The D&D rules are designed for human characters, in a worldview that assumes that humanity dominates among the intelligent races. The game mechanisms that enforce this dominion are the level limits applied to the other races, which are present in all of the editions of D&D that have been published. If human dominance is being sought, there should be a different way to slow down the other races rather than the mental block now existing.
This particular rule has been criticized on various grounds, but the worst thing about it is that it seems distinctly out of place in the second edition. The first edition had implied limits on the growth of human characters, since the original D&D rules made no provision for characters no
higher than about tenth level, and the racial level limits were set accordingly.
But the second edition specifically allows for humans reaching 36th level, and it might be said that the new rules structure with its basically open-ended attitude towards humans leaves the nonhumans too pitifully far behind in their development. As a practical matter, in D&D2 (second edition D&D), there seems little fun in playing a character whom you know you will have to abandon after your friends' characters reach the lower 'teens of levels, since at that point having no further development in the character's skills to look forward to is going to become acutely frustrating.
I would like to suggest a method of limiting the growth of nonhumans that would maintain the built-in assumption of human domination in the D&D world view while opening up the progress of nonhumans to higher levels to keep them interesting to play. The method is simple: Require nonhumans to progress at the rate of one level gained per two levels earned on the experience point scale.
This is not as unreasonable as it may sound at first. Consider both the design goal and the method chosen. The goal is to hold back the progress of nonhumans so as to keep the very high level characters limited effectively to humans, while at the same time keeping the nonhumans able to advance without theoretical limit in their chosen character classes. The system I recommend is to abandon arbitrary limits on levels, and limit advancement by increasing the cost of progress instead.
The mechanics of the system were developed after I had spent a lot of time working with scales that merely increased the number of experience points required per level. This was done in D&D2 for elves, using a scale that begins as double the experience points scale for fighters, and making elves both magic users and fighters.
The problem with doubling or trebling an existing scale is that you end up with the experience points numbers seeming very high, but without really improving matters. The method slows nonhumans down, allright, but only by about one level as compared with humans of that class. For a character getting the synergy that comes from enjoying the powers of two classes, the cost is far too low.
By making the nonhumans advance on the same scale as humans of their character class but at one level per two earned, you keep their rate of gaining skills at half that of a human of the same class. In D&D2 terms, this means that you won't see tenth level nonhumans until the average human reaches the mid-thirtieth levels, the average nonhuman will be in the upper 'teens, which is an improvement over the current rules in terms of nonhumans having a future.
But isn't it unfair for a nonhuman to be held back so much? The answer is no, if you accept a non-human frame of reference.
Remember that from the point of view of the Kindred Races, humanity is the short-lived new race, whose members are incredibly energetic.
They work hard, play hard, and they burn themselves out in their few scores of years. Each of them who lives long enough will rise briefly to a level of power and skill in their chosen field of specialization that few humans ever reach, but to what good? They give up breadth of knowledge for power in one narrow field because their drive for power does not allow them to relax and enjoy life. The elves, dwarves,and halflings (and their less savory counterparts) have relatively long lives and accordingly lack the urge to study as hard as the humans.
Indeed, they lack the attention span of a human, and will work on something for a while, then put it aside to go do something else.
The result is that it takes nonhumans twice as long to advance in a given field of knowledge (character class) as a human. A single-class nonhuman will waste half his or her time on enjoyments that produce no particular gain in life, but were fun while they lasted. Halflings,
for example, will spend incredible amounts of time sitting and smoking their pipes after a good meal, when a human would be studying tomes of learning or out exercising physical skills.
The more energetic nonhumans will spread their pursuits to two or more classes — and as a practical matter, most adventuring nonhumans will be multi-classed, simply because adventurers are more goal-oriented than the rest average member of their race.
These additional classes, however, may have little active effect on gaming. For example, a dwarf fighter may also spend a lot of time pursuing a side activity such as mining, smithing, or making and repairing weapons and armor, all of which would give occasional insights into things encountered while adventuring without requiring elaborate sets of rules as actual character classes. So the operating rules for such characters would be those of their specific character class, with side interests. Their only direct level-by level progress on the experience point scale would be for hit point gains, which is necessary for game balance to keep them playable.
Nonhumans who are actually multi-classed would alternate progress in each class. Their experience point scale would be determined by averaging the scales of their two (or more) chosen character classes into one experience point scale. They would start at first level with the first level of one class.
When they earned sufficient experience points to rise to second level on that scale, they would remain at first level in the first class and acquire first level status in the second class, When they earned sufficient experience points to rise to third level on their scale, they would go up one level in one character class, thus for three-class characters they would be Ll/L1/L1 in terms of skills available at third level,while for two-class characters they would be L2/L1 — the total skill levels between the classes chosen always equals the experience level on each character's personal experience point scale.
