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D&D 1E Inquiry: How do fans of AD&D (aka 1E) feel about the Unearthed Arcana supplement?

Blue Orange

Adventurer
The barbarian was fun, and I liked the expanded options for demihumans. It was nice to see what all the polearms actually looked like. The bonus spells and items were fun.

As long as you take what you like and discard the rest, I think it was useful.
 

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I loved parts of it. We did not use that chargen. But at times enjoyed underdark characters.

most memorable of all though was my Barbarian, Mogar the Fat. Flaming red hair and beard and fat!

statistically speaking he was great too. 18/13 strength, high con. But his hit points?

7 consecutive 12s rolled in front of the party/DM!

he could never hit but the party called him “the tree” because of his fortitude. Finally at his last level I rolled ‘4’ for hit points.

the last time I played him he and his villainous halfling pals had pissed off a treant so they rode on his back while he ran through the woods!

silly and fun
 

Blue Orange

Adventurer
BTW, I pulled up the comeliness rules. They're heterosexist, not sexist--heterosexuality is assumed, but the sexes are treated equally by high-comeliness fascination effects, and all references are to "he or she".

(Interestingly, Corellon Larethian is described as genderfluid in the 1e Deities and Demigods..."Corellon is alternately male or female, both or neither".)
 
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GuyBoy

Adventurer
I loved parts of it. We did not use that chargen. But at times enjoyed underdark characters.

most memorable of all though was my Barbarian, Mogar the Fat. Flaming red hair and beard and fat!

statistically speaking he was great too. 18/13 strength, high con. But his hit points?

7 consecutive 12s rolled in front of the party/DM!

he could never hit but the party called him “the tree” because of his fortitude. Finally at his last level I rolled ‘4’ for hit points.

the last time I played him he and his villainous halfling pals had pissed off a treant so they rode on his back while he ran through the woods!

silly and fun
Mogar, meet Grod. Fight!!
 

Mogar, meet Grod. Fight!!
It was one of my those PCs that is talked about with a chuckle more than 2 decades later!

I like “Grod”—-great barbarian name!

I have not played a barbarian since that time. Against all the collective wisdom, I would play a beserker if I did. It’s the fluff I like. A little more well beserker than say nature spirit stuff.

what amuses me is that Conan seems less and less a “barbarian” the more I think about one in D&D terms!
 

Voadam

Legend
BTW, I pulled up the comeliness rules. They're heterosexist, not sexist--heterosexuality is assumed, but the sexes are treated equally by high-comeliness fascination effects, and all references are to "he or she".
You are right that sexist might not be the best description.

I think it is the specific descriptions of how people specifically react to specific levels of attractiveness that is off putting.

Unearthed Arcana page 6:

"+ 14 to + 17: Interest in viewing the individual is evidenced by those in contact, as he or she is good-looking. The reaction adjustment is increased by a percentage equal to the comeliness score of the character. Individuals of the opposite sex will seek out such characters, and they will be affected as if under a fascinate spell unless wisdom of such individuals exceeds 50% of the character’s comeliness total."

***

"The fascinate-like power of high comeliness is similar to the 2nd-level illusionist spell of the same name. Those subject to this power will be captivated by the user, and treat him or her as a trusted friend, mentor, and companion. A saving throw versus spell will negate the effect but if the comeliness is not magical in nature, then dispel magic, antimagic spells, and similar spells will not affect the fascination effect.
Fascinated creatures will follow the orders of characters with high comeliness, provided a roll of 3d6 does not exceed the comeliness of the character. Requests that are not in the best interest of the creature get a + 1 to the die, while those that are hazardous can gain up to + 6 or higher on the die roll. If the roll is higher than the user’s comeliness, the fascinate-effect is broken."

This is not something I necessarily want to be rolling for and roleplaying this specified way constantly on either side of the screen. If it had just been a number to represent abstracted attractive looks, or just affected the reaction adjustment mechanics it would not have been as distasteful.

Mostly Basic and AD&D left roleplay type of stuff up to the players for their characters and to the DM for NPCs with a few minor mechanics for charisma affecting hiring henchmen and an often ignored reaction mechanic. When magic affects such things like a charm it is a vancian resource a PC intentionally expends with an attached saving throw, not a constant effect that will impact lots of people every time you walk through a city. This was an unwelcome escalation of "play this way" focused entirely on attractiveness interactions.
 

David Howery

Adventurer
heh. I can remember Roger Moore, in one of his Dragon editorials, telling us of a monster submission that tried to make use of the Comeliness rules... it was essentially a 'woman/lobster centaur', which had the nude torso of a woman with the bottom half of a lobster and big lobster claws instead of arms. Yet because the woman part was unearthly beautiful, the creator assumed that male PCs would fall under the 'fascination' rules of Comeliness...
 

