Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thoughts on Dungeoneering and Wilderness Campaigns

Well, it looks like I have survived all of my final papers. All that's left is a history exam (Monday), my German oral final (today), and my Greek drama final (Tuesday), and those shouldn't too horrible, I'd expect. In the mean time, there's D&D to discuss!

In the end, I've decided to go with a more traditional campaign structure. While I like my Barsoomian sword and sorcerery idea, it just isn't fitting for first-time players. The real question now is whether to go the megadungeon route or something more akin to the West Marches experiment where the characters move from location to location at their own whim.

While the megadungeon would be much easier for me to set up and is much easier to run, I think I could do alright with a more wilderness oriented game. The real question is what would be more fun for everyone to play. I do have a couple different ideas for potential megadungeons, but much of it feels more like a bunch of micro-dungeons slammed together and interconnected - i.e. very easy to split up.

Whether I go OD&D or AD&D will depend very much on this choice. To me, AD&D seems to fit better with wilderness and city adventures, while OD&D makes me think more of dungeoneeriong. The AD&D class set-up just fall more in line with those types of adventures - druid & rangers for wilderness, thieves & assassins fit well in urban areas. I guess AD&D just appears more mideival and less pulpy in my imagination.

As of right now, I'm actually leaning towards the West Marches route, feeling inspired by this hex-map posted on the newly fashinoed From Beyond the Drowning Woods blog. If you haven't checked it out yet, you totally should.

Anyway, I'm rambling and should probably be getting ready for class. Hopefully I'll have something worked out by the end of the evening.

Monday, November 28, 2011

More D&D, Less Artsy Fartsy

The biggest problem I see with my previous post is the fact that I'll have to many new players. I'd almost feel bad not giving them the traditional D&D experience and instead sending them out into a unforgiving, nihilistic world. So here's some more thoughts, although in a different direction: pretty traditional, in not goofy Holmes Basic moving to AD&D.

Characters are Treasure Hunters. Greedy dwarves, elvish sprites, and cunning gnomes are in. Hobbits/halflings are out. Lighthearted, even silly tone with a focus on getting the gold/having a good time over in-character roleplaying.

AD&D Spells for MUs. The more variety here the better. Eldritch Weirdness action for NPCs.

Focus on Dungeon Delving. Roman-esque ruins and sprawling cave systems. Traps, running gags, mounds of treasure. Sacrificial chamber's leading into elegant manners, Some deep, if amusing, history. Not too much urban/wilderness action. 

Traditional D&D Monsters, but little/still no Tolkien. Kobolds, minotaurs, oozes, lizard men, bugbears are in. Orcs, treants, Tolkien stuff is out. Some Cthulhu but no robots.

Less Tolkien more Howard, Vance, Lovecraft, Burroughs (Part 2)

Rethinking my previous post, now that I have more than 15 minutes to consider what I'm doing. I'm starting to lean more towards OD&D and adding in more from the supplements as well as AD&D. In order figure out what to include and what not to include, I need to look at the sources:

  • Howard's Conan stories
  • Lovecraftian Mythos
  • Vance's Dying Earth
  • Burrough's Barsoom
Now, I don't want to bore you by dissecting these authors right here on the blog. One idea, is to go all out weird fantasy with a bit of Carcosa mixed in. Let me brain storm some ideas before moving onto studying for my German oral final.

No pseudo-medieval Europe. Honestly. I'm a little bored with setting games in a pseudo-historical world. Either I was to go with something akin to Jeff's Wessex camping or something of my own design. I'm thinking an alien world of barren deserts, icy wastes, and teeming jungles.

Character Classes:
 Magic-users, Fighters, Clerics, Thieves, Assassins, Monks are in. Druids and Paladins are out. I might retool Rangers into some sort of reptile rather than hunters, ditching the good alignment requirement.

AD&D Spells for Magic-Users. Illusionist spells also become part of the MU list.

Gods are Malfunctioning AIs and Super-Intelligent Blobs, but it's up to the players to figure this out. A hint should be the redesigned spell lists to include spells from the Book of Eldritch Weirdness in additional to the more traditional line of spells.

Carcosa-Style Rituals for clerics and magic-users any brave enough to sacrifice everything for the sake of power.

No Monsters  Tolkien or Greek/Norse/Christian Mythology. Orcs, goblins, dryads, devils, dragons are out. Eels, oozes, fungi, giant animals, psinoic monsters, anything with tentacles, robots are in.

