Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Easing In

One of the real downsides of taking any extended break from blogging...or perhaps writing in general...is the tendency to lose your train of thought. 

I had a busy weekend (no need to talk about it...the rest of my week and the coming weekend is going to be even busier. Not talking about that either). Looking back through my recent archive posts, I found some good stuff, good threads I was on, good discussions (in the comments) being had. I suppose not everyone was buying what I was selling last September / early October, but re-reading it I think I was communicating my thoughts pretty effectively. Same with the stuff at the beginning of 2022 (January and February) before my voluntary hiatus.

But blogging (and writing) is a muscle, and being away from the keyboard has led to some atrophy. Probably doesn't help that I haven't had much sleep the last couple days (going to rectify that tonight!). So, rather then get back into my discussions of "world building" or "fundamental D&D" (subjects to which I plan on returning), I think I'm going to need to start a little slow...and ramp up.

Friday's post on "Change" was a bit of table setting. I'm an AD&D guy right now. I know, I know...cue the usual complaints about labeling, edition wars, etc. But it matters, folks. When a guy spends more than a decade writing a couple thousand essays about B/X for a blog called "B/X Blackrazor," it's not just because he's writing for just ANY kind of D&D...it's a pretty specific ruleset. And, while much of what I've written can be applied to other forms of D&D, that really wasn't my intent. My intent was to pump up B/X, and I think I did a pretty decent job of it.

NOW...well, now I'm doing something different. 

Now, my attention...my focus...is going to be squarely on the Advanced game. So much so that I may need to do a little re-branding 'round these parts.


ANYway. "Easing back." I don't want to jump right back into the big Big Picture stuff just yet. Need to polish the chops a bit. So I'm going to write up some of the AD&D stuff I've been thinking about / working on the last couple months (while I was off-line). At the moment, I'm considering how best to start though...are readers interested in specific classes? Spells? AD&D combat stuff? The trials and tribulations of running 1st level characters? Or just a bunch of stuff that AD&D does right from the get go? Regarding the latter, there's quite a bit...might need to break the subject up into a couple posts.

In case it's unclear, I'm open to suggestions/requests. I don't have any recent stories from my own campaign to tell, because everyone is dead at the moment (again) and things aren't settled enough at home to fire up a new batch of would-be adventurers. Though I'm really, really considering a re-skinned version of DL2 as an introductory adventure (yes, for first level characters. See GusL's thoughts on the module for some cursory ideas). That should be fun...especially the treasure room full of gold bullion in the catacombs below Pax Tharkas (an interesting logistical puzzle there!).

All right...my schedule and tired eyes are both conspiring against me at the moment. More later.


  1. Of your options I'm probably interested in the trials and tribulations of Lvl1 characters. I'm not interested in new classes, but what I would find interesting is how you think each of the classes in the PHB and UA should be played. By this I mean what they should set as goals, especially at low level and what they need to do to achieve them.

    1. Would only have been talking about existing classes…I have added no new classes to the AD&D game, nor do I intend to do so. It’s pretty darn complete as is.

  2. No AD&D questions but

    Any chance during your hyatious you finished Cry Dark Future?

    Also when do we get your bloodbowl themed weigh in on the twin loss of future HOF members Wilson and Wagner.

    Did you crown a winner in your Rat Themed adventure contest?

    1. The Year of the Rat contest was finished, judged, and prizes given. The book hasn’t been published yet for VERY embarrassing reasons. Hopefully more news on that before the end of April.

      RE Seahawks & BB

      I have little to say about the departure of these great players, save that we knew it would happens some day (told my kids more than once to “enjoy it while it lasted”). Kids are currently painting their own BB teams: Diego loves his wood elves and Sofia is painting a human team blue and yellow “to support Ukraine.” More on all that later (probably post-NFL draft).

      I have no news to offer on Cry Dark Future at the moment. So sorry.
      : (

  3. Since you asked, what I'd be particularly interested in the moment is a rigorous treatment of AD&D’s rules failings. In my own little project (https://tefalls.blogspot.com/) I'm trying to play solo AD&D as closely to the rules as possible. Most of the criticism I've read, and felt, about the AD&D rules has been a matter of taste rather than a real design flaws. I don't know if the end result of this analysis is closer to a complete re-write of the game or the original text of the core books, but I'd be interested to see and participate in such an analysis.

    1. Hmm.

      Thing is, I don't find all that many system "failings." You could play the game as written and it would deliver a fairly robust experience. It could even run fairly smoothly with enough savants / expert players at the table.

      It's not that any particular rule "fails" in AD&D. The question is: does a given system add or detract from the play experience? Sometimes tweaks can help in this regard.

      But I find very little that fails or "breaks" the game, unlike some RPGs (or even some later editions of D&D).

    2. @JB, that's been my experience, too, and maybe I've misinterpreted "AD&D stuff I've been thinking about / working on" which I took to mean modifying in some way; major or minor. My word choice of "failings" perhaps connoted a stronger interpretation than I intended. I guess "shortcomings" or "weaknesses" would be better.

    3. I'll give a few examples of failure:

      - Mounted combat rules for any animal
      - the attack/damage rules for siege engines
      - lack of meaningful structural details for structures and ships apart from their cost and names.

    4. Ha! Those are great examples!

      1. Is there actually mounted combat rules in AD&D? I can't remember any specific ones (besides lances and increased movement for quadrupeds). From what I've researched recently with regard to cavalry and shock troops, being mounted isn't nearly as uber-effective as films and later RPGs would have one think, but it's still a major part of the genre.

      2. The siege combat (and structural points and all that) was DEFINITELY a bone of contention for me and my AD&D group "back in the day;" however, it's been decades since I've used those rules in a scenario of any kind...a real blind spot.

      3. Likewise regarding ships and and structures. One of the nice things about 2E SpellJammer was all the ship blueprints (which I re-purposed for normal naval stuff), but yeah a real lack there...especially for players who want to BUILD fortresses and strongholds.

      There are probably other systems (or non-systems) that I have simply failed to use or implement. I'll take any others you can think of!

  4. Disagree with you regarding horses in combat. I run at you with my 235 lbs., sword and shield in front of me, you're going to feel when I hit.

    I run at you with my 235 lbs. mounted on 1,100 lbs. of steed, I don't need a sword and shield.

    1. Here's a good article describing cavalry (its strengths and weaknesses) in a "fantasy" context:


      The links in the post are also good.

      However, while the final conclusion one might take away is "cavalry-is-good-for-causing-panic-and-route-such-that-infantry-can-be-destroyed-piecemeal-by-pursuing-horsemen," I still do not see any such adjustment in the morale system of the DMG (though, amusingly, Chainmail *does* take such into account).