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Author Topic: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide  (Read 955 times)

SHARK

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Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« on: October 18, 2021, 04:03:16 AM »
Greetings!

Here in this video, Unscripted & Unchained discusses AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide. Dan Bloodworth is an Old School gamer, and provides an extensive overview of the AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide. Dan Bloodworth also comments on the artwork throughout 1E AD&D products, as well as the famous artists. Excellent commentary on the breadth and scope of optional rules provided for the D&D game campaign. It is interesting that there are vast rules provided for nearly every circumstance, environment, and activity, though again it is stressed that all such rules are optional. The scope of the rules provided allow a DM to pick and choose whatever rules desired, ramping up the focus and detail of whatever campaign element desired.

I have always used the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, for many years now, and have found the book to be constantly inspiring and fun! Have you used the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide? Do you still use such books and rules in your campaigns?

I think in some ways that the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide and its companion, the Wilderness Survival Guide, have often been overlooked, or unfairly disparaged.

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

Unscripted & Unchained Dungeoneer's Survival Guide Video
"It is the Marine Corps that will strip away the façade so easily confused with self. It is the Corps that will offer the pain needed to buy the truth. And at last, each will own the privilege of looking inside himself  to discover what truly resides there. Comfort is an illusion. A false security bred from familiar things and familiar ways. It narrows the mind. Weakens the body. And robs the soul of spirit and determination. Comfort is neither welcome nor tolerated here."

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but is doing what you have to, in spite of the fear."
"Let Death and Fire Be Their Portion!"
"Delenda Est Parthia!"

DM_Curt

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2021, 09:45:49 AM »
Big fan of the WSG. Probably also going to grab the DSG for a fresh look at it.

tenbones

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2021, 10:30:21 AM »
DSG/WSG completely raised my GMing skills by orders of magnitude. Both of those books, once implemented, made my settings come alive. They made my players appreciate their own actions in the game because all those little details they took for granted suddenly mattered.

I still carry those lessons with me to this day. They're some of my favorite GMing books of all time.

Pat

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2021, 12:13:19 PM »
I think the world creation advice in the remains WSG solid and relevant. The DSG was useful, but not as much.

Mishihari

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2021, 02:37:59 PM »
I always thought the DSG and WSG were terrific, but in online conversations, it always seemed that a lot more people hated them then loved them.

DM_Curt

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2021, 04:01:34 PM »
I tried converting the WSG to 5e.
Key things: They had enough separate Non-Weapon Proficiencies in 1e, (with several introduced in WSG) that you were guaranteed to be missing several that you needed. As opposed to 5e's 2 skills, Nature and Survival, being catch-alls for most outdoors skills.

It broke everything down into minute detail. An interesting read, and lots of good info, but to implement, you're digging out charts, of which there were about 44 in that one book.
I chopped it down to about 4-5 pages.

tenbones

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2021, 04:07:26 PM »
I always thought the DSG and WSG were terrific, but in online conversations, it always seemed that a lot more people hated them then loved them.

GM's loved them. Players hated them.


Ghostmaker

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2021, 04:10:13 PM »
I tried converting the WSG to 5e.
Key things: They had enough separate Non-Weapon Proficiencies in 1e, (with several introduced in WSG) that you were guaranteed to be missing several that you needed. As opposed to 5e's 2 skills, Nature and Survival, being catch-alls for most outdoors skills.

It broke everything down into minute detail. An interesting read, and lots of good info, but to implement, you're digging out charts, of which there were about 44 in that one book.
I chopped it down to about 4-5 pages.
One of my big axes to grind is that if you're going to have skills, you really need to offer a character enough skill points, ranks, whatever to get at least SOME of them.

That was another huge issue in 3E for me. Fighters got utterly boned on skill ranks.

HappyDaze

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2021, 05:54:21 PM »
I tried converting the WSG to 5e.
Key things: They had enough separate Non-Weapon Proficiencies in 1e, (with several introduced in WSG) that you were guaranteed to be missing several that you needed. As opposed to 5e's 2 skills, Nature and Survival, being catch-alls for most outdoors skills.

It broke everything down into minute detail. An interesting read, and lots of good info, but to implement, you're digging out charts, of which there were about 44 in that one book.
I chopped it down to about 4-5 pages.
One of my big axes to grind is that if you're going to have skills, you really need to offer a character enough skill points, ranks, whatever to get at least SOME of them.

That was another huge issue in 3E for me. Fighters got utterly boned on skill ranks.
That really depends on what putting points into the skill represents. You need a lot less points if you can default without penalty to an attribute than you would in games where no skill training  = no ability with the skill.

Playing Soulbound, our Witch Aelf has a high Body and Soul, so she just defaults for Athletics, Fortitude, and Intimidation. Her starting skill points went into Awareness, Reflexes, Stealth, and Weapon Skill. Unfortunately,  she also has to default on Guile and her Mind is not so sharp.

