Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tavern Chat Podcast - Episode #14 - 1e DMG - Weapon Speed Just Slows Things Down

I always found it interesting that, for the most part, every group I played AD&D 1e with ignored the same rules. Weapon speed factor, simultaneous initiative, and multiple attacks were one such rule I NEVER saw in use, not even at Gen Con.

"A followup on disease in the DMG with Tim Shorts. A look at weapon speed factor and why none of my groups ever used it."

Link to Episode #14:


Note - some folks are having issues with the Anchor.fm web-based player and aren't able, in some cases, to listen to full episodes. Tavern Chat is also available on the following podcast players (and others)


  1. I actually liked it he way 2e handled speed factor as an initiative modifier.

    1. 2e's handling was indeed better. Reportedly, Gygax never used the weapon speed factor and weapon length rules, and added them only at the insistence of someone who felt they needed to be there.

  2. Because the RAW AD&D initiative rules are incomprehensible unless you read it multiple times by multiple people.

    Then there is the fact that the weapon speeds function mainly as a tie breaker for when the initiative is the same between two opponent with the added quirk of multiple attacks.

    In general the thing to keep in mind is that each side's initiative roll determines the SEGMENT the other side starts out at. If you roll a 5 and the orc rolls a 2. You will be acting on Segment 2 of the Round and the Orc will be acting on segment 5 of the round.

  3. There are a lot of great things about AD&D 1e but the combat section in the DMG isn’t one of them.

  4. I actually DM'ed 1e recently using ADDICT to guide combat. What I found was that weapons vs ac is very useful (if you can modify the chart to account for actual armor worn and not AC), and that initiative as is, is playable but very wonky and frigidity to run. My players like the optional 2e rules: rolling for individual initiative plus weapon speed factors.

  5. I always use individual initiative with the weapon speed factor, these days, as it better helps everyone see whose turn it is. With Simultaneous initiative, I can have them roll 'To Hits' at the same time and have always used multiple attacks when the characters level up high enough to use them!

    The Initiative formula I use on Roll20:

    The algorithm is:
    Init = [ 1 d 10 ] + Dexterity Reaction Adjustment - Weapon Speed or Spell Casting Time

    For this algorithm Spell Casting Time is rounded up to the nearest Round if it occurs in segments.

    You could also just take and use the Spell's level if you are unsure of it's casting time.

    The Turn order then goes from Highest to Lowest, in this case.

    As a variance, you could take the first base die roll to represent the number of people in the party so that if there are 6 you use a D6, if there are 10 the D10, if there are 12 the D12, etc.

    How often the Initiative is rolled depends on game attendance.
    If there are only a few we roll the Init once and use it for the length of the entire combat.

    Otherwise, the Init gets rolled prior to the start of each new combat round.

    With Arrow shots I will let the 2 base shots go during that character's turn, since a Pro archer can fire off 10 arrows in just a little over 10 seconds.

    If I were to spread out the two shots during the combat round based on weapon speed then the 2nd shot is subtracted another 7 (long bow), from the character's Init score and has to be added in manually.

    Once the Attacks per Round of Fighters, Cavaliers and their sub-classes increase, (i.e. 3/2 or 2/1 or 5/2 or by a Haste spell), I will need to add in the addition attack(s), manually into the Turn Order, (or simply tag them on in order at the end of the current round). Again this is done by subtracting the weapon speed once again from the first roll for the initiative and so on.


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition