log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D 1E Common House Rules for AD&D?

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I’m curious what people’s common house rules are for AD&D. I cut my teeth on it back in the day, and we mixed it rather liberally with B/X and BECMI. So my recollection of AD&D is wildly skewed.

So I’m trying to get a sense of how other people actually played and what house rules they used. Whether it was back-in-the-day or yesterday, doesn’t matter.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Well, one common house rule was adding in bits from B/X and BECMI and 1e and 2e. I started in 2e, and didn't even realize there was an difference between 1e and 2e for ages. BECMI was obviously different because of Race As Class etc.

Common houserules when I was playing/running were options from the DMG like Death's Door (going to -10 hp or -CON hp), ignoring demihuman level limits, mixing up dual-classing and multi-classing, allowing wizards a saving throw or CON (or INT) check to keep from losing a spell when hit in combat, and making up new classes and spells.

One idiot (me - I was this idiot) even ruled that magic items of elven make get more powerful over time, so when a party came across a stash of magic weapons hidden by elves everything was at like +6 or higher. And I remember a campaign where we played 100th level characters and someone had a weapon that dealt percentile damage - that is, it would take away 0 to 99% of the target's hit points on a successful hit.

Good times!
 
Last edited:

Voadam

Legend
I used B/X D&D initiative in 1e combined with segment casting and did not use the full complex 1e initiative from the DMG with the special rules for ties or the extra attacks each segment against casters.

I did not roll for diseases.

I did not use henchmen/retainer Charisma rules, acquiring henchmen was rare and roleplayed out.

I did not always call for open door strength rolls.

I rarely tracked time closely and so random encounters were probably less than called for under the rules.

At various points I used various critical hit systems. Sometimes charts, sometimes double damage.

I eventually went with cumulative falling damage in 2e. So 10' = 1d6, 20' = 3d6, 30' = 6d6, etc.

I used things from other sources, like an alien from a palladium game or an archmage bad guy using magic from rolemaster that did rolemaster crits.
 

LoganRan

Explorer
Our group didn't add a lot to AD&D but we ignored huge swaths of material (surprise potentially resulting in multiple segments worth of actions, weapon speed factors and lengths, weapon attack adjustments vs armor class and much more).

As far as changes/additions, we used a simple initiative system similar to B/X and we used a house rule of '20' is a critical hit and '1' is a fumble.
 

Plaguescarred

D&D Playtester for WoTC since 2012
When playing AD&D we had houserules for Critical hit x2 damage minimum full damage, rolling HP x2 take the best, ignore racial level limit, ignore gender ability score limit, weapon specialization to Fighter, Paladin and Ranger and many more i can't remember.
 


Willie the Duck

Adventurer
allowing wizards a saving throw or CON (or INT) check to keep from losing a spell when hit in combat, and making up new classes and spells.
I don't remember that prior to 3e coming out. We did, however, have multiple ways of the magic user going earlier in the round than the AD&D initiative rules would have indicated. Which is to say we might have used the 1e initiative (or out best stab at it) once or twice, but mostly we ported BX/BECMI (or 2e AD&D, when that got hybridized in) initiative instead.

Beyond that, I agree with the sentiment of we ignored more rules than added, excepting of course each individual DM's binder full of actual house rules, homebrewed content, Dragon Magazine classes, new races, and so on and so forth.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
It depends on how you define house rules!

For example, would this include rules that people didn't play with?
If so, I think the most common house rule is "no weapon v. AC adjustment."

Is it rules that people modified?
Maybe go with "not dead until -10."

How about rules people often didn't know?
Maybe letting elves get raised and resurrected?*

How about optional subsystems people didn't use?
Psionics.

Or subsystems people thought were optional because they were way too fiddly?
Grappling, unarmed combat in general.


Really, isn't 1e pretty much all optional? :)




*yes, yes, rod of resurrection. Because reasons.
 

jgsugden

Legend
We had a lot, and they differed between games. My favorites:

1.) We eliminated the round based combat and went to a segmented system. If you wanted to do something, it took a number of segments to achieve. People could foil what you were doing by getting out of reach before an attack went off, etc... - dodging attackers. Because that group of players was extremely fast, the system did not drag and we had a lot of fun with it.

2.) Advancement - the level limits by race were soft. Instead of stopping advancement, we doubled what you needed to get the next level.

3.) Saving Throws - we found them too harsh in a save or die world. So, we gave 'luck points' out as a reward. After rolling a saving throw, you could spend luck points, if you had enough, to turn a failure to a success. You'd get a luck point for an awesome RP moment.
 

Voadam

Legend
I tried to use the weapon vs. AC chart but gave up after realizing the number of overlapping armor and with shield, without shield combos for various ACs made it conceptually incoherent in execution. Also it was a big combat speedbump in practice at the table.

I also generally ignored encumbrance beyond armor type.

I think I eventually dropped training costs before 2e came out, but maybe not.
 

Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
The most common house rule I've ever seen is something to boost 1st level hit points. Either just starting with Maximum, or some kind of double roll, or weird algorithm. I have only ever played one game where it was a straight roll and you kept what you got.