Less Tolkien more Howard, Vance, Lovecraft

A couple days off for Thanksgiving and a week till finals. Time for blogging is sure getting short around here. Anyway, I'm thinking of ways to pulpify AD&D. More Howard, Vance, Borrows, Lovecraft and less Tolkien.

Here's what I'm have in mind so far:

- Roll 3d6 in order for abilities.
- No demihumans.
- Choose between Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic alignments
- Ranger can be of any alignment. No order of rangers shit; they're profession giant hunters.
- Use more slimes, insects, mummies, & FF monsters and fewer orcs, goblins, werewolves.
- Gods are creepy lovecraftian blobs (chaotic) or robotic AIs (lawful).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Treasure Containers

Treasure isn’t always hidden in chests, crates and barrels.

Treasure Containers (1d100)
1-8 Chest – pretty much the standard. Roll 1d6 for quality of the chest: 1-2) rotting or broken, 3-5)  Wooden, but in fine shape, 6) studded with jewels or otherwise a treasure in and of itself

9-10 Urn – roll 1d6 for make: 1-3) copper, 4-5) silver, 6) gold or jeweled.

11–13 Crack - 20% chance to be hidden behind some sort of tapestry/mural/fresco/piece of mundane furniture.

14-18 Compartment - 60% chance to be hidden behind some sort of tapestry/mural/fresco/piece of mundane furniture.

19-24 Ceramic Vase/Figurine – typically decorative in some way, usually related to what is within.

25-27 Tomb – 50% to awaken whatever monster/undead/elder god is within.

28-30 Statue – some statues should fight back. 50% chance to be incorporated into the statue’s design (a statue holding a magic- sword), otherwise hidden/sealed inside the statue. 20% chance to combine with statue table.

31-32 Fungus Growth – Typically the treasure is covered by the fungus. roll up one from the fungus table

33-42 Barrel/Crate – 20% of crates should be made out of precious metal and studded with jewels/engravings.

43–45 Sacrificial Alter – 10% chance of sacrifice going on. 20% chance to combine with the alter table.

46-47 Invisible – detect magic will give some idea of the treasure’s presence. More powerful/specific magics will pinpoint the location. Otherwise, the PC’s will have to stumble across it on accident.

48-49 Pool – typically resting at the bottom of pool. 30% of pools will have some sort of special magical property.

50 Magically Animated into Monster – 2HD + 1 HD for every 1000 gp the treasure is worth. Any magic items or weapons should be used by the artifice in combat.

51-53 Fountain – typically at the bottom of the fountain, but something whirling about with the water. 40% of fountains will have some sort of additional property.

54-56 Roots/Vines – hidden or guarded behind roots or vines. 50% chance to combine with some other sort of container. 50% chance to combine with roll from vines table.

57-61 Piled in Open – traps and monster guardians will typically be hiding within or beneath the pile of treasure.

62-64 Mechanical/Magical Safe – roll 1d6: opens with 1-2) correct combination, 3-4) spoken command word, 5-6) close proximity to specific item, person, or place. 80% chance to be hidden behind some other sort of dungeon feature.

65-67 Trophy/Display Case – Displayed in the open for everyone to see, typically used by cocky dungeon overlords. 20% to curse thieves if pilfered.

68-70 Buried – 60% for signs of construction. 10% of shovel in adjacent room. Requires 1-6 hours to excavate.

71-73 Under Mattress/Scattered in Nest – 50% of treasure scattered about a nest can be seen at first glance.

74 Long Serpentining Trail Through Dungeon – Left in a trail throughout dungeon. Roll 1d6: 1-2) leads to corpse, 3-4) leads to ambush, 5-6) leads to more treasure.

75-82 Built into Dungeon Feature – Statue, fountain, arch, even the dungeon walls themselves. 40% of dungeon features will have some sort of property to them.

83-84 At Feet of Throne - 50% chance the throne is occupied.

85-86 Inside Pillar – If all pillars in room smashed, there is a 1% chance a cave-in will occur. If so, those in room must save vs. paralysis or take 1d6 points of damage per dungeon level.

87-91 Carried by Monster – no roll for additional safeguards; intelligent monsters will use magical treasure against in combat.

92-95 Illusion – roll 1d6: 1-2) illusion cover treasure 3-4) treasure made to look like something else 5-6) illusion creates the appearance of certain death for anything that attempt to recover the treasure (room filled with ever-battling berserkers, for instance).

96-98 Atop Magical Glyphs – 50% chance for glyphs to be a trap, otherwise treasures are components in some sort of magical ritual.

