AD&D2 & creativity

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ice...@maple.circa.ufl.edu

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Jul 25, 1993, 5:19:41 AM7/25/93
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The comments made by Mtrichter *are* valid on several counts. I have looked
over a good bit of the 2nd edition AD&D rules, and even brought myself to
buy some of the stuff(not that I ever play it any more..). At any rate,
what most everyone has *NOT* realized is that the 2nd edition is made up
of nothing more than a codification of many of the "house rules" players
have come up with to make up for the deficiencies in the first
publication.

-*- A general statement concerning house rules, in the more "evolved"
versions of AD&D(NOT Basic rules, but hardly anyone plays Basic
anyhow), the AD&D system, especially in the 2nd edition, becomes
*extremely* difficult to patch, especially in the areas concerning
magic. With a game that uses no house rules, trying to port in
outside rules(from other systems) is tedious at best. If any house
rules have been developed, those will often tend to cause further
problems, as they too must be rewritten to conform to the new
standard. If you aren't trying to port another system, and are
rewriting the rules yourself, you're walking in *very* dangerous
territory(basically you're rewriting the whole game), none of
which is helped by the fact that AD&D gives very little logical
defense for much of the game mechanics - you're not starting from
a rgoing to a more reasonable one is
tricky(though not impossible if you're good at this stuff).

-*- Wizardry/Hermetic Magic in AD&D(1st) and AD&D(2nd) are both
miserable systems. I see almost no change with respect for the
basic exoskeleton of the magic system in the newer version,
with the sole exception of Specialists. There is still no way to
easily implement some types of wizards without doing a complete
rewrite/port of the magic rules(and you might have to fiddle with
magic user combat abilities, etc. in the case of a sword-packing
Gandalf).
Example 1: Elementalists
Creating a wizard who is very good at controlling one particular
hermetic element(Air, Earth, Fire, Water for you non-initiates :-)
is virtually impossible under 2nd edition rules, due to the
highly inflexible magic system. If you do create one, you have to
write a whole slew of new house rules to support anything that
the wizard does.
Example 2: Combat Wizards
What happens if you want to create a non-traditional wizard
who is, unlike normal wizards, actually GOOD at hand-to-hand
combat? Perhaps their magic is entwined innately with their
combat abilities, but you can not create a straight wizard in AD&D*
that can simulate this. (Note: You can get close with a dual/multi
class fighter/wizard I *suppose* but I personally have problems with
both types. Dual-class suggests that the character can no longer
advance in either his magical or his martial abilities. Multi
classing this character type faces the problem of split experience -
the character develops much more slowly in both areas than would be
anticipated).

-*- Experience points in AD&D(1st) and AD&D(2nd) are ridiculous. You
get experience points for some of the most ridiculous reasons I
have seen in any RPG. Finding treasure is my particular sore spot
with AD&D. Why should you be able to suddenly cast spells with
greater proficiency, steal, pray, or fight when you happen to
run into an empty dragon's den full of a bizillion gold pieces?
Also, while the rules state that you should not get experience
points obtained while acting "out of alignment," that is neither
a good rule in some cases and in others it's often too vague.
Example 1: Your Lawful Good paladin observes a number of orcs
The orcs number a half dozen, and they are clustered around
a large wooden stake to which is tied an unconscious female elf.
There is a large amount of flammable fuel near the bottom of the
stake - it is obvious that they intend to burn her into so much
ash. What do you do? Of course you rush out and kill all the orcs
and rescue the elf maiden, right?
*WRONG*. What if the elf is actually a necromancer who has been
preying on a nearby orcish village - first killing orcs she finds
wandering alone and then turning them into her undead slaves? The
orcs are then justified in killing her.
"But that isn't fair!" you say...
*YES IT IS*. The symbolism here is the burning stake -
traditionally left as a punishment for witchcraft. Given a few
more subtle hints(I left in the stake as merely one example of
how this could be done), the enterprising character could
probably get the gist of what is going on if (s)he does some
exploring.
"What does this have to do with the subject at hand?" you ask.
In this case, I would be willing to bet that 9 out of 10
virtuous paladins will not bother to ask any questions before
rushing in, sword drawn in attempt to satisfy their chivalric
honor by rescuing the damsel in distress. So now the question
remains - should the paladin receive experience points for
acting on the behalf of the forces of Evil, or should he be
penalized for playing in character(by recieving XP)?

-*- From the deep of the Abyss came the words of jhurley...

> One, Mrichter (I think) is arguing from the position of "we must do
> as the rules tell us to, we may not think." He says to do otherwise is
> to throw out rules right and left. I don't think so. Of all the
> examples he pointed out, I suggest ignoring one rule, and modifying
> one other.

Really? Where did he say that? I was under the impression that he was
making an attack on the rules AS THEY ARE WRITTEN in the books.

Also, I dispute the statement that the problems pointed out by
Mtrichter were, in fact, solved by the publication of the 2nd ed.
Mtrichter's attack on magic users in AD&D I have expanded on above
with some specific examples. Priest/Clerics, while they did improve
in the 2nd edition, are *still* limited in specific ways. For
example, "Purify Food and Drink" is listed by my PH2 as an "All"
Priest Spell at the 1st level. I don't know about you, but I do
not know very many death gods who would be willing to grant their
agents this particular power.

