Is AD&D really that bad?

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Bryant Berggren (Vox Ludator)

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Jun 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/21/98
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On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 02:13:42 -0500, Steve Stair
<sstair...@iname.com> wrote:
> I think it is fair to criticise AD&D for being too hack-n-slash. The
> gamesystem rewards players for killing things and taking stuff. If you
> have found a way around this by awarding experience based on other
> criteria, then you are not playing AD&D anymore.

Unless, of course, you're playing 2nd Edition, which removes the XP
for "taking stuff", broadens the "killing things" into "defeating
things", and adds items like "story goals" to the XP equation.

In other words, this /particular/ criticism is no /longer/ entirely
fair.

--

Bryant Berggren (Vox Ludator)

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Jun 21, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/21/98
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On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 04:10:05 GMT, jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu (Joseph
Fernandez) wrote:

>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers?

As has been said before, there's nothing "sudden" about it. If you've
noticed an upswing, blame it on the wearing away of tolerance levels
from constant irritation.

> Almost every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a
> hack and slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying.

This depends strongly on what the reviewer considers "roleplaying" to
be. As gamers drift more towards the "collective novella" model of
adventuring (as opposed to the "voluntary hallucination" model), and
more towards freeform, off-the-cuff mechanics (including diceless
systems) over more concrete rules, AD&D has less and less to offer
them. Often, these reviews thus have less to do with what the GAME is
emphasizing in play than what the reviewer is emphasizing as his
definition of "roleplaying".

> I for one am a hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally
> without merit. The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on
> roleplaying than why have the AD&D game worlds (especially the
> Forgotten Realms) become so well developed. Well enough to write
> dozens of novels.

Roleplaying has very, very little to do with authorship; the tools and
talents that make a good roleplaying game are not the same as those
that make a good novel. Notice that storylines of the TSR novels are
generally told IN SPITE of the AD&D game rather than because of it --
the worlds portrayed in the novel function in ways starkly different
than an AD&D game world. For example, wizards in the novels seem to be
using magic more like GURPS mages than AD&D versions.

> My experience with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many
> opportunities for roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of
> the DM.

This is true of any game, for the simple fact that much of any
roleplaying session never *involves* the game rules itself. Until
something critical (e.g. a fight) breaks out, HERO is AD&D is GURPS is
Ars Magica is ...

(As a tangent, it always bugs me to read a review of a game by someone
who comments, as a positive trait, that they "almost never had to
resort to the mechanics". That's like saying a car model is great
because you almost never had to drive it anywhere. I want to know how
it performs after I've had to drive it EVERYWHERE, nonstop with no
tuneup. :] ).

> While I don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other
> than a little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can
> capture the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

Your first word shouldn't be "while", which implies a contradictory
following clause. It should be "because". It's only logical that you
won't see anything as good as AD&D when you've ONLY seen AD&D. This
sentence is tantamount to admitting your entire post is literally just
an uninformed opinion. It would be like me saying "While I've never
left the borders of my home state, I can't see that any nation could
possibly be more civilized and enlightened than the United States."
(If I said that as anything but a hypothetical grammar comparison, I'd
get flamed nastily, and I'd DESERVE it, too).

--

Joseph Fernandez

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost

every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying. I for one am a

hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
well developed. Well enough to write dozens of novels. My experience

with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM. While I

Jaana Heino

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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Joseph Fernandez wrote:
>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers?

Suddenly? Hasn't this been going on for at least ten years or so? :)

>have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
>well developed. Well enough to write dozens of novels.

Most would argue "not dozens of good ones, though". I tend to agree.

>My experience
>with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
>roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM. While I
>don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
>little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
>the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

In my experience, the system used has very little to do with style of
play and the emphasis of the game. What matters is the GM's and the
players' interests.

--
Jaana Heino----------------------email: jant...@cc.helsinki.fi----
Iivisniemenkuja 4 F 70---------------------------------------------
02260 Espoo-------------------------"Power corrupts, but we--------
FINLAND------------------------------still need electricity."------

Brett Evill

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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In article <6mklg9$d...@bgtnsc03.worldnet.att.net>,
jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu (Joseph Fernandez) wrote:

>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers?

It isn't all that sudden. The roleplayers I have known over the years have
been giving AD&D this bad rap for seventeen years, and I am sure that
others have been doing the same for longer.

You like AD&D, of course. But for my tastes it is to long, too expensive,
too complicated, too full of unreasonable rules and incapable of
representing the sorts of things I want in my campaign: like a master
swordsman who things twice before jumping off a thirty-foot wall.

I just don't think that the class-level system is a good foundation on
which to represent humans, although I am told that is is suitable for
rabbits.

--
Brett Evill

To reply by e-mail, remove 'spamblocker.' from <b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au>

Sea Wasp

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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Joseph Fernandez wrote:
>
> Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost
> every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
> slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying. I for one am a
> hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
> The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
> have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
> well developed.

Game world =/= game system. A good, non-D&D example of this is Middle
Earth. The Rolemaster rules are, overall, totally unsuited to play in
Tolkien's world. However, ICE's adaptation of the material in the
GENERAL roleplay sense is magnificent. I don't use RM rules, but I DO
use ICE's Middle Earth material as sourcebooks and translate where
needed.

AD&D's game system is antiquated, using many clumsy mechanics and
carrying with it all the flaws of the original, never having changed ANY
of the basic system in all its history. Played *AS WRITTEN*, *D&D gives
experience MOSTLY for the kill-and-loot approach; even in areas where
they were trying to allow for experience for other things, once you get
to medium-to-high levels, the ONLY way to advance your character is to
whack things; try getting 500,000 experience points any other way and
you'll be playing for centuries. THAT is why people call it "hack and
slash" oriented; while the game worlds may be decent for roleplaying,
the system isn't. It doesn't have built-in rewards sufficient to
motivate people to play any other way. Now, if you're a roleplayer by
habit, you'll do so anyway, but if you COULD be a roleplayer but have
always been more of a wargamer, you won't waste your energies
roleplaying when it's not going to get you anything.

While I
> don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
> little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
> the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

If you haven't tried other systems, then OBVIOUSLY you can't see any
other system that would work. Before you can judge, you need to try
other systems. I've played dozens, maybe hundreds, of RPG systems. Thus
I think of myself as pretty highly qualified to judge.

--
Sea Wasp http://www.wizvax.net/seawasp/index.html
/^\
;;;
_Morgantown: The Jason Wood Chronicles_, at http://www.hyperbooks.com

Steve Stair

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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Joseph Fernandez wrote:

> Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers?

I don't think it is all that sudden. It has been my experience that
mostgood role-players eventually choose another system.


> Almost
> every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
> slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying.

I think it is fair to criticise AD&D for being too hack-n-slash. The


gamesystem rewards players for killing things and taking stuff. If you
have found
a way around this by awarding experience based on other criteria, then you

are not playing AD&D anymore.

> I for one am a
> hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
> The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
> have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so

> well developed. Well enough to write dozens of novels.

It is not any emphasis on role-playing that has led to the development of
theAD&D worlds, it is MONEY. I've often wished that 1/10 of the effort
that
is put into AD&D development would be put into a good system.


> My experience
> with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
> roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM.

This is true in any system, but I believe that in AD&D, instead of there
beingmore for a good GM to work with, there is more to overcome.


> While I
> don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
> little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
> the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

I think you have answered your own question. Try other systems.
You just have to realize that the developers of AD&D were coming
from wargaming. That mindset made the system what it is, for good
or bad. Experience tells me that first product on the market is not
usually the best, and systems developed by designers some of whom
learned from the mistakes of AD&D are out there.

--
Steve Stair
sstair...@iname.com

Brian Gleichman

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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Steve Stair wrote in message <358E0426...@iname.com>...

>I think you have answered your own question. Try other systems.
>You just have to realize that the developers of AD&D were coming
>from wargaming. That mindset made the system what it is, for good
>or bad.


I take exception. Wargaming doesn't deserve this slam.

AD&D would have been a much better system if Wargaming simulation
requirements had been followed. But those requirements were dumped by TSR
dating from the original Chainmail onwards.


William H. Stoddard

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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In article <6mklg9$d...@bgtnsc03.worldnet.att.net>,
jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu (Joseph Fernandez) wrote:

> Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost


> every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and

> slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying.... While I


> don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
> little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
> the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

I've never owned any edition of AD&D, so I've tended not to comment on it,
on the grounds that I'm not competent to do so. I have played in other
people's campaigns of it, but never for long; they tended not to offer
what I personally liked in fantasy role-playing.

But if you haven't any experience with other roleplaying systems, you're
not in any better position to judge their merits than I am to judge the
merits of AD&D. "I can't imagine how anything could be better" may be
just evidence of the poverty of your imagination. People who COULD
imagine something better went on to write RuneQuest, Chivalry and Sorcery,
Ars Magica, Fantasy Hero, GURPS, and a long list of other games.

If AD&D is what you fell in love with, more power to you. But don't
denigrate what you haven't tried; and don't complain of other people
dismissing your game as valueless if you're going to do the same for
theirs.

--
William H. Stoddard whs...@primenet.net

You'll be sure to find him resting, or a-licking of his thumbs,
Or engaged in doing complicated long division sums.
(T. S. Eliot, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats")

Tim Westlake

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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Joseph Fernandez wrote in message <6mklg9$d...@bgtnsc03.worldnet.att.net>...


>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost
>every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack
>and slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying.


Short answer: No
Long answer : Maybe

You can have a good, thoughtful ROLEPLAYING game in any system. Similarly
you can have a hack and slash muchkin fest in any system. Some systems
*tend* to one form or another and D&D can easily tend to the later.

>little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
>the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

A lot depends on the type of game you want. If you would like a chivalric
environment then Chiliry and Sorcey or Pendragon will lead you down that
route much more easily than D&D will because the systems is designed for a
chivalric setting with knights, damsels etc. If you want a game that focuses
on a shamic environment then Runequest is good, again because of the focus
of the system. MERP is still the best system for playing in Tolkiens Middle
Earth. D&D is a relatively generic "fantasy" world with generic orcs,
trolls, elves and dwarves. If that is what you are aiming for then D&D is
your system.

> My experience
>with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
>roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM.

This is really the nub of the issue. A good ref will make a good game
regardless of the system.

Tim

Joseph Teller

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 04:10:05 GMT, jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu (Joseph
Fernandez) wrote:

>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost
>every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and

>slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying. I for one am a


>hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
>The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
>have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so

>well developed. Well enough to write dozens of novels. My experience


>with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for

>roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM. While I


>don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a

>little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
>the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

Suddenly? AD&D has had a 'bad rap' from many gamers since the late 80s
becase of their actions and policies. Seems to me like you haven't
been around in the wider gaming world, and thus missed all the
activity.

Your inexperience with anything else except 'a little knowledge of
GURPS' shows that you haven't seen much - there are hundreds of other
game systems out there, both commercial and free.

Drop by my website, it has one of the most up to date and wide ranging
selections of gaming links and materials so that you can expose your
mind to other possibilities....

Joe


Joe Teller f...@ici.net
The Fantasy Realms Journal Online
http://www.fantasyrealms.simplenet.com

Mike Nudd

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 04:10:05 GMT, jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu (Joseph
Fernandez) wrote:

>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost
>every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
>slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying. I for one am a
>hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
>The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
>have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
>well developed. Well enough to write dozens of novels. My experience
>with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
>roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM. While I
>don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
>little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
>the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.


Hmmm....

Like any RPG, AD&D has the potential to be a very good game indeed.
If the players and DM take invest time, energy and creativity, they
will get a very rewarding experience.

Unfortunately, the bare bones of AD&D is rules, and poor ones at that.
They represent a solo, real-time, tactical combat system, with
non-combat attatchments, and not much more. There is nothing within
the core of the game that encourages people to create *characters*,
with personalities, hates, fears, fetishes and quirks. There is
nothing within the core of the game that encourages DM's to create
original, thrilling scenarios and NPC's.

Many other, newer RPGs are written really well in comparison, and
manage to capture the flavour of genres and settings much better. The
systems they employ actually force you to think about your
*character*, rather than his set of vital, physical statistics. Hence,
considering the present state of the RPG market, AD&D, in comparison
to other games, lies quite low on the scale of 'well-written
role-playing games'.

