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5th level characters vs a purple worm

Because I was stuck home today, I decided to run the 1e version of the encounter as a deathmatch. I took the sample characters from Module A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords. That's listed as a level 4-7 module, so is slightly lower than what they would expect for this 5-7 module. Since there are 9 in there, I ditched the illusionist (illusion magic usually needs a lot of interpretation anyway). I let the characters pick up normal equipment (grabbed a few extra missile weapons, only one that got used was a short bow for the rogue) and redo spells (I swapped a bunch of 'light' spells for magic missile and bless, and swapped a cure disease for prayer). None of the characters use weapon specialization, which weakens them, but on the flip side some are 6th level instead of 5th. The slightly higher levels shouldn't be a problem, since this is supposedly such a deadly encounter that the 1e characters would be complete idiots who deserve a TPK for it.

I decided that the scenario is that the purple worm erupts from the ground scaring the party, and eats a camel each round until the party attacks. Once they do, it hits the character that did the most damage each round. Once it attacks a ranged character, that character has to switch to melee unless he wants to run and give the worm a free attack (I don't remember exactly how that worked in 1E). I even house ruled that it gets to use the stinger, even though RAW it doesn't. Both sides will fight until they die, unless the players leave no targets for the worm, in which case he leaves with the bodies. The fact that the party gets to attack first really should be a big deal, since the 1e experts believe this is a completely hopeless fight that they are fools for attempting. However, since I don't think it is, I arbitrarily grant that the worm cannot miss with both attacks in a round, if it rolls 2 misses then it gets a non-swallowing bite hit, and I'm also tracking both the 54 hp worm in the module and the 75 hp average worm.

Because I don't remember all of the segmented stuff, I'm just having the party do their thing in whatever order they want on their initiative. This is a slight advantage, but again this fight is supposed to be so lopsided they're idiots for attempting it, and I don't care to spend hours rediscovering 1e combat intricacies.

Initiative rolls: 4 for party, 5 for worm.
Round 1:
Worm eats a camel
Karraway (C6) casts Bless on party, Eljayess (F3C3) reverses bless on worm, Delgath (MU5) casts levitate on self, Kayen (4F, 4MU) casts shocking grasp

Elwita (F6) Ogre (F5) charge and melee
Freda (R4) fires 2x + 2 arrow, Blodgett (T5) fires 2x short bow

Freda: +2 dex, +2 arrow, +1 Bless, +6AC, THACO18 needs 7, hits twice for d6+2 each 11 total
Blogett: +3 dex +1 bless +6 AC THAC0 19 needs 9, hits x2 D6 each 4 total
Elwita +2 charge +1 STR, +2 War Hammer, +1 Bless, THAC0 16 needs 10 misses
Ogre +2 Charge +2 STR +1 Long Sword, +1 bless THAC0 16 needs 10 misses
Kayen: Forgot touch attack rules, rolled 16 which would hit regular AC, d8+4 dam 9 total

Worm damage: 24
Bless/rev: 1/6 rounds +1/-1 To hit

Round 2:

Round 2:
Worm attacks Freda: -1 Bless THAC0 8 AC -1 (Chain +3 and dex) Needs 10 Misses bite and tail. Arbitrary rule: Bite hits normally for 17/40 Damage
Party: Karraway casts Prayer, Delgath casts slow, Blodgett fires 2x short bow rest melee
Delgay: Worm save is base 7, -1 prayer made save
Blogett: +3 Dex +2 spells +6 AC THAC0 19 needs 8 2x hit for 2d6 6 points
Elwita: +1 STR +2 Spells +2 War hammer, +6 AC THAC0 16 needs 5 hits for d4+1+3 for 7
Ogre: +2 STR +2 spells +1 Long sword +6 AC THAC0 16 needs 5 hits for D8+4 for 9
Freda: +2 spells +6 AC THAC0 18 needs 10 misses
Eljayess: +2 spells Spear +1 +6 AC THAC0 18 needs 9 misses
Kayen: +2 spells +1 Long Sword +6 AC THAc0 18 needs 9 misses

Bless/rev: 2/6 rounds +1/-1 To hit
Prayer : 1/6 rounds +1/-1 to hit and saves

Worm damage: 46

Round 3:
Worm Attacks Ogre -2 Spells AC1 THAC0 8 needs 9 - Swallows for 24/45 damage bite
Tail goes to Elwita -2 Spells AC1 THAC0 8 needs 9, hit 6/54 Save: 11base, +1 Prayer made save
Party:
Delgath: Fireball from wand of fire (2/4 charges)
Blogett 2x short bow, rest melee
Delgath: Fireball 6d6 1s count as 2s 19 damn, save v wand 6 -1 prayer 7 Makes for 10 dam
Blogett: 8 1x hit 1x crit 15 damage
Elwita: needs 5 hit 8 damage
Freda needs 10 misses
Eljayess needs 9 misses
Kayen: needs 9 misses
Ogre Needs 2 (Internal AC is 9) hits for D8+4 -1 (for being inside) = 8

Ogre 1/6 to die
Bless 3/6 +1/-1 to hit
Prayer 2/6 +1/-1 To hit and saves

Worm has now taken 77 damage. Enough to kill it in either in the weakened module encounter or at average HP. Party has taken damage and used some consumables, lost no members (and had a raise dead scroll if one did die). The mage didn't really even need to blow the fireballs and would have been better off magic missiling for 3d4+3 no save, but I was believing the 1e experts who said this was a hopeless fight so used all stops.

