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

pming

Legend
Hiya!
Comeliness was just dumb (and problematic, as has been pointed out).
"Problematic"...heh... yeah, because good looking people are treated exactly the same as average, plain or even ugly people.

Kate Bekinsale, wearing black lingerie, stockings and garter belt walks into the room with a ladder. "Hun? Could you hold this for me? I need to climb up it to clean the chandelier".
..
"What? Hold a ladder? How long is this going to take?", he thought to himself. 'Great...just my luck. Some lady in her underware wants me to hold a ladder and see nothing but her backside and under-boob as she jiggles around cleaning a chandelier'. "Sure. I guess. If I HAVE to. Just make it quick, ok? My favourite re-run is about to start on TV".

;)

(for those so inclined, just replace Kate Bekinsale with Chris Hemsworth in a speedo if it makes the point better :) Personally? I don't see much difference... ;) ).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

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Stormonu

Legend
I have to admit, our group of 15 year-olds got a lot more use of Comliness than we probably should have, mainly on return after a day of dungeon delving.

I think we stopped using it after the encounter I did with the 22 Comliness Medusa...

And the only way I could encourage my players back in the day to play Humans was to use the Method V generation for their generation; non-humans had to do the 4d6, drop lowest x 6 (or 7, if we were using Comliness), arrange to suit. I actually ended up with a Wizard in the group with an 18 Int and 18 Str, who actually benefited from Strength for the first couple of levels when he ran out of spells. Most memorably, he ended up in a Wizard duel around 5th level and when he ran out of spells (because his opponent kept countering them), he ran up and beat the hell out of his opponent (who couldn't cast his remaining spells as he was being pummeled by Weapon Speed 1 fists) and won that way.

As for the Barbarian, we ignored the Wizard hatred for in party casters - we assumed the character would be intelligent enough to put aside his mistrust to work with a known ally. On the Cavalier front, the Code of Battle kept most of my players away from the class, but I did have one bold enough to try the class, and it worked out well - until around 7th level when the Drow Ranger in party got an ultimatum from Lolth to get rid of the Cavalier or face being turned into a Drider, and decided to comply rather than resist (which was what the "story" intent was). After that event was when I banned Drow characters from my game, and PvP activity (partly my own fault for introducing the plot, but the Drow player had been playing up the "debt to Lolth" aspect that inspired it - it just went in a direction that was NOT cool for everyone involved).

Honestly, overall me and my group had a lot of fun with UA and I ended up using quite a lot of its content - just nobody ever decided to use the Thief-Acrobat for some reason. And the unarmed combat section was just ... too much.
 



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
This is exactly what we did, pretty much as soon as we saw it.

It did require a rejiggering of how Fighters' exceptional strength worked, however, otherwise Fighters who put percentile increments on strength would gain it way too fast. What we did was split out each gradation achievable by the exceptional strength roll into its own integer, so 18.41 became 19, 18.71 became 20, etc. up to 18.00 which became 24, with Hill Giants at 25 and other Giants going up from there.

Once we did that, percentile increments for all classes turned out to work great; and we still use them today.
 

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
my biggest problem with it was that it was kinda vague in places... particularly the tertiary abilities, which weren't really explained well on which type of barbarian gets which one. The DM would have needed to work all those out ahead of time. Plus, when the idea of NWP came along, the whole thing about tertiary abilities was rather outmoded...
 

ricks3

First Post
In general, I like UA. When it came out, we use all of it. Now, over 30 years later, it's just another part of the game that we change and modify. We use the bits and pieces we like, and don't use the pieces we don't. I don't think I've ever used any of the new races. While initially we moved the paladin to the Cavalier, we eventually moved it back under fighter. It was nice to have an expended spell list, even if a few of them don't work quite right. The additional magic items are great.

And yes, the binding is terrible.
 


ECMO3

Hero
Piggybacking off of my other post regarding 4E and Essentials, I wanted to get a read on how fans of 1E feel about 1E Unearthed Arcana.

If you are a fan of 1E, did you like Unearthed Arcana? Did you hate it with the fury of a thousand suns? Were you ambivalent? Please include your reasoning behind your feelings if you can articulate them.

Personally, I hated Unearthed Arcana.

The new classes were so wonky: Barbarians had lots of interesting stuff but couldn't work with magic-users, tried to destroy magic items (IIRC) and needed ridiculous amounts of xp to level, cavaliers were so mount focused that they seemed pretty useless for most currently produced site based (often dungeon) adventures plus they had the weird mechanic of slowly raising their ability scores, acrobats were...just...lame.

Additionally, I HATED the inclusion of new, bizarre races like deep gnomes and drow as playable races. HATED it.

Unearthed Arcana dramatically diminished my interest in D&D and it was a precursor to even further changes which pretty much killed my interest in the game for a long time.
I liked most of the material. What I did not like is I purchased two of them (one new) and both of them fell apart, my friendds did as well. It is like they had some massive problem with bindings.

We never used the Barbarian for the reason you mentioned. We did not use the Cavalier either, although the Paladin with the new Paladin abilities was used a lot.

Acrobat I was neutral on. We liked acrobats better than default thieves, because Thieves were really weak and acrobats got a few more options, at the expense of never being great at the things thieves were supposed to be good at. Also we stopped only playing halfling thieves and started playing Elves and Half-Orcs so it added more flavor to the game as well.

We liked the new multiclass options and the revised level limits.

We used Drow extensively, Deep Gnomes some. The timing was wierd for a lot of the other Elf subraces since it came out about the same time TSR was pivoting away from Greyhawk and other than Drow all the elves were Greyhawk specific.

We used weapon expertise and liked it at the time, although to be honest it really screwed up the game. Fighters (and subclasses) were already by far the best class and this made them even more powerful.

I did not like all the new weapons. Regular AD&D already had too many weapons (mostly polearms) and they went and added a munch more for no real reason IMO.
 
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Tallifer

Hero
We picked the cherries from it and adapted some of it. It provided great pleasure to read and much amusement in play. Like any roleplaying book. Certainly better than many of the later Rolemaster supplements I wasted money on at the time.
 

Well, when it first came out we were using everything in it. Over time we dropped most of it other than the barbarian class (which was nonetheless only played a couple times), the new spells, and weapon specialization but for bows that was dialed back. Fastest to drop was the cavalier class. Next was dialing back bow specialization (we referred to it as having Rambo-ish nuclear-tipped arrows). Next to fall was comeliness as a separate stat and no longer using ANY of the ability score generation options. At some point our own playtesting just came down to the only really worthwhile thing in it was weapon specialization.
 

Emrico

Explorer
We used most of it when it first came out. One of my favorite characters I ever ran was my Drow Cavalier. These days I prefer the Barbarian and Cavalier from Dragon. We still use most everything else, Weapon Specialization, the spells, magic items, etc. We don't use the dice rolling methods.

Emrico
 

Greg K

Hero
We used most of it when it first came out. One of my favorite characters I ever ran was my Drow Cavalier. These days I prefer the Barbarian and Cavalier from Dragon.
I was going to say that two of the best things to come out of 1e Unearthed Arcana were @David Howery's revised versions of the UA Barbarian and UA Cavalier in his two Dragon articles, "Tracking Down the Barbarian" and the "Corrected Cavalier".
 



Piggybacking off of my other post regarding 4E and Essentials, I wanted to get a read on how fans of 1E feel about 1E Unearthed Arcana.

If you are a fan of 1E, did you like Unearthed Arcana? Did you hate it with the fury of a thousand suns? Were you ambivalent? Please include your reasoning behind your feelings if you can articulate them.

Personally, I hated Unearthed Arcana.

The new classes were so wonky: Barbarians had lots of interesting stuff but couldn't work with magic-users, tried to destroy magic items (IIRC) and needed ridiculous amounts of xp to level, cavaliers were so mount focused that they seemed pretty useless for most currently produced site based (often dungeon) adventures plus they had the weird mechanic of slowly raising their ability scores, acrobats were...just...lame.

Additionally, I HATED the inclusion of new, bizarre races like deep gnomes and drow as playable races. HATED it.

Unearthed Arcana dramatically diminished my interest in D&D and it was a precursor to even further changes which pretty much killed my interest in the game for a long time.
The universal consensus in our group was that the new classes were garbage, and we completely ignored them. I am pretty sure we also ignored weapon specialization, though its hard to be sure, since we did use the 2e version, so I don't know. I think people probably also used some of the modest extensions that were added to the PHB classes, like tracking, acrobats, stuff like that. Honestly it wasn't all that well thought out, and a lot of it was redundant with stuff in DSG/WSG/OA anyway.

We also largely ignored silly stuff like comeliness, which seemed rather useless anyway. I seem to recall a few fighters lumbering around in full/field plate now and then, but since it didn't generally come in magical forms it was not super common except maybe at certain levels.

The spell lists were really just about the only thing we DEFINITELY used. There were quite a few good spells in there (My Wizard was pretty much addicted to Stone Skin, its a stupid awesome spell). Overall the book rather disappointed. It was pretty clear by that point that Gygax had gone 'over the hill' and left the ranch. I think in his way he was trying to recreate D&D as more of a story game, he just had too much invested in his existing way of thinking about RPGs to find the formula.

Overall we pretty much ignored the book, I think I photocopied the spell lists, and my actual hardcover is still in pristine condition, since it hardly ever got cracked open. Basically 2e took the ideas and material and reworked into something that made sense and was playable, so although we didn't really ever totally play 2e 'as designed' and more like a 1e expansion, it made UA entirely redundant.
 


LoganRan

Explorer
At the time I used it most of it. Since I subscribed to Dragon there really wasn't a whole lot of completely new stuff, repackaged and updated, but not completely new.

But... I must not have used it very much. Because my binding is still intact.
I'm not sure that actually opening the book was a prerequisite for it falling apart. I'm pretty sure my copy disintegrated just after a few side eye glances. Given how much I disliked most of the material actually presented in said book...maybe that was for the best. :D
 

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