ADnD vs. 3E

ADnD vs. 3E

Postby Galloglaich » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:39 am

Some of the things I liked better about AD&D:
1) Much simpler character generation
2) Monsters seemed more based in mythology and literature (rather than generic fantasy)
3) Spells and Magic seemed more based in mythology and literature (rather than generic fantasy)
4) Combat was at least somewhat based on historical research
5) It's not 2E D&D
6) It had some kind of sense of mystery about it (not sure why precisely)
7) All the core books were fun to read
8) No sense of player entitlement, NPCs could have mysterious powers or abilities the players didn't feel like they had to have
9) It felt immersive to me

These are some of the things I didn't like about AD&D:
1) Class and level restrictions - they just seemed kind of pointless
2) Most of the pre-written adventures sucked (at least the ones I had) but I enjoyed them anyway.
3) Inconsistency in general with the rules, many broken bits of rules - (weapon speed and disarm rules are just two minor examples)
4) Psionics
5) Percentage based Thief skills? Come on!
6) Characters start out to weak and get too strong too quickly (especially vis a vis Magic) there was sort of a sweet spot between 3rd and 6th level after which it broke down pretty fast.
7) Too many hit points
8) Spells are poorly organized*
9) Level advancement by treasure value
10) Overinflated generic economy with too much money (gold coins are chump change)

These are some of the things I liked about 3E
1) Skills (sort of) I liked having some kind of skills, but they were badly implemented. Pathfinder improved it somewhat.
2) Feats (sort of) I kind of liked these too but a lot of them were really cartoonish (to put it charitably), there are too many, and they are poorly organized.
3) Attack of Opportunity - I actually liked AoO, I know a lot of people hated it
4) Grappling rules - still kludgy but better than the AD&D grapple rules
5) It's not 2E D&D
6) Some consistency of design (rolling high is better, everything is rolled with D20)

Some of the things I hated about 3E / D20
1) VERY complicated character generation
2) The idea of player entitlement .. the even more horrible idea of players and DM's in competition (built into the balance systems in the rules with EL and CR etc.)
3) The over-emphasis on balance
4) Pushing you toward miniatures
5) Obsession with balance
6) Five foot Square based combat
7) Generic feel of everything, monsters, weapons, magic
8) Slow, complicated combat
9) "Klingon" effect - complexity with no payoff and no link to anything real, which makes it geeky to me
10) Overall juvenile or adolescent vibe to the whole thing and no sense of mystery
11) Pushes you too hard into high - level / high - magic play, and magic is mundane
12) Eberron
13) EL and CR (and level advancement based on CR)
14) Players can make all magic items
15) Too many hit points
16) Built in metagaming


But the number one reason to prefer 3E over all other versions of DnD:


The OGL, which lets you make it into anything you want essentially. Especially if you are a game designer.

G.

* that is a whole nother can of worms I want to get into in yet another thread at some point
Galloglaich
 
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby JoseFreitas » Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:53 pm

Galloglaich wrote:Some of the things I liked better about AD&D:
1) Much simpler character generation
2) Monsters seemed more based in mythology and literature (rather than generic fantasy)
3) Spells and Magic seemed more based in mythology and literature (rather than generic fantasy)
4) Combat was at least somewhat based on historical research
5) It's not 2E D&D
6) It had some kind of sense of mystery about it (not sure why precisely)
7) All the core books were fun to read
8) No sense of player entitlement, NPCs could have mysterious powers or abilities the players didn't feel like they had to have
9) It felt immersive to me

These are some of the things I didn't like about AD&D:
1) Class and level restrictions - they just seemed kind of pointless
2) Most of the pre-written adventures sucked (at least the ones I had) but I enjoyed them anyway.
3) Inconsistency in general with the rules, many broken bits of rules - (weapon speed and disarm rules are just two minor examples)
4) Psionics
5) Percentage based Thief skills? Come on!
6) Characters start out to weak and get too strong too quickly (especially vis a vis Magic) there was sort of a sweet spot between 3rd and 6th level after which it broke down pretty fast.
7) Too many hit points
8) Spells are poorly organized*
9) Level advancement by treasure value
10) Overinflated generic economy with too much money (gold coins are chump change)


I have to say I recognize a lot of things on your list! :)

Many of them are perfectly fixable. The main reason I like AD&D1 best: it's the system I started out using, it's the easiest to tinker with, you can add what you like (and disregard what you don't like) and most of all, having played all the other versions, it's hard for me to say it's less fun than the others. Compared with AD&D2, D&D3 and D&D4, it's at least as fun as them, less complicated and I really don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. So... why change?

Having said this I'll go over some of the points with clarifications.

Back in the day, the assumption was: characters all equally suck at 1st level, and really, they're nobodies. Customization is something that happens during game play, and a PC is hardly worth worrying too much about before you hit 4th or 5th level. I dislike customization at character creation. It makes character creation too involved, too long, and it's ultimately pointless if the PCs have the same chance of dying as before. This is one of the things that creates a sense of player entitlement you were talking about.

