At what age and what game did you start pen an paper rpgs?


Gamer Life General Discussion

151 to 200 of 212 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>

20 auto-hit


GreyWolfLord wrote:
DungeonmasterCal wrote:

I, for one, hated THAC0.

I liked THAC0. Of course, I never found it all that hard to figure out or use.

20 THAC0 means you need a 20 to hit AC 0.

You subtract enemy AC from whatever your THAC0 was...

So, if an enemy has a 7 AC....

20 - 7 = 13.

Easy, peasy.

of course, some people probably had problems with the negatives

AC = -2

20 - (-2) = 22?

No...just 20.

But overall, I find it far easier than today's stuff with half a dozen modifiers to combat and figuring out whether someone got an Attack of Opportunity\Opportunity Attack or not.

Not so much problems with the negatives, but weird that AC was the only thing where negative was better. (But magic armor was still a +1, which meant you subtracted one from your AC. Just like attack bonuses were given as plusses, but subtracted from your THAC0.)

It's easy enough, but flipping the numbers around so AC is a target number and you just roll and add modifiers is simpler and better. In principle 3.x could have kept THAC0 and still added all the modifiers and AoO and such.

And TOZ, there's nothing special about THAC0 20, other than a natural 20 being an autohit. The example works just as well if he'd started with "10 THAC0 means you need a 10 to hit AC 0"

Though in that case, since 20 is an auto hit: AC = -2
10 - (-2) = 12.


10 or so, Moldvay blue box, quickly transitioned to AD&D.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I better stop thinking about it, or I'm going to lose what understanding I have. :)

Should have just called it Armor Class To Hit rather than throw 0 in there. Since you only care about the number on the die rather than hitting 0.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
thejeff wrote:

Not so much problems with the negatives, but weird that AC was the only thing where negative was better. (But magic armor was still a +1, which meant you subtracted one from your AC. Just like attack bonuses were given as plusses, but subtracted from your THAC0.)

I joke about THAC0, but really didn't have much trouble with it either. Although - as pointed out - it could seem contradictory with the pluses and modifiers did to your rolls.

If I would say it became problematic it was in 2nd Edition when they started adding Player Options in combination with things like weapon proficiencies; called shots; and the grappling concept. THAC0 worked great in generalization style of play, but you start piling on all the points and conditional applications, and it just became a tedious mess.

And no I-phone/android apps around to do the crunching for you. ;-)

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

10 Years old and I got the ADnD Players Handbook that Christmas. Was glorious.


Alex Martin wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Not so much problems with the negatives, but weird that AC was the only thing where negative was better. (But magic armor was still a +1, which meant you subtracted one from your AC. Just like attack bonuses were given as plusses, but subtracted from your THAC0.)

I joke about THAC0, but really didn't have much trouble with it either. Although - as pointed out - it could seem contradictory with the pluses and modifiers did to your rolls.

If I would say it became problematic it was in 2nd Edition when they started adding Player Options in combination with things like weapon proficiencies; called shots; and the grappling concept. THAC0 worked great in generalization style of play, but you start piling on all the points and conditional applications, and it just became a tedious mess.

And no I-phone/android apps around to do the crunching for you. ;-)

IIRC, THAC0 was a 2nd Edition thing. 1st just had the charts.

As I said, I don't recall much trouble with it. I do recall reading 3.0 and going: Well, that makes sense. Why weren't we doing this all along?


One of the problems with thac0 seeming to be contradictory was because people did it wrong (including me and every group I played with). AC was designed as a modifier to the dice roll.You were supposed to roll your d20 add your pluses to hit and modify it by the AC and compare that to your thac0.
When you do it that way round it all makes perfect sense.
It meant you needed to know the AC of your target which I suspect a number of GMs didn't like giving out, also not as easy as going "I hit AC -4".


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
IIRC, THAC0 was a 2nd Edition thing. 1st just had the charts.

Yea - the way I worded it was wasn't clear.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Alex Martin wrote:
Lemmy Z wrote:
But just a vague one... I remember THACO and apparently, quite a few people around here have been playing for a decade (or two) longer than me. oO

I was joking when I mentioned it, but I guess I should have emphasized "remembering" as opposed to knowing what it is. Just from the couple of responses above, there's a distinct line of experience you'll get from folks who played in a certain timeframe with THACO.