-*- I see my message is getting a bit long. I will hold further comments
until replies have been posted to this one.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jim Tran a.k.a. ice...@maple.circa.ufl.edu
a.k.a. Brynjolf, Magus Ex Miscellenea
a.k.a. He Who Plays a System With REAL Mages
------------------------------------------------------------------------

msam...@vaxc.stevens-tech.edu

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Jul 25, 1993, 12:36:21 PM7/25/93
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There is still no way to
easily implement some types of wizards without doing a complete
rewrite/port of the magic rules(and you might have to fiddle with
magic user combat abilities, etc. in the case of a sword-packing
Gandalf).

>>>>> A few house rules can move mages into acceptable prototypes. In
your example simply allowing mages to develope any weapon proficiency
after first level will solve the "Gandalf" problem.

Example 1: Elementalists
Creating a wizard who is very good at controlling one particular
hermetic element(Air, Earth, Fire, Water for you non-initiates :-)
is virtually impossible under 2nd edition rules, due to the
highly inflexible magic system. If you do create one, you have to
write a whole slew of new house rules to support anything that
the wizard does.

>>>>> I agree on this one. The DM would have his hands full on this issue.
It seems like you'd have to write new level/spell lists that would be
available to such a wizard. The DM would include all the elementl
spells and little else.

Example 2: Combat Wizards
What happens if you want to create a non-traditional wizard
who is, unlike normal wizards, actually GOOD at hand-to-hand
combat? Perhaps their magic is entwined innately with their
combat abilities, but you can not create a straight wizard in AD&D*
that can simulate this.

>>>>> So take the basic monk model, pump up the experience table then allow
that character to cast mage spells at whatever level you deem
appropriate.

Experience points in AD&D(1st) and AD&D(2nd) are ridiculous. You
get experience points for some of the most ridiculous reasons I
have seen in any RPG. Finding treasure is my particular sore spot
with AD&D. Why should you be able to suddenly cast spells with
greater proficiency, steal, pray, or fight when you happen to
run into an empty dragon's den full of a bizillion gold pieces?

>>>>> The game designers rationalized this point by stating that all the
effort involved in gaining treasure should be rewarded by an ex bonus.
This bonus is 1ex for 1gp, which is a ratio that the DM shoud feel
free to scale up or down as merit dictates. If the party just got
lucky without thinking a good DM wouldn't give out points for treasure
at all.

Also, while the rules state that you should not get experience
points obtained while acting "out of alignment," that is neither
a good rule in some cases and in others it's often too vague.

>>>>> It is a general guideline that the DM should keep in mind when
handing out ex. In your example which I deleted I would give the
paladin the ex but give him some serious guilt problems that would
hinder his abilities untill he attoned for his lack of caution.


In general AD&D has huge holes in the core rules. As a DM you either
fix them, ignore them, or move on to a "better" system. The latter
is what I did, but I don't look back on AD&D and rag on it for its
shorcomings. I enjoyed playing it for shuch a long time that I would
feel guilty to do so.


Andrew Ross

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Jul 25, 1993, 11:14:41 AM7/25/93
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ice...@maple.circa.ufl.edu writes:

>-*- Wizardry/Hermetic Magic in AD&D(1st) and AD&D(2nd) are both
> miserable systems. I see almost no change with respect for the
> basic exoskeleton of the magic system in the newer version,
> with the sole exception of Specialists. There is still no way to
> easily implement some types of wizards without doing a complete
> rewrite/port of the magic rules(and you might have to fiddle with
> magic user combat abilities, etc. in the case of a sword-packing
> Gandalf).

(Two examples deleted: one involves mages who specialize in one Element or
"hermetic element" for the "initiated" :), the second involves mages who
fight well.)
Now, it is true that both character types you mentioned are not
covered within the core of 2nd Edition AD&D rules. Perhaps, in one of the
myriad supplements, there is some set of optional rules which allow them.
But whatever the case, how can this be a point against AD&D, which never
pretended to be a 'universal system' or 'engine'? In traveller 2300, there
are no rules for paladins, and, perhaps more pertinently, no rules for
X-wing fighter pilots either. AD&D, like most RP games, is a set of rules
about a specific world (or, in the case of AD&D, a type of world). I
hardly think that it would be fair to expect it to cover _all_ types of
fantasy magicians without the severe modifications you mentioned earlier
in your post. In fact, AD&D is slightly more flexible than, say, Ars
Magica or Runequest in this respect, mostly because it is less detailed
and most of the particulars can be explained away however the GM likes.
In summary, I do not think that AD&D is _particularly_ inflexible in this
regard. In fact, all RPG systems (including those which claim otherwise)
have a difficult time accomodating ideas that their authors never thought
of/ didn't like.


>-*- Experience points in AD&D(1st) and AD&D(2nd) are ridiculous.
You > get experience points for some of the most ridiculous reasons I
> have seen in any RPG. Finding treasure is my particular sore spot
> with AD&D. Why should you be able to suddenly cast spells with
> greater proficiency, steal, pray, or fight when you happen to
> run into an empty dragon's den full of a bizillion gold pieces?

