The glory of OD&D


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Clangador

First Post
diaglo said:
yup. moldvay stops at level 3 and cook picks up but only to level 14.

OD&D goes to lvl infinity ;)

3 classes. cleric, fighting man, magic user

3d6 in order.

and the true order is Str, Int, Wis, Con, Dex, Cha.

I started playing D&D when OD&D was still in print, but I started on Holmes Basic and then OAD&D. While I would like to try OD&D sometime, I don't get the appeal of it. The thing that interests me about the game is that is was the first ever version of D&D. Yes, it's a reveried piece of gaming history I just don't get what's so great about it.
 

Raven Crowking

First Post
I cut my teeth on the blue box. I used to have a spiral notebook with about 200-300 extra monsters for that version of the game. It was so easy to stat things up.....! :)
 

oldschooler

First Post
Congragulations Crothian! I hope you get years of enjoyment from my favorite game. Abilities were always listed in order of importance. The most important were the three prime requisites (STR, INT, WIS), every character needed good CON to survive well, but DEX and CHA came in last. That changed with the Greyhawk Supplement due to the addition of Thieves and their DEX prime. :D

PDFs are, of course, available for ALL products (OD&D or otherwise), but only a few of those are available legally. If anyone were criminal enough, they could even find the entire run of The Strategic Review (first appearace for OD&D of such faves as the Ranger, Bard, Illusionist, Ioun Stones, Mind Flayer, etc..). But then, who among us would ever break the law? :heh:
 
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T. Foster

First Post
PapersAndPaychecks said:
There's a fair bit of difference, yes. That 1980's set (which I think is probably Moldvay/Cook) was based on an expanded version of the original rules. OD&D is considerably simpler.

For example, in OD&D as originally stated, everyone has 1d6 hit points and every weapon does 1d6 damage. ;)

The first D&D Basic Set (blue-book set released in 1977, edited by J. Eric Holmes), used material from the original 1974 set, some material from D&D Supplement I: Greyhawk (1975), and some material from then-in-the-works AD&D (apparently the latter was all added to Dr. Holmes' manuscript by Gary Gygax in the editing stage). So the Holmes book includes, for instance, the thief class, different hit-die types for different classes, magic-users' "% to know" spells chart, some spells (magic missile, shield, etc.) and some monsters (bugbears, rust monsters, carrion crawlers, gelatinous cubes, etc.) from Supplement I (but does not include some of the other rules from that supplement, like exceptional (percentile) strength, demi-human thieves, the paladin, the half elf, variable damage by weapon type, or the weapon vs. AC chart), and includes some spells (such as Ray of Enfeeblement and Tenser's Floating Disc) that weren't in OD&D at all but would show up in the AD&D Players Handbook a year later. The Holmes set also uses a "5-prong" alignment system (lawful good/chaotic good/neutral/lawful evil/chaotic evil) that was introduced by Gary Gygax in "The Strategic Review" (predecessor to Dragon magazine) and is implicitly mentioned in D&D Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry (1976), but wasn't incorporated into the actual rules until AD&D (by which time, of course, 4 more alignments had been added -- neutral good, lawful neutral, chaotic neutral, and neutral evil).

The 1981 version of the Basic Set (red book w/ Erol Otus cover, edited by Tom Moldvay) for the most part retains the same material as the Holmes set (human thieves and different hit dice by class are still included, demi-human thieves, paladins, and the weapon-vs-AC chart are still excluded) but removes the AD&D-isms (alignments are back to the 3-prong system of the original rules, Tenser's Floating Disc becomes simply "Floating Disc," no references to "see AD&D for more info") and makes a couple of key changes which are, in most people's minds, what really sets Moldvay and after apart from OD&D and Holmes: 1) in place of the ad-hoc bonuses and penalties from ability scores in OD&D and Holmes (i.e. Dex 13+ gives +1 to hit with missiles, Con 15+ gives +1 hit point per die, high Wis gives no bonus at all unless you're a cleric) Moldvay went to a "universal" bonus/penalty chart that applies to all ability scores (so a score of 13-15 always gives a +1 bonus to whatever that stat affects, a score of 16-17 always gives a +2 bonus, etc.); and 2) in place of having dwarves and halflings be races that were always members of the fighter class and elves be a race that's always a member of both the fighter and magic-user classes, Moldvay cut out the middle man and declared "dwarf," "elf," and "halfling" to be classes in and of themselves. Another, smaller impact, change that Moldvay (and Steve Marsh and David Cook, who co-edited the companion Expert Set) did was to standardize the number of magic-user/elf and cleric spells at each level -- in OD&D and Holmes the progression was irregular (8 1st level m-u spells, expanded to 11 in Supp I; 10 2nd level expanded to 16 in Supp I; 14 3rd level expanded to 18 in Supp I, etc.), Moldvay/Marsh/Cook standardized this at 12 spells per level for magic-users/elves and 8 spells per level for clerics, which meant adding spells in some cases, deleting them in others.

