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D&D 1E Giving an AD&D feel to 5e

Sacrosanct

Legend
Heh.

I love the irony of being told that my experience doesn't count, while at the same time people are claiming that their experience was universal. Or, being told that every table was different back in the day ( a point I definitely agree with) while at the same time telling me that my table didn't really exist (didn't have experience with the game).
No one has told you that your experience doesn't count. What we're (at least me) telling you is that how you're describing AD&D play was not only not the norm, but actually the antithesis to how it was designed to be played. Not just by my opinion, but by the people who actually wrote the game. And some of the claims you've made make no sense to anyone who is familiar with how the rulebooks and modules were actually written.
Or that playing with Unearthed Arcana=Monty Haul gaming. ROTFLMAO. Hrmmm, judgmental much?

Not judgmental at all, but a fair statement. For a decade, AD&D was played largely with the same rules, and set of standards for how characters were created. Then, all of the sudden, UA came along and said "Hey! Let's add some powerful races to play. Then let's add some super powered classes as well. Hmm...that's not enough, let's make sure every PC has at least three 18s in their top three ability scores. And for a cherry on top, let's allow fighters to throw 6 darts every round for a ton of damage each!"

It would be like saying, "In 2e, there were 8 ability scores, and dwarven fighters could get an extra +1 to attack with axes, only suffered 1/2 damage from blunt attacks, got a d12 for hit points, got a 2% magic resistance per level, and had a +2 bonus to AC when not wearing armor." because Skills and Powers was an official 2e book.

Do you honestly think that 2e was generally played with those rules?
Apparently, according to some in this thread, you only ever got above 3rd level in AD&D by being a massive munchkin with a Monty Haul DM. Because, well, the game was SO lethal that it is inconceivable that you could possibly succeed at anything.

Who said this?

Look, I'll agree that AD&D was very lethal due to the plethora of save or die effects. Totally agree with that. But, the other stuff? Not so much.

Then again, AD&D is incredibly schizophrenic. If you played mostly modules in AD&D, you had a VERY different experience with the game than those who did mostly home-brew. The modules, by and large, did not support this "avoid encounters" style of play because, well, in most modules, most encounters weren't avoidable. The maps were too linear, for one thing, to avoid encounters. And the modules were set up that you couldn't avoid stuff.
Objectively not true. As has been mentioned many times, in a module like ToEE, you were actively encouraged to pit the factions against each other. Not fight them all. KotBL mentions something very similar. Same with the Saltmarsh series (Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, Danger at Dunwater, and Final Enemy). Same with a ton of other published modules, like The Sentinel and the Gauntlet. Not only was the game mechanically designed to reward you for not taking the risk of combat, but it literally warns against players who fight only in the DMG. I don't know how much clearer that has to be. This has nothing to do with "your experience" or denying it. This is about looking at the actual rules and material from 1e at the time.
 
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You keep saying things like this and yet how you express indicates you don’t have much experience with 1e in it’s time frame. UA was a broken mess and every DM I played with didn’t allow it beyond some hand picked spells. One let me be a thief-acrobat but it took some twisting. It wasn’t like it is today where players feel entitled to play and use everything published by WOTC. It was very DIY and heavy house rules. Weapon Mastery from BECMI was more commonly used in 1e than Weapon Specialization.
Things I used from the get go of UA and kept.
1) Weapon specialization
2) Ranger's modifications
3) New demi-humans' level cap
4) The spells
5) The magic items
6) The pantheons.

Things we tried with my groups but voted out.
1) Cavalier and the new paladin. We kept the paladin as a fighter subclass and gave it weapon specialization.
2) The stupid code of chivalry.
3) The Barbarian
4) Pretty much anything else.
5) Weapons vs Armor

Things we did not even tried as we laughed out our asses.
1) The rolling method... But I know of tables that used it and it led to soooo many abuses and those that used the whole of the UA led to what I called the Lawful Stupid Paladin. Paladins became sooo common and sooo powerful that DMs all around tried to restrict them with lawful stupidness and a chivalry code so restricting that playing a paladin was no longer fun and enjoyable. God, I saw a group of 4 with three paladins! I saw less than 10 paladins legally rolled in all my groups in 10 years of 1ed... It was very hard to roll one. That is what made the class so special and so powerful to begin with. The UA did a big disservice to my favourite class...
 

