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D&D 1E Giving an AD&D feel to 5e

S'mon

Legend
That crunch isn't the only thing making AD&D feel like it does. The emphasis on a particlar sort of skilled play is very different from 5E. I agree that 5R E is quite flexible, but in this case it feels like reinventing rhe wheel when you already have thatbwheel on your shelf. YMMV.
I ran 1e-drifted 5e and 1e parrallel for a while in the same setting. I found I mostly preferred 5e, mostly for the magic system. I like how 5e does monsters, too. I find it much easier to drift 5e than 1e to what I want.
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
Umm, a longsword vs larger target is d12 damage. Two hits, without any bonuses, is still max 24 points of damage. Enough to kill an average ogre. Or, as @Lanefan put it, certainly not unreasonable.

And, yeah, look at that encounter. Two fireballs and poof, encounter over. Like I said, 42 hp giants.

But, hey, keep proving me right by pointing to the extreme examples of encounters in modules as to how lethal the game was. It's funny. Gygax complained about how many players were hitting double digit levels, back in the 70's. I wonder how they did it if @Sacrosanct is right. After all, according to him, no one should have ever advanced past third level in all the years of gaming. :erm:

It's like the "slow progression". That's another myth. The DMG actually flat out states you should be hitting name level in a year of gaming. 2e? Oh, ok, fair enough. No xp for gp? Yup, that's going to slow advancement to a crawl. Totally fair. But AD&D? Naw, you yoinked up levels quick as you please.
Prove you right by using extreme examples? YOU were the one to mention G series. I was using your own example. 🤷‍♂️ Also, I used Homlett because it was probably the most common example and adventure played outside of KotBL. It certainly isn't any more extreme than any other module. Would you prefer me to list those save or die opponents in Palace of the silver Princess? Horror on the Hill? Guess what, you might not like the answer.

I am fully aware a long sword does d12 vs large opponents. But you have to be extremely generous to assume a very high strength (1e wasn't like 3e on up, getting a high score was more rare than not), AND powerful magic items (also, specialization didn't exist when that module was out) to average 9.5 points of damage on each hit.

And again, your math is off. Even if the PC is a 12th level MU, 12d6 is an average of 42. And those giants will succeed for half, half of the time. "Poof, encounter over."? The more and more you argue, the more it seems like you aren't aware of what the rules of 1e actually were or how they worked.

I will offer some sincere advice. Before making arguments that every monster was meant to be fought, or that high risk (save or die/nearly die) monsters weren't encountered with frequency, you might want to actually look at the modules, and look at the actual rulebooks. Because I'm pretty sure that those of us with lots of actual experience playing 1e are rolling our eyes when you make a comment like VoH is an extreme example of deadly monsters that show up in modules. It's pretty par for the course. And I'm not even talking about traps either...
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Skilled play is precisely the thing here, actually. The term refers to the playstyle of RPGs that preference player ingenuity over character ability. This is generally true of D&D prior to 2E, and very much not true of 5E.
Yep. Player skill over character skill was definitely a thing. I think it was 3e where I saw the big shift happen to character skill. On one hand, I see why, because player's who aren't good and problem solving or tactics should be able to enjoy the game and success too, so having character skill matter is a big thing. On the other, I saw people move to now look at their character sheet and seeing what their skill modifier was before attempting an act after the shift, which IMO is a bad thing. Or refuse to try something if someone else in the party had an extra +1 modifier. That seems to metagamey to me, and I don't like how it shuts players down from trying things.
 

I've been running Rime of the Frostmaiden using milestones. Not my choice, but that's what the players wanted. I did slow them down just a hair (the module specifies X number of quests completed to go up a level, and I increased it by just one more than the number given) and it's definitely made for a more fraught experience.

The thing I miss the most as a DM! Best way to emulate that is "milestones" but don't make them story based. Just level them up when you feel it is appropriate. I am using XP for my Theros campaign and they are levelling quickly, which is fitting for the setting but were I to run Greyhawk I would have them levelling every two or three adventures with a slow crawl after level 7 of 4 adventures or thereabouts.
 