Another thing perhaps worth mentioning is that the Cook/Marsh Expert Set is actually much closer to the original OD&D set than the Basic Set is, because it doesn't include anything from Supplement I or AD&D that wasn't already included in the Holmes and Moldvay Basic Sets -- so while the Expert Set includes rules for thieves of 4th+ levels and continues to follow the Supp I hit-die procedure (1 die per level up to "name" level, then a fixed number of hp per level thereafter) it doesn't include any of the higher level spells (7th+ for magic-users, 6th+ for clerics), monsters (liches, titans, beholders, metallic dragons, etc.) or magic items (+4 and +5 weapons and armor, Deck of Many Things, Sphere of Annihilation, magical books and tomes, etc.) from Supplement I.

The 1983 versions of the Basic and Expert Sets (red and blue boxes, Larry Elmore covers, edited by Frank Mentzer) follow the 1981 rules very closely -- the only differences are that some of the progressions (spells, saving throws, thief skills, etc.) are slowed down a bit (the 1981 progressions tend to "max out" at 14th level, whereas the 1983 progressions are intended to carry on through to 36th level). The later sets in that series (Companion Set in 1984, Master Set in 1985, Immortals Set in 1986, Gazeteer series starting in 1987) added much new material that isn't based in the OD&D rules (such as the proto-prestige classes and new weapons and armors from the Companion Set, weapon mastery from the Master Set, and the skills system and assorted new/variant classes from the Gazeteers) and if you integrate that material (as was done in the D&D Rules Cyclopedia (1991)) the result will be quite a bit different from OD&D. But as long as you stick only to the Basic and Expert sets, the rules are quite similar to the 1974 rules (plus about 1/3 to 1/2 the material from Supplement I). Certainly closer than either set is to AD&D.
 

oldschooler

First Post
Rogue765 said:
A few months ago I snagged a copy of the white box OD&D in a bookstore. Besides the three booklets it also had the Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldrich Wizardry and Gods Demigods & Heroes supplements as well as the Swords & Spells and Chainmail booklets. Each one is from it's last printing but the suckers are all MINT!!!. Except for the residue of the price labels on the supplement books it doesn't even look like the person who originally bought it even played it. The booklets all lay flat like they hadn't been held open to read. According to the price listing at Acaeum they're worth around $200 but I got it all for just $10 bucks. :cool:

Might put them up on Ebay sometime in the future along with some of my other older books.

:eek: For the love of all that's Holy, let me know when you're ready to get rid of those bad boys before doing anything rash!!!
 

Stonegiant

First Post
Blustar said:
but he's still DM'ing LA right?(and C&C's too) I thought OD&D was the one true system? With one true system you don't need any others right?

I would love to play in Gary's OD&D games no doubt but can we stop with the one true system?


Blue

Excuse me but I never once said he had stopped running those games either. I was just stating a fact for the record and while were at that I have never once used the terms "True Game", "Better game", etc. So please don't try and attribute statements not made by me here or else where. I am a great believer in that if you and your players/GMs are happy and having fun who cares what anyone else thinks or says and who should really care what game system you use besides maybe the marketing guys for the various game companies. I have (I thought :confused: ) been very clear in stating that all my prefrences and experiences are my own and I wouldn't dare tell you or anyone else what games they should play. If you wanted to join in a session I would be glad to have you but other than that I will not evangelize game systems. So far this has been a very amicable conversation I would hate to see it ruined by people trolling for trouble. IIRC no one has really said anything is better than the other, everyone here has either been expressing an interest in the games people play, trying to understand other systems, or they have politley stated their not being interested in this system but no one has expressed any real arrogance or superiority to anyone else. So please don't express negative experiences found elsewhere (other threads, boards, etc.). Thanks :D
 

Blustar

First Post
Stonegiant said:
Excuse me but I never once said he had stopped running those games either. I was just stating a fact for the record and while were at that I have never once used the terms "True Game", "Better game", etc. So please don't try and attribute statements not made by me here or else where. I am a great believer in that if you and your players/GMs are happy and having fun who cares what anyone else thinks or says and who should really care what game system you use besides maybe the marketing guys for the various game companies. I have (I thought :confused: ) been very clear in stating that all my prefrences and experiences are my own and I wouldn't dare tell you or anyone else what games they should play. If you wanted to join in a session I would be glad to have you but other than that I will not evangelize game systems. So far this has been a very amicable conversation I would hate to see it ruined by people trolling for trouble. IIRC no one has really said anything is better than the other, everyone here has either been expressing an interest in the games people play, trying to understand other systems, or they have politley stated their not being interested in this system but no one has expressed any real arrogance or superiority to anyone else. So please don't express negative experiences found elsewhere (other threads, boards, etc.). Thanks :D

That's cool, I was responding to the "one true system" from earlier in the thread. So ,sorry if I attributed it to you erroneously.

Anyways, I just love RPG's in general so I play and read as many as I can get my grubby hands on. I agree there's too much acrimony between people who have a common interest. (RPG's)

Blue
 


Melan

Explorer
PapersAndPaychecks said:
Corollary: Any system is totally not fun if you have an incompetent and unenthusiastic GM who thinks in terms of rules instead of characters - no matter how good the system.

Further corollary: The better the GM, the simpler the ruleset you can get away with.
And another: building a wall of checks and balances to "prevent bad DMing" never works out in the end.
 

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