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Mystic Muse
2009-08-18, 08:26 PM
I'm asking because before I go to college I want to get all my worst players together (which will be easy enough. they're my cousins.) I want to get revenge on them by sending them through the tomb of horrors.:smallamused: the ORIGINAL Gygaxian monstrosity.

oh and no hurry. it'll be a long while before I go to College and I plan on playing actually good sessions with my cousins. This is just to show those players that the DM does get revenge

jmbrown
2009-08-18, 08:37 PM
1st edition AD&D? Pain in the royal ass. There's hardly any organization, combat sucks, every action uses odd percentages, you're characters are flimsy as paper, and the rules for movement "scales" are dumb.

And yet, despite its poor construction and layout, it's fun. Because there's no "CR" or whatever, encounters are either a dominate situation or oh-god-we're-being-torn-apart-run-away-now moment. The death rate is high, you're encouraged to hire mooks to step into traps for you, and magic tends to kick you in the balls more than it actually helps.

Tomb of Horrors was pretty much designed to kill you in epic ways. I simply can't think of any other reason to justify the modules existence. It's simultaneously the funnest and lamest D&D module IMO.

Elfin
2009-08-18, 08:50 PM
1st edition AD&D? Pain in the royal ass. There's hardly any organization, combat sucks, every action uses odd percentages, you're characters are flimsy as paper, and the rules for movement "scales" are dumb.


This. The heaps of matrices are so ridiculously confusing that I get headachy just flipping through the First Edition hardbacks.
Although maybe that's just because of the musty, yellowed paper.

Mystic Muse
2009-08-18, 08:51 PM
so not only is first edition nigh impossible to learn there's no real return in terms of game play and tomb of horrors is designed to do nothing other than rip you apart in exceedingly more violent and painful ways?


Perfect.:smallamused:

John Campbell
2009-08-18, 10:06 PM
Don't listen to them. AD&D is way, way simpler than 3E. 3E is all about a rule for everything and everything with a rule. AD&D gave you some core rules and some versatile basic mechanics, and relied on the DM being able to make reasonable judgments about applying those to whatever situation the fevered imaginations of his players could come up with.

There are no feats, no skills, no prestige classes, no combat maneuvers, no skill tricks, no move/standard/swift/immediate/free/full round (wait, that's different than 1 round?) actions, no attacks of opportunity or provoking thereof, no casting defensively or heaps and heaps of items and spells and effects that change all your stats around or gameplay effects that have no non-gamist justification or... or... or...

And by this I mean there are no books and books full of rules for these things. If you want to do them, you tell the DM, and he says, "Yeah, sure, you can do that," or, "No, that's impossible," or, "Well, roll such and such check and we'll see." This does mean that if you're the DM, it helps to understand how the various check mechanics you're given really work, so you can decide which one is appropriate to use. But, really, you won't go far wrong just telling them to throw a die and applying some common sense.

Sure, there are charts. How hard is looking something up on a chart? And most of those charts you use once at character generation and never need to look at again. The number will be right there on your character sheet forever after if you should need to, e.g., attempt to Bend Bars.

(I've done PHP-based dynamic character sheets for both AD&D and 3.5 (and working on Pathfinder) because I didn't feel like manually updating everything every time I leveled or got a new magic item that changed my stats. Even with all those zomgcharts embedded in it, the AD&D one weighs in an order of magnitude lighter than the 3.5 one... and is a lot more comprehensive, to boot. The 3.5 one has that much more logic in it... and logic == rules complexity.)

It takes me weeks to make a 3.5 character, because I have to plot out its advancement clear through 20th level so I don't build myself into a corner because I didn't take the feat I needed to qualify for another feat that I need to take the prestige class that gives me the class skill that I need to qualify for another prestige class so I can take another feat that I need at my next level two levels ago when I had the opportunity and it's too late now!... and so on. I can make an AD&D character in twenty minutes, and most of that is arguing about who's playing what and coming up with a name.

THAC0, for all that people complain about it, is mathematically identical to BAB.

