Tuesday, January 20, 2015

OD&D and Taking a Look at Other Peoples Blogs - 007 (comments on post)

This post is part 2 of a 3 part post.

Over on the blog Smoldering Wizard ~ Old-School Role Playing in a post titled The Many Unique Rules of OD&D, Doug M. (the blogs author) for each of the 3LBBs, creates a list of rules that are unique to OD&D. He has a lot of other posts you should check out, but this one was of direct interest to me.  

He states:

Monsters & Treasure Volume 2:

Monsters (later clarified to include players who are Fighting-Men - See the 1975 OD&D FAQ from TSR) gain one attack per round as a normal creature against normal men, for each of their own hit dice (“normal” is open to interpretation). Attack bonuses apply to only one such attack.
Bitd and currently we always defined nornal men as not being PCs or classed NPCs.  A troll was always played by us bitd as a claw, claw and a bite or three attacks every round. Using this rule and calling 1st levels normal men leads to 18 attacks by a troll against a first level party for just the first melee round, so we did not and do not do that. On the other hand we do not give higher level PCs those extra attacks against 1 hit die monsters either. I have considered doing it if I had  a group of only experienced players who knew up front that the rule would be enforced.

*Only plate armor can be magical.
*The author made a correction and deleted this - see his comments below in the comments section.

I searched my memory and could not remember anyplace in Monsters & Treasure Volume 2 that stated or implied that only plate armor could be magical, then I went back and read through the entire volume and still do not see anything that would lead to that conclusion.  I don't have a non-hobbit printing (6th print OCE) readily available, so I will have to dig one out later and check it also.

Armor class is static depending on the base armor worn, magical armor bonuses subtract from the opponent’s to-hit roll.

Yep, that is what it says, but bitd we never once used it that way. Plate armor was AC 3 and magic plate armor +3 was AC 0, we always did that way from the very beginning.

Magic shield bonuses only stack with armor bonuses against 1/3 of attacks.

This is a rule that from the very beginning bitd we always ignored. We just did not want to spend time making that extra roll on every attack where a shield was involved.

Certain magic helmets are considered non-protective and will be struck and smashed 10% of the time a hit occurs.

The non-protective helms were worn by magic-users in our campaign and since they were unamored anyway it was a non-issue.

Magic swords confer a to-hit bonus only, unless they have a special purpose against a specific monster class. In that case, they provide a to-hit and damage bonus.

Bitd we did not follow this in a strict sense at all, we added many, many swords to the treasure table so that at least half of the magic swords in the campaign had a damage bonus, and some only had a damage bonus but no to hit bonus.

All magic swords have an alignment, touching a sword of a differing alignment causes the player to take damage.

We always followed this rule.

50% of magic swords are intelligent and will have one or more powers.

I looked this up just to confirm it, the rule reads as follows:

Intelligence: There are two factors considered under Intelligence, mental power and communicative ability. These factors are both determined by a single die roll:

This means that 50% of Swords had an intelligence of 1-6 and could not communicate and the user had to discover any powers it had, and 50% had an intelligence of 7-12 and could communicate. So 100% have one or more powers.

10% of all magic swords will have a special purpose.

We liked this and always rolled for it. Special Purpose swords were fun!

Scrolls are for Magic-Users only (there are no Clerical scrolls), although protection scrolls can be used by any player.

We always house-ruled that 33% of Scrolls were for Clerics and otherwise kept it the same.

Thus ends part 2 of 3 parts. 


  1. Thanks for continuing with this, I'm enjoying these posts, I always like hearing how people played bitd as well as now. You are correct there is no rule about only plate armor being magical, the magic item tables just list generic 'Armor'. Fixed! Also, when I re-read the section on magic swords, I see where the confusion came from. The table lists 'None endowed' in the 'Mental Power' column for an INT roll of 1-6, while the note below the table (which you referenced) talks about not being able to communicate with an INT of 1-6, and the bearer having to figure out the powers it has. Seems like a contradiction, but probably the intent was that all swords have special powers.

  2. Glad you are enjoying it. That is the way I have always interpreted it. Hopefully some other people will comment on it also.