AD&D via Pathfinder aka "I want an old school feeling game"


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Shadow Lodge

True. But it's no less opinion when you claim that pre-d20 is clunky.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
True. But it's no less opinion when you claim that pre-d20 is clunky.

Never said that, but yes, both are simply opinions.


Jeff Erwin wrote:
Luna_Silvertear wrote:
Jeff Erwin wrote:

Running a game where there's some insane CRs out there will keep things old school. I played 1e as a kid and there were times when "run away!" was by far the best option.

Since I'm writing a sandbox module right now, this is also true of my PF game. It definitely feels more like the games I played in then in comparison to the APs.
The other key is reign in magic item availability and wealth by level. These things need to be earned or sought out, rather than be automatic. Interesting and powerful items are themselves the objects of quests, or are found on an irregular basis in hoards, rather than in shops.
Both these changes up the danger level in a game a fair amount. It's something you have to be comfortable with, but my players kinda like the feeling of desperation and doing stuff creatively, because the magic item fix or the spell the wizard wants to buy and inscribe in their spell book isn't easily available.

I get the magic item bit, or even adding unusual spells to your spell book, but could you elaborate how you would manage the wealth? Where would be a good place to start...say using slow advancement with the party about to hit level 2. Would you give a hard number by merit and see if the PCs hit that amount, or would you give a broad range?

Imagine if a character from each edition met up and discussed their abilities. That's be a funny thing to see.

Well, I started with standard wealth by level because the campaign started at 5th. I then simply put enough treasure in the area to get well beyond the appropriate targets, but made some of it a major headache to acquire; a lot has also been overlooked or not found. There's a dragon lair, for instance. But a lot of the magic items are pre-defined (even if I rolled to generate what they were). Most are appropriate to the local history and adventurers, villains, and rulers who lived in the area over the preceding centuries. There's just one artifact, for instance.

That seems like a pretty good way of doing it, and honestly I feel that should be the standard way of doing it. I honestly love what this thread has done. This has become more than just a simple discussion on rules or an "emulation", it is a getting back to why we play the game, in a sense. We play for the adventure. We play because we have these characters in our heads waiting to get out. It reminds me of my first character. He was a dwarven cleric lovingly named Rag. It was so much fun to be on adventure...fighting dragons, solving puzzles, meeting new players who share the same love of the game I do. Do you guys remember your first character, no matter what the edition was? I haven't played a dwarf since then...I think I might roll one up. At the end of the day...its not about that +2 bonus or that magic longsword you just found in the lich's horde...it's about the fun and adventure! I feel like a little kid again...


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber

I generally play any system the way we played in the 70s/80s. In my mind, considerations such as "should a bard be a prestige class?" (to pick a random example) are not the key.

In my view, the main distinguishing factor between those original systems and the newer ones is the expectation that there wont be a rule for much of the game and the DM will just make something up when such contingencies inevitably arise. The rules are really just guidelines and making a decision fast is the most important thing - whether it matches what you decided last month is less important.

It seems to me that emulating the AD&D style is going to be best acheived through everyone accepting that, from time to time, you're not going to bother looking up the rules - you'll just get them to roll less than their dexterity on a d20 to avoid slipping into the lake (or whatever).

A cheerfully incomplete ruleset, with the gaps filled by DM judgement (and where the rules are not always obvious to the players), seems to me to be the principle defining feature of an "old school" game. Trying to replicate that via a ruleset which strives to present a consistent, clear and known-to-all set of rules would be best acheived via careful excision of many of the subsystems, in my view. Even if bard-as-a-prestige-class is the closest fit to how things were in the original incarnation of that class, I think trying to recapture the same outcomes mechanically wont result in the same feel as AD&D.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Instead of tearing down the Pathfinder rules system, and recreating it, why not just alter 2E?

Seriously, just add those few things you like about Pathfinder to the 2E system.

Seems like not only less work, but a better result.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:

To reiterate one of my main points, it is hard to overstate the importance of the level of lethality in the game back then. In fact the mortality of my main characters was so much of a concern to me back then that it more or less colors every aspect of the game play.

And to reiterate my response: I don't find that any different today. Our playstyle back then was not all that different from now, at least as far as lethality goes. Maybe the GMs fudged more. Maybe just set up easier encounters.

And you can play hardcore now, if you like. You've got more hp, but enemies can just deal more damage to compensate.

It's a playstyle issue, not an edition issue.

As for running, my experience has usually been that it just gets you cut down from behind instead of in front. At least running once you're in the fight.

I simply cannot disagree more. For so many reasons that I seriously have to wonder if you actually PLAYED back then.

My wizard had ONE HIT POINT at level 1 and DEATH OCCURRED IMMEDIATELY at zero hit points. He literally could have been killed outright by a RAT BITE. There was no "unconscious", not even "unconscious until -10 hit points". You hit zero, you were dead, dead, dead.

And if you DID die, and you were raised, you lost XP, you lost treasure and you lost constitution points, which cost you permanent hit points if you happened to drop to a new con bonus tier.

And "running away" did not mean "panic!" It meant you had TACTICS for running away, which usually involved spells or items that slowed down your pursuers, like caltrops or marbles.

Sorry, I just don't agree with you.

At. All.

It was 20 years ago. I don't remember all the details. I don't remember high casualty rates. I don't remember being anywhere near as paranoid and careful as you describe. Maybe we used house rules. Maybe the GMs usually fudged or soft-balled encounters for us. It was a long time ago, it all blurs.

I know, just like we usually play today, we played for the adventure, for the story, for the characters, not for the challenge of seeing if we could keep a character alive to high levels.

Grand Lodge

rknop wrote:

Yeah, I got that, but... how the heck did they work? Nowhere in the rules system did it say how to actually USE those numbers that were listed in the table, nor did it say how it interacted with the intiative system, or with the casting time in segments for all the various spells.

I want to give a shot at explaining it, or at least my memory of it at our table (when used).

First, the lower the better. An initiative of 1 was a god send. All modifiers added (basically) to your roll until you reached the number in initial order.

(Excuse my iPad typing)
Let's say you roll init on your d10 ( not on a d20) and get a six.
Your weapon was speed 5
Your init was 11.
Now to complicate things...
You get multiple attacks per round of say 2x per round if a mid level fighter and you rolled that six so you were init 11 and 16.
Trolls were large and I think we're +6 speed based on size???

The troll rolls a 3 and had three attacks (claw,claw,bite) so its initial that round was 9,15, and 21

So... Init in order was
9 troll claw
11 your main attack
15 second troll claw
16 your second attack
With the troll getting a bite attack at initiative 21 if it was still up.

This is an example and it is SUPER clunky based on modern styles but sometimes I miss it. Every round of every combat was so dynamic and yet in my experience on both sides of the screen, was faster. We did it so often it didn't SEEM as complicated as it was. To conclude, the value of a dagger with multiple attacks was great because it was possible to get in many attacks before the claymore wielder even got off a swing, even if you both rolled the same number.

