Thursday, September 02, 2010

D&D Basic Set part 17

Troll: In OD&D Trolls had an AC of 4, but now it has dropped to 6. They were Chaotic in OD&D, but now they are Chaotic Evil. As has become expected, the damage for the Troll’s claw/claw/bite attack routine has been changed, from 1-4/1-4/1-8 to all three attacks doing 1d6.

Unicorns: They were Lawful in OD&D, and now they are Lawful Good. The unicorn’s horn now only deals 1d8 damage instead of 1-16. Their saving throw of 8 against all magic is a simplification of the OD&D rule, in which they had the same saving throw as an 11th level magic-user. They have also lost their ability to sense enemies within 240 ft.

Vampire: Vampires were Chaotic in OD&D, but now they are Lawful Evil. The need for them to sleep in a coffin filled with soil from their native land has been taken out, which is a shame because it’s right out of Dracula.

Wight: Wights were Chaotic in OD&D, but now they are Lawful Evil. There’s also an odd note about them being nearly immaterial, which doesn’t really jibe with later D&D material. I’m going to play this as false information from a sage who got wights and wraiths mixed up.

Wraith: Wraiths were Chaotic, but now they are Lawful Evil.

Yellow Mold: Just as in OD&D.

Zombie: Zombies have received a boost, being twice as fast and having 2 Hit Dice instead of 1. I chalk this up to research, and the standard Animate Dead spell being replaced by a more effective version.

And that's it for the monster section. It's a nice eclectic selection that Holmes has used, even if he's filled it with stuff that 1st to 3rd level PCs are never going to be able to encounter without dying horribly. But now I want to talk about a couple of the differences and discrepancies that keep popping up in the Holmes ruleset.

The first is the damage for monsters with multiple attacks. Most of these have been simplified so that all of the attacks do the same amount of damage. I don't know what Holmes' reasoning here was, unless it was just a way of simplifying things at the table. And I'm not even sure that mathematically speaking it doesn't average out the same. It's certainly not something that Holmes grabbed from the upcoming AD&D Monster Manual. But in terms of my campaign, in which I am trying to rationalise all of these fiddly little rules changes, it's a bit annoying. Luckily I can explain it without too much fuss. I figure that there are always different combat techniques being developed, and for a while here certain attacks may be more or less effective.

I also want to do an analysis of alignment, and how it has changed from the Law-Chaos system to the five alignments of Holmes. I'm separating that out into its own post, so expect that later today.

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