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From the pages of 1e

Kannik

Adventurer
While I was home over the holidays, I cracked open my first edition PHB and DMG to just read bits for fun. I started with the forewords and introductions and... I don't think I had ever read them before. When I started playing the group of experienced players explained the game to me, perhaps that's why I never felt the 'need' to read them -- at any rate I read a lot of things that struck me in reading these opening pages. I thought I’d share for amusement some of the passages that stuck with me the most, without commentary...

Gary Gygax et al said:
This is often no more than a matter of simple etiquette, and following a few simple guidelines will suffice to make the game experience more fun for everyone concerned, to wit:

1) Be an organized player; have the necessary information on your character readily at hand and available to the Dungeon Master.
2) Cooperate with the Dungeon Master and respect his decisions; if you disagree, present your viewpoint with deference to his position as game moderator. Be prepared to accept his decision as final and remember that not everything in the game will always go your way!
3) Cooperate with the other players and respect their right to participate. Encourage new and novice players by making suggestions and allowing them to make decisions on courses of action rather than dictating their responses.
4) If you are unable to participate in an adventure, give the other players and the DM some concrete guidelines if your character is going to be included in the adventuring group; be prepared to accept the consequences, good or bad, in any case.
5) Get in the spirit of the game, and use your persona to play with a special personality all its own. Interact with the other player characters and non-player characters to give the game campaign a unique flavor and "life". Above all, let yourself go, and enjoy!

Gary Gygax et al said:
It is important to keep in mind that, after all is said and done, ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is a game. Because it is a game, certain things which seem "unrealistic" or simply unnecessary are integral to the system. Classes have restrictions in order to give a varied and unique approach to each class when they play, as well as to provide play balance. Races are given advantages or limits mainly because the whole character of the game would be drastically altered if it were otherwise. Everything in the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS system has purpose; most of what is found herein is essential to the campaign, and those sections which are not — such as sub-classes of characters, psionics, and similar material — are clearly labeled as optional for inclusion.

Gary Gygax et al said:
Each character has a varying number of hit points, just as monsters do. These hit points represent how much damage (actual or potential) the character can withstand before being killed. A certain amount of these hit points represent the actual physical punishment which can be sustained. The remainder, a significant portion of hit points at higher levels, stands for skill, luck, and/or magical factors. A typical man-at-arms can take about 5 hit points of damage before being killed. let us suppose that a 10th level fighter has 55 hit points, plus a bonus of 30 hit points for his constitution, for a total of 85 hit points. This is the equivalent of about 18 hit dice for creatures, about what it would take to kill four huge warhorses. It is ridiculous to assume that even a fantastic fighter can take that much punishment. The same holds true to a lesser extent for clerics, thieves, and the other classes. Thus, the majority of hit points are symbolic of combat skill, luck (bestowed by supernatural powers), and magical forces.

Gary Gygax et al said:
If the game is not challenging, if advancement is too speedy, then it becomes staid and boring. Conversely, a game can be too deadly and become just as boring, for who enjoys endlessly developing new characters to march off into oblivion in a single night of dungeon adventuring?!

Gary Gygax et al said:
It was initially contemplated to term character power as rank, sp complexity was to be termed power, and monster strength was to termed as order. Thus, instead of a 9th level character encountering a 7 level monster on the 8th dungeon level and attacking it with a 4th lev spell, the terminology would have been: A 9th rank character encounter: a 7th order monster on the 8th (dungeon) level and attacked it with a 4t power spell. However, because of existing usage, level is retain throughout with all four meanings, and it is not as confusing as it may no seem.

Gary Gygax et al said:
Read how and why the system is as it is, follow the parameters, and then cut portions as needed to maintain excitement. For example, the rules call for wandering monsters, but these can be ;not only irritating — if not deadly — but the appearance of such can 'actually spoil a game by interfering with an orderly expedition.... . Rather than spoil such an otherwise enjoyable time, omit the wandering monsters indicated by the die.

Gary Gygax et al said:
A few brief words are necessary to insure that the reader has actually obtained a game form which he or she desires. Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinion an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek to use imagination and creativity.


What passages (of those above or other ones) strike you and have stuck with you over the years (or in recent reading, like me :p)?
 

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Wik

First Post
I remember that hit point one pretty clearly - I used to bring it up whenever someone would wonder why I was describing an attack as "It hit your armor, but failed to cut you... you take six points of damage".

