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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%

  • Total voters
    165

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Saying you need to be a certain strength, or combination of strength and bulk, in order to effectively wear plate armour is perfectly realistic. It makes sense.

But telling players that their PCs aren't allowed to rest (or that DMs are instructed to disturb that rest until some peg-point is reached) when logic and self-preservation would say that they should isn't realistic at all, and makes no sense other than from a perspective of pure small-g gamism.
I think it is hard to advance an argument along these lines, because it seems to me highly subjective. To give an idea of what I mean (without commitment to this position) I might feel that because all sentient creatures sleep in the real world, and they find it restorative, it makes exactly as much sense to include a mechanic for that in the game as for tying plate armour wearing to above average strength.

Other way around. My objection is that mechanical management of rests forces undue and unwarranted constraints on to the players and-or the DM; where narrative management - with the players in this case controlling the narrative and making the decisions - has no such problems.
Are you drawing a distinction here between what comprises a character and how they may act? The latter being taken to impinge on their narrative contributions.

If so, say I can cast some spells, but only a limited number before somehow restoring them. The intent would seem to be that I have some control over how many I can cast in a given encounter, but across a number of such encounters I'm not free to cast all my spells in each one or if I do, then I have none for the next encounter. A resource management mechanic is put in force. We can probably agree that it is common for games to challenge players with how they will expend their resources across multiple options for doing so.

I agree that constraints make games, but those restraints have to make sense in the context of what the game is trying to achieve.
Exactly. One might not be trying to achieve any kind of resource-management challenge. But then, one might not be trying to achieve an ability score challenge (roll or assign X to your strength, or don't use plate armour).

But D&D isn't just trying to achieve this, it's also trying to achieve a state where players and the DM between them control what happens in the fiction. Mechanical resting constraints fight this control

Another example of the same thing would be the game forcing a particular method of in-party treasury division, instead of leaving it up to each individual party/table to determine its method for itself.
I actually think it is valid for individual games to do all those things. What I think wouldn't be valid is supposing that every individual game had to do all of those things. In Dragon Quest (1st edition) the Adventurer's Guild contract IIRC includes how to divide the spoils. Some world design that I have quite enjoyed in the past is where you take intangible principles and make them world physics: effectively mechanics. It is an easy way to make a really distinctive environment, once you work through the consequences. I'm not advocating this approach for you, necessarily, but saying that it is valid.

That is, I do not draw a crisp distinction between what comprises a character, and how they may act, because I think 1) the two are entangled and 2) there will be an unlimited number of worthwhile exceptions.
 

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CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
On April 24th, I compiled the survey results and posted them in this thread. Not just the survey results; I also collected and analyzed (to the best of my ability) the comments and "nuance" I requested in the comment section as well. I have linked that survey to the OP in this thread, and in all of the other edition surveys as well.

But discussion continues, and votes are still coming in. I'm continue to collect and update the survey info, and I will be updating the summary soon. Thanks everyone for your (continued) participation! This has been a fun and enlightening exercise in the history of our hobby.
 

nevin

Villager
I think it is hard to advance an argument along these lines, because it seems to me highly subjective. To give an idea of what I mean (without commitment to this position) I might feel that because all sentient creatures sleep in the real world, and they find it restorative, it makes exactly as much sense to include a mechanic for that in the game as for tying plate armour wearing to above average strength.


Are you drawing a distinction here between what comprises a character and how they may act? The latter being taken to impinge on their narrative contributions.

If so, say I can cast some spells, but only a limited number before somehow restoring them. The intent would seem to be that I have some control over how many I can cast in a given encounter, but across a number of such encounters I'm not free to cast all my spells in each one or if I do, then I have none for the next encounter. A resource management mechanic is put in force. We can probably agree that it is common for games to challenge players with how they will expend their resources across multiple options for doing so.