This is something of a dead horse. As I recall, the experience
that you get in 1st Edition AD&D for treasure is for gaining loot through
facing danger. As I understood the rules, no significant experience would
be gained if you simply "got" the loot. Furthermore, no improvement in
skill would be gained until you had trained or studied for quite some time.
In the experience section of the original rules, there is a
paragraph which deals with the inconsistency of the experience rules. It
goes along these lines: while practice, research, and training are a much
more realistic way for characters to improve their skills, this is not
much of an impetus to adventure. This is true and valid, at least within the
narrow definition of 'adventure' that all early RPG's shared. I have not
read the 2nd edition rules for quite some time, but I remember that they
have dropped the $=experience idea, and have implemented some system for
giving characters experience for doing what they're supposed to do (i.e.,
fighters gain exp. for fighting, thieves for subterfuge, etc.)

> Also, while the rules state that you should not get
experience
> points obtained while acting "out of alignment," that is neither
> a good rule in some cases and in others it's often too vague.

(Deleted is an example about a paladin rescuing an evil elf sorceress from
a lot of orcs who are about to burn her at the stake.)

Well, I think that the intent was to encourage players to stay on
the side they'd chosen. Your example, however, is one which I do not see
as being a moral quandary at all, unless you judge all moral situations on
their outcome. The paladin didn't know that the elf was evil. Furthermore,
its a safe bet (within the context of AD&D) that orcs will be up to no
good. Let me describe a situation which is a little closer to home, and
perhaps my point will be clearer.
A roleplaying gamer (of neutral good alignment, for the sake of
argument) is taking a pleasant walk in a park, when he hears some shouting
from off in the brush. Being of good alignment and with an urge to do
right, he investigates. In a clearing in the brush are several individuals
in odd garb with white, pointy hats, beating a man with sticks. Knowing
that these individuals are a racist mob of louts, the gamer summons the
police to arrest them.
But wait! Little did he know that the man they were beating was a
convicted rapist and murderer. Haha! He was aiding the forces of evil, right?
Maybe, if you are a defense attorney for the Klansmen. But I think
most of us will agree that the roleplayer's actions were morally
defensible. While there may be _some_ situations which can't be resolved
into a Right vs. Wrong, Wrong vs. Wrong, or Right vs. Right conflict,
there won't be many in the average fantasy game (unless it is run by a
moral relativist, who would have done away with the alignment system aeons
ago.)

> In this case, I would be willing to bet that 9 out of 10
> virtuous paladins will not bother to ask any questions before
> rushing in, sword drawn in attempt to satisfy their chivalric
> honor by rescuing the damsel in distress. So now the question
> remains - should the paladin receive experience points for
> acting on the behalf of the forces of Evil, or should he be
> penalized for playing in character(by recieving XP)?

He should be given full XP, a minor admonition to check references
before setting maidens free, and told to go get that nasty sorceress. Case
closed. :)

> Also, I dispute the statement that the problems pointed out by
> Mtrichter were, in fact, solved by the publication of the 2nd ed.
> Mtrichter's attack on magic users in AD&D I have expanded on above
> with some specific examples. Priest/Clerics, while they did improve
> in the 2nd edition, are *still* limited in specific ways. For
> example, "Purify Food and Drink" is listed by my PH2 as an "All"
> Priest Spell at the 1st level. I don't know about you, but I do
> not know very many death gods who would be willing to grant their
> agents this particular power.

I don't mean to seem objectionable... but how much can be said
about death gods in general? Don't they like to eat clean food, at least
some of them?
And as for me, I don't know any death gods at all. At least not
well enough to know their opinion on this matter. :)

Edward Pearce Ross

ajr...@husc.harvard.edu

Ken Arromdee

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Jul 25, 1993, 4:49:45 PM7/25/93
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In article <CAqn3...@blaze.cs.jhu.edu> arro...@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu (Ken Arromdee) writes:
>See Complete Wizard's Handbook. (Combat mage.)

Or whatever. "Militant wizard" does ring a bell, now that I think of it, but
the exact name doesn't matter anyway.
--
"On the first day after Christmas my truelove served to me... Leftover Turkey!
On the second day after Christmas my truelove served to me... Turkey Casserole
that she made from Leftover Turkey.
[days 3-4 deleted] ... Flaming Turkey Wings! ...
-- Pizza Hut commercial (and M*tlu/A*gic bait)

Ken Arromdee (arro...@jyusenkyou.cs.jhu.edu)

Ken Arromdee

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Jul 25, 1993, 4:47:32 PM7/25/93
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In article <22tj7...@no-names.nerdc.ufl.edu> ice...@maple.circa.ufl.edu writes:
> Creating a wizard who is very good at controlling one particular
> hermetic element(Air, Earth, Fire, Water for you non-initiates :-)
> is virtually impossible under 2nd edition rules, due to the
> highly inflexible magic system.

See Tome of Magic.

> Example 2: Combat Wizards
> What happens if you want to create a non-traditional wizard
> who is, unlike normal wizards, actually GOOD at hand-to-hand
> combat?

