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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Which Rule Was Your "Most Misunderstood Rule" in Your Early Days of Roleplaying?

For me, the most misunderstood rule in my early days of roleplaying was Hit Dice or HD in AD&D. Here's why:

When my parents got me my AD&D books for my birthday way back when, I was given the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide and a set of dice. Notice something missing? Yep, the Monster Manual.

Not having the Monster Manual wasn't that big a deal - you had monster sumaries in the back of the DMG. Everything was listed, including HD. Not knowing what HD actually was, I assumed it meant Hit Points for Denizens or something. So, Orcs had 1 HD or 1 Hit Point. Ogres had 4+1, which was a silly way to saw 5 Hit Points, but who was I to argue.

Yes, those early days had monsters that were quite the pushover.

So, what rule or rules were your most misunderstood rules back in your early days of gaming?

29 comments:

  1. When we first started playing, we misinterpreted the xp values listed in the DMG. We thought, for instance, that 8 + 1/hp meant your character got 8 xp and 1 hit point. Consequently, we had first level characters with A LOT of hp. Not sure how long we played that way before we figured it out...

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  2. OMG, just about everything as we had no idea what a role playing game was. I understood character creation and combat but that's about it. The 'Turn' concept threw us as we thought that each player had 10 minutes to explore (by themselves) and then the next player had 10 minutes of game time. We went around the table like a regular board-game. This was 1978 and I was 10 years old, what do you expect?

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  3. Let me see. For D&D, there was the rule on number of attacks for Fighters and subclasses - I never knew until the last couple of years that there was a "mook rule" for Fighters. We just sort of skipped that text.

    And the rules on healing. We always just healed 1 hp per day. High level/hit point characters got around that with healing magic.

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    Replies
    1. Not a misunderstanding per say, but until this morning, I thought AD&D 2E coin weight was 10 to pound. I guess my player's never questioned it, since the info is in the DMG. =X!

      Credit of course to faoladh. ;]

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  4. My friend told me that "mace" on the Holmes Basic equipment list was a small bottle of liquid to spray at monsters...

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    Replies
    1. Your friend isn't alone. Holmes himself mentions the confusion about the term "mace" in his "Basic D&D Points of View" article from Dragon magazine #52.

      Delete
  5. That you actually rolled weapon damage all the time. Our characters bought weapons, rolled the damage and stuck with it. (Or demanded refunds at the olde weapon shoppe as this dagger was obviously bad, only doing 1 in damage).

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  6. That you actually rolled weapon damage all the time. Our characters bought weapons, rolled the damage and stuck with it. (Or demanded refunds at the olde weapon shoppe as this dagger was obviously bad, only doing 1 in damage).

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  7. BananaBill, I actually kinda like that as a rule!

    Movement rates in Basic/Expert D&D vs AD&D always confused me. I didn't have the background in minis to know what that was all about.

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  8. Related to the 'mace' thing, for a longest time I had no idea a Lucerne Hammer was a pole arm. I thought it was just a bigger hammer, so I had a PC running around using it to smash things, while using a large shield, and the absence of throwing range was clearly an oversight.

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  9. It took us a year and a half of playing 3e before we figured out how attacks of opportunity were supposed to work; until then, we just ignored them wholesale.

    And I kind of like the fixed-damage idea too! Might be best to convert it to 2d(n/2) so you get a bell curve, so very good and very bad weapons are rarer that average ones.

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  10. I always struggled with the order and number of actions, attacks, dodges, and parrying in Palladium. If I have two actions at level one, is that one attack and one dodge? One attack, one parry, and one dodge? If I dodge, do I lose my attack?

    I also struggled with B/X magic: Wait, I used my one spell to open the front door and now I can't do any more magic while my party and I explore this dangerous castle? I always thought I had mis-read the rules.

