Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Poll time! What part of AD&D sucks the most?

Solely for curiousity's sake over to the right I'm asking folks familiar with 1st edition AD&D to vote on the most obnoxious subsystem in those rules.  If you click on "Other" please leave a comment here explaining your choice.

EDIT: I feel like a moron for omitting both gender-based stat limits and unarmed combat.

75 comments:

  1. Damn! That's hard. Like...maybe impossible to answer hard. I'm tempted to go "Other - Percentile Strength", but I have to think more. Certainly, the way Level Limits and spell components were handled kinda sucked, as did segments in initiative.

    Man. And yet I loved that game for a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still love AD&D! There are just plenty of parts to hate on.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous11:25 AM

    Other: Different stat maximums for male and female characters.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It was a very close call between initiative and psionics, but I went with initiative.

    It's worth noting that I actually use all of the other things on your list, with the exception of training, which I have used in the past with no issues.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I went with Weapon vs AC, since that was so obviously painful nobody I ever played with even tried it. Though I can't honestly recall anybody ever enforcing the differing stat maximums, either. Weapon Speed and material components at least got a fair shake before being discarded.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Weapon vs AC for me too, I love AD&D though.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great poll! I had to go with Initiative. And in my own mind, I'm expanding this to include segments during combat, casting time, and all that crap.

    We've played for years without segments. You just roll initiative to see the order of taking actions. When it's your turn, do your thing! That's it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Psionics were ridiculous.
    Weapon vs AC was too fiddly.
    Different stat maximums for male and female characters was okay for NPCs (only).
    Max level limit for Demi-Humans was GOOD. Removing that led to Star Wars Cantina adventuring, which is too gonzo for my tastes.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Weapon Speed (and the accompanying nitpicking, pixel-bitching mess that is 'segments'). How I hate the sheer fiddlyness of it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I voted for psionics, but I considered voting for 'other' since most of the complicated rules are ignored and its very difficult to know how to play unless you have someone tell you what to do first.

    Speaking of ignored rules, the choices Weapon vs. AC, Weapon Speed, and Material Components stumped me because I probably never used them as written.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous11:54 AM

    Please let me be the advocate for the devil here:

    Demi-human Level Limits
    Look at the actual improvement in HP and attack rolls after name level. This mainly hurts race/class combos that cap out below name level, and spellcasters.

    Weapon Speed
    This isn't that tough to handle. First off, it comes into play ONLY when the two parties roll equal initiative. Second, Weapon Speed should be right on your character sheet next to the weapon, like the damage. I'll add to this Weapon Length, which is also likely to come into play once every combat, because it determines first strike when the two sides first engage.

    Weapon vs AC
    Yeah this is really annoying. Can't say anything good about it beyond that it does nerf unarmed attacks vs. armor. But you could just give half unarmed damage vs. anyone in metal armor.

    Material Components
    These sucked, largely, but see my post here. They're a decent way to discourage flagrant use of spells that would otherwise be problematic if cast willy-nilly.

    Initiative
    Roll 1d6 per side. Not too bad, right? But then you get to modify by your Reaction Adjustment for DEX, which means everyone goes on different segments anyway. As described above, you do have complications on the first round (use weapon length instead) and ties are resolved by weapon speed instead of individual reroll. We get into headache territory in figuring out how to interrupt spellcasters ... but even that's just a comparison between attacker weapon speed and the spell casting time. Both should be at hand.

    Psionics
    This rarely came into play because you have to have high ability scores. When it does come in, it's because someone got lucky or the DM uses a psionic monster. The PSI Points are self-explanatory. You get a couple powers, whoop, nothing too complicated. Problems arise when you have psionic combat. I agree that's a big pain in the butt and I haven't seen it used much.

    Training to Level Up
    The main problem with training to level is the high cost. If you get 1 XP per GP, the Cleric and Thief won't have enough money to train for 2nd level until well after they have enough XP. After that it's still really harsh. I recommend either changing training cost to 500 x current level or even 100 x current level, or else replacing it with carousing. A subrule in training was very important: until you train, you can't gain enough XP to be eligible for two levels at once. This prevents powerleveling a lowbie or gaining 10 levels with one lucky break. On the other hand, it did discourage long expeditions because at some point you risk "working for free" on XP because you can't get to town to train. I would revise the rule to say you can't gain enough in one session to go up more than to the next level and then one point shy of the second one.