Of course, if someone mentions playing first edition Harn or Rolemaster as their first RPG, then you are really talking hard-core grognard (and possibly a masochistic one at that). And I say that with a wink; not a criticism.

My friend wasn't allowed to play D&D until high school because his mother bought into the controversy (even though it was late 80s at this point) surrounding the game. However, this didn't apply to any other RPG. So, while I had my D&D group, with him I would play a lot of Marvel Superheroes through elementary school. Middle school it was a lot of MERP (Middle-Earth Roleplay Game- Rolemaster light) and then Rolemaster in high school.

Now, if you're thinking, "But, John that doesn't make any sense. How could his parents forbid your friend from playing D&D but allow Rolemaster where he was running a demonic fueled chaos warrior?" I would say that I agree with you, but I wasn't going to bring it up to his mother in case she forbade him from any RPG :).

Good news is that he runs Pathfinder for his kids so I occasionally pick up books for them like the new Playground Adventures modules and the Strategy Guide.


With respect to THAC0: Just be careful to avoid trying to order one at a restaurant . . . .


UnArcaneElection wrote:

With respect to THAC0: Just be careful to avoid trying to order one at a restaurant . . . .

ouch can't decide if i like that post or want to set it on fire.


Alex Martin wrote:
thejeff wrote:
IIRC, THAC0 was a 2nd Edition thing. 1st just had the charts.
Yea - the way I worded it was wasn't clear.

1e DMG page 196 Appendix E, third column after Monster and Size.

I believe in the errata there may have been a paragraph omitted that explained it a little more and also in regards to player characters.

There are also some who state that it was referenced in White Dwarf before that, however, while it may have been used by some UK players, it is hardly considered anywhere close to being official in regards to Americans.

I believe as per Frank Mentzer, the first official reference to THAC0 outside the DMG and officially to use the word THACO was in 1982 via the R series of modules.

I believe he also mentioned that those who created 2e utilized many of his ideas (such as the word Thac0/Thaco) and dragons with much larger HD, etc....as things used directly or for inspiration in their making 2e.


I started during freshmen year of high school, by my friend who also got me into MtG.


GreyWolfLord wrote:
Alex Martin wrote:
thejeff wrote:
IIRC, THAC0 was a 2nd Edition thing. 1st just had the charts.
Yea - the way I worded it was wasn't clear.

1e DMG page 196 Appendix E, third column after Monster and Size.

I believe in the errata there may have been a paragraph omitted that explained it a little more and also in regards to player characters.

There are also some who state that it was referenced in White Dwarf before that, however, while it may have been used by some UK players, it is hardly considered anywhere close to being official in regards to Americans.

I believe as per Frank Mentzer, the first official reference to THAC0 outside the DMG and officially to use the word THACO was in 1982 via the R series of modules.

I believe he also mentioned that those who created 2e utilized many of his ideas (such as the word Thac0/Thaco) and dragons with much larger HD, etc....as things used directly or for inspiration in their making 2e.

Huh. I don't remember ever using that table, though I might well have, at for the XP, which wasn't explicitly given elsewhere IIRC.

Still, it's not actually called THAC0 and there's no explanation given. The combat tables saw far more use. I don't have any of the R-series, but I do have an I module by Mentzer, which did use it in '87. So it does appear to have been creeping in, though possibly only in Mentzer's work.

Interestingly, THAC0 technically doesn't work in AD&D, which I didn't realize until looking at it now. The combat charts have a range of 6 ACs that need a 20 to hit, before moving up to 21.
A 1st level fighter, for example, needs a 19 to hit AC 1, a 20 for AC0 through AC-5 and a 21 for AC-6.
That can't be represented by a single THAC0 number. That fighter has a THAC0 of 20, which means he needs a 19 to hit AC1. A 1st level mage also has a 20 THAC0, but needs a 20 to hit AC1, according to the chart.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

12 years old, Original D&D, 1976 edition! White box 3 little brown books.


thejeff wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Alex Martin wrote:
thejeff wrote:
IIRC, THAC0 was a 2nd Edition thing. 1st just had the charts.
Yea - the way I worded it was wasn't clear.

1e DMG page 196 Appendix E, third column after Monster and Size.

I believe in the errata there may have been a paragraph omitted that explained it a little more and also in regards to player characters.

