Simplified 2e – NWPs

20 February 2011 by

While translating AD&D 2nd Edition into a d20 OGL styled combat was easy, the translation of Non-Weapon Proficiencies is proving to be a bit more difficult.  The mechanic itself is easy – the DM assigns a target result, and the player rolls d20 and adds their modifiers.  The DM’s target is easy, as it’s laid out very plainly in the d20 ruleset.  Additionally, it is easy to assign a +1 for each NWP slot a character has put into a proficiency.  The problem comes in applying an ability modifier.

In the d20 implementation of the 3e ruleset, WotC created a single modifier table for all abilities.  An ability score of 10 or 11 was considered to be perfectly average, with no bonus or minus.  For each pair of points about that, the character received a +1 to their Skill Check (the 3e version of an NWP).  So, a character with a 12 or 13 receiving a +1 to the appropriate skill check, and a character with an 18 or 19 received a +4.

For comparison sake, below is a table of the d20 OGL 3e ability score bonus and the various 2e AD&D bonuses:


Simplified 2e – Combat

15 February 2011 by
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We played The Outsiders campaign this last Saturday and the initial Simplified 2e was a huge success.  Combat ran much smoother, with fewer questions or pauses for clarification.  Additionally, the newer players said that it was a much more enjoyable experience.

The implementation itself was quite easy.  As each player arrived, I explained what we were going to be changing and then made two adjustments to their character sheet.  First, I “inversed” their Armor Class; adding the armor and dexterity benefits to the base AC of 10.  Second, I added their “attack adjustment” modifier to any additional ability bonuses from dexterity or strength.

This created one set of bonuses for the “Attack Adj / Damage Adj” on the character sheet, and left the THAC0 field blank.  During combat this new “To Hit” modifier is simply added to attack rolls.


Simplified 2e Launch

12 February 2011 by
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I’ve decided to put together a Simplified version of AD&D 2nd Edition, primarily to help streamline my current AD&D campaign – The Outsiders.  This won’t be a complete overhaul, and it won’t be an attempt to re-create AD&D in 3e.  But, it will use the OGL d20 mechanic to make things easier for players and DM alike.  You can get the details at the Simplified 2e page here on Alden Minor.

After years of playing the different versions of Dungeons & Dragons, I am back playing an AD&D campaign.  I always realized the game was complex, but after years of playing 3e/4e and other (d20 OGL games) I’ve finally realized how needlessly complex the AD&D rule set is.

I searched for existing systems or conversions that would simplify the AD&D rules while allowing me to use existing products and adventures.  The most promising were the Microlite20 and Microlite74, which focus on simplified rules and “OD&D flavor”.  However, these rules strip things down too far for my taste, and remove compatibility with the printed AD&D products.  While the AD&D products could be converted for the Microlite system, I have no desire to convert all the products and resources I use.

THAC0 Really Was Stupid

9 February 2011 by
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We played another session of The Outsiders campaign last Saturday, and we kept having issues keeping combat rolls straight.  The whole “rolling high to hit a low number” caused confusion on multiple occasions.  While this was particularly true for players new to AD&D, even I (the DM) had a hard time explaining it and keeping it straight.

I have decades of experience with AD&D, RPGs and negative Armor Classes – but I’m out of practice and routine play.  When planning the upcoming gaming weekend for our college group, Richard (“EvilDM” here) and I talked about how we were all probably rusty on the mechanics and the rules.  We used to be able to quote rules “chapter and verse”, and instantly find passages in any rulebook.  But those days are long gone.

The problem with new players, is that they have yet to have those days.  And, in the current stage of our lives (work, kids, wives, mortgages, responsibilities…) where we only get to play one Saturday evening every couple of weeks, we probably won’t have those days anytime soon.  We played a bit of 4e early on, and while there are things about it I don’t like; it is certainly more accessible from a mechanics standpoint.


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