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D&D 1E Giving an AD&D feel to 5e

dmhelp

Explorer
I really prefer the 5e proficiency bonus/bounded accuracy over ad&d. But I miss the feel of ad&d. I was thinking the following changes would give more of an ad&d feel to 5th edition:
--- modified rules
So after reading all of the feedback I'm thinking:
1. Roll 4d6s (reroll until >= 75 total) and apply standard racial modifiers, max 18 abilities (instead of 20)

2. No Artificers/Sorcerers/Warlocks (Wizards may also pick from Sorcerer or Warlock subclasses); no feats; no standard multiclassing

3. The first 4 ASIs gained instead give a new saving throw proficiency (with ASIs after this being ignored): Fighters & Rogues will have all saves at level 12, Monks at level 14, a Fighter/Rogue at level 10, and other classes at level 16

4. AD&D ("gestalt") multiclassing allowed (non-Human PHB races only) with two classes from two separate groups: Barbarian/Fighter/Ranger, Cleric/Druid, Rogue, & Wizard (e.g. Fighter/Wizard is ok, but Barbarian/Fighter is not; Bards/Monks/Paladins may not multiclass)

5. After level 10 only gain 1 hp/level with no con mod, or 3 hp/level if Barbarian/Fighter/Monk/Paladin/Ranger/Rogue
---
Any thoughts from people that like 1e and 5e?
 
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Point 1 will probably go bad unless you redo the point where +1/-1kicks in. Most attribs back in 2e did that at 6 &15. Hacing it at 8 &12 means that every attrib matters to something even if that something is an untrained skill linked to a dump stat
 


teitan

Hero
Point 1 will probably go bad unless you redo the point where +1/-1kicks in. Most attribs back in 2e did that at 6 &15. Hacing it at 8 &12 means that every attrib matters to something even if that something is an untrained skill linked to a dump stat
I don’t follow. 4D6 is fine for AD&D style. The math is different in 5e and more closely emulates 1e/2e aside from the bucket of hit points issue, but reinstating a cap would go a long way towards not only speeding the game up a bit but also bring the hit point math in line with bounded accuracy.
 


I don’t follow. 4D6 is fine for AD&D style. The math is different in 5e and more closely emulates 1e/2e aside from the bucket of hit points issue, but reinstating a cap would go a long way towards not only speeding the game up a bit but also bring the hit point math in line with bounded accuracy.
I thought you were talking about the old stat generation over the standard array but it sounds like you might be talking about something else. If not, you could give ad&d characters the 15/14/13/12/10/8 standard array & it still wouldn't put the kind of pressure to perfectly arrange their stats that you see in 3.x 4e & 5e because it literally would have close to zero mechanical impact where most of them went. Here's the table for Constitution from ad&d as an example that applied to everyone
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dmhelp

Explorer
I think rolling for stats was the biggest way to different characters in ad&d since feats weren’t there to differentiate characters. So I think removing ASIs helps keep your starting stats distinctive. By replacing them with save proficiencies I think you can recreate the feel of tough saves at high level.

5e players are very lego my eggo about taking things away which is why I was looking for a replacement for rogue/fighter extras.
 



For me, it's never been the character class features or fluff.

1. Less rules / no skills = more DM adjudication, more chances for crazy and fantastical things to happen that you didn't expect, so long as they aren't jerk rulings like "you open the unmarked door into the vacuum of cold dark space. You're all dead." When players came across puzzles, they often had to critically think or experiment their way through it instead of rolling a d20.

2. Monsters were tougher & scarier. I mean tougher in the sense some monsters were like puzzles. Golems were immune to most magic spells and mundane weapons. Mind flayers had 90% magic resistance and a deadly stun cone. Vampires drained levels (ok, maybe we don't need to go back to exactly that, but back then their drain scared the beejeezus out of players). D&D 5E encourages players to hack away at everything because you can. AD&D by design often forced players to come up with creative ways to deal with monsters other than sheer HP damage output. Spells and weapons sliding off the golem? Try an illusion of a giant pit of acid between the two of you. Mind flayers got you down? See how they do if you summon the dead to swarm them, or lure them into that weak spot where there is a lava flow to be exploited. Vampires...well, come up with ways not to be hit.

As to the OP's points, a few notes:
1. Roll 4d6
I'd keep stats the same because it sucks when someone gets superhuman stats and you don't. Can lead to suiciding characters until you get the stats you want.
2. no feats
Maybe. 5E put a lot of the power in the classes rather than magical items. Messes with the fighter class a bit.
6. phb races and subclasses only
AD&D had its share of goofy races and classes.
7. Maybe remove charisma skills?
That's a DM style issue. I require checks when the outcome is in flux. Some use also prevents savvy roleplayers from making CHA a dump score and then "playing" their way around it.
 

dave2008

Legend
I really prefer the 5e proficiency bonus/bounded accuracy over ad&d. But I miss the feel of ad&d. I was thinking the following changes would give more of an ad&d feel to 5th edition:

1. Roll 4d6

2. no feats

3. replace ASIs with an additional save proficiency with each occurrence (so most get all saves by level 16)

4. gestalt multiclassing (no bard/monk/paladin/sorcerer) instead of 5e multiclassing

5. no warlock? (Maybe letting sor/wiz pick up the subclasses if desired)

6. phb races and subclasses only

7. Maybe remove charisma skills?

Any thoughts from people that like 1e and 5e?