I don't like to knock the game, but that's the way it is. I've played
many great games of AD&D, but this had nothing to do with the game
itself - it was the quality of people I played with. Now I've played
better, more original and creative games, I will never go back to
playing AD&D. Many gamers are frustrated because they see time, effort
and money going towards a game which has quite simply outlived it's
day.

So there.
:¬>

---
teacosy


John S. Novak

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 04:10:05 GMT, Joseph Fernandez
<jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu> wrote:

>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers?

Sudden? Where have you ben?

> Almost
>every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
>slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying. I for one am a
>hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
>The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
>have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
>well developed. Well enough to write dozens of novels.

Well first, no one ever got rich by overestimating the tastes of the
general public. Just because something sells a lot of units, for
whatever reason, doesn't mean it is _good_. Look, for instance, at
the deplorable state of the PC computer industry where the most
popular operating system hardly goes three consecutive days without a
reboot, and couldn't manage memory if kept a double entry ledger.

Second, the mechanics themselves are cumbersome, idiosyncratic, wildly
unrealistic, and in many cases, just plain goofy. Take the spell
casting system, which is just... weird. Yes, I know that it mimics
Jack Vance's _Dying Earth_ system, but Jack Vance's _Dying Earth_
system is goofy in and of itself.

Or perhaps the lumbering kludge thatis the advancement system. First,
it was single classes, one for each, so rigidily defined that a magic
user could pick up anything sturdier than a dagger or a quarterstaff.
Then we got dual and multi-class characters (and there is, as I
recall, a difference between the two) and then someone had the bright
idea of non-weapon proficiencies, and finially (I guess) those great
big books full of "A hundred and one ways to make AD&D look like a
skills based system, not a class-based system" for fighters, thieves,
mages, etc. Predictably, this has led to a system which is more a
limping Frankenstinian behemoth than anything else.

Other examples abound.

Third, I will admit that some of their gameworlds are interesting.
Krynn held my interest for a little bit when I was much younger (as,
no doubt, it was intended for younger players.) The Forgotten Realms
are somewhat interesting as well. Or they were, before that silliness
with the Avatars and whatnot. But this hardly means that the system
for which they are written is good in itself.

>My experience
>with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
>roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM.

The quality of the game always depends on the GM.
It also always depends on the players.
And it also always depends on the system.

> While I
>don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
>little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
>the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

<Snort>

Why not actually _try_ another system?
Speaking from a position of knowledge, rather than hot air
speculation, might be a novel experience.

--
John S. Novak, III j...@cris.com
The Humblest Man on the Net

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
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On 22 Jun 1998 18:22:41 EDT, J...@mariner.cris.com (John S. Novak)
wrote:

>On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 04:10:05 GMT, Joseph Fernandez
><jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu> wrote:
>
>>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers?
>
>Sudden? Where have you ben?
>

Yes. People have disdained AD&D for quite some time. But many of
AD&D's detractors persist in the false assumption that their views and
tastes in systems are somehow more valid than those of others.

>> Almost
>>every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
>>slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying. I for one am a
>>hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
>>The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
>>have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
>>well developed. Well enough to write dozens of novels.
>
>Well first, no one ever got rich by overestimating the tastes of the
>general public. Just because something sells a lot of units, for
>whatever reason, doesn't mean it is _good_. Look, for instance, at
>the deplorable state of the PC computer industry where the most
>popular operating system hardly goes three consecutive days without a
>reboot, and couldn't manage memory if kept a double entry ledger.
>

I don't find AD&D novels to be a great tout for AD&D either. In
general, I find franchise novels to be much less enjoyable than
"regular novels." However, though sales do not speak solely of
quality, they speak louder than the voices of detractors. As much as I
detest WoD, for example, it's sales are certainly testament that a lot
of people enjoy it.

>Second, the mechanics themselves are cumbersome, idiosyncratic, wildly
>unrealistic, and in many cases, just plain goofy. Take the spell
>casting system, which is just... weird. Yes, I know that it mimics
>Jack Vance's _Dying Earth_ system, but Jack Vance's _Dying Earth_
>system is goofy in and of itself.

IYO. There's nothing that can be described as "goofy" about the way
magic works, since you have no real world model to compare it to. All
you can say is that it doesn't work the way YOU think it should work.

Even so, many people who don't like the way the Vancian explaination
works notive that it quite neatly approximates the AMBER magic system
if you simply change the assumptions behind the magic.

>Or perhaps the lumbering kludge thatis the advancement system. First,
>it was single classes, one for each, so rigidily defined that a magic
>user could pick up anything sturdier than a dagger or a quarterstaff.

Unfortunately for you, these limitations make sense. In
pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
skill based systems. It's not that some strange force prevents you
from picking up a sword. It is just not realistic to assume that you
would learn to use one well if you spent all your time learning magic.

Even if you don't buy that, AD&D has the advantage of being about the
simplest game outside of perhaps FUDGE to modify.

>Then we got dual and multi-class characters (and there is, as I
>recall, a difference between the two) and then someone had the bright
>idea of non-weapon proficiencies, and finially (I guess) those great
>big books full of "A hundred and one ways to make AD&D look like a
>skills based system, not a class-based system" for fighters, thieves,
>mages, etc. Predictably, this has led to a system which is more a
>limping Frankenstinian behemoth than anything else.
>

Gee, yet below you have the gall to tell this person to try before you
judge. You are a hypocrite. I dare say that the Player's Option system
is the first point based system I have seen that actually has a
reasonable balance between the point values of advantages and
disadvantages. By comparison, GURPS' and HERO's disadvantages are
laughably giving.

>Other examples abound.

Which are, just like this, entirely IYV.

>
>Third, I will admit that some of their gameworlds are interesting.
>Krynn held my interest for a little bit when I was much younger (as,
>no doubt, it was intended for younger players.) The Forgotten Realms
>are somewhat interesting as well. Or they were, before that silliness
>with the Avatars and whatnot. But this hardly means that the system
>for which they are written is good in itself.
>

I disdain TSR's published worlds beyond planescape. I use AD&D because
of its flexibility when making my world. Don't fool yourself.

>>My experience
>>with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
>>roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM.
>
>The quality of the game always depends on the GM.
>It also always depends on the players.
>And it also always depends on the system.

No, not always. Quality of a system is greatly subjective. I think
GURPS and WoD stink on ice. But many people seem to have fun with it.
More power to 'em. I have fun with AD&D.

Some people like to pigeonhole AD&D as a hack-n-slash game. IME, WoD
is FAR more subject to this kind of abuse than AD&D. I think AD&D gets
this reputation since so many people play it when they were young
before they know better. But for the most part, I think that many
player like this individual stick to their guns and are confused where
this disdain for AD&D comes from because they have had nothing but
good experiences with it. Most of AD&D's detractors have falsely
identified AD&D with their own immaturity.

>> While I
>>don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
>>little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
>>the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.
>
><Snort>
>
>Why not actually _try_ another system?
>Speaking from a position of knowledge, rather than hot air
>speculation, might be a novel experience.

Okay. I have tried other systems as no minor excurion and I'll pitch
in with him.

I have yet to use a system that I feel captures fantasy as well as
AD&D2. Fantasy Hero came close, simply because of it's enormous
flexibility, but IMO its inherent complexity keeps it from having the
right feel. I've tried many other fantasy systems -- Palladium
Fnatasy, Bushido (if you count oriental), Arcanum, WHFRP, Fifth
Cycle, Stormbringer, Elric, GURPS Fantasy, RoleMaster / MERP, Ars
Magica, and many others that I've probably missed. Many of those have
interesting characteristics, but on the whole, I don't find them not
quite as robust and flexible as AD&D2:PO for running a fantasy game.


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Alan D Kohler <hwk...@REMOVE2REPLYpoky.srv.net>
(6/1) Updated Players guide for Starfarer free net SFRPG system!
General: http://poky.srv.net/~hwkwnd/homepage.html
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John S. Novak

unread,
Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
to

On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 23:49:58 GMT, Alan D Kohler
<hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> wrote:

>Yes. People have disdained AD&D for quite some time. But many of
>AD&D's detractors persist in the false assumption that their views and
>tastes in systems are somehow more valid than those of others.

If you can't tell an opinion piece when you see one, there is little
hope for you. I'm not going to label an obvious opinion piece with
"IMO" every five lines for your benefit.

>I don't find AD&D novels to be a great tout for AD&D either. In
>general, I find franchise novels to be much less enjoyable than
>"regular novels." However, though sales do not speak solely of
>quality, they speak louder than the voices of detractors. As much as I
>detest WoD, for example, it's sales are certainly testament that a lot
>of people enjoy it.

...In much the same way that many people with a wide variety of gaming
experience disdain AD&D. This line is futile, but my point remains--
sales alone do not now, nor have they ever been a great indicator
of quality. Other factors exist, including consumer ignorance, peer
pressure, and plain old advertising.

Anyone who claims that a game (or any other product) is high quality,
simply because of sales, is guilty of using those sales as an
advertising point.

>>Second, the mechanics themselves are cumbersome, idiosyncratic, wildly
>>unrealistic, and in many cases, just plain goofy. Take the spell
>>casting system, which is just... weird. Yes, I know that it mimics
>>Jack Vance's _Dying Earth_ system, but Jack Vance's _Dying Earth_
>>system is goofy in and of itself.

>IYO. There's nothing that can be described as "goofy" about the way
>magic works, since you have no real world model to compare it to. All
>you can say is that it doesn't work the way YOU think it should work.

Please.
Forgetting spells after you cast them?

>Even so, many people who don't like the way the Vancian explaination
>works notive that it quite neatly approximates the AMBER magic system
>if you simply change the assumptions behind the magic.

I've never liked Amber magic, either, or much of anything (with the
possible exception of Mandor, as a character) that slithered out of
the second set of five books.

And beyond that, the AD&D world _hasn't_, so far as I know, changed he
assumptions behind the magic. AD&D mages by and large are not coiling
magical powers up and then releasing them, they are memorizing and
then forgetting them.

No sale.

>>Or perhaps the lumbering kludge thatis the advancement system. First,
>>it was single classes, one for each, so rigidily defined that a magic
>>user could pick up anything sturdier than a dagger or a quarterstaff.

>Unfortunately for you, these limitations make sense. In
>pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
>ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
>skill based systems. It's not that some strange force prevents you
>from picking up a sword. It is just not realistic to assume that you
>would learn to use one well if you spent all your time learning magic.

...And that would explain why, in Krynn, magic users were
literally forbidden from using anything more than a dagger or a
staff?

Sure thing.

>Even if you don't buy that, AD&D has the advantage of being about the
>simplest game outside of perhaps FUDGE to modify.

A lesser man would sieze the opportunity to jump up and down and
demand that you put "In your opinion" in that paragraph. However, I
can distinguish what is clearly an opinion, as I trust you can
determine that my opinion differs.

>>Then we got dual and multi-class characters (and there is, as I
>>recall, a difference between the two) and then someone had the bright
>>idea of non-weapon proficiencies, and finially (I guess) those great
>>big books full of "A hundred and one ways to make AD&D look like a
>>skills based system, not a class-based system" for fighters, thieves,
>>mages, etc. Predictably, this has led to a system which is more a
>>limping Frankenstinian behemoth than anything else.

>Gee, yet below you have the gall to tell this person to try before you
>judge. You are a hypocrite.

I don't think that word means what you think it means.
I stuck with AD&D for many years, until it became patently obvious
that the horse had died, and been placed on a sinking ship.

Then, I played other games.
I _have_ a breadth of experience, which is what I asked the other
player to develop.

>Some people like to pigeonhole AD&D as a hack-n-slash game. IME, WoD
>is FAR more subject to this kind of abuse than AD&D. I think AD&D gets
>this reputation since so many people play it when they were young
>before they know better. But for the most part, I think that many
>player like this individual stick to their guns and are confused where
>this disdain for AD&D comes from because they have had nothing but
>good experiences with it. Most of AD&D's detractors have falsely
>identified AD&D with their own immaturity.

All of this is very nice, but has nothing to do with anything I
actually said.

>>Why not actually _try_ another system?
>>Speaking from a position of knowledge, rather than hot air
>>speculation, might be a novel experience.

>Okay. I have tried other systems as no minor excurion and I'll pitch
>in with him.

Down boy.
Pitch in with him all you like.
Play anything all you like.

But the poster asked why other people look down on AD&D, and he has
received a multitude of answers. Try not to construe these as
personal attacks, especially since they have all been more or less
cordial. Taking these things personally makes you look like a twerp.

Pete Hardie

unread,
Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
to

Joseph Fernandez wrote:
>
> Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers?