So I think my estimate of the difficulty of the 1e encounter was on target. 1e characters may not be as amazing as 5e characters, but dealing out 54/75 damage from a party of 8 is just not that hard to do. Even if the character had failed the poison save, they would have just been out the one scroll. People will obviously nitpick this six ways to Sunday, and will claim that my using characters from a popular 1e Tournament module is boosting them too much, but that's the internet.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I stated 1E rules, I didn't state 1982 1E rules. I'm not missing, people are attempting to set additional conditions then blame be for not fitting the additional conditions.
For a full 2/3 of the life of AD&D 1e, and when that module was written and played, specialization didn't exist. So it's fair to not use it. You might as well use the stat gen method in UA as well, and assume every PC will have an 18 in their top three stats since, UA is the same book when specialization became an official thing. But hey, I'll play your game. Spec still only applied to a couple PCs, and was only a +1 bonus to hit. Weapon Spec isn't going to make a noticeable difference in how much easier it is for 5e PCs to hit the same equivalent AC than a 1e PC would. My point still stands, your assumption by comparing how hard it was to hit ACs as being equal was wrong. We have a saying in the testing world: "Garbage in, garbage out." That is, if you start with bad data or bad math, the result will always be bad.

One thing I am more convinced than anything else is by your example of play is that you didn't really play it out. I am almost convinced you looked or heard some things about 1e, and are making incorrect assumptions. Because if you did play it out, you'd know that THAC0 didn't exist in 1e. It's a 2e thing. 1e used an attack matrix. The only reference to THAC0 was in the back of the DMG on the long monster list, but it was never a term used until it became a rule in 2e.

Secondly, your "actual play' doesn't make sense. Why would a purple worm go after a camel that is too big for it to swallow (8'x6' limit, camels are 6' by 10') Makes no sense. The worm would go after a target it would easily swallow. And just color me a bit dubious that the worm would go after the best AC target to bit, and the PC with the best saving throw vs poison, regardless of where those targets actually are in the field. In your example, the worm bypasses targets attacking it in melee to move over to a target that was at range?

There are other issues as well, but I'm convinced you didn't actually play it like it would have been played. In a typical game, playing the worm like it would normally react, it would have lept up and tried to swallow a party member right off the bat, not try for an animal it can't even swallow and let the party get a free round to prepare.


Nonsense...smh
 

ehren37

Villager
There are other issues as well, but I'm convinced you didn't actually play it like it would have been played. In a typical game, playing the worm like it would normally react, it would have lept up and tried to swallow a party member right off the bat, not try for an animal it can't even swallow and let the party get a free round to prepare.

Nonsense...smh
It's just got to angle the camel, like how you eat a taco!

Given that the DM determines how it reacts, target selection boils down to taste. It's a mindless animal, I find it reasonable for it to attack something similar to what it normally eats. If you want to metagame it to attack the magic user first, that's your call though.
 
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Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
It's just got to angle the camel, like how you eat a taco!

Given that the DM determines how it reacts, target selection boils down to taste. It's a mindless animal, I find it reasonable for it to attack something similar to what it normally eats. If you want to metagame it to attack the magic user first, that's your call though.
That's not what I"m saying at all. Might want to reread my post, because if that's what you think I said, you clearly didn't.

I'm saying it doesn't make sense for a purple worm to sneak attack and keep going after a creature too big for it to swallow when there are plenty of smaller bite sized portions right there. And it makes no sense for it to completely ignore the softer targets right there in front of it in order to go after a metal heavily armed target far away. And just so happened to make it's poison attack against the PC with the best ST? That scenario couldn't have been played worse to set up the PW for failure than it was described. Reminds me of CapnZapp's actual play session a while ago when he played the bad guys in the worst way possible to set them up for failure. So yeah, technically it's taste. But if you as the DM have the "taste" to neuter your monsters to be the most worthless, then don't complain or make assumptions about a particular edition plays when it's clearly not played like that by most.

In fact, the OP's other thread complaining about how magic makes suffering moot also reminds me of Capnzapp when he was complaining about how ToA jungle rules were all worthless because magic overrides everything.

Hmm...brand new account, posting same arguments....hmmm... (I'm kidding of course, but now that I think about it, it is an odd coincidence lol)
 
One thing I am more convinced than anything else is by your example of play is that you didn't really play it out. I am almost convinced you looked or heard some things about 1e, and are making incorrect assumptions. Because if you did play it out, you'd know that THAC0 didn't exist in 1e. It's a 2e thing. 1e used an attack matrix. The only reference to THAC0 was in the back of the DMG on the long monster list, but it was never a term used until it became a rule in 2e.
This is just hilarious. As you pointed out, "To Hit A.C. 0" actually originated on P196 of the 1st edition DMG in Appendex E: "Alphabetical Recapitulation of Monsters (With Experience Point Values)", it was not created in 2nd edition. People with mild intelligence realized that, other than the '6 20s' part of the chart and above, recording "To Hit A.C. 0" and adding the AC produced the exact same result as looking up the result on the table, but without the time sink of locating or copying the table, then looking up a value. And yes, AD&D players really did abbreviate "To Hit A.C. 0" to THAC0 before 2nd edition came out. You're asserting that I must not have played 1e because I used a shortcut commonly used when playing 1E, and then that since I used a shortcut that produces the same result as the table lookup, I must not have played out the fight.

Secondly, your "actual play' doesn't make sense. Why would a purple worm go after a camel that is too big for it to swallow (8'x6' limit, camels are 6' by 10') Makes no sense. The worm would go after a target it would easily swallow. And just color me a bit dubious that the worm would go after the best AC target to bit, and the PC with the best saving throw vs poison, regardless of where those targets actually are in the field. In your example, the worm bypasses targets attacking it in melee to move over to a target that was at range?
The criticism that I didn't look up the size of a camel is pretty bizarre; I was actually just following the suggestion from earlier in the thread of having the worm attack the party's mounts. But it's also factually incorrect criticizm, as the worm most certainly can swallow a camel. The worm can swallow creatures up to 8' tall and 6' wide, with no limit on the length. Camels are roughly 6' high and narrower than they are tall, so are quite easily swallowable by a 1e purple worm, even though I didn't actually check. So I don't think it's actually unreasonable for the worm to go after mounts at the start of the attack, as they are tasty morsels that don't injure it and that it can easily swallow.

