Tuesday, November 08, 2016

The Deadliest Page

So it's early into the evening of Election Day here in the good ol' U.S. of A. and the present political climate has me sufficiently freaked out that I have started drinking.  So please forgive me if parts of this post are incoherent.

Anyway, I wanted to take some time before I get fall down drunk to tell you about the Deadliest Page of the original Dungeon Masters Guide.  There are several pages in the DMG that will severely ruin your PC's life.  My favorites include page 28 (where we find out that not wearing a helmet will FUCKING KILL YOU), page 225 (the gods damned ENCUMBRANCE RULES), and page 80 (the item saving charts will WRECK ALL YOUR COOL MAGICAL SHIT).  But the deadliest page of the first edition Dungeon Masters Guide is page 182.  Imma explain why.

There are two rules for wandering monsters on this page that I have NEVER seen applied.  Not in my own campaigns and not in anyone else's.  (If you've used them, please let me know!)  Rule the first is the Psionic Encounter rules.  The basic idea seems to be that psionic monsters are attracted to psionic powers or--and this is the kicker--spells that resemble psionic powers.  A lot of low level spells appear on the list titled Spells Resembling Psionic Powers: cure light wounds, detect evil, detect magic, charm person, feather fall, enlarge, ESP, invisibility just to name a few.  The upshot of this rule is that if your party casts ANY of these spells there is a 1 in 6 chance that the next wandering monster comes from the Psionic Encounter Table rather than the normal wandering monster matrix.  This table is no joke.  Not only does it include all the standard psionic monsters like intellect devourers and mind flayers, but all the sundry denizens of the Seven Hells and the Abyss also show up on it.

This means that under AD&D1 rules as written it would be theoretically possible for a 1st level cleric on their first adventure to cast detect evil and find nothing, only for Demogorgon to show up a few rounds later.

The other, and I think more important, section is Patrols.  The DMG asks DM to designate all outdoor areas as either inhabited or uninhabited.  One of the key differences between the two is that inhabited areas are patrolled.  In fact a full 25% of wandering monster encounters in inhabited areas will be with patrols.  A patrol looks like this:

  • Commander: a fighter (or ranger, if appropriate) level 6-8
  • Lieutenant: figher (or ranger) 4-5
  • Sergeant: figher 2 or 3
  • 2-3 first level fighters
  • (All of the above have plate, shield, lance, flail, and longsword, mounted on warhorses
  • 12-24 zero-level soldiers with chain or scale armor, bow or xbow, and some hand weapon, mounted on riding horses
  • either a cleric 6-7 or an MU 5-8
In other words, 1 in 4 encounters in inhabited areas involve a shit-ton of cops trying to ruin your murderhobos' day.