Thursday, March 5, 2020

2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary - Day Sixty-Five

Celebrating 2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary of Blackmoor and of Role-Playing!

Today is Part 10 of my series of looks at OD&D starting with Men & Magic - Volume 1.

So to continue with more comments from this section. Here is more about Experience Points, Concepts and the tables we previously looked at:
Experience Points: Experience points are awarded to players by the referee with appropriate bonuses or penalties for prime requisite scores. As characters meet monsters in mortal combat and defeat them, and when they obtain various forms of treasure (money, gems, jewelry, magical items, etc.), they gain “experience.” This adds to their experience point total, gradually moving them upwards through the levels. Gains in experience points will be relative; thus an 8th-level Magic-User operating on the 5th dungeon level would be awarded 5/8 experience. Let us assume he gains 7,000 Gold Pieces by defeating a troll (which is a 7th-level monster, as it has over 6 hit dice). Had the monster been only a 5th-level one, experience would be awarded on a 5/8 basis as already stated, but as the monster guarding the treasure was a 7th-level one, experience would be awarded on a 7/8 basis thus; 7,000 GP + 700 for killing the troll = 7,700 divided by 8 = 962.5 × 7 = 6,037.5. 
This entire bit about adjusting XP based on the character level, the level of the dungeon and the level of the monster is in my mind an unnecessary complication and assumes things about the difficulty of the encounter that are not in evidence and, in fact, will vary widely from table to table. So I have never used this part of it at all. 
Experience points are never awarded above a 1 for 1 basis, so even if a character defeats a higher-level monster he will not receive experience points above the total of treasure combined with the monster’s kill value. It is also recommended that no more experience points be awarded for any single adventure than will suffice to move the character upwards one level. Thus a “veteran” (1st level) gains what would ordinarily be 5,000 experience points; however, as this would move him upwards two levels, the referee should award only sufficient points to bring him to “warrior” (2nd level), say 3,999 if the character began with 0 experience points.
I never adjusted up or down. I did not advance someone two levels in one adventure. I award XP when the party returns to town or a home base. IMC XP is not lost, but will roll over into a later adventure(s), until such time as it can all be used without going up more than one level.
Spells & Levels: The number above each column is the spell level (complexity, a somewhat subjective determination on the part of your authors). The number in each column opposite each applicable character indicates the number of spells of each level that can be used (remembered during any single adventure) by that character. Spells are listed and explained later. A spell used once may not be reused in the same day.
To clarify, I used it this way, if you have one 1st level spell slot available you could memorize a sleep spell and use it once only. If you have two spell slots you could memorize a sleep spell for each slot and use it once for each slot for a total of two uses or you could memorize two different spells and use each one, once.

I have heard of people saying no, even if you get four - 1st level spells each day you can only use each spell once, so you have to memorize four different spells. I have never subscribed to that.

On another note it says "spells that can be used (remembered during any single adventure) by that character." Our adventures could last up to two or three or four game months at a time, before returning to town or a home base, so we never did this. From the very beginning I ruled that magic-users and clerics could get all new spells each day as long as they got at least 6 or more hours sleep and took one hour to memorize spells each morning. This meant that they usually took 1st watch and then bedded down and were never on 2nd or 3rd watch. When the parties were much larger, they usually opted for four watches..

My group normally camped for 14 hours which included evening meal, setting up camp, three - watches and a breakfast and memorization time for the spells, etc. We used a 28 hour day, so that left 14 hours for travel and adventure each day. When a party went into a dungeon, a sizable group of henchman were left to guard the livestock. In wilderness adventures the most of the henchman would fight, and a few always went into the dungeons to carry equipment and would fight only if they had too.

There was no guidance given for extending the "Levels and Number of Experience Points Necessary to Attain Them" - table, but since we only went to 10th level that was simple to do.

Tomorrow we will dive into:
Fighting Capability: This is a key to use in conjunction with the CHAINMAIL fantasy rule, as modified in various places herein. 
Saturday we will dive into:
An alternative system will be given later for those who prefer a different method.


  1. Hey!

    This is Fraggle Rock. I want you to know that even though I had to leave MeWe for personal reasons, I'm really glad to see you liked my idea and ran with it. I've been enjoying reading these thoughts of yours and hope you can continue to stretch them out for a while. Discussing the original booklets and your interpretation of them is a great way to consider the roots of the hobby. I've grown quite fond of them over the past few years, myself, even though my ultimate goal is to run a campaign with no written rules whatsoever. Happy gaming and keep up the good work, my fellow gamer.

  2. Hey Fraggle Rock, thank you for checking in with me and I am glad you are enjoying my essays. You should stop by the forum (link on the right side of the blog in between the search bars). I am less than half way through Men & Magic and then I have the other two books, the supplements (of which I have only talked about the monsters), The First Fantasy Campaign, Adventures in Fantasy, The Strategic Review and the early Dragon yet to go. So that is going to keep me busy for a long time. After that I am going to look at the Arduin Grimoires. (I will probably take a look at them in part for Dave Hargrave Week and Dave Hargrave Day and then go back to them at a later date)