Blog Carnival: Mistakes, Me? Never!

Man have I been lazy! I haven’t gotten anything done, but I did need a break from everything, just to recharge my batteries. I’ll get back to my humanoid project soon, but I did want to hurry up and add my two cents into the current Blog Carnival taking place at Campaign Mastery. This one is in regards to mistakes that one makes during play.

While I believe that it is everybody’s goal, to identify the mistakes that we make, and weed them out, discovering our own weaknesses takes time. I take you back to my first table, I wasn’t the DM, but a player, and of course, those Dungeon Masters taught me how to run games. We were just kids, which is common, but man were we horrible. I refer now to the number one mistake that I have witnessed, and that I myself have been guilty of, which is over-doing it on the house rules.

We tinkered with everything so much really, that it would probably take months to describe in full, but I will hit what I feel were the worst cases of house rules that really didn’t work but we still stayed with them.

Now 2e is very hospitable to house rules, the DM has the final say so over everything that takes place, and I still do house rule from time to time, just to make sure that a scene transitions well with another, or to speed up a part of the game that I don’t feel that anybody is to terribly interested in. I also like to keep my save or dies to a minimum because I don’t want to lose the impact that they have by over-doing them. In other words, there are lots of great reasons to come up with different ways to do the same thing. I don’t disregard every instance, in fact, I would rather see more house rules in play over all of the supplements and pointless books which do more to bog the game down with clutter then actually aid to it in any truly meaningful way.

BUT! In regards to the Core Rules, and I am referring now to simply the Players Handbook, the Dungeon Masters Guide, and the Monstrous Manual, these things should not be tinkered with. The only thing that can happen by playing with what is core, is failure. Even if you think that it is working, one rule provides the basis for a hand full of other rules, and if the DM can’t describe his house rule quickly while at the table, then it is probably a good idea to just do away with it completely.

Today I will talk about what I feel are the greatest sins of house-ruling a game, but before we get down and dirty in the mud, it would be beneficial to know exactly why folks house rule core rules, for which there is only a few answers.

The most common being that they think that their way is better. They discover a problem which annoys them, or most often something that they don’t understand, and instead of thinking it through and trying to identify why the rule is there, or how this rule effects the rest of the game, they simply change it and do their best to ignore the repercussions of their actions. It would actually be humorous to see folks completely blinded by their own house rules, if it just wouldn’t effect your own personal game in the dramatic sense which it does.

The other reason to house rule a core rule is because deep down you really don’t want to play Dungeons and Dragons, but some other obscure title that you can’t get any players for. D&D is the catalyst, I don’t want to learn new rules, and when I sit at the table I just want to play! This kind of house ruling seems innocent enough. Something written down can sound like fun at the time, but in actual play can go to the opposite effect. The most common mistake involves war games, and trying to adapt them to be compatible with D&D which they aren’t. Some people are just die hard about getting realistic combat with dice, and it can’t be done! A critical hit list quickly turns into a pain in the butt and if you aren’t balanced about it, a true game-wrecker that isn’t fun for anybody.

Boredom is also a good reason to house rule a game, but again, this goes back to the first problem, which is the lack of understanding of how the core rules require each other to stand up for themselves. In 2e if your players aren’t challenged enough, then it is time to place the more advanced rules which are already in the PHB. New players aren’t expected to count their weight and deduct it from their Movement Rates, they don’t need to worry about specific weapon types being faster then them, or capable of by-passing their armor class, these are advanced rules written for advanced users of the game. They are harder to remember and to understand, but that is what makes them fun! Maybe your table doesn’t ever need to go to them, but maybe it does, this decision is between individual DMs and their players to decide.

Personally, when altering the core rules, even though a Dungeon Master can do it, it is more ethical to ask the players, especially if the rule is in their handbooks. It is very important to keep all of the rules in the PHB functioning as is, they need to know how everything in the game should work. If it isn’t in there, it is slightly less core. Everything in the DMG should run fine as is, but we can alter these rules with a bit more freedom. The MM should always be ran as written, but then again we can always add our own monsters into the core without any problems . . . well, as long as we know what we are doing.