Each level gained would bring the appropriate hit die for that class gain, as well as all other applicable rules concerning skills acquired, improvement in savings throws, etc. In case of rules conflicts, the character would get the best results, so on the combat table the character would get better to hit odds every three levels gained as a fighter (meaning every six levels on the experience scale), instead of every five levels gained as a magic user (ten actual character levels), if the character is both a fighter and a magic, user.
However, physical limits would still apply, so a combination fighter and thief could wear plate
armor — only at the expense of not being able to move silently or climb walls handily.
This slow rate of advancement in levels will make non-humans less attractive to play than humans. This was one of the design decisions in D&D, and the purpose of this article is to provide an improved method for implementing the pro-human policy in the rules.
On the other hand, the improved method for split-class characters is so balanced as compared with single-class human characters that it would be reasonable to allow humans to operate as multi-class characters if their players are willing to accept the slow rate of progress that must accompany a multi-class character under this system.
This would provide better integration of nonhumans in the campaign, since multi-class operation would have both human and nonhuman examples in society.
The major difference would be that humans would tend to be single-class characters, reflecting their preference for specialization and rapid growth. Nonhumans would tend to be multi-class characters, reflecting their preference for breadth of experience and their disinclination toward hard work when taking your time will do. Nonhumans would get hit points just as fast as humans, thus making mixed parties viable in play.
Humans would still be the ones with the higher combat skills, and higher level spells at comparable levels of experience points.
Speaking of vintage and hard-to-find alternative AD&D combat rules, you might also like this one.
In AD&D, usually 4d6, drop the lowest, arrange to taste
2. How are death and dying handled?
It depends on the game. No one dies at zero, characters will die according to their constitution, stamina, and other factors. Conan the barbarian,as an example, is not going to die at -1 or -2, though he will be knocked unconscious at 0, as everyone else.
3. What about raising the dead?
You must be joking. Only Jesus Christ was able to raise the dead.
And he could perform such a MIRACLE because he was the Son of God....
4. How are replacement PCs handled?
Same level as party average, new character fortuitously met at a convenient point in the adventure.
5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
It is obvious you are talking about AD&D here. Well, i love the detailed initiative in ad&d, individual initiative modified by weapon speeds, dexterity, etc and anyone rolls his own.
But this process takes too long, so i opt for group initiative (a single roll for the entire party) modified by each character's abilities and weapons and casting time.
6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Sure, not only are there critical hits. If you can hit an opponent with a 16, rolling a 18 is not the same thing. Rolling a 20 can be devastating.
7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
Yes, only if someone scores a critical on you (18, 19, 20..)
8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
Running, or using strategy is as important as killing.
10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
Yes, that kind of denizens exist. Firstly, vampires. it is your fault if you decide to go an adventuring.
11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
Yes and no, but here it depends a lot on which game i am playing, especially how many kind of saving throws exist in that game and against what they are intended to be.
12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
I used to hate this aspect, i don't abide strictly by the rule, but i use it of course, no one can ignore that.
13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
You advance at the end of the adventure, otherwise there'd be too much to keep track of.
14. What do I get experience for?
Treasure, monsters, roleplaying, end of goals, successful cast of magic, travelling, etc..
15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
Sorry, don't remember now how i handled this in AD&D.
16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Rarely used by my players. Morale is almost never a random mechanic, as isn't influence chance exerted by PC's on others.
17. How do I identify magic items?
A spellcaster might determine it, though it's not automatic.
18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
No, see question 3. You can stumble upon that. How is ridiculous that there may be a magical shop? Magic would cease to be "magic".
19. Can I create magic items? When and how?
Yes, but not with just time and money. Trying to accomplish such an endeavour entails MUCH, much more than that.
20. What about splitting the party?
If the party splits, it splits. The Game master just can't forbid such an happening to take place.
There is something fascinating in the fact that there are about fifty (50) Game masters (more or less) left in the entire world of the game i'm starting to play next month.
I do not know how many Dungeon masters there are out there of AD&D, but i suppose several hundreds ( i mean, in the whole world). I'm counting only the referees, not the players.
Now i know (to some extent) how many Game masters there are out there of one of my preferred and beloved fantasy rpg (to be precise, i have at least FIVE adored fantasy rpg) - and as i said, we are just a few. And there is something fascinating in the fact that i am one of them. It is a strange sensation, i feel like each of us is a pillar who contributes to this game staying alive, a sort of feeling of duty (among the other things), and the odd feeling that i need to drop an email to one amongst these fifty game masters if any of us has doubts or any kind of quandary.