Part of the sense of mystery I'm sure, is that it was the beginning and we were figuring things out as we went. It was fun and all new. I started playing in 1981, and we still discovered lots of new stuff in Dragon, new books coming out every year or so, and so on.

I'll address some of your criticisms:

1) Class and level restrictions - they just seemed kind of pointless
Why? They at least seemed archetypical to me. To me, it's the 3rd edition mess that seems cionfusing. Fighters taking levels in Magic User? Clerics who are Ninjas? Cats and dogs together? It all sounded messy and terrible! :)

2) Most of the pre-written adventures sucked (at least the ones I had) but I enjoyed them anyway.
Some did, some didn't. Many were really bad but as the years went by they improved a lot. Still, some of the old dungeons" are really great.

3) Inconsistency in general with the rules, many broken bits of rules -
(weapon speed and disarm rules are just two minor examples)

See, that's one of the things I always enjoyed about AD&D: it has no specific overall game mechanic, and leaves you free to come up with whatever you wanted to judge any situation, without feeling constrained in any way. Players nowadays seem like they will only want to try something if it's covered by the rules or by some skill. In AD&D failing a Spot check was inconceivable. "Spot" is something you might roll only if the players had exhausted all the alternatives and had forgotten to state that they were looking there, and over there and at that corner too. Many times it was Fighters or Mages that figured out traps, not Thieves, just because they thought about it.

As for Disarms... we never had any until Combat & Tactics (AD&D2) showed up in 94 or so! The rules in AD&D1 were always painfully abstract and weird, and we learned to live with them the way they were. But at least.... you could figure the whole thing in your mind and visualize it without miniatures or whatever tactical options nowadays almost absolutely require miniatures. Which I hate. For me - for years - the great thing about AD&D was that you DIDN'T NEED miniatures. I always thought that if I wanted miniatures I'd play DBM or Warhammer.

Weapon Speed I always thought was a nifty little rule. Every once in awhile, if the initiative rolls tied, the fastest weapons would strike first and possibly gain an attack of opportunity. It worked fine and gave PCs an extra reason to carry different weapons, and it was perfectly easy to use.

4) Psionics
Agreed.

5) Percentage based Thief skills? Come on!
If you feel that there has to be an overall structure to the rules, one game mechanic that applies to everything, I understand you don't like it. But if you accept that D&D is cobbled up together from different bits and pieces of rules, and if you accept - as I do - that this actually has some avantages.... then why not? We always used them that way and it worked fine.

6) Characters start out to weak and get too strong too quickly (especially vis a vis Magic) there was sort of a sweet spot between 3rd and 6th level after which it broke down pretty fast.
I would say that things worked fine up to 6th to 9th level, after which some radical changes have to be implemented to keep the game fun and unbroken. As a general thing I agree with you, but it is controlable if a DM has the willingness to do so. Having said this, adventures always seemd to be somewhat more fun at 5th to 7th level.

7) Too many hit points
Really? Doesn't D&D3 keep pretty much the same structure, in fact increasing the amount of hit points PCs gain after 9th/10th level?

Remember this: although widely used as a house rule, the rules do not specify that PCs have max hits at first level. My own campaign didn't use the max hits at first level, rather we evolved a different method of rolling hits which insured that PCs didn't start at too low a number. It was perfectly possible for a PC Fighter to start out with 7 or 8 hits!

8) Spells are poorly organized*
I may or not agree, but it depends on the assumptions you make about the magic system. We would need to discuss this further. I would say that 1) if you accept the premises of the system (the "vancian" magic system) and 2) whether you feel that there should be more specialized options and so on. I have always resisted "organization" in magic systems, because I think that magic should always be mysterious, chaotic, unpredictable and shouldn't really fit into a "system". I've never had a problem with AD&D magic, but I've played other, excellent systems which play equally well, if slightly more complicated.

9) Level advancement by treasure value
And yet I feel it is the one instance that makes PCs take smarter decisions re. fighting. It is the one thing that makes PCs "run to fight another day" or feel equally victorious by going through a dungeon or lair, taking the treasure and never meeting the bad guys, especially if that was the plan. I do agree that there are other ways of implementing this, but in the end xp for treasure and money is a quick and dirty way to reward a certain type of play. If you take it away, you are left with XP for killing/defeating monsters, and XP for story purpose, better role-play etc.... which ultimately depend on DM fiat. Even published modules will fit this example (and I'm talking about 3rd edition here) where there will be 30,000XP of monsters going around a dungeon but the PCs may gain 1.000XP bonus for story purposes. No wonder most adventures turn into hack fests! I agree that the idea is not very well implemented, though.

10) Overinflated generic economy with too much money (gold coins are chump change)
Agreed. But not everybody needs "realism", and in the end, it's easy to change. In fact I recall many Dragon articles on this very subject, and I changed my campaign money back in 88' or 89' to the typical pound, shilling and penny system. And with plenty of different coinage to mess with the PCs heads.

