Wednesday, August 11, 2010

D&D Basic Set part 11

MONSTERS: The monster section opens with some broad advice on using monsters in the campaign. It goes through how the monster entries are laid out, how the DM should stock his dungeon, provides some advice on using powerful monsters against weak PCs, and even gives some guidelines on handing out treasure and experience. I do wonder about Holmes’ estimate that it will take from 6-12 adventures for a character to get from 1st to 2nd level – in my experience, beginning characters are usually up a level after 1 or 2 sessions. That’s with Mentzer Basic and AD&D 2e, though, so the Holmes rules could net different results. And you have to love the bit here about 10-20% of adventures being profitless.

BANDIT: In OD&D, if over 100 bandits were encountered, there would be an 8th or 9th level fighter present. That’s not the case in Holmes Basic, but otherwise the presence of high-level leaders is the same. They now carry 3-18 silver pieces instead of 2-20. In OD&D they had a 50/50 chance of being Neutral or Chaotic in Alignment. Now they can be Lawful Evil (25%), Chaotic Evil (25%) or Neutral.

BASILISK: The basilisk is now described as a small reptilian monster. It’s clarified that victims of the basilisk get a saving throw to avoid being turned to stone. Characters can also now safely view the creature’s reflection without turning to stone.

Later OD&D supplements gave the basilisk abilities relating to the astral and ethereal planes, but given the low levels of characters in Holmes Basic they don’t need to be printed here.

Basilisks were listed as Chaotic in Chainmail, and not given an alignment in OD&D. Here they’re said to be Neutral, probably because of their non-intelligence. I'll chalk the Chainmail alignment up to the Chaotic side capturing basilisks to use in warfare.

BERSERKER: Much the same as in OD&D. Their +2 to attack against ‘normal men’ has been clarified here to include kobolds, goblins, and orcs, the obvious intent being that the ability affects humanoids of 1 hit dice or less. I also call shenanigans on their damage range of 1-8. Remember that in Holmes all weapons deal 1d6 damage, and all types of men deal damage by weapon, so what’s going on here? I guess I can attribute it to their berserking.

BLACK PUDDING: The same as in OD&D, but there’s no mention of the Gray Pudding. It’s clarified that they can be killed by a flaming sword. Plus, it actually gets a physical description for the first time, as a black amorphous blob that can grow as big as 30 feet in diameter.

BLINK DOG: The same is in Supplement I, but the random determination of when they teleport has been taken out. Their alignment has been changed from Lawful to Lawful Good.

BUGBEAR: The same as in Supplement I, but their alignment has been changed from Chaotic to Chaotic Evil.

CARRION CRAWLER: Just as in Supplement I, but they are now given an alignment of Neutral.

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