Happy memories (AD+D 1st Edition)

Some towns, that’s just Tuesday.

That’s because it’s listed under “Chaotic Magic-User Randomly Murdering Passerby and Bystanders As He Gallops Through The Streets.” :wink:

Yeah, it’s really hard to explain to the Kids These Days just how revolutionary and revelatory that adventure was. You mean I can have a plot, and actual characters with motivations and goals that have nothing to do with the PCs? And the bit that still feels fresh lo these many decades later: You mean I’m not tied into a pre-determined “plot”, but I can change plot elements depending on developments that occur during play? And the ultimate “boss fight” isn’t a set room in the dungeon, but changes depending on player actions and choices?




Emirikol the Chaotic is clearly casting disintegrate at that hapless guardsman, which is a 6th level spell, which means Emirikol is at least 12th level, which, per Magic-User Table I., makes him a…Wizard.


Excellent comeback, @gdave! You win 1500 XP, and a bag containing 1500 copper pieces, 1200 electrum pieces, 300 gold pieces, 3 platinum pieces, and a gem worth 75 gold pieces.

Electrum! The Susan B. Anthony Dollar of fantasy currencies!

I like the picture of an axe quivering in the wall behind the bar and the barman saying “Dave, get the Barbarian in the corner a drink, quick!”

The DMG had a lot of great comic panels. My favorite was the one where a bunch of PCs were sitting at a table playing “Papers & Paychecks.”


My second favorite:


According to the City/Town Encounters Matrix, for every 30 minutes of wandering around you have a 1% chance of running into a magic-user, day or night [same odds as for a weretiger or press gang]. Said magic-user will be of level d6+6, accompanied by 1–4 henchmen, and prefer it if you mind your own business.

Also, 2% of “tipsy revelers” will be drunk magic-users!

The original I-6 Ravenloft module is still my favorite adventure of all time. While I played a little AD&D 1st edition, I didn’t really get my start until 2nd edition was released in 1989 and I had a little cash to buy my own books. I did wind up playing a lot of other 1st edition adventures including Saltmash, Keep on the Borderlands, and White Plume Mountain though. Good times. I can’t imagine going back and using 1st or 2nd edition rules though. The game has changed a lot over the years, but it’s still a good game.

to this day we still carry over the 1st ed rule that if you hit a one you hit yourself…it ensures much hairlity

I never want to tell someone that they’re having wrongfun, so if that rule works for your table, great! But…

  1. That’s never been a rule in any edition of D&D. Fumble rules like that have been common house rules, and optional fumble rules occasionally turned up in Dragon magazine, and other contemporaneous RPGs like Rolemaster did have fumble rules, but that wasn’t a “1st ed” rule. AD&D didn’t even have an auto-miss rule for natural 1s - Rules As Written, if your bonuses were high enough to hit, a 1 was still a hit. Basic D&D introduced the auto miss rule, and AD&D 2nd Edition adopted that, and had optional fumble rules in the DMG, but none of those included hitting yourself.

  2. Again, I don’t want to tell you that you’re having wrongfun, and if a fumble rule like that works for your table, I’m not going to say you shouldn’t use it. But, I personally really dislike those kinds of rules. Fighter-types roll a lot more attack rolls than casters, which mean they’re going to roll a lot more nat 1s, which means that with fumble rules fighter-types fumble more often than casters, which really seems wrong. Maybe if a target rolling a nat 20 on their save created a similar backlash for casters it would balance out, but making nat 1s into fumbles just seems to me like it’s punishing fighters for getting more attacks.

Just to triple down, none of the above is meant to say you’re doing it wrong - if you’re having fun, by definition you’re playing the game right.

Second all of that, especially the “no wrongfun” thing, but a rule like that is like watching a Bruce Lee movie where every fight scene, he accidentally punches himself in the face two or three times. It’d be funny the first few times, but it would get old fast, and at the end of the movie, you’d think Bruce Lee was a schmuck, not a badass.

When I was in college in the '80s, and running a 1E campaign for a group there, we started using a critical hit and fumble table, which I think came from a Dragon article. If you rolled a 20, you then rolled percentile dice to see what super-amazing thing happened with your hit, whereas, if you rolled a 1, you rolled percentiles to see what horrible thing befell you or your allies due to your ineptitude (there was a lot of “you hit your nearest ally” or “you cut off your own fingers” on that latter chart).

As you note, it just happened way too often, and we soon decided to stop using that table.

We had fumbles on 1 for most of the long time I played 1e but the more skilled you were, the magic of the wpn, and many other factors would reduce the chance of a fumble and then if you did indeed fumble you went to a fumble table to determine the result.

Fumble Chance: If “Fumble on 1 chance” is negative then fumble is not auto. -5%/ Str to Hit -5%/ Dex Rea -2%/Lvl -5%/Prof>1
Based on Weapon. Non-Proficient +25%; If a Guard Grip then -25% vs. drops/throwing weapon.

Melee example:

1-20 Miss
21-37 Slip Grip 3sg recovery
38-47 Off Balanced d3sg recover. Fall from mount for d3 HP
48-53 Wild Swing: Fall d2+2sg. Weapon makes Crush Blow ST
54-63 Wild swing: Hit Ally; Roll to hit (+4)
64-68 Slam Weapon: Crush Blow ST -3 hard, +3 soft, 0 wood
69-76 Drop weapon, only slip grip if strap.
77-82 Throw weapon vary distance. Norm Blow ST
83-86 Embed in Wall d3+1 to withdraw & Norm Blow ST -2 Attempt to break concussion weapon Crush Blow ST -2
87-96 Roll to hit Self, +2 no dex, in foot, shin or off arm
97+ Pull muscle/groin. D3-1hp+d3 non-real. D3+1sg recover from pain. Fight at -2 to hit until non-real recovered.

Or in other words, it’s like watching a Jackie Chan movie full stop.

That’s the most important thing! :heart_eyes:

Having said that, my group (started in 1979 :sunglasses: - and still playing 1st Edition :nerd_face:) decided that having to refer to various tables during combat spoiled the excitement.
So we dropped the ‘weapon v armour class table’ (from the Players Handbook; it gave loads of adjustments to your ‘to hit roll’ based on your weapon and the armour you faced.)
We also agreed that a 1 was a miss and a 20 was a hit.

Even Gygax skipped the Weapon Speed & Vs Armor Type tables. They were just in there to appeal to war gamers.

Guilty as charged. Though I rewrote them.