Tag Archives: basic dnd

D&D Basic Set part 19

Dungeon Mastering as a Fine Art: This section is a very short primer on what the DM needs to prepare to run the game. There’s not much to discuss here, but I thought I’d bring attention to it just because I love that sub-heading. I’m a firm believer in equality among all the arts, with no distinction between low and …

D&D Basic Set part 18

Treasure: This section begins with a cursory explanation of the treasure tables, and also provides the exchange rates for the different types of coins. Electrum is given a concrete value for the first time here, being worth half a gold piece. Previously in OD&D it could be worth either half or double the value of gold, depending on the DM. The…

On Alignment Changes From OD&D to Holmes Basic

Alignment undergoes a big shift from OD&D into the Holmes Basic Set and AD&D. Originally it was a simple three-way system of Law-Neutrality-Chaos, but by Holmes the concepts of Good and Evil have entered into the mix, creating a system with five alignments (Lawful Good, Lawful Evil, Neutral, Chaotic Good and Chaotic Evil). I’ve tracked these changes below: Chaotic to Lawful …

D&D Basic Set part 17

Troll: In OD&D Trolls had an AC of 4, but now it has dropped to 6. They were Chaotic in OD&D, but now they are Chaotic Evil. As has become expected, the damage for the Troll’s claw/claw/bite attack routine has been changed, from 1-4/1-4/1-8 to all three attacks doing 1d6. Unicorns: They were Lawful in OD&D, and now they are Lawful Good. The unicorn’s horn now …

Basic D&D part 16

Owl Bear: Like many other monsters in Holmes, the Owl Bear’s attack routine has been simplified. Instead of two claw attacks that deal 1d6 damage each and a bite that deals 1d12, it now has three attacks that deal 1d8 damage each. I was all set to castigate Holmes for not providing the rules for an Owl Bear’s bear-hug attack, but …

D&D Basic Set part 15

Lizard Man: The lizard man seems to have lost its two claw attacks, now having but a single attack at 1d8 damage. If this is a weapon attack as the description implies, then I guess that Lizard Men are adapting to more civilized warfare, rather than using their bites. Lycanthropes: Holmes has included all five types from OD&D: wereboars, werebears, werewolves, weretigers and wererats. Werebears and weretigers have …

D&D Basic Set part 14

Before I go on, I feel the need to point out that Holmes Basic is the first D&D rule set to have a monster’s stats grouped together with its description. God bless functional design! Gnome: In OD&D, gnomes could be Lawful or Neutral. Here, they are either Neutral or Chaotic Good. There’s a note at the end that Gnomes favour crossbows, which is something that’s never been brought up…

D&D Basic Set part 13

Dwarves: This entry wisely directs the DM to the Dwarf PC class for special abilities. Otherwise things match with OD&D, but with several things omitted. There’s no chance given now for higher-level Dwarves to own magic items. The tendency of Dwarves to use wolves and bears to guard their strongholds didn’t make it in. The only change is that Dwarven leaders now range from …

D&D Basic Set part 12

Chimera: In OD&D they could have an alignment of Neutral or Chaotic, but in Holmes Basic they are now Chaotic Evil. There’s also a small change to their damage dice. In Supplement I, the goat head is said to inflict 1-4 points of damage with a horn. Here it inflicts 2-8, which makes me wonder if in Supplement I you were supposed to roll the 1d4 damage for each horn…

Solo D&D Play

I have a habit of flitting about from project to project. One week I’m obsessed with writing a novel, the next I’m programming a text adventure, and the week after that I’m trying to write a mega-gamebook that provides linking material between all of the Fighting Fantasy series. This week, I’ve started developing rules for D&D solo play that abstract dungeon exploration. So just for the …

D&D Basic Set part 11

MONSTERS: The monster section opens with some broad advice on using monsters in the campaign. It goes through how the monster entries are laid out, how the DM should stock his dungeon, provides some advice on using powerful monsters against weak PCs, and even gives some guidelines on handing out treasure and experience. I do wonder about Holmes’ estimate that it will take from…

D&D Basic Set part 10

MAGIC WEAPONS: The brief treatment of magic weapons given here in the combat section matches fairly well with the OD&D rules. We’ll see if that’s still the case when Holmes gets into more depth in the magical items section. As for magical armour, Holmes is going for the simpler system introduced in Supplement I. In OD&D, the shield’s magical bonus only…

D&D Basic Set part 9

Melee Combat: Combat in Holmes is much the same as all forms of old-school D&D; roll 1d20, look on a chart to see what Armor Class you hit, and roll damage if you landed a blow. All melee damage for weapons is rolled using 1d6, which is a throwback to OD&D. The variable damage by weapon type that was…

D&D Basic Set part 8

CLERICAL SPELLS: The brief run-down of how clerical magic works goes through the basics, such as the fact that OD&D clerics don’t cast spells at first level. It is said that they don’t have to study spells to master them, which just means that they don’t use the Chance to Know Spell table that magic-users do. No, clerics are lucky sods …

D&D Basic Set part 7

2nd LEVEL MAGIC-USER SPELLS The spell list given here is the same as from Supplement I, with two new spells added: Audible Glamer and Ray of Enfeeblement . Audible Glamer: Simply put this spell allows the caster to create illusory sounds, equal to 2-8 people conversing normally. A greater volume of sound can be created by higher level casters. To be honest, I’m kind of surprised that this …

D&D Basic Set part 6

Thief Saving Throws: While I was going over the saving throw rules, I missed the changes relating to the Thief class. Originally, they had the same saving throw numbers as Magic-Users, but now they save as Fighters. This isn’t a massive difference at the low levels the Holmes set operates on, but it’s still a seemingly arbitrary alteration to the rules. Perhaps Holmes wanted to equate the two …

D&D Basic Set part 5

Reactions: Since monsters don’t always attack, we need a way to figure out just how they react to adventurers. This is done by rolling 2d6 and finding the result on a table. This table has been slightly altered from the one in OD&D. The original table had just three results: negative reaction, uncertain reaction, and positive reaction. In the Basic Set version, a roll of 2 means the …

D&D Basic Set part 4

Today I get into the portion of the book that deals with adventuring. Time and Movement in the Dungeons: No changes from OD&D here. We get a turn defined as ten minutes in the game, and unencumbered characters are said to be able to move 240 feet in that time if they are moving cautiously. Characters can go double that speed if they …

D&D Basic Set part 3

Today I’m looking at a number of different topics, from equipment to alignment to languages. There’s not a lot here that is different from OD&D, but I’m going to go through and point out the minor differences anyway. I’ll kick off with a quick look at the equipment list in the Basic Set. There are only a few small differences from the one in …

D&D Basic Set part 2

Today I’m going to take a look at the races and classes in the Basic Set, and how they differ from their presentation in OD&D. The classes included here are Fighting Men, Magic-Users, Clerics and Thieves. The races included are Dwarves, Elves, and Halflings. The first thing to note is that a whole bunch of classes and races have been dropped. From the classes we have Paladins, Rangers…