I've been critical of D&D for almost 20 years now, as have been many of
the people
I have read here and played with.

> Almost
> every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
> slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying. I for one am a
> hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
> The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
> have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
> well developed.

Are they becoming developed *by players* or *by novelists*? There is a
great
difference between the actions of a writer and a gamer, and AFAIK, TSR
never used
game sequences in the novels.

> Well enough to write dozens of novels. My experience


> with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for

> roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM. While I


> don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
> little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
> the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

While I will heartily agree that the quality of GM (and game group)
makes all the
difference, D&D has a number of flaws that make it harder to manage
this.

1) use of different systems for different sorts of actions - Magic uses
one system
to cast spells, weapon combat uses another, unarmed combat yet another,
psionics
a 4th, etc.
2) Inconsistent results of actions crossing those systems - play a
halfling thief vs half-orc
fighter with weapons and then without.
3) class-based system does not map well to the fictional characters and
genres desired by
gamers - witness the large number of violations of the rules required
to represent
Conan, Fafhrd & Mouser, etc.
4) combat system clunky - armor classes having negative as better,
weapon speed factors vs
armor *types* almost never used.
5) Hit points are too broad an abstraction for too many things.

...and that's just the objective ones - my opinions range onwards to
stupid classes, kludgey races,
patchwork add-ons, etc.

Pete

Pete Hardie

unread,
Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
to

Alan D Kohler wrote:
>
> On 23 Jun 1998 00:28:14 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
> (Brett Evill) wrote:
>
> >In article <358ee452...@news.srv.net>,

> >hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
> >
> >> In
> >>pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
> >>ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
> >>skill based systems.
> >
> >Balderdash. Unsubstantiable anhistorical untruth!
>
> If you say so... Then how did the term "renassiance man," meaning a
> jack of all trades come about?

Actually, Renassiance Man means more a person with broad education in
the
upper class interests of war, theology, philosophy, natural philosophy,
and
the like. Lower class skills were not a part of this.

>
> Simple. Tendencies to dable were not common until the renassiance
> brought about changing attitudes in education.

More likely due to the growth of a middle class that could aspire to
better
education, and a more humanistic set of ideals, as opposed to the
earlier
religious staticism.

>
> And that is the substantiable historical truth.

Can you point out some writings that support this view?

Pete

John S. Novak

unread,
Jun 22, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/22/98
to

On Tue, 23 Jun 1998 01:28:13 GMT, Alan D Kohler
<hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> wrote:

>I have never assumed that anyone's opinions are more than that. au
>contraire. You will note that in my post I have adopted a "for each
>their own" attitude. However, if I had a nickel for every "AD&D is a
>hack&slash game because of its inferior system" tirade...

Even though you berate me for expressing _my_ opinion at the outset.
No sale.

>>Anyone who claims that a game (or any other product) is high quality,
>>simply because of sales, is guilty of using those sales as an
>>advertising point.

>You elude the point.

On the contrary, I met the point head on, and denied it.

>A while back, there was a primestar / Clay Walker
>commercial quoting some bullcrap about "how can x thousand screaming
>fans be wrong." Well, they can't. They can't be wrong any more than
>they can be right because it is a matter of opinion.

The ultimate refutation, which you will no doubt take as a flame:
"Eat shit. Ten trillion flies can't be wrong."

>>Please.
>>Forgetting spells after you cast them?

>It's magic. Why shouldn't they behave that way? Sure, I don't forget
>calculus equations after I use them. But guess what. That's NOT magic.

Because it's _goofy_.
There's not even a shread of rationalization for it.

>If AD&D had lost it's appeal to you, then that's your bag. That has
>nothing to do with hypocrisy... perhaps YOU don't understand the
>meaning of a word.

>But when you practice the very behavior you condemn - namely, judging
>a product that you have never tried - then you are guilty of
>hypocrisy.

Son, I've already told told you-- I played AD&D for many years. I
hung around in backroom game shops for even longer, listening in on
AD&D games while I played other stuff.

Unless they ripped the entire structure of the class system down and
replaced it with something _entirely new_ but are still calling it
AD&D, I know quite a bit, having followed the development of the game
for upwards of fifteen years.

I _think_ that should be sufficient.

>>All of this is very nice, but has nothing to do with anything I
>>actually said.

>Perhaps not directly. But I was addressing the all too familiar
>concerns about a perfectly acceptable game being pigeonholed for being
>prone to "hack-n-slash." A notion which I percieved you as agreeing
>with by the response "And it also always depends of the system."

That's awful sweet.
But I never addressed the hack and slash mentality either directly or
indirectly. I perceive, by the fact that you cannot distinguish
between my arguments and someone else's arguments, that you have
somewhat conditioned yourself to lump all detractors of AD&D into the
same category, and no longer even bother to read articles fully before
you try to respond.

Try not to do that anymore.

>>But the poster asked why other people look down on AD&D, and he has
>>received a multitude of answers. Try not to construe these as
>>personal attacks, especially since they have all been more or less
>>cordial. Taking these things personally makes you look like a twerp.

>I was as much answering his question as anyone else was. Just because
>I chose to wait until your post to respond doesn't mean that YOU
>should take it as a personal attack, either. To each their own, I say.

You have a remarkable way of coupling "To each his own" directly into
"As long as you don't trash the game _I_ like."

Brett Evill

unread,
Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

> In
>pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
>ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
>skill based systems.

Balderdash. Unsubstantiable anhistorical untruth!

Alan D Kohler

unread,
Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

On 23 Jun 1998 00:28:14 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
(Brett Evill) wrote:

>In article <358ee452...@news.srv.net>,
>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>

>> In
>>pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
>>ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
>>skill based systems.
>

>Balderdash. Unsubstantiable anhistorical untruth!

If you say so... Then how did the term "renassiance man," meaning a
jack of all trades come about?

Simple. Tendencies to dable were not common until the renassiance


brought about changing attitudes in education.

And that is the substantiable historical truth.


Alan D Kohler

unread,
Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

On 22 Jun 1998 20:55:36 EDT, J...@mariner.cris.com (John S. Novak)
wrote:

>On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 23:49:58 GMT, Alan D Kohler


><hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> wrote:
>
>>Yes. People have disdained AD&D for quite some time. But many of
>>AD&D's detractors persist in the false assumption that their views and
>>tastes in systems are somehow more valid than those of others.
>
>If you can't tell an opinion piece when you see one, there is little
>hope for you. I'm not going to label an obvious opinion piece with
>"IMO" every five lines for your benefit.

I have never assumed that anyone's opinions are more than that. au


contraire. You will note that in my post I have adopted a "for each
their own" attitude. However, if I had a nickel for every "AD&D is a
hack&slash game because of its inferior system" tirade...

>


>>I don't find AD&D novels to be a great tout for AD&D either. In
>>general, I find franchise novels to be much less enjoyable than
>>"regular novels." However, though sales do not speak solely of
>>quality, they speak louder than the voices of detractors. As much as I
>>detest WoD, for example, it's sales are certainly testament that a lot
>>of people enjoy it.
>
>...In much the same way that many people with a wide variety of gaming
>experience disdain AD&D. This line is futile, but my point remains--
>sales alone do not now, nor have they ever been a great indicator
>of quality. Other factors exist, including consumer ignorance, peer
>pressure, and plain old advertising.
>
>Anyone who claims that a game (or any other product) is high quality,
>simply because of sales, is guilty of using those sales as an
>advertising point.
>

You elude the point. A while back, there was a primestar / Clay Walker


commercial quoting some bullcrap about "how can x thousand screaming
fans be wrong." Well, they can't. They can't be wrong any more than
they can be right because it is a matter of opinion.

However, if you are debating in the arena of opinions, popularity is
as good as measuring stick as is available. And sales are an outgrowth
of popularity...

>>>Second, the mechanics themselves are cumbersome, idiosyncratic, wildly
>>>unrealistic, and in many cases, just plain goofy. Take the spell
>>>casting system, which is just... weird. Yes, I know that it mimics
>>>Jack Vance's _Dying Earth_ system, but Jack Vance's _Dying Earth_
>>>system is goofy in and of itself.
>
>>IYO. There's nothing that can be described as "goofy" about the way
>>magic works, since you have no real world model to compare it to. All
>>you can say is that it doesn't work the way YOU think it should work.
>
>Please.
>Forgetting spells after you cast them?
>

It's magic. Why shouldn't they behave that way? Sure, I don't forget
calculus equations after I use them. But guess what. That's NOT magic.

>>Even so, many people who don't like the way the Vancian explaination
>>works notive that it quite neatly approximates the AMBER magic system
>>if you simply change the assumptions behind the magic.
>
>I've never liked Amber magic, either, or much of anything (with the
>possible exception of Mandor, as a character) that slithered out of
>the second set of five books.
>
>And beyond that, the AD&D world _hasn't_, so far as I know, changed he
>assumptions behind the magic. AD&D mages by and large are not coiling
>magical powers up and then releasing them, they are memorizing and
>then forgetting them.
>
>No sale.

So you don't like it. Then play what you like. Fortunately, the gaming
populace doesn't play according to your philosophy, but their own.

>>>Or perhaps the lumbering kludge thatis the advancement system. First,
>>>it was single classes, one for each, so rigidily defined that a magic
>>>user could pick up anything sturdier than a dagger or a quarterstaff.
>
>>Unfortunately for you, these limitations make sense. In
>>pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
>>ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
>>skill based systems. It's not that some strange force prevents you
>>from picking up a sword. It is just not realistic to assume that you
>>would learn to use one well if you spent all your time learning magic.
>
>...And that would explain why, in Krynn, magic users were
>literally forbidden from using anything more than a dagger or a
>staff?

I make no apologies for Krynn. I hate DL. But again, people have fun
with it and I'm sure they would gladly tell you why they like it that
way. Anyone?

>>Even if you don't buy that, AD&D has the advantage of being about the
>>simplest game outside of perhaps FUDGE to modify.
>
>A lesser man would sieze the opportunity to jump up and down and
>demand that you put "In your opinion" in that paragraph. However, I
>can distinguish what is clearly an opinion, as I trust you can
>determine that my opinion differs.
>

I never questioned that.

>>>Then we got dual and multi-class characters (and there is, as I
>>>recall, a difference between the two) and then someone had the bright
>>>idea of non-weapon proficiencies, and finially (I guess) those great
>>>big books full of "A hundred and one ways to make AD&D look like a
>>>skills based system, not a class-based system" for fighters, thieves,
>>>mages, etc. Predictably, this has led to a system which is more a
>>>limping Frankenstinian behemoth than anything else.
>
>>Gee, yet below you have the gall to tell this person to try before you
>>judge. You are a hypocrite.
>
>I don't think that word means what you think it means.
>I stuck with AD&D for many years, until it became patently obvious
>that the horse had died, and been placed on a sinking ship.
>

I understand perfectly what it means. The phrase "I guess" certainly
suggests to me that you didn't try PO before you applied the very
sarcastic... and faulty... description.

If AD&D had lost it's appeal to you, then that's your bag. That has
nothing to do with hypocrisy... perhaps YOU don't understand the
meaning of a word.

But when you practice the very behavior you condemn - namely, judging
a product that you have never tried - then you are guilty of
hypocrisy.

>Then, I played other games.


>I _have_ a breadth of experience, which is what I asked the other
>player to develop.
>

I never accused you of lack of breadth of experiene. I accused you of
judging products you haven't tried yet condemning the same behavior.
That is hipocrisy.

>>Some people like to pigeonhole AD&D as a hack-n-slash game. IME, WoD
>>is FAR more subject to this kind of abuse than AD&D. I think AD&D gets
>>this reputation since so many people play it when they were young
>>before they know better. But for the most part, I think that many
>>player like this individual stick to their guns and are confused where
>>this disdain for AD&D comes from because they have had nothing but
>>good experiences with it. Most of AD&D's detractors have falsely
>>identified AD&D with their own immaturity.
>
>All of this is very nice, but has nothing to do with anything I
>actually said.
>

Perhaps not directly. But I was addressing the all too familiar


concerns about a perfectly acceptable game being pigeonholed for being
prone to "hack-n-slash." A notion which I percieved you as agreeing

with by the response "And it also always depends of the system."

If I misunderstood you, please forgive me.