Objectively not true. As has been mentioned many times, in a module like ToEE, you were actively encouraged to pit the factions against each other. Not fight them all. KotBL mentions something very similar. Not only was the game mechanically designed to reward you for not taking the risk of combat, but it literally warns against players who fight only in the DMG. I don't know how much clearer that has to be. This has nothing to do with "your experience" or denying it. This is about looking at the actual rules and material from 1e at the time.
I will not comment on the first part of your comment as I have seen such play style... and failed to convince those DMs that it was not supposed to be that way and failed...

But for the quoted part. Almost all my groups that have succeeded in ToEE have played factions against one another save one. It was a group of six players 5 of which were wizards or multiclassed wizards... The only non caster was a dwarven fighter (creatively named... Gimli... yeah, I know...) They literally stormed the ToEE killing and destroying just about everything in sight. One was a fighter that switched to wizard... That group played up to the demo web and succeeded. But yes, playing each factions against one another was a key strategy to succeed ToEE.
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
I will not comment on the first part of your comment as I have seen such play style... and failed to convince those DMs that it was not supposed to be that way and failed...
I'm not saying people didn't play with UA or S&P; of course there were people who did. The books sold after all. I'm only saying it was a pretty rare outlier who did, and it was only for a short period of that edition's lifespan, respectively. Therefore, making general comments about how 1e was played based on UA is pretty flawed comment to make, like saying how 2e was played based on S&P content.
 

I'm not saying people didn't play with UA or S&P; of course there were people who did. The books sold after all. I'm only saying it was a pretty rare outlier who did, and it was only for a short period of that edition's lifespan, respectively. Therefore, making general comments about how 1e was played based on UA is pretty flawed comment to make, like saying how 2e was played based on S&P content.
In that case, I fully agree. Not everyone were playing that way. But there was enough of those to leave a mark on the collective memory of 1ed players. And as oftentimes we have seen through history, only the last part of an era is remembered. Is it so surprising that this last part of the 1ed is more remembered than it's beginning?

I was really involved in tournament play, and in the last two tournaments, the most comment we got was that we should include UA stuff into our tournaments... For the good and the bad, UA left a mark on 1ed and that mark will stay forever.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
Overall, I was not a fan of Unearthed Arcana. I think we used weapon specialization, some of the new weapons, a handful of the spells, and some of the magic items. I wanted to like the Barbarian and Cavalier- especially, the former- but both had elements in their design that I disliked (Thankfully, David Howery later redeemed both in Dragon Magazine articles). Similarly, I liked the concept of the Thief-Acrobat, but I had similar issue with it as I did the 1e bard (not available at first level)
 

Overall, I was not a fan of Unearthed Arcana. I think we used weapon specialization, some of the new weapons, a handful of the spells, and some of the magic items. I wanted to like the Barbarian and Cavalier- especially, the former- but both had elements in their design that I disliked (Thankfully, David Howery later redeemed both in Dragon Magazine articles). Similarly, I liked the concept of the Thief-Acrobat, but I had similar issue with it as I did the 1e bard (not available at first level)
Which Dragon? I seem to have missed this or these articles.
 


Dragon 148. "Tracking Down the Barbarian" and "The Corrected Cavalier"
Thanks. Got a pdf of that one I am sure. I don't remember these articles though.

Edit: Read the articles and it is normal that I do not remember these. By then I was fully into second edition so anything related to 1ed was discarded as inconsequential for my games. I wish this had been out when UA got out...
 
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S'mon

Legend
As a child at the D&D shop buying D&D for the first time, the shopkeeper told me I really needed to get Unearthed Arcana... I think we used pretty much everything from it except the new chargen method with the 9d6-8d6-7d6 etc for human PCs. @Upper_Krust played a Cavalier who ended up the Lesser God of Swords. :) There was a Fighter-Assassin with weapon spec; I must have used the 2e PHB alongside it as I remember an evil wizard rendered invulnerable via 2e Stoneskin.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The thief-acrobat was one of those concepts that sounded great, and you wanted to be great, but was terrible.

