Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Comparing OD&D to it's Nearest Clones - S&W Whitebox and Delving Deeper - Part IV: Weapons & Combat

Well, with the soon (alright, November) release of the "Deluxe" Reprinting of the Original Dungeons & Dragons Boxed set, this might all be moot, right? Because we're all going to be shelling out $150 for a new reprint of a cloned game. Well, actually, I might be one of the many suckers myself, but whatever ;)

So, when it comes to the Original and it's two main clones, how close is the combat system amongst them all?

Weapon (and armor) costs between OD&D and the Swords & Wizardry White Box are nearly identical across the board, which is kind of surprises me. I mean, sure, they changed up the order of the items, but except for things like the spear, the prices are the same. Delving Deeper changes up the prices to the point where you can't even figure out if there was a forumla they used - little rhyme or reason. Sure, it's a minor thing, but something that stands out none the less.

Damage for all weapons in the OD&D WB is 1d6, no matter the type or size. Of course, I can't actually find that rule, but I know it well. Damage in DD is also 1d6, no matter the weapon. Damage in S&W WB is 1d6, or + or -1 depending on the weapon. So, some diversity, but still based on the 1d6 concept for all weapons.

As for Attack Matrixes, things get a little complicated.

OD&D WB, a 1st level Fighting-Man needs an 18 to hit AC 2. Actually, that applies to 1st level Clerics and Magic-Users too. Every 3 levels (starting at 4th) a Fighting-Man moves up a step on the Combat Matrix (every 4 levels for Clerics and every 5 for Magic-Users). Each step on the Combat Matrix is an improvement of 2 to 3 points to the chance to hit. Phew!

DD starts Fighters with an 18 for AC 2, but Clerics and Magic-Users start at 19. Fighters improve by + 1 every other level or every level, Clerics are similar but slower and Magic-Users every other level get + 1.

S&W WB starts everyone at a 17 to hit AC 2 (there's also an acceding AC option, but we'll avoid that for now). Otherwise, the breakdown of the combat charts are similar to DD. Not exact, but similar.

So, snapshots:

A Fighting-Man (Fighter) 1st Level against AC 2 needs: OD&D 18 / DD 18 / S&W WB 17

A Fighting Man (Fighter) 5th Level against AC 2 needs: OD&D 15 / DD 15 / S&W WB 14

A Fighting Man (Fighter) 10th Level against AC2 needs: OD&D 10 / DD 11 / S&W WB 11

Interesting how S&W WB starts out with the better attack chance, and winds up tied for the worst


  1. The d6 damage rule for OD&D is in "Volume I: Men & Magic" on page 19, beneath Attack Matrix I (at the very bottom of the page).

    1. I find that notation on the PDF copy I have, but not the hard copy of Men & Magic.

      Which printing was that added in?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. The note apparently appears in the 6th printing, but some hard copies were improperly trimmed and it doesn't appear in all of them.

  2. It was indeed inserted in a later printing, not sure which one, and appended at the bottom of a page. It looks noticeably different from the rest of the text on the page in my 6th.

    Oddly this addition probably was made after Greyhawk appeared with its variable system.

    What's interesting is that Chainmail always had variable damage and Gary didn't like it, fought against adding it to D&D. There was a discussion somewhere online with Mike Mornard.

  3. Found it ...


  4. It's just so much money. Yikes. And then add shipping. Double yikes.

  5. Actually in the men and magics booklet it says you only need a 17 to hit AC 2, not 18

  6. Actually in the men and magics booklet it says you only need a 17 to hit AC 2, not 18


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