Here's one from the Cook Expert BECMI set that I thought was kind of neat:

Dungeons and Dragons Fantasy Adventure Game: Expert Rulebook (1981) said:
A player character party with a wide range of abilities can usually defeat any single monster opponent. Thus, monsters will often team up for mutual survival. Special groups of monsters combining missile, spell, and melee attacks can be set up. Also, monsters can be given special leaders with more hit dice (or maximum hit points) and other special abilities. For example: a magic-user with two apprentices, a bodyguard of bugbears, and a charmed manticore; or an orc leader with clerical spells leading a party of bow-armed orcs with trained hunting lizards; and so on.

Kind of makes me think "shades of 4e" for some silly reason. ;)
 

What passages (of those above or other ones) strike you and have stuck with you over the years (or in recent reading, like me :p)?
All of those and more. I don't always agree on certain details but he seems to have always had a keen grasp of the broad strokes. Time and again I see only trouble arise when someone is being dismissive of things that Gary wrote over 30 years ago.
 

jaerdaph

#BlackLivesMatter
One thing that always stuck with me from 1e (the DMG, IIRC) was when Gary described the difference between Intelligence and Wisdom with an example of how he had the intelligence to know that smoking causes lung cancer, but lacked the wisdom to quit smoking.
 

Aurumvorax

First Post
4) If you are unable to participate in an adventure, give the other players and the DM some concrete guidelines if your character is going to be included in the adventuring group; be prepared to accept the consequences, good or bad, in any case.
This this and this some more. I've always hated the concept of a player not showing up to the game and his character mysteriously disappearing in a shroud of mist or being called away on a quest.

No. Your character becomes an NPC and the DM controls him based on how you roleplayed him. If you banged your head on every door and kicked halflings in the berries, the DM will play your guy exactly the same.

I don't remember who began the "character disappears" thing but the first time I saw it was in the 3E DMG.
 

This this and this some more. I've always hated the concept of a player not showing up to the game and his character mysteriously disappearing in a shroud of mist or being called away on a quest.

No. Your character becomes an NPC and the DM controls him based on how you roleplayed him. If you banged your head on every door and kicked halflings in the berries, the DM will play your guy exactly the same.

I don't remember who began the "character disappears" thing but the first time I saw it was in the 3E DMG.

First place I remember seeing this was in the 2E Campaign & Catacomb guide.
 

Holy Bovine

First Post
This this and this some more. I've always hated the concept of a player not showing up to the game and his character mysteriously disappearing in a shroud of mist or being called away on a quest.

No. Your character becomes an NPC and the DM controls him based on how you roleplayed him. If you banged your head on every door and kicked halflings in the berries, the DM will play your guy exactly the same.

I don't remember who began the "character disappears" thing but the first time I saw it was in the 3E DMG.

Oh do i ever agree with this! The only problem with your solution is that I, as a DM, have more than enough to do without playing a PC on top of everything else. Atleast that was what I thought until I came across the 'companion character' rules in the 4E DMG 2. I have since created 'companion character' versions of the PCs whose players aren't there reguarly (mutually agreed to beforehand) and now the PCs know that when 'Mary' can't show up her PC is still there, still helping in fights and skill checks but never takes the spotlight. Also it makes running the PC way easier as you only have a few powers & skills to know.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
Gary Gygax et al REPEATED FROM OP said:
It was initially contemplated to term character power as rank, sp complexity was to be termed power, and monster strength was to termed as order. Thus, instead of a 9th level character encountering a 7 level monster on the 8th dungeon level and attacking it with a 4th lev spell, the terminology would have been: A 9th rank character encounter: a 7th order monster on the 8th (dungeon) level and attacked it with a 4t power spell. However, because of existing usage, level is retain throughout with all four meanings, and it is not as confusing as it may no seem.
What passages (of those above or other ones) strike you and have stuck with you over the years (or in recent reading, like me :p)?
Holy ... ..moly!!! That Gygax quote just rocked my world. I came up with one of those terms over a year ago recognizing it as absolutely more indicative of what level meant in that case. And the rest included make just as much sense in my understanding even if they are not equally definitive.

Where in print is this? I would love to know.
 

grodog

Adventurer
One thing that always stuck with me from 1e (the DMG, IIRC) was when Gary described the difference between Intelligence and Wisdom with an example of how he had the intelligence to know that smoking causes lung cancer, but lacked the wisdom to quit smoking.

LOL: Joe Bloch and I were chatting about that very same quotation last night! :D
 


Aurumvorax

First Post
I regulate absent characters to the background and they help fight, but I just never liked the concept of them disappearing. A buddy of mine told a story about a DM that had a detailed excuse made up where characters were summoned to other planes or swallowed by a red mist. Eventually he got so fed up that when an important character disappeared he went "Guys. We have plane shift and high level divination. We have to find this dude!"

