Men & Magic
NPC’s, EQUIPMENT, EXPERIENCE TABLES, CLASS STATISTICS
Pages 12-18 are fairly self-explanatory, in regard to the above categories. I would like to cover the following subcategories on page 18 and 19.
“Experience Points: As characters meet monsters in mortal combat and defeat them, and when they obtain various forms of treasure (money, gems, jewelry, magical items, etc.), they gain “experience”.”Experience earned through the acquisition of monetary and magical treasure. It’s the goal of adventurers far and wide. True power is achieved through wealth, and the fantasy world should reflect this in some shape. I’d like to note that avoiding, parleying with and outsmarting monsters is never as tricky in original D&D; if such maneuvers lead to unguarded or ‘unearned’ treasures, the reward for acquiring these is still just as lucrative in regards to experience earned. I also have been giving thought to the notion of only awarding the experience for monetary treasure once the riches are actually spent; be it on wine, women, gambling, tithing, donations, alms, rare material components, age-old tomes of knowledge or stolen scrolls of forbidden rites. There’s always something an adventurer can blow his wealth on to keep the campaign interesting…but I digress. Experience for treasure is, to me, an inherent facet of adventuring and realizing the fruits of ones labor.
“Gains in experience points will be relative; thus an 8th level Magic-User operating on the 5th dungeon level would be awarded 5/8 experience.”This passage goes on to explain the relative risk/reward balance for purposes of determining the ratio of earned experience when considering a character’s level and the obstacles he or she has overcome. This is one aspect of D&D that I have never utilized. First of all, the experience tables have a built-in model of depreciating returns. Secondly, in the example given, an 8th level Magic-User operating alone on the 5th level of a dungeon will be suitably challenged to warrant full experience. Lastly, I find this added level of math to be too cumbersome. I’ve recently instituted awarding experience for defeating monsters ‘on-the-fly’; to be shared by all surviving participants immediately after melee. I can understand the intent of the authors, that ‘sandbagging’ on the part of the adventurers should be penalized. That being said, I feel that the players are normally seeking out enough reward to be willing to face obstacles which are ‘just challenging enough’ in order to maximize experience and potential rewards.
“Experience points are never awarded above a 1 for 1 basis, so even if a character defeats a higher level monster he will not receive experience points above the total of treasure combined with the monster’s kill value.”If I were compelled to implement the earlier mentioned risk/reward balance, I cannot see why a bonus of some sort would not be similarly provided in this circumstance. I think the experience system is one that has seen a very high level of ‘house ruling’ in D&D’s various editions. Based on this entire Experience Points passage one can understand why. It just seems too cumbersome for my taste. Nevertheless, I wanted to point out these passages as I indeed find it interesting to see how the original rules were expressed here.
“Dice for Accumulative Hits (Hit Dice): This indicates the number of dice which are rolled to determine how many hit points a character can take.”This was a rule that eluded me until I took the time to delve into the collective knowledge of the contributors at Finarvyn’s OD&D forum. You see, I was so used to the AD&D rules that I simply could not sort out how the numbers jived from level to level for the character classes. In AD&D, one simply looked at the new level, and rolled the (in most cases) single die indicated, adding that result to the characters ongoing hit point pool.
“…A Super Hero gets 8 dice +2; they are rolled and score 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6/totals 26 +2 = 28, 28 being the number of points of damage the character could sustain before death. Whether sustaining accumulative hits will otherwise affect a character is left to the discretion of the referee.”Perhaps if I had continued reading, and actually considered this example based on the Fighting-Man’s table and Hit Dice progression, it would have been clear that Hits are re-rolled upon gaining each new level. Or are they? While the example does indeed spell out that there is no Hit Point carry-over, or pool, from level to level, it does not explicitly state that the Hit Dice are rolled upon gaining a new level, and then not again until another level is gained. Perhaps the Hit Dice are rolled at the beginning of each adventure; with the dawn of each day; or at the start of each melee. The rules are not clear on this matter. I prefer to use ‘rolled upon gaining a new level’, along with the house rule that the character’s hit point total may never decrease regardless of this Hit Dice roll, and will increase by at least one with each new level. I believe this was a rule borrowed from Empire of the Petal Throne. That said, I kind of like the idea of rolling Hit Dice before each adventure, but I doubt many players would enjoy that one. The last sentence in the above quote mystifies me a bit. I assume the meaning is that further bodily damage, be it through a single massive, killing attack, or through continued damage even after death, is possible, with the results to be 'left to the discretion of the referee'. Falling 120 feet, sustaining 48 damage from dragon breath, meeting one's end in a crushing pit trap, etc. are all ways that might cause the referee to insist that more than simply being slain has resulted. Perhaps the character is beyond recovery of any sort.
“Spells & Levels: The number in each column opposite each applicable character indicates the number of spells of each level that can be used (remembered during a single adventure) by that character.”Clearly, then, if an adventure lasts for multiple days, meaning that the spell caster is ‘in the field’ and not studying his spell books in his tower library or temple halls, he or she may not change the spells he has chosen.
“A spell used once may not be re-used in the same day.”This means that multiple ‘copies’ of the same spell may not be memorized between adventures. Each spell may only be used once per day, from among the group of spells that the spell caster has chosen for that particular adventure.
Nowhere in Men & Magic does it say that spell casters are required to study their spell books during an adventure. It simply states that spells are chosen between adventures, committed to memory without duplication, and are able to be utilized once per day each. Yeah, I missed this initially as well, assuming that the magic system was closer to the AD&D one with which I was familiar.
~Sham, Quixotic Referee