Exactly. One might not be trying to achieve any kind of resource-management challenge. But then, one might not be trying to achieve an ability score challenge (roll or assign X to your strength, or don't use plate armour).


I actually think it is valid for individual games to do all those things. What I think wouldn't be valid is supposing that every individual game had to do all of those things. In Dragon Quest (1st edition) the Adventurer's Guild contract IIRC includes how to divide the spoils. Some world design that I have quite enjoyed in the past is where you take intangible principles and make them world physics: effectively mechanics. It is an easy way to make a really distinctive environment,
once you work through the consequences. I'm not advocating this approach for you, necessarily, but saying that it is valid.

That is, I do not draw a crisp distinction between what comprises a character, and how they may act, because I think 1) the two are entangled and 2) there will be an unlimited number of worthwhile exceptions.
I've seen a lot of discussions like this lately. I think what people miss the most is that 1st edition didn't have everything defined. Therefore the DM adjudicated most of the things that modern games define. Therefore every session was an unknown. That was fun. But really frustrating if you had a bad DM.

If you like games where the rules define everything like in a video game then you'll like things like arbitrary rest rules. But comparing them to things that have a logical reason like ST requirements for Armor is just silly. One is an attempt to control player actions and one is just an attempt to make a logical framework that the player's will accept and enjoy.

I think modern games are turning into the "shrew" they try to nag and control and shut down every argument to make everyone happy. What they'll eventually discover is that in an RPG the DM makes or breaks the game by adjusting everything to the story, the players and his or her style. The more you try to prevent DM fiat, or player Min-maxing, abuse etc, the more you limit the DM's options to actually run a good game. The biggest problem that I think modern D&D has is they are training new DM;s to run WOW clones in rule systems that are designed to let players know everything so they think it's fair. Fair is desirable but it can't be achieved by rules. (mainly because one person's fair is another person's stupid or unfair) Just like the magic, the story, and dedicating the time to the story only the DM can create fairness, and sometimes a good story needs to be unfair, or one-sided, or over the top. But the DM is the part of any such system that can toss the rules when they get in the way. Make new rules when needed or just wing it so the game doesn't stop for two hours while everyone looks through books. You can't create rules to make better DM's but you can create so many rules to follow that most people get too shackled to ever become good DM's.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
If you like games where the rules define everything like in a video game then you'll like things like arbitrary rest rules. But comparing them to things that have a logical reason like ST requirements for Armor is just silly. One is an attempt to control player actions and one is just an attempt to make a logical framework that the player's will accept and enjoy.
How do you sustain your claim is that rest rules are arbitrary and controlling and strength-restrictions on armour use are not arbitrary and controlling, beyond assertion? Both restrict characters in certain ways. Both translate ideas about the world into game mechanics. In an important sense, games are about constraints!

I think modern games are turning into the "shrew" they try to nag and control and shut down every argument to make everyone happy. What they'll eventually discover is that in an RPG the DM makes or breaks the game by adjusting everything to the story, the players and his or her style. The more you try to prevent DM fiat, or player Min-maxing, abuse etc, the more you limit the DM's options to actually run a good game. The biggest problem that I think modern D&D has is they are training new DM;s to run WOW clones in rule systems that are designed to let players know everything so they think it's fair. Fair is desirable but it can't be achieved by rules. (mainly because one person's fair is another person's stupid or unfair) Just like the magic, the story, and dedicating the time to the story only the DM can create fairness, and sometimes a good story needs to be unfair, or one-sided, or over the top. But the DM is the part of any such system that can toss the rules when they get in the way. Make new rules when needed or just wing it so the game doesn't stop for two hours while everyone looks through books. You can't create rules to make better DM's but you can create so many rules to follow that most people get too shackled to ever become good DM's.
What this seems to amount to is a denial of the possibility that game designers over years of experimentation have been able to improve RPG mechanics. For me that is neither plausible nor borne out by the evidence. Consider THACO versus the present D20 to hit mechanic, as just one example. Neo-vancian magic for another. These mechanics streamline the game, making it easier for most DMs and players. Or think about Apocalypse and Dungeon World, these experiments help advance the genre. The experiments of 4e D&D for that matter, building upon the experiments of Book of Nine Swords, also advanced the genre: leading to mechanics that made martial characters more interesting. To say that modern games are turning into the shrew, seems to fly in the face of the liberation many DMs on these very forums have claimed to feel in their relationship to 5e rules!

