Wednesday, September 6, 2017

AD&D Rules I've Overlooked or Misunderstood: Spell Recovery

Today's installment is about a rule that I simply always overlooked, at least in its details: spell recovery. For some reason I never noticed this one, and in my youth I think we kind of went with a generic "night's rest" to recover spells, and hand-waved memorization time.

Technically though, the DMG (p. 40) gives actual amounts of rest required to be able to re-memorize spells of any given level:


Strictly speaking, you don't need a full night's rest to re-memorize your spells if they're of a low enough level.

Memorization time is also laid out on the same page: 15 minutes, per spell, per spell level. So 15 minutes to memorize a first level spell, 30 minutes to memorize two first level spells, 60 minutes to memorize two first level and one second level spell, etc.

I'm really not sure to what extent these rules have an effect on play. If I were to speculate (I'm not asserting this to be the case by any means), it might become an issue at higher levels. At level 12, for example, it would take 8 hours of sleep and 16.5 hours of memorization to replenish a magic-user's entire allotment of spells – a total of 24.5 hours of spell-recovery time. So there is a theoretical break point of sorts where an entire day would be insufficient to replenish a full allotment of spells.

But of course to need that much recovery time, in practice, you'd have to cast 21 spells in one day. Assuming the caster sleeps for 8 hours, that comes to more than one spell per hour. I suppose there could be significant effects in some sorts of extended combat- and obstacle-dense adventures, where the party is pressed for time and/or rest gets interrupted easily.

At any rate, it's a rule I'd like to see in practice just to know what effect it has, if any.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

AD&D Rules I've Overlooked or Misunderstood: Henchman Experience

I've been rereading the first-edition AD&D books since I finished rebuilding my lost collection. As I'm reading more carefully and closely than I ever did as an adolescent, I'm noticing rules I previously overlooked or misunderstood. As I come across more of these, I'm going to post them here.

My first installment is on Henchmen Experience (PHB 39, DMG 85).


According to the PHB, "you should expect that your character’s henchmen will get about 50% of the experience points which their share in the slaying of opponents and garnered treasure actually totals" (39).

The DMG gives an example of this, indicating that the total XP is divided equally amongst all participants, PCs and henchmen, and then the henchmen have their XP halved (85).

The way I consistently misunderstood this when running AD&D in the past was that I read that 50% as "a half share" which is not quite the same thing as what is written. In essence I treated each henchman as "one person" and each PC as "two people" for purposes of calculating XP shares. In fact, the rules as written say that a full share of XP is counted out for each henchman, and that full XP share is subsequently cut in half.

To see the difference, let's say a party of one PC and two henchmen earn a total of 1200 xp for killing monsters.

In my old not-by-the-book way, I would divide those 1200 xp by 4 (2 shares for the PC and 1 share for each of the two henchmen), and come up with 300 xp per share. So the PC (with two shares) would get 600 xp, and the henchmen would each get 300 xp. So the henchmen each get half as much as the PC.

But if you do it by the book, you divide the 1200 xp total by 3. Then you cut the henchman shares in half. So the PC should actually get 400 xp, each henchman gets 200 xp, and the other 400 xp (200 for each henchman) are simply lost. That's right, they just disappear. Nobody benefits from them at all.

Of course I left treasure xp out, since that will vary according to whatever payment agreement the PC has made with his/her henchmen. But the principle still stands. In effect, the henchmen will receive ½ xp for each gp in their respective shares, meaning half of the henchmen's treasure xp will be lost as well.

From a purely game-mechanic perspective, I find my corrected reading of the rules to be intriguing. Using henchmen at all literally wastes xp. So players have a greater incentive to not rely on henchmen unless they really need to. This may not be a bad thing.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Adventure Sound Bites

It's been a while since I posted any of these, but the Wednesday gang was in rare form last night for unfortunate statements easily misunderstood out of context. Enjoy.

-- "Do you know where the Seahawk Tavern is?"
-- "Oh, you don't want to go there. It just got fireballed."

"This is like Abbott and Costello Go to Middle Earth."

"I find the biggest, best sheep and buy it."

"Maybe next time I can swing by and sample your honey."

"I'm gonna pull it out and put it in again."

"I'm rubbing salve on myself."

"His pinky barely fits in the bunghole."

"I give her the full ten."