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AD&D1e Players Handbook from TSR

AD&D1e Players Handbook from TSR

Enough of the insanity! It is time to head back to the roots for this blog. Back to the good old days of AD&D. The third edition of Dungeons & Dragons I was introduced to over the years.It seems wrong to call the third edition I played the first edition. Bizarre naming practices and everything.

That actually surprises me – my memories of AD&D1e feel like they are so long ago that it almost doesn’t make sense that it was the third incarnation of the game for me. I started playing D&D with the classic Original Dungeons & Dragons set and played that way for a few years before buying my own copy of the rules. By then it was already 1981, and “my copy” was the 1981 Moldvay basic set which remains my favourite (followed very closely by 3.x). It was only when I couldn’t convince people to play Moldvay basic that I finally picked up a copy of AD&D1e.

This is a game that we played to death in High School, when we weren’t playing Top Secret or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness. When I look back on it now, what I think of the most are the options that weren’t available for play in my beloved B/X D&D games – so I would use them when playing AD&D. Paladins, Assassins, Illusionists, Druids and Half-Orcs, here I come!

This is one of the few games I own where character creation and the basic rules of play are not in the Players Handbook of the game. So for this character I’m going to use the two mandatory sources – the PHB and the DMG. I’ll be generating ability scores using Method 1 (4d6-L, record them where you want). And my goal will be a half-orc cleric/assassin. The character I ran for the longest time in an actual 1e campaign was a human assassin, but humans are boring, and I like the feel of a religious assassin.

My starting stats are 8, 11, 11, 14, 15, 16.

As a half-orc I will gain +1 Strength & Constitution and -2 Charisma. I want a high Wisdom and Dexterity for the character, so I finish with the 14 in Wisdom, 15 in Strength (which is bumped up to 16), and the 16 in Dexterity. Charisma is a total dump-stat at 6 after penalties – one point lower and he couldn’t even be a cleric/assassin anymore because at Cha of 5 or less only assassin is available as a class choice. This is one unpleasant half-orc. The Wisdom would have been 16, but the maximum Wisdom for a half-orc is 14 according to the Wisdom table. Then I discover the minimum Constitution for a half-orc is 13, so I have to put one of those high stats in Constitution, which kicks his Strength down to 12.

His starting age is the highest between his two classes, so 20 + 2d4 for being in a thief subclass. He’s 24 years old.

For hit points as a multi-class character I roll for both classes (d6 & d8) and add my Con bonus to both rolls, and then divide the total by 2. I roll well for the cleric level (9 hp) but not so well for the assassin (4) and end up with 7 hit points.

As an Assassin, he doesn’t get any thief abilities until he reaches level 3 except for the backstab ability (double damage when backstabbing). He does however have the ability to use poison and the ability to disguise himself – even as another race. Usefull when selling his services to the local goblins in the Caves of Chaos. He’s an unpleasant chap, but I give him a code of ethics that he sticks to (goes along well with his clerical levels) and decide he’s Lawful Evil.

As a cleric he can turn or control undead, and he can cast up to 3 level 1 spells per day. He also has to be careful about casting healing spells, as that’s generally a good act. So he only prepares cure light wounds once per day in order to be able to cure himself, not others. He also prepares Cause Fear (the reverse of Remove Fear) to terrorize the leaders of his enemies, and finally Darkness (the reverse of Light) to help him be a sneaky jerk.

As an assassin he starts with 3 weapon proficiencies, and as a cleric he starts with 2. He learns to use the bastard sword, dagger, and heavy crossbow as well as the footman’s flail and mace.

He starts out with 3d6x10gp in starting gear (120 gp) and starts out with the essentials (studded leather armor, small shield, heavy crossbow & 20 bolts, bastard sword & scabbard, iron holy symbol, prayer beads, and a good pair of boots, belt and cloak).

That leaves him with 42 gp and 12 sp left to spend on five daggers, a backpack, 50′ of rope, a week of iron rations and two large belt pouches as well as a second belt. He finishes off still holding onto 23 gold and 5 silver that he can spend in the ubiquitous inn where he’ll meet his companions.

“Three-Teeth the Zealous”
Half Orc Cleric / Assassin
Level: 1 / 1

Strength: 12 (+100 cn encumberance, open doors 1-2, 4% bend bars / lift gates)
Intelligence: 11 (can learn up to 2 additional languages)
Wisdom: 14 (two bonus level 1 cleric spells)
Dexterity: 16 (+1 reaction & missile attacks, -2 AC)
Constitution: 16 (+2 hit points / level, 95% system shock, 96% resurrection survival)
Charisma: 6 (2 henchmen max, -20% loyalty, -15% reactions) (Cha 8 for other half-orcs)

Hit Points: 7
Armor Class: 4
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Experience Points: 0 / 0
Age: 24

Racial Abilities: Infravision (60′)

Class Abilities: Clerical Spells (3), Turning Undead (level 1), Poison Use, Assassination, BackStab, Disguise.

Weapon Proficiencies: bastard sword, dagger, heavy crossbow. footman’s flail, footman’s mace.

Spells (3): Cause Fear, Cure Light Wounds, Darkness

Languages: Common, orcish, elven, goblin

heavy crossbow & 20 bolts
bastard sword
5 daggers

studded leather armor
small shield
belt with sword scabbard, 2 dagger scabbards & 1 large belt pouch
belt with 3 dagger scabbards & 1 large belt pouch
iron holy symbol
prayer beads
good pair of boots
50′ of rope
a week of iron rations

23 gp
5 sp

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