Saturday, September 17, 2022

A "quick and dirty" single class bard for AD&D

Like a lot of old schoolers, I dig the flavor of the AD&D 1st edition bard class and even a lot of its implementation, but balk somewhat at the convoluted pseudo-dual classing shenanigans and the usual lack of player interest in such a delayed satisfaction approach. Since I tend to be a minimalist when it comes to tweaking stuff, here's my stab at a single class version that sticks fairly close to the core concept of a druid/thief loremaster. Combat ability is scaled back to sub-fighter levels, but the combination of the cleric's weapon proficiency and better weapon and armor options than either the druid or thief still maintains some martial emphasis. Thief ability growth should be slow enough to not make dedicated thieves or assassins obsolete.

Stat/race/alignment requirements: No change from PHB.

Weapons/armor/magic items permitted: No change from PHB.

Experience progression: No change from PHB Bards Table I.

Hit Dice: As druid. +1 hp/level for levels 15 through 23.

Combat ability/saving throws/weapon proficiency: As cleric.

Druid spells: No change from PHB Bards Table I. Apart from spell casting (including from scrolls) and knowledge of the secret druidic tongue, no other druid-specific class abilities are available to bards. Bards do not receive bonus spells for high wisdom.

Thief abilities: As 1st level thief at start, advancing at the rate of one thief level at every odd-numbered bard level thereafter.

Other bard abilities (charm, legend lore, etc.): No change from PHB Bards Table II.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Reconsidering AD&D psionics: An honest look at the pros and cons

It's no secret that AD&D psionics have never exactly been popular. And I mean never. A vocal majority (?) of gamers have been deriding, ignoring, and generally neglecting them since day one. Before that, technically, since a version of them first appeared way back in Eldritch Wizardry. But I guess I'm feeling open-minded and generous lately, so I wanted to revisit them and give them the fairest shake I possibly can. Note that I won't be addressing the old saw about how "Science fiction stuff doesn't belong in a fantasy game!" On that score, I'll just refer you to old Appendix N. Anyway, here are my thoughts:


1. Functionality. Yes, really! Much to my surprise, the psionics rules given in the PHB and DMG are fairly straightforward and functional. They are, for all intents and purposes, a standard spell point magic system, albeit with more up-front random factors than are usually seen in the skill-based RPGs that tend to implement their magic type abilities this way. You have your various powers, a pool of points that fuel them, some guidelines for how fast spent points regenerate, and so forth. Psionic combat is oddly light on dice rolling for AD&D, and consists primarily of cross referencing various attack and defense types on a chart and applying the results. I'm genuinely surprised how workable the mechanical implementation actually is for those so inclined.

2. Feel. The details of AD&D psionics may not be too crazy in a wider RPG context, but they're weird as hell for AD&D. Whatever else the psionics practitioner might be, they're not just another core class using a cosmetically reskinned version of the base magic rules. They're...Something Else...Something Strange. That's honestly quite cool if you ask me. Beyond that, they're just such a full-flavor AD&Dism, tied to iconic monsters like the Mind Flayer and Githyanki/Githzerai. There's a mindset that says, "If you're gonna do something, do it with no all gusto and no apologies." That's AD&D with psionics, alright.


1. Situationality. By the book, psionics are rare. Really rare. A complete beast of a hypothetical PC with 18s in intelligence, wisdom, and charisma maxes out at a one-time 10% chance to possess psionics at character creation. 3% - 5% is far more realistic. As a DM, the prospect of learning an entire elaborate sub-system that might (might!) be available to 5% of characters can obviously smack of wasted effort.

2. Character balancing. Equally common and obvious are concerns about psionic characters potentially unbalancing the game. Thankfully, I do think they're overstated. Yes, psionics are "free" for the characters lucky enough to qualify for them. As anyone who's seen the film Scanners knows, however, mental combat between psionics is horrifically deadly. Furthermore, the DMG specifies an increased chance for random psionic monster encounters whenever psionic powers are employed by the party. A true risk/reward dynamic is thus present. Psionics make their wielders stronger than their mundane counterparts in some respects and more vulnerable in others, and players who know the odds may well prefer to go without.

3. The Decker Problem. Psionic combat really is its own thing. When two psychic figures are going mind-to-mind, they each take their actions on a per segment basis. In other words, ten individual exchanges per round! The remainder of the game basically pauses while they hash it out, and the rest of the table...well, they can cheer their buddy on, maybe?


The decision of whether or not to include old school psionics ultimately comes down to whether the individual DM feels that the sheer weird, wild tone of PCs lashing their Ego Whips against an intellect devourer's Thought Shield is worth learning an entire new "magic" system that probably won't see use often, but has the very real potential to hog the spotlight whenever it does come to the fore in combat. Personally, I'm leaning toward doing it in my next game, just for the freaky flavor of it and to actually get some solid use out of all those wacky monsters for a change.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Coming Home

The enduringly popular 1981 edition of D&D, often called B/X or Moldvay D&D, was my introduction to tabletop RPGs. That should come as no surprise, given the name I chose for this very blog back in the day. It's also the version I've played and enjoyed most recently, running a B1 In Search of the Unknown one-shot at the 42nd Dragonflight gaming convention last month. Its approachability, polish, and overall brilliance have stood the test of time. I truly adore it.

It's not home, though. Not really. Shortly after 12 year-old me discovered that little red book in a secondhand store circa 1990, I fell in with a local group of established (and tolerant) adult gamers, and they swore by none other than Gary Gygax's own Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Here, I'm talking the original (dare I say "real?") version, not the then-current AD&D 2nd Edition.

If B/X fired my young imagination, getting my hands on the AD&D books fanned it into a dizzying phantasmagoric inferno. These weighty tomes with their baroque prose and ominous illustrations felt like a world unto themselves; brooding, mysterious, and, in hindsight, metal as hell. Ironic, since I suspect Gygax's own musical tastes were anything but. To a middle schooler, these texts were dense and challenging, almost to the point of hostility, yet the darkly glamorous vistas of fantasy they promised shimmered mirage-like at edges of my understanding, making them paradoxically impossible to put down. It was a profoundly meaningful, once-in-a-lifetime reaction to an RPG system. To put it simply, these are magic books in my eyes.

It wasn't long after this that I became an avid reader of Dragon magazine, which was primarily an AD&D-focused publication at that time. That meant 2nd Edition, of course, but the concepts and terminology employed in most articles was relatable enough. In the pre-Internet era, Dragon was my primary connection to the hobby at large, and this further cemented various AD&D-isms like percentile strength and the nine-point alignment system as the default in my mind.

So what I'm really getting at here, I suppose, is that I've come to accept that I am, at heart, an AD&Der. Then, now, and forever. It's my conceptual norm, my platinum standard, my Real Deal Holyfield of fantasy RPGs. I've played, and harbor no small amount of affection for, all the game's TSR-era iterations. Even 2E is entitled to some love from me. I've also had great luck with the various latter day retro-clone versions of the same, such as Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, and, of course, OSRIC. Authentic late '70s/early '80s AD&D still sits at the apex of the pyramid for me, however. Is it flawless? Lord, no! I'm just at a point where those perceived imperfections (the absurd pummeling/grappling rules, for example) don't really grate on me the way they used to. If I don't like a sub-system, I don't need to use it. Any DM remotely worthy of the title knows that. Mine is a hard-earned "warts and all" love, not a naive denial of reality. On the flipside, playing these various simplified or pared-down versions of the game, I always find myself hankering for some AD&D rule or other. Better to have it and not want it than want it and not have it.

AD&D isn't perfect and it isn't for everyone. What it is is the only game that's ever filled me with the wide-eyed awe and shuddering dread of flipping through the demon section of the Monster Manual, picturing the horrors that awaited intruders in the noisome lair of the Demon Price Juiblex. That's irreplacable and that's why it's home.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

OSRIC errata (unofficial)

Yes, it's another one of these. The longest one yet by a country mile, too. As per usual, I must emphasize that this document is 100% unofficial. It is not endorsed in any way by Stuart Marshall or the rest of the original OSRIC writing and editorial gang. That said, it's my hope that the long hours I and others have put in with this superb rulebook will one day be reflected in an even more superb updated version.

