Recommended 1E house rule compliations?

Eridanis

Bard 7/Mod (ret) 10/Mgr 3
My wife has expressed an interest in trying an older edition than 3E, and I think I'll soon start a 1E campaign. (BECMI Rules Compendium was also considered, but I think I'll go 1E.) I plan to poke around Dragonsfoot for this as well, but does anyone have a recommendation for any 1E house rule compilations others have done? I want to look at what others have done before I delve back into the murky past to remember what I did in the '80s to tweak the game.

Since she wants to see what the older edition is like, I don't plan to make too many changes, since that would kind of miss the point. However, I don't plan to consult the weapon speed tables every combat, either!

I'm considering T1/I3-5/G1-3 as the adventure path. I feel like I'm 15 years old again, rereading those old mods... ah, youth. :)
 

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Tewligan

First Post
You probably already found them, but here are a couple of relevant DF threads:
http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=28042&highlight=house+rules+compilation

and

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=9313&highlight=house+rules+compilation

A few house rules I'm using in my campaign are:
1) M-U's get bonus spells for high INT, using the cleric's chart for high WIS.
2) Max HP at first level. Afterwards, players can either take half the max roll when they gain a level, or take their chance with the dice.
3) Thieves use the more flexible thieving skills allocation from 2e.
4) No Unearthed Arcana classes or races. However, demihumans from the PHB do use the more relaxed permitted classes/level charts from UA.
5) Unconscious at 0 hp, dead at -10.
6) Clerics can swap memorized spells for the Cure spell of the same level.

I know I have more, but that's all I'm remembering at the moment. Some of these were implemented because I started out with a smallish group, but which seems to be swelling with each session. Enjoy the game - 1e is my D&D of choice again, and I'm loving it!
 

SavageRobby

First Post
You'll want to address XP, such as do you translate GP to XP directly. You'll also want to address training rules - do you use them as-is, or do you mod them? (There are good arguments for both.)

You might want to take a look at this document about the initiative & combat system. Its a bit daunting, but it shows the combat system (especially initiative) fully dissected, with references. It will help you decide what parts to streamline. :) Here is the link: http://members.cox.net/dmprata/ADDICT.pdf
 

Celebrim

Legend
I'll second Tewligan's suggestions for improving the 1st edition experience.

My personal suggestions would add to that list:

1) Go ahead and do without weapon specialization. I used it in 1st edition like probably everyone else, but the longer I think about it the more I think it hurts the game.
2) Thieves to hit progression should be bumped up so as to reduce the divergence at higher levels (probably up to the cleric level of +2/3, rather than +2/4). I wouldn't be adverse to clerics and thieves getting multiple attacks per round at a slower rate than fighters either, as there is little reason to play a thief past level 9 as is.

There are alot of other little tweaks, but I don't want it to feel like I'm saying 'just play 3e'.

Though alot of 3E's changes made perfect sense if you'd been playing 1st edition for a long time.

Some other tips...

Really, that 'to hit vs. AC modifer' thing... it's pretty cool. It makes swords (good against poor AC's) feel very different than maces and picks (good against good ACs). The table could use some tweaking and it requires you to do some initial overhead (figure out everyone's modified to hit table ahead of time), but it really adds interest to the game IME. It's one of the areas I definately miss from the old days, but given all of 3rd's additional complexity with changing modifiers I've just not managed to bring it back in.
 
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Not really a house-rule suggestion, but OSRIC's description of combat is well-done, in my opinion. You might read through that section of the OSRIC rules, in addition to the DMG and PH descriptions.
 

mmadsen

First Post
Eridanis said:
BECMI Rules Compendium was also considered, but I think I'll go 1E.
What's your goal? It doesn't sound like it's nostalgia, really, since your wife never played the older edition. If your goal is old-school feel -- not for its own nostalgic sake, but as a contrast to 3.5E -- I'd recommend going light, with something like 1E the way most of us played it, which involved very few rules most of the time, more like Basic. (In fact, the least enjoyable bits were probably the parts where we had to use the rules, except that dice and combat are always fun.)
 
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grodog

Adventurer
Many good suggestions in here so far, Eridanis. What kind of game are you planning to run?---that'll help with more-tailored suggestions, I'm sure.

