D&D 5E Bring Back THAC0 !!! (not serious - read the OP)

Mezuka

Hero
In the PBH index on page 316, you will find: 'THAC0. See attack roll.'

Very funny. Maybe they will bring THAC0 back in 2024! 🙃

/ runs for cover
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
THAC0 maybe be literally backwards and easy to make fun of these days, but when I discovered it (it was first introduced in a UK module years before 2E) it was a revelation and a significant improvement over attack matrixes that I found hard to read and necessitated actually having a book or a screen to run a game, while a single number was much easier to deal with.

I found it really worked best when player simply subtracted what they rolled from their THAC0 and announced the AC they hit (rather than using it to determine a target number to be rolled) and then the DM could say if that hit or miss the target AC.

That said, one of the things that have kept me from going back and running 2E is the work of flipping AC so I never have to deal with THAC0 again. It may never have tripped me up, but many (new) players (especially) got confused by it.
 

1656445415327.png


5e already has THAC0. Everyone has the same value for it - it's 0 - so it's very easy to remember.
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
It front-loads the math. YMMV on if that’s worth the tradeoff of having the math itself being less intuitive.
Only if you use the full table with all of the "to hits" from 0 to 10 pre-calculated. Otherwise it just changes the math.

(And you could create the full table at the bottom of the character sheet running from 10 to 20 and front-load the math that way instead.)
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Only if you use the full table with all of the "to hits" from 0 to 10 pre-calculated. Otherwise it just changes the math.

(And you could create the full table at the bottom of the character sheet running from 10 to 20 and front-load the math that way instead.)
Huh? If you know your THAC0 and you know your target’s AC, you can just add or subtract to figure out the number you need to roll on the die.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Huh? If you know your THAC0 and you know your target’s AC, you can just add or subtract to figure out the number you need to roll on the die.
And if you know your to hit bonus with ascending AC you just add it to the die you rolled and see what AC you've hit. So I don't see where the math is front loaded with THAC0 in comparison.
 

Real talk: The game should be further reducing needless complexity to speed up combat. Bounded accuracy and less bonuses overall ahs been a boon to running combats more smoothly and quickly.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Publisher
It front-loads the math. YMMV on if that’s worth the tradeoff of having the math itself being less intuitive.
Yep. IMO, I think it is easier and faster than ascending AC for this reason. All the math is pre-loaded, so when you roll to attack, there are no modifiers. You simply know immediately what AC you hit. Here's an example from the 1e character sheet. You write in what you need to hit the various ACs with each weapon. So if you normally need a 15 to hit AC 2, but have a +2 bonus with your longsword +2, you'd put 13 in at the "2" column, a 12 in the "3" column, etc.

1656446305108.png
 


tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
One thing that I miss from the THAC0 days was the thac0 table on the sheet/scratch A quick google search came back with this
1656446476913.png

It was so much faster than watching players add numbers to a d20 today
and I'm ninja'd by Sacrosanct
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Right, you do that after rolling the die and seeing the roll result.

You do the math first, before rolling the die.
OH - you mean "front loading" in the sense of "before the die roll instead of after". I was thinking of "front loading" meaning "before the combat happens at all" - as in during character creation.

I guess I can kind of see that version of front loading being beneficial in that you only need to do it once if you do it that way. Except that's not how we ever used THAC0. Before we figured out how to use ascending AC (probably 10 years before 3e came out at least) we always subtracted our roll from our THAC0 to calculate what AC we hit and then told the DM (so the AC would stay secret until we figured it out by which rolls hit or missed). So we were doing the math after every roll with THAC0 anyway so no front loading there for us at least.
 

OH - you mean "front loading" in the sense of "before the die roll instead of after". I was thinking of "front loading" meaning "before the combat happens at all" - as in during character creation.

I guess I can kind of see that version of front loading being beneficial in that you only need to do it once if you do it that way. Except that's not how we ever used THAC0. Before we figured out how to use ascending AC (probably 10 years before 3e came out at least) we always subtracted our roll from our THAC0 to calculate what AC we hit and then told the DM (so the AC would stay secret until we figured it out by which rolls hit or missed). So we were doing the math after every roll with THAC0 anyway so no front loading there for us at least.
This is my experience at the time also.
 

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