If your argument is essentially that the DM will make or break the game, regardless of rules. I think better rules make it more likely the DM will do well, but cannot guarantee it. So in that narrowed sense I would agree.
 

nevin

Villager
Nice strawman there. I never said modern systems had worse rulesets.

Modern gaming developers seem to be trying to come up with rules that cover every possible thing that could ever happen to make DMs lives easier. The problem is the more rules you add the more you reinforce that the DM is more of a referee than the guy in charge of the world. Anybody that falls into that trap will never be a good DM. And good DMs have always been the rarest resource.
I'd argue it's the same failure of vision that modern lawmakers have. Keep making things illegal till life gets better.

No matter good your rules are at some point you hit optimization and every thing after begins to drag it down. It's happened with every edition. Players whine developers write rules and eventually the rules teach DMs to quit thinking and wait for the developers to tell them what to think. At that point you might as well play an MMO. Maybe 5th isn't there yet. But if not it's only a matter of time because new books make money.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
No matter good your rules are at some point you hit optimization and every thing after begins to drag it down. It's happened with every edition. Players whine developers write rules and eventually the rules teach DMs to quit thinking and wait for the developers to tell them what to think.
That's a good point. Take a look at all of the comments in this forum where someone cites a Crawford tweet, and presents it as if it were official rules errata. (And maybe it is, I don't really know. All I know is that we don't needed a developer, or even another DM, to weigh in on the judgement calls we make in our games.)
 

S'mon

Legend
That's a good point. Take a look at all of the comments in this forum where someone cites a Crawford tweet, and presents it as if it were official rules errata. (And maybe it is, I don't really know. All I know is that we don't needed a developer, or even another DM, to weigh in on the judgement calls we make in our games.)
You dare question the Holy Crawford?! Seize the Blasphemer!! :p
 

Modern gaming developers seem to be trying to come up with rules that cover every possible thing that could ever happen to make DMs lives easier.
Are we strictly speaking about D&D with "modern gaming developers?" Because outside of D&D, that's almost completely opposite of the way game design has been trending.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
How do you sustain your claim is that rest rules are arbitrary and controlling and strength-restrictions on armour use are not arbitrary and controlling, beyond assertion? Both restrict characters in certain ways. Both translate ideas about the world into game mechanics. In an important sense, games are about constraints!
I agree, but those constraints should where possible also make logical sense.

Needing a certain Strength in order to use heavy armour makes sense from both in-fiction and meta-game perspectives.

Tying variable lengths of rest to recovery of various different abilities by various different classes is sometimes fine from the meta-game perspective but doesn't always make much sense in-fiction.

What this seems to amount to is a denial of the possibility that game designers over years of experimentation have been able to improve RPG mechanics. For me that is neither plausible nor borne out by the evidence. Consider THACO versus the present D20 to hit mechanic, as just one example.
Er...the present d20 to-hit mechanic, or an extremely close variant, predates THAC0 by quite a bit.
Neo-vancian magic for another. These mechanics streamline the game, making it easier for most DMs and players.
Streamlining and realism/simulation tend to work at cross purposes, and for each table there's a tipping point where streamlining comes at too great a cost of realism.

Or think about Apocalypse and Dungeon World, these experiments help advance the genre. The experiments of 4e D&D for that matter, building upon the experiments of Book of Nine Swords, also advanced the genre: leading to mechanics that made martial characters more interesting.
And, in contrast to your earlier point about making things easier for players, adding all those mechanics also made (most) martials much more difficult to play than they were in the 1e-2e era. In this instance I see this as a step backwards.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
Nice strawman there. I never said modern systems had worse rulesets.
Hmm. Your words read as criticism, but okay, if you think they are better rulesets we are aligned.