There are also some who state that it was referenced in White Dwarf before that, however, while it may have been used by some UK players, it is hardly considered anywhere close to being official in regards to Americans.

I believe as per Frank Mentzer, the first official reference to THAC0 outside the DMG and officially to use the word THACO was in 1982 via the R series of modules.

I believe he also mentioned that those who created 2e utilized many of his ideas (such as the word Thac0/Thaco) and dragons with much larger HD, etc....as things used directly or for inspiration in their making 2e.

Huh. I don't remember ever using that table, though I might well have, at for the XP, which wasn't explicitly given elsewhere IIRC.

Still, it's not actually called THAC0 and there's no explanation given. The combat tables saw far more use. I don't have any of the R-series, but I do have an I module by Mentzer, which did use it in '87. So it does appear to have been creeping in, though possibly only in Mentzer's work.

Interestingly, THAC0 technically doesn't work in AD&D, which I didn't realize until looking at it now. The combat charts have a range of 6 ACs that need a 20 to hit, before moving up to 21.
A 1st level fighter, for example, needs a 19 to hit AC 1, a 20 for AC0 through AC-5 and a 21 for AC-6.
That can't be represented by a single THAC0 number. That fighter has a THAC0 of 20, which means he needs a 19 to hit AC1. A 1st level mage also has a 20 THAC0, but needs a 20 to hit AC1, according to the chart.

Yes, it works a little different if I recall. Once you hit 20, you have 20 for 5 ACs and then it ascends.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

THAC0 is basically the same as BAB, only counting down instead of up. In AD&D AC started at 10 and went down from there, so old AC 0 is the same as new AC 20. If your THAC0 is x, it means you need to roll x to hit that AC. So, in modern parlance that means you need to roll x to hit AC 20, which means THAC0 x is the same as BAB (20-x). Simple as that.


Red Box, it was '87, I was 9. I had to fight for it (throw a tantrum) but it was worth it.... I got better.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

At age 14, 2nd ed (AD&D).

Started as a DM, stayed one since (although I cringe a bit thinking about those early games).


Scythia wrote:

At age 14, 2nd ed (AD&D).

Started as a DM, stayed one since (although I cringe a bit thinking about those early games).

I started earlier...but on the early games we played or DM'd...

You too?


Fighting Fantasy books when they first came out (1982 onward)

But my first proper RPG was D&D / AD&D 1st Ed (I honestly can't remember which) aged 16 in 1984. It was run at lunchtime at school and we played "In Search of the Unknown" - everyone else died, but I survived, and the other players gave up after that.

Then at University I played loads of different game systems - MERP, Rolemaster, Dragonquest, Chill, The Arcanum, Palladium Fantasy, Stormbringer... most of which are still sitting on the study shelf behind me.


GreyWolfLord wrote:
Scythia wrote:

At age 14, 2nd ed (AD&D).

Started as a DM, stayed one since (although I cringe a bit thinking about those early games).

I started earlier...but on the early games we played or DM'd...

You too?

I was a DM exclusively for the first couple years. We had the books, and were curious to try. I was the only person in my group of friends willing to DM. (I was kind of a ringleader type, so it wasn't surprising really.)

I was also the only one who had bought the books. :P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
John Benbo wrote:
So, while I had my D&D group, with him I would play a lot of Marvel Superheroes through elementary school. Middle school it was a lot of MERP (Middle-Earth Roleplay Game- Rolemaster light) and then Rolemaster in high school.

In hindsight, I think MERP was really an underappreciated take on the Middle-Earth mythology and world as a game format at the time. Looking at it in light of all the LOTR success, it certainly was a lot better of a system than I thought at the time.


Scythia wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Scythia wrote:

At age 14, 2nd ed (AD&D).

Started as a DM, stayed one since (although I cringe a bit thinking about those early games).

I started earlier...but on the early games we played or DM'd...

You too?

I was a DM exclusively for the first couple years. We had the books, and were curious to try. I was the only person in my group of friends willing to DM. (I was kind of a ringleader type, so it wasn't surprising really.)

I was also the only one who had bought the books. :P

I wasn't the ring leader, and started as a player, but I did some absolutely very embarrassing things now that I look back on my days back then.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Scythia wrote:
GreyWolfLord wrote:
Scythia wrote:

At age 14, 2nd ed (AD&D).

Started as a DM, stayed one since (although I cringe a bit thinking about those early games).