Initiative is a little more complicated, but it mostly just means that you have three numbers to add instead of two, and it replaces the entire AoO system, so I'm going to call that a net win for AD&D.

Saving throws are a little wonky - figuring out which one applies is often confusing - but they don't come down to an optimized caster going, "I targeted your weak save and you didn't roll a 20; therefore, you lose."

I guess the AC vs. Weapon Types stuff is complicated, but it's no worse than DR/damage type, and I've never actually played in a game where it was used anyway.

shadzar
2009-08-18, 10:32 PM
While Gary made a great game that is easy to learn and play...the problem lies in reading the books to find what you are looking for. Once you know where to look for what you are looking for it is easy to grasp. Sadly they never released or were able to release a direct reorganization of 1st edition without some changes to it that people disagree with in 2nd edition.

Just read through it and find where in the books the things are to begin with and it isn't too hard ot learn, and you don't have all that nonsense from 3rd to slow you down to start killing PC...I mean playing/creating PCs. :smallbiggrin:

So read the books from front to back first to learn where stuff is hidden and you should learn it well enough.

Mystic Muse
2009-08-18, 11:55 PM
okay. now I just need to get me some of the books. I doubt my Library has them unfortunately. I doubt even more that My gaming store has them. maybe the other branch.

jmbrown
2009-08-19, 12:16 AM
Don't listen to them. AD&D is way, way simpler than 3E. 3E is all about a rule for everything and everything with a rule. AD&D gave you some core rules and some versatile basic mechanics, and relied on the DM being able to make reasonable judgments about applying those to whatever situation the fevered imaginations of his players could come up with.

There are no feats, no skills, no prestige classes, no combat maneuvers, no skill tricks, no move/standard/swift/immediate/free/full round (wait, that's different than 1 round?) actions, no attacks of opportunity or provoking thereof, no casting defensively or heaps and heaps of items and spells and effects that change all your stats around or gameplay effects that have no non-gamist justification or... or... or...

And by this I mean there are no books and books full of rules for these things. If you want to do them, you tell the DM, and he says, "Yeah, sure, you can do that," or, "No, that's impossible," or, "Well, roll such and such check and we'll see." This does mean that if you're the DM, it helps to understand how the various check mechanics you're given really work, so you can decide which one is appropriate to use. But, really, you won't go far wrong just telling them to throw a die and applying some common sense.

Sure, there are charts. How hard is looking something up on a chart? And most of those charts you use once at character generation and never need to look at again. The number will be right there on your character sheet forever after if you should need to, e.g., attempt to Bend Bars.

(I've done PHP-based dynamic character sheets for both AD&D and 3.5 (and working on Pathfinder) because I didn't feel like manually updating everything every time I leveled or got a new magic item that changed my stats. Even with all those zomgcharts embedded in it, the AD&D one weighs in an order of magnitude lighter than the 3.5 one... and is a lot more comprehensive, to boot. The 3.5 one has that much more logic in it... and logic == rules complexity.)

It takes me weeks to make a 3.5 character, because I have to plot out its advancement clear through 20th level so I don't build myself into a corner because I didn't take the feat I needed to qualify for another feat that I need to take the prestige class that gives me the class skill that I need to qualify for another prestige class so I can take another feat that I need at my next level two levels ago when I had the opportunity and it's too late now!... and so on. I can make an AD&D character in twenty minutes, and most of that is arguing about who's playing what and coming up with a name.

THAC0, for all that people complain about it, is mathematically identical to BAB.

Initiative is a little more complicated, but it mostly just means that you have three numbers to add instead of two, and it replaces the entire AoO system, so I'm going to call that a net win for AD&D.

Saving throws are a little wonky - figuring out which one applies is often confusing - but they don't come down to an optimized caster going, "I targeted your weak save and you didn't roll a 20; therefore, you lose."

I guess the AC vs. Weapon Types stuff is complicated, but it's no worse than DR/damage type, and I've never actually played in a game where it was used anyway.

