Sunday, August 9, 2009

From the Usenet: Unearthed Arcana

After the SPI Fiasco the next major milestone in D&D's history was Unearthed Arcana. The denizens of Netland had this exchange. You can read the original here.

From: s...@drutx.UUCP (Sue Brezden)
Date: Thu, 18-Jul-85 19:01:26 EDT
Local: Thurs, Jul 18 1985 7:01 pm
Subject: Re: Unearthed Arcana

As a new topic of conversation:

What is the feeling out there in Netland on "Unearthed Arcana"?
Is it worth the bucks? What's good and bad in it?


Sue Brezden

From: m...@busch.UUCP (Moshe Eliovson)
Date: Thu, 18-Jul-85 22:38:41 EDT
Local: Thurs, Jul 18 1985 10:38 pm
Subject: Re: Unearthed Arcana

Basically, start studying AD&D all over again folks. If you
include this book in your campaign it will greatly enhance the game.

If you have subscribed to Dragon, then you pretty much have
all the material contained in this compilation. However, you do NOT
get all the updated rolling charts etc.

I recommend the book, even though I shelled out $15 for it.

The table of contents runs like this:

P L A Y E R ' S S E C T I O N
Page(s) Topic
------- -----------------------------------
6 - 23 Character material:
- Comeliness (new stat)
- Races (new charts for levels,etc)
- Classes with:
Fighter (specialization etc.)
Cavalier & Paladin
Druid level 15 up
Barbarian (one MEAN mother!)
Thief & Thief Acrobat

25 - 26 Equiping the Character
- Money
- Armor
- Weapons

28 - 66 Spell Charts (NEW!!!!!!)

D U N G E O N M A S T E R ' S S E C T I O N
Page(s) Topic
------- -----------------------------------
74 Character generation:
- rolling method V
- hit points
- abilities (comeliness)

74 - 75 Classes: followers & henchmen for cavaliers

75 - 77 Armor, AC, weapons:
- Types of armor & encumbrance
- Description of New armor
- Warhorse & barding
- Description of new weapons

79 - 80 Spells:
- acquisition of Cantrips (Mages)
- Mage spell books
- Acquisition of Illusionist spells
and cantrips
- Ill. spell books
- cost of spell casting

81 - 82 - Underwater use of spells
- combat (darkness effect)
(HURRAY - no more arguements with DM's!)

82 - 83 "The Campaign"
- Social class and rank
- Circumstances of birth
(a great enhancement in my opinion, I'm a sheer pc snobbish mage!)

84 - 100 TREASURE (back, back! you dwarves and thieves!)
- random tables
potions, scrolls, rings, rods,
staves, wands, misc. magic,
armor & shield, swords,
misc. weapons.

106 - 123 APPENDICES
- Weaponless combat
- Non lethal combat
- Non Human deities
- the Nomenclature of Pole Arms


Help this helps you all,

From the source of UltraChaos,

aka Ragdor the Incurable (F/thief)

From: m...@wuphys.UUCP (Swamp Thing)
Date: Fri, 19-Jul-85 10:59:37 EDT
Local: Fri, Jul 19 1985 10:59 am
Subject: Re: Unearthed Arcana

I havn't spent much time looking at it yet, but the one thing that I really
like is the new level-dependant Ranger tracking abilities table. The
level-independant shot in the P.H. has always struck me as silly.

Mark F. Flynn
Department of Physics
Washington University
St. Louis, MO 63130


"There is no dark side of the moon, really.
Matter of fact, it's all dark."

P. Floyd

From: chu...@nsc.UUCP (Chuq Von Rospach)
Date: Thu, 25-Jul-85 12:42:34 EDT
Local: Thurs, Jul 25 1985 12:42 pm
Subject: Re: Unearthed Arcana

In article <3...@drutx.uucp> s...@drutx.UUCP (Sue Brezden) writes:

>As a new topic of conversation:

>What is the feeling out there in Netland on "Unearthed Arcana"?
>Is it worth the bucks? What's good and bad in it?

I think it is worth it. As an aside, these are 'official' changes, and thus
if you plan on playing tournament or 'real' AD&D you must have it. I would
have preferred to have seen them run new editions of both Players and DMG
since I would like to keep that information separated, but that is a nit
pick. Also, it should be kept in mind that Dragon magazine will require all
manuscripts received after (I believe) the end of August to allow for the
material of the Arcana, so around the first of the calendar year Dragon
will be using that material as well. As far as content goes, I think it
helps significantly, although there are still some glitches in the

:From the carousel of the autumn carnival: Chuq Von Rospach
{cbosgd,fortune,hplabs,ihnp4,seismo}!nsc!chuqui nsc!chu...@decwrl.ARPA

Your fifteen minutes are up. Please step aside!


Timeshadows said...

To show my heretical side, I will pipe-up with those folks in support of UA.
--Always liked it. Especially Cantrips and Orisons. High-level Druids, too. :)

ze bulette said...

Interesting idea, to mine old Usenet posts like this. I never liked UA back in the day ("Comeliness"!?) but since then my views have softened towards it a bit. You want to be a drow elf? Wha, what was that again??

The polearms appendix is fun albeit a bit silly, cantrips are fun albeit a bit silly, and the fact that there's no index (at least in my copy) is just, well, sort of ridiculous (I know, the PHB doesn't have one either but that's 6 or 7 years between the two publications). We never used the Cavalier or Thief-Acrobat when the Dragons came out, and saw no reason to with UA either. God, in retrospect maybe I was a hardassed 3 book fundamentalist even back then.