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Count Strahd Von Zarvoich

Digitalelf's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 2,763 posts (2,840 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 3 aliases.


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Grand Lodge

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juballa wrote:
possibly earlier.

Well, 2nd edition had two modules that fit that concept...

Both were for the Ravenloft campaign setting; the first is the "Castles Forlorn" boxed set and the second is "From the Shadows". Both involve a large extensive castle and going back in time to help the present day.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I never heard of the green covers.

In 2014, WotC re-printed the 3 core 2nd edition AD&D books, which were basically re-prints of the 1995 black cover books but they included all of the errata available up to the end of 2nd edition in 2000.

Grand Lodge

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Hm, page 161 is full of wizard spells in my PHB.

There were three 2e PHBs. The original, with a yellowish-orange cover, the 1995 version with a black cover, and the WotC re-print of the 1995 version with a green cover. The page number I provided was for the 1995 and WotC versions. However, just look up the chapter on "Climbing" and the info is there.

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:
I don't go as far as Tim (it's too loosey-goosey for me), but it's certainly very much out of the Dave Arneson/Dave Hargrave approach to the game. And that's pretty much at the roots.

I guess I took the things EGG said in the 1e DMG and in various Dragon Magazine articles about using the rules and the "dangers" of straying too far from them to heart.

But like I said in the previous post, in over 30 years of gaming, I have never felt constrained by the rules of any of the games/game systems that I have used.

But also note; I have and do add new rules to the game (where as well as when appropriate), and house-rule things (in moderation).

Here is an excerpt from an article by Gary Gygax from issue number 26 of “The Dragon” (June 1979) that I like to reference concerning how EGG felt about straying too far from the rules...

EGG wrote:

AD&D rectifies the shortcomings of (Original) D&D. There are few grey areas in AD&D, and there will be no question in the mind of the participants as to what the game is and is all about. There is form and structure to AD&D, and any variation of these integral portions of the game will obviously make it something else...

While (Original) D&D campaigns can be those which feature comic book spells, 43rd level Balrogs as player characters, and include a plethora of trash from various and sundry sources, AD&D cannot be so composed. Either a DM runs an AD&D campaign, or else it is something else. This is clearly stated within the work, and it is a mandate which will be unchanging, even if AD&D undergoes change at some future date. While DMs are free to allow many unique features to become a part of their campaign—special magic items, new monsters, different spells, unusual settings—and while they can have free rein in devising the features and facts pertaining to the various planes which surround the Prime Material, it is understood they must adhere to the form of AD&D. Otherwise what they referee is a variant adventure game. DMs still create an entire milieu, populate it and give it history and meaning. Players still develop personae and adventure in realms of the strange and fantastic, performing deeds of derring-do, but this all follows a master plan. The advantages of such a game are obvious. Because the integral features are known and immutable, there can be no debate as to what is correct. A meaningful dialog can be carried on between DMs, regardless of what region they play in. Players can move from one AD&D campaign to another and know at the very least the basic precepts of the game—that magic-users will not wield swords, that fighters don’t have instant death to give or take with critical hits or double damage, that strange classes of characters do not rule the campaign, that the various deities will not be constantly popping in and out of the game at the beck and call of player characters, etc. AD&D will suffer no such abuses, and DMs who allow them must realize this up front. The best feature of a game which offers real form, however, is that it will more readily lend itself to actual improvement—not change, but true improvement Once everybody is actually playing a game which is basically the same from campaign to campaign, any flaws or shortcomings of the basic systems and/or rules will become apparent. With (original) D&D, arguments regarding some rule are lost due to the differences in play and the wide variety of solutions proposed—most of which reflect the propensities of local groups reacting to some variant system which their DM uses in his or her campaign in the first place. With AD&D, such aberrations will be excluded, and a broad base can be used to determine what is actually needed and desired.

Grand Lodge

Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Really? Can you provide a page number off the top of your head? I could search thru my old books

I don't know the page number for the chance to hear something off-hand, but the information on climbing can be found starting on page #161 of the 1995 and 2014 versions of the 2nd edition PHB.

I'll try and find the information on the chances of non-thieves to hear something.

Grand Lodge

Haladir wrote:
Things weren't spelled out/cut-and-dry in the rules.

