xmas

Friday, January 25, 2013

What I've Learned About Running an OSRIC / AD&D 1e Campaign

First thing I learned, and possibly the most important - I hate descending AC. With a gawd damn passion!

You know what? That surprised the shit outa me. I used to think that ascending AC was for wussies - who the hell can't figure out the basic math for combat using descending AC? Apparently this 45 year old Grognard has trouble figuring it out on the fly during game sessions. One of the best inovations of the OSR was bringing ascending AC to the classic rulesets.

Actually, it surprises me in retrospect that this wasn't thought of decades earlier - it does away for the need of combat charts and the like and greatly simplifies the one confusing quirk of "Old School" Combat.

I've learned that running with the true rules (AD&D 1e) and it's clone (OSRIC) is easy as pie. Sure, they don't line up exactly (experience point tables are probably the most obvious example) but all of that stuff is minor and easily handwaved. Besides, the OSRIC rulebook is so much simpler to access and reference at the gaming table than then originals - when running a game, the less time spent referencing rules, the better.

We never had "guest players" when I ran my ACKS sandbox, but I have had with our current dungeon crawl. There's a different mindset in a dungeon crawl that seems more acceptable to drop in / drop out gaming. Maybe it's that everyone has the same goal in a dungeon crawl - kill things and take their stuff.

I've learned that it's easy to house rule a system you grew up with, that the "cleave" rules from ACKS make a nice fit in an AD&D game and letting players multiclass is just damn fun.

Most importantly, you can, sometimes, successfully return to your first love decades after moving on to the supposedly "new and improved" AD&D 2e ;)

13 comments:

  1. Get ready! http://wahsegavalleyfarm.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83519315253ef0120a52932e6970c-400wi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. nice one!

      I already had that happen at work a few years back ;)

      In truth, Descending AC does sucketh :)

      Delete
    2. I will respectfully disagree and leave it at that.

      Delete
  2. I'm with you on this one. Descending AC is just...well....needless complication. That said, it's tied to a feature of older editions that ascending AC isn't: capped AC. -10 was it back then, the top of the line (bottom?) and when ascending AC arrived with D20 the sky was the limit.

    AD&D 2E is still the top dog for me, though ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. i had a PC with -12 AC. I think that was a soft cap ;)

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ascending and descending AC involve the exact same operations. I don't see how you can declare one harder than the other. d20 + AC vs. THAC0 (20 - BAB) is the same as d20 + BAB vs. AC. You have a one number that changes once per level (at the most), and another that changes based on the target's armor, and that's it. The only thing that changes is which you add vs. which you're trying to beat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The operations are the same, but if you want to keep ACs something that has to be puzzled out, with descending AC, the onus is on the referee. With ascending AC, the player's carry more of the load.

      As a referee, I'm all in favor of having the players handle as much as possible so that I can focus on more important things.

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Heh, I have never moved beyond old school D&D and retroclones, but have gotten into some heated 'discussions' regarding ascending AC over descending AC. It was reading Swords & Wizardry that I finally understood the simple mechanical merits of ascending AC. Nostalgia aside, based on pure mechanics, it is obvious to me that ascending AC is superior to descending, even including THAC0. But nostalgia is a powerful force -- I still use descending AC because it just feels right. I have though adapted a formula such that I know the player hits if DICE ROLL + LEVEL ATTACK BONUS + TARGET AC is greater than 19.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Agree with all - any one thing i can use to simplify my old school game is good. Likewise stat based rolls for for NWP skills and saving throws too (with class/level bonuses). Stats should do something again. New players take to and respond to odds better under ascending Armour. Even run from high armour on sight now. Added to my Gammaworld 2nd ed game too. It still just feels odd im rolling high to hit and low for most other things.

    ReplyDelete
  8. When I ran my AD&D campaign last year I stuck to the rules and Descending AC was probably the most annoying. Because some of the guys came in with no knowledge, some understood the AD&D charts and others had THACO on their mind. While close, doesn't jive together. And as GM having to look those tables up again and again was a pain. Also did not like the 5 saves.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What attack algorithm are you using? For table-look-up it is irrelevant, THAC0 is universally suboptimal, vs. target (like d20) makes ascending a clear winner. But Target 20 with descending AC is still the least cognitive load, for both ref and players.

    ReplyDelete