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.
I was completely agreeing with this until the totally bizarre assertion that you don't have to critically think or experiment with puzzles in 5E. That's completely wild and obviously false. You can't roll your way through a puzzle in 5E any more than 1E. If you're letting the characters skip a puzzle because they made an Investigation check or something in 5E, that's identical to letting the characters skip a puzzle in 1E by rolling an INT check.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Umm, a longsword vs larger target is d12 damage. Two hits, without any bonuses, is still max 24 points of damage. Enough to kill an average ogre. Or, as @Lanefan put it, certainly not unreasonable.

And, yeah, look at that encounter. Two fireballs and poof, encounter over. Like I said, 42 hp giants.
In fairness, with that many opponents you'd be lucky to get two fireballs away as a caster before at least one enemy got up in your face (or put a boulder through it) and-or you had to worry about hitting your allies.

Giants also have half-decent odds of saving, meaning the 28 average damage from your typical 8d6 fireball (assuming an 8th-level MU in the crew) is going to be halved to 14 a lot of the time.
It's like the "slow progression". That's another myth. The DMG actually flat out states you should be hitting name level in a year of gaming. 2e? Oh, ok, fair enough. No xp for gp? Yup, that's going to slow advancement to a crawl. Totally fair. But AD&D? Naw, you yoinked up levels quick as you please.
Many tables - including all of ours - very quickly either houseruled xp-for-gp right out of 1e or hugely reduced the amount of xp treasure would provide. It was a common variant; common enough that 2e adopted it as RAW.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Many tables - including all of ours - very quickly either houseruled xp-for-gp right out of 1e or hugely reduced the amount of xp treasure would provide. It was a common variant; common enough that 2e adopted it as RAW.
I mentioned this upthread, that as early as 1977 in Dragon, people were talking about only getting XP for treasure you spent, not just acquired.

Also, if I were a betting man, I'd bet groups that got xp for gold straight up and felt leveling was too fast were probably ignoring training time periods and costs for training and only being able to go up one level at a time. Those were RAW as well, and assured that you weren't leveling up fast.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I am fully aware a long sword does d12 vs large opponents. But you have to be extremely generous to assume a very high strength (1e wasn't like 3e on up, getting a high score was more rare than not),
Perhaps.
AND powerful magic items
Not perhaps. By the time a party gets to levels suitable for the G-series, if they got there via adventuring up through other modules, they'll be knee-deep in magic items including weapons.
(also, specialization didn't exist when that module was out) to average 9.5 points of damage on each hit.

And again, your math is off. Even if the PC is a 12th level MU, 12d6 is an average of 42. And those giants will succeed for half, half of the time. "Poof, encounter over."? The more and more you argue, the more it seems like you aren't aware of what the rules of 1e actually were or how they worked.
Two fireballs even at 20 points each on made saves is going to put a world o' hurt on 42 h.p. Giants, after which your archers or Magic Missiles can finish 'em off.

Big monsters in 1e simply don't have enough h.p. as written, largely because for some reason Gygax didn't give them any sort of Con bonus. Easily fixed, if a DM wants to do so.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I mentioned this upthread, that as early as 1977 in Dragon, people were talking about only getting XP for treasure you spent, not just acquired.

Also, if I were a betting man, I'd bet groups that got xp for gold straight up and felt leveling was too fast were probably ignoring training time periods and costs for training and only being able to go up one level at a time. Those were RAW as well, and assured that you weren't leveling up fast.
In effect it capped you at gaining one level per adventure.

The problem with this is that were you unlucky enough to bump early on in an adventure the rest of it was "wasted" in terms of earning xp, so a case could be made for "why bother continuing?". This seems counterproductive, somehow. :)

We did away with xp for gp and at the same time loosened things such that you could keep earning xp after bumping but before training - to a point, after which you'd hit an increasing slowdown.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Perhaps.

Not perhaps. By the time a party gets to levels suitable for the G-series, if they got there via adventuring up through other modules, they'll be knee-deep in magic items including weapons.

Two fireballs even at 20 points each on made saves is going to put a world o' hurt on 42 h.p. Giants, after which your archers or Magic Missiles can finish 'em off.