I don't know about original D&D or 1st edition AD&D. But in 2nd edition AD&D, most of the skills available to thieves were laid out pretty cut-and dry. Non thief characters had a chance, by the rules, to do most of the standard thief abilities, just not as good as a proper thief, and non thieves could not advance the majority of these skills like the thief class.

The chances of success for non thieves are in the books, but they are pretty spread out, and easily missed... Non-thieves have a base 15% chance to hear something, and a base 40% to climb something for example.

Grand Lodge

I'm a stickler for the rules myself. And in general, I tend to dislike seeing things like what Frog God Games did in the example above.

That said however, the example in question would be okay for me, because those things would not disrupt the game too much (if at all) if used solely for that adventure. But, and this is if I used S&W as my go-to game, if they started doing this kind of thing on a regular basis, or continued to use what they added seemingly ad-hoc to this module (I say seemingly ad-hoc, but I do not have the module in question, so I don't know how it "added" these things), I would start to question whether or not I wanted to continue to use S&W as my game of choice.

That's not to say I do not add new rules of my own or house-rule things, I just don't like seeing rules added or set aside simply because... you know... "FUN"!

In my over 30 years of experience, the rules have never gotten in the way of the telling of a good story, no matter the system I used.

YMMV.

Grand Lodge

Sissyl wrote:
Because it is such a delicious term? :)

LOL... No, it's like I said in my original post; I will use shorthand, I just don't use a whole lot of it.

Grand Lodge

Sissyl wrote:
It's pronounced "THACK-o".

Oh, I know how it's pronounced, I just prefer saying it "longhand" (i.e. "To Hit AC Zero").

Grand Lodge

The only shorthand I use are a few of the abbreviations that are already in the books, like AC for armor class for example. Other than that I personally do not like the tendency to abbreviate words, especially words that are spoken; my time is not so precious to me that I feel the need to save a second or two by shorten a word or phrase...

Heck, I play 2nd edition AD&D, and always say "to hit AC zero" instead of sounding out the acronym "THAC0".

But hey, to each their own. :-D

Grand Lodge

Arturius Fischer wrote:
Having more options gives you more options, and having less takes them away.

I have to really disagree with this.

I'm sure your experience (or perception of the game) has led you to that conclusion, but it has been my experience that in a more rules heavy system, where there is a rule for everything, the players (on both sides of the screen) tend to look solely to the character sheets for available options, and thus if an option is not written or somehow listed on the character sheet, that option is simply not available to the character. With a system open to more interpretation, the options available to the players are limited only by the player's own imagination, and not constrained by some completely arbitrary number on a sheet of paper.

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
In a simpler build system like AD&D or S&W, the only real cases where the minimums really apply are things like the paladin, where the 17 Cha is mandatory, but not really that useful.

In 2nd edition, those minimums were a bit more "useful" with the added sub-class of specialty priests (e.g. a specialty priest of a war god would need a good STR). Specialist wizards had higher minimums as well, but like the paladin, the score needed did not always match the requirement (the enchanter is one of those that made sense, they needed a 16 in CHR for example).

Grand Lodge

MendedWall12 wrote:
Well the group is mostly my sons, and I'm the GM so... :-)

That's awesome!

I hope you are able to talk them into at the very least, trying another edition of the game that isn't so "rules heavy".

Who knows, maybe you'll wind up adding 2 more individuals who will embrace the older editions, to help keep that particular spark alive.

Grand Lodge

DrDeth wrote:
Hah. Oddly I had a PC who could boost the party thru oratory and I gave part of that speech a couple of time!

What’s he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin.
If we are marked to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honor.

Grand Lodge

MendedWall12 wrote:
The answer to that question would take a lot more time than I currently have to answer, and probably require you to be a psychiatrist, and me to be laying on a couch. ;-) :P

I see... Well, I hope things have improved and that you are currently in a group with a much friendlier DM/GM. :-D

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:
The party was split.

Yeah, those darn pesky players! They always do the most unexpected things... :-P

But on a more serious note, it sounds like they had fun, which is the important thing.

Grand Lodge

MendedWall12 wrote:
Dude, the fact that you know that is amazing. I do believe that is exactly the module.

I wouldn't call it amazing. But thank you for the compliment. :-)

I agree that it was probably for the best that you didn't game with that DM again. But I have to ask: why didn't seek out another group afterward?