Ps- I still catch myself grabbing my 10 sided when it is initiative time
That's my ancient memory of my 2e combat anyways.

I greatly miss weapon speeds personally.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


I simply cannot disagree more. For so many reasons that I seriously have to wonder if you actually PLAYED back then.

My wizard had ONE HIT POINT at level 1 and DEATH OCCURRED IMMEDIATELY at zero hit points. He literally could have been killed outright by a RAT BITE. There was no "unconscious", not even "unconscious until -10 hit points". You hit zero, you were dead, dead, dead.

And if you DID die, and you were raised, you lost XP, you lost treasure and you lost constitution points, which cost you permanent hit points if you happened to drop to a new con bonus tier.

And "running away" did not mean "panic!" It meant you had TACTICS for running away, which usually involved spells or items that slowed down your pursuers, like caltrops or marbles.

Sorry, I just don't agree with you.

At. All.

Sure, 1e could be deadly. But then, so's PF. A 1st level wizard now may have 6 hp on average, which makes him a little more resistant to that 1 hp rat bite. But now he has to worry about crits that didn't exist back in 1e. A 1/2 CR orc with an axe and a modest strength can still take that wizard down. Probably the fighter too, when his 1e counterpart was probably out of the rat's murderous capacity. And while those 1e characters become more resistant to one-hits, PF characters still run significant crit risks.

All in all, I'd say it evens out in the wash. And I most certainly have played a lot of 1e/2e as well as 3e and PF.

Grand Lodge

Oh and casting segments were the same basically.. Roll of 7. Segment of 5. You started casting on 7 and it went off on 12. If you were damaged on say initial 8 spell proofed (failed)


thejeff wrote:


It was 20 years ago. I don't remember all the details. I don't remember high casualty rates. I don't remember being anywhere near as paranoid and careful as you describe. Maybe we used house rules. Maybe the GMs usually fudged or soft-balled encounters for us. It was a long time ago, It was a long time ago, it all blurs.

I know, just like we usually play today, we played for the adventure, for the story, for the characters, not for the challenge of seeing if we could keep a character alive to high levels.

Playing for the challenge of seeing if you could keep your character alive not only was not counter to the other goals you list, it was part of them, just as it is today. It was just more difficult to do so back then.

Yes there were GMs who softballed encounters to keep characters alive. And the rules have been drastically softened to make the game deliberately less lethal for a reason, and that reason is that dying easily wasn't fun then either. But that's how the game, played by the rules, was.

And yes, in my mind the fact that I managed to keep my wizard and illusionist alive until level 12 and 14 respectively was an accomplishment I was quite proud of. And on top of that, at level 12 and 14 those magic wielding characters were awesome cosmic-reality altering demigods and it was fun, in a nostalgic sort of way, to remember when they would literally run from rats.


Ravenbow wrote:

Oh and casting segments were the same basically.. Roll of 7. Segment of 5. You started casting on 7 and it went off on 12. If you were damaged on say initial 8 spell proofed (failed)

Wow, you are really bringing back the memories now...


Bill Dunn wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:


I simply cannot disagree more. For so many reasons that I seriously have to wonder if you actually PLAYED back then.

My wizard had ONE HIT POINT at level 1 and DEATH OCCURRED IMMEDIATELY at zero hit points. He literally could have been killed outright by a RAT BITE. There was no "unconscious", not even "unconscious until -10 hit points". You hit zero, you were dead, dead, dead.

And if you DID die, and you were raised, you lost XP, you lost treasure and you lost constitution points, which cost you permanent hit points if you happened to drop to a new con bonus tier.

And "running away" did not mean "panic!" It meant you had TACTICS for running away, which usually involved spells or items that slowed down your pursuers, like caltrops or marbles.

Sorry, I just don't agree with you.

At. All.

Sure, 1e could be deadly. But then, so's PF. A 1st level wizard now may have 6 hp on average, which makes him a little more resistant to that 1 hp rat bite. But now he has to worry about crits that didn't exist back in 1e. A 1/2 CR orc with an axe and a modest strength can still take that wizard down. Probably the fighter too, when his 1e counterpart was probably out of the rat's murderous capacity. And while those 1e characters become more resistant to one-hits, PF characters still run significant crit risks.

All in all, I'd say it evens out in the wash. And I most certainly have played a lot of 1e/2e as well as 3e and PF.

A wizard only has 6 HP if he is trying to handicap himself.First, he should add his favored class bonus(7) and second a wizard shouldn't have a con of 10. A realistic wizard would have a hp of 8 or 9.

Additionally, there is only a chance that he will crit and then roll high enough to kill the wizard in one hit. In 2e, if the rat hit, he died.


Bill Dunn wrote:

Sure, 1e could be deadly. But then, so's PF. A 1st level wizard now may have 6 hp on average, which makes him a little more resistant to that 1 hp rat bite. But now he has to worry about crits that didn't exist back in 1e. A 1/2 CR orc with an axe and a modest strength can still take that wizard down. Probably the fighter too, when his 1e counterpart was probably out of the rat's murderous capacity. And while those 1e characters become more resistant to one-hits, PF characters still run significant crit risks.

All in all, I'd say it evens out in the wash. And I most certainly have played a lot of 1e/2e as well as 3e and PF.

It doesn't even remotely "even out." My wizard had 1 hit point. If he got hit and took one point of damage HE WAS DEAD. PF wizards have at least 6 hp, and most will have more due to favored class bonuses, con boosts and toughness. I've seen level 1 wizards in PF with 10 hit points who would not die until they reached -14 hit points.

In 1e and 2e a rat bite could kill you outright. In PF a goblin crit MIGHT knock you unconscious.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


It doesn't even remotely "even out." My wizard had 1 hit point. If he got hit and took one point of damage HE WAS DEAD. PF wizards have at least 6 hp, and most will have more due to favored class bonuses, con boosts and toughness. I've seen level 1 wizards in PF with 10 hit points who would not die until they reached -14 hit points.

In 1e and 2e a rat bite could kill you outright. In PF a goblin crit MIGHT knock you unconscious.

Sure it evens out. I one-hit both a barbarian and a fighter with crits at 1st level. Dead as doornails. I couldn't have done that in 1e.

But when I say it evens out in the wash, I'm considering way more than just first level. Monsters with strength bonuses to hit, multiple attacks, Con and hit points out the wazoo in PF. Opposition fighters getting their iterative attacks all at once and throwing out huge spikes of damage. Opposition spellcasters with buffed casting stats and astronomical save DCs. Yeah, PF is a plenty deadly game compared to 1e.


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IMO here are some differences between AD&D & 3.x/pathfinder.

1. The main combat and encounter rules are now in the PHB not the DMG meaning the feel of the game is one of less control and trust reposing in the DM's hands. The 'rule for everything' has taken away from the intuitive feel of the game imo. This is largely a psychological thing but to help the old world feel I suggest what has been said above about being a little fast and loose with the rules.

