Monday, January 19, 2009

D&D Cover to Cover, part 37

Being a series of articles in which the author reads the indelible words of Gygax and Arneson as presented the Original Collector's Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, published by Tactical Studies Rules. Beginning with Men & Magic, and concluding with The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, the author will consider those earliest passages, adding elucidations and interpretations along the way for your consideration.

Monsters & Treasure
IN CONCLUSION (continued)

Here are some, not all, of the reader comments I wish to quote here in regard to the reading of Volume II. I value all of your comments, so don‘t worry if I didn‘t quote you below. These just happen to be the comments I found to be of particular interest at this time:

On Monster Attacks and Damage:

From Dwayanu: Having more Hit Dice means that a combatant dishes out more damage on average. It also allows taking more damage on average. In the context of D&D's rather abstract combat model, this makes sense; look at the outcome in the long run. It also keeps things simpler and faster-playing than multiple attacks. Some monsters do more damage per "hit," as do magic weapons. The rarity of this distinction makes it all the more impressive!

"Such things as speed, ferocity, and weaponry of the monster attacking are subsumed in the matrixes." Complications tend to be designed on the assumption that those things were not already factored in, and that it somehow makes sense to lay a blow-by-blow treatment on top of factors based on a thoroughly different premise.

From Geoffrey McKinney: I greatly prefer all weapons doing 1 die of damage. As a referee it makes things a lot easier (such as not having to write down the weapons every single Deep One has). As a player, it's nice to be able to use whatever weapon I think is particularly cool, rather than hunting through the weapon damage lists (such as in the AD&D PHB).
On Men:

From Snorri: I guess Mermen are rather Lovecraftian Deep Ones, (not the) Tritons they became later. It fits better their stats and abilities.
On Undead:

From Will Douglas: I've seen "mere mortals" (i.e.; non-clerics) use the cross to fend off a vampire in movies and such, but it never dawned one me that it would also work for non-clerics in D&D. Part of that might come from the fact that, in later editions, the cross is replaced with a 'holy symbol', but is left in about the same place on the equipment list.

From Snorri: in Chainmail: a paralysed unit can be freed if touched by a friendly elf or hero unit. In the french version, I stated elves are immune to undead paralysis and at 4th (hero) level, can also free their friends by touch. As there is no duration for paralysis, this is nice...
On a Hydra‘s attacks:

From some guy named Sham: one could simply rule that a six headed Hydra could engage up to six opponents at once, but still only dealt 1d6 damage, at a maximum, to any one target.
On Purple Worms:

From Frank: My interpretation of "any hit which scores over 20% of the minimum total required to hit, or 100% in any case" is that a 20 would always cause a swallow.
On Swords:

From John Stephens: An idea just occurred to me: what if all magic swords have the capacity for intelligence and special abilities, but for some reason most of them haven't awoken - yet. Something has to happen to wake them up, but after that they gain experience points and abilities tied to level, and an ever increasing Ego score as well.

From Chgowiz: I tend to think of the simple 'plussie' type of weapons to be similar to the "Hanzo" type of weapons - best of the best, perfect items that convey advantages that aren't 'magical' in nature, but are just as powerful.
On Poison Potions and potion sipping:

From Rod: Why not poison an actual potion?

From Matthew: Perhaps you could roll randomly (on a d8, for this example) to see what potions seem to be from sampling: 1-4 type is correctly determined (except for a delusion potion which will seem like something else), 5 appears to be a healing potion, 6 appears to be a poison potion, 7-8 type cannot be determined.

From John Stephens: I treat Poison and Delusion as ordinary potions that have gone "off" due to age, etc. A sample gives the effect of the original, but if the whole thing is taken then WHAMO! After all, those things have been down there a long time, and even magic potions have a "best by" date, or should if you ask me.

From Steamtunnel: Perhaps you could have the potion take effect with an added poison effect. Yes- the potion of fire breathing works but it also can kill you.
On Magic Items:

From Brunomac: I usually have something like an amulet of protection be in the shape of a shield.

As always, thank you for all of the comments in this series. Were it not for these alternate views, observations and clarifications, I’m not sure I’d have the motivation to finish this undertaking.

~Sham, Quixotic Referee

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