log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General The Rules Cyclopedia - Unlearning Dnd Preconceptions from a 3e player

Voadam

Legend
OD&D (White Box) had three alignments (Law, Chaos, Neutrality) and three alignment languages.

The “common tongue” spoken throughout the “continent” is known by most humans. All other creatures and monsters which can speak have their own language, although some (20%) also know the common one. Law, Chaos and Neutrality also have common languages spoken by each respectively. One can attempt to communicate through the common tongue, language particular to a creature class, or one of the divisional languages (law, etc.). While not understanding the language, creatures who speak a divisional tongue will recognize a hostile one and attack. Characters with an Intelligence above 10 may learn additional languages, one language for every point above 10 intelligence factors. Thus, a man with an intelligence level of 15 could speak 7 languages, i.e. the common tongue, his divisional language, and 5 creature languages. Of course, Magic-Users’ spells and some magic items will enable the speaking and understanding of languages.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
To me the most important aspect of RC (and previous editions) is that combat happened in phases*. It was like a war-game and it used side initiative. That is the big difference with WoTC editions in which individual initiative became the norm:

ORDER OF COMBAT
A. Each side rolls for initiative, using Id6.
B. The side that wins the initiative acts first:
1. Morale Check (monsters and non-player characters only)
  1. Movement (using speed per round), including Defensive Maneuvers
  2. Missile fire combat (additional)
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Hit Rolls
    c. Roll Damage for hits
  3. Magic spells
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Saving Throws if necessary
    c. Apply results immediately
  4. Hand-to-Hand combat
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Hit Rolls
    c. Roll Damage for hits
C. The side that loses the initiative then completes all the steps given above.
D. The DM handles all retreating, surrender, and other special results.
 

Reynard

Legend
To me the most important aspect of RC (and previous editions) is that combat happened in phases*. It was like a war-game and it used side initiative. That is the big difference with WoTC editions in which individual initiative became the norm:

ORDER OF COMBAT
A. Each side rolls for initiative, using Id6.
B. The side that wins the initiative acts first:
1. Morale Check (monsters and non-player characters only)
  1. Movement (using speed per round), including Defensive Maneuvers
  2. Missile fire combat (additional)
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Hit Rolls
    c. Roll Damage for hits
  3. Magic spells
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Saving Throws if necessary
    c. Apply results immediately
  4. Hand-to-Hand combat
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Hit Rolls
    c. Roll Damage for hits
C. The side that loses the initiative then completes all the steps given above.
D. The DM handles all retreating, surrender, and other special results.
D&D has probably held on to its wargaming roots longer than is either necessary or beneficial. I think D&D would be better off if it embraced things like zoned ranges and more theater of the mind friendly positioning and tactical rules. Especially given how otherwise "narrative" and "story focused" the game has become recently.

That said, since most of my gaming has gone to VTT play, particularly 5E on Fantasy Grounds, there are times when I wish the game was a little more tactically complex.
 

D&D has probably held on to its wargaming roots longer than is either necessary or beneficial. I think D&D would be better off if it embraced things like zoned ranges and more theater of the mind friendly positioning and tactical rules.
At least in my experience, the gaming culture of D&D moved away from miniatures in the 1990's.

In the 90's, I saw AD&D 1e and 2e games being played, and even a few games of RC Basic D&D from different gaming groups. . .and only one session used miniatures, ever, not one game, one session for a special event.

AD&D could be played pretty well without minis, and given the high cost of pewter miniatures, there was a strong financial disincentive for players to use them.

Minis in D&D, at least in my experience, came about in the early 2000's as a combination of two factors.
1. D&D 3e strongly encouraged miniature-based gaming with rules that firmly rewarded miniature-based tactics.
2. Far more affordable options for miniatures. The collectable D&D minis began in 2003, and before that there was Mage Knight, the first collectable mini game (I knew a few gamers who bought Mage Knight minis to use for D&D), and the advent of other plastic minis like the Reaper Bones line, and Dragon Magazine including cardboard tokens in every issue for quite some time after the release of 3e.

By the 2004 or 2005 it seemed like every D&D game was using minis and they were the norm, when they most certainly were not only a few years earlier.