>>>Why not actually _try_ another system?
>>>Speaking from a position of knowledge, rather than hot air
>>>speculation, might be a novel experience.
>
>>Okay. I have tried other systems as no minor excurion and I'll pitch
>>in with him.
>
>Down boy.
>Pitch in with him all you like.
>Play anything all you like.
>
>But the poster asked why other people look down on AD&D, and he has
>received a multitude of answers. Try not to construe these as
>personal attacks, especially since they have all been more or less
>cordial. Taking these things personally makes you look like a twerp.

I was as much answering his question as anyone else was. Just because


I chose to wait until your post to respond doesn't mean that YOU
should take it as a personal attack, either. To each their own, I say.

Brett Evill

unread,
Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

In article <358efe13...@news.srv.net>,

hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:

>On 23 Jun 1998 00:28:14 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
>(Brett Evill) wrote:
>
>>In article <358ee452...@news.srv.net>,
>>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>>

>>> In
>>>pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
>>>ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
>>>skill based systems.
>>

>>Balderdash. Unsubstantiable anhistorical untruth!
>
>If you say so... Then how did the term "renassiance man," meaning a
>jack of all trades come about?

It does not mean 'jack of all trades'. It means 'master of all trades'.
And it is a relatively recent term for what used to be called 'a man of
parts' (mediaeval term) or a polymath (latin, from Greek).

>Simple. Tendencies to dable were not common until the renassiance
>brought about changing attitudes in education.

There were remarkable polymaths before the Renaissance. A few from my
memory include:

* William IX 'the Troubadour' of Aquitaine, statesman, soldier, poet, musician

* Archimedes: mathematician, engineer, artist, soldier

* Hero of Syracuse: philosopher, poet, mathematician, statesman, soldier,
general

* Sokrates: mathematician, scientist, philosopher, agony-aunt, war hero,
jurist, stone-mason, statuary

* Platon: athlete, soldier, statesman, philosopher, writer

* Aristotle: writer, teacher, philosopher, and theorist of astronomy,
music, drama, literature, biology, physics, psychology, theology, and
everything else that anyone knew of at the time.

* Xenophon: farmer, soldier, statesman, general, writer

* master John of St James: soldier, engineer, architect, painter,
stonemason, sculptor.

* Odysseos (fictional hero): warrior, general, statesman, athlete,
carpenter (he built his own home and furniture), seaman, diplomat,
shipwright, farmer, stockbreeder, priest, butcher...

If you read a little about, for instance, classical Greek culture you will
discover that versatility was highly regarded in ancient times. A Greek
gentleman was expected to farm, fight, legislate, administer the law,
administrate and office of state, command an army or a ship, play a
musical instrument, sing, dance, ride, drive a chariot, breed stock,
manage a business, compose poetry, recite epics, and make a reasoned
argument in discussion. He was expected to study music, mathematics,
astronomy...

Further, if you examine the myth of how Lugh Samildanach came to join the
court of Nuada you will discover that the ancient Celts also admired
versatility.

The mediaeval people of England and France also admired what they called
'a man of parts'. A gentleman, they thought, should be able to fight,
sing, dance, write poetry, act parts in plays, recite epics, hawk, hunt,
administer an estate, dispense justice in court, name the stars, breed,
train, and care for hawks, hounds, and horses. If he could also compose
music, discuss theology and so forth it was thought a credit to him.

Among the commons, a vast majority of soldiers had a trade of some sort as
well: even farming was a challenging complex of skills and knowledge if it
came to that, and soldiers were notoriously adept thieves and assassins.
And thieving or defrauding priests were a byword.

Now, given that real magic was not widely practised in mediaeval times,
the historical association of woodcraft, troubadourship, thieving, and
assassination with warriors is pretty damning for the AD&D class system.

And if you try to establish a distinction between priests and fighting men
I will cite St Peter, St Paul (both swordsmen), Archbishop Turpin
(spear-wielding knight and Paladin of Charlemagne), the Poor Knights of
Christ and the Temple of Solomon (warrior-monks) and the Knights of the
Order of St John of Jerusalem (priests/doctors/knights/seamen).

Brett Evill

unread,
Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

In article <358f03e4...@news.srv.net>,

hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:

>On 22 Jun 1998 20:55:36 EDT, J...@mariner.cris.com (John S. Novak)
>wrote:

>>...In much the same way that many people with a wide variety of gaming


>>experience disdain AD&D. This line is futile, but my point remains--
>>sales alone do not now, nor have they ever been a great indicator
>>of quality. Other factors exist, including consumer ignorance, peer
>>pressure, and plain old advertising.
>>
>>Anyone who claims that a game (or any other product) is high quality,
>>simply because of sales, is guilty of using those sales as an
>>advertising point.
>>
>You elude the point. A while back, there was a primestar / Clay Walker
>commercial quoting some bullcrap about "how can x thousand screaming
>fans be wrong." Well, they can't. They can't be wrong any more than
>they can be right because it is a matter of opinion.

Maybe their opinions would change if they actually listened to some other
music. Maybe not, too, but this is one way that they could be wrong.

Someone says 'AD&D is the only game I've tried, but it is the best. None
could possibly be better.' He might change his mind if he tried something
else. And therefore his statement of his own preferences could be wrong.

I know a woman who hated silverbeet: until she tried some I had cooked.
Hated red wine: until she tried some I had chosen. Hated spy-genre RP
adventures: until she played one I was GMing. I know several people who
hated Science Fiction: until they read Jack Vance. Others who hated
romance stories: until they read Georgette Heyer.

Thousands of fans can be wrong. And when their idol goes out of fashion,
most discover that they were.

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

On 23 Jun 1998 02:29:18 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
(Brett Evill) wrote:

>In article <358efe13...@news.srv.net>,


>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>

>>On 23 Jun 1998 00:28:14 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
>>(Brett Evill) wrote:
>>

>>>In article <358ee452...@news.srv.net>,


>>>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:

>If you read a little about, for instance, classical Greek culture you will
>discover that versatility was highly regarded in ancient times. A Greek
>gentleman was expected to farm, fight, legislate, administer the law,
>administrate and office of state, command an army or a ship, play a
>musical instrument, sing, dance, ride, drive a chariot, breed stock,
>manage a business, compose poetry, recite epics, and make a reasoned
>argument in discussion. He was expected to study music, mathematics,
>astronomy...
>

I am studying greek culture as we speak (well, sort of... I'm study
historical philosophy). Greek "gentlemen" of the sort you allude to
were very much the upper crust, i.e., the wealthy. The typical
craftsman or farmer DID NOT learn different crafts or trades.

But your point is taken; multi-talented individuals were not unique to
post renassiance times... but they certainly became more common.
Ancient greece was also sort of an unusual period in this aspect.

But then, AD&D doesn't preclude the kind of multiple talents that you
speak of. Hmmm.

>Further, if you examine the myth of how Lugh Samildanach came to join the
>court of Nuada you will discover that the ancient Celts also admired
>versatility.
>

Admired, yes. Did ancient celtic craftsmen often practice this
multi-talented lifestyle? No.

>The mediaeval people of England and France also admired what they called
>'a man of parts'. A gentleman, they thought, should be able to fight,
>sing, dance, write poetry, act parts in plays, recite epics, hawk, hunt,
>administer an estate, dispense justice in court, name the stars, breed,
>train, and care for hawks, hounds, and horses. If he could also compose

>music, discuss theology and so forth it was thought a credit to him.
>
Again, kinds of skills that AD&D does not preclude. And again,
admired, not the commonplace reality.

>Among the commons, a vast majority of soldiers had a trade of some sort as
>well: even farming was a challenging complex of skills and knowledge if it
>came to that, and soldiers were notoriously adept thieves and assassins.
>And thieving or defrauding priests were a byword.
>

And what about AD&D keeps fighters from farming? Nothing. In a
European setting, archers were actually drawn from the peasantry at
one time. If you are looking for a debate on that basis, you are not
going to get one.

Priest that pick locks and scale walls? Rare at best, I immagine.
Priests may be thieves, but if so, they were usually so by virtue of
thier posision. But "dishonest" or "larcenous" are not sufficient
conditions to be a member of the "thief" class, which is basically a
burglar, not some priest who dipped into the tithing for his own
purposes.



>Now, given that real magic was not widely practised in mediaeval times,
>the historical association of woodcraft, troubadourship, thieving, and
>assassination with warriors is pretty damning for the AD&D class system.
>

If you say so. I think the fact that you typically apprenticed to ONE
craft and didn't change it in mideviel times is pretty damning for
skill based systems, at least in a pre-renassiance setting.

>And if you try to establish a distinction between priests and fighting men
>I will cite St Peter, St Paul (both swordsmen), Archbishop Turpin
>(spear-wielding knight and Paladin of Charlemagne), the Poor Knights of
>Christ and the Temple of Solomon (warrior-monks) and the Knights of the
>Order of St John of Jerusalem (priests/doctors/knights/seamen).

Once again, you are trying to raise a debate that I am not a party to.
Given that priests don't REALLY cast spells in the real world, said
priests are a bit more akin to religous warriors. Were that different,
I immagine that so would the priests be. Plus the fact that AD&D gives
a fair amount of combat ability to priests supports those type
irregardless.

I maintain that skill based systems are no more accurate in modeling
mideviel settings than class based.

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

On Mon, 22 Jun 1998 22:56:08 -0400, Pete Hardie <pe...@avana.net>
wrote:

>Alan D Kohler wrote:
>>
>> On 23 Jun 1998 00:28:14 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
>> (Brett Evill) wrote:
>>
>> >In article <358ee452...@news.srv.net>,
>> >hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>> >

>> >> In
>> >>pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
>> >>ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
>> >>skill based systems.
>> >

>> >Balderdash. Unsubstantiable anhistorical untruth!
>>
>> If you say so... Then how did the term "renassiance man," meaning a
>> jack of all trades come about?
>

>Actually, Renassiance Man means more a person with broad education in
>the
>upper class interests of war, theology, philosophy, natural philosophy,
>and
>the like. Lower class skills were not a part of this.

True, which is why I think that my point applies. However, the
Renassiance was sort of a watershed with regard to educational
attitudes. In AD&D, most of these cultured interests are the type of
thing you see represented by proficiencies.


>>
>> Simple. Tendencies to dable were not common until the renassiance
>> brought about changing attitudes in education.
>

>More likely due to the growth of a middle class that could aspire to
>better
>education, and a more humanistic set of ideals, as opposed to the
>earlier
>religious staticism.

That was a big part of the renassiance, yes.


>
>>
>> And that is the substantiable historical truth.
>

>Can you point out some writings that support this view?

Sure. I don't have access to the school library currently, but I bet I
can find some passable info on my CDs:

Compton's Encyclopedia, Reference Collection CD, "Apprenticeship":

Before the Industrial Revolution and the modern era of mass
production, most manufacturing was done on a fairly small scale in
private shops or even in homes. People who made clothing, shoes, hats,
jewelry, cooking implements, carts and wagons, glassware, and many
other goods specialized in only their own craft. This was true also of
the building trades and other occupations that required special
skills.
It was not uncommon in preindustrial times for a craft or trade to
remain in one family for generations. A craftsman's own sons were thus
his chief apprentices. If he had no sons, he might find boys from his
town who would be willing to learn his specific trade. Apprenticeship
was almost always a family arrangement. If the apprentice was a
neighbor rather than a son, he simply moved into the master's home for
the duration of his training.
Although the number of workers trained in this way was always
relatively small in proportion to a given population, apprenticeship
did assure that trades and crafts would endure for generations. It
also assured that the number of workers with a particular skill would
be rather few in number. Hence the balance of supply and demand for a
skill could be maintained at a constant level.

---------------------------------------------------------
Excerpted from The Complete Reference Collection
Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc. All
Rights Reserved.

Perhaps next time I go into the school library, I'll take a further
look around.

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

On 22 Jun 1998 22:33:27 EDT, J...@voyager.cris.com (John S. Novak)
wrote:

>On Tue, 23 Jun 1998 01:28:13 GMT, Alan D Kohler
><hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> wrote:
>
>>I have never assumed that anyone's opinions are more than that. au
>>contraire. You will note that in my post I have adopted a "for each
>>their own" attitude. However, if I had a nickel for every "AD&D is a
>>hack&slash game because of its inferior system" tirade...
>

>Even though you berate me for expressing _my_ opinion at the outset.
>No sale.
>

>>>Anyone who claims that a game (or any other product) is high quality,
>>>simply because of sales, is guilty of using those sales as an
>>>advertising point.
>
>>You elude the point.
>

>On the contrary, I met the point head on, and denied it.

You dismissed the opinions of thousands of consumers as less important
than your own. Deny it all you want. Their opinions are just as valid
as yours.

