[1e and OD&D] How did you handle Druids and Armor? Clerics and Edge Weapons?

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
So, a different thread about druids and metallic armor in 5e has repeatedly referenced the way Druids were in OD&D / 1e, and how there wasn't really a rule about classes and so on so forth.

Anyway, with the usual caveat of "Everyone played AD&D/OD&D" in a different way, I was looking to do a thread to see how people actually played OD&D and AD&D from 1976 - April 1985.*

So here's the questions to answer, along with my answers, in the following parts:

1. Could Druids wear metallic armor? If they did, what happened?


2. Could Clerics wield edged weapons? If they did, what happened?


3. Could Monks use flaming oil? If they did, what happened?


So, my answer to questions 1-3 is simple- no, they couldn't. There was no grand, epistemological debate ("what if a monk had to pretend to be an oil thrower"), this was just a feature of the class- asking these questions was the same as asking, "What if the Assassin wasn't evil," or "What if the Thief wants to wear plate?" or "What if Paladins weren't stupid and terrible?"

Because of that, there was no need to answer what happened if they did.


That said, I am curious as to what other people's experience were.

Note- this is descriptive only. If you want to argue about what the rules ARE, go to the other thread. I'm curious about actual play experiences prior to 1985.







*Why these dates? Because they are from the publication of Eldritch Wizardry (Druid Class) in OD&D through, but not including, the publication of Unearthed Arcana.
 
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JonnyP71

Explorer
1) No. It's not an option so don't even try. My players accepted the rules so they didn't.

2) No. It's not an option so don't even try. My players accepted the rules so they didn't.

3) No. It's not an option so don't even try. My players accepted the rules so they didn't.

I guess I've been lucky to mostly avoid the vile, insidious, lesser-spotted rules lawyer - it doesn't appear to have been common in these parts.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
My answer is pretty much the same as Jonny’s. Rules said you didn’t, so you didn’t. That simple. Extra incentive for clerics to follow the rules, because if they didn’t, they lost spell casting ability (as described in the PHB under spells).
 

mach1.9pants

Adventurer
Yeah we just accepted that was the physics of the game world. Especially wierd when multi class clerics can use edged weapons!

Nowadays I would change things up, in that these are religious restrictions that would curtail powers. And wouldn't bother with the burning oil monk restriction.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
1. Could Druids wear non-metallic armor? If they did, what happened?
Of course they could! Their choices were leather & wooden shields. If they did their AC improved. :)

The questions that we did have to answer concerning Druids & armor were for studded leather & padded. Especially padded.
We eventually decided upon yes to both of those. Though for padded armor it's only ever been a point of discussion as I've never seen a PC - of any sort - ever choose that option.

As for the metallic armors - chain, plate, etc? No. And the book told you why the class lacks that option. Pretty much the end of that discussion.
Except....

But what about for some RP purpose - like disguises?
Believe it or not, that type of question did come up. We ruled:
A) As per the description in the PHB it spoils with your magical powers - wich we decided meant virtually every class ability, not just your spell casting.
B) The best AC you'd get would be = to studded leather, maybe, & determined by the DM on a situational basis. And any magic properties wouldn't function. Yeah, you're wearing better armor. But you don't know how to use it effectively.
This wasn't meant to encourage wearing forbidden armors, it was in case we needed to know an AC is some misc circumstance while you were disguised etc
C) Metallic shields simply wouldn't work at all for you AC wise.


2. Could Clerics wield edged weapons? If they did, what happened?
In general, NO.
Sometimes though we'd change this up depending upon the deity chosen/campaign reasons.
Trying to use a forbidden weapon would result in failure. And you couldn't use any magical properties.
3. Could Monks use flaming oil? If they did, what happened?
No. Though I don't remember what if anything happened. But monks have always been rarely used, then or now, in our 1e games.
I suspect that back then we did as we do today - we look at that restriction on the chart, shrug, & go "OK, because...reasons." (and then pick a different class :))
So, my answer to questions 1-3 is simple- no, they couldn't. There was no grand, epistemological debate ("what if a monk had to pretend to be an oil thrower"), this was just a feature of the class- asking these questions was the same as asking, "What if the Assassin wasn't evil," or "What if the Thief wants to wear plate?" or "What if Paladins weren't stupid and terrible?"

Because of that, there was no need to answer what happened if they did.
Yeah, that pretty much describes our approach.
 

Fenris-77

Explorer
I said no, and they said ok. Or he said no and I said ok, depending on what side of the table i was on.

There wasn't really so much twisty optimizing going on back then though. You played a class and lived with the restrictions. Really, the only class whose restrictions got moneyed with was the Paladin, because, yeah, LG blech.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
I played a half-orc fighter/cleric that wielded a lucerne hammer because it was a hammer, right?
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
We played the rules as written (EDIT: or at least as we understood them), and didn't worry about it or try to justify loop-holes. So, no metal armor, no edged weapons, no flaming oil.
 
Yes, why wouldn't they? Leather, wooden shields... one unusual magic item was scalemail made of enchanted autumn leaves. But, like Glassteele or something, no.

Clerics, no, loss of spell-casting, IIRC, though it never came up. But, even back in 1e I'd customize priesthoods, so some could. A Priestess of Teema, for instance was only supposed to use light-bladed weapons.

...and WTF? It occurs to me that no one ever played a Monk in one of my games, so that odd proscription never came up.
 
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cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Monks couldn't use flaming oil in 1e? That seems a weird restriction. Why weren't they allowed to?
 