Now, with that out of the way, lets get down into my terrible past and examine some of the worst cases of blatant bad DMing decisions that I have ever had the gall to enforce!

1. TWENTIES DO DOUBLE DAMAGE

This one seems innocent enough, and as far as house rules go, is the least odious of them. Why this one is a mistake is that specific weapons carry a bonus of double damage when a natural 20 is rolled, and if we take this away then we are encouraging the players to never change weapons, not to mention taking away the impact from when it does happen.

Folks are so used to something cool happening when a natural twenty is rolled that it has become the equivalent of landing on Free Parking in Monopoly, something does have to happen. This something shouldn’t mimic another rule's special power, and there isn’t anything in the core rules which says that a normal weapon such as an axe simply hits its target on the 20, and nothing else. We can color our combat scenes and give the players, or the villains, an edge when a 20 is rolled for an attack. Nothing more lethal then normal, but an edge all the same. Perhaps the victim loses their attack the next round, has to make a morale check, or some other thing which would fit the scene. I feel that that is a good unwritten rule, however double damage should only be reserved to arrows and pole arms.

2. MISSILE COMBAT RULES

This one relates to another problem which is common, which I’ll get into later on, but the misunderstanding which involves missile combat is that it is different then melee combat. In direct combat, nobody knows how many parries or blocks were really involved in scoring the hits, but this is not the case with missile fire. Every arrow that flies into the scene must be accounted for. This is easy to forget, because each attack will deduct an arrow from your inventory. It is almost easier to track arrow inventory on a separate piece of paper and update your character sheet at the end of the night. Of course, DMs are just as guilty as players are when it comes to NPC archers, but the number one problem with missile combat is blatantly ignoring the range of the target. Most Dungeon Masters don’t even bother checking an enemies range, they simply treat it as normal combat and it isn’t!

3. DORKING WITH THE MAGIC SYSTEM

Back in the day, we had a hard time fumbling around with the mages spells, and one of the players who usually did the DMing kept buying all of these spell books, “And gosh darn it, I am going to use them!” well, he didn’t say gosh darn, but you get my point. Many tables have gone through this, and have house ruled it so that instead of learning spells, you have access to all of them, and instead of using the table in the PHB, you use a spell point system.

This was a nightmare! Not only are all of the mages exactly the same, but the player playing the mage is ignoring the game while he constantly reads spells and their functions as he is trying to find ways to make the DM’s life as hellish as possible.

Wizards in AD&D are extremely powerful, in essence, magic allows a player to cheat the rules. It is vital that a DM knows exactly what spells he has up his sleeves. That way, if the DM’s got a problem with a mages spell list, then he has only himself to blame because he’s the one that gave it to him. Spells, especially wizard spells, have been play-tested to death by the good folks at TSR, and while it sounds like you are getting ripped off, you aren’t.

On the other hand, a priest, whose spells are mostly defensive and typically aimed at healing, are less restricted. A priest can use any of them which he has the proper level and granted the proper access to the sphere of influence. I generally keep this list to the PHB only, or upon request, the Tome of Magic. I can also add new spells through NPCs if the player can identify the new cleric spell, or through scrolls. In effect, the priest requires a greater amount of spells to function on a fair level then does his wizard counterpart.

Spells are also suppose to be written down and turned into the Dungeon Master on the start of each in-game day. These are the spells which the spell caster has studied/meditated for. Under more advanced rules, the magic user has to spend at least 1 hour per spell level to gain the spell. This doesn’t go away under normal circumstances, a remembered spell will stay in his brain until he casts it or if he chooses to replace it with another spell.

This also hints at removing charts and graphs which make magic unpredictable, as under the AD&D magic system, all spells are terribly expensive. Spells can be ruined if the caster is interrupted in any way, so one must properly know how long the spell takes to cast, and what is required of him. Magic does slow down combat! But if we move it to fast then we run the risk of making errors.