In general, I've found that the more I've tinkered with combat rules, the less happy I've been with the results. The OSRIC rules and DMPrata's ADDICT doc are really good summaries of how to play 1e combat without the parts most folks ignored (weapons vs. AC, weapon speed, etc.). FWIW, at low-levels, weapons vs. AC actually are pretty helpful (i.e., increase the chances of PC survival to mid-levels), and if you use the Combat Computer from Dragon 74 they're very easy to integrate into the game (I've use them while DMing since Dragon 74!).

I've also used several of Tewiligan's rules in the past, but have stopped using some since BITD:

1) M-U's get bonus spells for high INT, using the cleric's chart for high WIS. - I used to do this, but stopped: MUs are far too powerful if they get bonus spells; I also use the INT rules for spell acquisition and min/max # of spells per level known, as well as the BTB spell acquisition process (you can a spell of level X in your spellbook when you gain a level and your number of castable spells per day goes up in that level)

2) Max HP at first level. - I've always done this. Afterwards, players can either take half the max roll when they gain a level, or take their chance with the dice. - I have players roll all levels after first, and what they roll is what they get. PCs also record the HP die roll, for when they're energy drained.

3) Thieves use the more flexible thieving skills allocation from 2e. - I haven't seen/used this, can't comment :D

4) No Unearthed Arcana classes or races. However, demihumans from the PHB do use the more relaxed permitted classes/level charts from UA. - From UA, I allow barbarians (but based on the Dragon 63 original moreso than UA) and cavaliers (though not elven), as well as the heirophant druids, and most new spells/magic items; I no longer allow PC drow/duergar/svirfneblin races in campaigns, but have in the past in evil and/or underdark campaigns. I have my own charts for racial level limits and multi-class options, but the UA ones are fine-ish. I also use the UA errata published in Dragon 103.

5) Unconscious at 0 hp, dead at -10. - Yep.

6) Clerics can swap memorized spells for the Cure spell of the same level. - I make clerics memorize all spells, including healing spells. With High WIS bonus spells, this hasn't been an issue for me.

I'm back and forth on weapon specialization: if you allow only single-classed fighters to have it, I don't find it to be that unbalancing; if you allow multi-class fighters to have it, then it gets way too powerful. Also, weapon specialization is only really relevant if you use weapon proficiency, and non-proficiency "to hit" penalties; if you don't, then I definitely wouldn't allow specialization.
 

I'll throw in my $0.02 on some of these:
grodog said:
1) M-U's get bonus spells for high INT, using the cleric's chart for high WIS.
I agree with grodog on this; I wouldn't give MUs bonus spells. A MU is powerful enough without them. You might consider my spell special effects house rule, instead. If you want to give low-level MUs the possibility of more power, while still keeping a tight DM reign on it, you might consider the house rule I use for scroll creation in my OD&D game (note that this one is a pretty big change from BTB -- it has its roots in the Holmes rules).

2) Max HP at first level.
In AD&D, I always do this. If you want to try something different with hit dice, check out the addendum in my hit dice musing. It's the rule I use in my OD&D game. Basically, when you gain a level, you roll ALL your hit dice (your total can't go lower). If you lose a level, you roll ALL your hit dice for your new level (your total can't go up). Note that there's no need to record all your rolls, with this method.

3) Thieves use the more flexible thieving skills allocation from 2e.
I wouldn't bother. One of the nice things about older editions of D&D, in my opinion, is that making a new character (or leveling up) is fast and easy. Getting into point allocations for lists of skills is a bother, to me.

4) No Unearthed Arcana classes or races. However, demihumans from the PHB do use the more relaxed permitted classes/level charts from UA.
I'd just exclude UA, entirely. Maybe allow some of the new spells, but not the class and race stuff. I wouldn't use weapon specialization, either.

5) Unconscious at 0 hp, dead at -10.
Yeah; that's by-the-book, innit?

6) Clerics can swap memorized spells for the Cure spell of the same level. - I make clerics memorize all spells, including healing spells. With High WIS bonus spells, this hasn't been an issue for me.
I agree with grodog, because of the bonus spells.
 