Characters were specifically limited in their actions. For example, a rogue had a specific chance to climb roofs that no other class ever had. To give another character the same ability would undermine the powers of the rogue. Later splat books gave you optional "skills" and 2E came with the optional proficiency system that worked a lot better but you were still pushed into a corner as far as what you could do in regards to the rules. In 1st edition, rulings were very loose but this easy going method of play meant contradictions in gaming logic were easy. A fighter can only try to bend bars once but each fight gets an attempt to do it?

The early editions may be "simpler" but they're easier to screw yourself over. You have to have a certain attribute to be certain classes, you get bonuses for having a higher stats, more effects can lower your stats, simple spells we're used to can screw you over (calculating how many times lightning bolt rebounds or the age effects of haste), combat is bogged down by spell casting's effects on initiative, and the races are absolutely useless because of their level restrictions.

I don't know how non-humans in 1st edition survived so long but your advancement stops at level 7-10 whereas humans can go up to 20+ (by the way, your hit die STOP at 10th level and you basically gain +1 or +2 hp a level). Races also have a hard restriction to their maximum attributes so a dwarf fighter can never have an 18/00 strength.

If you're playing for one night have fun but when it comes to long term play the games were a muddled mess.

Mystic Muse
2009-08-19, 12:21 AM
This is a one time thing where I make my cousins die horrible screaming deaths that will (hopefully) forever haunt them in their nightmares.........In D&D. The lawyers wouldn't let me do it the other way.:smalltongue:

Skorj
2009-08-19, 12:50 AM
People mean many things by "first edition", but I'd recommend AD&D for a fun Gygaxian experience - PHB, DMG, MM, and (optionally) Unearthed Arcana, which adds a bit without changing the flavor.

It's dead simple for players to learn. A page for each stat, class, race, and that's all you need to know besides spells. There's a bit more to learn for the DM, but to hit and saving throws are all tabularized, and the few other skills are simple %s.

It's hard to understand as a coherent, rational system (cause it ain't), but it's really easy to just start playing. No builds, beyond a bit of human "player with two classes cheese". But read very carefully about allowed weapon and armor combinations when multiclassed - that's the thing that will totally surprise a 3e player.

Also, wizards (erm Magic Users!) aren't nearly so overpowered below 10 or so, since spells are so easily disrupted, and Cleric spells aren't as powerful. However spells above 5th level were really intended for NPCs (if your party lives to learn 6th level spells in Gygaxian D&D, you're doing it wrong) and you'll find a couple are pretty broken. In general, though just make sure to actually read the spell descriptions and not assume, and you'll be fine.

Finally, get one of those 3rd party books filled with 40 pages of elaborate deadly traps, and fill a dungeon with em. Make sure your dungeon has mimics, trappers, lurkers above, piercers, ropers, mimics, rot worms, stun jelly, the things that eat your brains if you listen at doors, and did I mention mimics? It's important that at least one mid-level party member who somehow survived the dungeons gets eaten by his toilet. No one is ever prepared to be eaten by the toilet! Ah, great times, great times.

Remember, if the party doesn't flinch and cower at a simple room description, and spend at least 30 minutes preppinf to open a simple door or touch a chair, you haven't gotton them into the spirit of Gygaxian D&D yet. :biggrin:

arguskos
2009-08-19, 02:00 AM
Here's the only thing you really HAVE to know about OD&D (the original) and AD&D 1st and 2nd (the one that lasted for over 20 years): characters can do anything.

See, they were designed from a "here's a world, go have a good time in it" perspective, unlike 3.5, which was designed from a "here are some rules, go have fun with them" viewpoint. Each of these has it's ups and downs, but the real thing is that the older games are meant to be played in the spirit of the old pulp fantasy books, where you are some random dude with a sword, and the world is big and scary and wants to eat you. Combat is lethal, traps are brutal, the world is MEAN! It's about being clever and surviving impossible odds to get the treasure, kill the monster, and win the day!