All page numbers reference the most up-to-date published edition available as of this writing.

Includes contributions from: Between3and20, Cobalt-60, Drowningman, EOTB, grodog, Guy Fullerton, Harbinger2001, Kellri, Kramer (RIP), Landifarne, PapersAndPaychecks, soner du, squeen, Steppenwolf, Yora.

PDFs by Attronarch: A4 PDF | Letter-size PDF

Last updated: 23 May 2023.


Page 2, Constitution: Resurrection/raise dead survival is not well-defined here. It is unclear what happens when such a roll is failed, for example. In AD&D, this would mean that the character in question could nevermore be raised or resurrected, but lacking this context, a newcomer to OSRIC may well assume that the cleric could just keep trying until the spell "stuck." Further, there's no mention of permanent constitution loss associated with returning from the dead, and it's unclear if this is an intentional change from AD&D or an accidental omission.

Page 3, Charisma: OSRIC is missing the full reaction table referenced in passing in the main body of the text. This renders the correct application of reaction bonuses unnecessarily obsure.

Page 9, Assassin, Read Scrolls (12th): It is not stated that the assassin has any chance of failure when using scrolls, as the thief does.

Page 10, Cleric: No guidance is given for when and how clerics may create magic items. AD&D specified that they may create scrolls starting at 7th level and permanent magic items at level 11.

Page 11, Oil: Burning oil as a weapon appears in many class descriptions, but its precise function in combat isn't described. AD&D specifies that burning oil deals 2d6 damage on the first round and another 1d6 the following round before burning out.

Page 12, Druid: No guidance is given for when and how druids may create magic items. AD&D specified that they may create scrolls starting at 7th level and permanent magic items at level 13.

Page 16, Illusionist: No guidance is given for when and how illusionists may create magic items. AD&D specified that they may create scrolls starting at 7th level, temporary non-scroll magic items starting at level 11 (using the major creation spell), and true permanent magic items at level 14 (via alter reality).

Page 18, Magic User, Magic User Spell Acquisition Table: The use of this table is not well-described. For instance, it is not clear when, if ever, magic users and illusionists may re-roll to understand spells they previously could not.

Page 23, Ranger Level Advancement: The text "May employ followers" appears on the 7th level line. 8th level would be the correct placement.

Page 25, Thief, Read Scrolls (10th): It is not stated that thieves (or assassins) in OSRIC may employ druid scrolls, as they can in AD&D. This may be a deliberate change rather than an oversight, however.

Page 28 Multi-classing: The following paragraph should be inserted between first and second: "Multi-class characters may choose which of their classes' tables they use for combat and saving throws. So for example, a cleric/fighter normally uses the fighter attack charts and the cleric saving throw matrices."

Page 33, Missile Weapons Table: The heavy crossbow has a base range of 60 ft, down from the 80 ft given in AD&D. This could be an intentional change, although it seems odd that both heavy and light versions of the weapon would have the same effective ranges.

Page 33, Missile Weapons Table: The language used to describe ranges ("-2 to hit/increment") is potentially misleading. The penalty isn't supposed to be applied to the first range increment, only cumulatively to each subsequent one.

Page 34, Armour Table II: Splint armour should be listed alongside banded as AC 4.

Page 40: Animate Dead (cleric): Duration should be "instantaneous (permanent)."

Page 44, Cure Light Wounds: The note that the spell doesn't affect "creatures that are harmed only by iron, silver, or magical weapons" should apply only to the reversed version, cause light wounds.

Page 47, Heal: This spell specifies a saving throw of "none (negates)." However, this should probably just be "none," since the AD&D version doesn't provide for any saving throw.

Page 48, Know Alignment: The range given in OSRIC is touch. AD&D specifies 10 ft.

Page 51, Raise Dead: Half-orcs appear on the list of beings able to be raised. This contradicts the AD&D version, which treats them the same as elves for all such purposes.

Page 52, Remove Fear: The spell's reversed version, fear, is not described.

Page 52, Restoration: The spell's reverse effect is not given its proper name, energy drain.

Page 60, Control Winds: "The wind force increases (or decreases) at a rate of 3 miles per hour every round until the end of the spell’s duration, at which time it will return to normal, also at a rate of 3 miles per hour per turn." The word "turn" in the preceding sentence should be "round."

Page 61, Dispel Magic: The correct area of effect should be a single 40 ft cube, not 40 ft multiplied by caster level.

Page 65, Produce Fire: This spell has a 60 ft radius area of effect, but a range of 40 ft, meaning that the caster will always be within the area of effect. AD&D defines the area of effect as "up to 12' per side in area boundary."

Page 66, Pyrotechnics: There is no duration given for the smoke cloud version of this spell. 1 round/level is correct.

Page 71: Animate Dead (magic user): Duration should be "instantaneous (permanent)."

Page 78, Distance Distortion: The last sentence of the spell description is duplicated.

Page 79, Erase: The OSRIC version of this spell specifies that it does not affect glyphs of warding. This contradicts the AD&D DMG.

Page 82, Fire Shield: Per AD&D, "Any creature striking the spell caster with body or hand-held weapons will inflict normal damage upon the magic-user, but the attacker will take double the amount of damage so inflicted!" This potent feature is completely absent from OSRIC's current version of fire shield.

Page 87, Ice Storm: The main heading gives an area of effect of 10 x 10 ft/level. The spell description specifies fixed areas of 40 x 40 ft (for the hail stones variant) and 60 x 60 ft (for the sleet variant).

Page 97, Permanency: OSRIC's version of the permanency spell is missing a very important clarification from the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide: "There is only a 5% chance of the spell caster actually losing a point of constitution if the spell is cast upon a non-living thing." This has profound implications for magic item creation!

Page 101, Push: The text mentions that objects can be moved at the rate of 10 ft/round. This is misleading, as it implies that this spell lasts for more than one round. In truth, its given duration of instantaneous is correct.

107, Teleport: The "viewed once" column progreses directly from 89-90 to 99-100.

Page 108, Transmute Rock to Mud: This spell should be noted as being reversable.

Page 110, Water Breathing: The duration of the AD&D spell is 3 turns/level, not 1 round/level.

Page 113, Chaos: AD&D's describes this spell as functioning like the druid spell confusion unless otherwise noted. This includes a -2 saving throw penalty that is therefore effectively missing from the OSRIC version.

Page 113, Colour Spray: The duration of unconsciousness should be given as 2d4 rounds.

Page 114, Dancing Lights: The area of effect given for this spell, a 60 ft radius globe, appears to be an error. It should also be "see below" and function as the magic-user version of this spell in this regard.

Page 114, Deafness: The area of effect should be "one creature," not "caster."

Page 120, Shadow Monsters: The created monsters are stated to have 20% of the hit points of actual ones. In AD&D, it's 20% of the hit dice, which has much broader implications in combat. This same discrepancy exists for the illusionist spells demi-shadow monsters (page 114) and shades (page 120).

Page 123, Gaining Levels: Training costs are given as "approximately 1500 gp per level." This should be clarified as 1500 gp times the character's current level.

Page 129, Turning the Undead, Exception: An important general turning rule is buried at the end of this supplementary paragraph on weapons as holy symbols: "If the cleric is successful in a turning attempt, he or she may try again next round. If the cleric fails, no further turning attempt may be made during this encounter." Making those last two sentences into a separate paragraph would be an organizational improvement.

Page 131, Morale: "For example, if the monster is very cowardly and fighting opponents who are inflicting serious damage on its fellows without taking any casualties, then the GM might impose a -30% penalty to its morale check." This should be phrased as a -30% penalty to the creature's base morale, since rolling low on the check itself is a good thing.