[i]These are some of the things I liked about 3E1) Skills (sort of) I liked having some kind of skills, but they were badly implemented. Pathfinder improved it somewhat.[/i]
I'm not a big fan of overly detailed skill systems for AD&D. They fit well into other games, but we managed to play AD&D for about 6 years before even really wondering about skills. There were a lot of assumptions: everybody rode, swan and ran. Everybody knew stuff from the campaign world and so on. And players had to come up with ideas of how to resolve some things. I do not recall our games being "poorer" because we didn't use skills. Having said this, I believe there is a middle ground. We ended up adopting a system from another game, which had us determining social class and general background, and then, based on these and on attributes, we went through a checklist of skills to determine whether the PCs had them: Riding, Foreign Languages, Literacy, Counting, Stealth, Climbing, Tracking, and perhaps a couple of others, I don't have it here.

But note that enterprising DMs have pretty much everything they need to resolve actions on the part of the PCs if they try something, in the DMG. For example, if a PC has a craft skill, then the chapter on Hirelings and Specialists has pretty much everything you need to know about it. If you feel you should assign some chance that a PC knows some obscure fact or Lore from the campaign world, you simply use the stats and probabilities in the Sage specialist description and so on. If all else failed, you could use the chances of an Assassin Spying, which are niftly divided into three difficulties levels (Easy, Moderate and Difficult) and cross-indexed with the level of the Assassin, and assign a chance of success based on those. And so on.

This for me is the real magic of AD&D: the DM has total freedom to come up with answers and judgings for anything, freeing the players to attempt anything.

2) Feats (sort of) I kind of liked these too but a lot of them were really cartoonish (to put it charitably), there are too many, and they are poorly organized.
Hate Feats. Turn PCs into video game characters. Make my job as a DM that much more difficult. Instead of writing Boris, Fighter 5, CE, Str 16, Chain, Shield, Long Sword, AC4, Dmg 1d8+1 (really, the only things you NEED to know about this NPC, everything else can be improvised on the fly), I have to look at huge lists of stuff and decide which they have. I discarded non-weapon proficiencies from AD&D2 for the same reason. Unless they apply strictly to a specific character class (for example, martial arts proficiencies from Oriental Adventures for characters with martial arts styles) I dislike options that make my work as a DM more difficult. This is supposed to be easy, fun, entertaining fantasy, not an overly complex game where every NPC must be described in an exhaustive and complete manner.

3) Attack of Opportunity - I actually liked AoO, I know a lot of people hated it
I really like AoO, but I hardly think of it as D&D3! AD&D1 has AoO, if in a simple form (turn your back on the opponent and he gets an automatic attack, attack an armed opponent when unarmed and he gets an AoO to drive you back), many modules have instances of AoO and Combat & Tactics generalized the concept and applied it to many other things. Many AoO in C&T are actually more dangerous than in 3rd edition, since they are scored at +4 to hit and +4 to dmg.

AoO is a rule that makes sense to penalize poor player decisions.

4) Grappling rules - still kludgy but better than the AD&D grapple rules
Agreed.

5) It's not 2E D&D
Why do you hate 2nd edition so much? :)

6) Some consistency of design (rolling high is better, everything is rolled with D20)

As you can see from my post, this was never a factor for me, in fact the clunkyness of AD&D is, in my opinion, one of its strengths.

Some of the things I hated about 3E / D20
I basically agree with everything you said. I will note, though, that it's perfectly possible to play a great game of D&D3 and have a lot of fun despite all these objections. DM skill counts for a lot.


But the number one reason to prefer 3E over all other versions of DnD:

The OGL, which lets you make it into anything you want essentially. Especially if you are a game designer.
[/quote]

Sure. But I would point out that many people have re-designed AD&D 1st edtion using the OGL, it's perfectly possible (ie. OSRIC; Labyrinth Lord and so on), and many have kept some of the niceer things about the SRD (I have even resigned myself to ascending AC and hit bonus).
JoseFreitas
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:49 am

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:12 pm

Great comments Jose I'll reply shortly in detail.

G.
Galloglaich
 
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby Galloglaich » Mon Apr 05, 2010 9:07 pm

Ok here is my first reply I'm going to break this up into two posts, one about 1E and one about 3E, since this is so long and interesting....

JoseFreitas wrote:I have to say I recognize a lot of things on your list! :) Compared with AD&D2, D&D3 and D&D4, it's at least as fun as them, less complicated and I really don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. So... why change?


Given a choice between those four systems, I would actually prefer AD&D to the others, and to be honest I prefer it to probably 80% of the RPG games I've played. But there a few holes in it and a certain nagging instability which as a grownup with some experience of fighting and martial arts, not to mention history, mythology and literature, I'd still be pretty uncomfortable with.