    WHOO
    All that said, yes I agree a lot of this sucks. There are easier ways to handle things. For example,

    Remove demihuman level limits and give Humans a nice benefit.

    Weapons could be given one of three speeds to simplify things.

    Remove weapon vs ac entirely.

    Reduce Psionic combat to a simple attack effect. Each defense negates a specific attack and does nothing for a specific attack. Give a save bonus against the others.

    Initiative is fine.

    Training really should be replaced by your carousing rules.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Oops. I wrote for 1st edition. As the more byzantine edition of the two, I just assumed!

    Also, I second the grappling rules as the most complicated and least useful.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I had to vote for demi-human level limits. Back when I was a kid, it bothered me so much (what did those elves do at 500 years old?) that I submitted an article to Dragon with what were essentially my house rules (I basically flipped multi-classing and dual-classing). It was rejected.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Come on! Initiative is the ugliest wart on this game's face.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Everyone who voted demi-human level limits--disturbingly the front-runner at this time--is just plain wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I voted Other for Descending AC and Attack Tables.

    ReplyDelete
  18. A ton of those things are awesome (plug plug http://hackslashmaster.blogspot.com/2010/09/psionics.html)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Lots of suck there, with a couple entries (level limits, for example,) sucking less, but I think most of them are doable if toned down a lot.

    But I picked Other, because the one AD&D feature I find the hardest to abide is ability score minimums/maximums. Class minimums create a situation where some characters are unable to play any class; race (and gender) maximums limit play in ways I find unappealing and contrary to the D&D spirit.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I agree that DH Level Limits are the least problematic on the list because I want there to be some game reason to be a human.

    But instead of penalizing Demis, I'd instead give some kind of bonus to humans. Maybe one of the following:
    *10% xp bonus for human PC's
    *Or, allow all humans to add 1 point to two ability scores of their choice and subtract 1 point from two ability scores of their choice

    So we need something to make humans on par with demis, but there are better ways than level limits.

    And please don't read into my comments. I'm not saying that everything in the game needs to be 100% balanced!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I went with demi-human level limits, though both Psionics and gender stats are also bad.

    ReplyDelete
  22. While all of the listed options (including level limits for demi-humans) are obnoxious to some extent, I voted for Other (Alignment). I'm going to have to write a post about that.

    I'll bet that only humans think that demi-human level limits are good.

    ReplyDelete
  23. The cover art on the Monster Manual?

    I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Initiative system, while *very* confusing in explanation is the *BEST* thing in AD&D 1st edition, and trumps *EVERY* other AD&D initiative system, plus most other rpgs.

    I should finish my blog post explaining that.

    ReplyDelete
  24. My understanding was that demi-human level limits were intended as a dis-incentive to play them. Probably not the best solution, but one that worked.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Other - All of the above.

    Plus the bard, the 9-axis alignment system (especially lawful good), weapon proficiencies, multi-classing, the "officialness" of it all, a bunch of stuff in the DMG as far as suggestions of in-game solutions to out of game problems (like striking a PC with lightning if he is misbehaving). Is it AD&D where PCs started to be allowed to go into negative hp before actually dying? I hate that.

    I agree that there is a lot to dislike. Sometimes I think the "A" in AD&D stands for "argument-inducing".

    All that being said, there are some great things in there as well. I particularly like the Labyrinth Lord AEC approach to making your game "advanced".

    I would venture to say that AD&D probably has the highest percentage of material that is ignored in actual play of any version of D&D, but that's a totally anecdotal observation on my part.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Other. grappling and nonlethal fightings in general. Man what a load of rules, with several different %-Chances, and modifiers galore... I tried this once for a wrestling match, and it was OK (but slow) if you used it as a game in game, but for actual combat situations? Pfffw...

    ReplyDelete
  27. Other for "Yes, all the above plus those listed in the comments."

    I love me some good ol' AD&D, but the list of annoyances is quite large. Fortunately the rules were penned and offered when ignoring them was vogue.

    ReplyDelete
  28. THAC0. Every other sucky part of AD&D derives from THAC0.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I went with Demi-human Level Limits. I never saw this discourage anyone from playing a demihuman. (Heck, I’ve only had one AD&D PC make 9th level. The caps just didn’t matter in our games.) Gary seemed to think that these were needed to logically make the game world human-centric, but I’ve always been good with hand-waving/rationalizing such extrapolations from the rules to the world. Like Newtonian mechanics versus Einstein, the rules in the book don’t necessarily cover all the corner cases of the world-at-large. (Though I’m actually working on at least one blog post about such extrapolation. Go fig.)