4. IGNORING XP

This was an even worse sin! And unlike all of the others, this sin is one of pure laziness on the DMs part. Instead of counting up XP like we were suppose to, we’d just be granted a level for a game day. This fell apart on many different levels. We’d play first level characters for many many hours and never reach 2nd level until the next game, when in reality, we should be much higher. Then, on the other side of the scale, we’d breeze through the higher levels with uncanny speed. We’d only get 20 games out of our characters, and we had no idea how rewarding that actually earning a level was.

5th level comes fairly quickly, but there is a dramatic slow down after that point. We also ignored level limits on demihumans because the DM loved them so much and felt it unfair that an elf who lives longer couldn’t achieve high levels of play, which for us, was usually only 9 games. This isn’t role playing, this is simply playing. If the rules are ran correctly, the player playing a demihuman can play the same character for a year or two before maxing out on his levels. Especially multiclassed demihumans who are always going to be slow to advance and perpetually behind the other players who are single classed, and one must be meticulous about XP when playing something like that!

Again, all of this goes right back to play-testing on a professional level. Being young, we thought that we understood the game more then the brainiacs at TSR who invented the damned thing! Of course, now we know and since we are playing the game correctly, we are having a much better time and a more rewarding experience all around.

5. CONDUCTING ROUNDS INCORRECTLY

This mistake is probably by far the most common, even for advanced players who have been playing the game for years and years!

It is most common, I have observed, for everyone to roll initiative, and then decide exactly what everybody is doing. This is completely out of sequence, and it effects the rules for both missile combat, the casting of spells, and for initiative itself!

Now I know that this is bad, but back then I never thought nothing of it. In fact, we still find ourselves doing this same mistake to this day! While the game is still functional, by doing this it is broken and not at all core. In fact, the game is much smoother and less chaotic if it is done correctly, but what is correct?

Before the round starts, and before initiative is rolled, the DM decides what all of his NPCs are going to do that round, if it is the first round he also needs to figure out the range of the enemy, determine if anybody is surprised or not, and figure out the enemies initial reaction. Once all of this is done, he decides what each enemy is going to do, which isn’t all that difficult. If a creature is going to attack, then who? If there is a leader, he’ll probably hang back and bark orders until he sees who his party is struggling with the most, and he’ll target that person. Lots of stuff needs to be factored in, but this doesn’t take too long if you are prepared.

After we know what we are going to do that round, we ask the characters. This doesn’t need to be too advanced stuff. If they are going to attack, find out what they are going to attack, and with what. If they are going to do something tactical, such as charge, this is the time to say such, but we must resist altering our plans, if we have decided that our gnolls are going to attack, we shouldn’t alter them to setting their pikes for a charge. They don’t know what the players are going to do, just like the players don’t know what you are going to do.

A player can choose a few different options, and none of these are set in stone. In fact, a good player will be as brief and to the point as possible when describing what he is planning to do. “I am going to attack one of the gnolls with my broad sword” vs. "I am going to attack the closest gnoll to me." If he says this, and one of his companions beat him to the punch and slay the creature, that player may lose his turn if there isn’t another enemy around for him to target.

Spells are a bit different, if they are going to cast a spell, this has to be announced prior to initiative, this is the true reason for the rule. A spell caster is not allowed to change spells, but he is allowed to stop casting it at any time. It will be up to the DM to decide if it was successfully stopped or not, some spells happen so fast that it might not be voluntarily stopped before the magic is released and the spell is forgotten.

Arrows and other missiles are also taken out of sequence, and must be properly figured before the round can be determined.

After it is figured out what everybody is going to do, they may have the option to change their mind after initiative, but at a cost. Movement costs time, a fighter is better at this as he can give up 1 or 2 of his attacks to perform different actions. For example, a priest originally stated that he was going to attack, however an enemy archer scored double damage on him and he is in serious danger. He can’t cast a spell to heal himself, but he can stop and run half of his MR away while digging for a potion of healing. This action will be completed last, so if he has won the initiative, he has a good chance of surviving this, however if his party has lost, he may have lost his life if he gets hit.