The current emphasis on minis in D&D isn't some vestigial appendage, long held over from its miniatures wargaming roots in the 1970's, but a 21st century addition to the game that was built around more tactically oriented rules and improvements in miniatures production that made minis gaming more financially viable for many gamers.
 

dave2008

Legend
To me the most important aspect of RC (and previous editions) is that combat happened in phases*. It was like a war-game and it used side initiative. That is the big difference with WoTC editions in which individual initiative became the norm:

ORDER OF COMBAT
A. Each side rolls for initiative, using Id6.
B. The side that wins the initiative acts first:
1. Morale Check (monsters and non-player characters only)
  1. Movement (using speed per round), including Defensive Maneuvers
  2. Missile fire combat (additional)
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Hit Rolls
    c. Roll Damage for hits
  3. Magic spells
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Saving Throws if necessary
    c. Apply results immediately
  4. Hand-to-Hand combat
    a. Choose targets
    b. Make Hit Rolls
    c. Roll Damage for hits
C. The side that loses the initiative then completes all the steps given above.
D. The DM handles all retreating, surrender, and other special results.
In general I don't mind this, but the order of events always bothered me. I would have melee first, ranged second, and spells last. I could see an argument for bonus action and cantrip spells moving up in the order.
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
In general I don't mind this, but the order of events always bothered me. I would have melee first, ranged second, and spells last. I could see an argument for bonus action and cantrip spells moving up in the order.
It stems from wilderness exploration. You can't have melee first when most encounters begin at a random distance determined by a DM dice roll. That distance was measured in yards, not feet.

In dungeons it is similar. Corridors were long and there were lots of random encounters. Missile and spells would need to go first in the initial round(s) of combat until hand-to-hand happened.
 

Reynard

Legend
The current emphasis on minis in D&D isn't some vestigial appendage, long held over from its miniatures wargaming roots in the 1970's, but a 21st century addition to the game that was built around more tactically oriented rules and improvements in miniatures production that made minis gaming more financially viable for many gamers.
I'm not sure I agree. i think there was a lull during the 80s and 90s because TSR repeatedly failed to compete with Games Workshop, combined with the linear story approach to D&D adventures exemplified by Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms modules. But it was at the heart of the game and it remained present throughout its various editions to one degree or another. 3E merely brought it back to the fore. I do agree that a lot of miniatures options emerged at that time, but I think you have it backwards. 3E re-embracing it's miniatures tactical roots drove a lot of the production of various sorts of miniatures.
 

dave2008

Legend
It stems from wilderness exploration. You can't have melee first when most encounters begin at a random distance determined by a DM dice roll. That distance was measured in yards, not feet.

In dungeons it is similar. Corridors were long and there were lots of random encounters. Missile and spells would need to go first in the initial round(s) of combat until hand-to-hand happened.
still doesn't make sense to me. I mean if your not in range of your melee attacks, you not going to attack. Now, it you wanted to use that order, until you get in melee range - I would be fine with that.
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
still doesn't make sense to me. I mean if your not in range of your melee attacks, you not going to attack. Now, it you wanted to use that order, until you get in melee range - I would be fine with that.
Old school D&D includes bows, crossbows, slings and javelins with very long ranges also measured in yards in wilderness. Fighters are well advised to have their bow ready and switch to sword when the distance is too close for comfort.
 

Voadam

Legend
still doesn't make sense to me. I mean if your not in range of your melee attacks, you not going to attack. Now, it you wanted to use that order, until you get in melee range - I would be fine with that.
According to the Moldvay Basic Set people using ranged attacks and spells are not in melee, if you were in melee those were not options. People casting spells also could not move.

It basically means those not dancing around in melee resolve their actions before those doing so.
 

Marc_C

Solo Role Playing
I'm not sure I agree. i think there was a lull during the 80s and 90s because TSR repeatedly failed to compete with Games Workshop, combined with the linear story approach to D&D adventures exemplified by Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms modules. But it was at the heart of the game and it remained present throughout its various editions to one degree or another. 3E merely brought it back to the fore. I do agree that a lot of miniatures options emerged at that time, but I think you have it backwards. 3E re-embracing it's miniatures tactical roots drove a lot of the production of various sorts of miniatures.
TSR had an agreement with Ral Partha to produce D&D miniatures in the 80s and 90s. I've always played with miniatures of some kind since 1981. (edit) before that they had an agreement with Grenadier and other companies. You can read all about it at this link: http://www.dndlead.com/History.htm

The weird thing about RC and BECMI is that it doesn't mention playing with miniatures. I discovered this not long ago. All other of D&D editions do. It created two types of D&D players.
 