Modern gaming developers seem to be trying to come up with rules that cover every possible thing that could ever happen to make DMs lives easier. The problem is the more rules you add the more you reinforce that the DM is more of a referee than the guy in charge of the world. Anybody that falls into that trap will never be a good DM. And good DMs have always been the rarest resource.
5e consciously tries to cover less than 3e did.

No matter good your rules are at some point you hit optimization and every thing after begins to drag it down. It's happened with every edition. Players whine developers write rules and eventually the rules teach DMs to quit thinking and wait for the developers to tell them what to think.
I'd recommend reading the excellent book Rules of Play by Salen and Zimmerman, and some of the papers in the accompanying Reader. For games, rules are constitutive: accepted just so that the desired activity can occur. For sure there are surplus or over-architectured rules in many games - not really needed - yet that is a criticism tangential to the fundamental role rules play in provisioning games.

Do you, as a DM, stop thinking just because new rules are published or designer explanations made available? That just doesn't seem plausible to me. It doesn't apply to me. It doesn't apply to anyone I know. It doesn't apply to the posters to these forums.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
I agree, but those constraints should where possible also make logical sense.

Needing a certain Strength in order to use heavy armour makes sense from both in-fiction and meta-game perspectives.

Tying variable lengths of rest to recovery of various different abilities by various different classes is sometimes fine from the meta-game perspective but doesn't always make much sense in-fiction.
Rest is crucial for human performance. It makes in-fiction sense that rest should be needed. Accepted that it is more difficult to write good rules for. And that it has entanglements with the meta-game.

Er...the present d20 to-hit mechanic, or an extremely close variant, predates THAC0 by quite a bit.
Source?

But also, think of the crux of my argument. Retaining mechanics that worked, and cutting or revising those that did not, is the kind of advancement that I am arguing has been happening.

Streamlining and realism/simulation tend to work at cross purposes, and for each table there's a tipping point where streamlining comes at too great a cost of realism.
True, and I am certainly not suggesting that the tipping point will be in the same place for every table. What I am - firmly - suggesting is that contemporary game designers have been able to enhance their game mechanics based on decades of innovation and testing.

And, in contrast to your earlier point about making things easier for players, adding all those mechanics also made (most) martials much more difficult to play than they were in the 1e-2e era. In this instance I see this as a step backwards.
People are going to be as divided on this as they were when Nine Swords first came out, so we need to break out the arguments a bit.

On the one hand, we have available some hard-won mechanics that do a good job of giving martials more options... if you want those options! These are mainly found in battle master, and come from Nine Swords via 4th edition. (And Mearls' Iron Heroes, I believe.) If you look at the unifying ideas and the specific mechanical instancing, you can see the evolution of the design space. All of the relevant artifacts and even some of the discussion are preserved for us.

So my point there is that here is a set of game mechanics that became available at a certain point in time and were visibly refined right up to today. Probably they were based on predecessors (most game mechanics turn out to be based on inklings somewhere) but those are more obscure. They have opened up space for a certain kind of play. Not to everyone's taste.

That is where we have your criticism, which is tangential to my argument. I'm not saying martial rules are good for you or what you want, I am saying they are an example of mechanics that once did not exist, and do now, and do now in a refined form over earlier versions. Evidencing evolution. The fact that you want your martials to be simpler, does not impinge that.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
That's a good point. Take a look at all of the comments in this forum where someone cites a Crawford tweet, and presents it as if it were official rules errata. (And maybe it is, I don't really know. All I know is that we don't needed a developer, or even another DM, to weigh in on the judgement calls we make in our games.)
Often a professional game designer has a lot more information to base their understanding of a mechanic on, and can offer insights as to how that mechanic normally best plays. That's doesn't bind us as DMs at all, but it can often help us run the game better at out tables. There are often cases that we're simply not aware of, that come up from more extensive playtesting.