See Complete Wizard's Handbook. (Combat mage.)

>-*- Experience points in AD&D(1st) and AD&D(2nd) are ridiculous. You


> get experience points for some of the most ridiculous reasons I
> have seen in any RPG. Finding treasure is my particular sore spot
> with AD&D. Why should you be able to suddenly cast spells with
> greater proficiency, steal, pray, or fight when you happen to
> run into an empty dragon's den full of a bizillion gold pieces?

Second edition no longer gives automatic experience for treasure, and even
in first situation there has been the rule that the situation must be one
which is really some threat to the character to get any experience for it.

[deleted]


> In this case, I would be willing to bet that 9 out of 10
> virtuous paladins will not bother to ask any questions before
> rushing in, sword drawn in attempt to satisfy their chivalric
> honor by rescuing the damsel in distress. So now the question
> remains - should the paladin receive experience points for
> acting on the behalf of the forces of Evil, or should he be
> penalized for playing in character(by recieving XP)?

Well, there are two cases:
1) the DM's world is set up so that orcs are unredeemably evil creatures,
and all orcs can justifiably be killed. (But elves are considered "people".)
In this case, the paladin is justified in automatically killing the orcs
regardless, and rescuing the evil elf is morally equivalent to rescuing
someone from, for instance, drowning. A paladin may not allow an evil person
to drown just because of the possibility this person might commit evil
acts in the future if allowed to live.

2) The DM's world is set up so that orcs are "people". In this case, as soon
as the orcs tell the paladin "wait, I can explain, we gave her a trial and
found her guilty and sentenced her to death", the paladin is obliged to
listen to them. If the paladin killed all the orcs without trying to find
out this sort of thing, he violated his ethics as a paladin.

Jason L. Winter

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Jul 25, 1993, 8:50:03 PM7/25/93
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It seems to me that most of the efforts to defend AD&D and its creativity
(and no, I'm not going to repeat them all here) fall under one of two
categories:

1) Buy the <fill-in-the-blank> supplement; or

2) Change the <fill-in-the-blank> rule.

For 1), what if I could think of better things to do with my money? Just to
play AD&D2, I would need a Player's Handbook, DMG, and Monstrous Compendium.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that about $50 right there? And then it's
suggested that if I want a 'combat mage' or 'swashbuckling thief,' I should
by 'The Complete X Handbook.'

Most games I play require one, maybe two books, with which you can play the
game, using all the creativity you want in your characters, as all the rules
are right there. Yes, there are tons of supplements, but they are mostly
background/modules, with no or little new rules.

For 2), if I wanted to write rules, I'd write my own game system and sell it.
Excuse me for the cliche, but if it weren't broken, nobody would be trying to
fix it. And it's plenty annoying to switch DM's and have to learn a whole
new set of 'house rules.'

Jason Winter

George W. Harris

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Jul 26, 1993, 10:05:54 AM7/26/93
to
I've been following this discussion with mild interest, and thought
it might be time to provide something more constructive, but don't worry,
I won't do it on .advocacy. I will shortly post to .archives and .dnd a
system I originally devised for AD&Dv1 to construct and customize character
classes. The system is designed to help AD&D overcome many of the handicaps
that those in this group are pointing out. I hope those that are interested
will find it more flexible and less crockable than the system found in the
version 2 rules which, typically for AD&D, is a good idea botched in execu-
tion. So, if you think you might be interested in such a tool, head over
to .dnd or .archives and pick it up.

--
gha...@jade.tufts.edu
George W. Harris "He'd kill us if he had the chance."
Dept. of Mathematics
Tufts University The Conversation

John Cooper

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Jul 26, 1993, 12:50:47 PM7/26/93
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> What happens if you want to create a non-traditional wizard
> who is, unlike normal wizards, actually GOOD at hand-to-hand
> combat? Perhaps their magic is entwined innately with their
> combat abilities, but you can not create a straight wizard in AD&D*
> that can simulate this. (Note: You can get close with a dual/multi
> class fighter/wizard I *suppose* but I personally have problems with
> both types. Dual-class suggests that the character can no longer
> advance in either his magical or his martial abilities. Multi
> classing this character type faces the problem of split experience -
> the character develops much more slowly in both areas than would be
> anticipated).

There is a section in the 2nd ed. DMG that describes how to create your own
CLASSES for concepts that do not fit into the existing ones. As you point out,
a fighter/wizard dual/multi-class character scheme has a set of unwanted
problems and complications. The "solution" then would be to invent a class
that is a fighter that uses "combat magic" as part of its repetoire. This is
exactly what the new class creation "rules" were intended for.

Since AD&D is class-based, this is really the best you can hope for anyway.
Of course, I don't claim that the class creation rules are usable, only that
they are there (which is a lot more than can be said of 1st ed.).

> Example 1: Your Lawful Good paladin observes a number of orcs
> The orcs number a half dozen, and they are clustered around
> a large wooden stake to which is tied an unconscious female elf.
> There is a large amount of flammable fuel near the bottom of the
> stake - it is obvious that they intend to burn her into so much
> ash. What do you do? Of course you rush out and kill all the orcs
> and rescue the elf maiden, right?

