Scott is helping me refine house rules but anyone is welcome to chime in.
- Minimum hit point at 1st level rule from UA (i.e. 51% or greater). - Characters below 0 hit points restored by magic to positive hp do not need to rest per the DMG rules, and are able to fight, but they do lose all spells memorized or prayed for (i.e., must rest if they want to memorize or pray to get spells back). - Initiative is group-based using d6 with lower score winning. Ties mean each side goes simultaneously. - Spell casting times are added to the initiative roll, with 1 segment per pip, and may finish casting in the next round if above 10 segments. - Time required to learn new spells? - Time and cost required to write new spells into spell book (as well as cost of special inks, quills, etc.)?
Last Edit: Jul 23, 2020 10:41:23 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
If I was to use something like the zero hit points no rest it be something unique that can be lost like amulets rewarded from a quest that way everyone in the universe doesn't have to be raring and ready after defeat.
In the past I've imposed the rules per the DMG about characters who go below 0 hit points not being able to fight immediately when healed back above zero and having to rest for multiple days to recover. Those rules are more than fair since previously in OD&D 0 hit points simply meant you were dead. My suggested house rule is purely based upon my preference and experience as DM in wanting to keep things moving along as much as possible and treating magical healing as more efficacious, yet with going below zero still having a traumatic effect with the loss of spells. Also, I have characters be dazed or stunned for at least a round after being restored to positive hit points. I suppose this is shifting the trauma away from fighting ability and towards limiting it to spell-casting. Without magical healing, the full rest and recovery time is still required.
This house rule idea comes out of low level play in which characters are constantly getting knocked below zero hit points, yet who have access to magical healing such as cure light wounds spells, potions of healing, etc.
Last Edit: Jul 23, 2020 13:59:25 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
I have gone back and forth on starting hit points, the 51% rule or max at first level. Currently with AD&D I am using the 51%. Lately I've been using the BtB unconscious rules. In the past I would give characters a system shock roll to see if they needed the extra rest or not, and I may go back to that. For spell learning, for the spell learned at leveling, I roll it into the time/cost associated with BtB training. For other spells it's 100 GP/spell level and 1 day/spell level to inscribe into a book. There is no time to learn a spell if you find it on a scroll or in a spell book. You just make the roll. If a PC is researching a spell without a source, then I use the BtB times/cost (as close as I can. Those cost rules are some of the most confusing in 1E).
Post by geneweigel on Jul 23, 2020 10:41:14 GMT -5
In the post-modern AD&D, I think, game time is a major factor so anything that makes it easier is my only "house rule".
In general, about making it doable for light players, the vaunted "total party kill" is never a goal for me though. I can't do that. I would rather just end the game then continue later while giving tips for a better resolve/retreat than end a combat on one big sour note. Exceptional greed however, like the MONSTER MANUAL example of a large experienced group of somewhat but not powerful enough characters subduing a huge ancient red dragon at a heavy cost (3 fried)when they could have easily slain it right out or put it off for now, I'd have to let it stand even if they were all toasted.
That's probably not everything, but it's a good start for PCs and rules/procedures. (I have a set of dragon rules that I've been tinkinering with again, as well as various variant XP awards for monsters, beholder variants, etc.).
Thanks Allan -- I downloaded them and I'm reading them over.
Another house rule that I came up with was an old one about whether gnomes should get the constitution bonus save versus poison as well as magic. In the PH, dwarves and halflings get it for both poison and magic, but gnomes only get it for magic. In the MM, all three races get a saving throw bonus versus both poison and magic. I've always thought it was an oversight in PH that gnomes didn't get the bonus versus poison as well, so I made a house rule that they do. In OD&D, gnomes are one of the dwarf races IIRC, so I treat them all the same for these resistances.
Scott -- Please remind me how initiative with spell casting times works BtB and how you handle it. I thought you did d6, lowest roll wins, and the roll represents the segment of the round and spell casting is added on top of that. Also, do you give AC penalties to those casting spells in melee, and/or take away any Dex bonuses?