    Weapon Speed: It was a way to break ties in initiative, and I have no beef with that. Other than the fact that I like simultaneous initiative enough that I generally want to keep ties common rather than break them.

    Weapon vs AC: I think weapon v. weapon and weapon v. armor tables are the best way to make differences in weapon and armor choice truly meaningful. Without them, we really should make ’em much more abstract. It’s a “hand weapon” (like WHFRP and LotFPWFRPG) and “heavy armor” rather than a sword and plate-mail. The player then can call it whatever he wants. In general, though, I prefer the latter route, but I enjoy the former at times as well.

    Material Components: Maybe I don’t understand the rules here. It seemed to me that most of them were just flavor while a few helped reign in a powerful spell a bit.

    Initiative: Is the “as written” initiative in AD&D a mess? Yes. Are the basics of the system—which is what 99% of us including Gary used—OK? Yes.

    Psionics: Never really used them or even considered them enough to have an opinion.

    Training to Level Up: While it is something I mentally declare an optional rule, I don’t think it is a bad idea or a terribly bad implementation. Though it did bug me a bit that it was hard for this not to make the “experience level” concept be exposed in-game.

    Unarmed combat: I have nothing good to say about it. I might’ve voted for it if it had been an explicit option.

    Percentile strength: I never liked it. I would go further though, and complain about almost all of the ability score tables. It was cool in oD&D how a high score might give you a small bonus. (Gary eventually played oD&D where every ability score could give a small bonus to something.) It was cool in B/X where you had some bigger bonuses. AD&D, though, was the worst of both worlds. Only very high scores gave you bonuses, but they could give you big bonuses. So, you really felt screwed if you didn’t have a few very high scores.

    Alignment: The nine-point alignment system is cool, but my preference is something simpler. (The WFRP five-point or classic D&D three-point.) Or no alignment. I like that too.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Other: Non-Lethal & Weaponless Combat

    Look upon AD&D DMG pg72-73, ye Gamers, and despair!

    ReplyDelete
  31. You forgot: "D. All of the Above"

    ReplyDelete
  32. Alignment Languages.

    Just. So. Effing. Stupid.

    ReplyDelete
  33. All of the above.

    And, a pet peeve of mine. I loved AD&D and played it since its inception. But it's designed around killing monsters and stealing their treasure to gain XP's and advance in power. The character classes increase in killing power as they gain XP's. And that's mainly all. As a DM I finally started giving blanket XP awards at the end of a session, for performance during the session as a whole. Used the XP calculations for gold and killing as guidelines, then added in subjective awards for accomplishing goals, role-playing, bravery, self-sacrifice and so on. But having done all that, your character's advancement is unsatisfying unless you're geared towards combat.

    Also, let's say you like rolling dice for your characters each session, and you decide you don't enjoy the combat aspect of the game so much. What do you roll against, in AD&D? How do those skills increase in power as you advance in levels? Class-based archetype characters can be appealing, possibly due to the nostalgic element. But how do you do a satisfying game of AD&D that isn't based on combat? I've had to turn to something like Basic Roleplaying/Runequest to get characters that can play and progress in games that aren't primarily combat-oriented.

    Certainly I've experienced plenty of AD&D sessions that were non-combat-centric. But they can become less than satisfying if you like to have some die-rolling in your game. There just isn't much opportunity for meaningful die rolls if you're not in combat. Your 'skill test' is just role-playing out the encounter. (Do you like role-playing or 'storytelling' your combat? Well, I don't like that sort of nebulousness for my favorite style of gaming either!)

    Also, your gaming efforts are to be rewarded with experience points. But the experience points just advance your level. And level advancement gets you better at combat. It doesn't increase your non-combat (or non-thieving/non-spellcasting) abilities. This is why ultimately, non-combat gaming in AD&D can be less than satisfying, because you don't get to roll, and you aren't rewarded in ways that make you better at playing the kind of non-combat game that we're interested in. Thus my feeling that AD&D as written isn't as satisfying for predominately non-combat play.

    Now, maybe 3.0/3.5/4.0 handles this sort of thing better than our AD&D. I don't see it, but perhaps some people do. I've heard that the 3.0/3.5 rules were developed with Runequest as one of its inspirations. Eh. I like the way BRP/Runequest handles things better.

