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Author Topic: Ad&d Players Handbook Reccomends 2 15s in ability scores for player characters  (Read 1489 times)

rickss

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That will encourage the S 18/00 freak to face more orcs at once, because they die so easily. But this is old school D&D, where combat between low-level characters is very whiffy. That means even a mild streak of bad luck can lead to all the brute fighter's hits missing. And each miss means all the orcs survive another round, and get another full round of attacks. Which means combat can quickly turn bad for the high strength fighter, in a way that would never happen to the weaker fighter, because the weaker fighter would never have gotten into that situation in the first place.
Or because they're dead, which prevents them from ever ending up in that circumstance.

Two PCs, one of whom vastly outpowers the other, doesn't have to mean the stronger one dies. And it certainly means, should they both consistently survive, that you have two players, one of whom is vastly more effective than the other. Great fun for one, typically a lot less for the other.


Shasarak

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I would also like to note that high scores in attributes weren't the do-or-die thing that they became in 3E and onward.
If one fighter rolls an 18 followed by a 100, and the other just barely qualifies with a 9, the difference vanishes once the party finds a pair of gauntlets of ogre power.
More "if" than "once", right?

In the interim, it really sucks to be that fighter with a 14 STR when comparing your hit ratio and damage output to a 18/00 fighter.
Does it?

Because if you both have 1d10 HD, and rolled something like 5 hp, and you're facing foes who do 1d8 damage, odds are pretty good one of you dies. All that Strength provides zero protection if the orcs get initiative, so all else being equal, it's effectively random who makes it.

Or not so random, because the fighter with a +6 strength bonus will typically take out an orc with a single hit. As a result, they will be able to face at least twice as many orcs as a fighter who typically needs 2 hits to take down a pig-snout, because the orcs will get least twice as many hits against the weaker fighter before dying.

That will encourage the S 18/00 freak to face more orcs at once, because they die so easily. But this is old school D&D, where combat between low-level characters is very whiffy. That means even a mild streak of bad luck can lead to all the brute fighter's hits missing. And each miss means all the orcs survive another round, and get another full round of attacks. Which means combat can quickly turn bad for the high strength fighter, in a way that would never happen to the weaker fighter, because the weaker fighter would never have gotten into that situation in the first place.

Wait, having a character with a high strength makes the player more stupid?

That seems an odd correlation.
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pathetically struggling,
look at the good things you've got! -  Jesus

Pat

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That will encourage the S 18/00 freak to face more orcs at once, because they die so easily. But this is old school D&D, where combat between low-level characters is very whiffy. That means even a mild streak of bad luck can lead to all the brute fighter's hits missing. And each miss means all the orcs survive another round, and get another full round of attacks. Which means combat can quickly turn bad for the high strength fighter, in a way that would never happen to the weaker fighter, because the weaker fighter would never have gotten into that situation in the first place.
Or because they're dead, which prevents them from ever ending up in that circumstance.

Two PCs, one of whom vastly outpowers the other, doesn't have to mean the stronger one dies. And it certainly means, should they both consistently survive, that you have two players, one of whom is vastly more effective than the other. Great fun for one, typically a lot less for the other.
Go back and read what I said. I gave you a specific reason why the stronger will tend to die. It's basic statistical analysis, a variation on Lanchester's laws. Characters with high strength in old school D&D are eggshells armed with hammers. They are strongly encouraged to overextend themselves based on their offensive capability, but because it's not matched be a corresponding toughness, they become very susceptible to minor streaks of bad luck. Conversely, characters with lower strength won't have that opportunity because they lack that offensive strength, and thus won't overextend themselves.

Your statements about who is having and fun and who isn't are also wrong, because you're drawing a universal conclusion based on a limited set of personal experiences. It's okay if that's your preference. It's not okay to claim it's everyone else's.

Steven Mitchell

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Pat, you don't even need fighters for that comparison.  That's exactly how it played out in that anecdote I related in another thread about a Basic wizard (rolled using 3d6 in order) with a 18 Str (and 16) int.  That +3 to hit and damage on his quarterstaff was amazing.  Right up until it wasn't.  (As to why that character was a wizard, house rule in our Basic game that after a TPK, in the next set of characters, the player with the highest Int must play the wizard.  Because no one wanted to.  We had some very unconventional wizard play, at time.)

This guy did play smart, which is why his luck didn't run out until sometimes around 3rd level.  There are only so many times the party can play the card of "Hey, getting dicey up here on the front line, send that brute wizard up here to help out."
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 08:33:27 AM by Steven Mitchell »

rickss

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Your statements about who is having and fun and who isn't are also wrong, because you're drawing a universal conclusion based on a limited set of personal experiences. It's okay if that's your preference. It's not okay to claim it's everyone else's.
Might want to work on learning the definition of the word, "typically"?

Ironic that you're then applying _your_ universal conclusion then that the stronger will tend to die, right?




Chris24601

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Your statements about who is having and fun and who isn't are also wrong, because you're drawing a universal conclusion based on a limited set of personal experiences. It's okay if that's your preference. It's not okay to claim it's everyone else's.
Might want to work on learning the definition of the word, "typically"?

Ironic that you're then applying _your_ universal conclusion then that the stronger will tend to die, right?
My personal experience back in the day was anyone who got really good ability scores played much more conservatively during the early levels while those with mediocre scores took more risks (death means another roll on the RNG lotto for a jackpot set of stats). They didn’t start taking greater risks until they were beefier.