It's not so easy as visiting a blog where you are almost certain to find the new rant about AD&D.
I really feel separated from the flowing community but that is not a "curse" on me or a bad thing.
My situation reminds me more of the period where we had a lot of fanzines around or the period where you had to wait for the next issue of Dragon magazine to see the replies of other fellow players to the letter you wrote two months before and that the staff of the magazine had decided to publish. You had to wait a couple of months to see the reactions of the other ad&d players.
Of course i'm exaggerating now but to know that you can speak to no more than fifty human beings in the entire planet about the game you are about to master (and that you love) is a peculiar feeling. Period. If all of them suddenly died?
It shaped my imagination like nothing else did. The tenebrous, decadent and fantastical atmosphere which surrounded these stories was just astounding, particularly when you watch all this and you are fifteen or something.
Needless to say, "Fist of the north star" is the work of a genius.
I instructed her to stare at me in a kind of menacing way, because the theme had to be "gothic".
She didn't know what Ravenloft was and never knew that using a software i meant to put the final photo next to a logo. Anyway, these were the results. I am not a professional photographer- quite the contrary- i'm a noob when it comes to this kind of stuff, but this time i believe i succedeed, notwithstanding. The merit is clearly of the beauty embodied in my friend's silhouette.
Enjoy a dark beauty which you could encounter in a Ravenloft realm, quite possibly the daughter of a venerable vampire lord.
Can't believe my eyes, again. This is a real piece of fantasy rpg history. Enjoy!
I don't remember how long did it take me to learn AD&D 2nd edition, but now i am in a state of perplexity as to the learning curve of AD&D 1st edition.
I'm not used to AD&D rules anymore, (meaning that i am acquainted with the rules but i could not run sessions under AD&D rules smoothly right now), but i was recently thinking how complex that set of rules is to a novice, that is, how long would it take for a would-be dungeon master to absorb both the Player's handbook and the Dungeon master guide of the 1st edition of the game completely.
Assuming an average "study" of a couple of hours per day, i think one month - one month and a half may suffice, but i could be proven wrong so i have interests in hearing opinions of others.
Conan the barbarian at thirty years of age has a strenght of 19. He almost never wear armor of any type, but could he wear an armor while swimming (say, a chainmail or plate mail) for at least some rounds before drowning?
Is it nigh impossible to perform this for a character with such a strenght? Keep in mind that it is likely that, in the age where Conan lived , his strenght was unparalleled and no man on the surface of earth could win him in battle- but at the same time wearing an armor while swimming is a tremendously difficult task.
Could he have done that?
Yesterday evening i was seriously thinking about this, how many rpg's can a brain contain?
That's good news, considering that it hasn't been available for long.
Some episodes have fantastic titles, such as "Caverns of chaos" (remind you something?) or "The Dungeon of death", which strikes me as being totally influenced by the game that started it all.
After all, the first episode, called "The Unicorn of death" was aired in 1983 so it's not surprising.
At this great site you can find a lot information about the series.
Time to enjoy again the (only) old-school fantasy TV series ever!
Each of us can be a DM of some fantasy rpg's, more likely just of ONE.
I already found mine a long time ago, but today, whilst perusing in silence the rules of one of them i was just flabbergasted,i felt beyond any doubt that what i was reading was the work of a visionary. I felt so linked with all my soul to that game that i craved to have the chance to speak with he who created it. But he is dead. I really wanted to have the chance to talk with him, because that is the game i had always wanted to create myself, and i realized someone else DID what has been on my mind for decades.
I am not envious, that's fine. But i wanted to talk with him because i felt he was a spiritual comrade because he had in his mind the same things i have in mine, basically.
I said to myself: "Oh my...the profoundity of this game is abysmal, and moreover it shines beauty from everywhere i look at it".
Yesterday i rented this movie which i have never watched. This is the kind of horror movies, unparalleled- that i adore.
Absolutely black and white, sinister, filled with tales of witchcraft and doom. They make me want to play Cthulhu dark ages in Averoigne, anyway. I'm going to experience it on my TV in the next few days.
We will totally avoid Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, i already told this to anyone.
I am seeking curious and open-minded persons eager to play other fantasy rpg's. Not Pendragon, WFRP, Talislanta or Stormbringer. It's going to be something different. I gave my availability for mastering sessions, but i can't provide shelter to my would-be players.
We'll see what happens. My dice have been slumbering behind the shelves for too long, honestly.