Voadam

Legend
heh. I can remember Roger Moore, in one of his Dragon editorials, telling us of a monster submission that tried to make use of the Comeliness rules... it was essentially a 'woman/lobster centaur', which had the nude torso of a woman with the bottom half of a lobster and big lobster claws instead of arms. Yet because the woman part was unearthly beautiful, the creator assumed that male PCs would fall under the 'fascination' rules of Comeliness...
Blibdoolpoolp drider variants?

Made from the souls of the humans the Kuo Toa sacrifice to her?
 

That is another point - the barbarian class is also configured to increase the chances of conflict with other PCs. Not just the part about detesting magic and those who use it, but the whole getting XP for destroying magic items. You know, the things all the other PCs desperately want.

I love the idea of the barbarian, and some of its implementation (raise a horde, secondary and tertiary abilities are great!), but "Oh, I hate magic-users"? Not good at all.

Cheers!

But, and hear me out, as a counterpoint to all the bad parts of Unearthed Arcana:

1634924126115.png
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Weapon specialization: I had forgotten that this originated in 1E via UA. I thought this didn't come about until 2E which I never played at the table and only experienced via cRPG's like Baldur's Gate. Didn't weapon specialization result in a weird situation where people started specializing in darts because you could throw three of them per round and with the specialization bonus to damage plus strength bonus to damage you could end up doing obscene amounts of damage by throwing darts?
I have one of those in my currently-on-covid-break party; and yes, it's balls-nuts crazy the damage she can put out in a round...never mind she's high enough level to get four shots per round instead of three...

Comeliness: What was the point of that stat, seriously?
I always saw it as a second place, along with Charisma, to dump a bad roll into. :)
I am even more convinced, after being reacquainted with these rules, that UA was a really terrible addition to 1E D&D.
Thing is, parts of it were truly inspired and worth adding in to the game. The headache was successfully separating the wheat from the chaff.
 


Legatus Legionis

< BWAH HA Ha ha >
I hate Comeliness

OH man, I loved Comeliness.

The fact my Kender Thief/Acrobat after two mishaps (damn the breath weapons of a Red and Black Dragon) had a comeliness score of -13 (that is right, negative thirteen) in our adventuring group that was 2/3 evil in alignment! ! ! Just think of Two-Face from Batman, except while one half was burnt with fire, the other have had a acid bath. < HA Ha ha >

And just like any rules book, a DM can pick and choice what they will incorporate into their games.

For my group(s), having a separate score between your physical looks and your leadership/speaking (charisma). We have seen people who are not attractive but can get people to listen and do what they say/want. At the same time, we have attractive people who can't for the life of them convince others of anything.
 

DarkCrisis

Adventurer
Love 1E, cut away the chaff and its a nice simple system. Don't need skills, just roll against your stat! etc. easy!

I'd play it today if I was able to find a group. Lucky Ive found a 2E group that plays online.
 

Blue Orange

Adventurer
You are right that sexist might not be the best description.

I think it is the specific descriptions of how people specifically react to specific levels of attractiveness that is off putting.
Yeah, I agree 100%. It was definitely a dumb set of rules.

You might, if your players are cool with it, allow an NPC to roll for seduction. But that would really be the sort of thing you'd talk over with your table first.
 

The UA was a mixed bag for me. I embraved a lot of it but immediately ruled out the classes and the new races after an initial playtest that showed us how wonky the classes were and the implications that allowing them meant.

Player:" I jump and catch the chandelier on the ceiling, swinging my self on the balcony".

Me:" No can do now. These are the provinces of the thief acrobat now..."

Player:" Ho crap...".

Or
1st level group
Player," Ho that is an ogre, we are clearly outmatched. Let's walk away and think of a better strategic approach...."
Other player:" Too late, the Cavalier saw it too. He is already charging the foul thing..."
Other players:" Holy sh*t!"

We did have fun in testing it. But for "serious" gaming, we quickly abandoned the classes and kept to the new non human limits, the spells, magic items, non human gods and specialization. I do not remember if we used the new druid levels. My players rarely played druids in 1ed.

Hi, and comeliness was taken out immediately. Not our cup of tea. Too sexist for us and we had a girl in our group that showed us how comeliness could mess up a group I no time.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!

In response to a few things... I think some aren't remembering (or don't know) that when you play in a game of 1e, rules don't happen "in a vacuum". What I mean is that a "rule" was MUCH more akin to the Pirates Code....more of a set of "guidelines than actual rules". ;)

There were a few 1e groups going on that I knew about back when there was no 2e yet, and one thing I can, 100%, without a doubt, confirm with MY experience was this: Everyone did it differently.

Some groups completely ignored Comeliness. Some groups played it strictly by the book, period, regardless of circumstance or believability. Most groups were somewhere in between, with one group even having PC's "re-roll" their characters Comeliness when encountering a different race! (so your PC might have "COM: Elves, 12 // COM: Dwarves, 15 // COM: Orcs, 9 // COM: Gnomes, 18", etc). Some really interesting methods for using it...none of with were by the book except for those BTB guys.

