Let's Talk About THAC0
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  1. #1
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    Let's Talk About THAC0

    I feel like THAC0 gets a bad rap. It's the precursor to 3E's Base Attack Bonus, and came after 1E's attack matrices. It's actually super simple.

    The important thing to remember is that it's the exact same math, but in reverse.

    In 3E-5E, you roll d20 and add a bonus in order to beat the target's AC.

    In 1E-2E, you roll d20 in order to beat THAC0 minus AC.

    So instead of adding a number to your d20, you simply deduct a number from your THAC0. Same maths, just minus instead of plus.

    If your THAC0 is 15, and your target's AC is 2, you need to roll 13. It's that simple! (Remember, lower AC was better).

    I feel sorry for poor old THAC0. It has a bad reputation for being complex, when it's exactly as complex as the current method!
    Last edited by Morrus; Thursday, 6th June, 2019 at 06:01 PM.
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    yes. not sure there is anything to discuss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post

    I feel sorry for poor old THAC0. It has a bad reputation for being complex, when it's exactly as complex as the current method!
    The following observations are inarguable, as they are the result of maths and/or tables:

    1. THAC0 is clearly superior.

    2. However, it is only superior to the extent that it is derived from the ur-superior system, tables of attack matrices.

    3. Tables > everything else.

    4. In addition, armor classes should go down (lower IS better), in the way that God and Gygax intended.

    5. -10 is something to be eternally lusted after, is it not? Is there no place in modern Dungeons and Dragons for negative numbers?????? We must no longer cater to the tyranny of the innumerate.

    6. Finally, THAC0 is just fun to say. SAY IT! SAY IT NOW!

    I rest by case, which is both indisputable, and indubitable.

    You're welcome.
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    A question for older players and/or english speaker:
    Do you ponounce THACO as ''tak-zero'' or ''tako''? Me players and myself are all under 30 (never used THACO in any games beyond BG1-2) and french speakers and I've seen both ways. So which is the right way (as Gygax and God intended, as someone would say :P )?

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    Quote Originally Posted by vincegetorix View Post
    A question for older players and/or english speaker:
    Do you ponounce THACO as ''tak-zero'' or ''tako''? Me players and myself are all under 30 (never used THACO in any games beyond BG1-2) and french speakers and I've seen both ways. So which is the right way (as Gygax and God intended, as someone would say :P )?
    The latter. The former sounds like too much work!

    Thackoh.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    I feel sorry for poor old THAC0. It has a bad reputation for being complex, when it's exactly as complex as the current method!
    About two years ago, a group of people at my FLGS got into a conversation about Dungeons and Dragons, and I brought up 2E, how I started, and the nostalgic feel of it. By the end of the evening, they had decided they wanted to try 2E with me. Two weeks later, I bring all my gloriously old books, help them spend hours on character creation with all my favorite options extra material.

    Next week, play begins, and we go over some introductory things - like you've mentioned, thac0 (negative armor class, and more). I ended up printing out the d20 sheets for them - 20 blocks labeled 1 - 20. After adjusting for thac0, in each block you write what AC your roll would hit. So we start playing - rolls hit the table, they compare to their little charts 'That'd hit AC -3!' and so forth.

    They never once complained of complexity, really dug the character customization and 'old magic' feel of the world. It probably didn't hurt we played with my old Faerun box set too, so even the world matched the system well. Ended up playing for about 6 months. Thac0 does get a bad rap, but there are some magic tricks to make it even simpler.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
    The latter. The former sounds like too much work!

    Thackoh.
    Ha, that was my understanding.

    Follow up question: Would ''THACO'' be a feminine or masculine word? Believe it or not, this as been the subject of many friendly debate at my table :P . For those who speak french, would it be ''le THACO'' or ''la THACO''? There's unfortunately no true neutral in french.

    Thanks for your time, this thread will help me assert my DM domination over my table :P

    As for the mechanic itself, once it is explained like this its indeed quite easy, I dont know why I thought it was way more obscure than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vincegetorix View Post
    Follow up question: Would ''THACO'' be a feminine or masculine word? Believe it or not, this as been the subject of many friendly debate at my table :P . For those who speak french, would it be ''le THACO'' or ''la THACO''? There's unfortunately no true neutral in french.
    I woudn't know. I'm not French. You decide!

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