    And that's what sucks most, for me, about AD&D.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I have to agree with John Ross on this one, Alignment Language is still the stupidest concept I've ever seen in ANY RPG.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I had a similar poll a few months ago - Weapon vs AC was the biggest loser, followed by psionics:

    AD&D Rules and the Voting Public

    I'll just state the obvious - this place is hopping! 155 votes in one day is serious traffic. ("I am not worthy", spoken Wayne's World style).

    ReplyDelete
  36. I might be the only person ever to say this but I actually liked demihuman level limits, and I played demihumans all the time. It was kind of satisfying to know that you'd taken your character to the pinnacle of his ability. Also, my old gang usually retired our characters by the time they reached 7th or 8th level, so unlimited levels were wasted on us.

    Anyway, I voted for psionics because if AD&D were an old Victorian house, all those other things you mentioned would be the extraneous little rooms and parlors equipped with more light switches than there are lights and whose walls are covered with mismatched wallpaper. But in this house psionics would be a gigantic leaky hot tub propped up on the roof with nothing more than a few 2X4s and a conctrete block keeping it in place.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I voted for psionics, since it was the only rule listed that our group didn't ignore or houserule away. We did use material components for a while, only because the MU and cleric players enjoyed dissecting any creatures the party killed for spell and potion components, like "CSI:D&D". Good times.

    ReplyDelete
  38. It's mostly all been said. For me, if a module of rules can be ignored entirely without breaking the game then it can't be the worst, so no matter how stupid psionics are, they don't win.

    The two things that most broke my willingness to play, back when I did play 1e, were level limits and alignment. I see no justification whatever for the former and no way to explain the latter that makes sense or yoelds a world I want to play in.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I would say all those listed, except for demi-human level limits. The level limits were the "balancing" factor to offset the lack of Humans having any special abilities. I think regardless, most people played demi-humans anyway because of their "kewl powerz".

    word verification: liono
    "Thundercats...Hoooo!"

    ReplyDelete
  40. Of the ones you mentioned, it's definitely training costs. Otherwise it's totally the gender based stat limits.

    ReplyDelete
  41. The d4+1 damage of the warhammer!

    ReplyDelete
  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I voted for psionics, but on reflection, I think the real answer is weapon restrictions based on class. It was one of the main reasons I quit playing AD&D.

    Also, for me, bards and monks were right up there with psionics. I never used any of them.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Loads of stuff. Psionics tops my list, but the bloody awful grappling rules, %ile strength, training to level up - well lots stuff, but all easy to leave out.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I had to vote psionics. Weapon vs AC was a kludge made necessary when they botched the combat system, something they have yet to fix.

    Someone mentioned THAC0 ... I don't think THAC0 was an AD&D invention.

    At least not a 1979 AD&D invention.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Things like this make me realize how "wrong" I played AD&D all those years ago. The only one listed we used was demi-human level limits. The others we more or less never even read up about. "What's this about this weapon getting a +1 vs some armor?" "Huh?"

    Guess I really used to play more of Basic D&D with AD&D classes.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Aaron, check the back of your 1e DMG. All the monsters there are listed with a THAC0. I never noticed that until years later (probably during my 3e days).

    ReplyDelete
  48. Demi-Human Level Limits AND Class Restrictions.

    More classes.

    More races.

    Weapon vs. AC was always ignored.

    More spells for starting Magic users.

    Any of the skills or weapon proficiencies.

    Why? Are going to make the perfect retro-clone/neo-clone?

    If you got rid of many of these things and released it it would sell.

    All the nostalgia with out the restrictions.

    ReplyDelete
  49. @Dan C. - Holy shit. I didn't catch that one either!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I voted other - as I found the item creation lacking.

    ReplyDelete
  51. @Dan C.:

    See this discussion on the "To Hit AC 0" in the DMG:

    http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=43917

    Short version: AD&D 1st edition, by the explained rules, does not use THAC0 the way that 2nd edition does.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Anonymous6:28 PM

    No grappling, but especially the hit point system.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Anonymous6:37 PM

    Psionics, by a mnemonic mile.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I had to say initiative. A lot of the rest of it (weapon speed, spell components, etc)we just ignored anyway, but initiative was a must have. And we were to proud back in the day to admit it was too confusing and graft on the rules from basic D&D instead :)

    ReplyDelete
  55. @Dan: I tip my hat to you, good sir.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Gender-based stat limits, definitely.

