Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Skills in AD&D 1

I got to play some AD&D 1st ed again this past weekend.  The boys are really enjoying it.
But the one thing that now feels awkward are ability checks.

Back in the day if we wanted to do something that would require a "skill check" we would roll a d20 and aim to roll under the ability in question.  Easy and it worked for us till the 1st ed Proficiency system came along.

Looking back I remembered something.  I hate the 1st Ed Proficiency system.

I think what I want is something more simple.  AD&D isn't really about what skills and how many skill points you have.  Your skills are defined by your class or race and Ability scores are key.

So I am thinking of taking some ideas from d20, Castles & Crusades and even a little bit of D&D4.

Skill checks will still be Ability checks.
Instead of the roll under mechanic, I am going to use a d20 style Difficulty Classes. Since 3.x d20 and AD&D1 make the similar assumption of 20 levels I think the numbers are good.

Abilities will use their default modifiers.  So 0 +1, +2 or +3 (or negatives as the case may be).  Additionally characters will add +1 per level.  I *might* cap that at 10th level.  I have not decided yet.

Borrowing from Castles and Crusades each character will get two Primes.  These will be the same as the Prime Attribute for their class. Humans will get one extra. Primes will add +2.

So a skill roll then would be like this.
A 1st level Cleric with an 18 Wisdom is making a Spot check.  Wisdom is his prime.
His chances are +3 (wisdom) +1 (level) +2 (prime) for a total of +6.
That might sound like a lot, but a Cleric in 3.x with Spot as a skill would get +4 Wis and +4 for the skill for +8.

I might also give each character a chance at a signature or trained skill.  Something very specific that they get and extra +1 on.  So my cleric in the above example might have Religion as a signature skill, and get an extra +1.

I think this will work fine to be honest.  Course if I wanted that "old school" feel I could put it all in a chart.


Hakdov said...

you pretty much just descibed the skill system in d&d next

Timothy S. Brannan said...

yeah. I am not trying to be original really. Just easy.

Cross Planes said...

Interesting idea, I like your "Primes" being a +2 vs the +6 in C&C.

Have you thought about ditching skills & just using Ability Checks with Primes to simulate skill & talent?

The Grey Elf said...

Similar to what I do for ability checks, only I use 2d10 instead of a d20, to skew it towards an average. But I'm curious--you said you liked the d20/roll under ability method, but you hate the proficiency system.

The proficiency system is d20/roll under ability only proficiencies give you bonuses.

Konsumterra said...

I like nwp and i left d20 for BRP for 15 years because we liked lots of explicit skills. If i didnt and played off the shelf dnd i would play castles and crusades. In my game Anyone cant try a common NWP at half or quarter in most cases. I can see big contention but ive always found theif having own skill system to be appalling. Once NWP and weapon specialization or skills in use i found simpler and preferable to systems tacked on mystara by gazeteers, and all later editions - I have stolen some feats for NWP which i found preferable. Still guys out there playing AdnD 1st with rolemaster tacked on...

Patrick Mallah said...

You should read Dungeon World.

Oliva said...

Well I'm coming to this article 10 years later... I was about to start a Dragonlance adventure for a couple of friends who asked for a 1st edition experience! I was searching for a simple skill system so i found yours! Thank you for sharing your 💡