to AC or hit points is no longer available. I give all thieves a bonus of 1 to their AC as they should be sneaky little bastards and always afraid someone is going to try to kill them (they are). I give all fighter types a bonus 1 hp per die as these are abstract and represent combat skill, not actual damage all the time. Fighters also get +1 to damage with all weapons every 3 levels to represent improved killing skills. Thieves get a “sneak attack” possibility if they can slink away during melee at +2 to hit and 1.5 damage (which does not scale up by level). This is about my only theft from 3e and much less powerful. Like a backstab, it can only be done once, but unlike a backstab, they might actually have a chance to use it. Thieves also get +2 to hit when flanking instead of +1.

---------- Post added at 12:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:42 PM ----------

So how heavy are my house rules?

Well I guess you could say I pretty much play “Basic” but use the 1st edition classes and hit dice (which a crapload of DMs do).

I also use the expanded list of 1e spells (again, very common in “basic”.

For “to hit” (attack bonus) and saving throws I adopted a 1983 optional rule allowing increments of 1. This was done as the Basic and 1e tables show increases every 2 levels for fighters, every three for clerics, every 4 for thieves, and every five for wizards. These old tables ended up having some weird jumps of 3 places on a d20 – splitting those jumps up makes more sense. A huge number of DMs have done this since ’83. Giving the bonus structure to the players is no big deal and ends the need for using tables.

I switched over to ascending armor class and attack bonuses from the descending AC and tables of the older editions. (this works out the same mathematically, but is more familiar to those used to the newer editions, and I like it better).

Likewise, on saving throws I express them as bonuses to your roll rather than needing to roll lower on a d20, so on your character sheet you see a bonus, not a number to roll. On the subject of saving throws, I adopted the castles and crusades method of using the modifiers for all six ability scores to affect certain saves – (this is close to the “Fort Will Reflex” or newer D&D editions as well as the Basic and 1e method of using your WIS or DEX bonus for some saves). Once again, these show up on your character sheet as bonuses or penalties just as they would in 3e or 4e.

Keeping on the saves motif I did the exact same thing for them as I did for “to hit”/attack bonus and incorporated the less jumpy progression from 1983. This doesn’t affect the progression much – a 5th level thief saves the same as he used to in 1e, but he increases in bonuses from 5th to 8th level, rather than having a large jump at 9th.

One “oddball” house rule is giving thieves and fighters +1 AC and +1 hp per die.

A slightly uncommon rule is bumping the fighter types up to attack bonus +1 rather than 0 at first level. However, the very early editions (like greyhawk) had this rule so I don’t consider it a biggie. The fighter was underpowered in 1e/basic, and things like weapon specialization in the 1e unearthed arcana or weapon mastery in the BECMI/RC versions of “basic” were attempts to remedy this.

On the subject of fighters, I found the weapon specialization and weapon mastery a bit overpowered as written, so I adopted the +1 to hit specialization every three levels and the +1 damage with all weapons every three levels as a compromise. Lots of DMs have their own method of handling this. If this ends up not working I may tweak it.

As I’m essentially playing “basic” getting rid of the 1e concept of proficiency and just letting characters be proficient in the weapons they are allowed seems to not even be a house rule. Allowing some extra weapons like bows and what have you doesn’t seem to be a deal breaker. It ends up being close to what you would expect in 3e or 4e with these extra allowed weapons.

Armor is as written in basic or 1e with the addition of the two extra types of plate found in the 1e unearthed arcana book. The only real “house rule” is changing a large shield from being able to be used against two opponents to just giving it a +2 value like you would see in 3e or 4e.

Skills really aren’t house ruled at all. All four methods I list are pretty standard. My only addition is the increased chance of success based on success. I suppose you could call my inclusion of the 2e thief skills progression option a “house rule”, although a lot of basic and 1e DMs have adopted it.

One definite “oddball” house rule is the inclusion of a “sneak attack” for thieves. In basic and 1e thieves get a “backstab” at +4 to hit (other characters get a +2 attacking from behind) and for double damage. As the thief increases in level this damage also increases up to 5X damage. The issue is backstabs are just plain hard to do as ideal circumstances are needed. Incorporating a chance for a “sneak attack” at +2 to hit and 1.5 damage seemed like a nice addition. Likewise for the giving thieves a +2 to flanking when by the book flanking is only a +1 in older versions.

10-04-2010, 10:18 PM
http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=45134 details how the campaign is going FWIW