Then there is the separate but related job of courts of appeal. It's normally accepted that in tournaments there will be some authorities versed in the game mechanics and widely experienced with play, who - usually with reference to a canon of recorded decisions - resolve misunderstandings, breaches and disagreements. A softer version of that plays out with the original designers of a game, who in nearly all forums are conceded a certain authority to say how a mechanic they or their team crafted is intended to work. I don't think we normally concede the latter the same power as the former, and this is unproblematic.

So where I land is that developers do have something to offer us as DMs, while at the same time we're not - and never were except in formal tournaments - forced to apply what they suggest. That is a separate matter from someone who might try to force judgements upon us: the fault lies with that person, not the developer.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
OD&D and early-era 1e used a mechanic where the player rolled d20 to hit, sorted out their character's bonuses, and gave the DM a number. The DM, after checking the PC's combat matrix and the target's AC, determined if the attack hit.

The only difference between that and today is the combat matrix has been moved player-side, as BAB in 3e and something similar in later versions. And I'm not at all sure this is an advancement or a backstep; all it does it move work from the DM to the players, breaking immersion in two ways: one, more out-of-character thinking is needed, and two, it makes it far easier for players to quickly work out information they shouldn't know, that being the AC of the opponent.

But also, think of the crux of my argument. Retaining mechanics that worked, and cutting or revising those that did not, is the kind of advancement that I am arguing has been happening.
The problem is that over the years they've thrown too many babies out with the bathwater, usually in a quest to unify mechanics that work better if left unique.

As a minor example: Clerics turning undead worked just fine in 1e and 2e, for example, and hasn't worked nearly as well since.

Another not-so-minor example: in 3e they threw out most of the restraints that kept casters sort-of in check in 0-1-2e (mostly by making spells so much harder to interrupt), and casters got out of hand. But instead of making spells easier to interrupt in 4e-5e they just nerfed many of the spells, so now you've got a boring system that doesn't work as opposed to a more interesting system that didn't work.

And a current example: is 5e's advantage-disadvantage a good mechanic? Yes - in the right situations. There's many other times where a flat bonus or penalty is the better and more variable option (variable as in a +1 bonus isn't as big as a +5 bonus) but 5e design shoehorns all of that into the one somewhat-limited mechanic. It's unified, sure, but if it's not doing the job, who cares?

True, and I am certainly not suggesting that the tipping point will be in the same place for every table. What I am - firmly - suggesting is that contemporary game designers have been able to enhance their game mechanics based on decades of innovation and testing.
Depends what one defines as an enhancement, perhaps.

People are going to be as divided on this as they were when Nine Swords first came out, so we need to break out the arguments a bit.

On the one hand, we have available some hard-won mechanics that do a good job of giving martials more options... if you want those options!
Which would be fine if they were just that: options. But they're not; since 3e they've been baked in to the rules in one form or another, and stripping them out even in 5e has all sorts of knock-on effects around class balance, encounter planning, character damage output (if one cares about such), and so forth.

These are mainly found in battle master, and come from Nine Swords via 4th edition. (And Mearls' Iron Heroes, I believe.) If you look at the unifying ideas and the specific mechanical instancing, you can see the evolution of the design space. All of the relevant artifacts and even some of the discussion are preserved for us.

So my point there is that here is a set of game mechanics that became available at a certain point in time and were visibly refined right up to today.
Fair enough, though it's an open question whether those mechanics were really necessary in the first place.
Probably they were based on predecessors (most game mechanics turn out to be based on inklings somewhere) but those are more obscure. They have opened up space for a certain kind of play. Not to everyone's taste.