Page 140, Sage, Information Discovery: "For example: a sage in a remote location is asked specific question in an Out of Fields category. The GM rolls a 10 on a 1d10 and the table yields a result of 20%. The GM rolls d% again and if the result is 1 (20% of 20) the sage will be able to provide an answer at the regular cost; otherwise research time and cost will be doubled." This example is quite confusing. The underlying principal is that sages in remote locations will typically charge double unless the information discovery roll is 20% or less of what is needed to succeed. For example, if the base chance of the sage having the answer is 60%, any roll of 12% or less would indicate no added cost (60 x 0.2 = 12). This margin increases to 80% if the question is in one of the sage's special knowledge categories.

Page 142, Henchmen: OSRIC does not include any guidance for the disbursement of experience points to henchmen. AD&D specifies that henchmen should receive "about 50% of the experience points which their share in the slaying of opponents and garnered treasure actually totals - possibly even less if your character bore the brunt of the action and closely directed the henchmen."

Page 155, Sample Play Session: "GM: Right, so Floppinjay is caught for 1 segment and everybody else for 2 segments by a half-dozen brownish-green fellows with bristly black hair and pink pig-snouts. They're currently [rolls] 30-ft away to your right (the east), charging at you and hurling hand axes as they come." Despite the wording of the above example, no standard dungeon encounter distances are given in OSRIC. AD&D specifies 1d6+4 x 10 ft under normal conditions and 1d3 x 10 ft if surprise is a factor. Outdoors, 6d4 x 10 ft is standard.

Page 165, Table 10: Treasure Guards & Wards: The header for column 2 on table should read "Guard or Ward" instead of "Treasure."

Page 165, Table 12: Treasure Amounts: The explanatory notes incorrectly refer to a hypothetical die roll of 13; given the example following, the roll should be either 14, 15, or 16.

Page 166: Table 20: Behind the Door: This table specifies that it is only for doors exiting a room. Thus, its correct usage guideline should probably be: "Check this table to determine what is behind any door indicated by Tables 6 or 18." Any result of "door" on Table 18 should say "Door: Consult Table 19 Door Location and proceed to Table 20; if door location result isn't a straight ahead door, check this table again in 30 feet." This change always points the reader toward the next table needed for any type of generated door.

Page 167, Table 22: This table should direct the user to Table 23 on a roll of 19-20, not to itself.

Page 169, Monster Level Three: The carcass creeper entry is mislabled "carrion creeper."

Page 169, Monster Level Four: The number of dragons appearing is 5, which is presumably incorrect in light of the fact that no other dungeon encounter table features encounters with more than 2 dragons.

Page 170, Monster Level Six: Hydra, 7 or 8 Heads has a number appearing of 5, while hydra entries on other level tables are always 1.

Page 170, Monster Level Eight: Demon, Ekivu has a number appearing of 5d4. This is far more than other demon and devil types. 1d4 is likely correct.

Page 170, Monster Level Eight/Ten: Elementals are on these tables, presumably because the hit dice/size of the elementals on the two tables are different (toughest elementals on Table 10), but there's no direction on elemental hit dice in the table cells, unlike other monsters that vary by some element and are on multiple tables.

Page 171, Monster Level Nine: This table goes from "12-30" to "26-40." One of those two should change, either "12-25" or "31-40."

Page 171, NPC Parties (All Dungeon Levels), NPC Levels: Applying these party generation rules exactly means that no NPCs of 5th or 6th level will ever be encountered in NPC parties. Changing the roll specified in the second sentence of this paragraph from 1d6+6 to 1d8+4 would be an effective way to remedy this issue.

Page 172, Party Magic Items, Sub-Table 1: "Potion of polymorph self" should be "potion of polymorph." "Scroll of protection from magic" should be "ward of magic."

Page 172, Party Magic Items, Sub-Table 2: "Staff of paralysation" should be "wand of paralysation." "Bracers of armour, AC 4" should be "bracers of armour +6."

Page 174, Nighttime Encounters/Daytime Encounters: Night hags and rakshasa show up both at day and at night, while rangers and muggers/humanoids are only encountered at night. It is suspected that the nighttime encounter table was mistyped; that night hags and rakshasa should be omitted from the daytime encounters, that encounters should move "up" in numerical slots until the ranger is reinserted at 73 and ruffian at 74-78. Revised daytime table sequence being:
64-65 Noble
66 Paladin
67-69 Pilgrim
70 Press gang
71-72 Thug
73 Ranger
74-78 Muggers/Humanoids

Page 178, Wetlands: There's an error in this encounter table. It progresses:
58 NPC
58-60 Undead (presumably 59-60)
81-95 Water
95-100 Special (presumably 96-100)

Pages 179 - 189: All references to "Bird, Dire" on the encounter tables should be replaced with "Bird, Huge."

Pages 180 - 189: Numerous encounter tables provide for encountering soldier ants by themselves, but the main giant ant entry doesn't provide numbers appearing for them apart from as a ratio of the worker ants appearing. Since worker ants are listed separately/concurrently in the same encounter table, the overall instruction isn't very clear for what to do when soldiers are encountered alone. Since soldiers are at a 1:5 ratio to workers, and workers appear numbers of 1-100, suggest adding a line about soldiers appearing in numbers of 1-20 when encountered apart from any workers.

Page 181, Desert: The "jackal, dire" entry should be changed to "jackal, huge." Additionally, line 12 under the Monster column simply contains the word "monster." It's likely that this is a leftover placeholder for a specific monster type.

Page 183, Graveyard: This encounter table misspells the assagim devil as "devil, assaggim."

Page 184, Jungle: Crocodiles have two non-sequential runs on this encounter table. It seems possible that some of the entries were intended to be giant crocodiles instead. Further, the "jackal, dire" entry should be changed to "jackal, huge."

Page 185, Lost World: This encounter table misspells the assagim devil as "devil, assaggim." Further, the "lion, cave" entry should read "lion, prehistoric."

Page 186, Marine: One of the entries under the Humanoid heading reads "Gnoll (S5, WD2)." The S5, WD2 notation appears to be meaningless and should be disregarded.

Page 188, Plains: One of the entries under the Giant heading reads "Ogre (S3)." The S3 notation appears to be meaningless and should be disregarded. Further, the "hyena, dire" entry likely refers to either huge or giant hyenas, as there are no dire ones detailed in OSRIC.

Page 189, Rural: Gold dragons have two non-sequential runs on this encounter table. It seems possible that some of the entries were intended to be another dragon type or types instead.

Page 190, Tundra: Invertebrates are anomalously titled "vermin" for this terrain type.

Page 191, Flying Dinosaurs: This table is missing 3; it goes from 2 to 4-5. It seems likely that "2" should be "2-3."

Page 192: Monster Statistics, Move: "(See Chapter II)" should be "(See Chapter III)."

Page 192, Monster Statistics, Attacks: "(See Chapter II)" should be "(See Chapter III)."

Page 192, Monster Statistics, Damage: "(See Chapter II)" should be "(See Chapter III)."

Page 192, Monster Statistics, Armour Class: "(See Chapter II)" should be "(See Chapter I)."

Page 192, Tribal Spellcasters, Shaman: Cavemen should be added to the "Seventh Level Max." column.

Page 192, Tribal Spellcasters, Shaman: "Resist fear" should be "Remove fear."

Page 193, Men: In the matrix for magic items, thieves are listed as rolling for magic shields. Assassins can use shields; thieves can't. While thus not errata per se, a note similar to the note for clerics to ignore weapons with edges might be useful, reminding the GM that only assassins would roll for shields. Or the "Y" may have been intended for the armour row immediately above and been misplaced. Furthermore, magic users aren't allowed the possibility of magical potions, unlike every other class. This may not be an oversight, but that feels possible since they otherwise have the fewest categories of possible magical items (4 categories, as opposed to 5 or 6 for other classes).

Page 194, Men, Berserker: Berserkers have no chance of gp treasure in lair, but they do have a chance of 1d3 x 1,000 platinum pieces. This is much higher than other types of men, who have 1dX x 1,000 gp and 1dX x 100 pp. This should possibly be 1d3 x 1,000 gp with no chance for platinum.

