Thursday, March 26, 2009

Original Edition Delta

I've collected the various house rules discussed on this blog for OD&D, and compiled them under the title "Original Edition Delta" (currently referenced as version 0.3). You can download either a PDF or Open Document Text format (the latter with designer note sidebars) from the following link. Comments welcome:


  1. Top stuff. Gracias.

    I'm a big fan of Diminutive d20, and this is just increasing the gravitational pull that the retro-clones were already having. ;)

  2. Thanks! There are a few ideas in there I'd forgotten about.

  3. First, congratulations on actually getting something onto paper. A lot of us in the blogosphere rant and hypothesize but you actually have gone the step of making something playable. Excellent work!! It is fantastic to see the ideas in your blog come together coherently and I think I would enjoy playing "OED."

    I do have a few critiques and questions, however.


    For lack of a better term, do you think it is good for the disparity in chances to hit to increase so dramatically as levels increase? At level 2, the difference in bonuses to hit will be small (5% or so). But by high levels it will be very large. Would it be better to simply give Fighter-types a +3 or +4 bonus to hit at first level (and perhaps another +1 at level 5 and 9 to make up for the relative efficacy of higher level spells), so that their "advantage" remains static instead of scaling with level?

    Your system basically makes melee absolutely pointless for magic-users and very dicey for thieves at higher levels, which basically removes an option from play. As you say, a game is a series of interesting choices; why have the choice if its pointless?


    It seems like there's a lot of thief-hate out there. Why did you choose to retain the thief and ditch the cleric?

    Furthermore, without clerics around, how are parties expected to restore hit points and remove baneful conditions? I'm fine with killing the class for flavor reasons, but something needs to take its mechanical place.


    Do you think that level-limits are an effective "price" to pay for the benefits the demis gain?


    Do you still intend for Magic Swords to be Incredibly Awesome compared to other magical weapon offerings? If so, then swords remain the (rightful?) kings of the battlefield. Otherwise they kind of suck.

    I assume the flail and morningstar are two handed, and the battle axe requires but one hand -- otherwise the battle axe is strictly inferior.

    Crossbows are strictly inferior to regular bows, unless the crossbow is used only in one round and then discarded or unless a second character is around whose only job is to reload the hero's crossbow. You can either balance it by letting anyone use a crossbow (its inferior, but easy to use -- although this lets clerics use them) or by giving them some unique advantage over bows (perhaps increased range, penetrating power vs. armor, damage, something).


    Is it intentional that the ability score bonus affects D6 and D20 rolls equally? For example, 14 INT (+1) is +16% on a D6 check but only +5% on a D20 check.

  4. Vedron, thanks for the interest. My interest with this project is mostly to make the most familiar version of D&D more streamlined and playable, so I'm not interested in considering changes to core hit progressions, XP, or the like.

    The flail and morningstar are presumed one-handed (note the battle-axe advantage when fighting opponents in chain). Crossbows are usable by thieves (and presumably non-fighter militia), while other bows are not. Note that d20 rolls are those more influenced by class level, while d6 rolls are affected solely (and therefore moreso) by raw natural ability.

    My opinion of thieves & clerics has evolved over time; after a great deal of soul-searching, I finally aborted clerics from my game, mostly because the came with too much baggage regarding religion, mythology, and social institutions, always spoiling my world-building attempts. See prior posts such as these:

  5. Thanks for the thoughts, Delta. As always it is a pleasure to check out your blog!

    I am still a bit concerned about cutting the cleric without replacing any of their abilities elsewhere. If a character takes 6 points of damage from an orc are they expected to sit around for a week and heal up?

    But in general a good, coherent read.


  6. I did add in potions of healing as an addition to the equipment list (on the first page under "money"). But one of the intentions is indeed to force more natural healing over longer time scales (not always healing overnight for free).

  7. as far as concerns over keeping the function of the cleric available (if this is even a concern of yours), why not just let Magic Users learn Cleric spells, making no distinction between these different 'kinds' of magic?

  8. as far as concerns over keeping the function of the cleric available (if this is even a concern of yours), why not just let Magic Users learn Cleric spells, making no distinction between these different 'kinds' of magic?

    I am pretty happy to say sayonara to the entire cleric spell list in general. Points: (1) I don't like every ailment being healed overnight for free; (2) I prefer seeing more pulp-oriented suffering with the ailment over days or weeks; (3) I have thematic collisions from with the Bible-centered miracles which form the core of the OD&D clerical spell list.

    It's true that some magic healing is a nice mechanic in case one person gets beat up more than the others. But in my opinion it should a much more precious resource, one that is conserved, used, and defended by the whole party, not just one person with infinite healing capacity over the course of time.

  9. I'm sure I'm not the first, but I'm new to the whole idea of D&D and I just wanted to say thank you. It's very respectable for someone to go through so much effort to share something with everyone and not ask for anything in return. So I just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work and I very much enjoy your game.

    Thanks =]

  10. Vertigo: Thanks so much for the kind words! That really means more to me than you perhaps might know. :)