    ReplyDelete
  57. I need an 'All of the Above' choice.

    Stat limits by gender and Demi-Human level limits are definitely up there.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Much like Dan C. and others, I ignored or improved upon pretty much everything listed here.

    Wait up...there was Training for Leveling Up in the 1st Edition of AD&D? That's news to me.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Voted "Other", rereading the rules involved I've realized that in many cases I misunderstood the actual rule because I've never been in a game where it was actually enforced as written.

    * Demi-human Level Limits - Yes, an issue. Not a deal-breaker, but I thought it could have been done better. What Stuart said about the 500 year old elves.

    Though never employed, I came up with a house rule where demi-humans swapped in their level limits for increased XP cost per level.

    * Weapon Speed - When I played 1st Ed AD&D the DM didn't use weapon speed. Did use it in 2E, but had no problem with including it in the calculation.

    * Weapon vs AC - We never used this rule. In theory it sounds like a good simulational thing, but in practice I can only imagine it being a bitch to keep track of.

    * Material Components - This was generally hand-waved. I have mixed feelings about them: Components can make spells more flavorful and evocative. But they're also a limiting cost for magic.

    But since D&D magic systems already have spell level and spells-per-day as strong limiting factors, so components are just yet another thing to keep track of.

    So as an aspect of standard D&D magic I find components cumbersome. But I'd really be interested in some variant of D&D magic where spells-per-day was ignored and spell components were the major limiting factor instead.

    * Initiative - I was going to say that this didn't bother me, but on rereading realized we'd never used initiative as written.

    The official process is different but not a deal-breaker.

    * Psionics - Love the idea (I'm a gonzo/mix-the-genres kinda guy). But the execution leaves something to be desired.

    * Training to Level Up - Again, never played in any group that used this. The closest we've come was ruling that you had to make it back to town to advance.

    In most AD&D games I've played in training would've been nixed by lack of funds (low income campaigns), itinerant lifestyle (tough to find trainers while sailing through the mists of Ravenloft), or frenetic pace (Training!? But who will save the world?).

    It was always assumed that your adventuring exploits constituted your training.


    *** Unlisted annoyances:

    * Combat tables - In practice these were never a problem because our DM in 1st Ed. just did all the combat lookups for both sides himself.

    And yes they're not a complete mystery, but I just find a simple equation and the roll-over nature of 3E systems easier to do on the fly.

    * Percentile strength - Not the most sucky detail by a long shot, but yet another complication that always had me thinking "WTF?".

    * Those Damn Saving Throws - Later in life I've heard or read some mildly convincing apologetics for AD&D saving thows. But until that time, the categories they chose to include for these things, and why each class got what it got, completely baffled me.

    Say what you want in favor the crazy dungeon ambiance older style saving throws provide, but to me the 3E breakdown of things was a breath of fresh air when it came along.

    Heck, having now seen S&W, I even like the idea of one saving throw with a couple modifiers for specific circumstances better than what AD&D had.

    * Roll high/roll low - Apparently my feeble mind gets easily confused as to when rolling high is good and when rolling low is good.

    When reading the book it's clear as day. But in the middle of a game I stare at the dice blankly trying to interpret how the roll should relate to my save bonus or attack ratings.

    Another situation where the universal roll-over of 3E came to my rescue.

    ReplyDelete
  60. As much as I resent the fact that something as potentially awesome as Psionics are one of the hardest things to work with (and given how cool Mind Flayers and other psionic monsters are, this makes things even worse), the Unarmd Combat rules are really just... wow. Those are some crazy damned rules, aren't they?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Other for me. % Strength is, IMO, the beginning of stat inflation and only detracts from the game. I've seen too many players that only consider a Fighter viable if they've got that 18 Str.

    And it just led people down the dark path that 3E and now 4E happily embrace, that PCs must be collections of high stats to be worthwhile, and that a score of 8 is a "crippling hindrance."

    Damn, you, % Strength! Damn you all to Hell!

    ReplyDelete
  62. I use everything in that list. So I guess 'Other'. I wish the random prostitute table was more detailed.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Anonymous7:46 AM

    I chose Demi-human Level Limits. Of the items listed, we only used 3: the level limits, initiative and training to level up. Our house rules initiative employed a d10, which we found less annoying.

