AD&D DM Reads OD&D Part 2: Monsters & Treasure


Part 1: Men & Magic

I believe that an understanding of OD&D lends itself to an understanding of AD&D and vice-versa. Herein I continue sharing the notes I took some months ago when I read through OD&D for the first time.

Here are my notes from Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure.

Orcs found in a cave will possibly have strong leader/protector types, as will those in villages: -- pg. 7

A totally different and more evocative list than AD&D's. This list includes 7th-11th level humans, ogres, trolls, and a dragon. AD&D's list just adds ogres and more orcs. This change is indicative of the shift toward naturalism, I think. I prefer OD&D here.

GNOLLS: A cross between Gnomes and Trolls (. . . perhaps, Lord Sunsany did not really make it all that clear) -- pg. 8

That about says it.

Subdued Dragons can be sold on the open market (going out of existence in the game) for from 500 to 1,000 Gold Pieces per hit point it can take. -- pg. 13

AD&D dragon value is 100-800 gp per HP. OD&D gp is not directly equal to AD&D gp, but the value in OD&D is definitely higher.

More important from this section is the precident that "open market" means "out of the game". Not even just "out of the game" as in the PCs don't have it, but no longer in existence. Very gamist. I like it. Many things in AD&D can be sold on the open market, including magic items. AD&D doesn't clearly state that the items vanish entirely from the game in the same way OD&D does.

If the young are attacked both parents will automatically use their breath weapons. -- pg. 14

I don't think dragons don't get this perk in AD&D. I prefer OD&D here.

Anyone seriously wounded by Lycanthropes (assume about 50% of total possible damage) will be infected and himself become a similar Lycanthrope within 2-24 days unless they are given a Cure Disease spell by a Cleric. -- pg. 15

It's tougher to get out of this in AD&D. The cleric must be at least 12th level, for one. And cure disease only works for the first 3 days. After that, you need remove curse while the afflicted is in were-form.

The Minotaur is classically a bull-headed man (and all of us who have debated rules are well acquainted with such). -- pg. 15


Air sprites as described in CHAINMAIL, Pixies can be made visible, or make themselves visible, but they are naturally invisible to human eyes. Therefore, they are able to attack while remaining generally invisible. -- pg. 16

This isn't stated in AD&D. Fae with at-will invisibility such as sprites and sylphs are not stated to have what is effectively improved invisibility. I prefer OD&D here.

Young Rocs can be tamed and taught to serve as steeds. -- pg. 17

Epic. The standard flying mounts in AD&D are limited to hippogriff, griffon, and unicorn. I would of course allow other special mounts; one of my players has a monk with a giant goat steed. Rocs would be nuts though, so I can understand why they were left out of the explicit suggestions in AD&D.

Regardless of the strength of an Elemental, only one of each type can be brought into existence during any "day". Thus, if a character possessed a device to call up an Air Elemental, but before he could employ it an opponent conjured an Air Elemental, another could not be created until the next day. Only magical weapons/attacks affect Elementals. -- pg. 18

OD&D is apparently putting a global limit on conjured elementals! That's a huge difference from AD&D, where the limit is per caster. I can see why it was changed. How are you supposed to ascertain whether another caster somewhere in the world (plane?) summoned that elemental type already today?

Only mules are agile enough to be taken in dungeons. -- pg. 19

Same as in AD&D. I think my players missed this capability in the beginning of the campaign, having assumed that mules would be forbidden in the same way horsed are. After discovering this capability, no one has used it. Too much trouble to manage a mule in a dungeon?

76-00 = Map-- -- pg. 23

Wow! 25% chance for maps, reduced to 10% in AD&D. Maps are heavily suggested to be for lair treasure only, though I use the 10% chance for dungeon treasure too and it has both worked out well and been enjoyable. 25% chance would be a big difference.

[Treasure listing] -- starts on pg. 23

The percentage chance to find wishes (and quantity found) are higher in OD&D than AD&D, even if you don't play with UA tables. I definitely prefer OD&D here.

Although the sword cannot communicate it will endow its user with the powers it has, but these will have to be discovered by the user. -- pg. 28

This suggests that swords able to communicate may inform their possessors of their powers. This isn't stated so clearly in AD&D. In our campaign, I make an initial reaction roll for the sword when it is claimed by a character, and the result tells me whether the sword informs its possessor as to some or all of its powers from the get-go.

Gaseous Form: The user retains cohesion over his new gaseous body, and he may penetrate any place which isn't air-tight. Of course, his arms, armor, and so on will remain behind. -- pg. 31

Changed in AD&D to include items carried and worn. I prefer AD&D here. In our campaign, I also transform items carried and worn when polymorph occurs.

Wishes that unfortunate adventures had never happened should be granted. Clues can be given when wishes for powerful items or great treasure are made. -- pg. 33

Basically in line with what we do. I don't have "revert an adventure" on our list of "safe wishes", though. I would probably keep it off, since I think wishing away an entire adventure should permit the ref to perhaps make some troublesome consequences. Wishing for the party to be poofed to safety, though, is on our list of "safe wishes".

Delusion: A ring which makes the wearer see whatever he desires, i.e. a bummer thrown in to fool players. -- pg. 33

These rings are more explicit in their troublesomeness in AD&D.

Paralization: A paralization ray of the same dimensions as a Fear Wand. Creatures take half damage if their saving throw is made. -- pg. 34

... Half damage? This is paralysisation, right? What damage?

Staff of Withering: A Staff which adds nothing to hit probability, but when a hit is scored it scores one die of damage and ages the creature struck by ten years. (This is not to say it matures it, but rather it shortens the life span by ten years.) -- pg. 35

This explanation solves the "problem" in AD&D wherein a "young" age category PC may seek out unnatural aging in order to reach the more-beneficial "mature" category. I took this and ruled in our campaign that real age is used for determining positive modifiers, whereas unnatural age is used for determining negative modifiers. This works nicely.

Spells cannot be sent through a Crystal Ball, but the operator may, for instance, put an infra-vision spell upon himself and then look into the device and see in the dark. -- pg. 36

In AD&D, spells can be cast on the user as well, but two spells can also be sent through the ball: detect magic and detect evil/good. Though there is a success chance for these of 5% per level of the magic-user.

Magical items will, during the course of play, be struck by various forms of weapons. For the sake of simplicity it is generally easier to assume they survive unharmed if their wearer/user is not killed (exception, Helms). If the wearer is killed, or the items are alone, throw for them on the following table if struck by Fire (Dragon or Ball) or Lightning (Dragon or Bolt). Those items not listed should be assumed automatically destroyed. -- pg. 38

In AD&D, the common interpretation of the DMG 80 rules is that items check any time the possessor fails a saving throw. This interpretation is reinforced by the fireball rules. We use that interpretation. I prefer AD&D here. Furthermore, in AD&D, items not in the possession of someone must always save.

Metal is melted to solid lumps by fire or lightning. Fire will not destroy Gems (optionally 10% chance of destruction) but lightning will. Both will devalue Jewelry by 25%. -- pg. 40

Very generous. None of these protections apply in AD&D. I think I'll keep the AD&D here.

That's it for this book! I'll be continuing with Vol. 3 later.

← Go back home