Big monsters in 1e simply don't have enough h.p. as written, largely because for some reason Gygax didn't give them any sort of Con bonus. Easily fixed, if a DM wants to do so.
I don't see how you're gonna get 2 fireballs off though. Well, if you had 2 MUs with those spells available I guess, but that's not typical. You might get one round off, but each of those giants can throw things, and in 1e, all it took was one minor distraction to interrupt a spell, let alone actual damage.
 

Does "AD&D feel" mean adhering to the gaming style and rules presented in the books and adventure or taking things piece meal and using them to construct a Frankensteinist game that was your own???
 

I was completely agreeing with this until the totally bizarre assertion that you don't have to critically think or experiment with puzzles in 5E. That's completely wild and obviously false. You can't roll your way through a puzzle in 5E any more than 1E. If you're letting the characters skip a puzzle because they made an Investigation check or something in 5E, that's identical to letting the characters skip a puzzle in 1E by rolling an INT check.
Not what I meant. I meant 5E makes it easy to fall into that trap of allowing a d20 roll to detect every trap and a d20 roll to resolve every trap because of the rules and how many adventures are written:

"A trap’s description specifies the checks and DCs needed to detect it, disable it, or both. A character actively looking for a trap can attempt a Wisdom (Perception) check against the trap’s DC....Any character can attempt an Intelligence (Arcana) check to detect or Disarm a magic trap..."

The sample traps (e.g. collapsing ceiling, net, fire) all have d20 rolls to detect and disable them. And sure, sometimes that makes sense.

Contrast this with a famous classic. "Show your players graphic #6."

1617732767866.png


In AD&D, no rolls to see if it was a trap. Instead, players had to experiment, say what they were doing. In the 5E conversion, a character who "succeeds on a DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check identifies" it. That takes all the experimentation and "play" out of it, imo, even though it's consistent with the rules on traps.

This comes up again. "Show your players graphic #20." OMG, a huge pit of spikes. What do we do? In the AD&D version, something happens depending on what players say they're doing. In the 5E conversion: a "DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check" discovers the nature of the trap and a DC 20 Dexterity check disables it. Boring. Players don't have to puzzle-solve. They've declared they're always looking for traps because, duh, this is a dangerous place.

Summary: it's up to the DM. You can play it more old-school: have players interact and explain what they're doing, avoiding most rolling. Or, you can play it more like a video game: I have my auto-detect on and I right-click to disable the trap once spotted.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Not what I meant. I meant 5E makes it easy to fall into that trap of allowing a d20 roll to detect every trap and a d20 roll to resolve every trap because of the rules and how many adventures are written:

"A trap’s description specifies the checks and DCs needed to detect it, disable it, or both. A character actively looking for a trap can attempt a Wisdom (Perception) check against the trap’s DC....Any character can attempt an Intelligence (Arcana) check to detect or Disarm a magic trap..."

The sample traps (e.g. collapsing ceiling, net, fire) all have d20 rolls to detect and disable them. And sure, sometimes that makes sense.

Contrast this with a famous classic. "Show your players graphic #6."

View attachment 135208


In AD&D, no rolls to see if it was a trap. Instead, players had to experiment, say what they were doing. In the 5E conversion, a character who "succeeds on a DC 20 Intelligence (Arcana) check identifies" it. That takes all the experimentation and "play" out of it, imo, even though it's consistent with the rules on traps.

This comes up again. "Show your players graphic #20." OMG, a huge pit of spikes. What do we do? In the AD&D version, something happens depending on what players say they're doing. In the 5E conversion: a "DC 20 Wisdom (Perception) check" discovers the nature of the trap and a DC 20 Dexterity check disables it. Boring. Players don't have to puzzle-solve. They've declared they're always looking for traps because, duh, this is a dangerous place.

Summary: it's up to the DM. You can play it more old-school: have players interact and explain what they're doing, avoiding most rolling. Or, you can play it more like a video game: I have my auto-detect on and I right-click to disable the trap once spotted.
Indeed. I recently just reran Hidden Shrine of T in 5e, using the 5e version. In the original, the only skill check was if a thief was using detect traps skill, which brings up two things: 1. No other character had that skill while in 5e it's a generic DC15 perception check, 2. many traps weren't detectable even by a find traps skill. They were more elaborate, so players had to narrate what their players were doing. In the revised version? Again, DC15 perception check to notice stuff.