99-100 Command Word to Summon – area in which treasure can be summoned should be indicated by some sort of ritualistic circle, runes, etc.

Safe Guards*
1-70 Unguarded – no ADDITIONAL added protection. Monsters and dungeon features may still be present.
71-78 Mechanical Trap – poisoned needles, trip wises, pressure plates, etc.
79-85 Magical Trap – glyphs, spells, triggered spells, etc.
86-95 Lock– pretty self-explanatory. 20% chance of lock being magical.
96-99 Monster Guardian – poisonous snakes, chained up ogre, animating statues, etc.
100 Multiple Safeguards – roll 1d4 2-5 times: 1) mechanical trap, 2) lock, 3) monster guardian.
* no need to roll up safeguard for dungeon features with special properties.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Seats of power deep with the depths of dungeons often undue more than a status symbol. More likely than not, it is the throne that makes the man, not the other way around as on the surface world.

1-6 Skeletal: Undead sitting upon this throne regain hit points at a rate of 1 per turn. Living creatures will instead be grabbed and bound by skeletal arms, having their life force sucked away, recharging the skeletal throne.

7-10 Fraudulent Wealth: Used by popper kings of the past, sitting upon this gold throne imbues the illusion of extreme wealth. All those who look on the user will see him as lavishly decorated with the finest clothing and jewels. The illusion lasts only 1 turn after standing from the throne.

11-17 Longevity: Nothing ages while sitting upon this throne.

18-23 Throne of the Bass: Decorated with aquatic symbols and sculptures, allows anyone sitting on the throne to breath underwater for 1-6 days. For every subsequent use, requires a save vs. spells or the throne’s effect will become permanent and user no longer able to breathe oxygen.

24-30 Diminutive: A tiny throne for a very small king. If a command word is spoken, the throne will grow to normal size. When the throne returns to normal, thing upon the thrown will shrink as well.

31-35 Clockwork: When the command word it spoken, the clockwork throne will transform into either battle robot or some sort of escape vehicle.

36-43 Demonic Summoning: Speak a minute long incantation to summon a demonic force. 50% chance the incantation is written in eldritch symbols on the arms of the chair.

44-49 Incense: Emits a slow stream of magical incense into the air when sat upon. Roll for magical incense.

50-55 Throne of a Thousand Faces: A thousand screaming faces decorate this iron throne. Sitting allows the user to see all invisible or incorporeal creatures as well as being able to speak to the spirits of fallen corpses.

56-61 Jeweled: This crystalline throne is incredibly valuable. When the user is threatened, the jeweled throne will grow to incase him, shielding the user from danger – at least temporarily. When the danger is subdued, the jeweled throne will return to normal.

62-65 Dungeon Master’s Seat: Will show the user the current state of any imagined room within the dungeon complex. 50% chance that the throne will also allow the Dungeon Master to modify the shape and properties of the dungeon from this chair.

66-70 Winter’s Grasp: Any who sit upon this throne take 2d6 points of damage, but whose touch may freeze any touched object for 1-6 turns. Deals 1d10 point of damage to touched creatures.

71-78 Transforming: Transforms the use unto a specific type of creatures (randomly determined). Unless a save vs. spells is made, the effect is permanent.

78-85 Command: Creatures must save verses spells in order to disobey a command from anyone sitting upon this throne. Requires a shared language.

86-91 Divine Light: Gives off a luminescent glow out to 30’ (color dependent on the user’s alignment). All nearby creatures of the user’s alignment act as though they are under the effect of a bless spells.

92-96 Teleporting: As per a teleportater door. 30% chance to be a chained teleporter. Functions only when command world is spoken.

97-100 Alien Intellect: Anyone sitting on this throne is able to read any language. Magic-users preparing spells on this throne do so in half the time and may memorize one additional spell of each spell level the magic-user can cast. 10% chance to drive the user insane.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Going along with JDJavris' random dungeon dressing tables (there's more, too), I present: Doorways.

Doorways (roll 1d100)
1-6 Sliding Bookshelf: Pull on specific book to open doorway. Will remain open for 1-4 turns before closing.

7-11 Stone Mouth: Enter through the month of a stone face. 2 in 6 chance the mouth will close. Characters attempting to jump back through the mouth must save vs. paralysis or take 3d6 points of damage as it closes on top of them. Mouth will reopen 1-6 days later.

12-19 Hidden by Tapestry: Usually something symbolic of what’s in the passages to come. 20% chance to combine with Murals table.

