D&D 1E AD&D (yes, 2e too) players and referees, what do you think of rolling under for ability and NWP checks?


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overgeeked

B/X Known World
I love the old roll-under stats for skills, NWPs, and other random stuff. You can easily adjust with small modifiers to the roll or dis/advantage, if you want to get the feel of the modern version.

The math shakes out as functionally the same in either version (the modifiers to the roll-under version being equivalent to the variable DCs in the modern version), so it’s more a question of which feels right.

I like the different subsystems of old-school D&D, so I’d keep the d20 roll under. But I wouldn’t be aghast at a purely modern version either.
 



I had this thought in the Ascending AC thread. How do people feel about AD&D ability checks vs. WotC ability checks?

Just to summarize, in AD&D, the DM could call for an ability check, where you had to roll under your ability score on a d20. They could apply ad hoc modifiers, though I don't recall if there was any guidance for this- my DM occasionally asked for "roll under half" for very difficult rolls.

Non-Weapon Proficiencies were very similar, save that the base check was static, for example, making a Reading/Writing check, you had to roll under your Intelligence +1. Ad hoc modifiers could be applied to this as well. You could improve your chance of success by devoting additional proficiency slots (+1 per) but this was generally a terrible investment for PC's (especially once 2e exploded with the vast number of possible and occasionally overlapping NWP's).

Is the WotC system of d20+modifiers to reach a set DC better or worse, in your opinion? I think it's vastly better, but my AD&D DM naturally disagrees, lol.

I prefer the roll under Attribute and NWPs. It is a little counter intuitive but I think the math of that works better than the math of 3E with its skill system. Also it is nice and neat. If you have a 17 in something, that gives you a really good shot, not just some minor bonus. So attributes matter a great deal. And roll under, unless of course there are modifiers or you are dealing with NWPs, doesn't really involve math. You just need to roll equal or under the score. Personally I hated how DCs felt.
 

Jack Daniel

dice-universe.blogspot.com
While I agree with this sentiment, the Thief says hi.

"Should there even be a thief class?" remains a hotly contested and ongoing debate in OSR circles. And even those of us who lean towards "yes" prefer to let thieves succeed at routine feats of larceny automatically, reserving the skill rolls only for extenuating circumstances or treating them as second chances and saving throws, and that entirely in spite of the fact that the DMG clearly intends for thieving skills to be rolled in utterly mundane and routine circumstances.
 

Voadam

Legend
I used it, a bunch after the introduction of NWPs as their often go to mechanic and then sometimes as a standalone mechanic.

I don't particularly care for it. It makes the ability scores hugely impactful on success rates, amplifying the reverse bell curve nature of stat bonuses in AD&D so that an 18 stat fails one out of ten times while a 10 fails one out of every two times as the baseline success rate for tasks. This exacerbates a big issue in AD&D design in the combat power arena and extending it to noncombat stuff as well.

It also makes 3d6 in order hugely incompetent compared to an Unearthed Arcana human rolls character and means random stat generation creates even more competency imbalances between characters from the get go.

My ideal would be for most people to be able to do most things and not be siloed in by build (either stats or full 3e type stat, class, skill point, feats, magic type of complex build).

I prefer 5e's d20 +ability modifier plus possible proficiency plus possible other bonuses and or advantage in a bound accuracy.

I would much prefer modest stat benefits (say B/X's +3 for an 18) against a bound accuracy target number and mostly resolving things in a more diceless fashion based on what makes sense at the moment.
 


Simon Miles

Creator of the World of Barnaynia FRPG setting
I always go with roll under on a d20, but then I play 1st ed and OSR with descending armour class so the lack of consistency isn't an issue. Being a dice goblin I also make difficult rolls on a d30. Alternatively use the Runequest solution and multiply the stat by 5 and use it as a percentages (everything in RQ was a percentage...).
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
I always go with roll under on a d20, but then I play 1st ed and OSR with descending armour class so the lack of consistency isn't an issue. Being a dice goblin I also make difficult rolls on a d30. Alternatively use the Runequest solution and multiply the stat by 5 and use it as a percentages (everything in RQ was a percentage...).
Now that's a thought, using a d30 in AD&D. Now I have to find that thing...unless I used it as an improvised sling bullet again...
 

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