>
>>A while back, there was a primestar / Clay Walker
>>commercial quoting some bullcrap about "how can x thousand screaming
>>fans be wrong." Well, they can't. They can't be wrong any more than
>>they can be right because it is a matter of opinion.
>

>The ultimate refutation, which you will no doubt take as a flame:
>"Eat shit. Ten trillion flies can't be wrong."
>

While I equate country music with shit, I think your example is so
absurd that I hope no one takes it seriously. You aren't even willing
to try and read what I wrote, much less respond to it rationally.

You have missed the whole point. I was stating the idea that a
population of consumers cannot be "right" or "wrong," but they can
have an opinion that is every bit as valid as yours.

>>>Please.
>>>Forgetting spells after you cast them?
>
>>It's magic. Why shouldn't they behave that way? Sure, I don't forget
>>calculus equations after I use them. But guess what. That's NOT magic.
>

>Because it's _goofy_.
>There's not even a shread of rationalization for it.
>

Rationalization for magic? Please. I could rationalize all day, but
since magic has no basis in reality, it would be doubletalk and
handwaving.

>>If AD&D had lost it's appeal to you, then that's your bag. That has
>>nothing to do with hypocrisy... perhaps YOU don't understand the
>>meaning of a word.
>
>>But when you practice the very behavior you condemn - namely, judging
>>a product that you have never tried - then you are guilty of
>>hypocrisy.
>

>Son, I've already told told you-- I played AD&D for many years.

Please do read before hitting respond. I never said you did not play
AD&D. I said that you, by your own admission, did not play with the
Players Option books, yet you blasted it and then condemned someone
else for judging without seeing.

>Unless they ripped the entire structure of the class system down and
>replaced it with something _entirely new_ but are still calling it
>AD&D, I know quite a bit, having followed the development of the game
>for upwards of fifteen years.
>
>I _think_ that should be sufficient.
>

Perhaps. But not having even tried it, you will never no. No, they did
not supplant classes. Nor did I think they needed to.

>>>All of this is very nice, but has nothing to do with anything I
>>>actually said.
>
>>Perhaps not directly. But I was addressing the all too familiar
>>concerns about a perfectly acceptable game being pigeonholed for being
>>prone to "hack-n-slash." A notion which I percieved you as agreeing
>>with by the response "And it also always depends of the system."
>

>That's awful sweet.
>But I never addressed the hack and slash mentality either directly or
>indirectly. I perceive, by the fact that you cannot distinguish
>between my arguments and someone else's arguments,

Nor did I specifically intend to. I was responding to the thread.
Don't feel singled out.

> that you have
>somewhat conditioned yourself to lump all detractors of AD&D into the
>same category, and no longer even bother to read articles fully before
>you try to respond.
>

Look who is talking.

>Try not to do that anymore.
>

I have the right to address the *thread* vice specific elements of it,
especially in my first post to the thread. If you feel that soemthing
I am saying is not refuting something you are saying, then by all
means assume that such a notion is correct. Don't fall into the
Austinesqe trap of thinking that everything that is stated is a direct
attempt to refute you specifically.

>>>But the poster asked why other people look down on AD&D, and he has
>>>received a multitude of answers. Try not to construe these as
>>>personal attacks, especially since they have all been more or less
>>>cordial. Taking these things personally makes you look like a twerp.
>
>>I was as much answering his question as anyone else was. Just because
>>I chose to wait until your post to respond doesn't mean that YOU
>>should take it as a personal attack, either. To each their own, I say.
>

>You have a remarkable way of coupling "To each his own" directly into
>"As long as you don't trash the game _I_ like."

So, that is to say that if you express your opinion, I can't rejoin it
with my own? Get real.

You can prefer or not prefer any game you like. Not my concern. What I
do take exception to is the idea that
- you can express your opinion, I can't express mine.
- the BS notion that there is any objective yardstick for games, or
"rational" arguments of why AD&D - or any other game - sucks.
- the idea that I am compelled in any way to reply to a thread in the
way that you want me to.
- the idea that it is permissible for you to condemn someone for
judging something they have never seen, yet you have done that exact
thing for PO.

Paul Andrew King

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

In article <6mklg9$d...@bgtnsc03.worldnet.att.net>,
jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu (Joseph Fernandez) wrote:

>
>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost


>every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
>slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying.

I don't know about the 2nd edition but certainly that is a fair criticism
of all earlier versions of D&D.

I for one am a
>hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
>The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
>have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
>well developed.

As compared to Glorantha, Tekumel or Harn ?

Besides, the game worlds are a relatively new development. For a good
number of years a D&D world was a village with a surprisingly-stocked
store. a "Temple" which was more like a private hospital, and a hole in the
ground stocked with ill-assorted monsters.

Well enough to write dozens of novels. My experience
>with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
>roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM.

Quite true. But hardly a recommendation for AD&D.

While I
>don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
>little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
>the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

I really wonder what you mean by the essence of "fantasy roleplaying". It
could mean that AD&D is the game most like AD&D. Or AD&D is the game most
like computer "RPG"s. For actually capturing the atmosphere of fantasy I'd
use Everway or possibly Talislanta or Ars Magica. And I have high hopes
for the new Glorantha RPG being written for Chaosium. Any of those should
do fAr better than any form of D&D I know.

--
"Hullo clouds, hullo sky, hullo pile of severed human heads," said Major
Basil Fotherington-Thomas.
(Eugene Byrne & Kim Newman "Teddy-Bear's Picnic")

Replace "nospam" with "morat" to reply

Paul K.

Brett Evill

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

In article <358f327a....@news.srv.net>,

hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:

>You dismissed the opinions of thousands of consumers as less important
>than your own. Deny it all you want. Their opinions are just as valid
>as yours.

Prima facie, perhaps. But an investigation may reveal that one set is
better-informed or more considered.

Brett Evill

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

In article <358f16bb...@news.srv.net>,

hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:

>On 23 Jun 1998 02:29:18 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
>(Brett Evill) wrote:

>>Further, if you examine the myth of how Lugh Samildanach came to join the
>>court of Nuada you will discover that the ancient Celts also admired
>>versatility.
>>
>
>Admired, yes. Did ancient celtic craftsmen often practice this
>multi-talented lifestyle? No.

To this day 'renaissance men' are more admired than (successfully) emulated.

Brett Evill

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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In article <slrn6ou4v...@voyager.cris.com>, J...@voyager.cris.com
(John S. Novak) wrote:

>On Tue, 23 Jun 1998 01:28:13 GMT, Alan D Kohler
><hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> wrote:

>>It's magic. Why shouldn't they behave that way? Sure, I don't forget
>>calculus equations after I use them. But guess what. That's NOT magic.
>

>Because it's _goofy_.
>There's not even a shread of rationalization for it.

There is if you are trying to emulate 'The Dying Earth', by Jack Vance.
'Fire and forget' was the rule for the magicians in this 1950s fantasy
work.

Vance later published some stories (eg. 'Rhialto the Marvellous') that
revealed that the magicians in the original 'The Dying Earth' were
degenerate hacks, and that *real* magicians made their spells up
extempore, and neither memorised them nor forgot them.

John Kim

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

A reply to Alan Kohler concerning the AD&D class system and
historical skills. Alan does correctly point out that an AD&D
character can be multi-talented using non-weapon proficiencies:
i.e. you can get a character who is an herbalist, a healer, and
a fighter.

However, this certainly doesn't validate the class system
with regard to historical skills. Let us dismiss for a moment the
wizard and priest classes because as fantasy classes they are
quite different from their historical parallels. The primary
effect of the class system, then is this:

1) Any character who has skill in picking pickets, manipulating
locks or traps, moving silently, hiding in shadows, or
climbing (i.e. a thief) cannot wear armor heavier than leather,
use shields, or wield two-handed weapons.

2) Any character who is diversely skilled must also fight well
and be hard to kill. (i.e. a character who can read/write,
ride a horse, hunt, play an instrument, and knows heraldry
must be at least 7th level to have that many non-weapon
proficiencies).

I think it doesn't require any great knowledge of history
to spot that these premises are false and indeed absurd. What is
more, they make it impossible to handle even the most trivial
examples of fantasy literature. For example, Conan or Fafrd are
impossible in AD&D because they use thiefly skills and yet wield
heavy weapons and armor.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

Regarding the historical example of the apprenticeship
system, I think you are being completely misled. I am not very
familiar with later medieval periods, but in general, a rural
medieval household frequently relied on its own skills to do
things rather than going to a specialist.

Alan D Kohler <hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> writes:
>Compton's Encyclopedia, Reference Collection CD, "Apprenticeship":

>Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc.

[...]


>It was not uncommon in preindustrial times for a craft or trade to
>remain in one family for generations.

[...]


>Although the number of workers trained in this way was always
>relatively small in proportion to a given population, apprenticeship
>did assure that trades and crafts would endure for generations.

If you read the material here more carefully, you will see
that apprenticeship was *not* the standard. Select crafts did have
their place, but the great majority of the people were not
specialized craftsmen. A more typical family was likely to be
farmers who would farm, fish, trap, hunt, fletch their own arrows,
thatch their own roof, build their own shed, make their own cloths
and shoes, etc.

The rise of large cities and towns in later periods made
it *more* possible to rely on specialized craftsmen -- whereas
especially in the early medieval the dominant small rural
community simply would not support many specialists.

Brett Evill

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

In article <B1B4F794...@morat.demon.co.uk>, pa...@nospam.demon.co.uk
(Paul Andrew King) wrote:

>In article <6mklg9$d...@bgtnsc03.worldnet.att.net>,
>jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu (Joseph Fernandez) wrote:
>
>>
>>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost
>>every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
>>slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying.
>
>I don't know about the 2nd edition but certainly that is a fair criticism
>of all earlier versions of D&D.
>
> I for one am a
>>hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.
>>The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
>>have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
>>well developed.
>
>As compared to Glorantha, Tekumel or Harn ?

Good point. A friend of mine has a huge stack of Glorantha material. I
would guess two shelf-feet of A4 in small type. And that is without a copy
of 'White Bear, Red Moon' or any but a few issues of 'Wyrm's Footprints'.
And then there are vast rafts of Net-published material, etc. Is there
more background material material available on FR than Glorantha, or do
you have to count the novels as background material?

Thomas R Scudder

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

Alan D Kohler (hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net) asieoniezi:
: On 23 Jun 1998 02:29:18 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
: (Brett Evill) wrote:
: >If you read a little about, for instance, classical Greek culture you will

: >discover that versatility was highly regarded in ancient times. A Greek
: >gentleman was expected to farm, fight, legislate, administer the law,
: >administrate and office of state, command an army or a ship, play a
: >musical instrument, sing, dance, ride, drive a chariot, breed stock,
: >manage a business, compose poetry, recite epics, and make a reasoned
: >argument in discussion. He was expected to study music, mathematics,
: >astronomy...

: I am studying greek culture as we speak (well, sort of... I'm study
: historical philosophy). Greek "gentlemen" of the sort you allude to
: were very much the upper crust, i.e., the wealthy. The typical
: craftsman or farmer DID NOT learn different crafts or trades.

: But your point is taken; multi-talented individuals were not unique to
: post renassiance times... but they certainly became more common.
: Ancient greece was also sort of an unusual period in this aspect.

: But then, AD&D doesn't preclude the kind of multiple talents that you
: speak of. Hmmm.

It does (at least, vanilla AD&D2 does) preclude humans doing it. (Unless
you think that developing one talent exclusively, then developing another,
with no chance to develop the first once you've started in on the second,
is a reasonable model).

: >Further, if you examine the myth of how Lugh Samildanach came to join the


: >court of Nuada you will discover that the ancient Celts also admired
: >versatility.
: >

: Admired, yes. Did ancient celtic craftsmen often practice this
: multi-talented lifestyle? No.

I thought AD&D player characters were supposed to be exceptional & unusual
people. Thus the falling-off-cliffs et cetera.

--
Tom Scudder aka tom...@umich.edu <*> http://www-personal.umich.edu/~tomscud
Squeezing flinthead trout "I contradict myself? Very well,
in their massive jaws, sparks fly: I contra- hey, wait. No I don't!"
Bears discover fire.

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

On 23 Jun 1998 06:35:56 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
(Brett Evill) wrote:

>In article <358f16bb...@news.srv.net>,
>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>

>>On 23 Jun 1998 02:29:18 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
>>(Brett Evill) wrote:
>
>>>Further, if you examine the myth of how Lugh Samildanach came to join the
>>>court of Nuada you will discover that the ancient Celts also admired
>>>versatility.
>>>
>>
>>Admired, yes. Did ancient celtic craftsmen often practice this
>>multi-talented lifestyle? No.
>

>To this day 'renaissance men' are more admired than (successfully) emulated.

