Friday, November 13, 2015

Blade of Vengeance, Part 5

A few posts ago, a commenter asked for a character sheet of Erestylle of Dorneryll, the solo character in Jim Bambra's D&D Module O2, Blade of Vengeance. So this week we take a break and look at our protagonist as shown in the module:


Of course, this was published to support the Moldvay/Cook B/X - Mentzer Basic line, in which race & class were collapsed to a single state for non-humans, the character is listed as simply a 7th-level Elf (3 less than the maximum allowed for elves in those rules). Since we picked up this module and started play extemporaneously, with no preparation on my part at all, I've been using the stats as presented -- except under Original D&D rules to declare that Erystelle counts as a 4th-level fighter (maximum else in OD&D), and 7th-level magic-user (one less than maximum). Also we've retroactively defined Erystelle's two wardogs to be bobcats instead (with the same 2 hit dice, single 1d6 attack, and +2 to surprise if alone or with Erystelle in wooded terrain; see Lynx, Giant). Spells and equipment were all kept the same.

Now, in retrospect Erystelle's listed 40 hit points don't make sense for that level as an OD&D character (as I interpret the rules for multiclassing; see OED House Rules). Even in the Moldvay/Mentzer rules, Erystelle's hit points are clearly inflated; maximum possible would be 7d6 + 7 for Constitution = 7×6 + 7 = 49, so the hit points shown are well above average, 40/49 = 82% the possible maximum. In OD&D, assuming that hit points for multiclassing do not sum, the maximum for a 4th-level fighter is 4d8 + 4 = 36 or a 7th-level wizard 7d4 + 7 = 35. Taking a similar 82% of either of those numbers gives a likely hit point total of just 30 for proper OD&D play. But I'm not going to reduce that in the middle of play, so Erystelle for the moment retains the full 40 hit points as shown here (minus various scrapes, burns, collisions, falls, crushing impacts, and blood-sucking that has occurred along the way so far).

Note that as usual all of my OD&D monster hit dice and attacks are simply rolled with d6's, which proportionally reduces the threat from those monsters, so Erystelle has a bit of an extra edge in this particular run-through of the Blade of Vengeance.


  1. Thanks for posting, interesting about the hps.

  2. To be fair, I wouldn't call it unusual that Erystelle is a strong character. It always seemed to be pretty common practice to give pregenerated characters in modules high ability scores and hit points.

    The things that I actually found the most interesting about this character sheet are the following:
    1.) The healing potions that can alternatively cure paralysis
    2.) Listing THAC0 as a stat a full 5 years before AD&D 2nd Edition came out
    3.) Probably the most concise and collected (as in, presented in one place instead of scattered about multiple chapters) summary of how a mount behaves in combat that I've seen in any edition; bonus points for giving a precise minimum charge distance in order to deal double damage with a lance

    1. I totally agree with the PC with beefy scores and hit points (esp. a solo one); my main surprise was that it's actually higher than possible for the OD&D analog (which is mostly a comment about me not converting it prior to starting play).

      THACO is present, for example, in the 1979 AD&D 1E DMG Appendix E (Alphabetical Recapitulation of Monsters, 3rd column) and has a history before that in White Dwarf, I believe. I'm always a little bit weirded out about why that's considered a 2E invention.

  3. I guess I never looked through the appendices that carefully. I'm guessing a lot of other people didn't, either... what I and many others remember most clearly is the "Combat Matrix" presentation from the PHB. As for White Dwarf, I can't comment on that; by the time I even heard of it, it was entirely dedicated to Warhammer.

    For me personally, I didn't even own the 1E books until several years ago. When I first started playing, our DM was using a mix of 1E and 2E material, but shortly thereafter switched to almost completely 2E when he bought the revised Forgotten Realms boxed set. By the time I had decided I cared enough about the game enough to buy my own books, it was the 1995 black-cover ones.

    Although it appears not to have been a 2E invention, per se, that was nevertheless the only edition in which it was used as the core to-hit algorithm, as opposed to being presented as a variant or shorthand. As for its polarizing nature, I always thought it was just fine the way it was; the change to BAB didn't do anything for me. As an aside, though, I was rather irate about both the inability to move more than 5 feet in a round when you make multiple attacks and the reduced chance of hitting with each attack after the first. To add insult to injury, they seriously neutered Weapon Specialization. I had rather liked fighters in AD&D, but 3E really gave them the business.

    1. Interesting to hear your perspective there!