Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 12: The Strategic Review #2

The second issue of The Strategic Review features several D&D articles, as well as some additions to Cavaliers & Roundheads, Panzer Warfare, and - most notably - an in memoriam for TSR co-founder Don Kaye. Kaye was a close childhood friend to Gary Gygax, and he died of a heart attack in January 1975, just 36 years old. It's impossible to know what influence he might have had on D&D had he lived, but his death started a long chain of events that had huge implications for TSR. His one-third share in TSR passed to his wife, and was eventually bought out by Melvin Blume, father of TSR's other co-owner, Brian Blume. This gave the Blume family a controlling interest in the company, which was one of several factors that led to Gygax's ouster a decade down the line.

The following D&D articles are also featured in this issue:

Questions Most Frequently Asked About D&D: This is one of the most important early articles for clarifying and expanding the original D&D rules. It deals with the following:

  • It's recommended that the "alternate system" of combat in OD&D be used for combat with "principal figures" and stronger monsters.
  • It's clarified that normally creatures get one attack per round, and deal 1d6 damage per attack. This has already been superseded by the rules in Supplement I: Greyhawk.
  • An example is given where an 8th level fighter gets 8 attacks per round (1 per HD) against normal men or creatures of similar strength (kobolds, goblins, gnomes, dwarves, etc.). Whether this bonus applies to anyone other than fighters isn't said, but given later rules in AD&D I would think not.
  • Initiative is said to be a simple d6 roll for each side, rolled every round, with the higher number acting first. In the combat example, this roll is modified by the lone PC's Dexterity.
  • The combat example provides grappling rules, with both sides rolling 1d6 for every Hit Die involved.
  • Monsters roll saving throws as fighters of equivalent Hit Dice. Those with magic resistance may save as magic-users.
  • Morale is said to be up to the referee, although the 2d6 system from Chainmail is suggested.
  • XP rewards for finding magic items are introduced.
  • The "Vancian" spell-casting system is explained and clarified.

Creature Features: The Roper: The Roper is introduced for the first time.

Rangers: The ranger class is introduced as a sub-class of the fighter. They are heavily based on Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, and I plan to introduce them in a similar fashion: as the descendents of ancient kings that lurk on the fringes of society and protect it from evil.

Medieval Pole Arms: This isn't strictly a D&D article, but Gary Gygax has a long history of being obsessed with pole arms, and this will bleed through to the game eventually. This is his first stab at classifying and explaining the various kinds. Introduced to Chainmail here are the following:
  • Voulge
  • Bardiche
  • Guisarme
  • Glaive
  • Fauchard
  • Guisarme-Voulge
  • Glaive-Guisarme
  • Bill-Guisarme
  • Partisan
  • Spetum
  • Ranseur
  • Lucern Hammer
  • Pole Axe
  • Lochaber Axe

No comments:

Post a Comment