I'm not going to argue one way is better than the other, only that AD&D did rely more on player skill than modern editions. Ability checks in AD&D were not RAW either. It was a houserule. A common one, but not an actual rule.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
In fairness, with that many opponents you'd be lucky to get two fireballs away as a caster before at least one enemy got up in your face (or put a boulder through it) and-or you had to worry about hitting your allies.

Giants also have half-decent odds of saving, meaning the 28 average damage from your typical 8d6 fireball (assuming an 8th-level MU in the crew) is going to be halved to 14 a lot of the time.

There was a fair amount missing from the Hussar's analysis, which, while you and Sacrosanct have engage with, I still don't see the major issue addressed.

Let us put aside, for the moment, the many ways in which OD&D and 1e AD&D was more deadly than 5e. Among those are:
1. Level draining.
2. Save or die.
3. Traps that would kill you (save or die again).
4. Massive damage (a 6d6 fall for a MU or even a Fighter in 1e is a lot different than in 5e).
5. You didn't get death saves. You went to 0, and you died. Yeah, some tables played with "house rules" or misreadings to let you go as low as -10, but 0 was death. And then, ANYTIME YOU CAME BACK , you had to roll or die permanently AND lose a point of Constitution.

The three primary issues with the "hit point" analysis provided by Hussar are fairly simple:

A. "Concentrated fire." Sure, the party could "concentrate their fire" on a single source, or two. But ... there weren't attack cantrips. Thieves didn't have comparable combat abilities. In effect, you had front-line Fighters (and subclasses) and Clerics and that was about it. Everyone else was support- not worrying about equality of damage.

B. Disparity of hit points was equalized. Yes, an Ogre only had 24 hitpoints. But you know what? Your MU, who was 5th level, only had 13 hit points. Because he didn't have a CON modifier, and got d4 hit points per level. So maybe the Ogre didn't last very long, but neither did your MU.

C. Armor class. I can't state this enough, but the 5e model of "Everyone hits, every round, because every combat is a pinata of hit points" didn't apply either. AC was king- there was a lot of missing going on.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
There was a fair amount missing from the Hussar's analysis, which, while you and Sacrosanct have engage with, I still don't see the major issue addressed.

Let us put aside, for the moment, the many ways in which OD&D and 1e AD&D was more deadly than 5e. Among those are:
1. Level draining.
2. Save or die.
3. Traps that would kill you (save or die again).
4. Massive damage (a 6d6 fall for a MU or even a Fighter in 1e is a lot different than in 5e).
5. You didn't get death saves. You went to 0, and you died. Yeah, some tables played with "house rules" or misreadings to let you go as low as -10, but 0 was death. And then, ANYTIME YOU CAME BACK , you had to roll or die permanently AND lose a point of Constitution.

The two primary issues with the "hit point" analysis provided by Hussar are fairly simple:

A. "Concentrated fire." Sure, the party could "concentrate their fire" on a single source, or two. But ... there weren't attack cantrips. Thieves didn't have comparable combat abilities. In effect, you had front-line Fighters (and subclasses) and Clerics and that was about it. Everyone else was support- not worrying about equality of damage.

B. Disparity of hit points was equalized. Yes, an Ogre only had 24 hitpoints. But you know what? Your MU, who was 5th level, only had 13 hit points. Because he didn't have a CON modifier, and got d4 hit points per level. So maybe the Ogre didn't last very long, but neither did your MU.

C. Armor class. I can't state this enough, but the 5e model of "Everyone hits, every round, because every combat is a pinata of hit points" didn't apply either. AC was king- there was a lot of missing going on.
Agreed. It's also worth noting that the encounter I put above? That was on the first floor. after already have ran into a few encounters (assuming resources would have been spent on those). So even assuming you've got two MUs and they both have fireballs ready, what do you do on the lower level of the fort? I mean, if every monster is meant to be fought*, you have to fight them, right? You couldn't just take a short or long rest whenever you wanted in 1e. So how do you fight them when you've blown through all your spells earlier?