Page 194, Men, Brigand: Brigands are noted to have a "+1 morale bonus." This would probably equate to +5% base morale in OSRIC's percentile morale system.

Page 194, Men, Dervish/Nomad: They are stated as having a 50% chance of jewelry as treasure, but no quantity is given. The correct value here is 5d6 per AD&D.

Page 197, Demi-Humans: It's not entirely clear if dwarf clerics, elf clerics, gnome clerics, and halfling druids are intended to be PC options or not. The character creation chapter doesn't mention their NPC-only status from AD&D at all. In this section, however, we find: "Some NPC demi-humans may be clerics. This is not necessarily permitted to player characters of that race....." If this is indeed the intent, it should probably be mentioned right up front as opposed to almost 200 pages in for clarity's sake alone. In any case, this reference to clerics still doesn't address the halfling druid question, since OSRIC doesn't appear to incorporate the concept of sub-classes as such.

Page 197, Dwarf: The lair treasure entry has two gem chances next to each other: 5d4 gems (30%), 1d4 × 20 gems (50%). The first entry should likely be in the individual treasure listing rather than the lair listing, based upon other individual entries, such as merchants.

Page 199, Batrachian: These monsters are said to "surprise opponents 50% of the time, or 80% of the time if hopping." AD&D specifies surprise on 1-3 standard or 1-5 hopping, which is obviously a much better solution since it maps readily to a six-sided surprise die.

Page 200, Cavemen: Cavemen "suffer a -1 to all morale checks." Since morale check penalties are positive numbers in the OSRIC system, and a 1% modifier wouldn't be worth mentioning in any case, this should likely be +5%.

Page 206, Giant, Fire: AD&D specifies that these giants may throw boulders from 10 to 200 feet/yards away. OSRIC lists the range as 120 feet instead.

Page 207, Giant, Frost: "Winter wolves often share residence with frost giants (50% chance, 1d6 in number)." Winter wolves are not described in the OSRIC rules

Page 208, Ettin: This monster's treasure entry is suspiciously generous and also out of format. "Treasure: Individual: 2d10 gp, 1d6 gems (25%), 1d4 jewellery (20%) 2 magic items; Lair: 2d6 x 1,000 gp (70%)." It seems likely that everything after 2d10 gp is lair treasure and that there should be a 10% chance for the magic items, rather than them being present automatically.

Page 208, Giant, Storm: "However, storm giants who have their castle abodes under water will instead have 2d4 sea lions." Sea lions are not described in the OSRIC rules.

Pages 212 - 216, Dragons: The entries for several dragon types (green, red) include the text, "Owing to the magical nature of the creature, it does not require somatic or material components to its spells—it need only speak the incantation." It would be ideal to have this information listed for every dragon type, since all are potential casters. Furthermore, multiple dragon types (blue, brass, bronze, silver) are said to cast spells as "wizards." Wizard is not a class in OSRIC, of course.

Pages 215: The page number is missing.

Page 215, Dragon, Green: It's not stated that a green dragon's breath weapon deals damage equal to the dragon's hp. As "toxic gas," the uninitiated could just as easily assume that it's a save or die attack, which it definitely is not.

Page 216, Demons: "Note that most demons do not actually fall into the five listed categories." There are six main categories of demons (A, B, C, D, E, F), not five.

Page 216, Demons: It it not noted that demons, like devils, may only be permanently destroyed on their home planes.

Page 217, Demons: "Many demons possess the following magical abilities: infravision (as the 5th level magic user spell), teleport (with no chance of error) (as the 2nd level magic user spell)." Infravision is a 3rd level spell. Teleport is a 5th level spell.

Page 217, Demons, Silver: There is a space missing in this chart entry. "No additional damage(according"

Page 221, Class F Demon: This creature's attack form is described as "1 bite." It should be "1 weapon/sword or 1 whip attack."

Page 222, Demoniac: Lair Probability is listed as "See below," but there's nothing in the main description that could be tied to lairs.

Page 226, Devils: The following text is a bit mangled and should be rewritten: "A devil must return to its home plane in Hell for 9 decades of servitude as a lemure before it will resume its home plane in Hell for 9 decades of servitude as a lemure before they will resume their former status."

Page 226, Devils: The section regarding the illusion power of devils should be amended from "phantasmal force as the 3rd level magic-user spell" to "spectral force as the 3rd level illusionist spell."

Page 227, Bearded Devil: It is not noted that this monster can also perform a standard weapon attack with its glaive instead of to using it to entangle.

Page 228, Bone Devil: It is stated: "They have ultravision (60-ft range) which is more suited to icy climates." This is the only reference to ultravision in the OSRIC core rules. Nowhere therein is it defined.

Page 229, Ice Devil: The monster's summoning ability is listed as gate (i.e. the spell) instead of using the the standard "summon" terminology.

Page 230, Scaly Devil: This monster should instead be known as the Manalishi (Lesser Devil; Scaly Devil, Abyssai).

Page 232, Pit Fiend: This monster is missing its 2 HP/round regeneration ability from AD&D.

Page 238, Golems: Flesh, iron, and stone golems list polymorph any object as one of the spells used in their creation. Polymorph object is the correct spell name.

Page 240. Dryad: There may be an error in the experience point value of this monster. OSRIC lists 30+10 xp/hp, while AD&D gives 105+3 xp/hp.

Page 242. Nymph: There may be an error in the experience point value of this monster. OSRIC lists 105+3 xp/hp, while AD&D gives 350+3 xp/hp.

Page 246, Euparkeria: Level/XP should be 1/10+1/hp.

Page 253, Bat: This creature's Aerial Agility is listed as V. As bats cannot hover in the air, however, the value of IV given elsewhere in the text is likely correct.

Page 254, Barracuda: This creature's swimming movement rate of 30 should likely be 300, based on similar fast-swimming creatures such as the giant gar.

Page 258, Eel, Giant: Weed eels have a number appearing of 1d4. AD&D specifies 6d10. Similarly, electric eels appears in groups of 1d3 in AD&D, as opposed to 1d4 in OSRIC.

Page 260, Horse: There are no carry weight allowances given for any of the horse types in OSRIC. As this information is highly useful, here are the AD&D values: Draft: 400/800 lbs, heavy: 500/750 lbs, light: 300/500 lbs, medium: 400/650 lbs, pony: 200/300 lbs, wild: 300/600 lbs. Note that carrying any amount over the first value given (i.e. over 400 lbs for a draft horse) will slow the animal 50%.

Page 263, Mule: There is no carry weight allowance given for mules in OSRIC. As this information is highly useful, here are the AD&D values: 200/600 lbs. Note that carrying over 200 lbs will slow the animal 50%.

Page 265, Squid, Giant: Based on the description(s) for squid/octopus, where two arms are used to attack the ship, with the remainder used to attack the crew, the octopus should have six tentacle attacks instead of the listed seven.

Page 268, Achaierai: These creatures are said to have considerable treasure in their lairs, but a Lair Probability of "nil." AD&D specified 5%.

Page 272, Basilisk: The attack form described ("antlers + weapon") makes no sense for this monster. "1 bite" would be correct.

Page 276, Carcass Creeper: There is no damage value provided for the creature's attacks and no duration given for their paralysing effect. This is in keeping with the AD&D Monster Manual, but may be confusing to newcomers.

Page 276, Caterwaul: "They also possess keen senses and can only be surprised 10% of the time." While accurate to AD&D, this creates problems, since OSRIC generally uses d6 rolls for surprise. It could be changed to 1 in 6 if consistency were to be prioritized over accuracy.

Page 278, Couatl: This creature is noted to have a chance of 2d19 gems being present in its lair. 2d10 is correct.

Page 280, Dark Creeper: "In an area settled by at least 25 solitary dark creepers there is a 90% chance there will be a dark creeper in the area, increased by 2% for every 5 additional creepers." This sentence should read: "In an area settled by at least 25 solitary dark creepers there is a 90% chance there will be a dark stalker in the area, increased by 2% for every 5 additional creepers."

