D&D General Haste: The (system) Shocking History of the Spell!

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
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By the way, for those of you who want to see the specific enworld answer I referenced ...


You might notice something. That's right, he was responding to @MerricB Who just posted here.


....time is a flat circle....
 

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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Since fighters had an attack rate of 3/2 or 1 attack the first round and 2 attacks the second round, wouldn't doubling the rate be 2 attacks the first round and 4 attacks the second round? It's still 6 attacks over two rounds, but 3 attacks a round doesn't seem like an accurate doubling of the fighter's current attack rate.

A 12th level fighter is allowed attack routines twice in every odd numbered melee round, for example, and this moves up to three per round if a haste spell is cast upon the fighter. Damage from successful attacks is assessed when the "to hit" score is made and damage determined, the creature so taking damage having to survive it in order to follow its attack routine.
Just commenting to note that Max is of course remembering the 2E version of the Fighter multiple attack rule, in which a 1st-6th level Weapon-Specialized Fighter (or 7th-12th level non-specialized, but who would ever?) would get 3/2 attacks, that is, 3 attacks every 2 rounds, and the second attack would occur on even-numbered rounds. As opposed to 1E, where as Snarf quoted you get the extra attack on odd-numbered rounds.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
It's like a record of watching ancient astronomers invent epicycles.
Approximating complex periodic motions by summing uniform circular motions is an astonishingly good idea and is still very much used in modern science (i.e. Fourier expansion).
 

Orius

Legend
and then we come to 3E and most broken version of the Haste in history.

Yes, Snarf ended the original post right before things got interesting.

Aging penalties were one of those old school things that Gary thought "balanced" things out but really didn't work in practice. It seems to have been more of a psychological deterrent to the players than anything else, so the balance was about making a choice as unpalatable as possible instead of, oh I don't know nerfing the effect or making it a higher level. Plus what difference is aging going to make if the PC dies of any number of adventuring causes before reaching maximum age? They still get the benefit of the effect while the penalty from aging ends up being irrelevant.

And Classic D&D didn't bother with the aging either. Did it break the game there? The biggest difference is that Classic doesn't get into the 3/2 attacks nonsense.

The 3/2 attack routine is another one of those unnecessary AD&D complications. I just switched to whole attacks as warriors level up, so it's 2 attacks at level 7 and 3 at 13. And I ignore haste aging. So yeah, the fighters are cranking out 4 attacks a round under haste, but why should that concern me when the wizard is dropping ice storms and cloudkills all over the place?
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
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You're definitely twisting my words, Snarf. I ought to send a dozen bards over to your place.

Bards dressed up as clowns.

Formless Void, State of Confusion, June 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Snarf Zagyg, a semi-sentient division of The Walt Disney Company, Inc. (NYSE: DIS), is proud to announce that Snarf Zagyg and all of his comments, threads, and occasional animated gifs, will now be moving to blockchain.

"Whenever I'm writing comments to annoy my follow RPGers, I think to myself, 'Self, how can I combine my twin loves of angering the blood of others and leveraging acronyms and concepts that I don't understand in order to monetize them?' And that's when I knew I had to move to a blockchain-based solution for my comments with additional, monetized NFTs that will provide exclusive links to past comments on such diverse topics as, 'Bards- they're terrible,' and 'Bards- should they be dead or deader?'" said Snarf Zagyg, an actual person with real thoughts and totally not the unholy Frankenstein creation that emerged when The Walt Disney Company created too many nested LLCs and SPEs and somehow, one of them became sentient and started posting on the internet.

Snarf Zagyg, who, again, is a real person and not an AI-generated monster that consumes eyeballs and excretes shareholder value, continues, "But most importantly, I'd like to thank Orius for finally allowing me to slip the surly bounds of small and succinct posts and freed me to touch the face of truly outrageously long screeds that would make Tolstoy wake up from his grave and say, 'I think you might have written too much.'"
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
Supporter
Yes, Snarf ended the original post right before things got interesting.

Aging penalties were one of those old school things that Gary thought "balanced" things out but really didn't work in practice. It seems to have been more of a psychological deterrent to the players than anything else, so the balance was about making a choice as unpalatable as possible instead of, oh I don't know nerfing the effect or making it a higher level. Plus what difference is aging going to make if the PC dies of any number of adventuring causes before reaching maximum age? They still get the benefit of the effect while the penalty from aging ends up being irrelevant.

And Classic D&D didn't bother with the aging either. Did it break the game there? The biggest difference is that Classic doesn't get into the 3/2 attacks nonsense.

The 3/2 attack routine is another one of those unnecessary AD&D complications. I just switched to whole attacks as warriors level up, so it's 2 attacks at level 7 and 3 at 13. And I ignore haste aging. So yeah, the fighters are cranking out 4 attacks a round under haste, but why should that concern me when the wizard is dropping ice storms and cloudkills all over the place?

So ... I thought I should substantively respond to this.

First, I will respond in terms of 1e (pre-UA). UA and 2e obviously made things different.

I agree about Gygax and balancing, and I've written (and written, and written, and written) about the many ways that Gygaxian gatekeeping and balancing doesn't work. Whether it's gating awesome abilities by giving them unplayable side-effects or requiring crazy high scores, or trying to enforce weird and draconian penalties.

It either leads to cheating ("Yeah, I totally rolled that 17 charisma, again, when you weren't looking!") or people ignoring the rules (level limits, elves and resurrections, etc.) or, if strictly enforced, people just not using those options.

That said, I disagree with the last part for two reasons. First, spellcasting was a lot more ... fraught ... in 1e than later. Magic users were not usually dropping spells all over the place. More importantly, haste was an incredibly spell (as it should be, since it was third level .... FIREBALL!).

Even a fifth level MU could likely haste all the party members (one per level of the caster) when the spell was cast. At higher levels, you could have a whole bunch of hirelings and henchmen as well. And it lasted for at least 8 rounds (3 rounds + 1 per level).

....that's a lot of attacks. And fighters did a lot of damage back then, what with the percentile strength (when they had it) and the magic weapons, and all that. Monsters weren't exactly bags o' hit points.

I don't think that your house rule re: attacks is bad, per se, especially seeing what happened with weapon specialization in UA and 2e, but in my experience fighters did just fine in 1e.
 

I found the combination of +1 attack bonus per level, weapon mastery, magic weapons, multiple attacks, two-weapon fighting, and ageless haste to make for utterly broken fighters once you're in the double figures of levels. A fighter needs to keep up with the mages but dealing 40 to 60 damage per round took it a little too far in my games. We changed to the BX attack progression, removed extra attacks due to specialisation, reinstated aging for haste after experimenting without it, and have found a sweet spot where high-level fighters are fearsome enough without being overpowered. Overall, I think it's the extra attacks per round and the rapidly scaling attack bonuses that are the real problem as opposed to the +2 or +3 damage from spec/mastery.
 

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