20-26 Teleporter: Leads somewhere else in the dungeon. 10% of teleporters will lead to a different plane/world/planet/elsewhere. 10% chance there is no back-teleporter on the other side.

26-29 Chained Teleporter: A teleporter with many possible exists. Most will allow the user to choose which destination based on sight. 10% will spit the user out at a random doorway.

30 False Teleporter: Doorway appears to lead to another plane/world/planet/elsewhere, but it’s just an illusion and the characters pop out in the passage on the other side.

31-39 Alarm: Will set of some sort of alarm when crossed, usually a bell, gong, or magical wiz.

40-43 False Passageway: There’s only an illusion of a passage on the other side.

44-46 Dispelling: Anything that crosses this doorway acts as if it has had dispel magical cast upon it.

47-50 Magic Veil: Appears as a shimmery black liquid surface, but it’s usually just there for style. 20% chance to combine with another result.

51-53 Huge Mouth: Leads into what looks like a wet, sticky, blubbery, airy chamber. In reality, it leads into the mouth of a huge beast. Astute characters (Wis 16+) will realize the passage is breathing.

54-59 Wardrobe: Wardrobe has no backing and leads into a passage beyond. 10% wardrobe is also a teleporter.

59-66 Selective: Only characters  of a certain 1-2) race, 3-4) class, 5-6) alignment may cross.

67-71 Reverser: While believing themselves to be moving onward, the doorway has really just leads back to itself, causing the character to unknowingly turn back the way they’re came.

72-74 Delusion: Intelligence creatures crossing this door believe themselves to be under the effects of some powerful magic. 80% magic-user spell/20% clerical.

75-79 Force Field: Can see what’s on the other side, but there’s no getting through without the use of magic.  

80 Collapsing: 2 in 6 chance to collapse when entered. Creatures must have versus paralysis or take 3d6 points of damage.

81-85 Illusory Doorway: Illusion makes this doorway appear like it’s just another part of the wall. 10% chance to combine with another result.

86-90 Chained Beast: There is some sort of beast chained to the doorway, usually slightly tougher than what is appropriate for that level of the dungeon. Make sure the party doesn’t see it coming or has some sort of missile weapon or a long tongue.

91-96 Fireplace: This fireplace has no back. Normally when the fire is out it is safe to cross through. 20% chance to combine with Fireplace table.

96-98 Magic Glow: All magic items that cross the doorway will glow a brilliant aqua with the strength of a torch. Used by dungeon dwellers to pick out choice targets – either for safety or loot.

99-100 Anti –Gravity: Creatures and objects that cross this door will feel the opposite effects from gravity until the doorways is once again crossed.

Looking at Ability Scores (Part 3)

Ok, I've been neglecting the blog. I have a legitimate exclude this time: beta testing Star Wars: The Old Republic. Well...maybe not that legitimate, but we can deal. I have a bunch of things I'd like to talk about tonight, but first allow me to begin with finishing up my set on ability scores.


  • OD&D: Cleric prime requisite; "wisdom rating will act much as done that for intelligence" (whatever that means)
  • Greyhawk: Nothing more than OD&D
  • AD&D: Bonus/Penalty to saves vs. mental-based magical attacks
  • B/X: Bonus to save versus magic


  • OD&D: +/-1 hit point; chance to "withstand adversity" (survive being paralyzed, turned to stone, etc)
  • Greyhawk: Max hit point bonus increased to +3; withstand adversity split into Resurrection Survival and chance to Survive Spells ("polymorph, stone, etc"); how many times a character can be resurrected.
  • AD&D: Similar to Greyhawk, but max hit point bonus capped at +2 for non-fighters (+4 for fighters) 
  • B/X: Bonus/penalty to hit points only


  • OD&D: +/-1 to fire missiles; "applies to both manual speed and conjuration;" "speed with actions s such as firing first, getting off a spell, etc."
  • Greyhawk: Prime requisite for thieves; penalty for opponents to hit fighters (only) with high dexterity
  • AD&D: Now modifies surprise chance and individual initiative; bonus/penalty to armor class (for all classes); bonus/penalty to thief skills
  • B/X: Modifies missile fire, AC, and individuality initiative. 


  • OD&D: Maximum number of "unusual" hirelings; hireling loyalty; "usable to decide such things as whether or not a witch capturing a player will turn him into a swine or keep him enchanted as her lover;" "will aid a character in attracting various monsters into his service"
  • Greyhawk: No chance
  • AD&D: Max number of henchmen ("does not affect the number of mercenary soldiers, men-at-arms, servitors, and similar persons in the pay of the character"); loyalty and reaction adjustment now split and uses % dice.
  • B/X: modifies # of Henchmen; reaction rolls; and determines henchmen moral. reaction rolls and henchmen moral now 2d6 based.