I also felt in terms of game play there was a cultural prejudice toward either sticking to the Rules As Written 100% canon, or eventually completely writing your own house rules which is what a lot of people did in the long run... but that was a problem for a whole slew of reasons and made it hard to keep a game going or restart it once a core group broke up... because every little group had their own preferences and quirks*. I think that is why a lot of the original D&D and AD&D gaming groups actually ended for a while before 2E came out.

I dislike customization at character creation. (snip). This is one of the things that creates a sense of player entitlement you were talking about.


I hear where you are coming from and I really don't like the 3E approach at all, (I have to use some software online to create sample characters and "skill packages" for the Codex which is a huge nuisance) but I find the AD&D approach perhaps a bit too simple or simplistic at least some of the time and I think there may be some better ways to deal with that (more on that in a minute). This is just my own preference though, I also don't really like the idea of 'mooks' I like my NPCs, monsters etc. to be less generic and have a bit of personality. Mainly because I just don't see a lot of "mooks" in actual history or in the kind of historical (or fantasy or sci fi literature I used to like)

Part of the sense of mystery I'm sure, is that it was the beginning and we were figuring things out as we went. It was fun and all new.
Perhaps, but I remember many other games that didn't have that 'something' quite far back ... including some games a lot of people really liked and like today (Runequest), and a few real duds (boot hill or gamma world say)... as well as a few games which did have this factor for me (Call of Cthulhu, Traveller) I think there were some very subtle factors at play in determining which ones had a sense of mystery and immersion, beyond just the newness of RPG's in general. Because I still run into this effect today. 95% of what is out there in terms of RPGs or Computer RPGs or MMORPGs basically do nothing for me ... but every once in a blue moon I run across one (like TROS or Cthulhu Dark Ages) which grabs me, if only for a moment, in that old way and I feel like a 12 year old kid again.

When I notice that not only do I sometimes get this feeling back, but I can infect my girlfriend and non gamer friends with it, it's why I think RPGs are still potentially fun for everybody not just Geeks or jaded post-modern computer gamers niche that they seem to be stuck in. I think RPG's have enormous potential that still hasn't really been realized in spite of all the huge commercial success of games like WoW et al.

Back in the day .... I started playing in 1981, and we still discovered lots of new stuff in Dragon, new books coming out every year or so, and so on.


Yeah I know what you mean... I started playing in summer camp in Tennessee in I think around 1978, and got really into it probably around the same time you did in the early 80's. I also used to play those Avalon Hill / SPI type table-top wargames a lot (my Dad was into them when I was a kid)

1) Class and level restrictions - they just seemed kind of pointless
Why? They at least seemed archetypical to me. To me, it's the 3rd edition mess that seems confusing. Fighters taking levels in Magic User? Clerics who are Ninjas? Cats and dogs together? It all sounded messy and terrible! :)


I agree 3E didn't handle it too well (no logic to it) but some of the AD&D rules like a fighter couldn't take a bit of thief class for example (though that was changed later) why an Elf was limited to say 7th level as a fighter or why a dwarf couldn't be a cleric or whatever seemed artificial to me.

Still, some of the old dungeons" are really great.

Which ones? Maybe you could recommend a couple? I tracked down and played with a couple of old ones just for nostalgias sake but for the most part I was kind of disappointed. Some seemed to have potential but didn't quite work out (that one in the Aztec ruins for example)

3) Inconsistency in general with the rules, many broken bits of rules -
(weapon speed and disarm rules are just two minor examples)

See, that's one of the things I always enjoyed about AD&D: it has no specific overall game mechanic, and leaves you free to come up with whatever you wanted to judge any situation, without feeling constrained in any way.


I agree that 'open' feeling to the rules was an important factor which got lost in 3E because they tried to make it too complete. I think the 'sweet spot' for rules generally speaking is to give the DM and players a mechanic as an option they can use, but not kind of force you into it which was a big problem in 3E. The thing I liked about AD&D is that the rules didn't get in the way too much, you didn't really notice them all that much (which to me is how RpGs should be) except when you ran into a badly broken or kludgy area like if you had to deal with grappling or psionics. The downfall of 3E and many modern RPGs is that you are constantly living in the rules, you think more about the rules than the Adventure.

Players nowadays seem like they will only want to try something if it's covered by the rules or by some skill.
That's true and it's a valid point... but I felt like in AD&D a lot of times people didn't try things because they didn't think of them as options their character could do, and because there was no obvious way to handle it. Like opposed skill checks for example which I think is a way better option than say a generic percentile based skill check for a thief. (or how ot handle it when a fighter or a wizard tries to do something kind of tricky (that would warrant a die roll) that a thief or a ranger or a cleric normally is only supposed to be able to do.

Ideally, I think the rules should allow you to do what you think of in a cinematic or storytelling sense, but not derail you from the sense of drama and immersion you get from trying to figure your way out of a tense scene.

As for Disarms... we never had any until Combat & Tactics (AD&D2) showed up in 94 or so!

