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D&D 1E Edition Experience: Did/Do you Play 1E AD&D? How Was/Is It?

How Did/Do You Feel About 1E D&D?

  • I'm playing it right now; I'll have to let you know later.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm playing it right now and so far, I don't like it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%


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DND_Reborn

The High Aldwin
LOL! I am just the opposite. When we switched from 1e to 4e I ditched my 20 pages of AD&D rules for about 2-3 pages for 4e and down to 1-2 pages for 5e.

Really? I would seem like from some of your posts you have more house-rules for 5E? But, maybe I am thinking of someone else... shrug
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
From what I have gleaned, and I could be completely wrong, EGG's original concept of D&D was that the DM would run a continuous world, with a fairly fluid, rotating cast of players dropping in and out, almost like an MMO. So the idea was that a Paladin should be rare in the world, as should the Ranger.
Even without the rotating cast of players, having some classes be less common than others is fine. (particularly Paladin, which without serious redesign can often just be a headache)

From a DM perspective, running the sort of game where Lord Robilar can fly in on his carpet one day and completely ruin the ToEE for a different party, it makes sense. But for the game most people actually ended up playing, where a group of four or five friends would play together for a long time, having classes gated behind randomized ability scores is nonsensical.
Why?

What it does is force a different mindset, where instead of showing up to roll-up night with your character already fully formed in your head, you instead don't start thinking about character concepts until AFTER you see what the dice give you to work with.

Also, given that 1e is quite lethal at low levels you're fairly safe in assuming you'll get a few more cracks at rolling up characters in that campaign; and there's nothing stopping you from retiring a character out after a while and coming back with something new.

If you don't have 20 different players rotating in and out of your table, you might never see a Paladin.
Some might say this is a very strong feature. :)
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
But this led to the second issue; terrible balancing. Every ... single ... time .... in AD&D that something awesome was given, it was usually balanced in a terrible and stupid way. We see this in the original rules (Paladins can't adventure in mixed parties, strictures on gold and magic items and so on) and we keep seeing it as the game progressed (wanna be a cool drow? great, don't go in the sun; wanna be a cool barbarian? great, don't hang out with them spellcasters).

Speaking from my own, anecdotal and observed experience ... when you try to "balance" awesome features with drawbacks that are nearly unplayable, the drawbacks get removed or forgotten or otherwise ignored, which means they aren't really drawbacks, and therefore don't balance.
That the drawbacks are removed isn't the fault of the drawbacks, or of the designers, it's the fault of the DMs who removed them or failed to enforce them. The drawbacks exist for a reason: to intentionally make an otherwise-powerful class harder to play. Philosophy: no bonus without corresponding penalty; something later editions have sadly failed to maintain.

The only one I've ever found to be a real headache is the alignment restrictions on who can adventure with a Paladin. It took me decades, but I finally ended up redesigning Paladins into LG, CG, CE and LE versions, each of whom have restrictions on who they'll run with but chances are much higher one can fit with a given party.
 

When I last ran 1e, I told people that if they wanted to play a class and didn't qualify for the stats, they could siphon points from other scores. I wanted people to be able to play what they wanted to play. We had a paladin and a barbarian. I'm pretty sure that the barbarian fudged his stats anyway, but his character still ended up being the first to die.
 

TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
What it does is force a different mindset, where instead of showing up to roll-up night with your character already fully formed in your head, you instead don't start thinking about character concepts until AFTER you see what the dice give you to work with.
I think there's a lot of positive to be said for random and procedural generation of characters; as you say, it reinforces that the focus of the game is on skilled play through the adventure rather than on development of specific character arcs.

That being said, I'm not a fan of keeping the stronger classes gated behind high rolls, it's definitely a case of "the rich get richer". I favor playbook generation of random characters such as Beyond the Wall, or a system where the stronger classes are gated behind lower rolls, or one where the gated classes are the more oddball and distinct classes.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
When I last ran 1e, I told people that if they wanted to play a class and didn't qualify for the stats, they could siphon points from other scores. I wanted people to be able to play what they wanted to play. We had a paladin and a barbarian. I'm pretty sure that the barbarian fudged his stats anyway, but his character still ended up being the first to die.
That's just it - high stats don't guarantee anything.

Best set of rolls I've seen in my life, and rolled right in front of me: 18-18-17-17-15-15. (not in that order, but that's how I remember 'em). Player made a Ranger out of it, brought it in in mid-campaign, party's about 4th-5th level, he was 4th I think.

And after the very next combat, out came his roll-up dice again...
 


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