2. The character creation system is more like you are designing a build than rolling up a character. The magic deck builders in my group love this part. In old school you designed mechs or cars for car wars, you rolled up characters and they had abilities that sometimes suited a class, and others that didn't. Roll 4d6 in order, allow one swap and one reroll.

3. Adventures were less clinically designed. They became even more clinical in 4e with each encounter almost becoming its own mini war game. But even in 3e I (as dm and player) found myself thinking more about the encounter than the dungeon. The encounters always have to be balanced ( don't put in an encounter that is more than 4 cr's different from the party etc). This lead to some great dynamic encounters but also some monotony like the BBEG being 4 encounters into the dungeon etc. In the giant series for example you meet the big encounter in G1 almost straight away, in G2 it's way at the back, in G 3 you meet one BBEG virtually in the first room and another 3/4 of the way through the dungeon. Try and have less organized dungeon design.

4. Characters level up so much faster. I once ran a 1e game in high school and uni and beyond lasting about 15 years where the characters ended up about 18 th level. I like being able to experience some high level gaming every now and again but you now barely get to get the feeling of being 3rd level when suddenly you are 5th. We used to go through 5-10 dungeons to go up a level. Now that is a 1st - 20th campaign. What that means is if you meet a BBEG you can't beat ( say a rakshassa at 2nd level) just wander off adventuring for a month or two and you will be 8th+ level and you can splat him. Old school ( Monty haul excepted) was IMO a lower level game. Take a long time to go up levels.

4. Finally the characters are tougher now. More hit points, less SOD effects means longer to determine a way through the encounter, less risk, more warning if things are going wrong. less risk means less value to what was gained.

Most of these have one thing in common, chaos over order. The other rule is that adventuring is hard, risky and the rewards you earn are well earned.

Good luck.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 16

Many of Bill Dunn's comments are "right on the money". I wouldn't try to recreate all the old rules: Instead match the mood.

I'm currently running a fairly "old school" campaign (set in the Judges Guild Wilderlands), so I thought I'd chime in with some of the rule variations I've used:

1.) People are naturally uneasy about buying magic items from adventurers, so they don't offer as much for their recovered booty as they might expect. Recovered items can be sold for 20% of their list value. In a large town or city-state, a DC 25 Diplomacy check finds a buyer willing to pay 25%; a DC 35 roll brings the price up to 30%.

2.) Magic items of significant power are seldom available for sale. Those few items that can be purchased are not purchasable for cash alone: Magic items wust be offered in trade.

3.) The manufacture of magic items requires rare and bizarre ingredients that just aren't available for sale. You want to craft a +1 longsword, +4 vs. reptiles? To make the charcoal to forge the brand, you're going to need wood from a tree clawed by a dragon and the bones of a basilisk, the blood of a fire lizard will serve to quench it, and the secret death rites of a serpentman priest of Set will provide the needed incantation.

4.) I use the AD&D DMG to generate some of my random encounters and wandering monsters, and to populate my list of the magic items found in dungeons and ruins.


Bill Dunn wrote:


Sure it evens out. I one-hit both a barbarian and a fighter with crits at 1st level. Dead as doornails. I couldn't have done that in 1e.

But when I say it evens out in the wash, I'm considering way more than just first level. Monsters with strength bonuses to hit, multiple attacks, Con and hit points out the wazoo in PF. Opposition fighters getting their iterative attacks all at once and throwing out huge spikes of damage. Opposition spellcasters with buffed casting stats and astronomical save DCs. Yeah, PF is a plenty deadly game compared to 1e.

Pathfinder can be deadly. But in my experience PF gets more deadly as you level up, while 1e and 2e got marginally less deadly until you hit the teens where it got more deadly again. This is because damage in PF scales faster than defense, a problem that has been noted by more than just me. But even so, the level of deadliness in 1e and 2e is still far more than in 3.0 - PF if just because of the unconscious rules alone. And in general party survivability should improve as you level up simply due to increased resources available to the party, and you also have to factor in the cost of dying, which was far, far more severe in 1e and 2e than PF.

But let's look at your goblin vs fighter and barbarian example.

Goblins use either a short sword or a short bow (both small) for their attacks. Both do 1d4 damage, with no bonuses to the die roll. The absolute maximum a crit from a goblin could do is either 8 damage from the sword or 12 damage from the bow. A typical first level PF fighter is going to have 12 hit points at least, a typical first level barbarian more like 16. Your goblin crits aren't even going to put one down, much less kill one outright. Even if they were at 1 hit point (meaning they had already been fighting) a goblin crit would not kill either of them.

(Update: Huh, not sure why I thought you were talking about goblins. Anyway, to one-hit a typical fighter you would have to do 26 damage at least. More like 30. That means a first level crit of 30 points of damage.

While that may not be impossible, that would be quite an amazing crit. Compared to, say, a typical 1 hp rat bite in 1e or 2e putting down 1/4 of all first level wizards.)


Werecorpse wrote:


3. Adventures were less clinically designed. They became even more clinical in 4e with each encounter almost becoming its own mini war game. But even in 3e I (as dm and player) found myself thinking more about the encounter than the dungeon. The encounters always have to be balanced ( don't put in an encounter that is more than 4 cr's different from the party etc). This lead to some great dynamic encounters but also some monotony like the BBEG being 4 encounters into the dungeon etc. In the giant series for example you meet the big encounter in G1 almost straight away, in G2 it's way at the back, in G 3 you meet one BBEG virtually in the first room and another 3/4 of the way through the dungeon. Try and have less organized dungeon design.

Good point. I'm not sure I would call it "clinically" designed as much as gamist-designed compared to naturalistically designed. I think this stems a bit from the influence of video games, frankly. Many adventure video games start with easier encounters and crescendo into tougher ones until you fight the big bad boss monster. That makes sense because of the learning curve - you get better at the game the more you play and become proficient enough to take on the tougher fight. In D&D, that's may not be the case. In fact, it has been my experience that it is NOT the case more often than it is.

In D&D, you might have picked up the loot or quest objects necessary to take on the BBEG. But chances are, if you haven't had significant downtime, you haven't really sorted out and identified everything. Your hit points are down. Your healing is depleted. Your spells are depleted. You may be on your last legs and expecting to fight the BBEG?!?
This model, I think, works OK for a campaign or adventure path as a whole, but I've never found it works for individual adventures. Give me an adventuring environment that seems a bit more natural - like the steading of the hill giant chief with the chief's encounter area as the focal point of the ground floor - and I'm much happier.


Ravenbow wrote:
rknop wrote:

Yeah, I got that, but... how the heck did they work? Nowhere in the rules system did it say how to actually USE those numbers that were listed in the table, nor did it say how it interacted with the intiative system, or with the casting time in segments for all the various spells.