For my own part, I have a list of house rules, though I wouldn't say they are common aside from the aforementioned hit point boost. Mainly ports of other ideas from different games. Like character points from 2nd ed Options, as well as techniques from the 2nd Ed combat and tactics.

Or 'fleshing out' of existing rules like surprise and initiative. My method for running surprise can easily be called btb because I can trace the basics to text in the DMG, but at the same time I've added some bits.

Hmmm.. does it count as a House Rule if it's a BTB rule that literally no one else uses? :p
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I’ve been eyeing my older stuff lately which prompted the question.

Looking at everything in the book and what I remember of how we played, I‘m pretty sure we did the same as most people and ignored more than we used.

I don’t remember segments, armor vs weapons, weapon speed, and a few other being a thing. B/X side-based initiative was what we used. I think we ignore encumbrance entirely, though I do like the simplicity of B/X encumbrance based on armor type.
 

As others have said, for me a lot of the house rules of 1e were the things we ignored, rather than added. Weapon vs. armor, disease (okay, so I probably used this once on a lark and then decided it wasn't fun), and some of the more tucked away stuff in the DMG (less a house rule than "I didn't remember this being there.")

Since I came to 1e from BECMI, a lot of that knowledge transferred over to that, since it was easier to understand.
 

the Jester

Legend
We ignored as much as we added- weapon vs armor type modifiers, the complexities of initiative (favoring instead straight 1d6, high rolling side wins), xp for gp (I know, we didn't realize at the time what a big impact that had on play style), etc.

There were whole swaths of rules that only got used once in a while, such as encumbrance, morale, reaction rolls, henchmen, etc.

We added loads of homebrewed material, from races and classes to spells and magic items. Lots of "carded items" on index cards back in the day- largely unique stuff, but sometimes things that would reappear again and again (throwing hexes).

We did a lot of importing things from and crossing over with other game systems- Arduin Grimoire and Gamma World most notably, but even Marvel and Vampire: the Masquerade once or twice.

As for actual house rules, other than the aforementioned simple initiative, we used a bazillion over time, some of which fell into and out of favor. I don't remember a ton of the specifics, to be honest, and what we did in 1e and 2e mashes up in my memories a lot, especially because of how much we retained from 1e when playing 2e (I never used the 2e DMG after an initial read through except for maybe one or two things, always sticking with the 1e version, for instance). And of course, we added in tons of Dragon Magazine material, especially on the DM's side. We also used crit and fumble charts pretty zealously, usually the ones in Arduin Grimoire, but sometimes a modified version of the ones in the Armory's old d30 book.
 



Jack Daniel

Legend
When I was young, we definitely didn't Frankenstein together D&D and AD&D. We played D&D because we had the Classic D&D boxed set, until we got our hands on AD&D hardcovers, and then we played AD&D 2nd Edition.

I doubt that I could accurately recall all of the house rules we used as kids, but I do remember that we definitely had a written house rules document that I maintained until 3e came out. The document that I maintain now for my AD&D 1st Edition campaigns is in the same spirit, but AD&D is no longer my go-to system. Rather, it's a distant third or forth choice, behind the likes of BECMI and certain retro-clones.

But anyway, summing up my rules:
• AD&D 1st Edition is used as the baseline; PHB, DMG, MM, D&D, FF, and MM2 are all core; MotP is semi-canonical; UA, OA, DSG, and WSG are not
• Stats are rolled in order, 3d6 twice and keeping the better roll for each
• No alignment, no infravision (demihumans get other small perks to compensate), and no weapon or non-weapon proficiencies (but yes to secondary skills)
• Demihumans have a soft level cap (which usually corresponds to their 1st Edition level limit) and a hard level cap (often close their 2nd Edition level limit) which is always exactly six levels higher; as demihumans lose interest in human affairs, their focus wanes, and so for the last six levels they can attain between reaching their soft cap and hitting their hard cap, they require double XP for two levels, triple XP for the next two levels after that, and quadruple XP for their final two levels
• Hit points are max at 1st level, half that value at higher levels that still get "hit dice," and hit dice are regularized (all warrior types get 9d10, all mage types 10d4, all cleric types 9d8, and all thief types 10d6, as in 2nd edition)
• Human classes that previously had weird numbers of hit dice or inherent level limits (ranger, monk, druid, assassin, bard) are normalized to match the other classes, as in 2nd Edition
• There's no Exceptional Strength or Weapon Specialization; instead, warrior-type characters get a bonus to hit and damage that grows with experience, maxing out at +5/+5 for fighters and +3/+3 for paladins and rangers
• Lots of tweaks, simplifications, or outright retooling of certain class features (especially thieving skills)
• Some tweaking of spells: shuffling of a few spell levels here and there (haste up to 4th, animate dead down to 4th, polymorph up to 5th), and there are now a full spread of clerical healing spells (cure moderate wounds at 2nd level, cure serious wounds at 3rd level, cure grievous wounds at 4th level), with 4th level and greater healing spells also now able to restore levels drained by specific types of undead
• Group initiative rolled on d10s and the 12-second Combat & Tactics round are kept from 2nd Edition
 
Last edited:

Greg K

Hero
Off the top of my head, ours were

For AD&D 1e
  1. Ability Scores
    1. Strength: sometimes we removed percentile strength
    2. Constitution: anyone could get Fighter's hp for high constitution if they had a high enough con score
  2. Races
    1. Humans +2 to one ability score (human maximums still apply)
  3. Multiclassing
    1. humans could multi-class
  4. Combat
    1. Pummeling, Grappling, Overbearing: we ignored this
    2. Weapon vs Armor Type: we ignored this as well
    3. Death: We used death at -10 hit points
  5. Spells
    1. removed several PHB spells
    2. added some new spells from UA
  6. Dragon Magazine: several articles (e.g. Katerhine Kerr's articles) influenced our campaign. However, these were house rules:
    1. Perception: we added Perception as a stat using an article from Dragon Magazine
    2. Len Lakofka's Archer
    3. Bard from Dragon Magazine replaced the optional PHB bard
    4. Barbarian: David Howery's Dragon Magazine article, "Tracking Down the Barbarian", a rework of the 1e UA Barbarian
    5. Cavalier: David Howery's Dragon Magazine article, "The Corrected Cavalier", a rework of the 1e UA Cavalier
    6. Monk from Dragon Magazine replaced the PHB Monk if monk was being used
    7. Rules for Jumping from Stephen Inniss's article, "Short Hops and Big Drops"
    8. An article on new familiars.
  7. Third Party Supplements
    1. Lizardmen (Mayfair Games)
    2. Witches (Mayfair Games): two or three were used
    3. Compleat Adventurer (Bard Games) was not used, but I would use much of it today if running AD&D 1e
    4. Compleat Alchemist (Bard Games) was not used, but I would use it today
    5. Complete Spellcaster (Bard Games) was not used, but I would use much of it today
AD&D 2e
  1. Abilities
    1. Strength: sometimes we removed percentile strength
    2. Constitution: anyone could get Fighter's hp for high constitution if they had a high enough con scor
  2. Races
    1. Humans +2 to one ability score (human maximums still apply)
  3. Classes
    1. The optional PHB subclasses were used: Bard, Priest of Specific Mythoi, Druid, Paladin, and Ranger
  4. Multiclassing
    1. humans could multi-class
  5. Spells
    1. Several PHB spells were removed
    2. Some new spells were added from supplements and Dragon
  6. Official Supplements:
    1. Complete Fighter's Handbook: several kits and much of the remaining material was used
    2. Complete Thief's Handbook: the kits and most of the other material was used
    3. Complete Priest's Handbook was used as a DM tool
    4. Complete Bard's Handbook: a few kits were used as was non-kit material
    5. Complete Druid's Handbook: much of the material was used
    6. PO: Combat & Tactics: Some of the options were used
    7. PO: Spells and Magic: Some of the options were used
  7. Dragon Magazine
    1. David Howery's revised 1e Barbarian from Dragon was used or influenced the Complete Fighter's Handbook WIlderness Warrior Kit based on culture/environment
    2. David Howery's Completing the Complete Fighter article
    3. Completing the Complete Bard article was used
    4. Some of the Africa articles
 
Last edited:

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The simplest way I can put it is that, starting with 1e as a base, over the years we've rewritten pretty much the entire game.

Some of the earliest changes were to drop weapon speed and weapon vs armour type; drop xp-for-gp; go to a universal d6 initiative system individually rolled each round; expand allowable multi-class options (and give them to Humans as well, two-classing went away very early); allow Elves to be revived from death while toning down some of their other abilities; add "body points" for all creatures as a way-ahead-of-its-time wound-vitality system; adopt death at -10 and add unconsciousness rules for 0 to -9,, and so forth.

Since then we've added a few new classes, re-done a few others from the ground up, tried about six different psionics systems, greatly expanded what creatures can be what classes while removing most level limits, and kitbashed just about everything else you can think of on both sides of the screen.

Yet at heart it still more or less plays like 1e. :)
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
The simplest way I can put it is that, starting with 1e as a base, over the years we've rewritten pretty much the entire game.

Some of the earliest changes were to drop weapon speed and weapon vs armour type; drop xp-for-gp; go to a universal d6 initiative system individually rolled each round; expand allowable multi-class options (and give them to Humans as well, two-classing went away very early); allow Elves to be revived from death while toning down some of their other abilities; add "body points" for all creatures as a way-ahead-of-its-time wound-vitality system; adopt death at -10 and add unconsciousness rules for 0 to -9,, and so forth.

Since then we've added a few new classes, re-done a few others from the ground up, tried about six different psionics systems, greatly expanded what creatures can be what classes while removing most level limits, and kitbashed just about everything else you can think of on both sides of the screen.

Yet at heart it still more or less plays like 1e. :)
Two things. One related to the thread and another semi-unrelated.

1. You wouldn't happen to have run one continuous game for 30+ years and made the news a few times in recent years, would you?

2. In other threads about old-school gaming you've mentioned not liking player skill as a thing. So how do you handle things that games like AD&D would put under player skill? Ability checks? Non-weapon proficiencies? Something else?
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top