    I don't dispute the need to tip the balance in favor of humans, but it never made sense to me that Dwarves should be limited as fighters, Elves limited as magic-users, yet both be unlimited as thieves, and this with all sorts of multi-classing allowed.

    George suggested an experience % bonus for humans, which makes more sense to me. Demi-humans tend to have unusually long lifespans, so they could take their time and advance more deliberately.

    In practice, the limits were moot. Campaigns tended to wrap up around level 9, and we preferred humans with vaguely historical ethnic backgrounds.

    Aside from things listed, grappling was so annoying we almost never used it, nor bothered to come up with an alternative.

    ReplyDelete
  64. I originally went with Psionics, but I'm changing my vote to Other - Alignment. All of the bad things on the list can just be ignored or easily improved. Alignment is pervasive. Alignment languages are the tip of the iceberg, with the outer planes cosmology close behind. And the "Alignment Wars" referred to in some of the backgrounds, ugh.

    Stamping Good or Evil on everyone's forehead drives off depth. I'm not saying that dropping alignment would create depth, just that having it discourages fuller characterization.

    The Earthdawn system is better. The book provides a long list of personality adjectives. You pick one that describes your internal motivations and one that describes your external demeanor.

    Another choice would be RuneQuest cults, Gamma World cryptic alliances or Paranoia's secret societies.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Other - the rules for helmets. Seriously, those rules (buried deep in the DMG, far away from where you might need them) epitomize to me the shift from abstract combat to fiddly OCD millisecond-by-millisecond simulationism that made AD&D so incoherent.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I like demihuman level limits, but I think they work much better in the context of B/X D&D with race-as-class. If I was going to play AD&D, and I was going to house-rule it around the area of level limits, I would add them for humans (at a few levels higher; the level 14 cap in the expert rules is reasonable) before I removed them for demihumans. But then, I've never been much in favor of demigod style play.

    In my experience playing second edition, we often ended up with a party full of elves. The demihuman level limits were pretty much the same, IIRC, and the fact that we always got mostly elves leads me to think there is something wrong with the system.

    I think I voted for psionics, but the unarmed combat rules are pretty terrible. Both are very modular though, and are easily ignored. They don't touch many other aspects of the game.

    Ability score bonus inflation and ability score requirements to play certain classes I think have had the most negative side-effects (both in AD&D itself and in paving the way for design I don't like in other editions). Talysman and Robert Fisher (in his comment on percentile strength) nailed it.

    I've never once played with alignment languages, but I think they might be fun in a cosmic factions type of game. It would need some setting flavor though, for me.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Picador - Excellent choice!

    ReplyDelete
  68. What Alex J says about alignment. Also, I sharpened up my objections to level limits over here, although they may have limited applicability for others, because I just realised my flavour of AD&D is far from canonical anyway.

    Still the single biggest change I want to make to D&D is doing away with increasing hit dice with level. But that's so deeply ingrained in the game and has so many dependencies that I should really just play something else instead.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Changed my vote from psi it other as well. I don't really have a problem with psionics other than how rarely they would show up in a game without some sort of 'gimme' from the DM.
    For Other, I nominate (as others have) the alignment system. The rest of the rules can be complicated but they are workable. The alignment rules have always had (in my opinion) the negative effect of encouraging play as archetypes, which seems to limit player creativity.

    ReplyDelete
  70. I never thought the helmet rule was about making things more fiddly. It was just a way for the DM to convince people who thought walking around without a helmet was a good idea that it really wasn’t. That’s why the rule is where it is. It normally isn’t something that needs to be used at all. It’s a special case to help the DM put the kibosh on something silly.

    Of course, whether you think this is something silly deserving of being kiboshed is a matter of opinion. I tend to think it isn’t, but I can see the POV of whoever came up with it.

    Not unlike the “can’t earn more than one level’s worth of XP” rule. It isn’t really there (IMHO) to be enforced all the time. It’s there for the case where players are intentionally gaming the system.

    I’ll also say that they helmet rule has been a helpful example on handling other situations. Like when a monster is using something as a shield that the PCs don’t want to damage.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Unarmed combat sucks the most in good old AD&D.

    I recall a player once saying "wait a minute we have a better chance beating this monster with our bare-hands instead of two handed swords"... and he was right.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Other - The Monk. What's that all about?

    ReplyDelete
  73. But ClawCarver, that totally worked for Beowulf!

    ReplyDelete