Thursday, October 17, 2019
I am sorry. I mean, I really really AM sorry. I keep searching around Ye Old Interwebs for decent content, and find myself constantly scraping the bottom of the barrel and I realize that I am as much a part of the problem/solution myself: after all, it's not like I've posted anything for the last several weeks.
And that's the tough thing. Oh, I've had thoughts, sure: stuff about fatigue (as it appears in Chainmail) and segments (as they appear in Eldritch Wizardry and how they might be applied...rather easily...to B/X) and deities and cosmology and magic. Heck, I've even had some Blood Bowl/NFL thoughts for the half dozen readers of mine who are into that kind of thing. But while I've started a few draft posts here and there, I just haven't got up the gumption to really blog anything that's A) worthwhile, B) entertaining, or C) both. And why should I waste my time scribbling (and your time reading) dreck?
SO, here's where I'm at:
There are some things, concept-wise that I really, really like about AD&D (and here I'm speaking of the 1st edition version...sorry to all you 2E fans). Many of those things, however, I have quibbles with in execution. For example, a lot of headaches could have been prevented (perhaps) by dividing the one minute combat round into six ten-second segments (as per Eldritch Wizardry) rather than ten six-second segments (as per AD&D). Works better both with regard to movement/segment AND the use of a D6 initiative die roll. The only way you lose out is with high level spells that require more than six segments to cast...and squinting at it one way, I can see how many of those spells should be more than one round of casting time anyway. But the stupid ten segment round is what led my old AD&D group (back in the day) to adopt a D10 for initiative instead of a D6 (which I wouldn't recommend unless you're choosing to forgo tactical movement - i.e. on a battle map - in your game).
Then there's stuff like weapon type versus Armor Class which really could use a once-over...I just flat disagree with some of the adjustments presented. Then again, I take umbrage with many of the weapons on the AD&D list itself (a long sword and a bastard sword are pretty much the same thing, for instance).
And, of course, there is ridiculousness in many of the magical spells, probably my biggest headache. From low-level illusions that kill to charms that "befriend" to examples of mummies being polymorphed into puppies (undead aren't alive so they can't really be considered animals, right? Can a magic-user "cure" a vampire by polymorphing it into a human? Garbage)...I mean, there's just a bunch of shite in there, you know? A lot of shite. By which I mean "shit." As in bullshit.
BUT...but, it's still better than pretty much all the alternatives. And while it's NOT a perfect system, it's still a darn good one, once you take the time to parse it all out, as some folks have bothered to do. And while I could spend my life going through it with a fine-tooth and re-writing all the stuff that absolutely drives me bonkers (as other, smarter folks than me, have done) I find that that this requires far more effort than the actual payout I'd get from the effort. That's time and energy that could be going into the design of settings, adventures, and campaigns instead instead of worrying about why a battle axe (properly wielded) doesn't gain a bonus against an AC that uses a shield, or whether or not there's even a chance that ANY blow will strike the head of a character wearing a great helm, or blah-blah, etc.
So I'm in...I'm all in. The full monty. It occurs to me that my MAIN reason for choosing B/X the last many years was my aversion to strict encumbrance accounting, and that other than that (and some philosophical differences with regard to demi humans) the simpler, streamlined BASIC system of B/X just doesn't pack enough juice for me anymore. Now that I finally, finally have a good handle on just what makes D&D special as a game, and what makes it a game worth playing, I can't see any reason NOT to use the Advanced system of the game unless I'm introducing rank newbies to the whole concept of "dungeons" and "dragons." And despite the glaring issues with the system As Is, I'm going to go ahead and use it RAW for the time being. Perhaps over the course of a decade or so I'll feel inclined to house rule various aspects, but I'm not going to start with that. I'm going to START with the books as written, and go from there.
Yep. That's it.
Now, having written all that, and being really, really, really intentional of following through, I do have two specific caveats:
1) I will only be using the first five AD&D books to start (the PHB, DMG, MM, DDG, and FF).
2) I reserve my right to change my mind about any and all of this.
All right; that really IS "it," for now. Let the games begin!