Monday, January 23, 2012

Converting to AD&D


1E is back on top!

Ever since the announcement that 1E is being reprinted, my group has been asking the question whether we should switch completely to AD&D.  We're using Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Edition Companion, so we're pretty much playing AD&D with classic D&D stats and race-classes already - we have a Paladin, for instance.  But we're not actually using the old 1E books at the table, despite one of the players (Mike) bringing up the idea of converting at every available opportunity… for months.  With the 1E announcement, he's been able to sway the table - the group voted to switch whole cloth to AD&D.  The Trampier cover is back in the house.

There are some obvious things to change - the Dwarf becomes a fighter, the Elf becomes a fighter/magic user.  The more interesting question is what to do with the stats?

On 3d6, the average roll is 10.5; on 4d6 drop the lowest, the average roll is 12.24  AD&D characters have an average of 10+ more points spread across their ability scores.  And it shows.  A fighter in classic D&D gets +1 to hit at strength 13; that same fighter needs a strength 17 to get the same bonus in AD&D.  Stat inflation, baby.

What have you done for converting existing "classic: characters to AD&D's higher stat requirements?  The two options we discussed were re-rolling using 4d6 drop the lowest, but arranging the scores in the same relative order - so if Character A was highest in Intelligence, he would put his highest new stat back into Intelligence.  The simple approach is this - since AD&D characters have much higher stats, 10 more ability points, on average, just give everyone 10 more points to spend.  That fighter with a 13 strength can pump 4 points into strength, giving himself a 17 and staying on course.

I'm enthused by the 1E reprinting.  We don't know how limited will be the print run, and whether it will stay exclusive to hobby stores; I'd be delighted if it was successful and they chose to roll the reprints out to retail.  I don't need to go looking for cynical reasons to justify the reprint;  WOTC is helping the cause of getting new folks to pay attention to older games again, and that's just dandy.