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Subject: calling old Grognards re old D&D gaming rss

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Rob Johnson
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I'm looking for any late 70's-era D&D gamer/Grognard who might still have some old Player's Manuals around, or at least a good memory!

I've been playing SPI's War of the Rings with my Daughter- her first exposure to WBG's. I'm thrilled to see her enjoying the play, but she and I both are getting frustrated with the infamous, simplistic Character Combat system. She's lost an important character (Imrahil) to the standard Rules. Within the Tolkien "canon parameters", Imrahil is highly unlikely to fall in personal combat against the Mouth of Sauron. Uh-uh.

No insult intended to Richard Berg (!), but in War of the Ring, Character Combat is of such critical importance that it merits a sub-game of it's own, especially in the Character Game in which there's little else of excitement happening at all. I don't want her to be discouraged, not now! She can handle increased complexity, but not a lack of "Tolkien realism".

My thinking is to simply substitute the old D&D personal combat system, if my dusty old brain could recall how that was done!. I want to make up an official D&D Character sheet for every WotR character in the Campaign game. It's worth the effort. The old D&D combat system will come back to me eventually so I'll stick with a system I knew once before.

Can anybody help me here? It's been 29 years since my last D&D game and who knows where my Player's Manuals have got to.....we both would thank you. I'd also appreciate any suggestions, here, too!
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Gerry Smit
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Soooo, you need the To Hit charts for each character class, the armor type modifiers, strength and dex modifiers, all that stuff?

That's a large part of the PHB, and a few pages in the DMG. I've got my old manuals, I'm wondering what pages you need.

Alternatively, you go to RPG side of the geek, and look up the marketplace for those manuals, and see if you can't buy them cheaply.

Gerry
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Nick Cooper
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This is a VERY brief summary from my dusty old DnD manuals...

There are 7 basic character classes:

Cleric
Fighter
Magic User
Thief
Dwarf
Elf
Halfling (yes, I *know* they mean Hobbit)

Each character you create selects one of the above classes. You can't mix and match e.g. have a Elf Thief.

I will concentrate on the combat side of things for you:

Each character has an Armour Class (AC). The lower the AC, the better!
Each character has Hit Points (HP). The more HP, the better!
Each character has a Level - the higher the level, the better they are at fighting.

In original DnD there was a table that was used to correlate your characters race+level against your opponents AC. This gave a number that you had to roll greater or equal to in order to hit them.

If you did hit, damage was determined by the weapon you used, starting from a club (1d3) and working up to a 1d10 magical two handed sword of destruction that gave +9 to hit and damage rolls (yeah, I know, I made that up). You get the general idea.

Do you need more details of the combat table, the armour and weapon types? And I haven't even *touched* on spell casting for magic users like Saruman...



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The Tak
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I may have PDFs of first edition. Given the legality issues, I doubt I'll be able to upload them (really at this point I think it's 'practical fair use' because they're never publishing it again, but that's neither here nor there!). Feel free to contact me by PM if you would like them.
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Dr ?
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the books mentioned can be cheaply, and I mean cheaply, obtained online.
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Jeff Johnson
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I believe there is an open source edition of the old AD&D rules that you can use legally. It's called OSRIC.

http://www.roninarts.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=17&pro...

If you'd like a simpler system with more depth, flavor, and tactical options, I would recommend GURPS Lite instead.

http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG31-0004
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Pete Westmore
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or you could download one of the many free rpgs and use the combat system from that.
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Daric Morris
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Yes, they can be had fairly easily but my advice is to run away! The original D&D game mechanics have not aged gracefully.
We just started up a nostalgia D&D game and none of us have played for 20 years. I remember kind of fudging lots of rules as a kid but I thought it was because we were not smart. But it wasn't that, it was just that the rules are horribly organized and difficult to follow.
Use something else. D&D combat has zero strategy or detail. There are lots of better options out there
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Nick Cooper
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evilgit wrote:
D&D combat has zero strategy or detail.


