Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Round 1: AD&D 1E vs OSRIC - BtB

As some of you know,  I've been reading up on OSRIC, the "open Source" version of AD&D 1E (my reference for it as the publisher makes no such specific comparison).

It's time to quit dropping hints and short references and get down to the thick of it.

Since I believe that AD&D 1E is what anyone who is going to know the between the two,  I will start by comparing OSRIC to it.

First off, let's start by saying that OSRIC is published under the OGL (Open Game License).   It' s free, as in freedom.  They sell book versions of it online for a low price and offer free downloads of the PDF version of the books, complete, not hacked up.  So, It's also free as in free beer.  E-mail or print a copy for each of your friends, it's legit.

The OSRIC 2.2 manual is actually 3 books in one; a players guide, a  game masters guide (yes, they are a GM, not a DM in OSRIC-land), and a monster manual.  This means of course, that players will now have access to see some of that information which used to be exclusive to a DM's Guide, if, you were the thou-shall-not-possess-this-book type.

OSRIC interestingly enough, goes into a lot of detail in many things that are left a bit more vague in the AD&D books.  This is kinda nice, until...  There are some things that OSRIC is pretty vague about or doesn't cover at all (for a variety of reasons, fear of litigation being one of them.) 

Now, in itself, it's not that big of a deal that OSRIC gets a tad vague or non-discussional on some things but having already observed that it goes into such detail on other topics, it can throw you for a bit because you are now kind of expecting that greater detail.  It catches you a little bit off guard.  You're left wondering, "What did I miss?", "Did I miss where it discussed that?"

You'll soon realize though, some things just aren't there or aren't easy to spot off the bat.  Things like "secondary skills" or Psionics (thankfully, I didn't like or use Psionics anyway).

Next, combat tables.  Yes Virginia, Combat Tables do exist in OSRIC.  Pretty much the same as in AD&D 1E but with some small differences.  Not enough to throw the game for anyone, but noticeable if you've ever played AD&D 1E before.  I'd say it's basically THAC0 (To Hit Armor Class 0), but then again, look what happened the last time I thought I knew what I was talking about when discussing THAC0.

Monsters use the same combat table as fighters do (so you have to use a chart that converts monster Hit Dice into Fighter levels) and for saving throws too.

One thing that struck me as odd is that, kindly enough, the OSRIC manual pdf includes a blank character sheet you can print out.  it's very well done in my opinion.  I like the organization to it, though some things are left off that should be on there, oh well.

Anyway, on this character sheet there is a THAC mini-table for the character.  To me, this indicates that players are to somehow know or figure out the Armor Class of the monster they are fighting.  HOWEVER, Like anything in these RPG's, the DM's (or GM, Game Master as it is known in OSRIC) authority to over-rule is never in doubt.  So, don't feel obligated to share that info if you fell it compromises your game. 

One alternative I was given in dealing with that is to play "battleship" with the players.  ie.. let them roll, tell them if they hit and they can see if the number they hit on is the right Armor Class or not.  Of course, what they think is the right Armor Class may not actually be because the number may just be above the minimum to hit.  Don't forget, modifiers will add some bit of confusion to that as well.  Either way, do as you will with it.

Some monsters and whatnot that you might expect from AD&D 1E won't be there, but there is a respectable little compendium of monsters just the same.

Keep in mind though, OSRIC is, in my opinion, just an Open Source version of AD&D 1E.  That means, so I am told, that just about anything from 1E will easily integrate over to OSRIC and vice-versa.  Modules, monsters, characters, maps, etc.. are pretty ready to go either way.  Some of you who try OSRIC may find yourselves playing a combined/mixed AD&D 1E/OSRIC system in the long run.

Well, those are the thoughts I have right now on how the books break down.  Next time  I get into this, it will be to discuss actually playing OSRIC btb.

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