I remember an odd, usually overlooked rule in the AD&D players handbook I had when I was around 14, which allowed a disarm when using a Spetum or a Ranseur with a roll to hit AC 8!! It was right there in the equipment tables.

I agree with you about miniatures though 100%. Sometimes I'll use dice or whatever just to indicate positions, but I think miniatures tear you out of immersion. Those paper cut out things are even worse. Plus they always look stupid to me. I like what I've seen of the old version of Warhammer FRPG though, have you looked at it much? I never knew about it back in the day, some European HEMA people turned me on to it. It had a realistic feel and pretty good combat especially for such an old game. I think it's a good alternative to HARN for example (because it's simpler, a bit 'off balance' like the old AD&D was, and I like the setting much better, it's much more like real Medieval Europe whereas to me the HARN setting is like a Renaissance Faire or a paper written by a real smart SCA person).

Weapon Speed I always thought was a nifty little rule.
Well, you know I'm a combat guy so I wanted a bit more than the occasional tie-breaker. I think the inability to distinguish any truly valuable factor other than damage is part of why D&D (and all the supposedly sophisticated RPGs which came after due to copying DnD) had so many bizarre notions like that a foot long bowie knife was a sort of 'nuisance weapon' which could barely hurt you.

5) Percentage based Thief skills? Come on!
We always used them that way and it worked fine.
Fair enough if you liked it, I thought it was clumsy, I didn't like rolling the same value for every situation, the way it was detached from context... and the limitations of just getting the abilities which were listed. I think the skill based idea and opposed rolls works better.

7) Too many hit points
Really? Doesn't D&D3 keep pretty much the same structure, in fact increasing the amount of hit points PCs gain after 9th/10th level?

You may notice this gripe is on all versions of DnD, including 3E ;) I don't mind hit points so long as you don't have more than 20 or 30 of them, after that it starts to break down badly IMO.

Remember this: although widely used as a house rule, the rules do not specify that PCs have max hits at first level. My own campaign didn't use the max hits at first level, rather we evolved a different method of rolling hits which insured that PCs didn't start at too low a number. It was perfectly possible for a PC Fighter to start out with 7 or 8 hits!


I think they start out too weak though, I don't think 1st level players are fun because you are a little too vulnerable to bad random luck. By about 3rd level it's a bit better, but by then you start running into problems with spell power (see below on that).

8) Spells are poorly organized*
I may or not agree, but it depends on the assumptions you make about the magic system. We would need to discuss this further. I would say that 1) if you accept the premises of the system (the "vancian" magic system) and 2) whether you feel that there should be more specialized options and so on.
No, quite to the contrary... I am one of those very rare people who like the vancian magic system, I am a huge Jack Vance fan and actually wrote a book of Jack Vance magic for DnD :) I also think they really messed things up when they dropped all the spells and magic items named after various Wizards or demons, etc. this was another "Vanceism" which lent mystery to the game (and a nice literary tie-in)

We will definitely have to discuss this in another thread but in a nutshell, my beef is that the spell list just needs to be re-organized, in the sense that what should be very powerful and dramatic spells like invisibility, instead of being nerfed in ridiculous ways, (you turn visible when you attack and all it amounts to is a -4 to AC anyway) just leave it powerful like in the Sinbad stories, like it would be in real life... but put it in its proper place as a 5th or 6th level spell. I hate nerfed spells.

I also don't like some of the detection and travelling spells (teleoprt! yargh!)

I also really do like a spell failure / success system which was in my Dying Earth / D20 spell book and which I've introduced a little bit into the Codex. I hate automatic spells, especially for high-level spells. That kills a lot of the mystery for me. I also don't like spells which remind me of comic book superhero powers. I don't mind powerful ones but I like them a little weird, more Jack Vance style. I love the spells in Ars Magica and a few other games like the Dying Earth RPG which I contributed to a little. This is something I'm really interested in because I think it's one of the two most broken things in 3E.

I think this problem goes back to before AD&D, when there were only 3 levels of spells, and the list just grew when it should have been re-organized.

9) Level advancement by treasure value
And yet I feel it is the one instance that makes PCs take smarter decisions

I agree with you to an extent but I like to have bonuses for role playing or solving mysteries as well as loot and fighting... I don't like it to be all in one basket or another because it leads to metagaming which I hate. And I dont' think there is anything wrong with DM fiat to be honest.


I think this is a valuable conversation to have (and fun) because it can contribute to developing a context for codex in the OGL that goes beyond just combat. Something I'm very interested in.

G.

* which is one of the things that has been cool about the OGL and the online resources available today because in essence, you can develop your own house-rules that are fine-tuned to the tastes of a much wider niche of people beyond just a small group of personal acquaintances.
Galloglaich
 
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby JoseFreitas » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:23 pm

A couple of answers to a few of your points.