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  11. Brink and I share the rule misunderstood. At the end of the DMG we thought we got that experience and then our characters got that additional hip points added to out total. I think there were about 20 dozen more example, but when I read Brink's comment that one was one of the first I remember.

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  12. When first playing Car Wars, I thought that you moved 1/4" per 10 mph per second. I taught all my friends that way... and we played for years without realizing that it was supposed to be 1" per 10 mph per second.

    Boy, the cars sure moved much further when playing the rule the correct way! Suddenly we needed large maps....

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  13. My first misunderstanding actually prevented me from playing RPGs for a long time. I had heard stories of RPG players and them having characters that took them months or years to level, and then I got my first RPG book (Indiana Jones, Master Deck system I think). I tore through the book until I got to the part on combat and healing (though I had already had worries in the travel section). There I saw rules about how you're character will heal X hit points (where X was some small number) per day or week, while weapons tended to do Y damage (where Y was some number greater than X). Somehow in my mind, I combined the "months to level and build a character" with the "days to heal" and concluded that when playing the game, I would have to literally wait days between combat sessions, and when travelling in the game world, I would also have to wait literal weeks before I would be allowed to use my character again. It never even dawned on me that in game time would be different from out of game time (that's what you get when brought up on board games I guess), and I concluded that you would have to be nuts to want to play an RPG, put the book down and didn't come back for a few years.

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  14. My very first D&D character was a druid with platemail, a longsword and a potion of heroism. Then someone actually read the rules.

    We also had a lot of trouble groking Vancian magic early on. The DM would just say that spellcasters got tired after casting some arbitrarily determined number of spells.

    And I also kind of like that fixed damage idea for weapons.

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  15. The whole counterintuitive idea that negative modifiers are bonuses for checks where you want to roll low, like late first-edition NWP checks. Obviously those negative modifiers were typos, since positive numbers are always better. If you try something you should be able to do well, you should assign a big positive modifier to that check. Right? Makes perfect sense.

    (Confusion further enhanced by inconsistencies in presentation and explanation between Oriental Adventures and the Dungeon/Wilderness Survival Guides.)

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  16. Not a misunderstood rule per se, but I was kind of a prude when it came to, shall we say, player creativity. My sister would always buy a songbird (price: 4 C.P.) to take into the dungeon. That always annoyed the heck out of me. :)

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  17. In Dragonquest the issue was being stunned. You can't attack someone when stunned, but how much defense did you still possess? I don't know that the rules ever really clarified it.

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  18. When we played Shadowrun 2 we thought that Karma Pool only refreshed after a complete adventure, when actually it refreshed after every complete scene (if get it right now...), e.g. bar brawl, refresh, car chase, refresh, dancing in the club, refresh. We got pretty much beat up.

    That's a nice series of questions! :)

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  19. Our games were such a hodge-podge of Basic and Advanced it wasn't even funny.. I think we probably screwed more rules up than we got right back then.. but damn did we have some fun!

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  20. That's odd.... Your song bird has stopped singing.

    No, wait-- it appears to have fallen over dead.

    What do you do now?

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    Replies
    1. Why, take it back to the shop of course...

      "This... is an EX-songbird!"

      Delete
    2. Put 40 million volts thru it...

      Delete
  21. I struggled with hit dice. How could a goblin have 1-1 HD? Wouldn't that be 0? It's already dead? I was SO confused.

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  22. My first group played the original "white box" D&D in Jr. High School as taught by a friend who'd played in his brother-in-law's campaign, but apparently had never actually read the rules. He had concluded that the roll to hit was determined by cross referencing the attacker's level with the _attacker's_ armor class. Thus characters encumbered by heavy armor had a hard time hitting anything...

    Just what _benefit_ one gained by wearing plate, and why anyone did so, was a question that never occurred to us for some reason until I eventually decided to run a campaign and happened to read the rules closely. Until then, magical leather armor (which gave the plus defensive benefits that we somehow understood) without completely ruining your chance to hit, was the most prized of treasures.

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