Thursday, September 27, 2012

New AD&D House Rules

I've got a new game starting Monday. Mostly new players I've never gamed with but have know for a few years. I can't decide whether to use NGR or AD&D (light), but for now, I'm going to post some AD&D house rules and other resoureces I've written up over the years to make the game a little smother and less wonky.

AD&D House Rules

Character Generation

To generate stats, roll 4d6 six times, dropping the lowest die from each set. Arrange to taste. Or you can just assume you rolled 16, 15, 14, 13, 11, 6, add 1 point to any score.

No demi-humans, at least not without some persuading. Twelve classes and a plethora of spells and weapons should be more than enough to play around with. That and their extra abilities can b.e a bit overwhelming at first.

Roll hit points for first level. If the initial roll of the die (or dice for rangers and monks) is lower than the number given below, then the character is granted this number of hit points to begin his adventuring career:

Cleric 4 Magic-User 2
   Druid 4   Illusionist 2
Fighter 5 Thief 3
   Barbarian 6   Assassin 3
   Paladin 5 Bard 4
   Ranger 4 Monk 5

Alignment is mostly of secondary concern. Just choose one that sounds OK to you, but don’t worry too much about it, unless you’re a paladin. Then you don’t get it so easy. Also, no masonic-like alignment languages. Note, however, that many magic items may only be used by characters of certain alignments.

Rangers are professional giant hunters, not Aragorn-protecting-civilization-from-the-wilderness types. As such they have no alignment restrictions or code of conduct and the bonus to damage vs. giant class foes may also be applied to missiles, but have only 1 HD at 1st level.

Magic-Users and Illusionists gain bonus spells as clerics, but with intelligence rather than wisdom as the governing stat. In exchange, all spell casters (including clerics and druids) may not prepare multiple copies of the same spell in a single payload.

A beginning Magic-User or Illusionist character will know four spells. One of these will automatically be read magic. The second is chosen by the player from the list in the player’s handbook. The final two will be randomly determined from the same list.

Coinage and Equipment

100 copper pieces = 10 silver pieces = 1 gold coin. It’s just easier to keep track of that way. Electrum coins are also common in ancient cashes found in ruins or other regions of the wild. Being a mix of silver and gold, two electrum pieces are equal to one gold coin.

Not all weapons and armor are created equal. Some are just better than others (longswords, flails, plate armor). These are assumed to be newer technologies, and, like all new technologies, will be surpassed in time. Ancient as they are, magic weapons and armor will be of earlier fashion – broad swords and rather than two-handed swords, battle axes instead of flails, glaives and spear instead of halberds, scale and leather instead of plate, and so on.


Armor versus weapon adjustments will be used only in when fighting human-type foes only, where armor can be accurately described by type. The to-hit adjustment will be based on the type of armor the opponent is wearing, not the opponent’s actual AC. So a character wearing leather +1 armor and wielding a shield, is considered to have AC 7 for the purposes of the armor versus weapon adjustment table, not AC 6.

Experience and Leveling

No training and related costs are requires to gain new levels.

Experience will be awarded for acquiring treasure, slaying monsters, and exploration. Treasure is worth 1 XP for every GP value, including magic items. Monsters and treasure have a set XP value based on their hit dice or rarity, respectively. Experience will also be awarded to characters who participate in finding new places/causing major events, arbitrarily based on how difficult it would be for a group at 1st-level.

Treasure spent with accordance to the character’s roll will also award additional XP. Clerics, Paladins, and Monks donating money to their church/order or giving money to the poor; Fighters, Rangers, and Thieves spending money building up their reputation or carousing at the local tavern; Magic-User and Illusionists researching new spells or improving their library; Druids performing sacrifices to the Old Gods; Assassin spending gold on training or reconnaissance; etc. would all quality.


Potions and scrolls are the most common magic items available, and may even be purchased in specific cases from major temples and greedy magicians – although their stock and selection will generally be extremely limited, and it’s not a sure bet they’ll have anything at all useful.

Magic armors, weapons, and artifacts are rare. Such items exist in stories and legends, but they are not common and quite ancient, made in times long passed (so no magical plate mail or long swords). If you find such items, there is no guarantee a magic-user with the “Identify” spell will be available to tell you about it. Such items are best learned through investigation, questioning sages, seeking lost knowledge, and some trial and error.


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