Grand Lodge

MendedWall12 wrote:
As the GM read the description of the trap, it became clear that the "staircase" was actually a ladder, with rungs, and I could have in fact levitated down.

Sounds like you were going through module "I10: Ravenloft II - The House on Gryphon Hill". If that's the case, then yeah, the module's text gives a chance of lighting striking the lightning rod on the mansion's roof when a character climbs on the ladder (there is however, a major storm going on during the character's time within the mansion, so the lightning doesn't just spring from nowhere).

But it does sound like your DM wanted your character to get fried.

Here is the actual text from that module:

Ravenloft II wrote:
Every round there is a 1 in 6 chance that a lightning strike on the dome will electrify the ladder (Dmg 2d8, plus Strength check or fall).

The ladder in question (again assuming that the module was Ravenloft II) climbs from the basement to the 2nd floor of the mansion.

Grand Lodge

I don't mind a little metagaming, particularly where traps and searching for things is concerned; it's hard not to in those instances. Where I don't like to see metagaming is during combat. I don't want to see a seasoned player for example, who runs a 1st level fighter who's primary weapon is the long sword, switch all of a sudden to a mace the first time that character encounters a skeleton. I want that kind of knowledge to be imparted to the character a bit more organically (e.g. through trial and error).

I agree with shifty, in that I am not expecting the player to give me an Oscar-winning performance when describing their character's actions, I would just like to see a little effort by the player put into the character's actions instead of just relying (solely) upon the die roll for a success or failure (e.g. searching for traps).

Grand Lodge

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thejeff wrote:
It's also pretty much a necessity when it comes to things like finding traps by describing how you're looking for them, since there's nothing other than player knowledge to rely on.

I'm willing to bet that is one of the reasons that the good Dr. of Deth (:-P) came up with the thief class in the first place...

I can understand not wanting to go back to such a way of playing, but for me, one of the major reasons I went back to an older edition was the newer edition's seemingly total reliance placed upon the numbers on a character sheet and the general attitude of "If it's not on the sheet, you cannot do it!".

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
My last character got killed by a trap he didn't find, so now my new character knows how to look for it.

Old school D&D, particularly Original D&D and early 1st edition, metagaming as it's referred to today, was encouraged; the player was supposed to take the knowledge that he learned from killing or being killed by that troll and using it for his next character. But this was because of three key things: one was a high player turnover at the table, two, a relatively high character mortality rate, and three, because at the time (again Original D&D and EARLY 1st edition), the concept of metagaming and it being a bad thing, was not as important as it later became.

No, of course not everyone played that way, and I did not suggest as much, I merely said that it was encouraged back then.

Grand Lodge

MadScientistWorking wrote:
I've never seen anyone play a game like the supposed new school is supposed to do.

It's the difference between relying solely on a die roll to mechanically search for traps for example, and explaining exactly how your character is searching for traps without necessarily rolling a die for success (in other words, being so detailed and thorough in your explanation, that no die roll is required to succeed).

In most of our collected experiences within this thread, we've seen that in newer editions, players would rather just rely on a die roll for things like searches than provide any explanations (or give the barest of explanations along with a die roll and hoping that their bonuses to in that skill will suffice).

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
I suspect it would come back quickly though. :)

Yeah, once I dove back in, the rules started returning to me fairly quickly.

Grand Lodge

MendedWall12 wrote:
Trust me, I know exactly what you're saying, and that is why I said what I did. I think I would have mind-boggling amounts of fun with you as my DM. :) Probably get caught up in a sweeping narrative of epic proportions and never be able to look back.

Again, thank you for the kind words.

What is your preferred edition of D&D (if any)?

Grand Lodge

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thejeff wrote:
I really want to try AD&D (or Basic) style rules again - see how they fit with my memories and how they address some of the issues I have with 3.x, but I've got no interest in the whole Old School ethos thing. It wasn't how we played back then and it doesn't interest me now.

Before entirely switching back to 2nd edition, I ran a couple of one shots with my players, mainly to see if it was merely nostalgia that was drawing me away from 3rd edition and Pathfinder. But I found that it was pretty much exactly as I remembered it being.