Of course, I haven’t played a game using random rolls for ability scores since the early 90’s so I’m going mostly from distant memories here.

hedgehobbit

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It was recently brought to my attention that on page 9 of the Ad&D players handbook it says "Furthermore, it is usually essential to the
character's survival to be exceptional (with a rating of 15 or above) in no
fewer than two ability characteristics."

I don't usually play AD&D so i never noticed, but what do you all think?

I'm not surprised at all by this considering Gygax once said that characters with below average rolls should decide to play non-humans as they'll probably die before hitting their level limit.

Gygax has always equated high ability scores with high survivability which is why all the pre-gen characters in his high level dungeons have massively above average stats.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2021, 01:03:16 PM by hedgehobbit »

hedgehobbit

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Go back and read what I said. I gave you a specific reason why the stronger will tend to die. It's basic statistical analysis, a variation on Lanchester's laws. Characters with high strength in old school D&D are eggshells armed with hammers. They are strongly encouraged to overextend themselves based on their offensive capability, but because it's not matched be a corresponding toughness, they become very susceptible to minor streaks of bad luck. Conversely, characters with lower strength won't have that opportunity because they lack that offensive strength, and thus won't overextend themselves.

Except in D&D, monsters don't spawn based on the ability scores of the players which means a player with a high strength will need to go further into the dungeon to face the higher risk which means he'll be clearing more rooms and getting more treasure. More treasure means more XP (even before the high stat XP % bonus) which means leveling faster which means more hit points.

So, characters with higher ability scores will be getting hit points faster and, thus, have a much greater chance of surviving overextending themselves.

mightybrain

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I believe he also claimed that he never killed PCs; they always killed themselves.

Given the nature of the game, I think that's pretty much given.

mightybrain

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It's a self balancing system to a degree. The only real difference is going to be the speed of progress. If you have impatient players, you can just as easily nerf the monsters as buff the PC starting stats. I expect what happened was they got caught in a power creep feedback loop before they had the rules fully pinned down for tournament play. So the default base line was already biased high by the time the AD&D books came out.

Outside of tournament play you can do as you like. Including nipping the power creep in the buds.

Ghostmaker

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Pat, you don't even need fighters for that comparison.  That's exactly how it played out in that anecdote I related in another thread about a Basic wizard (rolled using 3d6 in order) with a 18 Str (and 16) int.  That +3 to hit and damage on his quarterstaff was amazing.  Right up until it wasn't.  (As to why that character was a wizard, house rule in our Basic game that after a TPK, in the next set of characters, the player with the highest Int must play the wizard.  Because no one wanted to.  We had some very unconventional wizard play, at time.)

This guy did play smart, which is why his luck didn't run out until sometimes around 3rd level.  There are only so many times the party can play the card of "Hey, getting dicey up here on the front line, send that brute wizard up here to help out."
Reminds me of discussions in the Dragon Magazine forum (the column, not online) about giving the magic-user more options and things to do. One person pointed out that it didn't matter if you decked your magic-user out in full plate and gave him a longsword; his THAC0 and hit dice would still make him a very poor option for melee combat.

Svenhelgrim

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18 strength only gave +1 to hit and +2 to damage.  So even a mongo-wizard was pretty much useless in melee combat.  Also his AC would suck orc balls, even with a high Dex Score the best he could hope for would be a AC:6, unless he cast shield which would start him out at AC:3 (-1 with an 18 dex), which would make him formidable, so long as none of the baddies rolls a 20.

The real equalizer was ranged weapons and flaming oil.  These gave an edge to the party that used them on enemies before they closed in. 


Steven Mitchell

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18 strength only gave +1 to hit and +2 to damage.  So even a mongo-wizard was pretty much useless in melee combat.  Also his AC would suck orc balls, even with a high Dex Score the best he could hope for would be a AC:6, unless he cast shield which would start him out at AC:3 (-1 with an 18 dex), which would make him formidable, so long as none of the baddies rolls a 20.

The real equalizer was ranged weapons and flaming oil.  These gave an edge to the party that used them on enemies before they closed in.

Basic set wizard, the 18 Str was +3 to hit and damage.   An example of the same principle outside of the AD&D which is the main topic, to show how it works in an exaggerated form.

BTW, this was with a whole group that was strategic about when they used it, too.  They knew the wizard had crap AC and hit points.  They tried to bring him up on the flanks when working their way out of the dungeon with a lot of treasure and wandering monsters in their way.  Tried to do it so that only one monster could get a crack at him per round while he was dishing out that +3 to hit and 1d6+3 damage. 

With the right players, the same things happen in AD&D--it's only that it's more subtle.

Svenhelgrim

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I prefer B/X’s ability score bonuses. 

3:-3
4,5:-2
6,7,8:-1
9,10,11,12:+0
13,14,15:+1
16,17:+2
18:+3

Lots of games use them as well, much easier to build a viable character with 3d6 rolls.



They carry over into

Slambo

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I prefer B/X’s ability score bonuses. 

3:-3
4,5:-2
6,7,8:-1
9,10,11,12:+0
13,14,15:+1
16,17:+2
18:+3

Lots of games use them as well, much easier to build a viable character with 3d6 rolls.



They carry over into

Yeah im actually a big BECMI fan so this is what im used to