Tuesday, January 25, 2022

How to Read the AD&D Rules Part V: Title Redacted

Also: page 24 of the DMG.

For this part you'll need to go to your local government surplus store and procure a military grade Dark Black marker, regular black won't do; it has to be so dark that no light can escape it's pull. Now go to page 34 of the Players Handbook and, without reading them first, thoroughly blot out paragraphs 2 and 4--paragraph 3 is ok--under the Character Languages heading. I said don't read them! If you understand the language you are reading you will do this or align yourself with forces most foul.

Now, just to be safe, turn to page 29 and do the same to the first primary ability of assassins, it's right there on the bottom of the left column, just above the Minimum Fees for Assassination table. It continues on the top of the right column so make sure to get that bit too. You can leave the list of alignments there if you wish; it's fairly harmless on it's own. Done? Excellent. That's all for today. School's out, run along kiddies.

No idea why this is here.


JB said...

Even without opening my PHB, I know what you're blotting from the light of the sun.

Well done.
; )

Original_Carl said...

Alignment languages make sense. In the Blackmoor Campaign. In 1973.

I think Gary took Dave's campaign trope (Law/Chaos/Neutrality -- axial forces of the universe ala Elric, Arioch, et al) and made it more complicated, as he did, by adding Good and Evil to the axis and then made it game canon without much of a plan beyond a crude tool for DM fiat: Alignment.

I think the idea in Ye Olde Game was that you might have a chance to parlay with the monsters, and a shared language that depended upon your personal role in the cosmic alignment would be an interesting tool at your disposal. It would also make for a good way to draw up battle lines in a large-scale fantasy wargame: forces of Law vs. forces of Chaos with Neutrals falling on both sides.

JB said...

The Black Speech of Mordor was nothing but the "common tongue" of orcs, and the like. Gandalf had no issue speaking/understanding it (though he preferred not to)...and presumably his alignment would be diametrically opposed to that of Sauron's minions.

Just saying. I'm in the 'tear it out' category of player.

Original_Carl said...

I'm with you. I think Alignment is a campaign trope. If you want to use it, go ahead, but it doesn't need to exist to make a perfectly fine D&D game. "Evil" is nothing more than the intent to do harm to someone.

In the olden days, I only recall seeing Alignment used as a tool for control or just ignored. Now, I use it as personality short hand for NPCs. Structured/Unstructured and Violence-Averse/Violence-Positive.

Gandalf seems to be an NPC and a Dungeon Master's avatar more than a Player Character, so in true D&D fashion, the rules are different for him. No sane DM is going to let a player be "one of the Maiar, not a mortal Man but an angelic being who had taken human form" h/t Wikipedia.

JB said...

Completely off-topic but: why not?

Set aside the particulars of, say, AD&D for a moment. I’d say you can pretty much model Gandalf as an OD&D magic-user. The guy fears death like any other character (see The Hobbit for examples). Once made flesh, he’s subject to the pains of mortality.

(bringing him back from his fall with the balrog is just a matter of DM fiat or…possibly…”divine intervention”)

His powers are only ‘round about 5th level (maybe 7th). He has a magic ring. The sword thing is a house rule (but in OD&D all weapons do D6 damage only, and magic sword bonuses don’t add to weapon damage…same effectiveness as a dagger).

Maybe I’m just not a “sane” DM.
; )

Timrod said...

There's an issue of White Dwarf from circa 1342 where they published someone's attempt to dungeonify Moria. They had the fellowship all statted up for your players to run. I remember that they had Gandalf as a cleric not an MU. He doesn't use a lot of magic beyond lighting fires, so I can see that I s'pose, but I still wonder whether that decision was made based on meta-knowledge of his status as Maiar. Or is it just because he didn't "memorize" spells from a spell book to get his powers?

Timrod said...

Wordle 222 3/6


Original_Carl said...

This is way out of the way of what The Dice Chucker was doing here, but...

I think Druid is the best fit for Gandalf. The tiny fire-lighting, the glowing gnarled staff, the summoning of the Eagles with a butterfly, plus he's clearly a stoner -- that's Druid to me.

Timrod said...

Not bad, I like it better than cleric. Also if you classify Glamdring as a scimitar you're golden.