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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I largely agree with Grodog here, except as noted below:
grodog said:
1) M-U's get bonus spells for high INT, using the cleric's chart for high WIS. - I used to do this, but stopped: MUs are far too powerful if they get bonus spells; I also use the INT rules for spell acquisition and min/max # of spells per level known, as well as the BTB spell acquisition process (you can a spell of level X in your spellbook when you gain a level and your number of castable spells per day goes up in that level)
Depends how high of level you think the party will get. Bonus spells make MU's a bit more useful at low level, but get out of hand later on. See below...
6) Clerics can swap memorized spells for the Cure spell of the same level. - I make clerics memorize all spells, including healing spells. With High WIS bonus spells, this hasn't been an issue for me.
I make Clerics wild-card on everything...if their god'll give it to 'em and they have the juice (i.e. slots) left, they can cast it. Makes them more distinct from arcane types.
I'm back and forth on weapon specialization: if you allow only single-classed fighters to have it, I don't find it to be that unbalancing; if you allow multi-class fighters to have it, then it gets way too powerful. Also, weapon specialization is only really relevant if you use weapon proficiency, and non-proficiency "to hit" penalties; if you don't, then I definitely wouldn't allow specialization.
Agreed. Exceptional strength also should be for single-class only. But absolutely keep proficiencies, and spec.; and weapon-of-choice for Cavaliers.

A few more notes and thoughts:

* - "Comeliness" from UA: don't bother. It's a waste of time.

* - Watch out for some of the spells in UA.

* - If you scrap the ExP-for-g.p. idea (and I recommend you do) you'll have to revise your level advancement charts, otherwise the characters will never bump. :) That said, slower advancement can be fun too...but if you go this route, give the MU's the bonus spells!

* - I let Rangers and Druids be any alignment, mostly because there's no logical reason not to. (and evil Druids make *excellent* opponents!)

And one last note: if you're going to be nasty enough to start her in Hommlet (T1) then get her to roll up about 8 characters, 'cause she's gonna need 'em! :) (says he, who as a player went into that adventure with a party of 4th-levels and lost 4 of 6 characters...)

Lanefan
 

Lanefan said:
I* - If you scrap the ExP-for-g.p. idea (and I recommend you do) you'll have to revise your level advancement charts, otherwise the characters will never bump.
Sounds like a good reason to use XP for GP -- no modification of the charts necessary. It's a story award, anyway...the story is "heroes seek wealth!" ;)
 


Tewligan

First Post
grodog said:
1) M-U's get bonus spells for high INT, using the cleric's chart for high WIS. - I used to do this, but stopped: MUs are far too powerful if they get bonus spells; I also use the INT rules for spell acquisition and min/max # of spells per level known, as well as the BTB spell acquisition process (you can a spell of level X in your spellbook when you gain a level and your number of castable spells per day goes up in that level)
I went back and forth a little on this one - I mainly went with it because my group started out small (yet, as of tonight, has a whopping 8 players - ulp!). Also, does it really make them that much more powerful? Looking at the table, it looked like it would give them the bump to keep them alive early on, but not be that significant once they're in the higher levels. Hm, I'll have to keep an eye on this in my campaign...

Also, when the M-U selects his starting spellbook, do you give 4 spells as per the DMG, or the minimum number/level derived from the INT score as shown in the PHB? They seem to contradict each other, unless I'm missing something. I went ahead and used the minimum by INT, mainly again because of the initially small group.

Oh, and I definitely need to print out DMPrata's ADDICT sheets - initiative and combat flow was kicking my ass tonight!
 

Neil Bishop

First Post
I would also check out the saving throw tables and progressions. Frex, thieves should have the best saves vs breath weapon rather than the worst. Personally, I would also reduce the number of saving throw types to three as per the 3.xE rules.
 

Flynn

First Post
There are also tons of Netbooks out there for 1E and 2E that can help you out, too, if you are looking to expand your rules horizons.