That's true. Perhaps I have been touting the renaissance as more of a
watershed than I should. A major element allowing dabbling is the
increased availability of free time. I've seen skill based systems
that don't give even MODERN characters enough focus. The last game
I've seen that even did MODERN characters right was perhaps TORG,
since templates focused the character's skills.

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

On Tue, 23 Jun 1998 13:33:15 GMT, tom...@umich.edu (Thomas R Scudder)
wrote:

>Alan D Kohler (hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net) asieoniezi:

>: On 23 Jun 1998 02:29:18 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au


>: (Brett Evill) wrote:
>: >If you read a little about, for instance, classical Greek culture you will
>: >discover that versatility was highly regarded in ancient times. A Greek
>: >gentleman was expected to farm, fight, legislate, administer the law,
>: >administrate and office of state, command an army or a ship, play a
>: >musical instrument, sing, dance, ride, drive a chariot, breed stock,
>: >manage a business, compose poetry, recite epics, and make a reasoned
>: >argument in discussion. He was expected to study music, mathematics,
>: >astronomy...
>
>: I am studying greek culture as we speak (well, sort of... I'm study
>: historical philosophy). Greek "gentlemen" of the sort you allude to
>: were very much the upper crust, i.e., the wealthy. The typical
>: craftsman or farmer DID NOT learn different crafts or trades.
>
>: But your point is taken; multi-talented individuals were not unique to
>: post renassiance times... but they certainly became more common.
>: Ancient greece was also sort of an unusual period in this aspect.
>
>: But then, AD&D doesn't preclude the kind of multiple talents that you
>: speak of. Hmmm.
>
>It does (at least, vanilla AD&D2 does) preclude humans doing it.

That is not the sort of skills he pointed out. He mentioned poetry,
theology, authorship, etc., skills that easily fall under the AD&D
proficiency system vice class system. And the proficiency system is in
the basic book. And if they provided the tools for proper emulation
and you didn't use them, that is, IMO, your fault.

>
>: >Further, if you examine the myth of how Lugh Samildanach came to join the


>: >court of Nuada you will discover that the ancient Celts also admired
>: >versatility.
>: >
>
>: Admired, yes. Did ancient celtic craftsmen often practice this
>: multi-talented lifestyle? No.
>

>I thought AD&D player characters were supposed to be exceptional & unusual
>people. Thus the falling-off-cliffs et cetera.

IMO, truly multi-talented individuals that would qualify for multiple
CLASSES would be rare indeed. And so it is. Just because characters
represent exceptional members of their classes doesn't mean they are
multi-talented.

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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On 23 Jun 1998 06:43:08 GMT, jh...@phoebe.fnal.gov (John Kim) wrote:

> A reply to Alan Kohler concerning the AD&D class system and
>historical skills. Alan does correctly point out that an AD&D
>character can be multi-talented using non-weapon proficiencies:
>i.e. you can get a character who is an herbalist, a healer, and
>a fighter.
>
> However, this certainly doesn't validate the class system
>with regard to historical skills. Let us dismiss for a moment the
>wizard and priest classes because as fantasy classes they are
>quite different from their historical parallels. The primary
>effect of the class system, then is this:
>
>1) Any character who has skill in picking pickets, manipulating
> locks or traps, moving silently, hiding in shadows, or
> climbing (i.e. a thief) cannot wear armor heavier than leather,
> use shields, or wield two-handed weapons.

The assumption here is that the person who has spent enough time to
develop such larcenous skills is not a professional soldier trained in
plate armor or 2 handed weapons. It is a simplification,but not an
invalid one.

Not a stretch, IMO.


>
>2) Any character who is diversely skilled must also fight well
> and be hard to kill. (i.e. a character who can read/write,
> ride a horse, hunt, play an instrument, and knows heraldry
> must be at least 7th level to have that many non-weapon
> proficiencies).

Now here, you are wrong, and obviously haven't read your PHB recently.
Yes, an adventurer would have to be high level to have all of these
skills. But the book clearly states that NPCs can have proficiencies
without the attendant levels. Proficiency slots are metered out
because of game balance more than historical simulation, because
proficiency slots are subject to abuse.

>
> I think it doesn't require any great knowledge of history
>to spot that these premises are false and indeed absurd. What is
>more, they make it impossible to handle even the most trivial
>examples of fantasy literature. For example, Conan or Fafrd are
>impossible in AD&D because they use thiefly skills and yet wield
>heavy weapons and armor.

Conan & Fafrd are EASY in AD&D. They are dual-classed. But they are a
little on the exceptional side, which is part of the reason that the
rules make it so hard to make such indivuals.

> Regarding the historical example of the apprenticeship
>system, I think you are being completely misled. I am not very
>familiar with later medieval periods, but in general, a rural
>medieval household frequently relied on its own skills to do
>things rather than going to a specialist.

I think you are the one that is being misled. A house relied on basic
skills, but when you needed certain skills, you had to go outside of
the house. Not every house had a blacksmith or a wheelwright.

>
>Alan D Kohler <hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> writes:
>>Compton's Encyclopedia, Reference Collection CD, "Apprenticeship":
>>Copyright © 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997 The Learning Company, Inc.
>[...]
>>It was not uncommon in preindustrial times for a craft or trade to
>>remain in one family for generations.
>[...]
>>Although the number of workers trained in this way was always
>>relatively small in proportion to a given population, apprenticeship
>>did assure that trades and crafts would endure for generations.
>
> If you read the material here more carefully, you will see
>that apprenticeship was *not* the standard. Select crafts did have
>their place, but the great majority of the people were not
>specialized craftsmen.


> A more typical family was likely to be
>farmers who would farm, fish, trap, hunt, fletch their own arrows,
>thatch their own roof, build their own shed, make their own cloths
>and shoes, etc.

All things which are not beyond AD&D's ability to simulate. But when
it came to actual professions, vice basic family supporting skills,
you usually were selected for one trade and plied that trade for life.

> The rise of large cities and towns in later periods made
>it *more* possible to rely on specialized craftsmen -- whereas
>especially in the early medieval the dominant small rural
>community simply would not support many specialists.

With the industrial age came cities as we know them, which led to
cheap labor, which led to diversification. But rural communities *did*
rely on specialists.

James C. Ellis

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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Alan D Kohler wrote:
>

<...re: the 'man of many talents'>

> Again, kinds of skills that AD&D does not preclude. And again,
> admired, not the commonplace reality.

But why _does_ AD&D place the restrictions it does upon the classes?
Why can a nimble, manually dexxtrous magician _not_ pick pockets with
the same ease at which he casts spells? Why can an exceptional
individual _not_ be a true warrior-mage? Can you justify any of this
historically with anything other than broad generalizations about the
'common man'?

Biff

--
-------------------------------------------------------------------
"Me? Lady, I'm your worst nightmare - a pumpkin with a gun.
[...] Euminides this! " - Mervyn, the Sandman #66
-------------------------------------------------------------------

Triad3204

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to
(Joseph Fernandez) writes:

>Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers?

There's nothing "sudden" about it -- xD&D hasn't been respected among a sizable
segment of "serious gamers" since the early '80s (at least).

> Almost
>every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and
>slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying.

This, of course, is a silly complaint -- the players define the type of
campaign being played, not the game system. AD&D does, however, have a set of
rules geared entirely towards violent conflict with primary rewards based on
combat and collecting treasure.

>The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
>have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so
>well developed.

TSR pays really well? Most people started with xD&D?

> Well enough to write dozens of novels.

Many of which feature characters which could *not* be created using the AD&D
rules, doing things which are impossible to replicate using the AD&D rules.

> My experience
>with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for

>roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM. While I


>don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
>little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
>the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

Well, if you define "fantasy role-playing" as "AD&D" then, yes, you're right.
If you define "fantasy role-playing" as "role-playing in worlds and with
characters similar to the worlds and characters found in fantasy novels and
stories" I can think of few games which *fail* worse at this than AD&D.

AD&D's problems (primary):
A primitive, ineffective, inaccurate, and overly restrictive personality
mechanic system in the form of Alignment.
An outdated class-based creation system.
A lack of a central resolution mechanic -- any action you want to perform
possesses its own system of resolution. If you want to try an action for which
a rule has not been defined you have to write an entirely new system, crib an
existing system to fit the new action, or wing it.
A poor model of character improvement in the form of levels.
A pathetic model for taking damage in the form of rapidly inflating Hit Points.

Well, actually, there's no system in AD&D which cannot be scathed as being
poor, inadequate, insufficient, bad, and outclassed by the 20-30 years of
improvement in game design which have taken place since those systems were
created.

Oh... and let's not forget the random character generation.

Can you have fun playing it? Sure. Does that make it a good game in comparison
to other systems? No.

Justin Bacon
tr...@prairie.lakes.com


Timothy Dedeaux

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

Alan D Kohler wrote:
>On 22 Jun 1998 22:33:27 EDT, J...@voyager.cris.com (John S. Novak)
>wrote:
>>On Tue, 23 Jun 1998 01:28:13 GMT, Alan D Kohler
>><hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> wrote:

>You dismissed the opinions of thousands of consumers as less important
>than your own. Deny it all you want. Their opinions are just as valid
>as yours.

Has anyone stopped to ask how well satisfied these consumers are? Most of the
people bashing AD&D own a copy of the game, with supplements. I had a couple
of supplements (mostly Dragonlance stuff) and the basic D&D game, but I'd no
more recommend them for novice or experienced players than I'd recommend a
Geo Metro for use as a main battle tank. Many people (no, I don't have
statistical data on how many) bought the game, played it, then realized they
could do better on their own (I did) and/or that there are better games out
there (I did, too). PS - I've played almost every TSR game up to 2nd ed.
AD&D (although that was only briefly). I've read articles in Dragon about TSR
stuff, and I played a lot of Palladium in early high school. I can safely say
that most, but not all, of the criticisms of AD&D apply to Palladium (but
often in a lesser degree, IMHO).

A friend of mine worked maintainence at a local Junior College and found a
great deal of AD&D and D&D stuff in the trash. Throwing books away is
*generally* not the mark of a satisfied customer. Shredding the game online
is *generally* not the mark of a satisfied customer.

You are making the assumption that every AD&D book sold equals one satisfied
customer. I do not see sufficient evidence to support this.

>>The ultimate refutation, which you will no doubt take as a flame:
>>"Eat shit. Ten trillion flies can't be wrong."

>While I equate country music with shit, I think your example is so
>absurd that I hope no one takes it seriously. You aren't even willing
>to try and read what I wrote, much less respond to it rationally.

For what it's worth, I think Novak has been more rational than you have,
certainly a lot more rational than the original poster (Joseph Fernandez, I
think), though perhaps Brett Evil has been the most rational of all. Of
course, this is just my opinion, and is no more valid than yours, Clay
Walker's, or ten trillion flies *qui mangent merde.*

What I'm getting at is that you didn't consider what John wrote. Vanilla Ice
sold a huge amount of records. Snow sold a lot of records (remember him? I
didn't think so). Do you remember when Billy Ray Cyrus's "Achy Breaky Heart"
was tearing up the record charts? The music business is littered with the
broken careers of one-hit wonders. The New Kids on the Block lasted
several records, as the Spice Girls seem to be doing (although I have a
little admiration for them simply as a living parody of the angsty music
being put out by Matchbox 20, the Verve, etc.) Your suggestion that sales
alone make quality implies that these pop tarts are superior
musicians/composers to George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rush, Sarah
McLachlan, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, Eric Clapton, Loreena
McKennitt, Queen, Bjork, and pretty much anybody else with any musical
integrity.

Ten million flies ate that manure, but it didn't make it Mozart.

>You have missed the whole point. I was stating the idea that a
>population of consumers cannot be "right" or "wrong," but they can
>have an opinion that is every bit as valid as yours.

Isn't that the greatest line - "I can't win this, so I'll claim nobody can be
right or wrong." The last sanctuary for losers is that line.

>>>It's magic. Why shouldn't they behave that way? Sure, I don't forget
>>>calculus equations after I use them. But guess what. That's NOT magic.

>>Because it's _goofy_.
>>There's not even a shread of rationalization for it.

>Rationalization for magic? Please. I could rationalize all day, but
>since magic has no basis in reality, it would be doubletalk and
>handwaving.