As far as targeting, it's really simple: the rules I set for the worm's attacks were that it would first attack whoever did the most damage to it on the previous round, unless that person wasn't a valid target (swallowed or levitating), in which case it would attack the one who did the second most damage (then third, etc.). I expected that it would result in the worm trying to kill the party members that hurt it worst and force the ranged attackers into melee instead of letting them sit at their preferred range, while not requiring any abjudication from me once the fight started. This seems to me a perfectly reasonable set of behaviors for an INT 1 animal. The fact that person in the first round who did the most damage was at range was just a result of the die rolls, it's not unreasonable that the worm bypassed people who were missing it to try to kill the person who hurt it the most.

Also note that if I ran it the other way, you'd probably claim that I ran the worm badly by having it ignore the more damaging attackers and that if I ran it as I should, I wouldn't just let them make their optimal attacks without retaliation or the risk of getting stuck in melee.

There are other issues as well, but I'm convinced you didn't actually play it like it would have been played. In a typical game, playing the worm like it would normally react, it would have lept up and tried to swallow a party member right off the bat, not try for an animal it can't even swallow and let the party get a free round to prepare.
It's funny that people were telling me that I was a fool for thinking that a party of characters in the 1E module even stood a chance at fighting the worm. One person stated that his party would run immediately upon seeing a worm, another that if a party didn't run they deserve a TPK to teach them a lesson, and others sneered at me for daring to believe that the encounter was anything less than horribly deadly. You personally accused me of not having actually played 1e for thinking the PCs would even have a chance of taking down the worm. And now that I did run a fight where the 'facing a TPK' players got a chance to cast buff spells, then get the first attack against the worm, I'm making it too easy on the worm, and should have given it a round of surprise attacks on the players and assumed they were all unmounted.

First the players were fools if they didn't run IMMEDIATELY for safety upon seeing the worm because in 1E it was so mind-bogglingly scary, and that the way to run it is to just have the worm attack some of the non-PC stuff in the party. Now if the PC get the jump on the worm it's a completely lopsided encounter that of course they would win, and is completely unfair to the worm, and of course it's going to lose if it doesn't get surprise on the party. I think it's pretty telling that when some actual numbers hit the thread, the worm dropped from an iconic, nigh-unbeatable force of nature to such a fragile beast that it can't win without surprise.
 
And it makes no sense for it to completely ignore the softer targets right there in front of it in order to go after a metal heavily armed target far away. And just so happened to make it's poison attack against the PC with the best ST? That scenario couldn't have been played worse to set up the PW for failure than it was described. Reminds me of CapnZapp's actual play session a while ago when he played the bad guys in the worst way possible to set them up for failure. So yeah, technically it's taste. But if you as the DM have the "taste" to neuter your monsters to be the most worthless, then don't complain or make assumptions about a particular edition plays when it's clearly not played like that by most.
This is an utterly bizarre and absolutely incorrect criticism of the fight. First of all, it's flat out verifiably factually incorrect. Elwita the 6F absolutely did not have the best saving throw at 11. Karraway the 6C actually had the best poison save at 9, and Eljayess the 3C/3F also beat her 10. Ogre F5 tied her poison save at 11, while Blodgett T5 had a 12, Freda R4 and Kayen F4/M4 had a 13. Delgath M5 hits the the bottom at 14, but was out of melee range. She was actually right in the middle of the pack for her save number, and we're only talking about a +2/-2 spread, not a huge gap. The argument that the fight was fixed by having the worm attack the person with the best save doesn't work when the person with the best save was never attacked in the first place!

Further, I didn't directly pick targets for the worm as I detailed in my previous post. I set the worm to attack whoever had hurt it worst, and I think that's reasonable 'taste' for an INT 1 animal's targeting. The criticisms of target selection also ring rather hollow when they contradict each other. In your previous post you claimed I was rigging the fight against the worm by having the worm ignore the (non-hitting) melee attackers to attack the most damaging character - who also happens to have the worst saving throw against poison of anyone on the ground. But here you criticize me for (allegedly) picking the person with the best saving throw as the target for the stinger. You can always make up some argument why whatever target was picked in a given round is wrong, but it gets silly when you switch it up and in one round argue that I'm clearly running the fight badly for NOT attacking the characters with the (allegedly) best saving throw against poison, and then in another that I'm biased FOR attacking the characters the characters with the (allegedly) best saving throw.

Finally, if Elwita had failed her 50-50 save, the party would still have won the encounter as written in round 3, as her 8 damage wasn't needed to kill it. If the worm was average HP instead of module HP, the party would have suffered one more round of attacks from the worm, then needed to do 8 damage in round 4 to finish it off, which was essentially guaranteed since the Delgath alone would do an unsaveable 3d4+3 with magic missile and ogre only needed to hit AC9 since he was inside. Even if it managed to swallow one character and poison another in that final round, the party would still survive with two dead party members and an available scroll of raise dead, nothing near the automatic TPK predicted originally.

In fact, the OP's other thread complaining about how magic makes suffering moot also reminds me of Capnzapp when he was complaining about how ToA jungle rules were all worthless because magic overrides everything.
I have a thread prompted by a comment in this thread about how losing water supplies isn't a very big deal to D&D characters, but to word that as 'magic makes suffering moot' is more than a bit of a stretch. And deciding that I must be some guy you argued with in the past is... yeah.
 

ModernApathy

Explorer
I'm looking at the single modules and their conversion, as that is what I had. The compilation module probably does have a different encounter table, but the text box I quoted is in the version I referenced.
My main reason I posted the 1E stuff was for comparison purposes, as it was not on a random roll table in the original.
I thought this point was actually aiding your argument that the 5E encounter is more dangerous the way it is in the module, (given it can come up as written in 5E but is only there to be added at the DM’s desire in 1E, regardless of stats)

I’m not really sure why you ran your theoretical death-match with 1E rules, wouldn’t it have made more sense to run it in 5E, with 5th level characters if this is what you’re worried about and planning?

Also I don’t think this list of characters is an average level 5 party in any edition…

Karraway level 6
Eljayess level 6
Delgath level 5
Kayen level 8
Elwita level 6
Ogre level 5
Freda level 4
Blodgett level 5
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
This is just hilarious. As you pointed out, "To Hit A.C. 0" actually originated on P196 of the 1st edition DMG in Appendex E: "Alphabetical Recapitulation of Monsters (With Experience Point Values)", it was not created in 2nd edition. People with mild intelligence realized that, other than the '6 20s' part of the chart and above, recording "To Hit A.C. 0" and adding the AC produced the exact same result as looking up the result on the table, but without the time sink of locating or copying the table, then looking up a value. And yes, AD&D players really did abbreviate "To Hit A.C. 0" to THAC0 before 2nd edition came out. You're asserting that I must not have played 1e because I used a shortcut commonly used when playing 1E, and then that since I used a shortcut that produces the same result as the table lookup, I must not have played out the fight.
Every time you post, you display how you really do not in fact, know the rules of the game you keep saying you do. No, people did not refer to "THAC0" in 1e. I wasn't even called that, but spelled out in the only place it appeared in 1e (the DMG appendix). It didn't become a thing until 2e when it was an official way of calculating to hit. Why? Because it's NOT the same as the attack table. Unlike THAC0, which was a moving scale from AC10 to -10 in 1 integer increments, the 1e attack matrix did not follow that. Because if you were familar with 1e, then you'd know that once you hit a 20 needed, it stayed the same for several AC values beyond. For example, a 5th level cleric needed a 20 to hit AC1. Not a 21 to hit AC0 like you would when THAC0 became a thing (AC0 being 1 value harder to hit than AC1). Instead, that cleric needed a 20 to hit every AC from 1 to -4, then a 21 to -5, a 22 to hit -6, and so on.

The way you've posted about 1e rules makes me think you don't have the first clue about how 1e was actually played. Not just with this example, but all of the others as well (like not knowing how a 1e purple worm's abilities work, or how attack bonuses compare to 5e, and I didn't even mention how you're using NPCs for a tournament module, which are always significantly more powerful than a typical player PC because they were designed to be used in a scoring system).

The fact you think an animal, when being attacked by opponents all around it, will instead ignore those attackers and go after one that's far away, regardless of damage, tells me you don't have the first clue about how animals act.

Your posts and replies here tell me that you also had no intention of actually having a discussion, but will act with disdain to anyone who doesn't agree with you, as lowkey13 and others have already pointed out.

So shine on. I'm not going to waste my time
 
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My main reason I posted the 1E stuff was for comparison purposes, as it was not on a random roll table in the original.

It most certainly was on a random roll table in the original module. It isn't in the compilation version that you have, but that is a later version of the module which combined three single modules and made significant changes from the original.

I’m not really sure why you ran your theoretical death-match with 1E rules, wouldn’t it have made more sense to run it in 5E, with 5th level characters if this is what you’re worried about and planning?
Because people were sneering at me for stating that it was anything but an assured TPK in 1E, that the purple worm was an iconic big bad monster and that I probably hadn't actually ever played if I thought that a 1E party at the module's level could do anything but run away ASAP; one guy even bragged about how quickly his characters would flee from a purple worm. Running the 5e fight would be pointless since everyone agrees that fight is lopsided.

Also I don’t think this list of characters is an average level 5 party in any edition…
Good thing I explicitly said that it was a level 4-7 party from a module written for those levels, which is lower than what this module is rated for, and never stated that it was an average level 5 parry, isn't it? I wasn't interested enough in the scenario to spend the time to rework the characters, none of the character's extra level made a difference in the fight (5-6 has the same fighter THAC0 and saves, no one was up only by the difference in HP between 5 and 6, the level 6 caster had one useless third level spell), and boosting the ranger to 5 from 4 would have actually increased her effectiveness.

Also there is no level 8 character. 1e doesn't add multiclass levels like that, you split XP between the two classes. A 4/4 F/M has the XP to be a 5th level single classed character of either, so is normally regarded as a 5th level character in level comparisons.
 
Every time you post, you display how you really do not in fact, know the rules of the game you keep saying you do. No, people did not refer to "THAC0" in 1e. I wasn't even called that, but spelled out in the only place it appeared in 1e (the DMG appendix). It didn't become a thing until 2e when it was an official way of calculating to hit.
Yes, people did - I experienced it and called it that myself. And people certainly used the term when playing 1st edition AD&D after the 2nd edition books came out. And 1E and 2E have coexisted for longer than 1E was out without 2E. And just in general, the 'logic' that I must not have actually played 1e since in 2018 I used a term you believe originated in 1989 when discussing the game is... fascinating.

People with mild intelligence realized that, other than the '6 20s' part of the chart and above, recording "To Hit A.C. 0" and adding the AC produced the exact same result as looking up the result on the table, but without the time sink of locating or copying the table, then looking up a value.
Why? Because it's NOT the same as the attack table. Unlike THAC0, which was a moving scale from AC10 to -10 in 1 integer increments, the 1e attack matrix did not follow that. Because if you were familar with 1e, then you'd know that once you hit a 20 needed, it stayed the same for several AC values beyond. For example, a 5th level cleric needed a 20 to hit AC1. Not a 21 to hit AC0 like you would when THAC0 became a thing (AC0 being 1 value harder to hit than AC1). Instead, that cleric needed a 20 to hit every AC from 1 to -4, then a 21 to -5, a 22 to hit -6, and so on.
As I said, people with mild intelligence realized that the hit tables did follow a simple progression other than at and above the '6 20s' point, which is the part you're talking about here. And as I said, all of the THAC0 calculations in my example fight produce exactly the same results as lookups for the fight; there were no level 5 clerics involved. Maybe you didn't play with people who figured out that shortcut, or with people who played 1E games after 2E came out and really popularized the term, but it was used. The fact that the term is written in the 1e DMG really settles the issue.

The way you've posted about 1e rules makes me think you don't have the first clue about how 1e was actually played. Not just with this example, but all of the others as well (like not knowing how a 1e purple worm's abilities work,
I have not gotten any of the 1e purple worm's abilities wrong in this thread. If I have one wrong, cite specifically what it is. OTOH you got the swallowing rules completely wrong, and changed what dimensions they apply to.

or how attack bonuses compare to 5e, and I didn't even mention how you're using NPCs for a tournament module, which are always significantly more powerful than a typical player PC because they were designed to be used in a scoring system).
I want a reputable, documented cite for that claim about the power level of a 'typical player PC'. I am not aware of any general survey of 1E players that would support your claim for the typical power level of a player PC - Monty Haul DMs who handed out magic items by the bag of holding certainly existed, as did people who handed out 18 stats or used Ability Score method in UA. The campaigns you played in may have been at some particular power level, but there is nothing that supports your claim that your experience was universal. I suspect that the 10 year olds flinging Mjolnir at orcs would have thrown off the curve a bit if there was such a survey taken.

The fact you think an animal, when being attacked by opponents all around it, will instead ignore those attackers and go after one that's far away, regardless of damage, tells me you don't have the first clue about how animals act.
The fact that you complained both that I had the monster attack the opponent with the worst save against its attack AND in another round the opponent that you incorrectly believed had the best save tells me quite a lot too.

Your posts and replies here tell me that you also had no intention of actually having a discussion, but will act with disdain to anyone who doesn't agree with you, as lowkey13 and others have already pointed out.
If you consider "will cite actual rules and actual numbers in support of my position" as "acting with disdain," then I am proud to "act with disdain" in discussions. I'm not sorry that the facts repeatedly fail to support your position, nor am I going to apologize for pointing out that someone disdainfully telling me I'm wrong is the one who is actually wrong.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Not only are you wrong again, you’re lying on top of it to boot. That’s certainly impressive. You couldn’t have used a term before the term was even coined. Sorry. Lots of people played 2e, used that term, and think they used it the whole time when they couldn’t have because it didn’t exist.

And they didn’t coexist any more than 1e and 4e coexisted. People kept playing 1e when it came out, but that doesn’t mean they were officially supported together for that whole time. Like I said, every time you post you display an ignorance of 1e. Now not only with rules, but with timelines as well.

And I find it laughable that you actually looked at those NPCs and think those are typical 1e PCs that anyone would have. Now I’m utterly convinced you never played 1e back in the day. Tournament modules were created for scoring purposes, to see how far each table progressed. The NPCs the players used were significantly more powerful than typical PCs not in a tournament for that reason. It was pretty common knowledge at the time. 5th level PCs didn’t have +3 suits or armor, and half their stats over 15 with an 18 in almost every single party member. Look at the star gen methods, and learn how math works. There’s your proof. And look at the adventures PCs took to get them up to level 5, and how many of them had +3 items strewn about? Or am I to assume by your most recent comment when you made your false claim to start this thread about how easy 1e was compared to 5e, you assumed the context was that everyone used the stat gen method in UA and played Monty haul? That’s not how how the vast majority of players played the game, and if you assume that, then you should have called it out right off the bat instead of making a blanket statement.

You aren’t citing actual rules. You’re making gross inaccurate assumptions, and massively shifting the goalposts when exposed. First it was “THAC0 was the exact same as the tables” and now it’s “well, anyone halfway intelligent knows...”

Give it a rest. I’m not buying it.
 

ModernApathy

Explorer
It most certainly was on a random roll table in the original module. It isn't in the compilation version that you have, but that is a later version of the module which combined three single modules and made significant changes from the original.



Because people were sneering at me for stating that it was anything but an assured TPK in 1E, that the purple worm was an iconic big bad monster and that I probably hadn't actually ever played if I thought that a 1E party at the module's level could do anything but run away ASAP; one guy even bragged about how quickly his characters would flee from a purple worm. Running the 5e fight would be pointless since everyone agrees that fight is lopsided.



Good thing I explicitly said that it was a level 4-7 party from a module written for those levels, which is lower than what this module is rated for, and never stated that it was an average level 5 parry, isn't it? I wasn't interested enough in the scenario to spend the time to rework the characters, none of the character's extra level made a difference in the fight (5-6 has the same fighter THAC0 and saves, no one was up only by the difference in HP between 5 and 6, the level 6 caster had one useless third level spell), and boosting the ranger to 5 from 4 would have actually increased her effectiveness.

Also there is no level 8 character. 1e doesn't add multiclass levels like that, you split XP between the two classes. A 4/4 F/M has the XP to be a 5th level single classed character of either, so is normally regarded as a 5th level character in level comparisons.
Apologies for quoting the combined module references, I didn't realise it was a reissue/revised combined version, so really the 5E conversion was pretty accurate then by the sound of things.

Also apologies for the 8th level character thing, I've never played 1E.
And I'm not sure where I got the 5th level party average from, so sorry about that, for some reason I thought this was an important part of the argument.

It still seems like you ran an encounter designed for you to prove your point. I mean, you used suggestions people offered here to make the 5E encounter easier as a way to prove that the 1E version wasn't that hard.
 

ModernApathy

Explorer
Good thing I explicitly said that it was a level 4-7 party from a module written for those levels, which is lower than what this module is rated for, and never stated that it was an average level 5 parry, isn't it?

I worked out why I thought you were talking about a 5th level party, the title of the thread is 5th level characters vs purple worm
 
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Stalker0

Adventurer
Not only are you wrong again, you’re lying on top of it to boot. That’s certainly impressive. You couldn’t have used a term before the term was even coined. Sorry. Lots of people played 2e, used that term, and think they used it the whole time when they couldn’t have because it didn’t exist.

And they didn’t coexist any more than 1e and 4e coexisted. People kept playing 1e when it came out, but that doesn’t mean they were officially supported together for that whole time. Like I said, every time you post you display an ignorance of 1e. Now not only with rules, but with timelines as well.

And I find it laughable that you actually looked at those NPCs and think those are typical 1e PCs that anyone would have. Now I’m utterly convinced you never played 1e back in the day. Tournament modules were created for scoring purposes, to see how far each table progressed. The NPCs the players used were significantly more powerful than typical PCs not in a tournament for that reason. It was pretty common knowledge at the time. 5th level PCs didn’t have +3 suits or armor, and half their stats over 15 with an 18 in almost every single party member. Look at the star gen methods, and learn how math works. There’s your proof. And look at the adventures PCs took to get them up to level 5, and how many of them had +3 items strewn about? Or am I to assume by your most recent comment when you made your false claim to start this thread about how easy 1e was compared to 5e, you assumed the context was that everyone used the stat gen method in UA and played Monty haul? That’s not how how the vast majority of players played the game, and if you assume that, then you should have called it out right off the bat instead of making a blanket statement.

You aren’t citing actual rules. You’re making gross inaccurate assumptions, and massively shifting the goalposts when exposed. First it was “THAC0 was the exact same as the tables” and now it’s “well, anyone halfway intelligent knows...”

Give it a rest. I’m not buying it.
Get off your damn high horse already. While everyone is sitting here theorycrafting and armchair quarterbacking, OverlordOcelot actually made an attempt to collect real data about the situation. That is a hell of a lot more than anyone else in this thread can claim.

Now you want to argue some of the facts of the analysis, feel free, but lets turn off the damn sneer.
 

Sadras

Explorer
Whether @OverlordOcelot collected real data or not appears to remain very much in dispute, but one thing we can all agree on is that his post was the final purple worm that broke the camel's back.


Aaaand with that I'm done.
 
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Paul Farquhar

Explorer
I remember reading Pharaoh when it first came out, and feeling it was a lot more sophisticated than the modules I had seen previously. I'm pretty sure the Purple Worm had always been on the random encounter table. I'm also certain that the intention was never that the party engage it in a fight to the death. It would be inconsistent with the writing of the rest of the module to suddenly revert to a juvenile approach with random encounters.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Get off your damn high horse already. While everyone is sitting here theorycrafting and armchair quarterbacking, OverlordOcelot actually made an attempt to collect real data about the situation. That is a hell of a lot more than anyone else in this thread can claim.

Now you want to argue some of the facts of the analysis, feel free, but lets turn off the damn sneer.
He didn't make any such attempt. He made a claim about how 1e was much easier, and when several people pointed out actual factual evidence of how the rules work in 1e, his response was to be completely dismissive right out of the gate:

"I am pretty sure that the people saying it's easier in 5e than 1e haven't actually looked at the stats and are just going off of some '1e = hard, 5e = easy' idea. "

And then follow it up with more assumptions about 1e that were not accurate or true. There's a reason why more than one person outside of myself early on immediately got the impression that he wasn't looking for any discussion, but just wanted to argue, using wrong info as the basis of his arguments.

So maybe it's you who needs to get of your high horse and reread the thread again.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
Now you want to argue some of the facts of the analysis, feel free, but lets turn off the damn sneer.
I had to take a break from this, but I understand exactly where @Sacrosanct is coming from. Allow me to explain in several ways.

First, that whole 1e/2e thing. Sure, it seems small and petty. And in many ways, it is! But it makes a big difference in play and in an approach to the game. For lack of a better way of putting it, it's like someone making comments about ODD from a BECMI (not just B/X) perspective; yes, a lot of things are the same, or similar, and feel compatible- and most things are compatible! But those small differences, man. And if someone has played 1e almost exclusively, there's that subtle difference- and you know it. You don't make comments like the ones made by the OP. Now, don't get me wrong; ask 5 1e players about something, and you'll get 6 different views. But there's also a shared feel, a shared conversation. A conversation about 1e tends to go something along the lines of, "Man, coming back from the dead was hard." "Yeah, and we used the system shock and con rules." "Yeah, well we made sure that elves couldn't come back, because of spirits." "Well, what about the rod of resurrection?" "...oh yeah!" And then something something Gygax. It's a community of people shaped by obtuse rules, DIY, and differing play experiences, and aware of that. That's something completely missing from the OP. Did he play 1e? Maybe, maybe not. But it wasn't his thing ... maybe 2e was.*

Anyway, that gets to the whole argumentative issue. Normally, when someone posts a question and gets a lot of helpful responses, the OP usually doesn't spend all of his time arguing with the people trying to help him! I mean, some might. But not people I'd like to chat with. As was noted, the OP just joined, I believe this is his first thread, and I wish him the best in the future because he has some good ideas- but man, that's not the way to come across, or pretty soon he'll be on everyone's ignore list. I thought this would be a fun thread (Desert of Desolation is one of my favorite series, I've probably run I3 more than any module other than, maybe Sinster Secret, and I've already run the conversion to 5e 4 times ... once for grognards and thee times for kids). Somehow, it isn't.

Now, moving to the exact example. There are multiple problems with it. As already noted, A3 is a tournament module, and those characters are not necessarily a great choice. Moreover, in order to properly compare it, you'd have to do the following- get eight (8!) characters that are roughly the same levels in 5e and run them, using approximately the same "to hit" rolls. I don't want to spoil the math behind large parties in 5e, but ... 8 characters of 5th level or higher, with magic items, is pretty formidable in 5e. And that's before you get to the whack-a-mole issue.

And that's where some of the grognards would see the real problem with the analysis. Because of variability (the white room theorycraft problem). It would be facile to say that there would be a difference between the party that has the proverbial "Arrow of Purple Worm Slaying" and the party of 4 5th level Druids. But the issue really is simple- how "hard" is the purple worm supposed to be in 1e terms? And the answer can be found, again, in the DMG.

It is a Type VIII/IX wandering monster (for comparison, a very old red dragon is VIII, an ancient one is IX). While these are rough categories, it gives you an idea of, generally, how difficult an encounter it *can* be. How difficult it *will* be varies, with three big variables-
1. Party size. This should go without saying, but apparently I'm wrong on that. The difference between a four person party and an eight person party isn't just 2x. Think on that for a while. As party size increases, while you have a solo monster, it gets so much easier ... not as much as in 5e, but still.

2. Party composition. Much moreso than in 5e, again. If you have a Monty Haul campaign, with a lot of magic items (or a bunch of +3 items for 5th level characters) it will be easier.

3. Luck. This is the huge one, and needs to be explained more. And that's what, fundamentally, the OP is missing. The difference between 1e and 5e in an encounter like this would be variability. For example- what happens if, in the first round, the Worm stings the main fighter, who fails a saving throw (dead) and bites a magic user to death? We talk about "only" a certain number of hit points for the 1e PW, and that's true- if there are a lot of PCs, and they aren't failing saves, or they get lucky, then they can win! That's kind of an important concept- encounters tend to be much more swingy, at higher levels, in 1e than they are in 5e ... and warrant a great deal more caution because of that.

But that's not how you would normally perform that type of calculus. Because ... there is a massive and fundamental difference about entering combat in 1e and 5e. Look back at the sample tournament party pulled by the OP. WHAT WAS THE HEALING? That's right. They had Cure light wounds (x4), and one scroll of cure serious, and one potion of healing.

Now, you're out in the desert. You don't have 5e's whack-a-mole combat. You don't have any method of raising the dead. You have very limited daily healing. And you don't have 5e's ability to heal with time (you get 1hp per day of rest, and you aren't resting in the desert).

So no sane party that actually played 1e and saw the Purple Worm would try on the encounter - not just because it COULD result in a TPK (depending on party composition) but because EVEN IF IT DIDN'T, IT WOULD LIKELY KILL ONE OR MORE PARTY MEMBERS AND DEVASTATE THEM FOR THE REST OF THE ADVENTURE. This is something so obvious it shouldn't need to be pointed out, which is why many of us were happy to suggest options for the OP if he wanted to avoid the encounter (because many of us had run this). That's a huge fundamental distinction in gaming styles; for the most part, unless there is a TPK, you're going to be okay in 5e. OTOH, in 1e, death matters. A great deal. And not just death- getting severely wounded, early in the adventure, also could matter! Remember that whole "clerics are a necessity" thing?

And yet, here we are. Anyway, just putting this out here. And OP- I truly hope you stop being so defensive and go back and read my very first response back to you. I truly love this module, and I love good conversations, and I hope you become a valued contributor here.


*Again, it's all the subtle tells. I really think the OP tried to run his combat fairly. But did you notice that he had the PCs roll double damage for "crits" (see Blodgett, round 3). That was an optional rule starting in, you got it, 2e. The DMG actually says, specifically, no to these sort of optional combat rules in High Gygaxian.
 
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Stalker0

Adventurer
I had to take a break from this, but I understand exactly where [MENTION=15700]Sacrosanct[/MENTION] is coming from. Allow me to explain in several ways.

First, that whole 1e/2e thing. Sure, it seems small and petty. And in many ways, it is! But it makes a big difference in play and in an approach to the game. For lack of a better way of putting it, it's like someone making comments about ODD from a BECMI (not just B/X) perspective; yes, a lot of things are the same, or similar, and feel compatible- and most things are compatible! But those small differences, man. And if someone has played 1e almost exclusively, there's that subtle difference- and you know it. You don't make comments like the ones made by the OP. Now, don't get me wrong; ask 5 1e players about something, and you'll get 6 different views. But there's also a shared feel, a shared conversation. A conversation about 1e tends to go something along the lines of, "Man, coming back from the dead was hard." "Yeah, and we used the system shock and con rules." "Yeah, well we made sure that elves couldn't come back, because of spirits." "Well, what about the rod of resurrection?" "...oh yeah!" And then something something Gygax. It's a community of people shaped by obtuse rules, DIY, and differing play experiences, and aware of that. That's something completely missing from the OP. Did he play 1e? Maybe, maybe not. But it wasn't his thing ... maybe 2e was.

Anyway, that gets to the whole argumentative issue. Normally, when someone posts a question and gets a lot of helpful responses, the OP usually doesn't spend all of his time arguing with the people trying to help him! I mean, some might. But not people I'd like to chat with. As was noted, the OP just joined, I believe this is his first thread, and I wish him the best in the future because he has some good ideas- but man, that's not the way to come across, or pretty soon he'll be on everyone's ignore list. I thought this would be a fun thread (Desert of Desolation is one of my favorite series, I've probably run I3 more than any module other than, maybe Sinster Secret, and I've already run the conversion to 5e 4 times ... once for grognards and thee times for kids). Somehow, it isn't.

Now, moving to the exact example. There are multiple problems with it. As already noted, A3 is a tournament module, and those characters are not necessarily a great choice. Moreover, in order to properly compare it, you'd have to do the following- get eight (8!) characters that are roughly the same levels in 5e and run them, using approximately the same "to hit" rolls. I don't want to spoil the math behind large parties in 5e, but ... 8 characters of 5th level or higher, with magic items, is pretty formidable in 5e. And that's before you get to the whack-a-mole issue.

And that's where some of the grognards would see the real problem with the analysis. Because of variability (the white room theorycraft problem). It would be facile to say that there would be a difference between the party that has the proverbial "Arrow of Purple Worm Slaying" and the party of 4 5th level Druids. But the issue really is simple- how "hard" is the purple worm supposed to be in 1e terms? And the answer can be found, again, in the DMG.

It is a Type VIII/IX monster (for comparison, a very old red dragon is VIII, an ancient one is IX). While these are rough categories, it gives you an idea of, generally, how difficult an encounter it *can* be. How difficult it *will* be varies, with three big variables-
1. Party size. This should go without saying, but apparently I'm wrong on that. The difference between a four person party and an eight person party isn't just 2x. Think on that for a while. As party size increases, while you have a solo monster, it gets so much easier ... not as much as in 5e, but still.

2. Party composition. Much moreso than in 5e, again. If you have a Monty Haul campaign, with a lot of magic items (or a bunch of +3 items for 5th level characters) it will be easier.

3. Luck. This is the huge one, and needs to be explained more. And that's what, fundamentally, the OP is missing. The difference between 1e and 5e in an encounter like this would be variability. For example- what happens if, in the first round, the Worm stings the main fighter, who fails a saving throw (dead) and bites a magic user to death? We talk about "only" a certain number of hit points for the 1e PW, and that's true- if there are a lot of PCs, and they aren't failing saves, or they get lucky, then they can win!