Just A Suggestion,
Flynn
 

Tewligan

First Post
Neil Bishop said:
I would also check out the saving throw tables and progressions. Frex, thieves should have the best saves vs breath weapon rather than the worst. Personally, I would also reduce the number of saving throw types to three as per the 3.xE rules.
I think this is getting to the point of messing with the structure TOO much, though. Once you start down the slippery slope of "Well, it just makes sense for this guy to be better at this because...", then potentially everything else is going to be argued and tweaked and changed. Part of the game is just accepting that things are balanced differently, and not always in ways that make logical sense. And changing the save types? Sacrilege!
 

Tewligan said:
I think [changing the saving throws/progression] is getting to the point of messing with the structure TOO much, though. Once you start down the slippery slope of "Well, it just makes sense for this guy to be better at this because...", then potentially everything else is going to be argued and tweaked and changed.
I agree.

I also think that the justification for changing the saving throws is backed by assumptions based in later editions. For example, the idea that thieves should always be better at saves vs. breath weapons seems backed by the idea that saves vs. breath weapons are all about reflexes and quickness (i.e. it's all about avoiding the flame, or whatever). The 1E rules don't necessarily follow that assumption; the saves aren't categorized that way. You shouldn't think of them as "this one is Dex-based," et cetera, because that's not always the case. Or it might be the case for one class at a certain level, but not for a different class at the same level. The rules don't try to categorize saves like that; they're presented as what they are -- the rules *intend* to make thieves poorer at certain points.

I suggest starting with the 1E rules, and going from there, rather than starting with a concept of "how this should work" and then discovering the rules don't model it that way ("look -- it's broken!"). That way you get an accurate feel for the game. That's not to say that you can't house rule, but I think it's best to start out playing the game for what it is (especially if the point is to play some "old school D&D"). I have a musing about this, too. :) (Although it's aimed at OD&D, I think it still applies.)
 

Neil Bishop

First Post
Philotomy Jurament said:
(snip) I also think that the justification for changing the saving throws is backed by assumptions based in later editions. For example, the idea that thieves should always be better at saves vs. breath weapons seems backed by the idea that saves vs. breath weapons are all about reflexes and quickness (i.e. it's all about avoiding the flame, or whatever). The 1E rules don't necessarily follow that assumption; the saves aren't categorized that way. You shouldn't think of them as "this one is Dex-based," et cetera, because that's not always the case. Or it might be the case for one class at a certain level, but not for a different class at the same level. The rules don't try to categorize saves like that; they're presented as what they are -- the rules *intend* to make thieves poorer at certain points. (snip)

Yes I understand that there is no inherent logic on most things to do with 1E but this one stands out because you could apply your Dex modifier to the saving throw roll which rather implies it is Dex-based.
 

Neil Bishop said:
...this one stands out because you could apply your Dex modifier to the saving throw roll which rather implies it is Dex-based.
I look at it as certainly being Dex-influenced, but not Dex-based. (And since Dex can modify it, Thieves will be getting that benefit, anyway.) I don't think it's a problem to have stats modify the saving throw, but I consider that separate from the basis of the saving throw. (Actually, I could even see the DM using different stats as a modifier to the same saving throw, depending on the situation). I think the ultimate basis of the saving throw is really the class and how AD&D models each class against that particular type of threat. It's one of the ways AD&D reinforces its class-based approach, IMO.

Incidentally, I think the 3E approach makes sense for 3E; it's a much more skill and attribute based system, rather than a strongly class-based system (e.g. skills and feats that cross classes, liberal multiclassing, et cetera).
 
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Eridanis

Bard 7/Mod (ret) 10/Mgr 3
Thanks for the great suggestions and comments so far. My goal is to give the missus a taste of "how it used to be." I want to have as few house rules as possible, so she can compare and contrast for herself (she's only played 3.5E). That's why I doubt I would use the bonus-spells-for-MU, for example, or allow spontaneous casting of healing spells for the cleric. I love that rule in 3E, but if I start adding rules that I like, I'll soon be moving away from the books.

However, I do want the character to at least survive to 2nd level (sorry, diaglo), so I think I'll add minor rules, like max hp at 1st level. I'm enjoying looking at all the options so I can decide for myself what will give me the most bang for the change. I'll be sure to download ADDICT this weekend and look at it, based on the praise for it here.
 

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