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Author Topic: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition  (Read 1227 times)

World_Warrior

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Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« on: January 12, 2022, 07:15:51 PM »
So, I've been wanting to try out the first edition of AD&D. I have just a tiny bit of experience with basic D&D, and own a good bit of OSR products (just haven't had a chance to run anything yet).

One of my goals this year is to finally start running a campaign in my homebrew world.

What can everyone tell me about it? The good, the bad?

Any personal stories?

Dropbear

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2022, 07:47:30 PM »
IE was where I as a DM learned that Cavaliers and Barbarians can take a really long time to duke it out, if they become so inclined…

A minor disagreement between Sir Nameless the Cavalier and Beregrond Dunglung the Barbarian (two of the PCs in my group) led to blows while they camped at the edge of a marsh, awaiting a friend to return with some hirelings to assist in raiding a nearby ruined keep. Sir Nameless instigated the combat by flicking a dagger at Beregrond’s pet pig, Mortis, who was chained to the leg of his owner. Sir Nameless got a nat 20 and max damage, skewering poor Mortis through the eye and brain.

For an hour of real-time they fought, nary a blow landing with their furious flurries of dice rolling for multiple attacks. I was rolling in laughter, narrating axe blades glancing off of field plate armor and narrow misses from long swords as Beregrond dodged resembling nothing less than the sinuous grace of a stalking panther.  I was running out of descriptive terms for “you missed… again” when Beregrond’s player initiated a brilliant strategy.

Beregrond tripped Sir Nameless, and while the Cavalier floundered around trying to rise to his feet (failed Str checks), Beregrond tied up the hapless Cavalier with a rope. The Barbarian rested until the hirelings arrived, after disarming and stripping the Cavalier and dining on his horse, and left Sir Nameless tied up naked in the swamp, still dragging the body of his favorite dead pig Mortis behind him to explore the dungeon I had created for the group that night.

Vidgrip

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2022, 07:54:28 PM »
Keep in mind that when people say that they play(ed) 1e, many were skipping some of the crunchier mechanics that 1e added to the game. None of the groups I played with used the more complex initiative system, or weapon vs AC modifiers, and I can't remember what else we skipped, but it was basically a blend of OD&D and the new parts we liked from 1e. We considered that "playing AD&D 1e". My impression is that was the norm for people coming from OD&D or Basic. Today, some play it RAW, which would be a somewhat crunchier game. All that being said ... it's great, you'll love it!
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Eric Diaz

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2022, 07:55:04 PM »
I have no actual experience, only reading the books, this is the expression that I get:

- PHB is needlessly complicated (awesome cover though). Even fans (and Gygax) would ignore many rules.
- The MM is decent, but I prefer 2e.
- The DMG is probably the best ever. Lots of valuable advice for any D&D.

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Ratman_tf

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2022, 07:55:41 PM »
Probably my least favorite edition. It's very stuffy, with lots of Gygaxian language, lots of rules and restrictions, and IMO the worst set of attribute mods.
I played quite a bit of it, but never looked back after switching to 2nd edition.

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World_Warrior

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2022, 08:08:10 PM »
Just from reading through it, I do find it to have more of a "toolbox" feel to the rules, something I like about it. And I do have to say that the DMG is the best I have ever read of all the editions.

One thing I wonder, is why the Ranger receives both Magic-User spells and Druid spells.

Because I only own the reprints from 10 years ago, I'd rather not damage them and will either get some cheap prints made, or just use OSRIC for actual play.

Dropbear

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2022, 08:11:18 PM »
1E was where I as a player learned not to entrust the care of unconscious characters to Barbarians.

The group was as follows:

  • Quick, a halfling thief (me)
  • Woody, a half-elf druid
  • Mask, a human barbarian

Mind you, Mask was a very special case. The player was a noob, and just wanted to fight. So the GM let him have a Str, Dex, and Con of 18 if he would agree to an Int, Wis, and Cha of 3. He did. And we were also using Comeliness at the time; his ended up being -5. So Mask took to wearing a mask so he wouldn’t frighten the villagers of his homeland - or people of any land he passed through in his journeys - with a glance at his horrifically scarred face.