Galloglaich wrote:I hear where you are coming from and I really don't like the 3E approach at all, (I have to use some software online to create sample characters and "skill packages" for the Codex which is a huge nuisance) but I find the AD&D approach perhaps a bit too simple or simplistic at least some of the time and I think there may be some better ways to deal with that (more on that in a minute). This is just my own preference though, I also don't really like the idea of 'mooks' I like my NPCs, monsters etc. to be less generic and have a bit of personality. Mainly because I just don't see a lot of "mooks" in actual history or in the kind of historical (or fantasy or sci fi literature I used to like)



I agree. I will add, though, that for 99% of the time those skills that players so insistently desire and demand will not come into play or could otherwise be easily handled in a "narrative" way. For example: when I play with my friend who uses the Pathfinder rules there will be moments where he will ask everybody to make a Spot check. I find this.... unbelievable! Back in the day I was taught that the DM describes the scene in such a way that the players have a chance of exercising smart questioning to determine things. When my DM friend says "well, your successful Spot check allowed you to notice that there is an orcish archer lurking on the ledge above you", my question is: but I was going to ask you if my PC had spotted something on those ledges! What would the DM do if I had said my PC took extra care to look at those ledges? Why does this sort of thing have to be covered by "Spot" mechanics? I'm not against having a game mechanic to fall back on if all else fails, but a lot of things covered by skills can be handled easily in other ways.

But I will agree with you that AD&D is way too simplistic in how it handles skills. Which is why I also developed a house rule to determine the PCs initial knowledge and skills. The way I took things was to allow characters a few things, based on their social class and general background, and then to create occasions or events during game time to allow PCs to move in the direction of acquiring skills or knowledge. In general, I found pretty much everything I wanted in the various AD&D rulebooks (with exceptions, and with a completely different way of determining what skills the PCs have).

We defined the following as areas that characters might have and which did not overlap too much with class abilities, and we generated a chance that a given character from a given social class and background had these skills: Literacy, Counting, Foreign Languages, Riding, Climbing, Swimming, Stealth, Tracking, Cooking, Craft, Lore. I feel, based on my experience gaming, that these are in general perfectly sufficient for most of the time. Some are there for fun, mostly (Cooking), others open up ramifications (What Craft or Lore?), but it's enough. We also only defined really three levels of competency: No Skill, Proficient, Skilled. There may very well be lots of additional levels, from Very Skilled to Masterful, but beginning characters do not have that competence, and generally, most characters wouldn't really be interested in acquiring greater level (although they could). I don't see why Argonath the 10th level Mage would be pissed because he didn't have the chance of becoming a Master Carpenter, or would be surprised at not being an incredibly Stealthy guy.

I also never had a problem in creating special rules for anything. It would be perfectly normal for me to create a special rule for a PC who has spent 2 months studying Healing with the Elves of Celene, to allow him some minor benefit as a Skill. I don't feel that there needs to be a structured rule to these special skills. I am fine with every little thing like this being its own special exception rule. After all, this is exactly how the DMG treats NPCs for instance. Look at Sages and other Hirelings, and you'll see what I mean. They are all different, each with their specific quirks, and they do not conform to an overall plan. And they worked just fine!

Now, I think it would be great to have an actual system to determine all sorts of skills. there are such skills. I have played a lot of GURPS and HarnMaster, and I actually think both skill systems work fine. But for me AD&D requires a simpler system which makes my work less of a hassle.

Mooks are an interesting thing, in addition to Mooks being a funny name (it took me a few minutes to understand what you were talking about!). Still, there are precedents for Mooks, like Tolkien's Orksor Moorcocks's Beastmen in Hawkmoon, I think it was. There is an extreme proliferation of them in AD&D, particularly in all the Orks and Bugbears and Goblins and Hobgoblins and Xvarts and whatnots. I have always used far less of them, treating all of the sub-races as just variations of the same humaoind species. Except for Kobolds. I HATE Kobolds, never have I used them!! Never!!
JoseFreitas
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:49 am

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:13 pm

JoseFreitas wrote:A couple of answers to a few of your points.
I agree. I will add, though, that for 99% of the time those skills that players so insistently desire and demand will not come into play or could otherwise be easily handled in a "narrative" way. For example: when I play with my friend who uses the Pathfinder rules there will be moments where he will ask everybody to make a Spot check. I find this.... unbelievable!


I agree... and I hate that too. Normally I prefer to handle this kind of thing with role playing just like you do. This goes back to the idea of finding a 'sweet spot' between too mechanical / metagamish, vs. too formless or broken. At some point, you insert rules and die rolls in any RPG, otherwise it is just collective storytelling (not necessarily bad, but different) and AD&D isn't a free form type of game.

But this is also a tricky game design / DMing area, how do you handle a surprise or ambush situation for example. Rolling initiative for the entire group doesn' really sit right, if you have one guy who is a kit carson scout and 3 others who are lumbering greenhorns, the scout is the one who is going to see the 'bushwackers' first. Players aren't gonig to know to ask at just the right moment if they see anything, what kind of clue or cue do you give them and how do you handle it at that point? when does the skill check come into play?