On more post in this set. Finally I'll to discuss where I'm going with all of this. Meanwhile, I'll be running the Vats of Mazarin session 10. Yippy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Let Characters Know About an Adventure Site

I have a hard time working new adventure sites into campaigns. In an upcoming game, I'm considering using several smaller adventure locations rather than just one large mega dungeon. In actuality, I'll probably end up having a megadungeon in addition to 4 or 5 other adventure locations. So what I need is a random table:

Roll a d6
1. Approached by wealthy patron to explore site (50% to find something specific)
2. Map or clue hidden in another dungeon
3. Strange Monster Activity (roll on sub table A)
4. Rumored Treasure (roll on sub table B)
5. Guild Interest (roll on sub table C)
6. Local  Legend (50% chance of being at least partially misleading)

Sub Table A

1. Grizzled Woodsman
2. City Watch Wanted Poster
3. Traveling Merchant
4. Crazy Beggar
5. Tattered Noble
6. Peasant Refugees

Sub Table B
1. Tavern Rumor
2. Religious Priest
3. Antiquity Dealer
4. Nearby Magic-User
5. Brigand/Street Gang
6. Local Song

Sub Table C
1. Mercenaries Guild
2. Thieves/Assassins Guild (50% each)
3. Magic-User's Guild
4. Religious Cult
5. Merchant's Guild
6. Grave Diggers Association

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Of Landed Knights and Sewer Grottos

I'll finish up my exploration of ability scores tomorrow (Strength, Intelligence). For now I'd like to talking about something new.

[Still working to get a group set up, it looks like I'll (finally) be getting a new real life campaign started up early in the new year. As of yesterday, I've got 8 interested players lined up - not bad - but we'd only be able to have 2 sessions before I'd have to break the game off for a month with half the players leaving town. Personally, I'd rather wait a bit than have a long hiatus that early in the game.

In the mean time, I'm exploring some ideas for play. With much of the first two levels of the Vats of Mazarin cleared out and relatively safe, I'm planning on placing the campaign in a different part of the world or a different setting entirely (I haven't decided).

With all of the new players (some of which have played 3.5 or 4th edition, but other are coming into this totally fresh), I'd like to use a pretty simple ruleset with brief character creation rules. AD&D is too much and I'm starting see more and more flaws in B/X, too many oversimplifications. Instead, I want something easily expandable. At first I considered LL + AEC so that any interested players could check out the rules in their free time. My girlfriend, however, has been more than remind me that I'm the only one who'll care about such things. Fine by me. But this isn't what I want to talk about...]


I've been thinking of ways to tie characters into the game world. Clerics have their god, but I'd like something for Fighters and Magic-Users as well (thieves should, of course, remain opportunistic rogues.

Magic-Users in Holmes Basic can't allowed to carry their spell book around with them. Why? I'm not sure what the Dr. meant, but to me it's because the MU doesn't have just one book of spells, but a a couple book cases of them filling a modest library. To that end, I'm thinking of giving MUs a place - some run down and crumbling tower or the like - to keep and memorize spells.

Role a d6:
1. Old crumbling tower, not too far from town (50% inharitted)
2. Sewer grotto
3. Secret room within temple of major religion
4. Rested room in the basement of Alistor's Antiquities
5. Local magic-user's apprentice (random alignment)
6. Well housed as a tutor to local lord's sons (male only)

Likewise, I'm thinking that Fighters with a 13+ Charisma will have the option of starting play as a landed knight. Each estate will grant the knight 100x1d6 gp per year and house 3d6 servants, 2d6 men at arms, and 1d6 horses.

Roll a d6:
1. Thelismare Manner
2. Riverhold
3. Lilisfold Lodge (all attendants are cultists)
4. Fort Ravenmount
5. The Oblex Spire (creepy Gothic tower, harmless)
6. The Haunted Chateau (no value or attendants until cleared)

I'd like to expand this one with a few more results, half of which should possess some sort of complication with owning said manner.

This all being said, I don't want a character's lodgings to be a major aspect of the game, just somewhere characters can retire to between adventures or may be the source of an adventure to two, clearing out the Haunted Chateau, for instance or using the MU's secret alcove as a base of operations while infiltrating a local temple.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Evolution of Ability Scores: Intelligence

Continuing with the OD&D standard arrangement of ability scores, next up is after Strength is Intelligence.