Magic doesn't exist - there was an argument on this a while back on either
rgfa or rgfm, but it degenerated, so I'll give you the point (please please
please please please please don't start that debate again. I haven't figured
out how to killfile with this newsreader yet). However, there are beliefs,
legends, things that make a magic system seem plausible or not. AD&D's was
pulled out of Jack Vance's buttocks. It works well for a wargame: you've got
X magical resources to use along with your soldiers, just like any other
wargame. It does not, however, make any more sense, believability-wise, than
rolling dice to move (a la Monopoly) does.

It clashes with all of the Genre *including* Vance's later works. It clashes
with mythology and folklore. It sets the bells and whistles of my BS meter
off, and worse, it sets the players in the wargame mode. Magic loses any
mystery and becomes just one more resource, like the number of arrows or doses
of poison you have. That hurts gameplay a lot, if you're not playing from a
Gamist perspective (and most of us criticizing the game don't). It positively
*kills* immersion.

AD&D's magic system (and I use the term loosely) totally denies most types of
fantasy stories: C.S. Lewis's Narnia can't be simulated, nor can Tolkien's,
nor can George MacDonald's works (although they don't explicitly revolve
around a single world). Michael Moorcock's works are right out, as are
Mallory's or White's (or any Arthur for that matter), Celtic Mythology, and
most other things I can think of. As a matter of fact, the only things AD&D
simulates well are AD&D novels (well that's a shock, since they were written
to system specs.). I bring this up because someone said that no system
simulates fantasy roleplaying better than AD&D. Unless "fantasy roleplaying"
is merely a euphanism for AD&D, that's a fallacy.

>>>Perhaps not directly. But I was addressing the all too familiar
>>>concerns about a perfectly acceptable game being pigeonholed for being
>>>prone to "hack-n-slash." A notion which I percieved you as agreeing
>>>with by the response "And it also always depends of the system."

The system supports hack and slash quite well. It falls short in other areas
(try gettting 50,000 exp. *without* killing something big sometime, say,
through good roleplay awards). Therefore, the system promotes hack and slash.
A "good DM" can play it any way he wants to, but that often requires rewriting
more material than I am willing to rewrite. If I have to do that much work,
I'll just use a different system.

>Nor did I specifically intend to. I was responding to the thread.
>Don't feel singled out.

Try responding to the person whose text you've quoted, not somebody in some
other post. If you want to respond to another post, quote the other post and
respond to it. Nettiquette is a good thing.

>> that you have
>>somewhat conditioned yourself to lump all detractors of AD&D into the
>>same category, and no longer even bother to read articles fully before
>>you try to respond.

>Look who is talking.

>>Try not to do that anymore.

>I have the right to address the *thread* vice specific elements of it,
>especially in my first post to the thread. If you feel that soemthing
>I am saying is not refuting something you are saying, then by all
>means assume that such a notion is correct. Don't fall into the
>Austinesqe trap of thinking that everything that is stated is a direct
>attempt to refute you specifically.

IF YOU'RE TRYING TO REFUTE SOMETHING SAID IN ANOTHER POST BY
ANOTHER PERSON, THEN PLEASE QUOTE THE PERSON AND POST YOU
ARE ATTEMPTING TO REFUTE.

You're already breaking Net etiquette - don't add being self-righteous to your
list of offenses. You are responding to Novak's post, and only Novak's post.
If you want to refute what someone else said, quote the post and refute it -
and have the courtesy to give the person you're refuting notice that you're
attacking his position (thus giving him the opportunity to respond to your
refutation).

I cannot stress enough that what you are doing is not okay. You do not need
to snipe at people who aren't "here" (in this sub-thread) to defend
themselves, then get upset when others point this out to you.

>You can prefer or not prefer any game you like. Not my concern. What I
>do take exception to is the idea that
>- you can express your opinion, I can't express mine.
>- the BS notion that there is any objective yardstick for games, or
>"rational" arguments of why AD&D - or any other game - sucks.
>- the idea that I am compelled in any way to reply to a thread in the
>way that you want me to.
>- the idea that it is permissible for you to condemn someone for
>judging something they have never seen, yet you have done that exact
>thing for PO.

Alan, don't bait the Novak . . . no, on the other hand, go ahead - this should
be more fun than the cracking and dying scenes of "Titanic" :)

Timothy
Dedeaux "In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king"
tdedeaux - Gerard Erasmus
@datasync.com

Red

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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Alan D Kohler wrote:

> Admired, yes. Did ancient celtic craftsmen often practice this
> multi-talented lifestyle? No.
>

> >The mediaeval people of England and France also admired what they called
> >'a man of parts'. A gentleman, they thought, should be able to fight,
> >sing, dance, write poetry, act parts in plays, recite epics, hawk, hunt,
> >administer an estate, dispense justice in court, name the stars, breed,
> >train, and care for hawks, hounds, and horses. If he could also compose
> >music, discuss theology and so forth it was thought a credit to him.
> >

> Again, kinds of skills that AD&D does not preclude. And again,
> admired, not the commonplace reality.
>

No; the Japanese Samurai were also expected to be skilled in courtly
arts such as calligraphy, poetry, singing, cooking etc. The weight of
historical evidence seems to suggest that multi-skilling was as common
then as it is now; even if these are taken to be ideals, they are still
ideals to which people aspire and approach, even if they do not achieve
them. So one Samurai has a voice like a creaking door - too bad, good
thing his haiku is ok. The absence of multiple skills in the peasantry
is more due to the hardships of subsistence agriculture than to any
major difference between them and us - human beings are learning
creatures.

> And what about AD&D keeps fighters from farming? Nothing. In a
> European setting, archers were actually drawn from the peasantry at
> one time. If you are looking for a debate on that basis, you are not
> going to get one.
>

The game rules state that peasants are 0-level; if these peasants have
seen combat this should not be the case, in which case the criticism IS
valid.

> If you say so. I think the fact that you typically apprenticed to ONE
> craft and didn't change it in mideviel times is pretty damning for
> skill based systems, at least in a pre-renassiance setting.
>

No, because what you are seeing as one skill is really a cluster of
skills, a career. D&D chooses to model only certain careers.

> I maintain that skill based systems are no more accurate in modeling
> mideviel settings than class based.
>

Maybe so. I'm think skill-based systems are not that wonderful, as they
exist, but I certainly think they model *people* better than class
systems do, regardless of the milieu.

woodelf

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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In article <slrn6otv8...@mariner.cris.com>, J...@mariner.cris.com
(John S. Novak) wrote:

> ...And that would explain why, in Krynn, magic users were
> literally forbidden from using anything more than a dagger or a
> staff?

poor example. in that world, it was a cultural thing, strictly enforced.
(yes, it probalby grew out of finding an excuse for the AD&D rules, but it
made sense in the setting context, and didn't feel like the rules poking
through reality.)

woodelf <*>
nbar...@students.wisc.edu
http://www.upl.cs.wisc.edu/~woodelf

If any religion is right, maybe they all have to be right. Maybe God
doesn't care how you say your prayers, just as long as you say them.
--Sinclair

woodelf

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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In article <6mklg9$d...@bgtnsc03.worldnet.att.net>,
jjf...@megahertz.njit.edu (Joseph Fernandez) wrote:

> Why is AD&D suddenly getting a bad rap among roleplayers? Almost

it's not. it's been getting a bad rep (whether it's a bad rap is a matter
of opinion) for years--at least since the mid-late 80s.

> every review I read criticizes AD&D for being too much of a hack and

> slash game with little emphasis on roleplaying. I for one am a


> hardcore AD&Der and I believe that belief is totally without merit.

> The question I ask is if AD&D lacks emphasis on roleplaying than why
> have the AD&D game worlds (especially the Forgotten Realms) become so

> well developed. Well enough to write dozens of novels.

personally, i think that FR is one of the least-well-developed game worlds
out there. it has a great deal of raw info for it, but that info is
sometimes inconsistent, and generally lackluster. each culture in FR
tends to be a slightly fantasized version of an historical culture. just
two problems with that: (1) in the process of fantasizing them, they often
end up rather less believable than the original, and (2), they're not very
original--if i want reasonably authentic RL cultures, i'll be playing Harn
or Pendragon or even Ars Magica, or using the GURPS or HR series of
setting books; if i want a non-historical fantasy world, i want something
new and different. on both those counts, FR fails miserably--it's not
original enough to have merit as an original setting, and not
historically-accurate enough to have merit as a pseudo-historical
setting. also, in the depth department: there doesn't seem to be much
info on everyday people, or even just low-level characters. lots of info
on the movers and shakers of the Realms, but not much for the rest of
society (which is where most people are from, and where even powerful and
influential PCs will spend a fair bit of time).

> My experience
> with AD&D and AD&D products is that there is many opportunities for
> roleplaying and it really depends on the quality of the DM.

there you are absolutely correct. the system matters not a whit in the
hands of a quality GM and group. however, a long-running debate is
whether or not a system can make a difference int eh quality of
roleplaying when the players suck (not to put too fine of a point on it).
the claim (and i tend to agree) is that most RPGs emphasize and
deemphasize certain types of activity by the very natures of their
settings and rules, and that these emphases can have a significant effect
on new and/or poor roleplayers. as examples, most proponents point up the
fact that games like AD&D nd Vampire tend to produce a disproportionate
percentage of hack-n-slashers, while games like Pendragon and CoC tend to
produce a disproportionate percentage of role players. there are people
who transcend any system, for better or for worse, but looking at the
trend it is not unreasonable, IMHO, to conclude that the game
system/setting have at least something to do with these tendencies.

> While I
> don't have any experience with other roleplaying systems (other than a
> little knowledge of GURPS), I can't see any system that can capture
> the essence of fantasy role-playing other than AD&D.

well, that depends a great deal on what sort of fantasy you want. if you
want to capture essentially the same feel as AD&D, you have Palladium FRP,
Legends of Yore, and a few others whose names i forget. SenZar is
essentially taking AD&D to its (il)logical extreme. EarthDawn definitely
is high-fantasy, and i believe it is played by a lot of AD&D expatriots.
RuneQuest does a fair high fantasy, if you want it to. and i was able to
convert Ars Magica to preserve the majority of the feel of my
formerly-AD&D game. and, if you wnat a slightly different twist on high
fantasy, more like D&D, IMHO, check out Of Gods and Men.

as for "the essence of fantasy role-playing", i'm afraid i'd have to
argue. i'm not really sure what the "essence" of fantasy is, but it ain't
AD&D. AD&D represents one particular breed of fantasy. i'd say something
like Maelstrom Storytelling does a better job of capturing that essence,
by not trapping it so tightly in a particular mold. and if there isa ny
game that is, IMHO, the "essence of fantasy", it is Everway, which
incorporates many more motifs and sources than AD&D, and does a better job
of capturing the feel of non-RPG fantasy, especially the pre-literate
elements.

Touch passion when it comes your way, Stephen. It's rare enough as it
is; don't walk away when it calls you by name. -- Marcus Cole

woodelf

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

In article <358ee452...@news.srv.net>,

hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:

> Gee, yet below you have the gall to tell this person to try before you

> judge. You are a hypocrite. I dare say that the Player's Option system
> is the first point based system I have seen that actually has a
> reasonable balance between the point values of advantages and
> disadvantages. By comparison, GURPS' and HERO's disadvantages are
> laughably giving.

> Some people like to pigeonhole AD&D as a hack-n-slash game. IME, WoD
> is FAR more subject to this kind of abuse than AD&D. I think AD&D gets

well, IME, Vampire is more hacknslash-prone than AD&D, but hte other WoD
games are less so.

> I have yet to use a system that I feel captures fantasy as well as
> AD&D2. Fantasy Hero came close, simply because of it's enormous
> flexibility, but IMO its inherent complexity keeps it from having the
> right feel. I've tried many other fantasy systems -- Palladium
> Fnatasy, Bushido (if you count oriental), Arcanum, WHFRP, Fifth
> Cycle, Stormbringer, Elric, GURPS Fantasy, RoleMaster / MERP, Ars
> Magica, and many others that I've probably missed. Many of those have

i will note that all of the ones you list are vaguely similar to AD&D in
the genre--i'd say that Ars Magica is the most far-removed (judgment
call). and i'd say that that genre is not "fantasy" but the much narrower
"swordsnsorcery". to capture fantasy, you need to broaden the scope a
bit, which is why i say that *if* there is an RPG that has "captured the
essense of fantasy" it is Everway. it encompasses every fantasy story
i've ever read, as well as all the mythology and folklore, which are the
antecedents of modern fantasy in many ways. and it captures the *feel* of
such things much better than a more number-crunchy system, IMHO. hell, i
think that SkyRealms of Jorune "captures fantasy" better than AD&D--it
just doesn't happen to be the same subgenre as AD&D.