Not the best way to handle the situation through derailment but he got the DM to accept that characters should remain in game in the background and fight when necessary (I don't like the silent robot Mark the Red).
 

N0Man

First Post
It was initially contemplated to term character power as rank, sp complexity was to be termed power, and monster strength was to termed as order. Thus, instead of a 9th level character encountering a 7 level monster on the 8th dungeon level and attacking it with a 4th lev spell, the terminology would have been: A 9th rank character encounter: a 7th order monster on the 8th (dungeon) level and attacked it with a 4t power spell. However, because of existing usage, level is retain throughout with all four meanings, and it is not as confusing as it may no seem.

Oh... there are some that might disagree. ;-)

Order of the Stick #12
 

N0Man

First Post
I want to add the part about Hit Points is something I always remembered, since I very first read the AD&D books as a kid. It was pretty ingrained in me, so when 4th Edition came along, I was honestly confused by why so many people had so much trouble with this idea, and even would continue to argue that hit points were *always* about pure damage, and nothing more...

I've always felt that 4E was a little bit of AD&D/2E, with a little 3E, with a little something new, and a lot of these quotes reinforces that feeling for me.

I'm not trying to argue superiority or any edition-war nonsense, but rather that 4E isn't the aberration that that some of it's most vocal critics like to make it out to be.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This this and this some more. I've always hated the concept of a player not showing up to the game and his character mysteriously disappearing in a shroud of mist or being called away on a quest.

No. Your character becomes an NPC and the DM controls him based on how you roleplayed him.
What I usually do is let the other players run it. Either one player takes it on or they run it by committee, doesn't matter to me. And if the missing player has left instructions that are counter to what the players are having the PC do, the instructions take priority.
I don't remember who began the "character disappears" thing but the first time I saw it was in the 3E DMG.
I knew such a thing had existed for a long time; the first I knew of anyone actually taking it seriously enough to use it was by reading people's posts here in ENWorld.

Lan-"we call them QPCs - quasi-player characters - when their players aren't there"-efan
 

I want to add the part about Hit Points is something I always remembered, since I very first read the AD&D books as a kid. It was pretty ingrained in me, so when 4th Edition came along, I was honestly confused by why so many people had so much trouble with this idea, and even would continue to argue that hit points were *always* about pure damage, and nothing more...

I've always felt that 4E was a little bit of AD&D/2E, with a little 3E, with a little something new, and a lot of these quotes reinforces that feeling for me.

I'm not trying to argue superiority or any edition-war nonsense, but rather that 4E isn't the aberration that that some of it's most vocal critics like to make it out to be.
Agreed.

@ levels:

In german language we actually had different terms:h
spell level was "Grad"
character level was "Stufe"
dungeon level was "Ebene"
and monster level was usually described as "Trefferwürfel" (Hit dice)
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
I was honestly confused by why so many people had so much trouble with this idea, and even would continue to argue that hit points were *always* about pure damage, and nothing more...


Can you point me to this thread? I've never heard of anyone making that argument.

I have heard the argument that hit points always represent some amount of actual damage, however miniscule (so that, say, poison or paralysis can take effect), but I've never heard anyone say "hit points were *always* about pure damage, and nothing more".


RC
 
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Holy ... ..moly!!! That Gygax quote just rocked my world. I came up with one of those terms over a year ago recognizing it as absolutely more indicative of what level meant in that case. And the rest included make just as much sense in my understanding even if they are not equally definitive.

Where in print is this? I would love to know.

If memory serves, this can be found in the front part of the 1E PHB somewhere. Don't have my books handy at the moment.
 


Fifth Element

First Post
Can you point me to this thread? I've never heard of anyone making that argument.

I have heard the argument that hit points always represent some amount of actual damage, however miniscule (so that, say, poison or paralysis can take effect), but I've never heard anyone say "hit points were *always* about pure damage, and nothing more".
He wasn't necessarily talking about a thread here. I've heard that argument several times over the years (in person), including (IIRC) in Dragon forum letters?
 

Fifth Element

First Post
I have since created 'companion character' versions of the PCs whose players aren't there reguarly (mutually agreed to beforehand) and now the PCs know that when 'Mary' can't show up her PC is still there, still helping in fights and skill checks but never takes the spotlight. Also it makes running the PC way easier as you only have a few powers & skills to know.
That's a brilliant idea, I'd never thought of that. I let the other players run a missing PC, but that can be difficult (in 3E or 4E), especially if they're a caster. Things get missed since they're not familiar with the character's mechanics. A companion version seems ideal.
 

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