*Not my argument, obviously.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Agreed. It's also worth noting that the encounter I put above? That was on the first floor. after already have ran into a few encounters (assuming resources would have been spent on those). So even assuming you've got two MUs and they both have fireballs ready, what do you do on the lower level of the fort? I mean, if every monster is meant to be fought*, you have to fight them, right? You couldn't just take a short or long rest whenever you wanted in 1e. So how do you fight them when you've blown through all your spells earlier?

*Not my argument, obviously.

Not just that, we have to remember the healing rules. In 1e, you didn't heal overnight (HA!), you didn't have an ever-ready wand of cure light wounds, and your cleric (or sometimes druid) had limited healing.

That said, individual experiences could differ. With all the house rules, and regional and table differences, not to mention the prevalence of Monty Haul campaigns, it was certainly possible to play 1e on "easy mode" (just like you could really hammer a party in 5e by putting some effort into it). It's just not how the game is normally set up.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
Not just that, we have to remember the healing rules. In 1e, you didn't heal overnight (HA!), you didn't have an ever-ready wand of cure light wounds, and your cleric (or sometimes druid) had limited healing.

That said, individual experiences could differ. With all the house rules, and regional and table differences, not to mention the prevalence of Monty Haul campaigns, it was certainly possible to play 1e on "easy mode" (just like you could really hammer a party in 5e by putting some effort into it). It's just not how the game is normally set up.
Also, it shouldn't be lost about how using a fireball in the room of a wooden fortress probably isn't the best idea when you're in said room.

In fact, many of the people I know who have played the module did exactly that from afar. Just set the whole darn thing on fire from a distance. 🤷‍♂️
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Also, it shouldn't be lost about how using a fireball in the room of a wooden fortress probably isn't the best idea when you're in said room.

In fact, many of the people I know who have played the module did exactly that from afar. Just set the whole darn thing on fire from a distance. 🤷‍♂️

The utility of fireball varied greatly depending on, um, whether or not anyone was paying attention to how it actually worked.
 

Summary: it's up to the DM. You can play it more old-school: have players interact and explain what they're doing, avoiding most rolling. Or, you can play it more like a video game: I have my auto-detect on and I right-click to disable the trap once spotted.
It really sounds like this is guesswork on your part based on what, that 5E had a shitty/lazy conversion of notorious (and frankly not-very-good) module Tomb of Horrors? I've never seen any puzzles avoided in D&D with checks, and I strongly suspect that in an adventure actually written for 5E, whilst Arcana might give insight but wouldn't magically turn the mouth off or whatever. I mean, that isn't even a trap in the same sense as the items described (the pit trap is, but it sounds like the pit trap was merely a speedbump).

Generally speaking in 5E, avoiding rolling is advantageous to the PCs, not to the DM, note, too. In 5E, you generally seek to avoid rolling. It's been discussed at great length here.
 

teitan

Hero
Umm, a longsword vs larger target is d12 damage. Two hits, without any bonuses, is still max 24 points of damage. Enough to kill an average ogre. Or, as @Lanefan put it, certainly not unreasonable.

And, yeah, look at that encounter. Two fireballs and poof, encounter over. Like I said, 42 hp giants.

But, hey, keep proving me right by pointing to the extreme examples of encounters in modules as to how lethal the game was. It's funny. Gygax complained about how many players were hitting double digit levels, back in the 70's. I wonder how they did it if @Sacrosanct is right. After all, according to him, no one should have ever advanced past third level in all the years of gaming. :erm:

It's like the "slow progression". That's another myth. The DMG actually flat out states you should be hitting name level in a year of gaming. 2e? Oh, ok, fair enough. No xp for gp? Yup, that's going to slow advancement to a crawl. Totally fair. But AD&D? Naw, you yoinked up levels quick as you please.
Play time was also assumed to be much longer than the 4 hour expectations built into the design of 5e and 5e expects level 20 within a year.
 

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