I started earlier...but on the early games we played or DM'd...

You too?

I was a DM exclusively for the first couple years. We had the books, and were curious to try. I was the only person in my group of friends willing to DM. (I was kind of a ringleader type, so it wasn't surprising really.)

I was also the only one who had bought the books. :P

I wasn't the ring leader, and started as a player, but I did some absolutely very embarrassing things now that I look back on my days back then.

Oh yeah, I know what you mean. I did alot of terrible DM things. The super powered NPC, the express railroad, punishing players for making a choice I didn't expect, running a module without reading it first, not knowing enough about the system to spot blatant cheating, encouraging metagaming, and (while not a DM specific thing, something I'm embarrassed by) allowing a player bullying pile on.

I honestly didn't improve as a DM until I got away from that group.


Heh my first game i did a yugioh style campaign (i was young) except instead of cards you actually battled with monsters that you caught in the wild (so i guess a little pokemon-ish too.) It went over surprisingly well am i proud of it ...no... but i felt it was surprisingly fun


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I remember when THAC0 was the new hotness ( a phrase which would itself be decades in the future) . Before that I actually had a paper slide rule that figured all the charts quickly. It was really an impressive low-tech achievement.

I begged my dad to take me to the one hobby store that sold D&D stuff to get the AD&D PHB the day it came in. I had been using photocopies of the charts that had previewed in "The Dragon" ( not yet called Dragon magazine") and they were worn out after 4 months of constant use.

Dark Archive

15 years old, RuneQuest 1st edition. My first character was named Gundalf (because apparently, 'Gandalf' is not a good name for a Human Barbarian).


I was 14 years old, just started freshman year, and decided I wanted to see what this D&D business was all about so I joined the school club, which was playing 3.5. I rolled up a dwarf fighter, fought a singular skeleton, then was thrown through a door, then beaten with the door, for disagreeing with the local DMPC.

Not my finest hour.


I was 10 years old cutting my RPG teeth on the TSR Marvel Super Heroes Basic box.


John Howard Frederickson III wrote:

I was 14 years old, just started freshman year, and decided I wanted to see what this D&D business was all about so I joined the school club, which was playing 3.5. I rolled up a dwarf fighter, fought a singular skeleton, then was thrown through a door, then beaten with the door, for disagreeing with the local DMPC.

Not my finest hour.

DMPC...doesn't sound like your DM's finest hour either (or at least, I hope it wasn't from the sounds of it).


AD&D, 15 years old I think. Loved it even though the DM didn't know what he was doing. It was still fun. I had wanted to play it for many years earlier, but those games were the evil and would bring the devil into my home, or so I was told.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

3.5 D&D, when I was about 8, although I didn't play for long. I picked RPGs back up after the Beginner Box came out when I was about 11 and I joined the Pathfinder club at my school. Man, I feel young compared to everyone else on this thread.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I was 13 in 1985 and started playing Star Frontiers by TSR. Then I got the Red Box DND Levels 1-3 then the Indiana Jones RPG.

Shadow Lodge

18, AD&D. It was November of 1983.

I did own a copy of the old yellow box when I was 15 but couldn't find anybody to play with.


OD&D. 1974. I was still in college.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

11 or 12. It was 1982, I was taking a Pascal programming class at the local community college. I was the youngest kid there, by far. Some of the high school kids taking the class were into D&D and invited me to join them. They were playing an amalgam of OD&D and AD&D in a third-party game world. Their GM was older still. I had fun, but I only played with those guys for a couple of months, mainly because of the age difference.

I got the Tom Moldvay Basic Set for my birthday that year, and I started running D&D games with my friends.

Liberty's Edge

I was just over 11, and we played with some new-printed 3.5 books. My rogue kicked ass. The next morning (it was a sleepover) I tried DMing my own game, and it was a heck of a clusterf&!#.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't know my age back then for sure anymore. Some 14 to 16 I think. The first game I played was The Dark Eye. The game that to this day has made sure that I regard D&D 3e and anything based thereupon a very simple and intuitive system.


13 I think.... WFRP

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

1980. 10 years old. D&D supplements for Chainmail.

Grand Lodge

1979 - the D&D Basic and Expert books (Red and Blue box sets). Those were the good old days!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'll always remember my first tabletop gaming purchase. Red box and blue box each on sale at goodwill for a buck each. If I couldn't have joined the hobby for 2 bucks I can't guarantee I'd ever gotten into the hobby in the first place.