I want to give a shot at explaining it, or at least my memory of it at our table (when used).

First, the lower the better. An initiative of 1 was a god send. All modifiers added (basically) to your roll until you reached the number in initial order.

(Excuse my iPad typing)
Let's say you roll init on your d10 ( not on a d20) and get a six.
Your weapon was speed 5
Your init was 11.
Now to complicate things...
You get multiple attacks per round of say 2x per round if a mid level fighter and you rolled that six so you were init 11 and 16.
Trolls were large and I think we're +6 speed based on size???

The troll rolls a 3 and had three attacks (claw,claw,bite) so its initial that round was 9,15, and 21

So... Init in order was
9 troll claw
11 your main attack
15 second troll claw
16 your second attack
With the troll getting a bite attack at initiative 21 if it was still up.

This is an example and it is SUPER clunky based on modern styles but sometimes I miss it. Every round of every combat was so dynamic and yet in my experience on both sides of the screen, was faster. We did it so often it didn't SEEM as complicated as it was. To conclude, the value of a dagger with multiple attacks was great because it was possible to get in many attacks before the claymore wielder even got off a swing, even if you both rolled the same number.

Ps- I still catch myself grabbing my 10 sided when it is initiative time
That's my ancient memory of my 2e combat anyways.

I greatly miss weapon speeds personally.

I just dug through the books and that seems about right for 2E.

All the troll's attacks go at once and the fighter's iterative attacks are handled differently: First everyone goes once in initiative order. Then everyone's second attacks, in initiative order. Etc.

But that's all optional rules.

The base initiative rule was: Each side rolls a 10 sided die. Higher roll goes first.
Optional rules allowed for weapon speed and spell casting time to affect your initiative as you describe and/or to roll individual initiatives.

1E initiative was different. Each side rolls a d6. Act in that order. Weapon speed came into play if it was simultaneous or when you closed to melee range. There was a chance of getting multiple attacks if weapon speed came into play, but I stopped trying to figure it out.


Werecorpse wrote:


4. Characters level up so much faster. I once ran a 1e game in high school and uni and beyond lasting about 15 years where the characters ended up about 18 th level. I like being able to experience some high level gaming every now and again but you now barely get to get the feeling of being 3rd level when suddenly you are 5th. We used to go through 5-10 dungeons to go up a level. Now that is a 1st - 20th campaign.What that means is if you meet a BBEG you can't beat ( say a rakshassa at 2nd level) just wander off adventuring for a month or two and you will be 8th+ level and you can splat him. Old school ( Monty haul excepted) was IMO a lower level game. Take a long time to go up levels.

That may have been partly unintended. IIRC, In 1E treasure counted for experience, so you actually went up pretty quickly. That may have been commonly ignored as a house rule. In 2E it didn't, but XP for monsters stayed about the same.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


(Update: Huh, not sure why I thought you were talking about goblins.

They definitely weren't fighting goblins with piddly little goblin weapons. A scythe killed the barbarian while a greataxe felled the fighter. Adventuring around the Caves of Chaos could make for rough living, even when updated to current rules.


thejeff wrote:


That may have been partly unintended. IIRC, In 1E treasure counted for experience, so you actually went up pretty quickly. That may have been commonly ignored as a house rule. In 2E it didn't, but XP for monsters stayed about the same.

But if you also used the training rules, chances are you couldn't successfully pay for the levels you could qualify for with the treasure you got, which tended to slow advancement down. Take a look at the poor thief. He could level up on about 1,251 XPs but needed 1,500 GP per week of training to level up. And he could do it in one week only if he was an exemplary thief. If he was merely good, it took 2 weeks and 3,000 gp.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber
Ravenbow wrote:
I want to give a shot at explaining it, or at least my memory of it at our table (when used).

Yeah, I ended up making a houserule system that was more or less that (including the spell casting times). I don't know if 2e introduced the actual rules, but none of that was at all clear in the 1e rulebooks. In the end, it was down to me making up the houserules. But, the numbers didn't really seem to make sense to me, so I moved from a d6 to a d8 for initiative (or was it a d12? I forget) (you mention d10, which must have been the 2e way; 1e had a d6 for initiative), and I changed the speed factors of all the weapons.

In the end, it was just way too much detail for something you're keeping track of by hand. In a computer RPG, sure, you can have some weapons be faster than others. But for a tabletop RPG, all of that was a bit much. (And that was AFTER I'd houseruled it so that there was actually a system in place; again, 1e didn't give any of those details that you had in your message.)

-Rob

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber

Ugh, the training rules.

See, this was another case where 1e D&D didn't know what the hell it was doing. It is the epic, heroic fantasy game, where heroes are encouraged to work up to fight the epic monsters of the land (and don't tell me they weren't, because the modules were written that way). There's magic. Levelled characters are so far beyond commoners they may as well be demigods.

But, if they want to gain a level, they have to stop and pay money and do accounting all of a sudden.

Yeah, it's more realistic that way. But it completely does not fit the tone of the game that D&D was. It would make sense if it were a high-realism GURPS game or something like that, but *not* in a game where the characters get massive amounts of hit points and, only a few levels up, can no longer be killed (or even seriously inconvenienced) by an archer shooting an arrow or two at them.

In the AD&D/1e one-on-one that I played for many years, I really *ought* to have ditched the training rules. The player was going after this evil that was creeping accross the land; he was on an urgent quest to find out what was happening and gather some artifacts before it was too late. So, when it was time to level up, he would say he wasn't going to do it because they couldn't afford the time. My answer was to metagame and tell him it was all right, and that he'd need the levels anyway.

So many of the rules-- and there were so many systems tacked together into an incoherent mess-- just did not make sense with each other, and many of them did not make sense with the tone of the game that *most* of the rules seemed to be putting together.

I have to admit, I simply do not understand the nostalgia for the AD&D/1e *rules*. I understand the nostalgia for the early days of gaming, when things were new and fresh and exciting, it was this new way of playing games that engaged your creativity, when we were young and we had the future ahead of us, etc. I get all that. But the rules system? It was a mess. They were amazingly heavy and burdensome for some things, and didn't cover other things at all. It wasn't a "rules light" system, it was just mostly a combat system that was really quite rules heavy, and rules-incoherent.

Like I said, I never got into AD&D/2e, which may have cleaned up some of the mess. When I got back into gaming after 2e came out, I went in other directions. 2e didn't seem different enough from 1e to warrant my paying attention to it (although I did fall in love with Planescape), because I felt such relief having moved on to game systems that actually *made sense* after having learned the 1e system so well and lost a lot of SAN in so doing. 3e brought sanity to the world of AD&D-style gaming.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:


And yes, in my mind the fact that I managed to keep my wizard and illusionist alive until level 12 and 14 respectively was an accomplishment I was quite proud of.