I'm not against having a game mechanic to fall back on if all else fails, but a lot of things covered by skills can be handled easily in other ways.


Agreed.

I also never had a problem in creating special rules for anything.


This may be a point of disagreement between us then. i didn't have a problem either initially, but I think this process ultimately became a problem for AD&D and it's why it petered out despite the people who played it still being around and still liking RPG games (because in many cases they were the same people who came back for 2nd 3rd, and in some cases (incomprehensible to me) even 4th edition.

I think the problem with making special rules is that very small groups of people may be able to make somethig which was comfortable for them, but not in many cases palatable to new people, and the person who was creating these new rules found themselves managing an ever increasing and increasingly complicated houserule set.

At this point I would rather try to create some rules that appeal to larger numbers of people with the help of the internnet and OGL license.

This is what I actually set out to do with he Codex, it started out as the houserrules we used for our own little group, which I had kept and refined a bit over the years. Due to some unique factors our group was always interested in martial arts and we all had a lot of experence of fighting, and this was reflected in our house rules. But iit wasn't until I was able to open this up to the internet that it reaally evolved into anything really cool, largely due to the contributions of other people and exposure to other people willing to test and critique what I had done..

G.
Galloglaich
 
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Apr 07, 2010 4:19 pm

Mooks are an interesting thing, in addition to Mooks being a funny name (it took me a few minutes to understand what you were talking about!). Still, there are precedents for Mooks, like Tolkien's Orksor Moorcocks's Beastmen in Hawkmoon, I think it was. There is an extreme proliferation of them in AD&D, particularly in all the Orks and Bugbears and Goblins and Hobgoblins and Xvarts and whatnots. I have always used far less of them, treating all of the sub-races as just variations of the same humaoind species. Except for Kobolds. I HATE Kobolds, never have I used them!! Never!!


A mook is just a bad guy with very little personality and fairly easy to kill.

I don't think Tolkeins orcs were that easy to kill, they were pretty scary, and tough even for the toughest badasses of all of "Middle Earth" to handle. I remember when I saw the LOTR movie, I was real dissapointed by the battle scene in Moria (one of the most potentially DnDish scenes in film or literature), because in the book it was so much scarier, and (not coincidentally I think) it was just a few orcs. By the time the movie had come out the "Mook inflation" from video games and RPGs and lots of ther bad films, so instead of one real tough orc captain and a few guards, there was literally thousands of orcs, climbing the ceilings etc. Then you end up later in the films with Legolas skateboarding down stairs on a shield and dispatching them with a gentle touch with an arrow in his hand.

It's kind of like with Conan. In the oiginal books, Conan wore armor, his opponents were tough, he was scared if he had to face more than 3 or 4 enemies. Same with Michael Morrcock's Elric etc.

and same for real life or any number of historical sources... the Viking Sagas for example.

I really dont' like Mooks and Moook inflation is as bad to me as Magic inflation or power crep.

G.
Galloglaich
 
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby JoseFreitas » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Galloglaich wrote:(...) I remember when I saw the LOTR movie, I was real dissapointed by the battle scene in Moria (one of the most potentially DnDish scenes in film or literature), because in the book it was so much scarier, and (not coincidentally I think) it was just a few orcs. By the time the movie had come out the "Mook inflation" from video games and RPGs and lots of ther bad films, so instead of one real tough orc captain and a few guards, there was literally thousands of orcs, climbing the ceilings etc.

Right. I agree. In fact, that whole scene was SO disappointing. I'm not going to say I hated it, in the end I pretty much liked the movies, but that particular scene started really well, the first minute or so of the fight was really good, with the cave troll and so on. But then it became pointless. And I disliked Legolas throughout most of the movies.
JoseFreitas
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:49 am

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby JoseFreitas » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:02 pm

Galloglaich wrote:
I also never had a problem in creating special rules for anything.


This may be a point of disagreement between us then. i didn't have a problem either initially, but I think this process ultimately became a problem for AD&D and it's why it petered out despite the people who played it still being around and still liking RPG games (because in many cases they were the same people who came back for 2nd 3rd, and in some cases (incomprehensible to me) even 4th edition.

I think the problem with making special rules is that very small groups of people may be able to make somethig which was comfortable for them, but not in many cases palatable to new people, and the person who was creating these new rules found themselves managing an ever increasing and increasingly complicated houserule set.

At this point I would rather try to create some rules that appeal to larger numbers of people with the help of the internnet and OGL license.