That is where we have your criticism, which is tangential to my argument. I'm not saying martial rules are good for you or what you want, I am saying they are an example of mechanics that once did not exist, and do now, and do now in a refined form over earlier versions. Evidencing evolution. The fact that you want your martials to be simpler, does not impinge that.
Sure the mechanics didn't exist at one point, and do now; but in the end that can be said for pretty much anything.

What would be useful here is if the 5e designers had really followed up on their ideas during playtest that the system would be truly modular, with a very vasic framework and lots of pluggable rules options that each table could choose to use or not. This way, all the martial maneuvers etc. could have been a rules module, and left optional.
 

clearstream

Be just and fear not...
OD&D and early-era 1e used a mechanic where the player rolled d20 to hit, sorted out their character's bonuses, and gave the DM a number. The DM, after checking the PC's combat matrix and the target's AC, determined if the attack hit.

The only difference between that and today is the combat matrix has been moved player-side, as BAB in 3e and something similar in later versions. And I'm not at all sure this is an advancement or a backstep; all it does it move work from the DM to the players, breaking immersion in two ways: one, more out-of-character thinking is needed, and two, it makes it far easier for players to quickly work out information they shouldn't know, that being the AC of the opponent.

The problem is that over the years they've thrown too many babies out with the bathwater, usually in a quest to unify mechanics that work better if left unique.

As a minor example: Clerics turning undead worked just fine in 1e and 2e, for example, and hasn't worked nearly as well since.

Another not-so-minor example: in 3e they threw out most of the restraints that kept casters sort-of in check in 0-1-2e (mostly by making spells so much harder to interrupt), and casters got out of hand. But instead of making spells easier to interrupt in 4e-5e they just nerfed many of the spells, so now you've got a boring system that doesn't work as opposed to a more interesting system that didn't work.

And a current example: is 5e's advantage-disadvantage a good mechanic? Yes - in the right situations. There's many other times where a flat bonus or penalty is the better and more variable option (variable as in a +1 bonus isn't as big as a +5 bonus) but 5e design shoehorns all of that into the one somewhat-limited mechanic. It's unified, sure, but if it's not doing the job, who cares?

Depends what one defines as an enhancement, perhaps.

Which would be fine if they were just that: options. But they're not; since 3e they've been baked in to the rules in one form or another, and stripping them out even in 5e has all sorts of knock-on effects around class balance, encounter planning, character damage output (if one cares about such), and so forth.
Is it right that you think that RPG rules (and D&D rules in particular) started out great, and game designers gradually made them worse over time?
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
Is it right that you think that RPG rules (and D&D rules in particular) started out great, and game designers gradually made them worse over time?
I know you weren't asking me, but I'll chime in and say "yes, in a lot of ways."

My biggest issue is with the battle mat. Having every turn of every round of every combat scene turn into a boardgame, and having players haggle with me and each other over board position is really immersion-breaking (and exhausting, besides). "No, see, if you stand over here, my fireball won't hit you." "Yes, but then I won't get the flanking bonus against this guy over here." "Oh yes, I see, well in that case how about I use a lightning bolt over here instead?" "But no, see, because the cleric is going to move over there on their initiative, so that they can caszzzz zzzz zzz...." All the effort I put into building tension and suspense goes right out the window so everyone can play Weird Chess for an hour.

I know that D&D grew from a tactical wargame, and the concept of a battle mat is not "new" to this hobby we all enjoy. But I cut my teeth on the BECMI edition of D&D, which did not have any rules for using a battle mat. Nothing was described in terms of "squares," and it often didn't matter if you were 55 feet vs. 60 feet from your opponent. Combat was a little less defined, which made it a little less complicated, a little more maleable, and a little more malleable. I wish that had carried through into later editions.
 
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atanakar

Hero
I know you weren't asking me, but I'll chime in and say "yes, in a lot of ways."