For me, I use it but pretty much ignore the "Fascination" thing except if it would enhance the current encounter/situation. Then, after a couple of minutes of flirting or teasing...the PC's actual Charisma kicks in and from then on there is no 'Fascination'. I mean, if someone is a horrible person it doesn't matter HOW good looking they are. You know the saying "She/He's would be really good looking....if they weren't so ugly!". ;)

As for the "hetrosexuality" of it all. Well, yeah. It's a rulebook dealing with a stat that every PC and NPC has; they kinda have to go with "most common denominator"...and, as 85% to 95%+ of the population is 'straight', that's what the rules should be based on. After that...well, as I said above, every DM's game was different and handled COM in a slightly different way.

Fighter Specialization: Loved it! Really made Single Class Fighters get back up on top of the whole "Fighting and dealing damage" side again to compete with the new Barbarian, Cavalier and Ranger (Giant Class damage...whoof! O_O ). The "Dart Specialist" was definitely the way to go if you were just looking at "White Room DPS" situations....but in practicality, it was impressive for a few rounds, then...not so much. Miss a few shots and can't find your darts or they get destroyed/blunt and you're a "non-specialized fighter" again. In longer battles, you'd run out of darts before the end. Also, you had to hang back with the MU and Thief...so less "meat shield and target" for the baddies to slow down on their way to kill you and the MU and Thief. Bottom line...we never had a problem with it because, in the end, the drawbacks/limitations evened out over the course of an adventure or campaign as a whole.

UA: Mixed bag, but lots of cool stuff to pick and choose from or adapt to suit your game.

PS: We tried the "Method V" at the back. Once. Didn't take. It just felt... "wrong". Not because of the end results...but because of the idea of "Choosing your Class FIRST, and THEN rolling". Just...weird to us. We all MUCH prefer the "Roll 3d6, in order" with our added in "Basic switch of two stats" and the "B/X 2-for-1 trade" (drop a stat by 2 points to up another one by 1). With our little method there, PC's typically ended up with a few scores around 9 to 12, one below that, and two above. Sometimes someone would get really lucky and be able to play a Monk, Ranger or Thief-Acrobat ("in training"; we always start PC's at 1st Level). But "choose your class first" seemed to absolutely destroy the "rarity" of the 'special' classes (Paladin, Barbarian, Illusionist, etc).

(NOTE: Yes, we did also use the 4d6-L as well; whatever the player wanted; with the 3d6, if you got a horrible set of stats, you could re-roll; if you got the same horrible stats on 4d6...too bad...you played him).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Greg Benage

Adventurer
I never used it, but that was really a matter of timing. It was published the summer after I graduated high school, and then I fell in with a more OG group in college that wouldn't have touched it with a henchman's ten-foot pole.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
*Which was then funny, because that was what allowed the magic user to work with the new anti-magic barbarian. My human M-U had an 18 strength, and a 17 intelligence. That's how the dice came out. Beating the barbarian in arm-wrestling, and being able to quite handily bash in some goblin skulls at 1st level allowed the barbarian to say, "This guy just doesn't fit the mold of 'wizard', so clearly he isn't." I just then avoided casting spells in his line of sight until he reached a level where he didn't have to murder me for it.

It was dumb, but as teenagers we just rolled with it, because we didn't really know better.
The barbarians hating wizards aspect may have been dumb (on an even higher level than paladin companion alignment restrictions), but I will say that there’s nothing dumb about a wizard being stronger than he is intelligent. Rather, that’s awesome! Because it’s FUN! The stat generation rules may have been more than a bit over the top, but rolling each stat and sticking with them can get you characters that are really different compared to building an optimized array.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I never played 1e so never saw this in play, but I borrowed a friend's UA book back when I played 2e to look through and thought it had some cool stuff, I really liked the cavalier and its ability to increase stats which I felt should have been an option for every class. Comeliness I thought was interesting but wasn't something that I added in. I thought it was interesting but not really needed.

I've no idea what I thought about the barbarian at the time but, having looked at UA again somewhat recently, I think I echo a lot of people here who thought it was largely unplayable due to not playing well with others and the amount of XP required was overly large. Can you imagine if a player decided to make a barbarian like that now? A character that is openly hostile to magic-users and then messing with the players who run wizards or sorcerers or even clerics, it just wouldn't work.

I wasn't against the stat generation method that let you qualify for the class you wanted to play, but in the end, I stuck with my method and let players bump up stats to meet the minimum requirements. I didn't really feel like you need to roll the required scores if you really wanted to play the class. Something I'd never considered until reading the "Play 2e like 3e" article in dragon magazine was removing the stat requirements completely.

I can somewhat imagine the excitement of players when it was released, new options for a game you love is always welcome and I can imagine that I'd have asked to play a cavalier had I been around at the time.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
Gads! I forgot about Comeliness and the alternate ability score generation methods.

Comeliness was just dumb (and problematic, as has been pointed out).

The alternate bility score generation methods were kinda cheesey.
 

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