I find it atonishing you made it that far. It took until 3rd edition before I used a spell above 3rd level even as a DM. We never actually progressed any character past 7th level or so (although one player who stuck with the same character got his fighter to 10th level). We gamed at every opportunity when I was young and it seemed to take an extraordinarily long time to level up. We would get bored with a character after 2-3 years. When I started playing (the year before 2nd came out), we never considered starting anywhere but 1st level, but for the life of me I can't figure out why. I was well into my teens before I did that, when I got to play along with some characters I had DM'd for a few years and put myself a level beneath them.


Bill Dunn wrote:
thejeff wrote:


That may have been partly unintended. IIRC, In 1E treasure counted for experience, so you actually went up pretty quickly. That may have been commonly ignored as a house rule. In 2E it didn't, but XP for monsters stayed about the same.
But if you also used the training rules, chances are you couldn't successfully pay for the levels you could qualify for with the treasure you got, which tended to slow advancement down. Take a look at the poor thief. He could level up on about 1,251 XPs but needed 1,500 GP per week of training to level up. And he could do it in one week only if he was an exemplary thief. If he was merely good, it took 2 weeks and 3,000 gp.

Fair cop guv. We didn't use the gp = xp rule, and played pretty fast & loose with the whole cost of training issue as well. But hey those were DMG rules. Did anyone use all the 1e rules?

There were heaps of rules we ignored, adapted or interpreted ( weapon speed, weapon vs armor etc) This would have sucked for us if we ever played tournament but we only did that once in over 30 years of gaming.

But my point about going up levels slower ( in actual game play) may have been a little exaggerated but it took longer than in 3.x right?
That wasn't just us?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I suggest making a bullet point list of the things that you liked from your "old school" games.

That way, we are not working with a vague term that means many different things, and others can actually provide more precise advice to meet your needs.

Liberty's Edge

Werecorpse wrote:

But my point about going up levels slower ( in actual game play) may have been a little exaggerated but it took longer than in 3.x right?

That wasn't just us?

I don't think it was just you; as I recall, the designers intended for characters to level up after about 6-8 successful adventures, and not all adventures were expected to be "successful." In Pathfinder, characters are expected to level up after about 3-4 sessions, though progression does tend to slow down at higher levels, as far as I can tell.

It was rough being an old-school magic-user. I remember the first time I ever played a pen-and-paper game; my dad ran part of the OD&D module B1: In Search of the Unknown for me and my brothers. My brother Greg played a magic-user, and rolled a one on his first hit die.

He cast his one spell-per-day (a magic missile) on the first monster we encountered (a giant rat). We didn't really want to just call it a day after that, so we continued on, and he was pretty much just a spectator at that point, hiding behind us and hoping we didn't get surprised because he'd be dead meat. I think the only reason he survived was that my dad went easy on us.

Considering that we would be adventuring for some time before he leveled up, Greg the Magic-User's odds of surviving to second level were pretty slim, and I don't think he was having much fun. We wouldn't even let him open a drawer, for fear that it would be trapped...


I think the biggest difference between 1E/2E D&D and 3.x D&D was tactical combat movement.

In 1st and 2nd AD&D, there was no tactical combat movement. Minis were completely optional. The DM described the situation, and the players described what they did. The DM kept track of positioning in his head and described what happened accordingly. There were no AOOs, no distinction between an "attack" and a "full attack." No action types (free action, swift action, move action, standard action). The old-school feel was much more free-form, and the DM had to make a lot of determinations on-the-fly.

It's hard to emulate that using the D&D 3.x rulesets, as tactical positioning is now built into the rules.


Bill Dunn wrote:
thejeff wrote:


That may have been partly unintended. IIRC, In 1E treasure counted for experience, so you actually went up pretty quickly. That may have been commonly ignored as a house rule. In 2E it didn't, but XP for monsters stayed about the same.
But if you also used the training rules, chances are you couldn't successfully pay for the levels you could qualify for with the treasure you got, which tended to slow advancement down. Take a look at the poor thief. He could level up on about 1,251 XPs but needed 1,500 GP per week of training to level up. And he could do it in one week only if he was an exemplary thief. If he was merely good, it took 2 weeks and 3,000 gp.

I loved that and often use it as an example of how screwed up the 1E rules were.

It actually got worse at second level. A thief only needed another 1250 xp, but a minimum of 3000 gp to train.
To reach 3rd level an exemplary thief needed a total of 4500 gp, but only 2500xp, but each gp counted as an xp? What????

We dropped the training rules immediately. I think we dropped the gp=xp rule as well, but I'm not sure. We mostly dropped the training rules because we were playing epic quests not money grubbing expeditions into dungeons. You don't stop for a couple of weeks to train while you're trying to keep the BBEG from carrying out his dastardly plan! Especially when each class is going up levels at different points.

Liberty's Edge

Starfinder Superscriber
thejeff wrote:

It actually got worse at second level. A thief only needed another 1250 xp, but a minimum of 3000 gp to train.

To reach 3rd level an exemplary thief needed a total of 4500 gp, but only 2500xp, but each gp counted as an xp? What????

For a set of books so amazingly full of numbers, it was rather surprising the degree to which Gygax (and Arneson... I don't know who was really the one behind the AD&D/1e books, but I suspect mostly Gygax by then) didn't seem to have a head for numbers.

For example: if you read the Player's Handbook rules on Summon Elemental, with the huge duration, even the small chance each turn (which was 10 rounds or 10 minutes in 1e parliance) that the elemental would go rogue and attack you, it was extremely likely. If you read the word "cumulative" the way I think Gygax meant it to be read (that is, you keep increasing the percentage chance of the elemental turning on you as time went by), it was nigh inevitable an elemental would turn on you. Since the rules didn't say you could dismiss it, I wondered why anybody ever summoned an elemental.

Except maybe to fight it for the xp....


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

My wizard had ONE HIT POINT at level 1 and DEATH OCCURRED IMMEDIATELY at zero hit points. He literally could have been killed outright by a RAT BITE. There was no "unconscious", not even "unconscious until -10 hit points". You hit zero, you were dead, dead, dead.

And if you DID die, and you were raised, you lost XP, you lost treasure and you lost constitution points, which cost you permanent hit points if you happened to drop to a new con bonus tier.

And "running away" did not mean "panic!" It meant you had TACTICS for running away, which usually involved spells or items that slowed down your pursuers, like caltrops or marbles.
.

Dude, you and I played the same character. 1hit point & I even failed my roll to learn MAGIC MISSILE. And don't forget the flour balls. Saved my brother from a giant toad once...


Being one who has played and run AD&D and Pathfinder, sometimes back to back, with players ranging from old school gamers who never converted to new players i was teaching the game: Here is my take.

AD&D is much closer to Medieval wargaming, and as such, non magical STUFF was much more important. Try to encourage uses of STUFF that may not be covered by specific rules.

AD&D rewards Ingenuity and Daring. While Pathfinder will have a cushion of pure number power if you like. Experienced gamers of the old style should fall back into this naturally, let them.