JonnyP71

Explorer
Monks couldn't use flaming oil in 1e? That seems a weird restriction. Why weren't they allowed to?
Because the rules said so. And that's all that mattered. And that's all that *should* matter.

A game system should not have to try to justify every little oddity in the rules.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Okay. Seems weird though.
Yeah, I don't know that I've ever seen the origin of that one; it's so weird and hyper-specific it has to come from somewhere. Maybe from an episode of Kung Fu in the 70s?
 

Ralif Redhammer

Adventurer
In my gaming group, clerics stuck to blunt weapons in the old days, maces and hammers. Pretty sure we considered morningstars to be verboten as well.

Only one person played a monk back then, and it was me. Being mostly the DM, I only got to 4th level or so with that character, so it’s not like it came up all that often. But I certainly don’t recall using flaming oil, nor missing out on it.

As for druids….well, no one in my gaming group back then ever played a druid. We were pretty young, so didn’t exactly grok true neutral. That and the whole having to fight another druid to gain your level at higher levels thing.
 

steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Anyway, with the usual caveat of "Everyone played AD&D/OD&D" in a different way, I was looking to do a thread to see how people actually played OD&D and AD&D from 1976 - April 1985.*

So here's the questions to answer, along with my answers, in the following parts:

1. Could Druids wear non-metallic armor? If they did, what happened?


In 1e could they wear non-metallic armor? They were rather required to wear non-metallic armor. Sooo, yeah. That's how we played. A druid wearing non-metal armor would have nothing "happen" to them. They're not supposed to wear metal armor.

Leather, hides. We permitted studded leather, though I don't recall if there were a specific 1e ruling (in a book) allowing or forbidding it. And, of course, though you had to kinda make these up for yourself, "natural" armors. e.g. Giant insect chittin that would be, like, a banded armor or maybe higher; Enchanted wood/bark plate armor; Dragon-scale scale mail, Bullette-plates plate mail, etc...

Now, if a druid did put on metal armor they would, effectively, be a guy in some metal armor with whatever weapon he'd have and that's it. No magic. No shapeshifting. No druidy druidness of any kind. i.e. That much metal would interfere with the druid's magic (just as it would interfere with the spellcasting of mages/MUs) so they would be unable to do anything noticeable as "a druid."
2. Could Clerics wield edged weapons? If they did, what happened?
Ohhhh no no no. Blunt "non-blood-letting" weapons only (though somehow a morningstar was always -and still- allowed). No blades. No bows/arrows/spears/piercing things. No no. No edged weapons for clerics. Nuh uh.

If they did they'd be in violation of their religious vows n' tenets n' their deity's directives...sooooo, buh-bye cleric magic. Buh-bye channeling. Bye spells. Get thee to a nunnery (or whatever religious organization to which you belong) and get some atonement slapped on ya. Probably go on a quest (difficulty depending on how egregious your offense was) and then be "forgiven" and reain your deity's grace to work their miraculous power.
3. Could Monks use flaming oil? If they did, what happened?
I don't believe I ever knew about this prohibition for Monks. But then, I cant think of ever playing in a game back then that ever had a monk in it..let alone play one myself. If it was in the class description that they couldn't use it, then we wouldn't use it. i don't understand/know from what source/reason that would be the case. But if it were there then we wouldn't have allowed it.

If they did...I dunno. They can throw a flask of holy water (and all thrown weapons) but not one of flaming oil...maybe you could story-it-up as it being a 'dishonorable" way of attacking and that...would throw the monk's spiritual purity/enlightenment/soul into inner turmoil -misalign his chakras, what have you- which would interfere with the effective practice of their abilities. So, again, atonement, meditation, maybe take a quest to regain your "honor'/realign your mind-body-soul to regain your abilities.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member

1. Could Druids wear metallic armor? If they did, what happened?
None tried it - we took it that this was a religious stricture, and doing so was roughly equivalent to a Paladin violating their alignment/code restrictions - they'd lose their powers, and have to find a way to atone. I think we assumed that clerics and druids who fell became fighters with d8s for hit points, which kinda sucked, so nobody risked it.

One exception was made: Old-style bards, who did the class-switching thing, could wear chain mail or lighter when they reached their druid-phase. I don't recall what the actual rule was on that, but this is how we played it.

2. Could Clerics wield edged weapons? If they did, what happened?


As above - blunt weapons only. At our table, some exception was made if the character was a fighter/cleric of a god of war or combat that had a signature weapon with an edge (like, say Garl Glittergold's axe), iirc.

3. Could Monks use flaming oil? If they did, what happened?
Much the same - this was viewed as a philosophical stricture, and violation would mean loss of powers to some degree. Nobody tried it.
 

Jer

Adventurer
I don't recall ever playing in a D&D game prior to 2nd edition AD&D that would let clerics wield edged weapons (and none of the groups I played with in that span had monks or druids in it, so the other two never came up). There were consistent grumblings that the rule against edged weapons made no sense, but mostly from folks who didn't play clerics anyway as I recall (I was almost always the cleric when I played instead of DM'd, and I always just felt that the restriction was just one of the things that came with the class - like spellcasting or turning undead).

I think it was just "how the game was played". I don't know if I'd call it a "sacred cow", but it was just one of those quirky D&D-isms that you rolled with. Like how magic-users had to memorize spells that would disappear from their brains when they cast them - another thing that there were consistent grumblings about, but that we all played along with because, well, that was how D&D worked. If you didn't want a game that worked like that, you'd try some different game.
 

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