Depends on the Paladin, I would think.

> *WRONG*. What if the elf is actually a necromancer who has been
> preying on a nearby orcish village - first killing orcs she finds
> wandering alone and then turning them into her undead slaves? The
> orcs are then justified in killing her.

Well, it certainly makes for more interesting scenarios...

> "But that isn't fair!" you say...
> *YES IT IS*. The symbolism here is the burning stake -
> traditionally left as a punishment for witchcraft. Given a few
> more subtle hints(I left in the stake as merely one example of
> how this could be done), the enterprising character could
> probably get the gist of what is going on if (s)he does some
> exploring.

The player might, but would the character?

> "What does this have to do with the subject at hand?" you ask.
> In this case, I would be willing to bet that 9 out of 10
> virtuous paladins will not bother to ask any questions before
> rushing in, sword drawn in attempt to satisfy their chivalric
> honor by rescuing the damsel in distress. So now the question
> remains - should the paladin receive experience points for
> acting on the behalf of the forces of Evil, or should he be
> penalized for playing in character(by recieving XP)?

This depends on character concept. There are a lot of thick Paladins out
there, running about tilting windmills. If a player consistently played an
implusive Paladin that always acted out of an over-developed sense of
romantic heroism, then, yes, the Paladin should get XPs for playing in
character. Is it the right thing to do morally? Perhaps not. But once the
Paladin learns of his error, you have a lot of further roleplaying potential.
Remember, the "correct" response to a situation is not the one every player
should be looking for. They should, IMO, be looking for the response that
best fits their character concept, for better or for worse.

-John

John J. Murphy

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Jul 26, 1993, 2:26:02 PM7/26/93
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Having followed the recent posts concerning AD&D1/AD&D2, I felt that
it must be said that, the flexibility of AD&D2 is PROVEN by such products
as Tome of Magic, Complete * Handbooks, Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Ravenloft,
Al Qadim (sp?), Dragonlance, and other varied supplements. If AD&D can
be adapted to these worlds/game additions, then the product is viably
FLEXIBLE (i.e. they can conform to the desires you have for your world).
The argument that you have to rewrite or throw out all the `rules' you dislike
is difficult to accept. Ignore or add to is closer to the truth. For those
that don't like the limited magic system, EXPAND it, thats what spell research
is for. The Complete * Handbooks themselves are purposefully left incomplete
because there is no way to say "this is absolutely, positively, the last word
on Fighters, no other types may exist".
As to the high cost, players/GM's lacking resources could utilize the
same ideas in the supplemented rules, ON THEIR OWN without requiring the
purchase of additional materials if they so choose. You want a Mage that
can use any type of weapon, do it, a specialist wizard with elemental magic,
define some low level spells (6-8 1st, 4-6 2nd?) and allow the characters
playing them to research new, higher level spells. Again this is adding to
the system, not creating a whole new system. A DM friend of mine once
created a MU class that used art (painting, sculpting) for magic.
Things like this were possible at varying levels:
Paint a door on a wall, then use it to escape.
Paint/sculpt a sword and use it.
Paint an optical illusion to confuse opponents.
...Many others which I cannot remember ATT.
All this was done using FIRST EDITION rules.
Sword wielding Wizards were never `forbidden' in AD&D1 as far as I can
recall. If a mage used a sword in combat, he would incur large weapon
non-proficiency penalties, thereby making such impractical. Of course that
mage also cannot gain proficiency in many weapons including swords "by the
rules", but as stated earlier, do what you want.

On a slightly different tack, I DO have a problem with hit points in
AD&D*, and would like to hear from others with experience in other systems,
regarding their equivalent in those systems. Perhaps a comparison, but at
least a description? Is there something more useful/accurate out there?


John J. Murphy
#include <std/disclaimer.h>
==============================================================================
`If ye canna talk yer way out, _______
beat it out.' / \
-- Auld Dwarfish Saeink / \
(___ ___)
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Bill Seurer

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Jul 26, 1993, 8:17:11 PM7/26/93
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In article <2317jq$q...@crchh327.bnr.ca>, gsmc...@bnr.ca (John J. Murphy) writes:
|>
|> Having followed the recent posts concerning AD&D1/AD&D2, I felt that
|> it must be said that, the flexibility of AD&D2 is PROVEN by such products
|> as Tome of Magic, Complete * Handbooks, Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Ravenloft,
|> Al Qadim (sp?), Dragonlance, and other varied supplements. If AD&D can
|> be adapted to these worlds/game additions, then the product is viably
|> FLEXIBLE (i.e. they can conform to the desires you have for your world).

While I think most of the "AD&D sucks" "No it doesn't" arguments are
pointless, I simply MUST disagree with the above.

Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Al Qadim, and Dragonlance were designed
as AD&D worlds from the start. They contain a few special rules here and
there, but are 90%+ normal AD&D. They literally REAK of AD&D throughout
their descriptions and stories.