Drop Leadership as a feat, and let the party hire on help if they can with diplomacy and reputation. Less fiddly bits to the rules means more fun in most any system.


Werecorpse wrote:


Did anyone use all the 1e rules?

There were heaps of rules we ignored, adapted or interpreted ( weapon speed, weapon vs armor etc) This would have sucked for us if we ever played tournament but we only did that once in over 30 years of gaming.

I think this may be at the core of the excellent discussion we're having here. I started AD&D in 1979. Have played constantly ever since and 1e & 2e we kept ignoring and adapting rules. Granted that gave us some of our favorite memories...especially when the rules changes came about because we misread something in a spell description and just liked the way it worked so we kept it.

The looseness in the older systems let you do that. By contrast in the modern 3x games the very complexity of the rules means that any house-rules will have much greater ripple effects.


JohnBear wrote:


Dude, you and I played the same character. 1hit point & I even failed my roll to learn MAGIC MISSILE. And don't forget the flour balls. Saved my brother from a giant toad once...

LOL, that's hilarious. I too failed my magic missile roll, which meant you could NEVER LEARN IT. Well, barring a wish, which I finally did just because I was so bummed about never knowing magic missile. When we finally found a Deck of Many Things, I got a wish and wished to learn magic missile, a FIRST LEVEL SPELL, just because I hated having a wizard who couldn't magic missile. My GM felt so sorry for me that he didn't even screw up the wish. He just said "OK, you know magic missile now."

On the other hand, my wizard did successfully learn "sleep" and that's actually how I learned how great "sleep" was.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:


And yes, in my mind the fact that I managed to keep my wizard and illusionist alive until level 12 and 14 respectively was an accomplishment I was quite proud of.
I find it atonishing you made it that far. It took until 3rd edition before I used a spell above 3rd level even as a DM. We never actually progressed any character past 7th level or so (although one player who stuck with the same character got his fighter to 10th level). We gamed at every opportunity when I was young and it seemed to take an extraordinarily long time to level up. We would get bored with a character after 2-3 years. When I started playing (the year before 2nd came out), we never considered starting anywhere but 1st level, but for the life of me I can't figure out why. I was well into my teens before I did that, when I got to play along with some characters I had DM'd for a few years and put myself a level beneath them.

My wizard was actually the first character I ever rolled up. My Illusionist was probably about my twentieth. The wizard was mostly played in modules that my brother purchased and ran us through over the course of about four years. And my brother was a pretty lethal GM. He killed many of my characters, but I managed to keep the wizard alive until the point that he had enough wealth to be raised, and I believe he died twice and was raised twice. At great expense and loss of XP.

The Illusionist never once died, but that was in part because he was in a Monte Haul dungeon and ended up with so much magic stuff that it's sort of embarrassing. When we ended the campaign he had the Rod of Seven Parts, the Scepter and Helm of Might, a Ring of Air Elemental Command, and a flock of Ioun stones circling his head. He was a sight to behold...

Shadow Lodge

Adamantine Dragon wrote:
When we ended the campaign he had the Rod of Seven Parts, the Scepter and Helm of Might, a Ring of Air Elemental Command, and a flock of Ioun stones circling his head. He was a sight to behold...

So he kinda looked like a Pathfinder character fresh out of Ye Olde Magik Shoppe? Except with less stuff?


Kthulhu wrote:
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
When we ended the campaign he had the Rod of Seven Parts, the Scepter and Helm of Might, a Ring of Air Elemental Command, and a flock of Ioun stones circling his head. He was a sight to behold...
So he kinda looked like a Pathfinder character fresh out of Ye Olde Magik Shoppe? Except with less stuff?

Heh, that wasn't actually all he had. That was just the most noteworthy. As I recall (and this was almost 30 years ago now) he also had a Ring of Wizardry, a Necklace of Fireballs, the Staff of the Magi, and more.

Lots more. In fact he had his own treasure trove. He had so much stuff he couldn't even take it all with him.

(Update: Just a bit of info here about Illusionists in 2e. As a seventh level spell they were allowed to take seven first level spells. So my illusionist would take Magic Missile seven times for each seventh level slot, plus the ring of wizardry doubled his first level spells so he had something like 12 regular slots, so he could cast magic missile like a machine gun. He once shot a dragon out of the sky with magic missile alone.)


Luna_Silvertear wrote:
That seems like a pretty good way of doing it, and honestly I feel that should be the standard way of doing it. I honestly love what this thread has done. This has become more than just a simple discussion on rules or an "emulation", it is a getting back to why we play the game, in a sense. We play for the adventure. We play because we have these characters in our heads waiting to get out. It reminds me of my first character. He was a dwarven cleric lovingly named Rag. It was so much fun to be on adventure...fighting dragons, solving puzzles, meeting new players who share the same love of the game I do. Do you guys remember your first character, no matter what the edition was? I haven't played a dwarf since then...I think I might roll one up. At the end of the day...its not about that +2 bonus or that magic longsword you just found in the lich's horde...it's about the fun and adventure! I feel like a little kid again...

I think you've just hit on the secret of the old-school gaming style for many of us 1e vets:

It was about making sure the action and the fun were maintained, in spite of (or, sometimes, even in opposition to) what the incomplete rules set said. The rules were your guide, but never your master.

If you're looking for a key to the ambient feel or vibe of those 1e adventuring days, there's an inexpensive little PDF game book called "The Dungeon Alphabet" by Michael Curtis -- available in all the usual places -- which might give you some style inspirations ...

... but you've already hit on the main strength of the old school style (fun > whatever the rules say) so you certainly don't need the book.

Good luck with your game!

4th


It may be impossible to recreate the feeling of being young and gaming for the first time, but my suggestions are:

Random character generation - 4d6 and take best three, allow one swap. Then they have to find a character class they can play with those stats.

Make character generation as quick as possible so they can have a new character almost as soon as the old one dies. To this end, ban all options from outside the Core rulebook. In general prioritize pace.

Roll all hit dice; no 'maximum hit points at level 1'. Some monsters should have HPs reduced for balance.

Remove the skill system entirely. Diplomacy is done by role playing. Other checks can be made using GM instinct. 'You're an elf ranger with good dexterity so roll a six or more on a d20 to succeed.'

Traps are often lethal. Disarming traps is done by 'I poke it with a stick to see what happens'. Rogues get a bonus only to the extent that the GM will explain to them what it looks like the trap does.

Encourage the players to set traps and lure enemies into them.

Allow imaginative uses of spells, even if it makes them more powerful that intended.

No miniatures - combat positioning is done through descriptions and stored in the GM's head.

Allow hirelings - you can make these like regular characters and turn them into PCs if the PCs die.

Bring in new characters at level 1 - if that gets annoying allow them to be higher level, but with all-mundane equipment.

Award experience bonuses whenever someone does something clever.