Weirdly, everything else in UA was total power creep, but the T-A was actually underpowered, and considering it was based on the Thief ...
Not quite everything else. The spells were a real mix - some were crazy powerful, others were decidedly underwhelming to say the least. Ditto for the new magic items. And some other bits were in fact really good, or had the germ of something good in them.

I remember when UA first came out I and another DM went through it and did some judicious pruning. We kitbashed and adopted Cavalier but not the other classes (by this point Barbarian was already a Human sub-race in our games anyway). We adopted maybe 1/3 of the spells, some of them quite modified; and some of the magic items as well. We ditched Comeliness and the new roll-up methods. We significantly toned down weapon specialization but did adopt it.

The thing we took from UA that I think was the best addition to the game was the Cavaliers' percentile-increment system for stats: we gave this to all classes and still use it now.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Then again, AD&D is incredibly schizophrenic. If you played mostly modules in AD&D, you had a VERY different experience with the game than those who did mostly home-brew.
I think that might greatly depend on who was writing the home-brew, and how. :)
The modules, by and large, did not support this "avoid encounters" style of play because, well, in most modules, most encounters weren't avoidable. The maps were too linear, for one thing, to avoid encounters. And the modules were set up that you couldn't avoid stuff.
Some of them certainly were - particularly those based on tourney modules - and it's not a great reflection on them.

Some of them weren't. Sure there'd always be a few encounters you pretty much had to deal with, but some old-time modules were anything but linear in design, providing multiple means of entry and-or multiple non-linear paths to take once inside. L1 Secret of Bone Hill is a good example here.

Someone on this site once did schematic layout diagrams of various TSR-era modules, no idea where that is in here thoguh.
 

teitan

Hero
I remember when UA first came out I and another DM went through it and did some judicious pruning. We kitbashed and adopted Cavalier but not the other classes (by this point Barbarian was already a Human sub-race in our games anyway). We adopted maybe 1/3 of the spells, some of them quite modified; and some of the magic items as well.

Yeah that seems to be the closest to a universal experience. By this point, due to the nature of AD&D and D&D most people had a playing style and ideas established that was not at all in line with UA. Barbarians as a culture was pretty prominent. 2e, in trying to be a toolkit, seemed to really codify the D&D experience as we see popularized today in contrast with the DIY days of AD&D and B/X, early BECMI. It seemed a lot less encouraged anyway.
 

Yeah that seems to be the closest to a universal experience. By this point, due to the nature of AD&D and D&D most people had a playing style and ideas established that was not at all in line with UA. Barbarians as a culture was pretty prominent. 2e, in trying to be a toolkit, seemed to really codify the D&D experience as we see popularized today in contrast with the DIY days of AD&D and B/X, early BECMI. It seemed a lot less encouraged anyway.
Well, I still remember Conan Unchained adventure module and it's follow up. Before UA, Barbs were multiclassed characters and we took example on Conan... A fighter/thief... Conan was a simple fighter thief.... so were all our barbs before UA....
 
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You keep saying things like this and yet how you express indicates you don’t have much experience with 1e in it’s time frame. UA was a broken mess and every DM I played with didn’t allow it beyond some hand picked spells.
I think experiences varied quite a bit mate.

I wasn't familiar with US 1E groups. All the 1E people I knew were British or Israeli (quite an RPG scene in the latter according to my Israeli friends), and they all used UA, and almost universally had a positive opinion of UA, though people often sneered at one specific class - but which class that was varied.

So I think you telling people they don't know jack about 1E because their experiences were different to yours is maybe... a little bold? Overstepping? Something like that.

I mean, literally every 2E group I knew post-C&T used C&T, most of them heavily, but I wouldn't be so bold as to assert that anyone whose experience didn't match was full of nonsense.
 

Upper_Krust

Adventurer
As a child at the D&D shop buying D&D for the first time, the shopkeeper told me I really needed to get Unearthed Arcana... I think we used pretty much everything from it except the new chargen method with the 9d6-8d6-7d6 etc for human PCs. @Upper_Krust played a Cavalier who ended up the Lesser God of Swords. :) There was a Fighter-Assassin with weapon spec; I must have used the 2e PHB alongside it as I remember an evil wizard rendered invulnerable via 2e Stoneskin.