Hesitations are always left up to the DM to figure out where they happen in that round.

Once it is figured what everyone’s action will be, we can move on to initiative, which can take place in a variety of different methods depending on the difficulty of the game that you are playing. I think that the easiest method, and the fairest, is to have all of the PCs roll their own initiatives, and the DM rolling a group initiative for his monsters, factoring in weapon speeds and such to modify the roll for each individual in the monster party.

Initiatives can be house ruled all you want, as long as it is fair for everyone. You can even have the leader roll the initiative and have all of the PC’s modify that number with their personal speeds, or simply be civil about it and take turns like good little children. It doesn’t matter if nobody cares.

The formula for the round can now be determined. Of course spell casters screw everything up. If a spell caster is casting that round we have to figure out where he will be in this formula. If the spell takes a round to cast, then it will take effect next round if he can maintain his focus (i.e. not get hit), casting times are there to help us place the spell properly in the round.

Here is the exact formula, with the exception of spell casters who defy it. The word winner here refers to the winner of initiative, if the group initiative is being used, and the loser refers to the loser of initiative. Advanced games will be really chaotic, and will have to be determined on a case by case basis.

  1. Winning Missile weapon 1st attack
  2. Loser missile weapon 1st attack
  3. Winners melee weapon attack or first attack as dictated by weapon speed
  4. Losers melee weapon attack or first attack as dictated by weapon speed
  5. Winners Second attack (including arrows and other missiles)
  6. Losers second attack (including arrows and other missiles)
  7. Take turns with additional attacks with winner always starting until they’ve all been played out.

Some times, especially with group initiatives, there is a tie. This dictates true chaos and is not rerolled. Instead, it has been judged by the gods of the dice that both parties attack at the exact same time. Go ahead and let the players go first, because they are itchy, but when there is a tie, even a dead creature who dies in that round still has an attack, and in effect, two characters can kill each other.

I now know that THIS system is real Dungeons & Dragons, and by modifying it until it isn’t recognizable makes it no longer D&D, which might not bug many of my readers, but it sure does bug me.

Well, I made it to 5, and I am sure that that is just the tip of the iceberg, but that is okay, because in effect, discovering mistakes and correcting them is exactly what this blog is all about!

7 comments:

Brooze the Bear said...

(1 of 3)

Rip,
you take a position that house-ruling a game is a mortal sin. That's not necessarily the case, especially with D&D. The bottom line is D&D's utter lack of realism when it comes to certain things. Under D&D rules a 1st level character sinmlpy CAN NOT kill a 12th level character with a normal arrow, no matter WHAT s/he rolls. in the real world, ANYONE can get killed from a single arrow, regardless of level.

I understand the pit traps of blow by blow combat and the hit location tables. I avoided those.

Another problem is that acording to the D&D rules, it will not make a difference whether you wear an open faced helmet, a full helm or no helm. Your armor class depends on the overall armor you are wearing.

Still another problem is that weapons are largely defiend by the amount of damage they do. This is inaccurate historically.

So I fixed all these bugs. It's qite common ense. The effect of the success or failure of a "To Hit" roll is to allow or deny the combatant what s/he wants to so. Every weapon has a reach: wrestling, stabbing, fencing, spear, pole arm. There will be penalties for using a spear at a wrestling or stabbing range, unless you hold it with both hands and use the spear shaft as a cudgel.

As is historically the case, a swordsman facung a spearman, a short sword against the long sword will have to first close the distance before they attack. In a duel situation (one on one) as opposed to mass melee or formation combat, if the warrior with a shorter weapon does not score a hit and if the opponent with a longer weapon hits, the warrior with a shorter weapon does not close the distance! Theoretically speaking, a lucky goblin with a spear can hold a swordsman at bay in perputuity and eventually will kill him. Every one of goblin's rolls will suceed and uinflict damage, everyone of the fighter's roll will fail. Historiccally speaking, there was no groud fighting. What was done in battle, going back top ancient romans, at least, was to trip the opponent off his or her feet, and then kill them on the ground. So, martial arts/players' actuon of rolling on the ground and taking the fight to the enemy was never done. to lose one's footing was to die.