Our first encounter on the road was with goblins, and Quick was laid low. Negative 8 HP. The Druid was out of spells. So he bound my unconscious thief’s wounds and entrusted the injured halfling to the care of Mask. The group traveled on, seeking a town to rest in and heal up.

Some hours of travel later, a passing farmer listened to our tale of woe. He asked what direction the goblins were in. Mask lifted his arm to point the direction.

The DM chose to note that the arm Mask raised to point was the same one he had been carrying the limp form of Quick beneath. He also noted to the group’s amusement that the bundled form of the halfling was still stuck in the barbarian’s armpit as Mask raised his arm to point the direction of the goblins to the farmer.

World_Warrior

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2022, 08:13:19 PM »
IE was where I as a DM learned that Cavaliers and Barbarians can take a really long time to duke it out, if they become so inclined…

A minor disagreement between Sir Nameless the Cavalier and Beregrond Dunglung the Barbarian (two of the PCs in my group) led to blows while they camped at the edge of a marsh, awaiting a friend to return with some hirelings to assist in raiding a nearby ruined keep. Sir Nameless instigated the combat by flicking a dagger at Beregrond’s pet pig, Mortis, who was chained to the leg of his owner. Sir Nameless got a nat 20 and max damage, skewering poor Mortis through the eye and brain.

For an hour of real-time they fought, nary a blow landing with their furious flurries of dice rolling for multiple attacks. I was rolling in laughter, narrating axe blades glancing off of field plate armor and narrow misses from long swords as Beregrond dodged resembling nothing less than the sinuous grace of a stalking panther.  I was running out of descriptive terms for “you missed… again” when Beregrond’s player initiated a brilliant strategy.

Beregrond tripped Sir Nameless, and while the Cavalier floundered around trying to rise to his feet (failed Str checks), Beregrond tied up the hapless Cavalier with a rope. The Barbarian rested until the hirelings arrived, after disarming and stripping the Cavalier and dining on his horse, and left Sir Nameless tied up naked in the swamp, still dragging the body of his favorite dead pig Mortis behind him to explore the dungeon I had created for the group that night.

Hahaha. That was pretty brutal, but something I could see a barbarian doing. What level were they?

Dropbear

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2022, 08:31:24 PM »
IE was where I as a DM learned that Cavaliers and Barbarians can take a really long time to duke it out, if they become so inclined…

A minor disagreement between Sir Nameless the Cavalier and Beregrond Dunglung the Barbarian (two of the PCs in my group) led to blows while they camped at the edge of a marsh, awaiting a friend to return with some hirelings to assist in raiding a nearby ruined keep. Sir Nameless instigated the combat by flicking a dagger at Beregrond’s pet pig, Mortis, who was chained to the leg of his owner. Sir Nameless got a nat 20 and max damage, skewering poor Mortis through the eye and brain.

For an hour of real-time they fought, nary a blow landing with their furious flurries of dice rolling for multiple attacks. I was rolling in laughter, narrating axe blades glancing off of field plate armor and narrow misses from long swords as Beregrond dodged resembling nothing less than the sinuous grace of a stalking panther.  I was running out of descriptive terms for “you missed… again” when Beregrond’s player initiated a brilliant strategy.

Beregrond tripped Sir Nameless, and while the Cavalier floundered around trying to rise to his feet (failed Str checks), Beregrond tied up the hapless Cavalier with a rope. The Barbarian rested until the hirelings arrived, after disarming and stripping the Cavalier and dining on his horse, and left Sir Nameless tied up naked in the swamp, still dragging the body of his favorite dead pig Mortis behind him to explore the dungeon I had created for the group that night.

Hahaha. That was pretty brutal, but something I could see a barbarian doing. What level were they?