Keep that all in mind, and you'll have a great time. :smallamused:

Kurald Galain
2009-08-19, 02:32 AM
Don't listen to them. AD&D is way, way simpler than 3E. 3E is all about a rule for everything and everything with a rule. AD&D gave you some core rules and some versatile basic mechanics, and relied on the DM being able to make reasonable judgments about applying those to whatever situation the fevered imaginations of his players could come up with.
Precisely.

Sure, it has its quirks, but so does every other system (such as 3E's "you need a feat to do that" and 4E's "sure you can stab a skeleton in the vitals").



Saving throws are a little wonky - figuring out which one applies is often confusing
They can be, but (1) that's your DM's call, and (2) it's not like TSR is going to arrest you if you pick the wrong one.



I guess the AC vs. Weapon Types stuff is complicated,
Wasn't that optional? Okay, let me paraphrase that: if you don't like it, don't use it.

Zadus
2009-08-19, 02:38 AM
Cool thread. I've always wanted to give AD&D a try, and this has thread gives me a lot to ponder. Honestly sounds like a lot of fun. I also agree with the pulp fantasy perspective.

Anyone know where you can find resources for playing such a game? I don't have anything even resembling a 1st edition book.

Mystic Muse
2009-08-19, 02:39 AM
it's not like TSR is going to arrest you if you pick the wrong one.
.

they aren't? phew.

Kurald Galain
2009-08-19, 02:46 AM
combat sucks,
You mean "combat is deadly". Yes, it is intended to be, and it is so in many RPGs so that players are tempted to find non-combat solutions to their problems.


every action uses odd percentages,
You mean that some few actions (i.e. thief skills and bend bars) use 1d100 instead of 1d20. While odd, it's not like that's a big deal, how hard is it to roll 1d100?


Sadly they never released or were able to release a direct reorganization of 1st edition without some changes to it that people disagree with in 2nd edition.
Yeah, everyone has their own houserules. The game rather encourages that. Then again, doesn't everyone also have their own houserules in 3E and 4E?


Characters were specifically limited in their actions. For example, a rogue had a specific chance to climb roofs that no other class ever had. To give another character the same ability would undermine the powers of the rogue.
Not such a great example; I'm quite sure that every class could climb walls, rogues were just better at it. But yeah, each class has its own "thing". Then again, this is common: in 3E, Weapon Spec is restricted to fighters, and trapfinding to rogues. In 4E, Uncanny Advice is restricted to rangers, and throwing sand at someone's eye is restricted to 9th-level characters. If you don't like that, you shouldn't play a class-based system.


You have to have a certain attribute to be certain classes, you get bonuses for having a higher stats,
Wait, how is that different from 3E and 4E again? (okay, sure, in both 3E and 4E it's technically legal to play a wizard with 9 int. Think this is a good idea, or that anyone does?)


Anyone know where you can find resources for playing such a game? I don't have anything even resembling a 1st edition book.

http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/osric/

shadzar
2009-08-19, 03:36 AM
okay. now I just need to get me some of the books. I doubt my Library has them unfortunately. I doubt even more that My gaming store has them. maybe the other branch.

You can buy a copy of the PDFs on RPGNow....no wait WotC screwed that up. Guess you will have to check eBay or other used book locations to find yourself a copy of the DMG, PHB and TOH.

bosssmiley
2009-08-19, 05:18 AM
1E? Well we had no problem learning it as 13 year olds. Of course, we (like most people) were playing a weird Frankensteinian cargo-cult mash-up of D&D, AD&D and whatever we thought was cool that week. :smallbiggrin:

As Kurald Galain suggested above, go look at OSRIC (http://www.knights-n-knaves.com/osric/) (Old School Reference and Index Compilation). It's a freeware OGL clone of AD&D 1E without the organisational issues of Gary's magnum opus.