I've often been lazy and just had everyone on the side that wins initiative go first, including spell-casters, regardless of casting times -- unless the casting time is a turn or more.
Last Edit: Oct 22, 2020 12:19:59 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
There really isn't a BtB spell casting in melee procedure. Several ideas were being developed and an incoherent mix of them was pounded into the DMG. BtB high roll wins initiative and that can really make it wonky. I know at some point Gary did switch to low roll wins, and when playing AD&D he did add casting time to initiative. He had given me specific examples of spells he would memorize with this reason in mind. Gary's group tested the speed factor rules, and then never used them again. In theory I disregard Dex AC bonus, but in practice I usually don't worry about it.
Post by geneweigel on Feb 15, 2021 15:36:16 GMT -5
Here is the original comparative of BTB:
From DMG page 115(1978) "Manufacture of Scrolls":
The type of material used will affect the likelihood of successful transcription, as listed above. Special quills cannot normally be purchased, for only common goose or similar feather instruments are available in shops. The would-be inscriber must arrange for the special writing tools as he or she can. Ink is a very special requirement. Scroll spell ink, just as the ink for detailing spells in spell books, is compounded only by the inscriber from secret and strange ingredients. The basic medium should be sepia from a giant squid or ink from a giant octopus. To this liquid must be added blood, powdered gems, herbal and spice infusions, draughts concocted from parts of monsters, and so on. An example of a formula for the ink required to scribe a protection from petrification spell is shown below: 1 oz. giant squid sepia 1 basilisk eye 3 cockatrice feathers 1 scruple of venom from a medusa‘s snakes 1 large peridot, powdered 1 medium topaz, powdered 2 drams holy water 6 pumpkin seeds Harvest the pumpkin in the dark of the moon and dry the seeds over a slow fire of sandalwood and horse dung. Select three perfect ones and grind them into a coarse meal, husks and all. Boil the basilisk eye and cockatrice feathers for exactly 5 minutes in a saline solution, drain, and place in a jar. Add the medusa’s snake venom and gem powders. Allow to stand for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Pour off liquid into bottle, add sepia and holy ,water, mixing contents with a silver rod, stirring widdershins. Makes ink sufficient for one scroll. Other ink formulas will be devised similarly according to the dictates of the DM. Ingredients should suit the overall purpose of the ink. It is recommended that each different spell to be transcribed require a different ink compound - clerical spells requiring more venerated and holy materials, druid spells being basically rare roots and herbs in infusions, and so on. Garments, wrappings, dust, sweat, tears, teeth, fangs, organs, blood, and so forth are all ideal components. Once material, quill, and ink are ready, the spell scriber must actually write the magical runes, glyphs, symbols, characters, pictograms, and words upon the surface of the scroll. Transcription must be from his or her scroll books or upon an altar (for clerics and druids). Special candles and incense must be burning while the inscription is in progress. Clerics must have prayed and specially sacrificed to their deity, while magic-users must have drawn a magic circle and remain uninterrupted. PREPARATION REQUIRES ONE FULL DAY FOR EACH LEVEL OF THE SPELL BEING SCRIBED ON THE SCROLL. A 1 st level spell takes one day, a 2nd level spell two, etc. Time so spent must be continuous with interruptions only for rest, food, sleep, and the like. If the inscriber leaves the scroll to do anything else, the magic is broken, and the whole effort is for naught. Failure: There is a basic 20% chance that a mistake, smudge, or flow in the scroll will make the spell useless. To this base chance is added 1% per level of the spell being inscribed, so that total failure chance is from 21% to 29%, minus the level of the character attempting to write the spell. Thus, if a 14th level cleric is attempting to write a 7th level spell on o parchment scroll, the failure chance is 20% + 7% - 14% = a 13% chance. After the requisite materials and preparations have been taken care of, the player character must then spend the full time necessary to inscribe the scroll spell. Thereafter, a percentile dice roll greater than the percentage chance of failure equals success. If multiple spells are being scribed, a failure of one means that no further spells may be placed upon the scroll. In any event, o maximum of seven spells may be written on a single scroll. As o spell is read from the scroll, its letters and figures writhe and glow, the magic is effected, and then the lines fade and are gone forever. (In order for a magic-user or illusionist to transcribe a heretofore unknown spell from a scroll to his or her books, a read magic and then a period of time equal to that necessary to place the spell on the scroll are required; this likewise causes the spell to disappear from the scroll.) The scriber of the spell does not need a read magic spell to use his or her own scroll spells, just as clerics and druids never need the aid of magic to read appropriate scroll spells.
