Skip’s Blog

A Matter of Scale

30 April 2011 by
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We just wrapped up the “dungeon” layer of the moat house. In going through the dungeon I had felt that the combat was cramped, and just too “close quarters”. It wasn’t until after the last fight, and reading the last room description that I figured out why.

The last room they searched was an offshoot of a larger room, which was used to store supplies. The room was 2 x 4 squares on the map. Coming from a 2e AD&D background (and subsequently 3e and 4e), I mapped this room out with 5′ squares as 10′ x 20′. Much to my surprise the room description listed it as a 20′ x 40′ room. I reviewed the map again, and skimmed through the entire description in the module. At no place did it ever give a scale.

The overland maps each have a scale. The map of Hommlet is 30′ squares, and the map of Nulb is 20′ squares, and the map of the Temple exterior goes back to 30′ squares. I found a scale note in the page corner of the map that detailed the Church of St. Cuthbert in Hommlet, and it says “Scale: 1 square equals 10 feet”.

I never would have guessed that the scale note on the one map would apply to all interior maps. And maybe the 1e AD&D standard is 10′ squares, and I just didn’t realize. At least I’ve gotten this figured out for the rest of the grand trek, and combat will be all the better since everyone will have more room to maneuver and plan tactics. I know the thief and ranged fighters will certainly appreciate it…

D&D Campaigns Need More of This…

1 April 2011 by
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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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