Heck, just remember that the original Dragonlance novels were written as
a way to sell a whole new series of AD&D supplements. Doubtlessly this
success spurred on the other "new" worlds.
--

- Bill Seurer Language and Compiler Development IBM Rochester, MN
Internet: BillS...@vnet.ibm.com America On-Line: BillS...@aol.com

Matt=Goodall

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Jul 27, 1993, 3:32:43 AM7/27/93
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ice...@maple.circa.ufl.edu writes:

On experience, it must be said that I would give the paladin xp
. He has killed six orcs and so has become more skillfull at killing
orcs. The problem with xp is that it really should only apply to
fighting things, perhaps what I am suggesting is that players should have
xp tables for lots of things like fighting, magic, serving your god,
thieving and even roleplaying. What benefit do you get from roleplaying?
I think a certain amount of luck, simulated by the player gaining
a reroll of any one dice per "level" of roleplaying xp gained, useable
only once, (similar to karma in SR I).

Anyway back to the example, the paladin would gain fighting xp from
killing the orcs but would lose god xp for acting without giving
the orcs a chance to explain.

Experience in D&D is too general and many people are trying to make it
do too many things.

Matt


--
Matt Goodall
s89...@minyos.xx.rmit.oz.au
Famous last words: "Who's the bitch with the spiders?"
Famous last words: "I bet your a real wuss without Mjollnir!"

Clan Pooh Bear

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Jul 27, 1993, 1:08:31 PM7/27/93
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>ice...@maple.circa.ufl.edu writes:

> Also, while the rules state that you should not get experience
> points obtained while acting "out of alignment," that is neither
> a good rule in some cases and in others it's often too vague.
> Example 1: Your Lawful Good paladin observes a number of orcs
> The orcs number a half dozen, and they are clustered around
> a large wooden stake to which is tied an unconscious female elf.
> There is a large amount of flammable fuel near the bottom of the
> stake - it is obvious that they intend to burn her into so much
> ash. What do you do? Of course you rush out and kill all the orcs
> and rescue the elf maiden, right?

Yeah, that's what most characters are likely to do in any system. Reasons
range from the traditional fantasy outlook that orcs are evil and elves
are good to the more realistic "Hey, Axly, she's cute and doesn't have
a lot of clothes on. Let's save her."

> *WRONG*. What if the elf is actually a necromancer who has been
> preying on a nearby orcish village - first killing orcs she finds
> wandering alone and then turning them into her undead slaves? The
> orcs are then justified in killing her.

Except that they are burning cute elf maidens, and we have sharp
swords..

> "But that isn't fair!" you say...
> *YES IT IS*. The symbolism here is the burning stake -
> traditionally left as a punishment for witchcraft. Given a few
> more subtle hints(I left in the stake as merely one example of
> how this could be done), the enterprising character could
> probably get the gist of what is going on if (s)he does some
> exploring.

Excuse me if I point out here that to most enlightened individuals,
the burning of witches in our history isn't something considered a good
thing. I don't think anyone is likely to go "Oh, they are just burning
a witch" and pass on by.

> "What does this have to do with the subject at hand?" you ask.
> In this case, I would be willing to bet that 9 out of 10
> virtuous paladins will not bother to ask any questions before
> rushing in, sword drawn in attempt to satisfy their chivalric
> honor by rescuing the damsel in distress.

Well, of course he or she will. You've set up a situation that resembles
every tale of chivalric knights they have ever read. "Beautiful damsel
being threatened/captured by evil nasties." is a fairly common motif
in medieval folklore. Beauty = Good, Ugly = Evil is the fairly common
formula we see in fantasy literature.

> So now the question
> remains - should the paladin receive experience points for
> acting on the behalf of the forces of Evil, or should he be
> penalized for playing in character(by recieving XP)?

I think a more important question is "Why are you, the GM, setting
up a situation like this? " What's the point to it? Is this a
"Merchant of Venice" scenario where the players are supposed to learn
that looks aren't all that counts? If that's the point, then you
give XP if the paladin eventually figures out that the elf girl
is an evil nastiness.

Axly
*******************************************************************************
* Axly * "Is Axly tough? Yes. Talented? Yes. Brave? Oh, certainly. *
* Red Sword * He is also erratic, irresponsible, accident-prone, and a *
* Targa * constant threat to public safety. The trick is to keep him *
* * pointed in the right direction. " *
* * -Niki *
*******************************************************************************

Jim Edwards-Hewitt

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Jul 27, 1993, 1:30:40 PM7/27/93
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gsmc...@bnr.ca (John J. Murphy) writes:
>If AD&D can
>be adapted to these worlds/game additions, then the product is viably
>FLEXIBLE (i.e. they can conform to the desires you have for your world).
>The argument that you have to rewrite or throw out all the `rules' you dislike
>is difficult to accept. Ignore or add to is closer to the truth.

Would you care to explain the difference between "throwing out" and
"ignoring"?