Within the context of OD&D, Intelligence had two primary uses. 1st, it was the prime requisite of Magic-Users. 2nd, intelligence was used to determine the number of languages a character knew at the beginning of play: one additional monster tongue for every point of intelligence above 10. Like the reference to traps for Strength, Intelligence "will also affect referees' decisions as to whether or not certain
action would be taken" (M&M pg. 10). Once again I'm not really sure what that means. It's almost as if the referee is allowed to take control or somehow limit a character's actions based on his/her Intelligence score.

The addition of Greyhawk brought with it a number of additional used for Intelligence concerning the knowledge of Magic-User spells. Without explaining the meaning of these three categories in much detail, Intelligence then gave a % chance know know any given spell, the min/max number spell of a certain spell level a character could know, and the highest level of spells a magic-user could ever learn ("Only magic-users above 13 intelligence are able to employ 7th level spells" - pg 8).

AD&D continued to build upon the basis of Grawhawk and OD&D. Since a minimum 9 Intelligence was required for a Magic-User character, the tables originally printed in Greyhawk were reworked to fit this new assumption. Furthermore, the number of language a character knew at the beginning of play is changed to the number of language a character could ever learn - thus requiring in game time for non-Magic-Users to make use of a high intelligence. I always though this was strange, especially combined with the fact that only an 8 intelligence was required to learn an additional language; regardless, I've never seen anyone take the time to pick one up as detailed in the Dungeon Master's Guide.

B/X removes much of the complexity of Greyhawk and AD&D, instead based the number of spells a Magic-User has in his spell book solely on the character's level. Furthermore, an Intelligence of 18 only allows a character knowledge of 3 additional languages, unlike the 8 of OD&D or 7 in AD&D. Furthermore, B/X has reading and writing restrictions for characters with a low intelligence - the first time non-Magic-User characters are penalized for a below average score. Overall, Intelligence is likely the least useful score in B/X, even to Magic-Users.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Evolution of Ability Scores: Strength

There is a great dichotomy in the treatment ability scores between the LLB, Greyhawk+Eldritch Wizardry , AD&D, and B/X. While I've always noticed the difference, actually analyzing the way abilities change over time yields some fascinating results.

Over the next couple of days, I'll be going through each ability in detail, looking at the similarities and differences between abilities as they progress through different editions of the world's most popular role playing game.

Today, I'll be looking at Strength.

In Men &Magic Strength only really directly effects the rate of advancement for Fighting-Men. There is no mention of any to bonuses to hit or melee damage or even breaking open stuck doors. On the other hand, there is a peculiar reference to traps mentioned on page 10: "Strength will also aid in opening traps and so on." I'm not exactly sure of meaning here, but it seems that, at least during the time of OD&D, mechanical traps could be broken (literally), perhaps in accords with opening stuck doors as mentioned in Underworld and Wilderness Adventures. Regardless, this mention dropped altogether in later editions of the game.

Supplement1: Greyhawk expands the use of Strength to inuring a bonus or penalty to hit, melee damage, carrying capacity, and the chance to open doors for particularly high or low scores. Most interesting, however, is that only Fighting-Men may take advantage of any bonus to hit or damage from an good score (13+), while a penalty extends to members of any class. Unlike AD&D, where only exception strength (18/XX) is limited only to Fighters. Furthermore, it does not appear that these bonuses are specifically restricted to melee, but may apply to all types of attacks.

AD&D also raises the minimum score for a positive strength adjustment to 16. I find it interesting that while most people are under the impression that AD&D has larger adjustments than previous editions of the game (which is generally true), even minimal adjustments only start to show up when a score reaches the 15/16 range (rather than 13 in both Greyhawk in B/X). Even with 18 Strength, a character still only has a +1 to hit and +2 to damage, making it less valuable than an 18 in either Greyhawk or B/X. Only with exceptional strength do the numbers start skyrocketing. Finally, AD&D gives a specific chance for those with exceptional strength to force open magically locked doors - a specification not made in previous versions.

With more unified ability score adjustments in B/X, character receive the most bang for their buck in terms of (unexceptional) strength scores. Character with only a 13+ in Strength receive a +1 to melee to hit and damage rolls as well as a bonus to open stuck doors. Furthermore, a character with 18 strength receives a +3 modifier, an increase from any previous rendition.

At least in terms of Strength, I find that roll 4d6 and dropping the lowest die does not provide any significant increase in the overall combat prowess of non-Fighters, a trend I'm interested in keeping an eye on in later posts.