Beregrond was 4th level and Sir Nameless was 5th level. The Barbarian soloed the rest of the dungeon after the third PC, the Cleric, got his skull crushed by an ogre. It was a few weeks before we played again. The same three players with a fourth added on, and Beregrond gained a Magic-User, a Cleric, and a Fighter/Thief on the trail towards becoming a Bard as his new companions.

They went through a modified War Rafts of Kron. The Magic-User got mad at some guy for some piddly reason and fireballed them. On a raft city, in the middle of the ocean. When the guards came for him, he threw down his pouch of gold to deter them from following. But since he’d set their boat city on fire, they were a little miffed, and ended up cutting him down.

Beregrond didn’t stop them.

jmarso

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2022, 08:46:52 PM »
1E was what I played all through high school. As others have said, we used what we wanted and ignored the rest. Back in those days we used simple initiative rules and everything was theater of the mind, so doubtless we played it far less crunchy than it was written, but it worked and we had a blast on weekends too numerous to count.

I have since found 2E to be favorable to 1E, but that's just my opinion.

Also, as others have said and I have to agree, the 1E DMG is probably the best D&D book ever published. Even if you aren't going to play 1E, it's a goldmine, and some of the stuff in there is probably useable no matter which edition you are playing.

Jam The MF

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2022, 09:01:34 PM »
1E AD&D has a certain atmosphere to it.  It's deadly.  Combat is serious business.

Lots of rules.

Running a game of OD&D, with the 1E Monster Manual and the expanded spell list of the 1E PHB; is my favorite iteration.
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3catcircus

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2022, 09:14:48 PM »
1e is going to be a shock to your system, but the strange idiosyncracies make it a lot more fun.

Race-based class restrictions.
Multi-classing, dual-classing, and then there's the bard.
Save or die spells.
Saving throws against attack types rather than attributes.

Many of the published adventures elicit a sense of wonder at strange artifacts, lost civilizations, and corrupted evil societies. Your goal isn't to be a hero - it's to survive, building your reputation and wealth so that at "name" level, you're ready to rule your own kingdom while jetting off across the planes.

Character creation is simple. Combat is quick and no battlemap is needed. Did I mention most of your xp comes from how much treasure you can haul out of the dungeon, so running from monsters or parleying with them is a wise decision.

thedungeondelver

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2022, 10:35:04 PM »
My entire YT channel is all about 1e AD&D although we're having a bit of a throwback right now talking about OD&D...wish you'd have popped up a few months ago!  There's whole livestreams on "How To Play" on my channel.  Maybe subscribe, check it out?

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David Johansen

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2022, 10:41:12 PM »
I like it for what it is but if you're not going to run it as is you're probably better off running something else.  The initiative system and weapon verses armour table are important to how the game plays.  Personally I'd have integrated the class attack tables with the weapon verses armour table to make it impossible to play without it but also removing an additional chart check.  If you really fill in all your stat bonuses, thieves abilities, and weapon verses armour modifiers.  It can take an hour to make a character.  But it's not really essential to do so.

The optional rules from supplements are a mixed bag.  I like cantrips, additional weapons, and the spell book system from Unearthed Arcana, the spells are a mixed bag and not always well balanced (lookin' at you Stone Skin) the Cavalier and Barbarian are weird and weapon specialization is too good unless you're playing with everything else in the UA.  I kinda like the UA method for generating humans, it's about time D&D gave humans something.  I'm not sure how I feel about the extended level limits for demihumans.  I'm not a huge fan of level limits but most races have unlimited progression in thief available and really, the limits just force them to branch out and expand their horizons rather than specializing on the other hand humans get exactly one benefit in this damn game and increasing the level limits erode it.

AD&D is half way to being a wargame and that's what I like about it.  I like the encounters with 200 orcs.  I like henchmen, hirelings, and followers.  I'm not really sold on a different set of modifiers for each pole arm.

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zend0g

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Re: Talk to me about AD&D 1st Edition
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2022, 12:41:13 AM »
Scrap the way too complicated morale system and use the one from B/X. Unarmed combat? Yeah don't go there.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2022, 12:45:08 AM by zend0g »
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