Last edited:

isn't THAC0 just THAC0-Monster AC=Target Number to roll equal or above to hit?

Said THACO changes based on your equipment and/or bonuses/penalties
 

dave2008

Legend
According to the Moldvay Basic Set people using ranged attacks and spells are not in melee, if you were in melee those were not options. People casting spells also could not move.

It basically means those not dancing around in melee resolve their actions before those doing so.
That makes more sense - thank you for the clarification.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
BECMI is where I started and I will always love it.

Just a few spare opinions here...

Alignment felt to us pretty much a Heroes vs Villain thing, with Neutral = unaligned/undecided/don't trust. Also the idea of alignments languages was too goofy... having 2 creatures from faraway worlds being able to fully communicate because of sharing the same morals was somehow intriguing but actually implied too much about Alignment being an uber cosmic force. I felt that the 9 alignments were a big improvement overall, even if most players ended up playing them too strictly.

Much more bounded bonuses and HP wasn't bad at all. It made every extra point gained a great achievement. Later editions felt a bit like inflation, although they do have the benefit of allowing much bigger battles with lots of lesser monsters (but then they often didn't handle them well from an action economy POV).

Name levels had a lot of charm... but also implied a bit too much on the narrative. Nowadays I rather prefer complete independence between adventuring level and out-of-adventure power and status.

Nature Cleric vs Druid has never been a problem per se. It's a problem only when a DM thinks that everything that's in a book exists commonly in the fantasy world, and overlapping requires an explanation. It doesn't.

Wish restricted to top character level was a good idea. But I think an even better idea would be Wish to be not a spell but something else. As a potentially "can do anything" effect it has a wonderful narrative potential but it requires to be seriously restricted in how often it is allowed, so it just can't be a daily option at ANY level. As a "replicate any lesser spell" is gamebreaking in a different way, but in addition it's also boring. My solution is simply not to run the game at a level where Wish is available, maybe reach that level at the end of a campaign but I wouldn't stay there. It is just better to have Wish as an occasional single-use power as from a ring or another magic item, then I don't even have to think about how to nerf it each time.
 

teitan

Hero
THAC0 may have been much easier than 1E's combat matrices, but d20 + bonus vs. AC was much easier than THAC0. I was still running 2E when 3E was new, but after I was exposed to the new combat system I house-ruled it in place of THAC0...

Thac0 was just a different way to explain the combat matrix. It was from Basic, became a standard reference in 1e and integrated as the official explanation in 2e.
 


Blue Orange

Explorer
What a fascinating and enlightening thread. Knowing too much about old editions can trip you up because you think you know things you don't actually know.

It is interesting that a lot of the OSR games use some version of BECMI rather than 1e or 2e as their basis for people looking for a 'retro' experience. Simpler and fewer rules, I'd guess, which was always one of the OSR attractions, from what I can tell.

I went from 1e to 5e, which was entertaining when I forgot about using hit dice to recover HP and instead stocked up on healing potions, freaked out when a spectre showed up (oh, temporary loss of maximum HP if it hits you? You used to permanently lose two entire levels unless you could find a 16th level cleric to cast restoration!), was planning to dual class into wizard to get Fire Shield when I realized it only did 2d6 instead of double the attacker's damage.

I actually went through the tables of monster resistances for the various editions. Devils have been immune to fire and taken full damage from electricity for a while.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I got mine used off eBay in 2009 for $25 (including shipping). But I remember looking for a second copy soon after and the cheapest copies I found were already more than double that. I just looked and the cheapest one I found was around 80 bucks, but most were $100 or more.

I sold mine in 95 for around $15. 2E was newer and "advanced" ergo better.
 

In general I don't mind this, but the order of events always bothered me. I would have melee first, ranged second, and spells last. I could see an argument for bonus action and cantrip spells moving up in the order.
It really doesn't matter much.

The two things that matter are:

  • Spells come last
  • And ranged comes before movement.
 


An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top