Wednesday, October 12, 2011

AD&D's Most Dubious Rules

I've gotten a little swamped with work and home the past few days and haven't had the chance to continue the dialogue about the wide area sandbox and the Monster Manual; hopefully tonight I'll get back to it.

In the meantime, some lighter fare for discussion; AD&D is oft criticized for rules that add complexity without making the game better; it's the rare grognard that plays AD&D 100% by-the-book.  I learned D&D with the Moldvay red box, so I mostly ran Moldvay rules with AD&D classes and monsters.

With that in mind, there's a new poll up on the right hand side - I've tried to list the rules that generate the most grief.  How many of the following AD&D rules do you ignore or modify with house rules?  Feel free to add more in the comments if I've missed one that is commonly ignored or overruled.

  • Weapon vs AC
  • Weapon Speed Factors
  • Melee Segments
  • Spell Components
  • Casting Times
  • Alignment
  • Firing Missiles into Melee
  • Helmets in Melee
  • Unarmed Combat
  • Morale and NPC reactions
  • Training Costs
  • Training Times
  • Psionics
  • The Bard
  • The Monk
  • Demi-Human Level Limits
  • XP for Magic Items
  • Magic Resistance


  1. Like you, our group when playing "AD&D" was really just playing Moldvay rules with AD&D classes and monsters.

  2. Modified/ignored: 12/18. Then decided life was too short and went back to Basic.

  3. Depending on the group I was playing with, we have used somewhere between most and very few of these rules. Weapon vs. AC is the only one that has been universally dropped, Psionics comes a close second. Most often forgotten are probably helmets and firing into melee. After that the more Wargamerey groups like to keep segments, weapon speeds and casting times. Most often abandoned for simplicity's sake are usually spell components, training costs/times, but sometimes they make it in. Usually modified are morale/reaction (Moldvay is better), unarmed combat (ANYTHING would be better). I have always kept demi-human level limits (otherwise, why play a human?), bards & monks (No one ever meets the stat requirements or wants to play them anyway), alignment, magic resistance and I suspect there would be a rebellion if I tried to eliminate XP for magic items.

  4. We did track spell components, but almost never used weapon speeds or segments. They didn't seem to be worth the trouble after testing them out.

  5. casters getting interrupted by melee or ranged attacks was one I always tossed out mainly so my bad guy wizard couldn't get his teleports interrupted by a asshole rogue with a bow but whats good for the npcs is fair for the pcs as well

  6. I'm a big fan of "firing missiles into melee". My players are constantly shooting other party members. ;-)