D&D 1E AD&D players and referees, what do you think of ascending AC?

SableWyvern

Adventurer
Oh ok. Because I've had those arguments, and it really comes down to "I like chocolate ice cream" vs. "You like strawberry ice cream". No amount of logic, reason, or explanation will get anyone to admit that any change to the game since WotC took over has been anything but the Devil's work, but ascending AC is the one that always gets brought up (either that or unified xp for all classes).

I mean, I got a host of grievances with WotC personally, but this always struck me as a strange hill to plant one's flag on.
I've seen people arguing passionately that descending AC is not particularly hard, and there is no real need for ascending AC, but, in my experience, someone who is pro-descending is more likely to argue that it doesn't really matter than to argue that you must use descending.

Mostly, I think, pro-descending people are just defending themselves from people who claim descending AC is the worst thing ever and should never have existed.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I've seen people arguing passionately that descending AC is not particularly hard, and there is no real need for ascending AC, but, in my experience, someone who is pro-descending is more likely to argue that it doesn't really matter than to argue that you must use descending.

Mostly, I think, pro-descending people are just defending themselves from people who claim descending AC is the worst thing ever and should never have existed.
Yeah. It's one of those really silly arguments. I'm an old timer and have played B/X and AD&D with descending AC and it's fine. I've also defended THAC0 on here against people claiming it's a crime against humanity. There's a lot of overblown hot air about ascending and descending AC being the worst ever. Neither is the worst ever. It's a math equation. It all depends on what work you want to put in and where you want to put in that work.
 

JEB

Legend
I was running AD&D 2e when 3e came out, and I almost immediately switched over to using ascending AC. I don't recall my players having much issue with the switch, either.

That said, the OD&D game I'm running later this year will use descending AC. But that's strictly because it will be RAW, for authenticity.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I was running AD&D 2e when 3e came out, and I almost immediately switched over to using ascending AC. I don't recall my players having much issue with the switch, either.

That said, the OD&D game I'm running later this year will use descending AC. But that's strictly because it will be RAW, for authenticity.
Nice. I haven't played that one yet. I started after it was gone and didn’t look back until relatively recently. I have the PDFs from DriveThru and keep thinking about trying an OD&D game. The origins book made me even more keen. Maybe compare and contrast the early draft with the published result. Could be a blast. Hope you have fun with it.
 

Jack Daniel

dice-universe.blogspot.com
If I'm running OD&D or AD&D, I'm going to use descending AC. And it's not just nostalgia or vibes; it's legitimately easier to use.

If I were to rank the possible attack roll methods from most to least cumbersome, they'd go something like this:

Matrices >>> Target 20 > THAC0 = Ascending AC >> Roll Under.
 

greymist

Lurker Extraordinaire
I currently play in a couple of 1E games and Labyrinth Lord games and we use descending AC; I have the pertinent chart on my character sheet, no big deal. I also play and DM some 5E games using ascending AC.

I’d say that ascending AC is intuitively simpler, is roll equal to or higher than target?

If changing the AC values for your 1E game is not onerous then I would say do it…but there is the repeating 20 on the charts that you have to account for; if you’re going to stick to the 1E rules. 2E has them on the charts in the DMG but I don’t know how the THAC0 calculation can account for them.
 

Celebrim

Legend
If changing the AC values for your 1E game is not onerous then I would say do it…but there is the repeating 20 on the charts that you have to account for