What you have to remember about Unearthed Arcana was that the classes were simply more powerful. So it was our first ever exposure to Rules Creep. On top of that, the classes (especially the martial classes) had more interesting abilities.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Not quite everything else. The spells were a real mix - some were crazy powerful, others were decidedly underwhelming to say the least. Ditto for the new magic items. And some other bits were in fact really good, or had the germ of something good in them.

I remember when UA first came out I and another DM went through it and did some judicious pruning. We kitbashed and adopted Cavalier but not the other classes (by this point Barbarian was already a Human sub-race in our games anyway). We adopted maybe 1/3 of the spells, some of them quite modified; and some of the magic items as well. We ditched Comeliness and the new roll-up methods. We significantly toned down weapon specialization but did adopt it.

The thing we took from UA that I think was the best addition to the game was the Cavaliers' percentile-increment system for stats: we gave this to all classes and still use it now.

I should have been more careful in my wording; yes, there were some spells/magic items that weren't power creep, and, in fact, were either useless or underpowered.

I was thinking more in terms of the new races, the raising/expansion of the level limits, the new ways to generate outrageous ability scores, the new classes (except for the poor thief-acrobat, which was merely okay and half-baked), the new class abilities, the weapon specializations, and so on.

The mistake that a lot of people made was that they didn't realize that most of this was just rehashed Dragon articles, and, like most Dragon articles, they needed to be viewed judiciously and skeptically before being introduced into a campaign; it was NOT some type of PHB2 that was supposed to be used without careful thought, consideration, and pruning.

(That said- the polearm section in Appendix T? SO GOOD!)
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
What you have to remember about Unearthed Arcana was that the classes were simply more powerful. So it was our first ever exposure to Rules Creep. On top of that, the classes (especially the martial classes) had more interesting abilities.
Indeed. D&D was pretty stable up to that point as far as game material and rules. When the game really took off (after publication of the PHB and DMG), no other main rulebooks had come out that changed things all that much. Then UA came out and it was radical for the time. Yeah, many of those things came from previous Dragon articles, but it was common knowledge that Dragon was to be taken with a grain of salt and things in Dragon weren't "official".

Then UA came out and it was the first real major change to D&D that most ever experienced. And wow, were there issues lol. Don't get me wrong, I think we all used stuff out of it, and I even tried the OP stuff once or twice myself. But it was quickly determined that much of the stuff just wasn't good. The first time someone showed up at the table when everyone else had legacy PCs and they had their dart specialized fighter with 18s in str, dex, and con, it was pretty obvious that unless you were playing Monty Haul, it was no good.
 

grimslade

Adventurer
UA for my group was mostly ignored but accepted. We used OA unabashedly in our campaigns, so there was quite a bit of overlap. I think we all rolled up drow characters, I used two as recurring villains but no one played one. We were all about that comeliness though. /s
My annect-data is that a lot of groups used bits and pieces of UA, there was power creep at tables but no worse than 5 years of weird house rules and lax rules to streamline play. Oriental Adventures is what impacted the tables in my area. Utterly changed the D&D landscape.
 

teitan

Hero
I think experiences varied quite a bit mate.

I wasn't familiar with US 1E groups. All the 1E people I knew were British or Israeli (quite an RPG scene in the latter according to my Israeli friends), and they all used UA, and almost universally had a positive opinion of UA, though people often sneered at one specific class - but which class that was varied.

So I think you telling people they don't know jack about 1E because their experiences were different to yours is maybe... a little bold? Overstepping? Something like that.

I mean, literally every 2E group I knew post-C&T used C&T, most of them heavily, but I wouldn't be so bold as to assert that anyone whose experience didn't match was full of nonsense.
My response and reaction was meant tongue in cheek in response to his own comments. Not at all serious. But to, ya know, call me out when his comments for quite a few pages were aggressive and telling people they were wrong without equivocation? Sure. That’s fair. 🤣🤣
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