Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Junk From My Closet: Wizard's Aide

Here's an old bit of gaming history that's been tucked in my collection since the early 80's. Wizard's Aide by Matt Whalley. Back when I purchased this booklet from Patowmack Toys in Columbia, MD, I was entrenched in my old AD&D/Arduin campaigns. I leafed through the booklet once or twice, and shelved it. It's designed for OD&D. What is it?, you might ask...well, for me it's no more than a relic of gaming days past. As I've mentioned before, I have a soft spot for game booklets, and I used to buy any booklet, especially brown or beige ones, related to D&D.

The booklet includes Birth, Social Class, Wealth and Skills Tables, Class and Racial Skills (such as Fortune Teller, Taxidermist, Barrister), Random Character Abilities, a Spell Point conversion system, a handful of Magic Rings, a Reincarnation Table, and a Random Name Generation Chart. In other words, a real mish-mash of home brew from Matt Whalley's old D&D campaigns.

Clearly a lot of ideas and labor went into this project. It's crude and oh so old school. I decided long ago that I would never make any use of this booklet at all, and even now as an OD&D convert, I find it of little value other than a relic of gaming history, or Blog material.

I did leave out what I consider to be the meat of Wizard's Aide, Mr. Whalley's conversion of the OD&D Combat and Saving Throw Tables to percentile dice instead of 20-siders. Effectively, this method has done what I myself did in later years with my home brew Blackthorn rules; get rid of the 'chunky' advancement from character level to character level. With a larger numeric range to work with, the character can realize some increase in both Combat and Saves with each and every level, rather than every three, four or five levels. I like this, but I don't like using percentile dice for Combat and Saves.

But a big thumbs up for thinking outside of the box in 1977 is owed to Matt Whalley. I'm curious to see if any of my readers own or have seen this book? I've never seen any references or mention of it before.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


Restless said...

Here is some info.

Sham aka Dave said...

Aha! Thanks Restless. I wonder if Matt Whalley published anything else like this. I'll check Tome of Treasures and see.

Will Douglas said...

I do own a copy of that book, but it's (at least) third hand. A friend of mine (and an old DM of mine) gave it to me, though it has another guy's name on it.

Alec Semicognito said...

I found this old post while Googling for info on Wizard's Aide...But I'm posting because I too used to buy my gaming stuff at Patowmack Toys in the old Columbia Mall back in the 80s. Small world!