Tag Archives: ultimate sandbox

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…

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 …

On Alignment in my Campaign

I’ve been thinking lately about how alignment will work in my campaign. Alignment has been a problematic concept in D&D for as long as I’ve been gaming, and I feel the need to codify just exactly what it is and what it represents. I think a part of the problem is that it models several different concepts that are only tangentially related. On 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 …

On Castle Greyhawk and My Campaign

The initial plan for my Ultimate Sandbox campaign was to centre the whole thing around Castle Greyhawk, the original megadungeon from Gary Gygax’s campaign. I was going to use the Castle Zagyg supplements from Troll Lord Games for this, in conjunction with the stuff that Rob Kuntz has been putting out. But it seems less and less likely that Castle Zagyg will see the light of day beyond what …

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…

An Incomplete History of Oerth – Part 1

Now that I’ve read through every OD&D product, and taken copious notes, a basic outline of the history of my campaign world-to-be is emerging. Certainly none of this stuff was ever intended to fit together, and a good portion of it is conjecture on my part. But all of it has some basis in the official rulebooks and magazines, and I’ll try to explain how I came to …

D&D Basic Set part 1

Yes, it’s been a long time. And yes, I know that I promised to do some consolidation and campaign-building in the meantime. That stuff is still going to happen. But in the interests of keeping this blog ticking over, I’m leaving the OD&D era behind and forging blindly ahead into the AD&D era, starting with the D&D Basic Set, as…

Crafting Castle Black Star, part 1

In his article on town design in The Strategic Review #7, author Joe Fischer mentioned his home dungeon, Castle Black Star. In my ongoing mission to construct a sandbox campaign out of D&D’s many disparate elements, I have decided to include a Castle Black Star of my own design, using as much material from Fischer’s articles as I can to do so. So …

The Dragon #2 part 1

With The Dragon #1 completed, I move straight into issue #2. These are the glory days, when D&D supplements weren’t being catapulted out of TSR every day of the week. I will savour it while I can. As usual, I’ll quickly run through the articles that are of no relevance to my campaign. Dragon Rumbles has editor Tim Kask talking about the …

Monster & Treasure Assortments Sets 1 to 3

I’m not certain exactly when these products were released, but given that the first one was included with the original Basic Set it has to be before this point. I’ve lumped all three together at the end of what I consider the OD&D era, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that this is when they came out. The purpose of these products is to make…

The Dragon #9

This is it folks, the last issue of The Dragon in the OD&D era (at least so far as this project goes). There’s not a great deal of stuff to cover. But first, the things I ain’t covering. The Dragon Rumbles editorial covers Origins ’77, and points out all of its flaws while at the same time saying it won’t be pointing them …