-- Jim

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jim Edwards-Hewitt j...@visix.com | Aieee! Death from above!
Visix Software Inc. ...!uupsi!visix!jim | -- Sam&Max
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Cooper

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Jul 27, 1993, 2:29:36 PM7/27/93
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In article <2317jq$q...@crchh327.bnr.ca> gsmc...@bnr.ca (John J. Murphy) writes:
>The argument that you have to rewrite or throw out all the `rules' you dislike
>is difficult to accept. Ignore or add to is closer to the truth. For those
>that don't like the limited magic system, EXPAND it, thats what spell research
>is for. The Complete * Handbooks themselves are purposefully left incomplete
>because there is no way to say "this is absolutely, positively, the last word
>on Fighters, no other types may exist".

Suppose you want a campaign in which the magic system does not conform to
the "memorize your spells at the beginning of the day and they are forgotten
as soon as you cast them" form? Suppose you would like a magic system in
which spells are not learned, but in which spellcasting is simply an
expression of sheer willpower and imagination? Suppose magic is fuelled by
the dreams of the sleeping? Suppose you want astrologically aspected magic?
Do you realize how much new material you would have to invent without even
so much as a word of guidance as to how to make it work within the existing
AD&D framework? There is just too much guesswork in determining things like
spell levels for new spells (to maintain play balance), or whether or not
they should have V, S, or M components to them.

If I have in mind a new campaign world in which magic inherently works
very differently than the stock AD&D system, I am not going to invest a
lot of time making up my own mechanics for them just so I can graft it on
to the rest of AD&D. I would rather use the building blocks provided by
the Hero System; that's what they are there for. At least I'll have a
pretty good idea how powerful a new spell is (because it will have a point
cost when I'm done designing it).

THAT is flexibility. It does not require bending rules (when you bend them,
you take the chance that you will break play balance). Ignoring and expanding
are just different terms for "altering," and I'm always leery of arbitrary
changes to rules and mechanics. It is precisely because xD&D has always
required substantial alteration to make it suitable for my needs (as well
as the needs of legions of other players) that I left it gathering dust on
my gaming shelf. This is not to say that the Hero System is perfect. Far
from it. There are concepts which are hard to "build" using the Hero System,
but I've always found a simple, workable solution that fit nicely within
the existing framework. Because of this, I can adapt any background world
I can think of without inventing pages of new rules and mechanics (in fact,
given some of the concepts I am adapting, it is surprising how little I had
to invent or bend to make it all work).

> Sword wielding Wizards were never `forbidden' in AD&D1 as far as I can
>recall.

You recall wrong. Look at the table in 1st ed. Player's Guide. It states
quite specifically the range of allowable weapons by class. The only weapons
listed for Magic-Users were dagger, dart, and staff.

> If a mage used a sword in combat, he would incur large weapon
>non-proficiency penalties, thereby making such impractical. Of course that
>mage also cannot gain proficiency in many weapons including swords "by the
>rules", but as stated earlier, do what you want.

This is 2nd ed. enlightenment. The same enlightenment that recognized that
not all clerics should be limited to blunt weapons (another 1st ed. beauty).

> On a slightly different tack, I DO have a problem with hit points in
>AD&D*, and would like to hear from others with experience in other systems,
>regarding their equivalent in those systems. Perhaps a comparison, but at
>least a description? Is there something more useful/accurate out there?

At the risk of showing my Hero bias again, I would just point out that the
Hero System has two types of "hit points." STUN and BODY. BODY are your
"hit points" in the sense that your character dies when all of them are
gone (actually, you are "dying" when you reach 0, you are dead when you
lose twice your BODY). STUN represents the amount of non-lethal damage you
can take before being knocked out, and it is invariably higher than your
BODY. Normal attacks in the Hero System deliver both a STUN and a BODY
component of damage. A typical attack with a club (3D6 or 4D6 for an
ordinary human attacker) will deliver on average 10-14 points of STUN
and 3 or 4 points of BODY. Because a normal human's body can absorb 2
points of (both kinds of) damage, only 8-12 points of STUN will get
through and only 1 or 2 points of BODY. Since a normal human has 20 STUN
and 10 BODY to begin with, an ordinary human will go unconscious after
two blows and have a bruised rib or two. This kind of damage is called
"Normal" damage to distinguish it from its more lethal sibling, "Killing"
damage.

Killing Attacks are much worse. They also deliver a STUN and BODY component,
but the BODY damage is much higher and ignores normal defenses (those 2
points I mentioned). A sword will typically deliver 7 points of BODY and 17.5
STUN, all of which will penetrate a normal person's natural toughness. In two
blows (or one good one), a normal person is unconscious and bleeding to death
(and will be dead in little more than a minute). An optional Hit Location
table can as much as double the damage depending on where a weapon hits, adding
even more lethality if you like it (not to mention the optional Impairing
and Bleeding mechanics).

Now most characters are tougher than normals and they tend to wear armor
and other kinds of protective garb (magic items?), but getting hit by
killing weapons is not a laughing matter, even in the Hero System. Of
course, I'm speaking mostly of fantasy and other "low-level" campaigns.
Superheroes are a different breed. They typically have natural defenses
(force fields, tough skin, powered armor, etc.) that can shrug off LAW
rockets, and consequently are very hard to kill. Just the same, most
supers pack a pretty good punch (of the Normal, non-lethal damage variety)
and can knock each other out in a few good blows...