Page 282, Elemental, Air Elemental: "Their primary attack form is a stream of air that they use like an invisible limb to strike for 2d20 damage." 2d10 damage is correct in this case.

Page 286, Genie: The Level/XP given for this monster seems abnormally low. A suggested fix would be 6/650+10/hp for regular genies and 7/1,200+13/hp for nobles.

Page 292, Lizard, Giant, Cave: This creature has a Lair Probability of "nil," despite having lair treasure listed. 20% is correct, per AD&D.

Page 292, Lizard, Giant, Monitor: This creature has a Lair Probability of "nil," despite having lair treasure listed. 80% is correct, per AD&D.

Page 293, Lurker Above: "They have a +4 bonus to their chance of surprise." This is potentially quite misleading, as it could lead to automatic surprise situations. AD&D specifies that it surprises on a 1-4 on 1d6. In addition, Level/XP should be 7/1500+13 hp.

Page 294, Manticore: There are no percentage chances associated with the gems and jewelry in these creatures' treasure hoards. They are 15% and 10%, respectively, in AD&D.

Page 298, Naga, Guardian: This creature is given a chance of 5d6 x 1 cp in its lair treasure. 5d6 x 1000 is correct.

Page 298, Naga, Spirit: The damage notation (1d3) associated with the creature's bite in the text could be mistaken as an indication of how much damage the poison deals. In fact, the bite itself inflicts 1d3 damage and the poison is simply fatal if the target's saving throw fails.

Page 301, Owlbear: There are no percentage chances associated with the various coinages that can appear in these creatures' treasure hoards. Per AD&D, they are: 20% chance for cp, 30% chance for sp.

Page 303, Phoenix: "A phoenix has the innate ability to cause a tremendous heat up to thrice per day; igniting all flammable materials, boiling liquids, and blistering exposed skin." No damage value is given for this attack, but AD&D lists it at 10 hp. Additionally, the AD&D phoenix radiates protection from evil in a 10 ft radius, and can cast a remove fear 10 ft radius. The OSRIC Phoenix radiates a protection from fear 10 ft radius, and can also cast remove fear in a 10' radius. Further, the description references fire quench as the reverse of produce fire, but it's actually the reverse of fire storm. Finally, the OSRIC phoenix may control temperature in a 50 ft radius instead of a 10 ft radius as in AD&D.

Page 305, Remorhaz: "When attacking, the remorhaz rises on the back section of its body and begins beating its bat-like wings. Its attack is blinding..." Contrary to this description, this monster's attacks do not cause blindness. It's possible that the intention was to describe the attack as blindingly fast.

Page 305, Roc: The 1d33 notation for jewelry should be 1d3.

Page 308, Sea Hag: "Magic Resistence" is improperly written as "MAGIC Resistance."

Page 314, Spider, Huge: The +3 bonus specified for saves against the spider's poison should only be +1. Additionally, the AD&D version is stated to surprise opponents on a roll of 1-5 on 1d6.

Page 315, Squealer: This creature differs from its AD&D incarnation in both included details and in omissions. The damages provided are slightly different, some bonuses aren't mentioned, etc.

Page 318, Triton: "Summon allies: 5d4 hippocampi, 5d6 giant sea horses, or 1d10 sea lions (depending upon how blown)." None of these monsters are described in the OSRIC rules.

Page 319, Vulchling: "Vulchlings are weak fliers, tending to swoop upon their prey with a claw attack, then fighting on the ground with a bite/bite routine." This appears to be reversed in OSRIC, and vulchlings should likely instead attack twice with their claws when in the air, and then once per round with a 1d4+1 bite on the ground after landing.

Page 324, Miscellaneous Weapons Table 1: The scimitar is listed both on this table and on Swords Table 1 (page 325). It should likely appear only on the swords table. This is supported by the fact that Miscellaneous Weapons Table 1 is missing an entry for staves, with the implication being that the duplicate scimitar entry took its place.

Page 324: Potions, Table 1: There's a "cursed potion" in the table with no explanation in the text. It seems highly likely that this was meant to refer to the potion of poison.

Page 324: Ring of Charisma: The gp value of this item should likely be 10,000, not 1,000.

Page 325, Scrolls: There is no table provided for determining the number of spells found on a spell scroll and their level(s).

Page 235, Scrolls Table 3: Scrolls of acid and polymorph warding appear on this table, but no such items are described in the main text.

Page 327, Table IV, Rare Miscellaneous Magic Items: There's an error causing magic items to get out of step in between numbers 03 and 14. Two of the items in that span need to be reduced to a 1% chance (down from 2%) to make the table work.

Page 329: Potion of Climbing: Duration should be 5d4 rounds + 1 turn, not 5d5 rounds + 1 turn.

Page 328, Sagacious Volume: This item has a listed gp value of 50,000,312. 50,000 would be correct.

Page 329: Potion of Dragon Control: There is no mention of a saving throw against this potion's effects. See the entry for the potion of giant control for the correct procedure.

Page 330, Potion of Giant Strength: The throwing ranges on the various potions should be rechecked. They went from a respectable 80-160 feet or yards in AD&D to characters being able to throw rocks several miles. Removing all the "thousands" seems to fix the issue (i.e. reduce range from "8,160 ft" to "160 ft").

Page 335, Staff of Compulsion: This entry references a ring of humanoid control and a ring of mammal command. The ring of humanoid control's OSRIC counterpart appears to be the ring of charisma, but there is no OSRIC item equivalent to a ring of mammal command.

Page 340, Holy Sword: This weapon is listed as usable only by paladins, but it should be (FPRT) for fighter, paladin, ranger, thief, as any Good-aligned character of these other classes can use it as a +2 sword.

Page 341, Sword Intelligence and Capabilities, Speech: "Sword will speak its alignment tongue plus 1 or more additional languages determined according to the table below" The preceding sentence is in need of a period at its end.

Page 343, Crossbow of Speed: The weapon's magical bonus (+1) is not given.

Page 346, Boots of the Winterlands: This item's description mentions an endure cold effect. However, this spell is properly known as resist cold in OSRIC.

Page 344, Hammer of the Dwarfs: In OSRIC, all thrown magic hammers (and hand axes) get their magic to-hit bonus but not their magic damage bonus. The hammer of the dwarfs has a note that, "The hammer of the dwarfs retains its attack bonus when hurled as a missile weapon, doing double damage if it hits..." The note seems redundant since every hammer retains its attack bonus. But it would be noteworthy if the hammer retained its damage bonus, which was then paired with 2d4+2 (double hammer damage which is normally 1d4+1). "Attack bonus" may have been loosely worded here.

Page 347, Broom of Flying: The broom's movement speed should be 300 ft, not 30 ft.

Page 347, Carpet of Flying: The carpet's base movement speed should be 400 ft, not 40 ft.

Page 350, Deck of Illusions: Goblin is a repeated entry in the deck, when no other card varieties are repeated. Unclear whether it was purposefully or accidentally duplicated.

Page 352, Figurines of Wonderous Power, Onyx Dog: The description is missing a duration of use and required rest time. Per AD&D, it can be used for up to six hours continuously, once per week.

Page 353, Figurines of Wonderous Power, Serpentine Owl: Many pertinent details on the owl are omitted from the AD&D version: "The normal-sized form of the magical statuette moves with 95% silence, has infravision to 90'. can see in normal, above ground darkness as if it were full light, and twice as well as a human at that. Its hearing is so keen as to be able to detect a mouse moving at 60’ distance; thus, silent movement chances ore reduced 50% with respect to the serpentine owl in smaller form."

Page 354, Horn of Blasting, Greater: The description doesn't mention whether damage is also doubled to 14d6 for crystalline objects, as per the standard horn of blasting.

Page 354, Horn of the Tritons: It is stated that the Horn can summon sharks up to 7 HD. 8 HD is correct.

Page 357, Mirror of Mental Prowess: This item references a "probability to detect scrying." No such mechanic is detailed in OSRIC.