From DRAGON #62 (JUN 1982) FROM THE SORCEROR'S SCROLL: "EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEVER KNEW ABAOUT SPELL BOOKS" (This was reprinted in UNEARTHED ARCANA 1985):
All information regarding spell books in AD&D™ gaming is currently inferred. This was not, Gentle Reader, by design. Simply put, I overlooked it in the morass of getting three volumes put together. In order to rectify that oversight, the following rules are offered. When the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® Expansion volume is completed (please don’t ask me when!), the same rules will be included therein, although some minor changes are probable. In any event, stalwart readers of DRAGON™ Magazine are again getting the straight goods first!
SPELL BOOKS When a magic-user completes his or her apprenticeship, it is assumed that he or she has one, or possibly two, spell books. A Book of First Level Spells will certainly be possessed, and there might be a Book of Cantrips as well. The latter depends upon the options of both the DM and the concerned player. The following applies to all spell books. Types of spell books There are two different kinds of spell books: 1. Standard spell books, each of which contains up to 36 cantrips, 24 spells of under 4th level, 16 spells of under 7th level, or 8 spells of 7th, 8th and/or 9th level. 2. Travelling spell books, each of which contains at most one-fourth of the number of spells possible to be contained in a standard spell book: 9 cantrips; 6 spells of 1st 2nd, and/or 3rd level; 4 spells of 4th, 5th, and/or 6th level; or 2 spells of 7th, 8th, and/or 9th level.
Cost of spell books A standard spell book costs 1,000 gold pieces for materials plus 100 additional gold pieces per spell level for each spell contained therein. The cost of a new magic-user’s or illusionist’s initial book or books is assumed to be borne by the new spell caster’s former master, so the fledgling spell caster will have one or two spell books at no cost to him or her. Books which are prepared later in a magic-user’s career (having higher spell-level capacity than “beginning” books) are not supplied by a M-U’s master, but must be composed by the M-U in question as part of his or her training when the spell caster is trying to rise to the next experience level. This composition will take from 4-7 weeks for each new standard book; the book is composed during and after the time when other training exercises are taking place. The same costs/prices apply when such a book is being manufactured and composed: Any standard spell book requires a 1,000 gold piece investment for materials plus 100 gold pieces per level for each spell entered within the book, payable when a magic-user adds a new spell to his or her repertoire. (Entering a first level spell costs 100 gp, a second level spell costs 200 gp, etc.) A travelling spell book costs 500 gold pieces for materials. The cost of each spell contained within such a book in the same as the cost for entering a spell in a standard book. All travelling spell books must be fabricated by the magic-user, or otherwise discovered as treasure by the magic-user or his or her associates. A player character cannot automatically possess one at the beginning of his or her career.
So originally BTB was as scrolls with creative searching then it was a flat price which in turn can be used to apply to scroll manufacture.
So, a magic-user starts out with a standard spell book that will hold up to 24 total spells of 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th level, and each time he writes a spell into his book he needs to spend 100 gp/level worth of special inks, quills and special materials. Per the DMG, it looks like intention was for the process to be much more involved with the inscriber needing to personally compound the ink from special and secret ingredients. Is the FTSS article simply an abbreviated version of what is in the DMG, breaking it down abstractly to cost and time? So, Scott's magic-user, Masric, may indeed have to figure out the special and secret ingredients needed for each spell, but that happens "off camera." I could assume these special and secret ingredients may not be available in ordinary shops for scriveners but could be purchased from a specialist like an alchemist.