They are better than they think, and nobler than they know. They carry
within them the capacity to walk among the stars. They are our future.
--Delenn

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
to

On Tue, 23 Jun 1998 18:48:33 +0100, Red <red_arm...@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Alan D Kohler wrote:
>
>> Admired, yes. Did ancient celtic craftsmen often practice this
>> multi-talented lifestyle? No.
>>
>> >The mediaeval people of England and France also admired what they called
>> >'a man of parts'. A gentleman, they thought, should be able to fight,
>> >sing, dance, write poetry, act parts in plays, recite epics, hawk, hunt,
>> >administer an estate, dispense justice in court, name the stars, breed,
>> >train, and care for hawks, hounds, and horses. If he could also compose
>> >music, discuss theology and so forth it was thought a credit to him.
>> >
>> Again, kinds of skills that AD&D does not preclude. And again,
>> admired, not the commonplace reality.
>>
>
>No; the Japanese Samurai were also expected to be skilled in courtly
>arts such as calligraphy, poetry, singing, cooking etc.

*Again* skills that AD&D does not preclude. You all keep trying to
pull me into the strawman position that "a person cannot have more
than one skill."

>> And what about AD&D keeps fighters from farming? Nothing. In a
>> European setting, archers were actually drawn from the peasantry at
>> one time. If you are looking for a debate on that basis, you are not
>> going to get one.
>>
>
>The game rules state that peasants are 0-level; if these peasants have
>seen combat this should not be the case, in which case the criticism IS
>valid.
>

Not at all. The AD&D game does not require that soldiers be leveled
individuals.

>> If you say so. I think the fact that you typically apprenticed to ONE
>> craft and didn't change it in mideviel times is pretty damning for
>> skill based systems, at least in a pre-renassiance setting.
>>
>
>No, because what you are seeing as one skill is really a cluster of
>skills, a career. D&D chooses to model only certain careers.

And since those skills DID come in clusters, it is a valid model.

>
>> I maintain that skill based systems are no more accurate in modeling
>> mideviel settings than class based.
>>
>
>Maybe so. I'm think skill-based systems are not that wonderful, as they
>exist, but I certainly think they model *people* better than class
>systems do, regardless of the milieu.

Well, while I think that while AD&D is a simplified model, it is not
remiss in being so. I've seen more than enough "amorphous blobs of
skills" masquerading as characters in skill based systems that I don't
think that a majority of such systems really model people much better
than class based. While more modern settings make such characters more
justifiable, I find that the best skill based systems are those that
share characteristics with class based systems, e.g., HERO (with
packages), TORG, Cyberpunk, Call of Cthulhu, Elric.

Jim Walters

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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Alan D Kohler <hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net> wrote:
: On 23 Jun 1998 06:43:08 GMT, jh...@phoebe.fnal.gov (John Kim) wrote:

:>1) Any character who has skill in picking pickets, manipulating

:> locks or traps, moving silently, hiding in shadows, or
:> climbing (i.e. a thief) cannot wear armor heavier than leather,
:> use shields, or wield two-handed weapons.

: The assumption here is that the person who has spent enough time to
: develop such larcenous skills is not a professional soldier trained in
: plate armor or 2 handed weapons. It is a simplification,but not an
: invalid one.

: Not a stretch, IMO.

Why should plate and two handed weapons be impossible to use by someone
who is not a professional soldier? They may not get the maximum
efficiency out of them, but anyone off the street should be able to put on
armor, or swing a sword. Also, in AD&D a 10th level thief is a far more
experienced and skilled fighter than a 1st level fighter. As long as the
thief was willing to give up using stealth, there is no reason why he
shouldn't be able to do anything a 1st level fighter can.

:>2) Any character who is diversely skilled must also fight well

:> and be hard to kill. (i.e. a character who can read/write,
:> ride a horse, hunt, play an instrument, and knows heraldry
:> must be at least 7th level to have that many non-weapon
:> proficiencies).

: Now here, you are wrong, and obviously haven't read your PHB recently.
: Yes, an adventurer would have to be high level to have all of these
: skills. But the book clearly states that NPCs can have proficiencies
: without the attendant levels. Proficiency slots are metered out
: because of game balance more than historical simulation, because
: proficiency slots are subject to abuse.

First, having PCs operate by fundamentally different rules than NPCs is a
a bad thing, IMO. Second, let's ammend Mr. Kim's statement to say that
any PC who is diversely skilled must also fight well and be hard to kill.
It is still a stupid system, and there are more elegant ways to maintain
game balance.

:> I think it doesn't require any great knowledge of history

:>to spot that these premises are false and indeed absurd. What is
:>more, they make it impossible to handle even the most trivial
:>examples of fantasy literature. For example, Conan or Fafrd are
:>impossible in AD&D because they use thiefly skills and yet wield
:>heavy weapons and armor.

: Conan & Fafrd are EASY in AD&D. They are dual-classed. But they are a
: little on the exceptional side, which is part of the reason that the
: rules make it so hard to make such indivuals.

No, they are MULTI-classed, which is illegal for humans via AD&D rules.
These characters didn't have a pure theif stage, followed by a pure
fighter stage, followed by a dual-class stage. They started as both, and
they continued to develop as both.

--
Jim Walters jwal...@clark.net

"My race is pacifist and does not believe in war.
We kill only out of personal spite." Brain Guy - MST3K

Brett Evill

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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In article <358fc62e....@news.srv.net>,

hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:


>That is not the sort of skills he pointed out. He mentioned poetry,
>theology, authorship, etc., skills that easily fall under the AD&D
>proficiency system vice class system.

These are the skills of the 'rennaissance man' that *you* cited. Music,
Poetry, Mathematics, a science, an art. No Rennaissance man in *this*
world ever cast both priestly and magician's spells. Lots of people in,
for example, the Australian Army can fight and sneak around, and do things
a hell of a lot more technically demanding than pick locks and remove
traps.

The AD&D system lets a character trivially acquire a suit of skills that
in reality qualify one forthe highest admiration, but makes it difficult
to assemble the complex of skills that the Australian army teaches to
every tanker and infantryman. That's a recommendation!

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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On 23 Jun 1998 22:55:11 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
(Brett Evill) wrote:

>In article <358fc62e....@news.srv.net>,
>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>
>
>>That is not the sort of skills he pointed out. He mentioned poetry,
>>theology, authorship, etc., skills that easily fall under the AD&D
>>proficiency system vice class system.
>
>These are the skills of the 'rennaissance man' that *you* cited. Music,
>Poetry, Mathematics, a science, an art.

Why would have *I* cited it if that is in fact not the way that the
system I am defending operates? This is a strawman. I sited the
Renaissance because it was something of a watershed in educational
attitudes (though the industrial age was as much so, if not more). My
point was that the willy-nilly dabling you see espoused by most skill
based systems was not common until the after the Renaissance.

Brett Evill

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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In article <358fc719....@news.srv.net>,

hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:


>Conan & Fafrd are EASY in AD&D. They are dual-classed. But they are a
>little on the exceptional side, which is part of the reason that the
>rules make it so hard to make such indivuals.

Are they easy or hard? You say both.

*Any* interesting character must be exceptional. Any hero you might want
to emulate has something that makes him different.

>> Regarding the historical example of the apprenticeship
>>system, I think you are being completely misled. I am not very
>>familiar with later medieval periods, but in general, a rural
>>medieval household frequently relied on its own skills to do
>>things rather than going to a specialist.
>
>I think you are the one that is being misled. A house relied on basic
>skills, but when you needed certain skills, you had to go outside of
>the house. Not every house had a blacksmith or a wheelwright.

This isn't helping your case. Smithing and wheelwrighting are
proficiencies, which in AD&D are practised by generalists. A character can
easily be both of these things.

What AD&D makes it hard for a character to do is both fight well and
exercise stealth, lockpicking, climbing, and pickpocketing. (Whereas it is
hard to exercise stealth and climbing without pickpocketing and minor
mechanical abilities.)

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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On 23 Jun 1998 23:01:30 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
(Brett Evill) wrote:

>In article <358fc719....@news.srv.net>,
>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>
>
>>Conan & Fafrd are EASY in AD&D. They are dual-classed. But they are a
>>little on the exceptional side, which is part of the reason that the
>>rules make it so hard to make such indivuals.
>
>Are they easy or hard? You say both.
>

Do I? No, I said easy.

>*Any* interesting character must be exceptional. Any hero you might want
>to emulate has something that makes him different.
>
>>> Regarding the historical example of the apprenticeship
>>>system, I think you are being completely misled. I am not very
>>>familiar with later medieval periods, but in general, a rural
>>>medieval household frequently relied on its own skills to do
>>>things rather than going to a specialist.
>>
>>I think you are the one that is being misled. A house relied on basic
>>skills, but when you needed certain skills, you had to go outside of
>>the house. Not every house had a blacksmith or a wheelwright.
>
>This isn't helping your case. Smithing and wheelwrighting are
>proficiencies, which in AD&D are practised by generalists. A character can
>easily be both of these things.

Really? So there is a flaw in the skill based approach to
proficiencies, then? This isn't helping you, either.

Yes, there is a basic flaw to the skill based approach to
pre-Renaisance settings, I agree with you on that notion. But this is
not a problem for the GAME because the skills that are germaine to
adventurers ARE treated properly.

>What AD&D makes it hard for a character to do is both fight well and
>exercise stealth, lockpicking, climbing, and pickpocketing. (Whereas it is
>hard to exercise stealth and climbing without pickpocketing and minor
>mechanical abilities.)

As it should be. Professional soldiers were not by and large
professional burglars.

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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On Tue, 23 Jun 1998 23:09:37 GMT, hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net
(Alan D Kohler) wrote:

>On 23 Jun 1998 23:01:30 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
>(Brett Evill) wrote:
>
>>In article <358fc719....@news.srv.net>,
>>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Conan & Fafrd are EASY in AD&D. They are dual-classed. But they are a
>>>little on the exceptional side, which is part of the reason that the
>>>rules make it so hard to make such indivuals.
>>
>>Are they easy or hard? You say both.
>>
>Do I? No, I said easy.

Allow me to re-phrase because now I see your confusion:
It is EASY to see *how* it can be accomplished in AD&D.
It is NOT easy for a player to acheive in practice, since this will
require you to dual-class if you are using only the core rules. But
this is as it should be, because Conan is NOT a run-of-the-mill
warrior. Not even a "typical" PC-caliber fighter. Conan is a fighter
of legendary stature. For PCs to acheive that level without a degree
of challenge would be a bad attribute in a game, not a good one.

Brett Evill

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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In article <35901b58....@news.srv.net>,

hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:

>*Again* skills that AD&D does not preclude. You all keep trying to
>pull me into the strawman position that "a person cannot have more
>than one skill."

Which straw man wrote:

"Unfortunately for you, these limitations make sense. In
pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
ONE profession, none of the dabbling that is characteristic of most
skill based systems. It's not that some strange force prevents you
from picking up a sword. It is just not realistic to assume that you
would learn to use one well if you spent all your time learning magic."

and:

"Simple. Tendencies to dable were not common until the renassiance
brought about changing attitudes in education."

Alan D Kohler

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98
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On 23 Jun 1998 23:51:38 GMT, b.e...@spamblocker.tyndale.apana.org.au
(Brett Evill) wrote:

>In article <35901b58....@news.srv.net>,
>hwk...@REMOVE2REPLY.poky.srv.net (Alan D Kohler) wrote:
>
>>*Again* skills that AD&D does not preclude. You all keep trying to
>>pull me into the strawman position that "a person cannot have more
>>than one skill."
>
>Which straw man wrote:
>
>"Unfortunately for you, these limitations make sense. In
>pre-renassiance times- which most fantasy genres approximate- you did
>ONE profession,

>"Simple. Tendencies to dable were not common until the renassiance
>brought about changing attitudes in education."

Gee, did you not READ those statements? Where did I say that you could
not have more than one skill? Nowhere. The problem I have is when
skill-based systems allow you to mix and match skills from diverse
professions freely. "Skill amorphs" are not valid or believable
characters.

Brett Evill

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Jun 23, 1998, 3:00:00 AM6/23/98