So for me, playing 2nd edition is not about joining the OSR movement, but about embracing not only the edition of D&D I loved, but the playstyle I enjoyed along with it (i.e. the "Old School Ethos" thing you spoke of).

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
MendedWall12 wrote:
Elf, I want to play a game with you. I feel like it would be one of the most awesome games I've ever played in. :)

I thank you. That's kind of you to say. :-)

I'm afraid that my style of DMing would not go over very well by today's standards. I am very much a DM of the past (if you catch my meaning).

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Kind of odd too. OD&D, which S&W supposedly emulates, didn't have a Druid (or a Ranger for that matter)

Druids did appear in OD&D. They were in the "Greyhawk Supplement" (1975) as NPCs, and then again in the "Eldritch Wizardry Supplement" (1976), though this time, as a proper PC class.

The Ranger was in the second issue (1975) of "The Strategic Review", which was the predecessor of "(The) Dragon Magazine".

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:

Level 1

Detect Magic
Detect Snares & Pits
Faerie Fire
Locate Animals
Predict Weather
Purify Water

Wow, that is pretty bad...

Here is the 1st edition list for 1st level spells:

Animal friendship
Detect Magic
Detect Snares & Pits
Entangle
Faerie Fire
Invisibility to Animals
Locate Animals
Pass Without Trace
Predict Weather
Purify Water
Shillelagh
Speak With Animals

Pretty big difference... And a lot more useful with spells like Shillelagh and Entangle.

Druids are also a lot more hardy at 1d8 HP...

So, it is interesting seeing these differences between the two systems.

Grand Lodge

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HolmesandWatson wrote:
I don't remember a lot of the old rules. I was surprised to see zero spells for a 1st level Cleric (without the wisdom bonus). Ouch! And especially since the Druid's 1st level spells are useless. We laughed about 'Predict Weather.'

No 1st level spells was a thing for Basic and it's various versions and clones. In 1st edition AD&D, clerics most certainly received a spell at 1st level (and of course more if their WIS score was high enough). As for the Druid's spell list, I can't speak of their list in S&W, but in 1st edition AD&D, the spell list is not that bad, considering.

And I must say, the ability to predict the weather, can be a very handy thing... For example, if the party will be traveling a mountain pass during the winter, knowing that a major snow storm or blizzard is coming could mean the difference between life or freezing to death...

Just sayin' :-)

Grand Lodge

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DrDeth wrote:
Manual of Aurania.

Shameless plug! ;-P

But on a more serious note, I'd love find a copy of this.

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:
I think folks will enjoy it and I'd love to see some comments here in this thread.

Really good post, I enjoyed reading it. The post spoke of many (if not most) of the reasons I stopped playing 3rd edition D&D and Pathfinder, and went back to playing 2nd edition AD&D.

Grand Lodge

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CrystalSeas wrote:
I just wish there was an online resource for finding some of the articles. I often see references here to articles, which are of no use unless you have an attic full of back copies.

There is an online index to Dragon Magazine: HERE

It may not be as good as having an attic full of back copies, but it does list what issues each of the articles appeared in. :-)

Grand Lodge

Shifty wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
There was a Samurai class in 1977.

1976, in Dragon magazine.

It didn't make an 'official' hardcover book until 1985 with the launch of the amazing and deliciously flavoursome 'Oriental Adventures'.

Assuming you were playing AD&D and not BECMI of course...!

Otherwise, Fighter.

The 1976 version appeared in issue #3; it lacked a lot of detail and substance, and it was clearly written using the Original D&D rules. In 1981, issue #49, the Samurai appeared in much greater detail as well as substance, and it was clearly written using the 1st edition rules (and it was an NPC class).

Grand Lodge

HyperMissingno wrote:
Not to mention that digital gaming makes it possible to play with people in different states and countries.

Yeah, my main weekly game has someone that lives over 3 hours away, and is about to move two states away in a couple of weeks. If it weren't for Skype, he would not be able to play in my campaigns.

Grand Lodge

Of course you can do both.

But we're talking about a book about table-top gaming written in the mid 1980's by EGG himself. Video games were around back then, but they were certainly not like they are today; and so had very little effect on TTRPGs.

Many players likewise came to the game (back then) with different expectations and influences than many player do today (exactly because of those differing expectations and influences).