Any ideas on how to fill out asis after the first 4? Rogues now have a dead level at 15 and monks at 14....
Figure out the feel your going for and tailor as needed. Personally I would:
  • Feats only (no ASI)
  • Cap stats at 16 or 17 (so +3 max from your stat)
  • No multiclassing (that is what backgrounds and feats are for)
  • 4 classes: Fighter, Rouge, Cleric, Wizard
  • Revise natural healing (many different methods possible)
  • Death at 0 HP
  • Soft-cap on hit points: after lvl 10 you don't get CON mod to hit points, only a static amount based on your HD. d6 = 1, d8 = 2, d10 = 3
 

Greg K

Adventurer
Regarding removing skill proficiencies, let us not forget that proficiencies were introduced in AD&D 1e supplements and were also in the 2e PHB. The mechanics may have been different, but there is precedence for keeping them and having an AD&D, but it would depend upon whether one's group used them in AD&D.
Now, if keeping them, I would argue for a skill point type system with individual skill and tool proficiencies limited by the proficency bonus, because in AD&D, proficiencies did not increase automatically with level and you had to spend points to increase them or to acquire new ones.
 


Sacrosanct

Legend
AD&D had its share of goofy races and classes.
I know technically the classes in Dragon magazine were NPC, but everyone treated them like classes. So in that regard, no other edition has has as many classes as 1e (maybe 3e with prestige, but I don't know them all).
 

Esbee

Dungeon Master at large.
AD&D is more of a slow burn.

So I'd say the best way to capture that feel isn't necessarily rewriting rules, but rather adapt concept to 5e parameters.

Without writing new house rules... I'd say run a Gritty Variant game from the DMG, ignore the recommendation of the daily # of encounters (or in the very least stretch it out over the week), and especially don't cater the encounters to the players.

Adventures would need to be more excavation style dungeon crawls, and not pre-written short-stories complete with all the acts and beats laid out for you. Players need to know when to run away, because there's no guarantee they can handle what's coming. Games would literally be a day spent in a dungeon followed by retreating home for a week for a long rest to recover, and return later.

It's not much different than AD&D where you healed 1 hp a day, and had to leave for a few days to heal after a fight.

The DM definitely has to be up to the task, though, and players used to the quick and dirty video game style of 5e will be in for a shock.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
Although, I don't think one could completely recreate the feel of AD&D using 5e, I do believe that there are things that can be done to recapture the feel or spirit of some aspects. Some things like limiting classes have been mentioned.
I would add replacing simple and martial weapon categories with a limited number of starting weapons (or weapon groups) by class. I actually prefer weapon groups to the simple and martial groupings


Furthermore as someone that started with Holmes Basic, then moved to AD&D 1e and AD&D 2e, I liked proficiencies (although, I disliked that, as the result of AD&D's non-unified mechanics, they sometimes led to things being handled in multiple ways). I also liked 2e kits in concept (some of them suffered from the lack of unified mechanics and feats), 2e Priests of Specific Mythoi/Specialty Priests, and 2e clerical spells grouped into All, Lesser Sphere, and Greater Sphere. Therefore, for those that liked proficiencies, kits, and Priests of Specific Mythoi/Specialty priests, I recommend the following:

1. If you liked kits (at least in theory), use James Driscoll's conversions of the 2e Complete Fighter's Handbook, and Complete Thief's Handbook. Essentially, he treats them as quick builds with a recommended starting class, a background (a few are new creations), skill and tool proficiencies, feats (some of them are new that he created), and starteding equipment. Addiitionally, keep the 5e Barbarian (Berserker subclass) for use with the Fighter Berserker kit.

2. If you liked 2e Priests of Specific Mythoi/Specialty Priests and/or the 2e Complete Priest's Handbook, I recommend James Driscoll's Conversion of the 2e Complete Priest's Handbook. As with the original, I think it is a great DM tool (although I recommend still having the original for the information not included in the convesion).

James handles priest kits as he did kits in his conversions of the 2e Complete Fighter's Handbook and Complete Thief's Handbook kits (i.e. as quickbuilds), but with the recommendation of a domain for each kit.
He also does something interesting with the 2e Complete Priest's Handbook's sample priesthoods. Now, he doesn't re-introduce 2e's All, Lesser Sphere, Greater Sphere spell organization of 2e cleric spells, but he does create greater difference between clerics of different priesthoods through the use of the Acolyte Background. The Acolyte Background is used to mechanically distinguish between each priesthood through variant skill and/or tool proficiencies, possibly recommendations for different languages, variant starting equipment, and variant domain spells.

3. In addition to using Jame's Complete Priest's Handbook, I would use tailored spell lists for each deity to recreate the spirit of both Priest's of Specific Mythoi/Specialty Priests and clerical spheres .