It's not time to kill characters, but it is about time to dream again, around a wooden table.
A few people have questioned the name, Unearthed Arcania. "Why Arcania?" they ask. Is this some grand typo being perpetuated throughout our site? Well, the answer to that question is the reason behind the entire concept of the Unearthed Arcania netbook.
For starters, the idea of creating this netbook was suggested in November of 1997 when some bright, young, enterprising AD&D enthusiast piped up on the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons mailing list (ADND-L) and said, "Hey, why don't we stop all the bi#!&ing and spend our energies more creatively, like on building a netbook."
Well, those might not have been the exact words, but the idea definitely stuck. (I won't tell you whom it was who first said those inspiring words, but I will tell you he's the only Turk from Kentucky I know.)
After that, the some 750+ members at the time of the ADND-L responded with enthusiasm, and the five members of the coordinating staff, soon to be called Arcanium, were brought together. These five gathered and compiled the creative ideas of the members of the ADND-L and started putting shape to the project. Next came the task of finding a name.
Now, the ADND-L has always been a forum for discussion of all topics related to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. The many hundreds of people participating are generally all strong enthusiasts of the game, and this netbook was not only intended to be a collection of the wonderful, creative products that could be mined from the imaginations of these passionate AD&Ders, but it was also intended to be a tribute to the game of AD&D itself.
With that in mind, the Arcanium decided to look at what made AD&D great, digging into the annals of AD&D history. One element practically leapt right out at us: Gary Gygax, creator of the AD&D game. From there, it wasn't too difficult to browse the shelves of our AD&D collections, and find our eyes settling on Unearthed Arcana, the last reference book Gary produced for 1st edition AD&D.
There's a bit of poetic nostalgia in using that book to introduce a new AD&D product. It could almost be considered that we are trying to start where Gary left off, continuing the legacy, but we are in no way trying to replace that classic resource that is endeared to many fans who fondly remember the days of 1st edition AD&D. Thus, it would not be fit (nor professionally or legally proper) to completely usurp the name.
Unearthed Arcania is a tribute from hundreds of AD&D members to the greatest role-playing game of all time, Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In this way, we bring a little bit of Gary Gygax's original AD&D into the new, at least in spirit, and we also contribute to the continuation and expansion of our favorite gaming system ever.
But I don't want to retire her!" has rung out more than once after a Games Master has ruled a female character to be pregnant. Don't panic. Just because she's pregnant doesn't mean she can't go adventuring for the next few months, though there are a few difficulties in so doing.
In the first place, there is only a small (say 3%) chance for a physically mature woman to become pregnant on any particular day. Even though pregnancy is expected of most medieval or ancient-type women, there are herbal potions available to prevent it. These can be purchased most easily from an alchemist or wise woman. Amulets and other such magical means may also work.
Contrary to popular belief, most women (01·60 on DIOO) do not get morning sickness. Of those that do, it may be mild (61-80), moderate (81·98), or chronic (99·00). Mild morning sickness involves an hour or two of nausea each day with no penalties to any saving throws. Moderate morning sickness lasts for 6·8 hours each day, with a penalty to all saving throws vs. nausea. Chronic morning sickness involves a considerable amount of vomiting. It is strongly suggested that characters with chronic morning sickness retire for a time, since severe morning sickness lasts for the entire 9 months. Both mild and moderate morning sickness end after the first three months.
[...]A t the end of labor, the baby is born. Both mother and child must make system shock rolls for survival (the child has its own constitution to roll on).
Prince Valiant by Chaosium. I have ALWAYS wanted to play this, i read really positive reviews of this game, and it is the game i would choose as the intro game for a kid.
Unfortunately, it's not in english. I can understand 30% of the language in which it is written. Better than nothing.
Also, check these links:
If DMing, usually nothing, it deconcentrates me, but i drink a lot, usually beer. I never eat as a player either.
Purposedly choosing apparently useless incantations for my list of spells, because i just didn't like the mage being portrayed as a wandering arsenal.
Pendragon and Bunnies & barrows
I can't believe i finally found this.
I have been looking for it for a long time..
First of all, go see these three links:
The magic system is incredibly interesting - i am aware that many persons out there are going to shun this, because it is linked with a strong religious theme. But we have to strive to consider it regardless of that (if possible). It is a very old school fantasy rpg, which was published for the first time in 1984 and -don't know why- it always exerted an influence upon me, maybe because it is so weird in its conception? Possibly so, in fact i believe it is unique in its approach, blending together "sword & sorcery" and religion.
For the first time, now i have the chance to read it,filling this gap in my background.
SPACE PATROL (1977)