Gaming has always been the 'most fun per dollar' of anything I've ever done.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

14 AD&D heavily house ruled, first by a very old DM with books lining the walls
Then by me and a couple of friends who made stats even for things like Pokemon races


1 person marked this as a favorite.

11yrs old and it was the '81 edition of the Red Box Basic D&D. Rules, a module, -and- set of dice with a crayon.

I remember seeing adverts for it in comics for a while and was just amazed at the concept of taking on one of the roles shown in the pictures. From the second I opened the box and holed up in my room going through Keep on the Border lands by myself I was hooked. Quickly convinced my parents to get the Expert Blue-box. Until my last move a couple years ago I still had the Isle of Dread module that came in the Expert box.
I didn't play a lot in HS just the one off pickup game now and then, as nobody else gamed, and that was during the "D&D is satanic" years.

Started AD&D in 89, my first year of college, and pretty much played weekly (or multiple times a week for the next 4 years, primarily as GM).
Long break:
Last year introduced my 12, 10, 8, and wife 47 to PF. The 5 and 7 year old don't get to "fully play" yet, but have jumped in and tossed some goblin attack dice from time to time.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Zaister wrote:
THAC0 is basically the same as BAB, only counting down instead of up. In AD&D AC started at 10 and went down from there, so old AC 0 is the same as new AC 20. If your THAC0 is x, it means you need to roll x to hit that AC. So, in modern parlance that means you need to roll x to hit AC 20, which means THAC0 x is the same as BAB (20-x). Simple as that.

I remember as the 2E PHB and DMG came out trying to convince my group we should switch to THAC0 using a similarly simple explanation. It never took, which was crazy because our group religiously followed the Weapon vs Armor Type adjustments from the Unearthed Arcana which -really- messed with your To Hit rolls. It presumed an AC9 was shield, AC8 Leath+Shield, etc. So some weapons got some nice bonus vs some armor types, even heavier armor for some weapons like a pikes, pole-arms, and military picks.

It probably didn't help that we'd been playing roughly 4yrs through college at that point, and didn't really even like much of the 2E things. We were already using UA, Wilderness and Dungeoneer Survival guides for non-weapon proficiencies and plenty of house-rules/classes, so there was less to be desired in changing at that point.

If it wasn't for THAC0 and the whole decending AC, I might not have even looked at PF to teach my kids, but I wanted something more simple. (not claiming PF in general is simple...lots of crunch, but the concepts are easier for us)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
GM 1990 wrote:
Zaister wrote:
THAC0 is basically the same as BAB, only counting down instead of up. In AD&D AC started at 10 and went down from there, so old AC 0 is the same as new AC 20. If your THAC0 is x, it means you need to roll x to hit that AC. So, in modern parlance that means you need to roll x to hit AC 20, which means THAC0 x is the same as BAB (20-x). Simple as that.

I remember as the 2E PHB and DMG came out trying to convince my group we should switch to THAC0 using a similarly simple explanation. It never took, which was crazy because our group religiously followed the Weapon vs Armor Type adjustments from the Unearthed Arcana which -really- messed with your To Hit rolls. It presumed an AC9 was shield, AC8 Leath+Shield, etc. So some weapons got some nice bonus vs some armor types, even heavier armor for some weapons like a pikes, pole-arms, and military picks.

It probably didn't help that we'd been playing roughly 4yrs through college at that point, and didn't really even like much of the 2E things. We were already using UA, Wilderness and Dungeoneer Survival guides for non-weapon proficiencies and plenty of house-rules/classes, so there was less to be desired in changing at that point.

If it wasn't for THAC0 and the whole decending AC, I might not have even looked at PF to teach my kids, but I wanted something more simple. (not claiming PF in general is simple...lots of crunch, but the concepts are easier for us)

I remember that chart It was so bizarre I know what they were thinking that say a war pick could go through fullplate easier then other weapons so it should have a higher to hit but it made for some weird corner cases.


Otus cover basic set. 10 years old.


Original D&D. 15 years old. Fun times. Damn, I'm getting old... well, beats the alternative.

151 to 200 of 212 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Gamer Life / General Discussion / At what age and what game did you start pen an paper rpgs? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.