Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Comparing OD&D to it's Nearest Clones - S&W Whitebox and Delving Deeper - Part II: The Classes (Core Three / Four)

Now we move on to the meat of the matter: the classes. This post will deal with the "Core Three / Four".

Original Dungeons & Dragons:

Here we have three classes (although many see the Thief as "core" it wasn't initially. That being said, we will use Supplement I to cover the Thief class). Fighting-Men, Magic-Users and Clerics. Then we have Dwarves (Fighting Men), Elves (Fighting Men and Magic-users) and Halflings (piss poor Fighting Men). Organization of the presentation of the classes is piss poor, but that is part and parcel of the OD&D presentation of classes. Some call it charm. I call it something that the clones definitely got right.

Fighting-Men - Can use all magical weaponry. More hit dice.

Magic-Users - Can use "a whole plethora of enchanted items". Wizards (11th level) and above may create magic items. Spells obviously

Clerics - Can use magic armor and all non-edged magic weapons and can cast Cleric Spells as well as Turn Undead. At 7th level must declare for either Law or Chaos

Thieves (Greyhawk Supplement) - Thief skills increase per level as a percentage, except for Hear Noise, which is bases on a d6. I can't find backstab info for thieves in Greyhawk. Maybe I missed it.  Bottom of page 4 - found it thanks to Eldric IV :)

Delving Deeper:

The Fighter - Can use the majority of magic weaponry, withstands more damage, against enemies 1+1 HD or less gains 1 attack per level.

The Magic-user - Greatest selection of enchanted items. At 9th level can enchant items of his own. and of course spells

The Cleric - Must choose law or chaos. Can use armor and shields, but edged and piercing weapons are prohibited. At 2nd level gains a spell book of first level spells. (WTF?). Turn undead.

The Thief (optional class) - thief skills succeed on a 3-6 on a D6 - no matter the level. Can read magic-user spells scrolls at 9th level. Backstab is +4 hit, with 2 dice of damage for every 4 levels or fraction thereof.

Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox:

The Fighter - Can use all weapons and armor.  Against foes 1 HD or lower, 1 attack per level.

The Magic-user - No mention of creating magic items.

The Cleric - Blunt weapons and any armor. Spells. Turn Undead

The Thief - ain't got none ;)

So, my observations:

Delving Deeper makes a claim that it keeps closer to the original, but I don't see it just yet. Since when did Clerics have Spell Books? (since page 34 apparently)

I've heard it mentioned that the DD Thief class is based on so "proto" version before the published version in Greyhawk. Whatever, it's not based on a published version - the one that EGG presented. It doesn't feel "right". If you are going to make the argument that you are closer to the original than other clones, why stray so far?

Both DD and S&W WB have fighters getting multiple attacks against 1HD creatures. I remember that from AD&D, I haven't found it yet in the OD&D set, but God himself knows where it might be buried ;)


  1. "I can't find backstab info for thieves in Greyhawk. Maybe I missed it."

    Bottom of page 4 (pdf version; hardcopy is back home):

    "By striking silently from behind the thief gains two advantages: First, he increases the chance to hit by 20% (+4 on his die). Secondly, he does double damage when he so attacks, with like additional damage for every four levels he has attained."

  2. Since p.34 Men & Magic- 'Characters who employ spells are assumed to acquire books containing the spells they can use, one book for each level.'

    1. yep, was pointed out on the G+ side - I NEVER read that before it was pointed out tonight

  3. Holmes is a bit ambiguous about it - in the one hand spells are listed by level under "magic books", on the other the rules clearly say that clerics' spells are "divinely given, they do not have to be studied to master them." which seems at odds with writing them down in books.

  4. OD&D combat is notoriously confused. That's what comes of having two different combat systems, one of which is not actually described in detail. In any case, the closest thing I've been able to find to the AD&D mook rule is that higher level characters are treated as multiple normal attackers when using the Chainmail combat system. Then there's the note that creatures with more than one hit die attack once per hit die (and if they have a bonus, that would apply to one of the attacks), which doesn't explicitly say that it should apply to characters but also doesn't say that it shouldn't.

  5. Following this series with much interest, Erik. Mostly cause I'm too lazy to go through them and do it for myself, so thanks for being an enabler!

    Seriously though, I'm looking forward to reading along.

  6. Both DD and S&W WB have fighters getting multiple attacks against 1HD creatures. I remember that from AD&D, I haven't found it yet in the OD&D set, but God himself knows where it might be buried ;)

    From the D&D FAQ in issue 2 of the Strategic Review:

    "When fantastic combat is taking place there is normally only one exchange of attacks per round, and unless the rules state otherwise, a six-sided die is used to determine how many hit points damage is sustained when an attack succeeds. Weapons type is not considered, save where magical weapons are concerned. A super hero, for example, would attack eight times only if he were fighting normal men (or creatures basically that strength, i.e., kobolds, goblins, gnomes, dwarves, and so on)."

    The situation is less clear if you use the "alternative" combat system, but the concept of high-level fighters making multiple attack against 1 HD opponents was there from the beginning.


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