I accept that. But the point I'm trying to make is also a slightly wider one. AD&D doesn't cover tons of things, and skills is pretty much one of them. AD&D is made up of lots of sub-sets of rules, which sometimes really don't have much to do with each other. Although this creates the need for all the house-ruling you're talking about, it also means it can largely be done WITHOUT it affecting the larger sense in which the rules REMAIN the same. This means that in general, a player from a totally different group could come over to my gaming group and still recognize the game as AD&D and still be able to play meaningfully with reasonable expectations. He might say "OK, they use a social class and background set of house rules to determine a PCs background and starting skills, they use a small set of houseruled skills, they treat a couple of character classes in a slightly different way and implement a couple of critical hit rules that are different.... but they're still playing AD&D". The fact I did away with training costs, for example, and that I use a totally different economic setup, where training for leveling up has a cost based on hiring the person who is going to teach you for a weekly rate, based on semi-historical prices for wages, may be disconcerting for a new player in my group. But he can still play 90% of the game without having to worry about it.

And the point in the end for me is this: I have played extensively other RPG systems: Call of Cthullu, Traveller, MegaTraveller, GURPS, Chivalry & Sorcery 2nd ed., Harnmaster, D&D3rd edition, Top Secret, just to name those I've played for periods of at least a year. And my gaming experience of gaming with AD&D has not been poorer or impaired because of the games' shortcomings (which exist). Sure, GURPS fighting in a pure way can be more satisfying, or HarnMaster's skill system can be wonderfully rich. But these are subsets of the gaming experience. Playing AD&D has never felt worse than playing other games for me. So...

My players do not classify as "gamers", they're just people who have been playing with me for a long time. they started with AD&D and do not see the need to change. This encourages me to fiddle with the system and improve it - for me - and not to change.

(I would also point out that the OGL has had exactly the effect you're complaining about: every OGL game is its own set of house-rules, and the differences between those and the original OGL can be huge!)

Having said this, I know there is plenty of room to improve AD&D, and combat is one of them. In this sense, I love the rules you've created. They are easy to implement and although they represent a radical departure from the normal AD&D rules, they are easy to learn, remain within the game mechanics and are wonderfully intuitive.

This week end I'll address some more points. Tons of work tomorrow and friday!
JoseFreitas
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 10:49 am

Re: ADnD vs. 3E

Postby Galloglaich » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:06 pm

Just for the record, I'm not trying to talk you out of playing AD&D, I just can't design stuff for it explicitly as a game designer because the copyright holder WOTC won't let me ;)

JoseFreitas wrote:My players do not classify as "gamers", they're just people who have been playing with me for a long time. they started with AD&D and do not see the need to change. This encourages me to fiddle with the system and improve it - for me - and not to change.


If you have a good group like that, it's worth it's weight in gold IMO (even if they aren't fat like stereotypical gamers ;) ) I prefer to play with people who aren't gamers as well, but sadly unlike you most of the people I used to play with are no longer around here.

I've tried playing (as a player) in gamer groups and it's not entirely comfortable for me, the assumptions hard core gamer type people bring to the game are way different from the priorities I have for playing RPG's, it's almost like a completely different thing. I don't want to knock it, but it's not what I'm into.

(I would also point out that the OGL has had exactly the effect you're complaining about: every OGL game is its own set of house-rules, and the differences between those and the original OGL can be huge!)


I actually agree with this, and don't get me wrong, I dont' think the OGL has lived up to it's potential at all, and ironically now that it has been more or less ditched by WOTC I think it now has the best chance to finally fulfill that potential for people to start using it in a real true "open-source" way to make something really great, instead of everybody trying to make a quick buck.

Having said this, I know there is plenty of room to improve AD&D, and combat is one of them. In this sense, I love the rules you've created. They are easy to implement and although they represent a radical departure from the normal AD&D rules, they are easy to learn, remain within the game mechanics and are wonderfully intuitive.


Thanks. The Codex is a result of a process of what I think is the right way to approach OGL, to make components or pieces of RPGs that people can use, and fine tune them (which generally means... simpllify them) so that people can really use them in a lot of cool ways. I want to expand on this into other areas like character generation, magic, historical settings... this is why I'm particullarly interested in having conversations like this (not to talk you out of playing your favoirte game!)

And I want the input of grognard type players who like playing RPGs in a similar way to how I like to. (like AD&D pretty much for the sam reasons you do). Before I made the Codex I knew there were people like me out there, but I couldn't meet them until I made this game available online (and also, when I met gamers in the Martial arts community which is part of how I got into this again). I never saw the kind of gaming I like reflected in the DnD forums or the GuRPS forums or the new indy subculture forums like the forge with the whole GNS theory. But I knew people locally in New Orleans who were like-minded, so I knew they had to be out there. And now from this forum and others where I have had ffedback on th eCodex I know there are, in Spain, in Germany, all over the US, in Mexico and Sweden and even in Korrea. I want to try to build that into a kind of community to share resources and ideas.
This week end I'll address some more points. Tons of work tomorrow and friday!


I'm going to be on vacation for about 11 days starting tomorrow so you may not hear from me for a while either, but I'lll look forward to continuing the conversation then. Hopefully some more of our lurkers will join in. and maybe we can start brainstroming on some good new ideas .

G.
Galloglaich
 
Posts: 2010
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2008 5:30 pm

Next

Return to Codex and the OGL

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron