# D&D 1EAD&D players and referees, what do you think of ascending AC?

#### overgeeked

##### B/X Known World
Simple question. No need for a poll.

I keep looking at the mess that is DMG page 74 and how much easier and quicker it would be to switch to attack bonuses and ascending AC.

For people still playing AD&D, how would you feel about the switch?

#### Simon Miles

##### Creator of the World of Barnaynia FRPG setting
As I write scenarios using stats for Ascending and descending AC (AC and AAC) I have pondered this before. I think it makes sense if you are dealing with new players - it seems an easier concept to learn from scratch. I, however, play with very old players and just one newbie so it just doesn't seem worth it. I also play in a 5th ed group with more old players and we use ascending for that and have done from the start. Seems to make no odds, but then we're all pretty academic maths-wise; mostly degree level science and computing graduates (smug-mode). Not that this is relevant this level of mental arithmetic.
What I am saying, I guess, is that it depends what you're used to. AAC does make more sense really so use that if you are starting with that. Of the OSR games I have looked at there seems to be an even split between AC and AAC.

#### SableWyvern

Both are easy. I think ascending is a little easier for most people.

I generally use ascending AC for most D&D derived games these days (and did last time I was using AD&D, including with a tweak to keep the mathematical effect of the repeating 20s from the 1e matrices). When I ran Godbound, I decided not to bother with the conversion, and used descending AC. No one had any issues with it.

At the moment, I'm running ACKS, which uses it's own bizarre AC variant. I'm using normal, ascending AC. I'm using products with ascending, descending and ACKS-style ascending, and it is simple to convert as required on the fly. I don't even need to think too much about which version any given product is using, you just look at the value, can see what version it's using from context, and convert to ascending if necessary.

#### Simon Miles

##### Creator of the World of Barnaynia FRPG setting
Both are easy. I think ascending is a little easier for most people.

I generally use ascending AC for most D&D derived games these days (and did last time I was using AD&D, including with a tweak to keep the mathematical effect of the repeating 20s from the 1e matrices). When I ran Godbound, I decided not to bother with the conversion, and used descending AC. No one had any issues with it.

At the moment, I'm running ACKS, which uses it's own bizarre AC variant. I'm using normal, ascending AC. I'm using products with ascending, descending and ACKS-style ascending, and it is simple to convert as required on the fly. I don't even need to think to much about which version any given product is using, you just look at the value, can see what version it's using from context, and convert to ascending if necessary.
I think we need to know what ACKs is? (You were hoping someone would ask weren't you? Go on - admit it!

#### SableWyvern

ACKS is Adventurer Conquerer King System, which is a B/X-derived game whose strength is in domain play, magical research, thiefly hijinks, mass battles and other mid- to high-level shenanigans. It's fairly well known and just had a successful Kickstarter for a 2nd edition, and the author is a somewhat controversial figure, so it genuinely didn't occur to me that people wouldn't know what it is.

#### Spellslinging Sellsword

##### Explorer
It makes sense to use ascending AC in 2024. Only time I would use descending AC is for nostalgia or if the group for some reason insisted on it.

JEB

#### James Gasik

##### We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
It's been stated that ascending AC was contemplated for 2nd edition AD&D, but in the end they decided not to for reasons of backwards compatibility, so even the game designers realized it was probably better for the game back in the 80's.

I always used to struggle with descending AC, as I calculated it thusly:

*Make attack roll (high number good). Consult my adjusted Thac0. Add or subtract the target AC from the roll.

As a result, switching to

*Make attack roll (high number good). Add my attack bonuses. Compare to target AC.

Was much easier for me.

(As an aside, I often wondered why instead of Thac0, you didn't just roll a d20, subtract your modifiers, and compare to AC, ie, you want to roll low. Seemed like it would be simpler.)

#### eyeheartawk

##### #1 Enworld Jerk™
Ascending.

I only use descending when I'm literally playing AD&D.

Any of its clones that use ascending AC or allow for the option, I do.

I think we need to know what ACKs is? (You were hoping someone would ask weren't you? Go on - admit it!

#### aco175

##### Legend
I remember playing 1e/2e and it was fine since that was the rules and how it was played. We learned it and used it. Then when 3e came out, all of a sudden it was an a-ha moment and I was asking why this was not done sooner since I thought it was so much easier to use and learn.

Now, if you play with people that learned the old way and still play that way, it might be easier to just keep it. Some might depend on how often you get new players and then forcing everyone to use the new way (ascending) makes more sense.

#### Celebrim

##### Legend
Simple question. No need for a poll.

I keep looking at the mess that is DMG page 74 and how much easier and quicker it would be to switch to attack bonuses and ascending AC.

For people still playing AD&D, how would you feel about the switch?

I've long said that the reason I don't run 1e AD&D anymore is that if I did, I'd start house ruling it and before long it would closely resemble 3e D&D anyway.

Like I'd rule that infravision worked like 3e darkvision for simplicity. I'd rule that some creatures had the scent ability and use that to detect invisible creatures instead of the table in the 1e DMG. I'd redo the thief to make it more balanced with the other classes. I'd change NWP until they worked more like skills. I'd tweak the way saving throws work so that they'd be a little more consistent between classes. I'd make sure all creatures had explicit DEX. And I'd probably start thinking about making AC ascending rather than descending.

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