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:
it never occurred to me to send in an article to one of those back then.

The thought did occur to me back in the day, but I did not think that my writing was very good, so I never submitted anything... I regret never having done so. :-(

But like you, my name appears in several of those Kobold Press, Rite Publishing, and Frog God Games Patron Projects.

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
I believe that carried through to 2E.

Yeah, it carried over into 2e, and the numbers are pretty much the same as they were in 1e.

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:
And also seeing how non-pen and paper PC players like it.

When I introduced my wife to gaming, who had never played a ttrpg before, I was playing 3rd edition D&D... Having moved to 2nd edition, my wife actually prefers it over the more rules-heavy 3rd edition/Pathfinder.

As far as S&W is concerned...

I've never played it, though I have a lot of material for it; and I really like what I've read.

I look forward to reading about your experiences with it.

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:
we are using S&W complete.

Do you prefer OSR games (retro-clones as well as the originals) or newer games such as Pathfinder; or a mixture of the two?

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:
He wrote Hall of Bones, the S&W "intro" module I'm going to use to introduce my two gamer group friends to pen and paper RPGing.

If you're talking about the "Free RPG Day" Adventure of the same name (i.e. Hall of Bones), it was written by Bill Webb of Frog God Games, which also produced a more "complete" version of S&W.

Grand Lodge

HolmesandWatson wrote:
You might find it aligned with your feelings towards going back to AD&D.

Oh yes! I discovered that document around the time that the whole OSR "movement" was still relatively new. I make it required reading for my players. :-)

Here is the link to it on Lulu.com: A Quick Primer for Old School Gaming

Grand Lodge

Since my last post to this thread (way back in December of 2013), I stopped playing Pathfinder/3.x altogether and went back to running 2nd Edition AD&D. And though dated, I adhere to many, if not most of the old play-style philosophies discussed in Role-Playing Mastery and Master of the Game (as well as other sources such as the older issues of Dragon Magazine).

It's been a wonderful experience having gone back, and I do not miss Pathfinder's/3.x's rules minutia, bloat, or the hours-long combats a single bit.

Grand Lodge

Terquem wrote:
Who let him in?

It's almost as if he's a... Thief in the night! ;-)

Grand Lodge

BigNorseWolf wrote:
The private server thing is a complete non issue.

And if Russia DOES provide emails originating from her account?

Grand Lodge

Please cancel my subscription to the Pathfinder AP.

Thank you in advance.

Grand Lodge

bugleyman wrote:
Just goes to show that his supporters don't actually care about little things like the law.

And yet if you or I (or anyone else on these boards), were as "negligent" with top level security as Mrs. Clinton, we'd have been thrown into the deepest, darkest of prisons before you could say "scandal"!

Just look at Gen. Patraeus... All he did was share TS emails with a single person, and he was coerced into resigning from the C.I.A. Not only was Hilary accused of sharing TS emails with several people, her account is said to have been hacked by Russia!

Just goes to show that her supporters don't actually care about little things like the law.

Grand Lodge

thejeff wrote:
Obama's been better on immigration by Republican standards then his predecessors.

Obama has sent most illegal immigrants through the actual deportation process, while Bush tended to just "return" illegal immigrants to their countries of origin without putting them through the whole process of actual "deportation" So you can read the numbers of those "deported" under both presidents either way.

Grand Lodge

Pan wrote:
What makes this particular project not a huge, if not the hugest, boondoggle in government history?

I can only speak for myself, but I think that if we as a nation were to take a serious as well as an honest look at addressing our boarders, and the real costs involved with the proposed solutions, we just might be able to come up with a viable solution to the problem.

Grand Lodge

I thank you for your answers Caineach and lucky7. :-)

You both bring up the issue of those that are already here and securing our boarders now won't solve that. While you are absolutely correct, dealing with those that are already here really is a separate issue.

While there are a few on the right that would absolutely love to have all of those that are here (illegally) deported, the issue of stopping illegal immigration is not about those that are here already, but to stop any more from getting in via illegal means.

Grand Lodge

KingOfAnything wrote:
This is not exactly an honest question, as I don't think anyone in this thread has drawn that connection.

It is an honest question.

I did not ask it because I saw anyone here drawing that conclusion (though I have seen the word racist applied to those on the right in this thread).

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