I think BTB play was a rare beast in games that I had entered in the 1980's except for setting up tournaments. Honestly? My grouping's setup was a unicorn of rare stripes with the crude "think tank" circa 1984 or so led by my friend Taylor who is not really a "rules lawyer" but more of an authenticist "if you're gonna learn the game, boy, you got to play it right..." kind of approach. There was no crusade to "walk the line". It happened organically. I had 7-10 kids sleeping over week after week in a big ass house taking turns on one computer to play WIZARDRY and ULTIMA in "color". So there was a lot of D&D talk and a lot of resources in the down time. By the end of 1987, players were generating magic weekly as BTB as possible. The "spell book" article that I cited was also reprinted BEST OF DRAGON VOLUME 3 (1983) the one with the bronze-coppery cover so it was very accessible.
The term "house rules" only came up during card games in the 80's with all the old gamblers having down time with the kids. Once the pre-second edition era (1986-1988) started, they began disregarding Gygax's little or no "options" of interchangeable campaigns. The whole "optional" rule concept was a kind of kid crutch that was introduced in 1981 by editors Cook/Marsh/Moldvay for their Blume brothers' teenager market effort "Basic-Expert" which was integrated in 1983 into editor Mentzer's pre-teenager/toy market "Basic-Expert" (Later expanded with Companion-Master-Immortals). The first signs are disregarding encumbrance and dexterity.
As an aside, I had most D&D official crap including the toys. My brother had even filmed a "D&D movie" with this crew with himself starring as "Groo the Wanderer" fighting "D&D monsters" with D&D references. I played an orc leader and a werewolf. Don't bother asking as it immediately went missing. The only video that I had for a long time from that period was a kind of remake of the Monkees movie at least in set up with endless scene shifts ala Monty Python and that was snatched. That started with a D&D game that was interrupted by Bela Lugosi. Yes, it was that good. A person in one of the movies years later became horribly disfigured. I think he might have taken it when I wasn't home when he came to visit. However, I believe is currently a hopeless grifting wastrel so that shit is beyond lost.
The way I handle it: for spell books and spells added as part of the leveling process I don't require the extra cash and research. I assume that's built into the training rules; that's part of what all that money and training time cover. For any spells above those gained while leveling, backup or traveling spell books, scrolls, etc. the extra time and money is required. I've never actually gone into the details of what ingredients are being used for the ink, just a basic guess on whether or not the components would be available to the M-U. The higher level the spell, the more resources would have to be available: ingredients for the lowest level spells should be available at a village apothecary or alchemist, the highest level spells may require access to the Greyhawk Guild of Wizardry's laboratories.
Post by geneweigel on Feb 16, 2021 10:20:41 GMT -5
I think for me it goes by differences player to player for spell casters. If the players are lax then I make them all fighters. If they are medium interest I will give them the spells as they go up but usually dropping off playing the character prior to manufacturing "wizard" phase this is zero concern. If they are actively interested players they'll choose activities with money with above standard. If they are obsessive fantasists then money can be negotiable.
Honestly, these rules never came up once in all of my AD&D games in the 1980's. Not once did I have a DM tell me "You ran out of room in your spell book and you need to buy a new one," or "You have to compound your own spell book ink, and find out what the ingredients are for each spell." We read every FTSS article and new rule book as it were the Word of God... Yet, I suppose play is the final arbiter.
Having all of these spell book related costs baked into training costs is a good way to handle it. I've never liked or used the training rules, however, so I'm looking to follow the other rules more closely for costs around spells, books, scrolls and material components. It adds flavor to the game as well as involving details that could prompt further adventuring or precautions.