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Author Topic: [AD&D 1st Edition] - Taming Monsters  (Read 732 times)

Abyssal Maw

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[AD&D 1st Edition] - Taming Monsters
« on: April 27, 2008, 10:45:35 PM »
Today at the AD&D game, the players were leaving the goblin outpost with a group of freshly liberated slaves that they had "bought" freedom for. They were about halfway home, when a group of 6 suspicious goblins mounted on worg wolves circled around and stopped their caravan.

"We knew you guys weren't really slavers! Now we'll have to take those slaves back.. and you with them!"

Combat ensues, and it was a hairy one, with teeth and fur flying.

Anyhow, here's the second and third houserules of the session, neither of which I am sure of:

As battle ensued, it was kinda trivial to kill the goblin riders with arrows, but the unmounted worgs were powerful. Settembrini's character (a ranger) decided he would try and bring one of them down and try to dominate it.

So here's my first big ad hoc ruling: He wanted to "climb aboard" on the wolf. I can see this happening again and again in games (like Conan climbing aboard a dinosaurs head and stabbing it or something..) So I ruled it like so:

"Make a roll to hit. If you hit, you are on the beast's back and it cannot attack you. Your attack does no damage.."

Once you on board, you may try to 'ride it down' (like breaking a mustang kinda thing).

Now, it seemed fair, that I should also allow the Worg a chance to shake the rider loose on *its* turn. So if it attacked and hit, it shook the rider loose. I think I caved on this or forgot or something. But I DID NOT implement this ruling. I kinda regret it now, because it kinda makes sense.

Ok, here's ad hoc ruling #2:
"If already 'on board', make an attack. If the attack hits, you do no damage. Instead, roll a d12x5%. This becomes the subdual percentage for the beast so ridden down."

Now obviously, not every beast can be subdued this way, but a potential mount probably should be. I could see using these rules for a griffon or hippogriff or even just a wild horse.

During the game, Settembrini's ranger had no trouble getting on top of the Worg, but couldn't ride it down,  (he kept rolling 8's and 7s). Until finally he managed to get it twice in a row The first roll of the d12 was 30% which he missed, and the second roll was a 1 ("5%"), which he miraculously made.

Anyhow, at the end of it, Settembrini's ranger subdued the wolf but unfortunately all three of his hunting dawgs were killed. DeadUematsu's multiclassed elf whittled away at the opposition with arrows and crossbow bolts. Werekoala used his potion of heroism to destroy the last few worgs (wow, thats a powerful potion..) and Norcon kept up a steady stream of missed shots. I assumed that Settembrini would keep the Worg as a pet to compensate for the lost hunting beasts, but instead he rode it straight back to goblintown and sold it back to the goblins. ;)
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[AD&D 1st Edition] - Taming Monsters
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2008, 11:54:55 PM »
Isn't there already a set of AD&D rules for subduing monsters, at least in the case of dragons? Is that what you're basing your ruling on?

I completely agree that you needed to give the warg a way to knock the rider off. Otherwise it's just a matter of time and it especially becomes a crock if you've got N characters against N wargs, since each could neutralize a warg with just one hit.

Generally I think subdual should be a high-risk action, so I'd not only give the warg a chance of bucking the guy off, but I'd impose some falling damage (at least 1-3 hp, possibly with a save to avoid) and also say the character's prone.

This also raises the question of why, once mounted, the character can't make a really good killing attack. Not sure how I'd solve that--it really takes us into the generally tricky issue of interfacing melee and grappling rules.


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[AD&D 1st Edition] - Taming Monsters
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2008, 02:40:29 AM »
Quote from: Abyssal Maw

Ok, here's ad hoc ruling #2:
"If already 'on board', make an attack. If the attack hits, you do no damage. Instead, roll a d12x5%. This becomes the subdual percentage for the beast so ridden down."

I would understand, if the d12 "damage" added up. If not, it´s a useless roll, no? Anyway, I didn´t care about that one. I knew it was a tall order, but that made rolling that 5% soooo more sweet!

And I knew where you wanted to go with the "shaking off" thing. I just wanted to say it´s a bit strange he can shake me off with one roll, without a save or level check on my part. I´m clinging to the beast, no? My plate armour shouldn´t help me as much as my clinging to the beast.

So I thought: Mount makes "throw off" attack roll, I get a save or STR check or a level check or whatever.

Simplest solution: BOTH make attack rolls, and they are compared. Like, I rolled a nat 20, so his success wouldn´t help him. I miss, he hits, I fly off the mount. I hit, he misses, I get a bonus on the subdual roll. Something like this.

I REALLY liked that battle. Pretty tense.

So here´s my suggestion for a revised riding down rule:

Both to-hit rolls are compared

both hit= nothing changes
rider hits = d12 roll ads to d12 roll of last round
beast hits = rider flys off, possible falling damage
no one hits = rider remains on top, d12 rolls default to 0 for next round
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[AD&D 1st Edition] - Taming Monsters
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 01:15:24 PM »
Interesting. Personally, I have two problems with the method: One, a guy in heavy armour would be impeded and unbalanced, so - realistically - he would be EASIER to shake off than a guy with no armour. Two, lots of rolls for the subdual attempts. Roll an attack - one. Roll d12 - two. Then (if I understand it right) roll percentage below the previous roll - three. Three rolls every round, just for the break-in attempt. IMO too many for AD&D.

I would have done it differently, in the following manner:

- Try to get on its back - probably an Overbearing attempt from 2nd edition. So, an attack roll modified for size difference and how many legs the target has.

- Then, both the beast and the rider must make a saving throw (... say, vs. paralysis, maybe) every round. If the rider fails his roll, he's thrown down. If the beast fails its rolls as many times as it has hit dice, it is subdued.
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[AD&D 1st Edition] - Taming Monsters
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 12:21:11 PM »
Like any good stage magician, you should never explain your tricks (or ad hoc rules). Subduing a wild beast in the middle of melee ought to be fraught with danger and reckless abandon. That's part of the joy of playing AD&D. Your players shouldn't be allowed to predict with much certainty their chances of success until actually faced with doing the deed. You can make it as easy or as difficult as you like considering the circumstances, party level or your own 'house rules'. In the end, it worked didn't it? It's 1e AD&D and you are the DM. End of story.
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[AD&D 1st Edition] - Taming Monsters
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2009, 03:31:54 PM »
1st Edition had Subdual Combat for dragons, I'd go with that.
2nd Edition had Riding Proficiency, and Animal Handling or training I thought.
3rd Edition has Wild Empathy for Rangers, and Riding and Animal Handling skills.
A DUNGEON adventure (Mount Bellows) had PCs riding hippogriffs against red dragons. I think they had to make 3 successful ride checks in a row to learn how.

When using Worgs or other monster mounts, it might be a good idea to have a rule or guideline in mind for how long the mount remains loyal- if it sees a chance to break, it may take it depending on the charisma of its rider and how it's been treated since the initial subdual.

In a trip to the Underdark to take on a certain Vault of the Drow, my 1st Edition players managed a successful Charm Monster on a beholder. That was a nightmare. It's a good idea to have any charmed or subdued monsters loyal ONLY to the one who charmed or subdued/rode it down. The other PCs may force the subduer PC to get rid of his special mount once they've been on the receiving end of some friendly fire. And it's certain that NPCs will react poorly to a party trying to bring monsters into a city or camp.