Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Notes on OD&D - Part 9

Onward with my notes, analysis and ruminations on OD&D...

Men & Magic
    • This page is a chart that shows several important bits of information for each of the three primary classes Fighting-Men, Magic-Users, and Clerics (on the next page).  It lists the Levels for each class and shows the Level Name (which, as discussed previously, appear to be monikers without much meaning other than as a name to peg the Level on), the Dice for Accumulative Hits, the Fighting Capability, and finally the number of Spells that can be learned at which Level per Level of advancement.
    • There isn't really that much to be said about this, other than perhaps to note that the advancements are not exactly even between Levels as some give a bigger jump in advancement than others.  For example, Accumulative Hit Dice for Fighting Men goes up as follows:
      • Veteran ... 1 + 1
      • Warrior ... 2
      • Swordsman ... 3
      • Hero ... 4
      • Swachbuckler ... 5 + 1
      • Myrmidon ... 6
      • Champion ... 7 + 1
      • Super Hero ... 8 + 2
      • Lord ... 9 + 3
      • Lord, 10rh Level ... 10 + 1
Why this progression was chosen is a mystery.  My only guess is that it may have tended to cause the Players to get especially excited about advancing to, lets say 5th Level, where they get that pretty neat +1.  They won't see that again until Champion.  And just beyond that is Super Hero were they get a +2.  On the other hand, I would imagine that Lord 10th Level might have felt like something of a let down, after that awesome +3 on achieving Lord.  So, it's hard to say. 
  • It is notable that Magic-Users at 16th Level will not have as many Hit Dice (9 + 2) as 9th Level Fighting-Men (9 + 3).  One might say that Fighting-Men are twice as hearty as Magic-Users. Of course this is to balance out the fact that Magic Users get to use Spells, which we know from the initial comments in the book can become the most powerful of all the characters at higher levels.  We are also told, in so many words, that the Magic-User's aim to ensure protection by the Fighting-Men until they can Level high enough to become really powerful.  
  • Magic-Users can learn 1 1st Level Spell at 1st Level
  • Clerics can not learn any Spells at 1st Level, and get 1 at 2nd Level
  • Magic-Users can get 5 of each Level of the six levels of Spell at their maximum Level (16th), which gives them a total of 30 Spells.  That's a goodly number.
  • Clerics on the other hand can only have 3 of each of the first 5 Levels of Spell at their maximum Level (10th), which gives them a total of 15 Spells, or half the number of the most powerful Magic-User.  On the other hand Clerics can fight with more weapons, and are better Fighters than Magic-Users can be (excepting Elvish ones).   
  • At 10th Level have Hit Dice of 7 + 2, whereas the Magic-User at 10th Level has Hit Dice of 7. That + 2 for Clerics, by the way, does not add up to 14 extra Hit Points.  That would be Hefty.  Instead we find out soon enough that the pluses only get added once, and not per die.  Ah well.
Ok, so now I want to see how this plays out for three cases. Average Hits per Class, Maximum Hits per Class,and Minimum Hits per Class.  Average rolls on 1d6 are 3.5.  Max is 6 and min, of course, is 1.  So lets see what this looks like.  First here's the spread by class for Hits and Pluses.

Now lets look at Average Hits Per Class

Now for Maximum (where every roll was a 6)

Now lets look at Minimum (where every roll is a 1)

Note: these charts are not showing the accumulated points per level.  They are showing the relative values per Class.  I'm curious to see what the cumulative points would look like, but I'm afraid it's a bit too late to get into that tonight.  I may take that up tomorrow and see what I can come up with.

As there isn't that much more to say on this page (it is only the chart), I'll move on.
  • p18 - Explanations for lements of the Chart
    • Experience Points
      • Experience Points are awarded to to "players" (as opposed to Player Characters, which I suspect is a typo) by the referee with appropriate bonuses or penalties for Prime Requisite Scores (as seen in the previous section on p11).
      • Defeating monsters in combat and collecting treasure awards "Experience".
      • The accumulation of Experience gradually moves the Characters upwards through their Levels.
      • Experience Gains are earned relative to their Level.  So a 8th Level Magic-User operating on the 5th dungeon level would earn 5/8 Experience. 
      • An example of Experience Calculation is given.  It is a bit convoluted. In fact, to be frank, it's a bit of a nightmare.  Let me see if I understand it.
        • 8th Level Magic-User operating on the 5th Level of the Dungeon
        • Gains 7000 Gold by defeating a troll (7th Level with 6 hit dice)
        • Since it is 7th Level the calculation is 7/8 rather than 5/8
        • Here's the Calculation as the book handles it:
          • 7000 G.P. + 700 (for killing the troll)
          • 7700 / 8 = 962.5 (divide by the Character Level, I guess)
          • 962.5 x 7 = 6037.5.
        • Note: I'm not sure why we multiplied by 7 at the end.  Maybe because the troll is 7th level.  I guess.
      • Experience is never awarded above a 1 to 1 basis.  So even if a Character kills a higher level monster he won't receive more experience than the treasure + the monster's kill value.
      • It is also recommended that no character receive more experience in one session than will suffice to raise them up one level.  
Comments:  The instructions are not entirely clear on how exactly to preform the calculation for experience gains, but picking over the example it seems that the formula would be:

Experience = ((Gold + Monster Kill Value) / Character Level) * Monster Level

Lets take a look at this more carefully.

Well, ok.  Looks like someone was not all that good at math, or someone was not all that good at proof reading.  Or both.  But 7 x 962.5 does not equal 6037.5... it equals 6737.5.  Ok no problem. Typos happen.  It's ok.  But what's really puzzling me is the convolution in the way this was calculated.  According to the description I would have thought the formula would have been this:

Experience = ((Gold + Monster Kill Value) * (Monster Level / Character Level)

What would that turn out to be? Ahhhh it is the same.  Ok.  So the two formulas produce the same number.  Fine. Fine.  Ok.  Spot check complete.  Seems legit (other than the typo).  Lets move on.
    • Levels
      • There is no theoretical limit to how high a character may progress.  
      • Um ... so there is no limit to Levels advancement, other than the limits listed for Hobbits (4th), Dwarves (6th Level Fighting-Man) and Elves (4th Level Fighting-Man, 8th Level Magic-User). In other words, Men are unlimited by the Level they can achieve, while all other races are limited.  Ok. Got it.  
      • When characters advance beyond the listed Levels (for example beyond Patriarch 10th Level for Clerics, then you just give it the next logical name ... Patriarch 20th Level, or what have you.  Ok, check.
    • Dice for Accumulative Hits (Hit Dice)
      • This indicates the number of dice rolled to determine the hit points for the character.  The pluses are merely the number of pips to add to the total of all the dice rolled, not to each die.  So you roll the dice, add all of them up, and then add whatever the bonus number is to that tally and that gives you the total.
      • Note: well, that certainly puts less umph behind those plusses!  Hehe.
    • Fighting Capacity
      • This is used in Conjunction with the Chainmail rules, and may be modified by the D&D rules in various places.  
      • An Alternate Combat system is also given in the D&D book "for those who prefer a different method".
Ok, that's about it for today.  For those who don't have the book and are curious as to what the chart actually looks like (I would be, I'm pretty sure), here are some photos...

I'm also including the paragraph that explains Experience Points so that you can validate my interpretation.

Ok and with that, having no further thoughts on this at the moment, I will call it a day.  I'm really finding this a rather fascinating exercise.  

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