Quite possibly so, but then again - wasn't the emphasis on ROLE playing, rather than REALISM and DETAIL? I mean, when was the last time you saw a realistic and detailed Magic Missile spell?

Sure they're simple, but it means that Combat is quickly resolved - leaving more time for the game

Just my sixpence worth...
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Eric Feifer
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You might try Metagaming's old Melee and Wizard.
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Wulf Corbett
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Caliburn wrote:
Quite possibly so, but then again - wasn't the emphasis on ROLE playing, rather than REALISM and DETAIL?
In D&D?

No.

Never was, and still isn't. Kill 'em and take their stuff. That's D&D.
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Wulf Corbett
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KenHR wrote:
Wulf Corbett wrote:
Never was, and still isn't. Kill 'em and take their stuff. That's D&D.
That's only true for crappy D&D groups or kids who haven't yet hit puberty. Or people who play 4th edition.
The people who play 4th edition are the same people (well, same kind of people, a generation or two on...) D&D was always written for. D&D has always been a combat system with some role-playing advice tagged on. How it's been played is another matter - but the emphasis has always been on detailed (realistic or otherwise) combat, treasure, combat options, weapons, armour, monsters, combat-relevant magic items...
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Eric Feifer
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Caliburn wrote:
Each character you create selects one of the above classes. You can't mix and match e.g. have a Elf Thief.


Isn't this confusing class and race? I'm dredging the memory banks here, my D&D stuff is buried somewhere. Weren't the classes Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, and Thief (with subclasses in each)? The races were Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, and Human (and some half-something-or-others)? I know there were exclusions/restrictions for combining some classes and races.
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Jeff Johnson
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efeifer wrote:
Caliburn wrote:
Each character you create selects one of the above classes. You can't mix and match e.g. have a Elf Thief.


Isn't this confusing class and race? I'm dredging the memory banks here, my D&D stuff is buried somewhere. Weren't the classes Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, and Thief (with subclasses in each)? The races were Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Halfling, and Human (and some half-something-or-others)? I know there were exclusions/restrictions for combining some classes and races.


Depends on the system. The popular D&D boxed sets of the 80's conflated class and race-- all elves were fighter-mages for example. The AD&D hard backs allowed players to pick between many race/class combinations... and even allowed non human characters to multi-class. Non-human characters had strict level caps to preserve a human-centric background.
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Obsolete Man
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
Caliburn wrote:
Quite possibly so, but then again - wasn't the emphasis on ROLE playing, rather than REALISM and DETAIL?
In D&D?

No.

Never was, and still isn't. Kill 'em and take their stuff. That's D&D.


Actually, that's not true. That's neo-D&D. Original D&D wasn't about that.

Original D&D gave most of the "experience points" (that let your character become better) for getting treasure... whereas combat was really deadly (lots of things could kill you in one hit, had poison or other weird powers). So "killing things" was for chumps. "Taking their stuff" was a very good idea, however.

The original game wasn't about combat so much as exploration and logistics. How to get to hard-to-access areas of the underworld where the best treasures haven't yet been taken, while avoiding getting creamed by all the outrageous beasties.
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Robert Sweeney
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Old time AD&D can still be downloaded;

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/
http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/osric/

Basically, combat was based on armor class (A/C). The lower the number the better the A/C (leather was a 7, chain 4, plate 3, shield improved by 1). Characters would be given a number to hit A/C 0 and modify from there; this was modified by class though (known as "To Hit Armor Class 0" or "THAC0). Fighters (and their sub-classes) hit better than Clerics (and their sub-classes) who hit better than Thieves (and their sub-classes) who hit better than Magic-Users (and their subclasses). How often they improved was also a function of class. I believe Fighters began with a THAC0 of 18 and that improved every 2 levels (thus a level 5 fighter would have a THAC0 of 16). Clerics improved every three, Thieves every four and Wizards every 5. So this level 5 fighter would hit a creature of A/C 5 on a 11 (base of 16 - A/C of 5 would give 11); hit a armored foe (A/C 2) on a 14 and a very heavily armored foe (A/C -2 --- yes A/C could go below 0) on a 18 (base of 16 - (-2) = 18). Hope that helps!
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Jeff Johnson
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LimboLance wrote:
Old time AD&D can still be downloaded;


Not legally, I don't think.