Opaopajr

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2021, 06:58:57 PM »
NWPs were expert-level and explicitly asked the GM to avoid askng for rolls for them in mundane circumstances, and even middling effort circumstances.

The easiest way to adjust that for 5e is to slide the difficulty scale over at least one step (i.e. Easy DC 10 shifts and becomes V.Easy DC 5). And given that PB starts at 2 and human probability happy place is around 70%, I'd likely shift the whole metric one step in general for everyone beforehand (i.e. Easy starts at DC 5 again, V.Easy is autopass, NPC with proficiency and low ability can still do Easy). Having 5e prof = 1 shift and 2e NWP = two shifts would really cut down on conversion & point costing. So 5e Acrobatics becomes DC 5 for Easy, and 2e Acrobatics becomes DC autopass for Easy, instead of not proficient DC 10 for Easy.
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Pat

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2021, 07:23:08 PM »
I prefer the original version of the proficiency system in Oriental Adventures. It had a wider range of proficiencies than both the DSG and WSG combined, it was a lot easier to gain new proficiencies based on what happened during a campaign (it didn't distinguish between weapon and non-weapon proficiencies, so they were acquired more gradually and could be used for either, instead of clumping weirdly), the lack of a class tax allowed more character concepts, they weren't tied to ability scores, and those who were proficient automatically succeeded (the roll only determined whether it was a regular or a superior success).

Svenhelgrim

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2021, 09:12:05 AM »
At the time, I loved having the NWP’s to flesh out a character and give it more options.  But as time wore on, the chance to perform tyese skills were too static.  Not sure how it was in 1e, but in 2e you could improve your change to succeed by “1”…or you could choose another non-weapon proficiency, and if you had a high stat, you could be an expert at that “skill” despite having never performed or had any training in that skill before you took it.

One example that comes to mind is the “Riding” skill (I am going by memory here so the names of these NWP’s might be a little off). 

A horse nomad barbarian at level 1 gets Riding NWP.  Has a wisdom of 10, basically has to roll a 10 or lower to do his riding thing. As he levels up he can make his riding an 11 or lower, or choose an entire new skill.

Now the cleric, who grew up in a cloister and never rode a horse before gets his new NWP and chooses “riding”.  Since his wisdom is a 16 he is now a better horseman than our horse nomad barbarian who grew up riding horses.

The rules were full of glaring inconsistencies like this.  Having a skill syestem was a long-awaited mechanic, but they botched it. 

Now in 5e we have the opposite problem where Billy the Hun can make an Arcana check to decipher the magical runes and if he rolls high enough he can read what the wizard could not (because the wizard rolled a 1 on his check). 

Don’t even get me started on the “social” skills like Diplomacy, and Intimidate.  People treat them like they are mind control…

…but I digress…

The rest of the Wilderness Survival Guide was great, offering all sorts of Man-vs.-Nature challenges.


DM_Curt

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2021, 11:13:31 AM »
The thing I took away from WSG when I first encountered it back in Nineteen Eighty....mumble mumble, Damn I'm old, was that there were things in D&D that could kill or hinder you, but you had to solve them in ways other than killing them back, other than dungeon traps.
To this day, I feel that environmental effects are an important aspect of a game, either to bring home the feel of the story, or to make combat more interesting.

HappyDaze

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2021, 11:18:12 AM »
The thing I took away from WSG when I first encountered it back in Nineteen Eighty....mumble mumble, Damn I'm old, was that there were things in D&D that could kill or hinder you, but you had to solve them in ways other than killing them back, other than dungeon traps.
To this day, I feel that environmental effects are an important aspect of a game, either to bring home the feel of the story, or to make combat more interesting.
I wish they had carried more of that over to 5e. The exploration pillar is pretty weak compared to combat and could use some help. Of course, in 5e, anything that doesn’t kill you can generally be wiped away after a long rest, so the only way to make the environment hazardous is to use the exhaustion rules (which are not generally thought to be well made).

Pat

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Re: Diving into AD&D's Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2021, 11:51:59 AM »
At the time, I loved having the NWP’s to flesh out a character and give it more options.  But as time wore on, the chance to perform tyese skills were too static.  Not sure how it was in 1e, but in 2e you could improve your change to succeed by “1”…or you could choose another non-weapon proficiency, and if you had a high stat, you could be an expert at that “skill” despite having never performed or had any training in that skill before you took it.
Each new slot is +2 in the DSG and WSG. But even with the doubled bonus, getting a new slot every 3 or 4 levels means natural talent (the ability score) is far more important than skill (the number of slots used). That's why I prefer the OA approach, where proficiencies are detached from ability scores (there's a fixed target number for each proficiency, instead of rolling against a stat), and it's assumed anyone with the skill is competent, and automatically succeeds (only roll if it's important to distinguish between a normal or superior success).