But that's not how you would normally perform that type of calculus. Because ... there is a massive and fundamental difference about entering combat. Look back at the sample tournament party pulled by the OP. WHAT WAS THE HEALING? That's right. They had Cure light wounds (x4), and one scroll of cure serious, and one potion of healing.

Now, you're out in the desert. You don't have 5e's whack-a-mole combat. You don't have any method of raising the dead. You have very limited daily healing. And you don't have 5e's ability to heal with time (you get 1hp per day of rest, and you aren't resting in the desert).

So no sane party that actually played 1e and saw that would try on the encounter - not just because it COULD result in a TPK (depending on party composition) but because EVEN IF IT DIDN'T, IT WOULD LIKELY KILL ONE OR MORE PARTY MEMBERS AND DEVASTATE THEM FOR THE REST OF THE ADVENTURE. This is something so obvious it shouldn't need to be pointed out, which is why many of us were happy to suggest options for the OP if he wanted to avoid the encounter (because many of us had run this).

And yet, here we are. Anyway, just putting this out here. And OP- I truly hope you stop being so defensive and go back and read my very first response back to you. I truly love this module, and I love good conversations, and I hope you become a valued contributor here.

Lowkey, a wonderfully written response. Full of well thought out points, reasonable facts, and most importantly....not a single touch of anger or disdain. I applaud you, this is what has been missing from this debate.

Now let us have a debate ourselves shall we! In terms of my point above, I will stick with the recent conversation, most specifically about the example the OP provided. At one point Sancosanct calls the OP's use of 1e in question over the term THACO.

The OP's response: ..."As you pointed out, "To Hit A.C. 0" actually originated on P196 of the 1st edition DMG in Appendex E: "Alphabetical Recapitulation of Monsters (With Experience Point Values)", it was not created in 2nd edition."

Sancosanct's response: ..."Every time you post, you display how you really do not in fact, know the rules of the game you keep saying you do. No, people did not refer to "THAC0" in 1e. I wasn't even called that, but spelled out in the only place it appeared in 1e (the DMG appendix)."

The OP provided a fact....a fact that both parties seem to agree on. And yet the response amounts to...well yes that existed...but your party did not use that term (trust me I know), so therefore you clearly have little knowledge of the game. Now Sancosanct may ultimately be right....but there is no winning here with that kind of tone and statement. This is the "sneer" I was referring to earlier, and it is destroying what could be an interesting and reasonable debate.


Now let me look at one of your statements: "not just because it COULD result in a TPK (depending on party composition) but because EVEN IF IT DIDN'T, IT WOULD LIKELY KILL ONE OR MORE PARTY MEMBERS AND DEVASTATE THEM FOR THE REST OF THE ADVENTURE. This is something so obvious it shouldn't need to be pointed out, which is why many of us were happy to suggest options for the OP if he wanted to avoid the encounter (because many of us had run this)."

The bolded section is the point of argument. As you have stated earlier, 1e was an amalgamation of weird house rules, snippets of different books, etc. And unlike 3e and beyond, we did not have the internet to come to at least some understanding of what the "standard dnd game" looks like. So I don't think there is anything obvious here.

To the OP's combat analysis, the point of the analysis was to showcase that the purple worm was not the automatic TPK in 1e that people are asserting. The OP's example showcased how the PW could not only be beaten, but actually beaten pretty handily. Is the example typical? That's a key question, and it seems that its one that is hard to answer. The assertion is that the tournament characters are not typical examples. That may be true....how do we prove it? At least those characters are in a book, we can see there stats, its something tangible and something that we all can agree exists. Are there other character examples in any of the old 1e books that could give us a better example of what a typical 1e character looks like? Otherwise we only have the words of nostalgic 1e players to guide us into what the typical party would look like....and unfortunately that is not the strongest evidence of actual results.

Perhaps one way to "fake it", would be this question....generally how much variance was there in 1e characters? For example, would it be reasonable to adjust the tournament players by -1 hit, +1 saves (I think its +1) or something like to give a reasonable estimate of what "weaker characters" would look like? With your 1e experience, do you think rerunning the analysis with slightly weaker players would satisfy your concerns about trying a reasonable party against the PW?
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
For clarification, while I agreed that "To Hit A.C. 0" appeared in the back of the DMG, I stick by my assertion that that doesn't meant "THAC0". "THAC0" never appeared in that format. It was spelled out like "To Hit A.C. 0". And no one used the term "THAC0" in 1e because that phrase, and rule around it, didn't appear until 2e. Unlike the OP's claim, THAC0 did not do the exact same thing as the attack matrix's as I previously explained. A 1-5th level MU has to get a 20 to hit AC0, so people familiar with the THAC0 rule from 2e would assume they would need a 19 to hit AC1. That's how the THAC0 rule works. However in 1e, using the attack matrix table, the MU needs a 20 to hit AC1 as well.

So I can say that "To Hit A.C. 0" existed in 1e while at the same time saying that "THAC0" didn't. They aren't the same thing. The OP did what a lot of people do. They remember using THAC0 for so long, that they assume they've always been using it when they didn't. They couldn't have. It didn't exist as a rule until 2e. I don't have an issue with people making that mistake (it's a common one). I have an issue with someone making that mistake, being informed how it actually worked, and doubling down on it and refusing to acknowledge it. That's how this whole conversation has gone. It seems clear by the OP's comments that the OP hasn't played 1e back in the day, or if he did, played only Monty Haul and thinks that's how the game was played in general. Rules assumptions are wrong, timelines are wrong, there are many examples. That in itself isn't a big deal. But when you make a claim that 1e was much easier when you aren't familiar with how 1e played, and become combative and dismissive when people who are actually familiar with 1e point out your errors, this is what happens. It would be like me making a claim about how 4e played, and when 4e players call out my incorrect assumptions, I dismiss them and double down, telling them they don't actually know what it was like, and calling them "4e experts" in a mocking tone. I shouldn't be surprised if people get upset with me.
 
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