Online PDF sites (like Paizo and RPGNow) used to sell 1e, AD&D, and Chainmail for decent prices, but Wizards of the Coast shut this down early this year due to piracy and the 4e launch.
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Robert Sweeney
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Jeffr0 wrote:
LimboLance wrote:
Old time AD&D can still be downloaded;


Not legally, I don't think.

Online PDF sites (like Paizo and RPGNow) used to sell 1e, AD&D, and Chainmail for decent prices, but Wizards of the Coast shut this down early this year due to piracy and the 4e launch.


I think they are OK - they have a "Open Game License" disclaimer printed with the manuals. That said. I have downloaded several and truth be told - its cheaper in terms of ink to buy used ones on eBay in any case (Player Handbooks can be had for $3).
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Oh my God They Banned Kenny
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efeifer wrote:
You might try Metagaming's old Melee and Wizard.


This was my first thought on reading the OP. It just depends on how 'in depth' you want to get in the character generation / combat. However, IMHO, the hex based Melee-Wizard combo would be a better 'fit' being grafted onto the old hex and counter SPI War of the Ring.
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Rob Johnson
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Oh, Bloody Hell, I think my little Brain Fart is undergoing fusion reactions, here!! wow

Thanks for the replies- I remember most of the system, now. The system, alas, is infinitely the simplest part of this little project......gulp

I can see right now that it's easily six months hard work to come up with even the roughest set of translational numbers for each of Tolkien's characters' abilities....which no doubt will be subject to the merciless scrutiny and suggested revisions of hordes of savage Tolkienistas zombie

I thank you one and all, but y'know wut? See that red lever down there on my cockpit seat? I'm gonna pull it and EJECT!!

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David Elrick
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Try Labyrinth Lord: http://www.goblinoidgames.com/labyrinthlord.html

You can download a free copy of the rules. It is basically OD&D (the red box set and so on from the early eighties).

Good luck.
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Eric Feifer
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rattinox wrote:
See that red lever down there on my cockpit seat? I'm gonna pull it and EJECT!!


sauron says, "Now that's funny."
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I've got several Players' Handbooks and the old Blue Basic Book and the original 3 books

D&D combat is fun for nostalgia, but it's hardly a great combat system.
 
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Wulf Corbett
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KenHR wrote:
You've never seen a pre-2.5e (Players' Option) version of the game, then, I take it.
I've played since 1979. October of that year. Started with OD&D, moved quickly on to AD&D, gave it up as a bad job by AD&D 2ed, an observer only for all further iterations.
Quote:
There is very little detail in early versions of D&D combat.
There's plenty of detail. Separate THACO charts for every class for a start.
Quote:
RuneQuest, Champions, Chivalry & Sorcery, RoleMaster...all these games from the early RPG period had very detailed combat (and were considered, at the same time, more "grown up" than D&D...hmmm...).
Because they all had something outside combat.
Quote:
You're just flat out wrong. Aaron already told you why.
Nope.
 
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Nah. I preferred Rolemaster because it offered more "realistic" combat. Not because it had anything outside combat. Rolemaster, with all its CRTs, is basically a role-playing wargame. DnD didn't have a detailed combat system AT ALL...it is just "roll to hit" and "roll for damage" and that's it (cf. Rolemaster's system whereby the likelihood of inflicting damage, and the sort of damage you can do, is the result of the interaction between the particular weapon you are wielding and the particular armour of your opponent).

But still, DnD really is just "kill stuff and take treasure."
 
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