Thursday, August 6, 2009

Some AD&D House Rules

I don't believe I am going to find that page of House Rules for AD&D anytime soon. When I do, I will scan it and post so you can see it for yourselves.

The main "innovation" of my house rules for my AD&D game was my XP rules. I quickly got tired of awarding XP for Gold found. It made AD&D into a game not fun for me to referee as players focused on looting and complained whenever the focus shifted away from those activities (like dungeon crawls) that had loot as one of the rewards. To their credit most of my players said they rather be doing the other things but they want to be rewarded for doing so.

So I jettisoned the whole XP for gold. In its place I created an roleplaying award. Rather than try to break everything down into 100 xp for that, 50 xp for this. I instead created a factor from 1 to 5 with 3 being typical. At the end of a session I would give everybody this number.

Before the campaign started I decided on a base xp. This ranged from 50 xp to 150 xp. To get your xp award for roleplaying you multiplied the factor by the base xp times your level. So if you got a 4 for the session and you were 2nd level you would get 800 xp for roleplaying.

I tried 50 xp, 100 xp, and 150 xp. 50 xp makes for multiple session at each level, 100 xp means about 2 or 3 xp for each level slowly stretching out as you get higher. 150 xp is a lot quicker too quick in my opinion.

The factor was award based on how well the player roleplayed. Which was judged on the basis of alignment, background, class, and personal goals. I judged on the basis of what the players decided for themselves not what I wanted them to be. This is an important distinction. Given two fighters I would judge their roleplaying differently if one was trying to become a baron and the other the richest merchant in City-State.

It is a fuzzy process I know but it worked well. Basically there were a lot of 3 awarded, 4 handed out when a milestone is reached, and a 5 if they finally achieved a important goal. 5's were also awarded for sessions with great moments. The 1's or 2's were awarded rarely and generally only for players that came to the table and acting disruptive out of game.

Toward the end of my refereeing AD&D I all but jettisoned alignment in favor of character background and xp for magic items as well. Switching later to Fantasy Hero and GURPS was a natural fit for my style as the factors switched to build points

Another House rule concerned training costs. Basically those classes with natural skills like fighters and thieves didn't have to pay for training while those with study like clerics and magic-users do. I don't remember the exact rules only that there notes on all the classes as to when training needs to be paid for. For example I believe thieves had to start paying for training once they can read magic scrolls. One side benefit of this that the "boring" classes like fighter became a lot more attractive.

The Dragonlance Hardback really opened my eyes as to what can be done with the class and level system of AD&D. I had some stuff on reworking the cleric classes as well other classes to reflect the organizations I developed for my Majestic Wilderlands. If I had continued with AD&D the diversity of classes would have continued to grow. Especially with 2nd edition having kits and speciality priests.

1 comment:

Kevin Mac said...

Over the decades I made a lot of houserules similar to yours, and I think that is just natural with 1st ed. for sure.

I didn't really abandon all xp for gold and other treasure, I just made it be a lot less. I started giving points for role-play pretty early on. I'm a bit fuzzy in my experience giving, and a lot of it is just "winging" it. I take a good look at what the PC needs to level up, and I make my final adjustments based on that. I never explain to a player to full dirty details, because I am not sure I could do it gracefully.