Page 358, Pipes of the Sewers: "The rats take a turn to travel 50 ft." 50 ft per round is the correct speed. Additionally, the AD&D version of this item also allowed for the summoning of giant rats. It is unclear whether this function was omitted on purpose or accidentally.

Page 359: Robe of the Archmagi: The 75% magic resistance listed for this item should be 5%, per AD&D.

Page 359, Robe of Scintillating Colours: Most of the Robe's powers as described in AD&D are not included in the OSRIC version. It is unclear if this is intended or not.

Page 364, Cursed Items: There are seven main types of curses listed: delusion, opposite effect or target, intermittent functioning, requirement, drawback, completely different effect, and substitute specific cursed item. Six of those types get a sentence or two of explanatory text and advice; "completely different effect" is absent from this additional discussion.

Page 366, Specific Cursed Items: The potion of poison appears twice on this table, yet no such item is described in the main text. Additionally, the following cursed items described in the text are absent from this table: Ring of contrariness, ring of weakness, sword +1, cursed, shield -1, missile attractor.

Page 366, Armour of Rage: The reference to armour of command should be deleted.

Page 367. Broom of Animated Attack: It should be noted that the broom attacks as a 4 HD monster.

Page 368, Net of Snaring: This item "can be commanded to launch from the user's hand and ensnare a creature up to 30-ft away (as the 1st level druid spell ensnare)." There is no ensnare spell in OSRIC, and this most likely should reference the druid spell entangle instead.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Swords & Wizardry Complete errata (unofficial)

Important update: While this document may still be of some value to those using legacy editions of Swords & Wizardry Complete, the recent (as of May 2023) Revised edition published by Mythmere Games has fully addressed the following errata items. Users of this and future editions should disregard the information below.

Since my earlier deep dive into Advanced Labrynth Lord was generally well received by the community, here are the substantial errors I've noted in another of my favorite rulebooks, Swords & Wizardry Complete. As before, I've left out trivial typos (misspellings, misplaced commas, etc.) in favor of things that might actually cause confusion or unintended results during play. Please also note that in many cases, it can be difficult (if not impossible) to determine if a deviation from the original material is an error or intentional. Any known intentional deviations by the author were omitted. This document is no way officially endorsed by the creator of Swords & Wizardry. Nevertheless, I hope you find it useful.

All page citations are based on the Swords & Wizardry Complete rulebook, ISBN 978-1-62283-172-2.

Final update: 23 May 2023.


Page 8, Intelligence: S&WC notes that "Neutrality does not have any sort of alignment common language...", while D&D specifies "Law, Chaos and Neutrality also have common languages spoken by each respectively." This may be a deliberate distinction between the two games, however.

Page 19, Harmonic Touch: Blackmoor limited this potent monk ability to one usage per week. There is no mention of any sort of usage restriction in S&WC. Additionally, Blackmoor monks gained a Speak With Plants ability at 8th level and started out with bonuses to most thieving skills equivalent to a dwarf or halfling's (generally whichever's was higher for a given skill).

Page 29, Equipment Tables: The 10' ladder has a listed price of 0.05 GP. The simpler 10' pole costs four times more at 0.2 GP. The ladder was most likely meant to be listed at 0.5 GP.

Page 35, Different Categories of Saving Throws: It is not noted that monsters generally save as fighters of a level equal to their HD when using this method.

Page 45, Trouble Develops: The combat example describes two characters with movement rates of 6 as being able to move 60' in a single round. 20' would be the correct figure per the chart on page 32.

Page 52, Aerial Servant: The attack bonus of +17 given for this monster should be +15 based on the guidelines given on the "Monster Attack Tables" (page 40). The creature's movement rate is also given as 240' as opposed to 24.

Page 55: Continual Light: The main writeup indicates that this is a second level magic-user spell, but does not mention that it is also a third level cleric spell. Further, the distinction between the magic-user and cleric versions of the spell (the light shed by the former is not equal in intensity to sunlight while the latter's is) is not made clear. Finally, it is not stated that this spell may be reversed by evil clerics.

Page 56, Detect Evil: It is not specified that this spell may be reversed by evil clerics.

Page 57, Dimension Door: A duration of one hour is specified. It should be noted as instantaneous instead.

Page 57, Dispel Evil: It is not specified that this spell may be reversed by evil clerics.

Page 57, Hallucinatory Forest: It is not stated that this spell has a reversed version used to dispel its effects.

Page 61, Light: It is not specified that this spell may be reversed by evil clerics.

Page 65, Permanency: This spell's effect requires a dispel magic of twice the caster's level to remove it. Is not clarified, however, that multiple magic-users may dispel in concert in order to combine their levels toward meeting this threshold, similar to phase door. Otherwise, a minimum 32nd level magic-user would be required to dispel almost any permanency!

Page 67, Protection from Evil, Protection from Evil, 10-Foot Radius, Purify Food and Drink: It is not specified that these three spells may be reversed by evil clerics.

Page 72, Transmute Rock to Mud: It is not stated that this spell has a reversed version used to dispel its effects.

Page 79, Summary of Important Dungeon Facts: The need for PCs to spend one turn per hour of exploration resting (and two turns following a battle or pursuit) is not mentioned.

Page 83: Getting Lost: The text implies that the check to get lost is made once daily (" The party may check the next day and discover that they were lost..."), but this is never unambiguously stated.

Page 83: Encounters in the Wilderness: There are no guidelines presented for encounter check frequency in the wilderness. Page 17 of The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures suggests one check daily with anywhere between a 1 in 6 and 3 in 6 chance of an encounter, depending on the terrain type.

Page 92, Ant, Giant (Warrior): This monster displays a Challenge Level/XP: 2/30. It should be 4/120, as per the "Monster by Challenge Level" chart on page 116.

Page 99, Dragons: This entry states, "Dragons have double normal treasure (that is, a gold piece value of four times the dragon's XP value)." Since the standard value of a treasure hoard is determined by rolling 1d3+1 x monster XP, however, it's unclear whether dragons are intended to always have a fixed x4 multiplier or if whatever is rolled is really meant to be doubled, potentially as high as XP x 8.

Page 104, Grey Ooze: This entry states "Metal (but not stone or wood) must make a saving throw vs. acid when exposed to grey ooze" and "When the grey ooze hits a character in metal armor, the armor must make an item saving throw." Item saving throws are not mentioned anywhere else in S&WC.

Page 120, Generating a Random Treasure Hoard: The option for the GM to add platinum coinage to the game is presented, but the "TSR standard" value of 5 GP per PP isn't stated.

Page 121, Scrolls: It's not stated anywhere in S&WC that casting a spell from a scroll (or copying it to a magic-user's spell book) causes the writing on the scroll to disappear. Further, OD&D specifies that all spell scrolls operate at the 6th level of ability or the minimum level required to cast the spell in question, if higher. There is no such provision in S&WC.

Page 123, Magic Melee Weapon Types: The chart includes an entry for "mace, light," a weapon not described in the equipment chapter. This same chart also lacks entries for several weapon types that are in the equipment chapter. Specifically, clubs, polearms, flails, and bastard swords.

Page 124, Magic Missile Weapon Types: The table on page only includes thrown weapons (javelins, darts) and ammunition (arrows, bolts, sling stones). There are no enchanted bows or crossbows listed.

Page 127, Staff of Power: The fireballs and lightning bolts cast from the staff deal only 4d6 damage. This is a mere half of what OD&D calls for, and thus may be an error.

Page 129, Lenses of Charming: The name of this item is not shown in bold text, making it easy to miss.

Page 130, Mirror of Mental Scrying: The name of this item is not shown in bold text, making it easy to miss.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

On "fixing" Swords & Wizardry's unified saving throws

One of Swords & Wizardry's most praised features is its unified saving throw mechanic. While I personally adore classic (A)D&D's multiple save categories due to their sheer flavor and quirk factor, I can still see the time saving potential of a unified system when it comes to writing up characters, saving against difficult to categorize effects, and the like. When I actually sat down and crunched the numbers, though, something didn't quite add up.