The repeating 20 doesn't really say much except that twenty hits. The only odd thing on the 1e AD&D table are what comes after the repeating 20s where uniquely in the games history a natural 20 isn't good enough to score a hit. The repeating 20 is there just to create a gap between the point where a natural 20 is good enough and the point where it isn't. But if you assume that it's fine to have a natural 20 be good enough regardless, the need for the repeating 20s goes away.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
There isn't really any need for a large number of tables. Third edition effectively reduced it down to 3 tables. Fighters use the same table they did in 1e AD&D using the variant rule suggested of increasing BAB by 1 every level rather than 2 every 2 levels. Wizards use the thief table. Everyone else uses the cleric table. This is reasonable.
I went the other way and made a different combat matrix for every class. Allowed me space for lots more fine-tuning. :)
I think part of the charm of the class is it's limited and flavorful weapons list. Generally, I prefer the 3e approach of keeping the limited and flavorful weapons list while granting bonus weapon choices/proficiencies from race. To the extent that I would expand the base list it would be to bo stick (representing here any short fighting stick or cane) and crossbow. Crossbow just feels more 'roguish' to me than slings.
I agree about crossbow; and what you call bo-stick I just call "club", which have always been allowed.
It's not a bad idea as it helps rebalance the classes to the standard of Cavalier which otherwise should be banned.
Cavalier is a great class if one files off some of the excesses. And we took one look at that percentile increment system and gave it to all classes almost on the spot.
It would not at all be wrong nor would it be hard to implement to simply adjust the thieves table so that the revised 1st level thief had the same skill chances as the unrevised 5th level thief. Just skip the first 4 rows of the table.
I'd go more with leaving 1st about where it is but having the progression go up much faster.
Throw in all the skills from Acrobat while you are at it for the very rare cases that parkour matters in the game and things start to get a little better for the poor thief player.
I haven't looked at Acrobat in any detail since about 1988. :)
If you actually follow the rules and don't allow 21 DEX PC's into your game, the two-handed fighting rules in 1e AD&D are quite balanced and one of the few things that rewards a high DEX combatant with no shield. You only at most get one additional attack a round - it DOES NOT double your attacks per round - and that second attack will generally be at a penalty, and further that second attack will generally be with a different weaker weapon. If you stick to the rules you get no Drizzt. You do however let a thief fight with a dagger in the offhand to make up for their otherwise weak fighting skills.
We already allow this. That you specifically called it out as a Ranger skill led me to think you were referencing some 2e Drizz't thing, asI've never seen Rangers as a two-weapon class (and even if they were, their Dex is likely to be awful as they need four other decent stats to make their class minima).
I don't agree with the reasoning.
Curious: what's your disagreement?
My own (back)stab at attempting to fix 1e saves can be found here: https://www.enworld.org/threads/con...rows-to-stat-based-saves.696276/#post-8955753
All I did was take the five save matrices from 1e and expand it to eight. Paralyzation-poison-death got split into three and I added a "generic" save matrix for those times when none of the other tables are suitable.
Sure, that would go a little way toward removing the need for them to gain HD at a faster rate than other classes but hit point inflation is always one of my least favorite ways to balance things and I feel less well balanced than the current XP table where you aren't really leveling up significantly faster than other classes you just get to level 2-3 quicker.
I actually slowed Thieves down a bit for the first few levels, to cancel out some other benefits they've picked up along the way. They're still the fastest-advancing, though.
Your game is so evolved from 1e AD&D that I have no basis of comparison. Longsword is already an option for thieves in 1e AD&D. Bottom of page 19, the fourth note to the table.
Well, would you look at that. I should add this to the "Rules you misinterpreted all along" thread in the D&D forum, as for 40+ years I've always thought that by RAW the biggest blade a Thief could use was shortsword. It always struck me as one of the main advantages of Assassins, that they could use the big blades. But Thieves can too. Who'd'a thunk it? :)

Will fix. I don't think there's any active single-class Thieves in my campaign at the moment, which means I might even be able to slide this change in on the fly.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Extra math and extra chart look ups add time and make things slower. Removing math and chart look ups speeds things up.

If you've been doing it so long you have the thing memorized, that's an extreme edge case which will not be true for the vast majority of people.
I don't have the whole chart memorized, but once a character's been through one or two combats I know its baseline fighting capabilities pretty well and in effect memorize where that character is on the chart.

I also long ago reworked the chart to make it easier for me to grok. :)
The mystery should be in the fiction, not the rules.
I want them to know that Fighters fight better than Clerics etc. in a general sense but they don't need to know the specifics. I'll deal with those.
It's even faster if you skip the combat matrix entirely.
Perhaps, but it's faster yet if the DM does the behind-the-scenes math rather than shove it all over to the players - some of whom are much better-quicker at arithmetic than others, and its those others who grind things to a halt.
And the number the player rolls being the TN of hitting the monster removes that extra, unnecessary step.
It still works around a target number, only that number is a constant rather than a by-creature variable.
 

SableWyvern

Adventurer
The repeating 20 doesn't really say much except that twenty hits. The only odd thing on the 1e AD&D table are what comes after the repeating 20s where uniquely in the games history a natural 20 isn't good enough to score a hit. The repeating 20 is there just to create a gap between the point where a natural 20 is good enough and the point where it isn't. But if you assume that it's fine to have a natural 20 be good enough regardless, the need for the repeating 20s goes away.
And if you want to incorporate the 1e matrix repeating 20s into ascending AC, you just say, "A natural 20 isn't an auto-hit, but it does count as a roll of 25."
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Recent & Upcoming Releases

Top