My biggest issue is with the battle mat. Having every turn of every round of every combat scene turn into a boardgame, and having players haggle with me and each other over board position is really immersion-breaking (and exhausting, besides). "No, see, if you stand over here, my fireball won't hit you." "Yes, but then I won't get the flanking bonus against this guy over here." "Oh yes, I see, well in that case how about I use a lightning bolt over here instead?" "But no, see, because the cleric is going to move over there on their initiative, so that they can caszzzz zzzz zzz...." All the effort I put into building tension and suspense goes right out the window so everyone can play Weird Chess for an hour.

I know that D&D grew from a tactical wargame, and the concept of a battle mat is not "new" to this hobby we all enjoy. But I cut my teeth on the BECMI edition of D&D, which did not have any rules for using a battle mat. Nothing was described in terms of "squares," and it often didn't matter if you were 55 feet vs. 60 feet from your opponent. Combat was a little less defined, which made it a little less complicated, a little more maleable, and a little more malleable. I wish that had carried through into later editions.
You miss remember. Miniature and play surface (and ruler) use are mentioned in Basic Player's Manual (Menzter) page 57. You chose not to play with miniatures. That is not the same thing. We always did starting 1980. At first with coins and dice. Later with metal miniatures. I had one set of Grenadier orcs. They were stand-ins for goblins, kobolds, hobgoblins and many other.

 
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Snarf Zagyg

Bargle's brother, Argle.
You miss remember.
I think his point was about battle mats and "squares."

"But I cut my teeth on the BECMI edition of D&D, which did not have any rules for using a battle mat. Nothing was described in terms of squares,' and it often didn't matter if you were 55 feet vs. 60 feet from your opponent. "

Moldavy et al. mentioned figurines-

"This game, unlike others, does not use a playing board or actual playing pieces. All that is needed to play are these rules, the dice included in this set, pencil and paper, graph paper, and imagination. The game may be more exciting if miniature lead figures of the characters and monsters are used, but the game can be played without such aids."

Moldvay B3.

Theater of the mind, or (at most) the use of token or miniatures to represent marching order or briefly illustrate something was exceptionally common; the use of full-fledged miniatures not so much, and there was certainly no understanding that a "battle map" or "squares" would be used.
 

atanakar

Hero
I think his point was about battle mats and "squares."

"But I cut my teeth on the BECMI edition of D&D, which did not have any rules for using a battle mat. Nothing was described in terms of squares,' and it often didn't matter if you were 55 feet vs. 60 feet from your opponent. "

Moldavy et al. mentioned figurines-

"This game, unlike others, does not use a playing board or actual playing pieces. All that is needed to play are these rules, the dice included in this set, pencil and paper, graph paper, and imagination. The game may be more exciting if miniature lead figures of the characters and monsters are used, but the game can be played without such aids."

Moldvay B3.

Theater of the mind, or (at most) the use of token or miniatures to represent marching order or briefly illustrate something was exceptionally common; the use of full-fledged miniatures not so much, and there was certainly no understanding that a "battle map" or "squares" would be used.
I'm curious to see what he answers. But 60 feet is 60 feet whether you use a ruler or a mat with squares. Same difference.
 

I love it, still play it, but it is arguable whether or not it is still truly "AD&D". I have heavily house ruled it, and it's more a mix of AD&D with B/X, some 3e, and a dash of 5e.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Is it right that you think that RPG rules (and D&D rules in particular) started out great, and game designers gradually made them worse over time?
Sometimes, yes: an early or even the first iteration of some of the rules was the best, or very close; and subsequent developments made them worse (or removed them entirely).

Other rules needed help; and subsequent developments fixed them...and then maybe even went on to wreck them again! :)

Others have been good - or good enough - all the way along, while others have never worked well.

The problem I see is that sometimes the official designers didn't all the time quite realize which were the good ones and which ones needed help. That, combined with a change-for-the-sake-of-change mentality that seems all too common to designers of many things beyond just RPGs, led to what I see as long-term mistakes that have now become largely baked in.
 

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