I happen to think this system is ideal because a campaign can be scaled
to any level of lethality or epic heroism (read: non-realism) you want.
Swords and guns do not have to be Killing Attacks if you don't want them
to be (in fact, the standard Dragon's Breath attack is usually just an
Energy Blast, not a Killing Attack). GURPS Supers tried to kludge a STUN
system onto their hit point-based system and most I've spoken with didn't
feel it worked very well. You'd have to decide for yourself if AD&D could
benefit from something similar.

Cheers,
-John

JOHN MARTIN KARAKASH

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Jul 27, 1993, 2:35:02 PM7/27/93
to

|>Heck, just remember that the original Dragonlance novels were written as
|>a way to sell a whole new series of AD&D supplements. Doubtlessly this
|>success spurred on the other "new" worlds.

Yep. In fact at Dragon-Con one of the people who works for
TSR (who had some *interesting* and probably libelous stories to tell=) )
said that DragonLance saved TSR from bankruptcy (along with another
product, an influx of new investment, new management, etc.). I guess
they figured, "Hey, this works! Let's try it again!"

-john-

Jason L. Winter

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Jul 26, 1993, 11:46:32 PM7/26/93
to
In article <2317jq$q...@crchh327.bnr.ca> gsmc...@bnr.ca (John J. Murphy) writes:
> Having followed the recent posts concerning AD&D1/AD&D2, I felt that
>it must be said that, the flexibility of AD&D2 is PROVEN by such products
>as [list deleted]


The existance of the Handbooks, etc, does NOT prove that the AD&D rules are
flexible. These are all additions, not modifications. You can have as many
of them as you want, and it doesn't prove a thing. NO game system is
complete, not AD&D, not GURPS, not Hero, nothing. You can always add to a
system. Flexibility has nothing to do with it.

John J Cassidy

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Jul 28, 1993, 2:50:25 PM7/28/93
to
Andrew Ross writes:
ice...@maple.circa.ufl.edu writes:

( long discussion about one paladin's plot twist deleted )

>> should the paladin receive experience points for
>> acting on the behalf of the forces of Evil, or should he be
>> penalized for playing in character(by recieving XP)?

> He should be given full XP, a minor admonition to check references
>before setting maidens free, and told to go get that nasty sorceress. Case
>closed. :)
>

I think that if alignments are to be any kind of roleplaying tool,
that they should be seen as part of the paladin, and not as rules that he
measures up to. There should be a "character-reason" of why he does what he
does. Who would be a paladin if he didn't like the job description?
However, it doesn't have to be because you like what you're doing.
It could be that your family has a heritage of paladinhood, and you think you
like it, but your just doing it to please your forefathers, or maybe receive
and inheritance, win the love of a lass who sides with your family's position
-- or who is impressed by paladinhood. Or certain paladins only like the
power that comes from the profession. They do the acts to gain the power. And
maybe with the proper god, the god doesn't care about their heart, and
only concentrates on the actions. Then a character being good is a character
being good, regardless of what the intentions are.
There should be many ways to be LG. Good intentions, pure heart,
wise decisions, blind obiedience to superiors, or just a good facsimile of
those. Correspondingly there should be many reasons why the paladin would
attack: Afraid that not doing so would not convince others of his virtue,
his intention to be a paladin like his father; afraid that not doing so would
be frowned on by most of his fellow paladins; innocently believing that all
is as it seems; similar experiences from childhood; in the case of the
power-mongering paladin, because they think the can ( somebody is doing
something that he can normally beat them up for ... CHARGE! ); etc.
Now XP, should be given on how well the encounter was roleplayed.
Did the whole thing put us to sleep? Was the decision of no consequence
whatsoever? Depending on the character that the player has stated before
what does he think, what does he do, and in what manner does he do it.
What does he do after he finds out that he was wrong? A serious atonement
or pennance? Or does he rationalize with it -- the character that is,
strident tones from the player on how what he did was really good, regardless
of the outcome does not make great roleplay. What is really important with
me is why the character does what he does, and what he does afterward.
Also gods are not just generic gods. You could make it so that each
LG god has a different take on just exactly what Law is and what Good is --
like the oddly bureaucratic god above. And if they have different views,
they are going to view the same action differently.
On the other hand, I don't think alignments are a particularly good
roleplaying tool. I think that just like everything else in D&D you would
have to modify the concept for it even to work. And I think that since D&D
has traditionally lumped personality into this narrow concept, that arguments
like the XP and the paladin will perpetuate. Some ideas should be focussed.
What does XP mean? How is it gained? And so on.
In my Hero game xp is a faction of the GM, plays no part whatsoever
in the "world". It only represents reward for a good story and the type of
improvement we can expect from fictional characters, so that they can win the
fights that they have to win. Bad characters are bad characters; I don't see
why I have to make them the her of our story.

>Edward Pearce Ross
>
>ajr...@husc.harvard.edu
>


John J Cassidy cas...@cps.msu.edu
~~%%%%%%%~%%%%%%%~%%%%%%%~%%%%~%%%%%%%~%%%%%%%~%%%%%~~
"She can turn you to stone.
You're suitably impressed. " -- Steve Hackett, Narnia

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