With regards to individual pieces of armor, they are extremely useful for preventing critical hits. Critical hits are a function of luck (a real tangible entity on battlefield, proven statistically) and experience. Therefore, if you roll 20, 19-20, 0r 18-20 depending on weapon OR you roll 5 higher than "to Hit" roll, you get a critical hit. You roll a second time to confirm the crit hit. The second roll can either be a miss, a hit, a "to hit"+5, a weapon crit hit or a natural 20. Depending how well yuo do on the roll, you can kill the opponent, get them out of the fight, get some kind of a multiplier, or do maximum possible damage for the weapon.

Brooze the Bear said...

(2 of 3)

There is a hit location table, but you don't roll on it unles you are confirming a critical hit, and you only roll if someone is wearing heavier armor or has a shield. There are three locations for the head (head, face, neck). Bassinet or full helm will cover all3, Great Helm will cover 2, and a stell cap will cover just 1. There are locations for hands, knees etc, every location that can be covbered by a metal armor piece. During dark ages, where every warrior carried a large shield, wore mostly leather, some cbain, few few lords had mail (plate) armor, experienced warriors would strap metal plates to their shins because that' were the axemen and spearmen (battleaxe did not have that FANTASY huge double blade, but had a LONGER metal handle to make it look almost silly with a smallish axe blade and make chopping fire with it impractical) used to go for. Axes were traditionally used in battle to hook, pull away and to splinter enemy sheields. You hook a guy's shield, jerk it away from him, your friend stabs the bastard in the face! That's while the shielded opponent is busy fighting sword to sword with yet a third guy on your team! OR, you can use your axe-head to hook the guy's shin, cut his hamstrings, and dude FALLS!!!! Then your friend who was fighting a duel with him can just kill him with a simple downward thrust while the idiot begs for his life or prays to go to Valhalla!!! Soooo,

You roll on a hit location table, if the location of the critical hit is protected with metal (or heavier) armor piece, you need to rill versus AC2 to CONFIRM the critical hit. Most of the time there will be no critical hit, and the metal arnor would have worked. You will only get a critical hit on a natural 20 or close to it. The metal armor worked! With a metal armor piece you will not be able to get a "To Hit +5" roll until you reach Level 10 or so!

You can not duplicate these hostoric combat effects with the tradition D&D rules, but with my house rules for a more realistic combat, my players get to learn from history!!!!

I saw FEAR in my players eyes as they sighter enemy and prepared for battle!!! I saw GLEE and RAGE as they slaughtered the goblins, outlaws and others when they shrieked and tried to surrender!!!!

Ahhh, AD&D on steroids!

Brooze the Bear said...

(3 of 3)