If you want to recreate 2e spheres of influcence, you could group spells into
If you want to recreated the lesser and major access of spheres , you could recreate them as well by
grouping spells into the following sphres: All, Animal, Astral, Charm, Combat, Creation, Divination, Elemental, Guardian, Healing, Necromantic, Plant, Protection, Summoning, Sun, and Weather.

If you want 2e Minor and Major access to spheres, you could limit Minor Acess to 3rd level spells or lower and Major to all spells within the sphere.

Personally, I just for the spirit of 2e spheres and tailor spell lists by deity, but also include an All Sphere and, depending upon campaign, an alignment list.

For the All category, I, personally, start with a handful of spells shared by all clerics. I woud focus on things useful for all clerics such spells for communing with their deity, removing curses, marking those that seriously transgressed against the deity or their tenets, planar ally, etc.

In campaigns, in which deities share lists based upon their being Good, Evil, or Neutral , clerics also receive spells based on alignment.

Finally, I create a tailored list for each specific deity based upon its domain(s). I start with domain spells and then round out the list with additonal appropriate spells. If, in a campaign, deities will grant spells to the priest's of allied deities, I use minor and major acesss. A deity will grant clerics of allied deities access to minor spells, but only their own clerics are granted access to major domain spells.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
I really prefer the 5e proficiency bonus/bounded accuracy over ad&d. But I miss the feel of ad&d.
I'll respond to a few things below, but don't discount what you do behind the DM screen. My 5e games definitely have an OSR feel largely due to the danger levels of my encounters, embracing player choice, and focusing on challenging the players just as much or more than challenging their character sheets.

3. replace ASIs with an additional save proficiency with each occurrence (so most get all saves by level 16)
There's a problem there with #3, which you took note of below. By 16th level, most classes will have attained proficiency in ALL saving throws, so the 19th level ASI (which you've proposed reinterpreting as save proficiency) serves no purpose. It's not insurmountable, but you'd need to address it with some tweaks.

This issue is magnified for certain classes. Fighter, Rogue, and Monk in particular.

By 12th level the Fighter would attain prof in all saves, so the 14th, 16th, and 19th ASIs serve no purpose.

For the Rogue, the 15th level Slippery Mind (prof in WIS saves), 16th and 19th ASIs would serve no purpose.

And for the Monk, the 14th level Diamond Soul feature (prof in all saves) is invalidated.

4. gestalt multiclassing (no bard/monk/paladin/sorcerer) instead of 5e multiclassing
@Sword of Spirit had some good ideas for how to approach gestalt multiclassing in 5e over here: D&D 5E - Gestalt multiclassing, how's the balance of this proposal

5. no warlock? (Maybe letting sor/wiz pick up the subclasses if desired)
I think more than banning warlock, the issues that the warlock class magnifies are ones to pay attention to. Namely, (a) spammable cantrips (actually I just posted on this in another thread, but Beyond the Wall has a great approach), and (b) certain eldritch invocations (and rituals for that matter) allowing spamming things like detect magic.

If you can address (a) and (b), which seem to undermine the AD&D "feel" more than the presence of a warlock class, then you should be good to go.

7. Maybe remove charisma skills?
There's a happy medium there that works well for OSR games. It relies on two rules, and a bit of creative thinking.

First, as DM you decide whether a check is even possible (or whether a task is an automatic success), not the players. So talking down a hostile warband of hobgoblins might not be possible with some flippant role-play and a skill check. It's just not going to happen. However, if the players have done the legwork to know that Khagar Din the hobgoblin warchief is allegedly dead, but the body was never found, then a clever player leaning on this information might unlock the ability to make a Deception check to trick the hobgoblins. Good enforcement of this fundamental principle of 5e really helps to evoke an old school feel.

Second, definitely read over DMG page 245 about Conversation Reactions with DCs based on a creature being friendly/indifferent/hostile. It's not perfect, but it actually captures the gist of 1e style reactions fairly well. I generally use it as a touchstone on my DM screen and combine with old school reaction tables as needed.

Finally, when I prepare interaction encounters, I sometimes include a bit of structure in the form of questions the NPC might ask, and answers/lore/aid they can offer the PCs. I've found this to be a very organic merger of the mechanics with the roleplaying so it's almost seamless.

Any ideas on how to fill out asis after the first 4? Rogues now have a dead level at 15 and monks at 14....
The 1e answer would probably be followers & strongholds.
 

teitan

Hero
Regarding removing skill proficiencies, let us not forget that proficiencies were introduced in AD&D 1e supplements and were also in the 2e PHB. The mechanics may have been different, but there is precedence for keeping them and having an AD&D, but it would depend upon whether one's group used them in AD&D.
Now, if keeping them, I would argue for a skill point type system with individual skill and tool proficiencies limited by the proficency bonus, because in AD&D, proficiencies did not increase automatically with level and you had to spend points to increase them or to acquire new ones.
Extremely late in 1e and most games didn’t use Non Weapon Proficiencies because the Survival Guides weren’t well received and OA was almost a separate game. They weren’t core and the game was smoother without them. 2e? Also an optional rule in the core rulebooks. They weren’t expected as default in a game.
 

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