Quick Primer for Old School Play (http://www.scribd.com/doc/14749369/Quick-Primer-for-Old-School-Gaming) - aka "How Not to Die" by Matt Finch, who wrote OSRIC
One Page Old School Primer (http://ancientvaults.wordpress.com/2009/04/28/one-page-oldschool-primer/) for the attention deficit or the time-poor
Old School Reference Books (http://kellri.blogspot.com/2009/05/down-in-groove.html) all the tables you could ever want, by Kellri
Jeff's Guide to the New Retro-Stupid (http://jrients.blogspot.com/2008/02/jeffs-incomplete-guide-to-new-retro.html) is a quick overview of what else is out there in the "rules-light and buckets of fun" D&D category. It's a good read for those who consider Weapon Speeds and rounds divided into segments to be the Devil's work. :smallwink:

Mystic Muse
2009-08-19, 06:10 AM
you know I just realized. There's really only one player I care about dying a horrible screaming death in this game. Much more fun.

Knaight
2009-08-19, 07:35 AM
In this case, play something else. Find a fast moving game (Fudge seems perfect here) which doesn't use a grid, and bring in high speed vehicles. Eventually one player will cause the death of another, and then things get really interesting. Plus if your feeling merciful but still want to make a point you can take down high speed vehicles, repeatedly.

hamlet
2009-08-19, 08:36 AM
In looking for books, if you're only using this once, go find OSRIC. It's got a $0 price tag and is virtually identical to AD&D 1ed (a few aesthetic changes to satisfy the jerks . . . er . . . lawyers). If you decide you like it, then you can go hunt up copies of the original books. If you pay more than $10 a copy, you're doing it wrong.

Learning it? It's not hard. Takes an hour or two, really, to learn everything you need to know to start. Takes decades to master.

1. Unlearn everything you know about D&D. Approach it with clean, untainted eyes. If you view 1st edition through a lens of 3rd edition (or even 2nd edition for that matter) expectations, you will not be happy.

2. The core of what you, as the DM, need to know starts in the PHB with the basics on how characters function. You actually, if you don't plan on building a character, don't need to know about the various ability score modifiers or XP charts, or anything like that, but you need to know, generally, the function of classes (like the fact that it takes time to memorize spells in the morning for higher level casters WAY beyond just an hour).

More vital to you is to memorize the location of, or simply bookmark important tables: Saving Throws, Attack Matrices, Undead Turning, etc., and know how they work in at least a general sense. A good way to do this, actually, is to spend a bit of time by yourself building pre-gen characters for your victims to use. Tomb of Horrors doesn't have many monsters, really, so you don't have to worry overly about that. Since you're playing a one-off, you really don't have to worry about XP either. Just learn the basics of how a PC fights and gets killed and you'll be good to go for a session or two.

3. If you're not sure how it works according to the rules, do NOT spend more than 3-5 minutes looking for it in the books. Check the index, check a couple of likely places, and if you don't find it, just roll a random die and make something up that seems appropriate.

4. Do not use AD&D 1 (or, frankly, any system) as a form of punishment. That's, simply put, obnoxious.

ericgrau
2009-08-19, 08:57 AM
ToH was desired to challenge experienced players not cruelly slaughter general ones.

I learned 2e in middle school so 1e can't be that bad. Just different, and it probably takes time. From what I hear 2e is to 1e what 3.5e is to 3e, so you might as well use it. But if you want to be truly faithful to the original, 1e is still the way to go.

Another_Poet
2009-08-19, 09:02 AM
Anyone know where you can find resources for playing such a game? I don't have anything even resembling a 1st edition book.

Check the used section of your FLGS or, as someone above suggested, use OSRIC (not 100% the same but almost)

ap

Keshay
2009-08-19, 09:25 AM
Using 1st edition ToH to brutally kill off characters folks have made just for the occasion is kind of pointless. Espically if its while using a system no one is familiar with. Who cares if the character you've never played before and have absolutely nothing invested in dies? (Except perhaps that you have to go sit in the other room and play X-Box while everyone else has to continue wrestling with an unfamiliar, cumbersome game system).

TBH I'd find a better way of exacting your DM's revenge against your one cousin. Perhaps a series of games where you build him up only to have him taken down by the rest of the players in the final session?