My oher mods are primarily done to teh skill system and how magic works. Skill syste is based on Runequest improvement by experience. As to magic, practicing magic is a mini-game in otself. There is nothing to prevent a mage fro tryin to learn a spell of a higher level (first level mage trying to scribe a Fireball spell) but the odds of success are very slim (2-7%) and it takes a very long time - several months as opposed to several days for the spell equal to charcter, and magical reserach is dangerous. So, difficult but not impossible, especially if there is a 9+ level wizard tutoring you one on one. To my thinking, casting spells is like a performance on which the wizard must maintain focus. Preapring spells for a day is akin to repetition (higher level spells require longer prep time). As the wizard eneters combat, he must ignore what is going on around him and cocnentrate on casting the spell. If he gets hit my anything the spell is lost. If te wizard manages to cast a spell once, he has a chance to cast it again that day. As the wizard grown fatigued and stressed out, the spell casting technique becoems less precise and so it is harder get everything right for the second casting of the same spell, so the chances for successfully casting a spell drop with each subsequent casting. Once the spell is lost, teh wizard needs to practice it again to get everything just right. Not magical gatling guns. A typical first level will most likely cast the first magic missile. Second, maybe, third if he is lucky, fourth time is highly unlikely. An so it goes, the unperedictable business of magic. Wizards have tough choices woith regards to non-weapon proficiencies. They can opt for meditation, arcane calligraphy, alchemy and sleight of hand - skills to make the casting of spells more reliable. Or they can opt for Astrology, Studies specific to each magical school, and ancient languages - skills to make the acquisition of spells easier. Scrolls are NOT written in "Magic", they are written in languges. Some modern, some old, some languages from distant lands, the best and most unusual spells are written in languages so ancient, that a few Lichs, Mummies, Demons, Vampires and scatered Sages might know them. And what would a Lich do, if it discovered that there is another person who speaks the same language as it? Kill that person, of course! For the Lichs are also known colloquially among Necromancers as "Keeper of the Secret". A quick one: Do you think that the knowledge you need to learn a Wish spell would be written in Common or in a dialect of what became Ancient Egyptian, of which no writtens amples survies and which is spoken by a few demons who were present and summned in that langauge long long time ago? Soem advenrture for a party of high level D&D players, eh?

Anyway, MAGIC is nothing more than a body of knowledge acquired and organized in accordance with ceratain customs and mythodology, we call Arcane and or magical, much as SCIENCE is a body of knowledge organised in accordance with customs and methodologies of what we call the Scientific Method. A SPELL is the application of that magical knowledge to a specific situation in order to produce a specific effect (say Turn Flesh to Stone). In Magic, this is accomplished by the Magician (The Magic User) interpreting the greater body of knowledge and applyign it to a concrete situation in accordance with bis INDIVIDUAL CAPABILITIES. Each spell is a UNIQUE INTERPRETATION. No two magic missile spells are alike as scribed by two differebt wuzards. "Writing a magical spell into a wizard's spellbook" is nothing like copying a paragraph out of a textbook. Instead, the magic user figures out how to accomplish the spell's effects using everything that he or she knows from personal experiecne and all of teh skills at the magic user's disposal (sort of like an artist creating a masterpiece). A more experienced wizard can help guide the magic user, but they can not "teach" the magic user any spell!!!

Ripper X said...

I have no problem with house rules, but I do believe that they have their place.

I don't know how old you are, Brooze, but when I was a kid, my favorite game was Legend of Zelda, the original one for the Nintendo. I sucked at Mario Bro., and struggled with almost every game that came out for that damned system, but I could kick some serious butt on Zelda! I was transformed into a videogame god!

Zelda two came out, and historically speaking, this was a huge deal. Zelda II was the very first videogame sequel of all time, and in my opinion, it sucked big donkey nuts. They didn't stick with the formula, everything that I liked about the original was gone, and instead they turned it into a side stroller when all they had to do was make new mazes and maps, but they had no idea that that is all we wanted! This was fixed for the gameboy sequel, but the failure of Zelda 2 was instrumental in the video game business when it came to making people happy. We didn't want new, we didn't want a bunch of changes which the game writers thought would be fun, we didn't want a different and more challenging game, we simply wanted more Legend of Zelda because we had the original memorized from playing it so much.

I think that D&D is the same way. I love Armor Class, and THAC0. I enjoy the way that magic is handled, and I love that the DM has lots to do, and the freedom which he has to really flavor the game.

I really am not into war games, I enjoy the heroics, and the mystery of the thing. Writing stories which I have no idea how they will end, the combat is really secondary to me. The combat system works because that is D&D.

This is also a historical exercise, struggling to find the game that it was truly intended to be, despite the house rules which we felt were cannon but were not. That is fun stuff! And that is Dungeons & Dragons.

Add new monsters, add your own NWP's, these things you are encouraged to do! The game isn't complete without house rules, but if the foundation is not core, then it isn't Dungeons & Dragons and you might as well be playing something else.

Art said...

