"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

B/X Cover-to-Cover - pages B6 and B7

Quick thoughts while I read pages B6 & B7:

  • "To choose a class, a player should first look for his or her highest ability scores." - Moldvay was a rabid power gamer ;)  As an aside I always loved playing clumsy thieves, sickly fighters, clerics that are lacking common sense, etc. It is funny how often these "sub-par" characters can sometimes last in a campaign.
  • Strength, Intelligence, et al are called "ability" scores instead of attribute scores, stats, etc. The word "ability" is also used throughout the descriptions.
"Strength" is a measure of muscle power and the ability to use that power.
 "Intelligence" is the ability to learn and remember knowledge, and the ability to solve problems. 
  • I noticed a number of times in the descriptions terms (or closely related terms) that become "skills" in later editions - balance, endurance, intuition, knowledge, etc.
  • Ability Score Adjustments - "This adjustment shows that a character may practice hard and learn how to fight or reason well..." I always new the option for the 2-for-1 swap but I don't remember ever reading this sentence before. As such I find it somewhat perplexing that Constitution cannot be raised or lowered.
  • A very short description about Hit Points and what they are. No talk about them being part luck or divine favour such as found in the 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide.
  • Surprise, surprise... I love the standardized -3/+3 ability score bonuses.
  • "Maximum Number of Retainers" - at one time or over the life of a character?


  1. Always interesting to see what people pull out when they do a read-through of something. Fun series of articles!

    I started with Moldvay, bitd, and just realized I have always called them "ability scores". When did that change to "attributes" I wonder?

  2. Another interesting thing is that you don't reroll all hit dice when gaining a level. In a recent discussion with Brett Slocum he was surprised that rerolling all hit dice was considered to be a house rule. I quoted B/X and he quoted 0E and T├ękumel. Now I'm wondering where this changed.

  3. From the various threads over the years, I've heard Gary say that he was using his Greyhawk changes even before OD&D was first published and that he always used the roll and add method over the reroll each level. The inclusion in EPT indicates that rerolling each level is probably a Dave thing which explains why that method died out.

    Unfortunately, I can't remember exactly which of the dozens of Ask Gary threads this came from.

  4. Still wish I'd had my chance to play my 2nd level fighter with the Constitution of 3. The "old man," indeed!