While using an unfamiliar system can be an interesting exercise, its rarely the most fun or memorable experience. And really, if you want this particular game to be memorable, you do not want your players focusing on the game mechanics, but instead on the story being told, and the fun stuff they did.

Fhaolan
2009-08-19, 09:33 AM
AD&D is dead easy to learn, very difficult to master. And I mean Dungeon Master. Not because the rules are really that complex, but because Gygax had this... writing style. He liked to wander. So the DMG isn't exactly the easiest book ever to find stuff in. Open it up to a random page and you'll find the *weirdest* things sometimes.

The thing is, you'll have to unlearn a bunch of stuff. All that character creation flexibility from 3rd edition on? Not there. If you're a Fighter... you're a Fighter. It's difficult to change classes, there's very few choices, and if you're doing the classic 3d6 in order stat generation, you'll likely not even have a choice as to which class to play (each class has minimum stats, and with 3d6 in order, you're gonna end up a Thief a lot. :) )

Cyrion
2009-08-19, 09:49 AM
It's actually very easy to learn, especially if you already play another edition or have played multiple other editions. Some of the mechanics are a bit different, but not difficult.

As was already said- non-human characters are pointless in the long run because of level restrictions, but they're the only ones who can do multi-classing. Multiclassing is where the biggest difference for me is. In 3.5 multiclassing is a linear affair, and you are punished severely if you do it simultaneously. In AD&D simultaneous multiclassing is rewarded, and linear is difficult at best.

RTGoodman
2009-08-19, 10:23 AM
You know, if you really just want to kill PCs, you could always just run the 3.5 update (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/oa/20051031a) of Tomb of Horrors. Keeps you from having to learn and teach everyone else a new system, at least.

Mystic Muse
2009-08-19, 10:37 AM
actually the player doesn't know 3.5 so I'd have to teach him a new edition either way.


He's the only one going through it. He's the only one who's ever made me mad enough to even consider this.

Drakyn
2009-08-19, 10:39 AM
I seem to recall it being said around here that it was actually much easier, since you could use skills to find and disable traps by then. 1st edition, there were nonathis fancy "skills" - just furious improv. I remember reading the old school module from my aunt's old junkheap of 1st edition stuff, and search-and-disarm seems like it would screw havoc with some of the more blatantly unfair bits.

dragoonsgone
2009-08-19, 10:41 AM
http://www.kenzerco.com/index.php?cPath=25_26

Looks pretty fun, based on AD&D and has some support. Ive wanted to try it but haven't had a chance.

Mark Hall
2009-08-19, 10:47 AM
How hard do you want it to be to learn?

Seems like a facile, but it's the truth of 1st edition. You can play it extremely easy on the rules... d20 to hit, looked up on a chart. d20 to save, looked up on a chart. Surprise is rolled on a d6. Most skills are for thieves, and are roll-under.

Or, you can try to digest the entire rulebook, which is a sizable undertaking, and try to use everything. You won't; I'm on a 1st edition forum where a frequent topic is "Guess what rule I found that I'd never seen before". These are people who have been playing since the DMG came out, and they're still finding things. How did they get around them before? They came up with a solution that worked, and ran with it.

Running 1st edition prepares you to be a game designer.

ken-do-nim
2009-08-19, 10:47 AM
I don't want to get into an edition war, but I'd like to make a few points:

1. AD&D 1E is freakin' awesome. I love the system. Sure not everybody does and it generally takes a good DM, but done right, it rocks.

2. It is a disservice to 3.5 to suggest that you have to go back to the 1E version of Tomb of Horrors to kill players horribly. 3.5 is a very deadly system too. However, I'm told that the feel of the 3.5 update is subtly different, so you may enjoy the 1E version more.

3. OSRIC is great and well-organized, but it does leave out some of the more esoteric nuggets of AD&D as its design goal was to make the game that Gary actually played, not the one he wrote. So it leaves out weapon vs armor, psionics, weapon speeds, bards, etc.