Really good article Ripper, you made some very valid points about the game as does Brooze the Bear, but it seems to me as if his game mechanics go into adding more complicated rules. I always liked the fact the game was not exactly accurate as to me anyway you are using your imagination to live through what is happening to your character. I think it was because of my first DM's experience (or lack of) that the game he ran became so out of control as you had players cheating on dice rolls & etc. Maybe a little more know-how from him and the game would have run better. As for Brooze pointing out that a 1st level character could never kill a 12th level so what, the whole idea was that if your character was lucky enough to roll a 20 you actually hit him, yea you did not kill him, but you got his attention! As for doing double damage with a natural 20, in my old group we had something happen, because it was so rare for anyone to roll a unmodified 20, even the Dm. So if a player rolled a 20 he may have scored a crit. depending on who or what he was fighting and if the Dm did too then guess what his villain or whatever also got extra bennies just as the pc's did. I never really screwed with the magic system leaving that alone, except to let 1st level mages have spell components till their spells became complicated or rarer then they had to start making sure they had the correct spell components to cast the spells.

Brooze the Bear said...

Art,

As a DM, you go as detailed into the rules as the players want to go into their characters.
Character development adn growth can be a lot of fun, especially if yuo want to get past knock the door down, kill the monster, take the treasure. The player does not need to know tye rules mchanics, all s/he needs to know is exactly WHAT the character does in the game. Te play is about storytelling. In my game a player who picks a weapon based on PH tables will not doa s well as a player who knows soemthing about how that weapon was actually used. IN AD&D a two-handed sword is a two handed sword, and according to the AD&D canon, two identical charcatyers fighting with the same armor, same stats and same wepon will win or lose solely on the strength of their die rolls. In MY game, one player might know that HISTORICALLY, two-handedd sword was used to break the heads off the polearms in formations of pikemen to make a cavalry breakthrough possible. In the German school of dueling with the two-handed sword, knights, who typically fouhgt with two-handed swords, wore armored gloves. The were trained to fight using all parts of the two-handed sword: To seing it like a sowrd, to swing it like a hammer using the pommel (the handle) to bash the opponents skull in, to hold it like a staff and to fight with it like one of Robin Hood's men, to hold it like a spear and to thrist with it to punch through armor, holding it with both hands by the blade. In other words, a knight skilled with the zweihander, could use it to fight out of reach of a longsword, fence with at the swordsman's reach,a dn also to fight with it in a clsoe battle, where a regular swordsmam will have to go for his dagger. Canonical AD&D does not take this into account. I do. In my game a player who just picks up Players Handbook and relies on the die rolls will lose to the dedicated player, who will seek to open or close distance for positional advantage, who will make use of the weapon's unique capabilities to achieve advantage over a passive player relying on game mechanics. Player skill prevails over die rolls. This does not go only for fighters or combat. I make riles to accomodate players desires. A player wanting to play a wizard will get challenging rules for acquiring and using magic. The key is to make the players ROLE-PLAY their character's training and leveling up. To the outsider these modifications might seem complex, but for the player, the detailed game emchanics necessary to manifest their character in the game is fun. For instance, WILDERNESS RULES, the outdoorman in the party will show a greater interst in tracking and exploration, and s/he will show more interest in that part of the game, then in Dungeon Exploration, where the Thief might be showing he most active interest.

Player needs not kow the precise game mechanics, that's player's responsibility, player's end is to pay attention to what is happening in the story, making decisons for the charcater, telling the DM what, how, when the character does, and making sure that chartacter is properly equipped and trained.

Very simple really, unless you are in it for the story and no to roll play, munchkin, powergame or hack and slash. You CAN, but chances are, you will not last very long.

DM is a spider at the center of the web of rules mods and ideas, but the players are only aware of those strands of rules and ideas, which they touch with their interest.

Art said...

Brooze, please do not take offense to my comment on your AD&D game, while yes it might seem intensive to me, it does not mean I would not enjoy the game play of Canonical AD&D. I do love to immerse myself into character, just not as much into intensive game mechanics as others might be. I agree it is the Dm who helps bring the game to the players, but the players help bring the game to life.

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