Let's start with the base OD&D saving throw values for a 1st level fighter:

Death Rays/Poison: 12
Wands: 13
Stone: 14
Dragon's Breath: 15
Spells/Staffs: 16

Adding these together and averaging them gives us 14, which is actually slightly more favorable the 1st level S&W fighter's unified save number of 15. Performing the same operation for a 4th level fighter gives us a value of 12 in OD&D, matching up with 12 in S&W. At 7th level: OD&D 9.8/S&W 9. At 10th: OD&D 7.8/S&W 6. When all is said and done, the OD&D fighter would obtain his best average save of 5.4 at 13th level, while his S&W counterpart would max out at a saving throw of 5 at level 11.

If I had to speculate (always an iffy prospect, I know), I would venture that the author wanted to ensure that characters saw a steady, meaningful saving throw progression at every individual level instead of just at certain big "break points" and viewed the side effect of characters beyond level one saving significantly more often than their OD&D counterparts as a worthwhile sacrifice toward this end.

Should you happen to disagree, here's a more OD&D-accurate single save progression for Swords & Wizardry based on repeating the same calculation and rounding fractional results to the nearest whole digit for every class/level grouping:


1-3: 14
4-6: 12
7-9: 10
10-12: 8
13+: 5

* It is highly recommended to grant paladins a +2 bonus to all saving throws when using this table.


1-4: 14
5-8: 11
9-12: 8
13+: 6


1-5: 14
6-10: 12
11-15: 9
16+: 5

Bear in mind when using this system that OD&D monsters traditionally save as fighters of a level equal to their hit dice unless the DM judges them to be sufficiently similar in function to another class instead (i.e. a magic using monster might be allowed to use a magic-user's save value if it is more advantageous to do so).

Monday, July 12, 2021

Advanced Labyrinth Lord errata (unofficial)

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? If you're wondering what I'm been up to, I've mostly been reviewing classic 8 and 16-bit video games over at my other blog Twentieth Century Gamer.

Anyway, these are the substantial errors I've noted in my own print copy of the Advanced Labyrinth Lord rulebook. I've left out trivial typos (misspellings, misplaced commas, etc.) in favor of things that might actually cause confusion or unintended results during play. I hope you find it useful. This is a work in progress and will be periodically updated.

When compiling this information, my decisions regarding what to include were informed by two assumptions:

1. I assumed that the goal was to make every class, spell, monster, and magic item as close in function to the source material as possible. In some cases, it can be difficult (or impossible) to determine if a deviation from the original material is an error or intentional. Any known intentional deviations (such as plate mail armor being more expensive than it is in B/X D&D) were omitted.

2. Whenever a class, spell, monster, or magic item appears in both B/X D&D and AD&D, I checked it against its B/X version, as Labyrinth Lord is primarily based on that edition.

Includes contributions from: Bearbottle0, ken-do-nim.

Latest update: 7 June 2022.


Page 5, Introduction: "You've taken the first step on your adventure, but you are still a 0 level human." The concept of 0 level humans is addressed obliquely here (as well as on the Attack Value and Saving Throw table), but it is never clearly defined, as it is in the Basic rulebook's "Normal Human" monster entry. The guidelines for determining a 0 level human's hit points, for example, are not present in ALL.

Page 7, Creating a Character: The Attack Value tables are on page 112. Saving Throws are detailed on page 106.

Page 13, Elves: It is noted that elves "are between 5 and 5 feet tall." This should be "between 5 and 5 1/2 feet tall." Identical typos appear in the elf and half-elf race templates on pages 17 and 18.

Page 23, Illusionist Spell Progression: The reference to the spells Find Familiar and Write in the footnote should be replaced with Summon Familiar and Scribe, respectively.

Page 24, Monks: AD&D specifies that monks gain access to the Speak with Animals ability before the Speak with Plants ability. ALL reverses this. Additionally, AD&D monks could only own a maximum of five magic items: Two magic weapons and three rings and/or miscellaneous magic items usable by thieves. All other magic item types (potions, scrolls, rods, etc.) are forbidden. Finally, AD&D monks may not employ any hirelings or other followers before reaching 6th level. It's possible that some or all of these are intentional changes.

Page 25, Paladin Level Progression: AD&D paladins gain +3 hp per level after level 9, the same as fighters. Since fighters in Labyrinth Lord only gain +2 hp per level after 9th, however, paladins probably should as well in order to reflect the original intent.

Page 26, Rangers: The permissible alignments for rangers could be more clearly explained. AD&D rangers are required to be Good or forfeit their special abilities and permanently become regular fighters (similar to paladins). ALL states, "They adhere to their own sort of morals, such that they might be lawful, chaotic, or neutral with their larger world views, which may not reflect their disposition to other beings." This sounds like a complicated way of saying they can be of any alignment, but what does "their own sort of morals" mean?

Page 30, Exchange Value: Per this chart, 1 platinum piece is equal in value to 10 gold pieces, not 5 as in both B/X and AD&D. This change may or may not be intentional, but be aware that it has the potential to drastically increase the value of platinum treasures found in modules created for those older rule sets.

Page 31, Adventuring Gear and Items: The small silver mirror, small steel mirror, large belt pouch, large sack, small sack, saddle bag, and wine should each weigh 1/2 pound. The empty flask is given a weight of 1 1/2 pounds, but this is somehow more than the 1 pound weights given for flasks full of holy water or oil, so 1/2 pound is likely correct.

Page 32, Food, Drink, Provisions, and Lodging: Bottles of mead, common wine, and good wine should each weigh 1 1/2 pounds.

Page 33, Animals of burden: Despite the carrying capacities here being indicated for "most horses and mules," all horse varieties listed in the monster chapter (page 162) can carry significantly more.

Page 38, Bless: The reversed version of this spell (Blight) is not named in the text. Additionally, it should be noted that victims of Blight get a saving throw versus Spells to avoid its effect.

Page 38, Control Weather: The area of effect is 4d4 square miles.

Page 39, Cure Disease: "The victims of this disease cannot be cured of damage from other spells...." The word "from" in the above sentence should be replaced with "by" to convey the correct meaning.

Page 41, Glyph of Warding: The duration is permanent until triggered.

Page 42, Lower Water: The correct area of effect is ten square feet per caster level.

Page 42, Part Water: The range should be 20' per caster level.

Page 44, Resist Fire: The saving throw bonus should be +2, not +3.

Page 47, Commune with Nature: Range is 1/2 mile per level.

Page 51, Neutralize Poison: The druidic version of this spell is incorrectly labeled as reversible.

Page 53, Snare: Duration is permanent until triggered.

Page 55, Tree Stride: "However, if the nearest oak tree in range is to the west, the caster emerges from that tree instead." The word "nearest" above should be replaced by "only" to preserve the original meaning.

Page 57, Implant Emotion: Duration should be defined as the length of time the caster concentrates on maintaining the spell.

Page 58, Invisibility, Greater: This is a 4th level spell.

Page 58, Major Creation: It should be noted that the caster may create mineral objects with a duration of 6 turns in addition to vegetable objects of 12 turns duration via this spell.

Page 58, Mirror Image: The illusionist version of this spell creates 1d4+1 images, not 1d4.

Page 59, Prismatic Wall: The maximum dimensions of the wall are 4' wide and 2' tall per caster level.

Page 62, Antipathy/Sympathy: The maximum area that can be affected is 10 cubic feet per caster level. If cast on an object instead of an area, victims suffer a -2 penalty to their saving throw rolls.

Page 64, Comprehend Languages: The range and duration for this spell are swapped.

Page 64, Cone of Cold: Victims are entitled to a saving throw. Success results in 1/2 damage.

Page 66, Dimension Door: Unwilling targets should receive a saving throw.

Page 68, Explosive Runes: Duration is permanent until triggered.

Page 68, False Trap: The AD&D version of this spell (Leomund's Trap) has a duration of permanent. It is unclear if the ALL duration of 6 turns per level is intended or an error.

Page 69, Fire Trap: Duration is permanent until triggered.

