Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday Figures: Phased Turns

Phased turn poll (10 yes, 13 no)

Each of the next few Fridays, I'll present one of several polls I've asked in prior months -- usually either to the ODD74 web forum or the 1E AD&D Facebook group. (ODD74 is better for OD&D-specific questions, obviously, but much smaller membership and sample size; the 1E FB group gets much larger responses, but somewhat less focused opinions). 

For today, on the ODD74 forums, I asked: Do you use a phased turn structure? Now, this is of interest, because the OD&D little brown books famously lacked any turn sequence or initiative rules. One option is to look back at Chainmail, which had two different options for phased turn structures (e.g.: both sides move, then both sides shoot, then both sides melee). Swords & Spells maintains roughly that same structure, and some argue that should be taken as canonical for OD&D. 

That of course is quite different from the modern conceit where a particular character does all their moves, actions, and attacks, then proceed to another character for the same. At least by the 1E DMG Gygax had (on a per-side basis) one party does all its actions, then another party, and so forth. Moldvay in B/X asserts a system where one party goes through phases of morale-move-shoot-spells-melee, then the next party.

So for those playing OD&D "by the book" who need to fill in that gap, I wondered, is there a consensus? Which way do more people lean: look back to Chainmail, or forward to AD&D-style resolution? 

As you can see in the chart above -- surprisingly -- players on ODD74 are roughly evenly split. Ten people (43%) said, "yes", they use a phased turn structure similar to Chainmail or Swords & Spells. Thirteen people (57%) said, "no", they do not, and presumably use a per-party or per-character system like AD&D and later. That's a narrow lean towards the "no" side, and a break from what's in Chainmail. Also it's a small sample size, but judging from this -- it looks like there's no solid consensus. 

Which highlights that for classic D&D there's almost no "by the book" way to run the game; there are specific gaps that must be filled to personal taste by every judge and table of players. If you have an account at ODD74, see the link below for discussion that resulted from that poll (and of course continue it here if you like).

Phased Turn Pool at ODD74 (account required)

Monday, January 25, 2021

Original Edition Delta House Rules v. 1.0.6

OED Players Rules 1.0.6
For the new year, a new release of the OED house rules -- the first update since about 2 years ago. See the new Players, Judges, and Monster rules in full at

(Full disclosure: this is not really super new. We didn't get to play very much in 2020, so this is pretty much the same thing as I could have released last January.)

Here's an overview of what's been modified since last time:

Players' Rules

  • Increase halfling ranged bonus from +2 to +4 (synchs with other d20 race bonuses at +4, emulates Sup-I/MM large bonus, visible in mass combat scale as in Chainmail). 
  • Berserking feat boosted to +4 on attacks & all saves (better balance with other feats)
  • Weapon Specialization feat boosted to +2 attacks (better balance with other feats, matches damage bonus, similar to UA ranged specialty)
  • Add "Pace" as unit descriptor of 5-foot square

Judges' Rules

  • Shift high-level ability tiers by one level (incl. 1st level as in Players' rules)
  • Give an extra language at 1st level.
  • Undead immune to crits & backstabs.
  • Dragons modify attacks, saves, breath becomes dice, skip subdual.
  • Diseases used a bit more specified. 
  • Remove use Good Hits & Bad Misses for crits/fumbles (crits become dbl damage).

Monster Database

  • Bear, Bull, Ram, Jackal added (from Bag of Tricks in Greyhawk)
  • Wolf edited to 2 HD (per same, and also Swords & Spells)
  • White Ape boosted 5 to 6 HD (as shown in Warriors of Mars)
  • Dragons get new DragonAge keyword (easier parsing in Arena program)
  • Ghast, Troglodyte added (from AD&D MM)
  • Correct larger Roc HD#'s
  • Edit some borderline EHDs

 Furthermore, throughout each document there have been some minor wording clarifications, some optional ideas moved to the notes, and lots of new historical-type endnotes added. Other good ideas very recently discussed on the WDMs talk show by us and our cunning viewers are here yet -- they're still to be tested. Leave a comment if you see something you like, want to add, or think is a big mistake. As always, this is greatly improved by your feedback and future games!