Random wandering monsters, some of which will be too powerful for the PCs to face. Make it fairly easy to retreat (especially if someone stays behind to hold them off). Other enemies will be way below the players' power levels - allow for the fun role-playing experience of a few dozen 1HD orcs / bandits threatening the PCs and gradually realizing they've been picking on the mightiest heroes in the land.

Invent strange monsters with bizarre abilities to keep the players on their toes and to recreate that 'What the heck is an gelatinous cube?' feel.

Award random loot - let the players roll dice - and give a percentage chance of finding the occasional level-inappropriate greater magical item. No magic shops. Gold should be spent on silly things like building strongholds.

Sovereign Court

For those wishing to actually play a highly polished AD&D game, I will refer you to my collection of Castles & Crusades materials.

The Chenault brothers were friends of Gary's and took the AD&D ruleset and combined elements from the d20 system to make the mechanics align. The materials ooze with 1e AD&D feel, and much of the AD&D game is right there in the materials. It is still in print, and it takes only 15 minutes to make a character and start playing.

This brings me to say, back in AD&D the ability scores (attributes) were everything. With those six scores (or 7 if you later included comliness) you could totally run a game. The "seige engine" mechanic that the Chenault brothers used to make Castles & Crusades is based on the use of prime attributes based on class. By way of review, I've run some monthly C&C games last year and can say the system does indeed play like AD&D and the materials do indeed ooze with nostalgia. Indeed, it's the very best way to play AD&D these days.

To the OP: I'm glad you got your new shiney Pathfinder RPG books. Best wishes to you. By suggesting C&C, I mean to suggest this in addition to playing Pathfinder RPG. I run weekly and monthly PFRPG games, and occasional monthly C&C games. It is a nice complimentary game to play. The publisher is Troll Lord Games.


Pax Veritas wrote:

...

Consider the following:


  • You already know how to play.
  • Set the rules aside and run the game spontaneously.
  • Don't look things up, or bring up rules during the game.
  • Let the story flow. Imagine things and make them happen in-the-moment.
  • If you want to make a game decision randomly, such as, "Is there a cleric walking down the street," just estimate the % chance there would be one... say 53%, then roll the percentile dice under that amount, and keep the game moving.
  • Keep the pace of game moving. Don't wait for players to make all the decisions i.e. have someone walk into the room, an explosion occurs in a building, a carriage chase occurs in the street.
  • Keep introducing many things as they enter your mind and you will stay "in the moment". When this happens, the players stay in-the-moment with you, because there's no time for looking things up, only time to roleplay and flow with the story.
  • Understand the illusion you create with free will, and never speak of this secret to the players e.g. you control everything, but you always make it seem like they do.
  • Keep players distracted by description, story, NPCs, events, happenings all around them. This sparks their imagination, and your quick responses allow you to rivet them into staying in-character, rather than focusing on rules or books.
  • The true "feel" can occur at the table regardless of ruleset. You could be playing AD&D or Pathfinder RPG, or GURPS --- it doesn't matter.
...

It is great that there are people like you that can do this as a complete free form and have it all work out. That is amazing.

Most of us do not have that ability and probably never will. I have seen one other GM that could do a good job of running like that. He was a blast to play with. Everyone else I've seen try that, it just does not work. It either comes accross as the players just listening to the GM tell a drug addled dream or it is very disjointed and unconnected where the players can't tell what is going on or what they should/could be doing.

I know that I personally simply can not come up with things on the fly like that. I have to have possibilities at least thought about and considered alittle bit. When something that hasn't occured to me comes up it is very obvious. I will either have come up with something very obvious and contrived or I will have to take at least some time thinking about it.


rknop wrote:

... For example: if you read the Player's Handbook rules on Summon Elemental, with the huge duration, even the small chance each turn (which was 10 rounds or 10 minutes in 1e parliance) that the elemental would go rogue and attack you, it was extremely likely. If you read the word "cumulative" the way I think Gygax meant it to be read (that is, you keep increasing the percentage chance of the elemental turning on you as time went by), it was nigh inevitable an elemental would turn on you. Since the rules didn't say you could dismiss it, I wondered why anybody ever summoned an elemental.

Except maybe to fight it for the xp....

We always treated it as a desperation move. You only summoned the elemental when you that fight probably could not be won with out it and/or the opposition would very likely kill the elemental before you would lose control of it.


If you want old-school rules, I would use one of the retroclones instead of hacking PF. I went down that path with my old AD&D game, and it was a timesink with little reward.
I am seriously considering Swords and Wizardry for a faster game.

If you want PF old-school feel
1) Go low magic, specifically drop the ability boosters.
2) Consider dropping a few of the combat options, especially attacks of opportunity.
3) Reintroduce danger. PF/3e feels very safe and balanced if you play it by the book. Throw in a few encouters the players cannot win if they insist on fighting head on. You play with guys in their fifthies, they can take it.
4) Present the quests as you see fit, but let the players choose their own path. Prepare to improvise.
5) Read up on Tolkien if you like world-shaking epics, or Howard and Lieber if you like a darker sandbox style of game.

Enjoy!


I've skimmed this thread, because the kids are crazy this morning. However, I agree with the vast majority of what I've read.

One thing that I haven't seen mentioned (maybe because I skimmed) is feats. The main difference for me between 'old school' and now are character choices. Back in the day, you played a dwarf or thief. There was very little customization of character game mechanics, besides equipment and spells... maybe skills in 2ed.

Many of the old timers in my group get a bit dizzy with all of the character choices, designs, and builds. It's the main reason I frequent the Advice forums.

cheers


I've gotten some great advice, and I'm going to be looking into C&C when I get the chance. I'm not...hacking the PF rules, per se, but I will be taking the reigns and attempting to bring out what I feel was that wonderful feeling of nostalgia. Remember that I never actually got to play AD&D, I only got to watch. Anyway, I've made a basic list of things I'm going to do to accomplish this.

  • 15 point buy character creation with max hp at 1st level and the chance to roll for starting gold or taking average. Slow Advancement on XP.

  • Ability score cap at 18/20, depending on the class in question (e.g. Casters, not including Ranger and Paladin, will have their primary casting stat capped at 20. The 20 cap for most other classes will be in Strength.) The ability score point gained at 4th level intervals will go into the lowest or second lowest stat.

  • Class/Race restrictions much like what were in AD&D. I will be allowing Half-Orcs remain as character options as well as Barbarian and Monk. The Sorcerer will be limited to Arcane Bloodline only. I will be sticking to the CRB only. I will probably also try to bring the Bard back to it's druidy root and modify the spell list accordingly, either by stating that bards get their spells from the druid spell list or some other way. Multiclassing will only be allowed in one other class based on the same limitations due to race. There will be no Prestige Classes.

  • No Item Creation feats or Leadership feats. Magic items will be rare and the subject of quests. I will keep ability score modifying items to a minimum. I will be allowing them to use the craft skill to make/repair their armor and such if need be. I'm on the fence about Craft (Alchemy)...

  • I will be making a majority of skill checks for the players behind the screen. I won't make all of them, but most of them, overruling any roll that is roleplayed out to the point where a roll isn't needed.

  • Wandering Monsters could be much more power than the PCs. They way you guys talk is that I should never wear the GM kiddy gloves with vets and to do so would seem to be an insult. I must kill PCs...a lot.

  • I may do away with AoOs as they annoy me, but I may not. We'll have a lot of time on our hands and dragging combat out a little may not hurt much.

  • Only rare monsters will have class levels, and they will be Warrior or Adept, unless it is a Lich or something. Kobolds speaking in their own language only seem to say the word "Kobold". If a Kobold speaks in Common, it must end every string of speech with the word "Kobold".

  • Magical healing outside of general hit point healing (e.g. Restoration and the like along with Raise Dead and such) will be more expensive and have material components that will probably be the subject of quests.

That is what I have so far. I'll have to update the Class/Race restrictions, something I will need your help with guys. Anything I could possibly add to the list or change? I'm pretty much satisfied with what I've got so far...


These are my Class/Race Restrictions. They aren't completely traditional, mostly due to the addition of more classes. Suggestions? Only those with human blood can be Sorcerers.

Dwarf: Cleric, Fighter, Paladin, or Rogue

Elf: Druid, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, or Wizard

Gnome: Bard (Maybe), Cleric, Fighter, Rogue, or Illusionist

Half-elf: Bard, Druid, Fighter, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, or Wizard

Halfling: Cleric, Druid, Fighter, or Rogue

Half-Orc: Barbarian, Druid, Fighter, Rogue, or Sorcerer

Human: Any Class; Only Humans can be Monks.

Sovereign Court

Luna_Silvertear wrote:


Wandering Monsters could be much more power than the PCs. They way you guys talk is that I should never wear the GM kiddy gloves with vets and to do so would seem to be an insult. I must kill PCs...a lot.

It's not so much that you should be trying to kill the PCs; you need to shatter the CR paradigm.

* There's no "4 encounters per day, with EL = APL" - there's an area with monsters in it that (may or may not) make sense. You can try to fight them, run from them, or try to sneak past them. Unless your quest is to kill the monsters, why are you attacking them?

* XP is (also) given for succeeding in your adventuring goals; treasure is worth XP. So you're not necessarily looking for a fight to earn XP; if you can get to the big score without a fight, that's also winning.

* Difficult to implement: different classes get XP for different things. Fighters earn bonus XP for slaying monsters, thieves for treasure, casters for effective use of spells to overcome major obstacles.

Monsters aren't quite XP pinatas. Actually getting to the treasure at the bottom of the dungeon is your real goal, it's not a big thing if you leave half the dungeon alive in the process.

You need to have your players focus on why they're in that dungeon. The mission goal should be way more valuable than the XP and loot of the random obstacles/guards.

Also, encounters outdoors ("random encounters"): these are particularly likely to be off-APL. In the wilderniss there are some things you just don't want to face in combat, because
A) They're bloody dangerous.
B) You've got little to gain; many rampaging monsters don't carry treasure.


Luna_Silvertear wrote:

I've gotten some great advice, and I'm going to be looking into C&C when I get the chance. I'm not...hacking the PF rules, per se, but I will be taking the reigns and attempting to bring out what I feel was that wonderful feeling of nostalgia. Remember that I never actually got to play AD&D, I only got to watch. Anyway, I've made a basic list of things I'm going to do to accomplish this.

  • 15 point buy character creation with max hp at 1st level and the chance to roll for starting gold or taking average. Slow Advancement on XP.

  • Ability score cap at 18/20, depending on the class in question (e.g. Casters, not including Ranger and Paladin, will have their primary casting stat capped at 20. The 20 cap for most other classes will be in Strength.) The ability score point gained at 4th level intervals will go into the lowest or second lowest stat.

  • Class/Race restrictions much like what were in AD&D. I will be allowing Half-Orcs remain as character options as well as Barbarian and Monk. The Sorcerer will be limited to Arcane Bloodline only. I will be sticking to the CRB only. I will probably also try to bring the Bard back to it's druidy root and modify the spell list accordingly, either by stating that bards get their spells from the druid spell list or some other way. Multiclassing will only be allowed in one other class based on the same limitations due to race. There will be no Prestige Classes.

  • No Item Creation feats or Leadership feats. Magic items will be rare and the subject of quests. I will keep ability score modifying items to a minimum. I will be allowing them to use the craft skill to make/repair their armor and such if need be. I'm on the fence about Craft (Alchemy)...

  • I will be making a majority of skill checks for the players behind the screen. I won't make all of them, but most of them, overruling any roll that is roleplayed out to the point where a roll isn't needed.

  • Wandering Monsters could be much more power than the PCs.
...

Why would you have any point buy at all? If you want an old school feel, one of the easiest areas to do it would be to roll for each ability score individually.

Liberty's Edge

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LazarX wrote:

I rejoiced not having to think of "inches", which is how distances were measured, by inches on the gaming map.

The only reason I ever came back was with the massive changes that were made in 3.X.

2e never mentions miniatures play (core rules), so 2e and currently D&D Next are the only two "D&D's" that specifically do not suggest/have rules for map/grid based combat. 3.5e/PF/4e are far more 'tabletop wargames' than 1e ever was, with hard coded rules and regulations dictated by 5'x5' squares. If they had used hexes like Dragon Quest they could have avoided the diagonal issue... Just saying.

Personally 3.5e/PF/4e were the games that while I would love to love I also hate due to the board-gamist approach to combat. Paizo is my dream rpg publisher, their books are beautiful, but unfortunately they don't write rules that I can honestly say I find enjoyable to GM (3e was ok-ish and then 3.5e/PF hurt my brain*) - playing is fine, but I am guilty of going into Wargamer/Chess-player mode whenever combat breaks out. What I mean about disliking GMing 3.5e/PF is any great adventure idea I had would require many, many, many hours of NPC generation. And even after that some smart-arsed player would usually point out I missed a +1 or perhaps had given the NPC one too many feats. Time better spent on coming up with sub-plots and funny voices I feel. Besides that screw it if I want a 4th level NPC with 12 feats then as GM I should be allowed to do this without players quoting pages number at me! <Stepping down off soap box>. Yes I know the rules state that they are guidelines and I can - but my PF players to date treat the rules as if handed down from Moses and to change a single word would bring about eternal damnation.

For me to get old school feel would involve dropping the detailed grid based combat system. Still have a rough map - this could just be a scrap of paper and wing the actual positions. Suddenly old school things like friendly fire with AoE spells becomes a possibility.

S.

* I really enjoyed GMing 4e, but I didn't really like the feel of the game. Hard core Grognards will beat me with sticks, but for me 2e (black books) was the high point of (A)D&D.

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