Page 72, Hallucinatory Terrain: The spell should affect up to a 10' x 10' square area per caster level.

Page 77, Mind Blank: Duration should be 1 day.

Page 77, Mnemonic Enhancer: The AD&D version of this spell (Rary's Mnemonic Enhancer) has a duration of 1 day. It is unclear if the ALL duration of 2 turns per level is intended or an error.

Page 79, Phase Door: "If anyone is within the passage when it is dispelled, he is harmlessly ejected just as if he were inside a passwall effect." The description for Passwall on page 78 does not mention any such scenario.

Page 79, Polymorph Other: Duration is permanent until dispelled.

Page 79, Power Word Blind: This spell affects an area 30' in diameter.

Page 80, Prismatic Sphere: The sphere has a 20' diameter. Furthermore, the AD&D version of this spell is largely identical, except that the red and orange globes are negated by Cone of Cold and Gust of Wind, respectively, not Passwall and Fly as in ALL. It's unclear whether or not this change is intentional.

Page 82, Scribe: The -1 penalty for attempting to transcribe a spell three levels or more higher than the writer can cast should increase by one with each spell level beyond that (-2 at four levels higher, -3 at five, etc.).

Page 83, Simulacrum: The Simulacrum spell itself only creates a zombie-like being with 50%+1d10% of the original's hit points and 10%+1d4x10% of the original's class levels (if any). A further Reincarnation spell is required to give the simulacrum a vital force and personality. A Limited Wish spell is required to give it 35%+1d6x5% of the original's memories.

Page 83, Spell Resistance: The last sentence should read, "The caster may affect up to 1 creature per 4 levels of experience, with the duration divided evenly among them."

Page 84, Stinking Cloud: Duration should be 1 round per level.

Page 85, Summon Familiar: Range should be 1 mile per level.

Page 86, Symbol: The cleric spell Restoration may also be used to remove the Symbol of Insanity's effect from a victim.

Page 91, Illusionist Spells: "Astral Spell" should read "Astral Projection."

Page 91, Magic-User Spells: Animal Growth is absent from the 5th level spell list.

Page 119, Aerial Servant: This creature can only be hit by magical weapons. Further, the aerial servant surprises opponents on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6. It has the normal 1-2 chance of being surprised itself.

Page 120, Ankheg: Victims of the creature's acid spray are entitled to a saving throw for 1/2 damage.

Page 124, Boar: The giant boar varies considerably from its AD&D counterpart, which has 7 Hit Dice, a 3d6 damage attack, and a number encountered of 2d4. Furthermore, the AD&D warthog has 3 Hit Dice.

Page 125, Brownie: This creature saves as a 9th level cleric. In addition, the brownie itself also enjoys the same 18 DEX and immunity to surprise that it grants to a magic-user when serving as a familiar.

Page 125, Bulette: One of the monster's claw attacks is mistakenly listed at 2d6 damage instead of the correct 3d6.

Page 130, Babau: Hit Dice should be 7+14, not 7+10.

Page 132, Marilith: Hit Dice should be 7+7, not 7+6.

Page 135, Vrock: This demon creates darkness in a radius of 5', not 10'.

Page 137, Bael: The reference to Alter Self should probably be to Doppelganger, the closest equivalent spell in ALL. Similarly, Produce Fire should be changed to Produce Flame.

Page 138, Erinyes: Hit Dice should be 6+6, not 6+5.

Page 140, Devil, Ice: This creature's mandible attack deals 2d4 damage, not 1d4. It may also use an Ice Storm once per day.

Page 141, Lemure: Damage should be 1d3, not 1d4.

Page 146, Dwarf, Duergar: These creatures are immune to all illusions and phantasms. Also, it is stated that they understand "the gesture language of the drow." There is no mention of this language in the main drow entry on page 149.

Page 150, Eel: The electric eel's bite should deal 1d3 damage, not 1d4. Additionally, this entry appears out of alphabetical order.

Page 154, Ghost: Partially materialized ghosts may only be hit by silver weapons (which deal 50% damage) or magical weapons.

Page 157, Golem, Clay: Once per day, the golem can act as if under the effect of a Haste spell for three rounds.

Page 160, Groaning Spirit (Banshee): This creature can only be hit by +1 or better magic weapons. It is immune to cold and electricity.

Page 162, Homonculus: The creature's bite should cause sleep for 5d6 minutes, not 5d6 turns. Converting this roll into turns multiplies the duration by a factor of ten! Additionally, AD&D states that a Mirror Image spell is required to create a homonculus, while ALL calls for an ESP spell instead.

Page 165, Lamia: Damage should be 1d4, not 1d6.

Page 165, Lammasu: These creatures may become invisible or transport themselves via Dimension Door at will.

Page 166, Lich: Hit Dice should be 11+, not 12+.

Page 172, Naga, Spirit: This creature casts spells as a 5th level magic-user and a 4th level cleric.

Page 172, Neanderthal: Damage should be 2d4 or weapon +1.

Page 173, Night Hag: These creatures are immune to sleep, charm, fear, fire, and cold-based spells, as well as weapons of less than +3 enchantment. They can use Gate to attempt to call a barbed devil or standard order demon with a 50% chance of success.

Page 177, Piercer: These creatures are 95% likely to surprise opponents.

Page 178, Rakshasa: The reference to the illusionist spell Change Self should be to Doppelganger. Additionally, the creature's vulnerability to blessed crossbow bolts is not mentioned, although this may be a creative choice as opposed to an error.

Page 179, Remorhaz: Touching the creature's hide should result in 10d10 damage, not 1d10×100.

Page 187, Statue, Animate: The iron statue should have an Armor Class of 2, not 4.

Page 187, Stegosaurus: Both the creature's attacks should deal 2d8 damage.

Page 189, Titanothere: Trample damage should be 3d8, not 2d8.

Page 190, Treant: Morale should be 9, not 6.

Page 194, Wind Walker: A Slow spell deals damage to this creature as a Fire Ball.

Page 195, Wyvern: The sting causes 1d6 damage (plus poison), not 2d8.

Page 196, Xorn: These creatures surprise their opponents on a roll of 1-5 out of 6, not 1-3 out of 6. Furthermore, Xorn suffer 1d10+10 damage if a Passwall spell is cast upon them.

Page 196, Yellow Mold: Number encountered should be 1d8 (1d4), not 1d4 (1d8).

Page 206, Dragon Control: The chart used to determine the type of dragon controlled doesn't include the brass, bronze, copper, silver, or sea dragon types, only the ones listed in the Basic rulebook.

Page 206, Extra-Healing: The AD&D version of this potion restores 3d8+3 hp. Drinking just 1/3rd of it restores 1d8 hp.

Page 209, Spell Storing: The exact set of spells present in this ring initially is the only one it can ever hold, though they may be replenished.

Page 209, Telekinesis: Up to 200 pounds of weight can be moved by this ring's power.

Page 209, Scroll of Spells: As written, all spell scrolls contain either magic-user or cleric spells, with no provision made for druids (25% of cleric scrolls in AD&D were druidic) or illusionists (10% of magic-user scrolls in AD&D contained illusionist magic).

Page 212, Wand of Cold: The Cone of Cold deals 6d6 damage, not 3d6.

Page 213, Wand of Fire, Wand of Ice, Wand of Lightning: These wands are all designated as rechargeable. No method for magic item recharging is provided in the rules. This may be a deliberate omission rather than an error.

Page 214, Wand of Summoning: "This effect takes five segments to cast." This sentence should be disregarded altogether, as Labyrinth Lord does not divide its rounds up into segments. Also designated as rechargeable (see above).

Page 218, Cube of Force: The following spells and attacks also drain extra charges from the Cube: Catapult-like missiles (1), Fire Storm (3), Flame Strike (3), Prismatic Spray (7).

Page 221, Feather Token: The whip deals a base 1d6 damage (2-7 with the +1 bonus). It attacks independent of its owner as a 9th level fighter, similar to a dancing sword.

Page 221, Figurines of Wonderous Power: Each of the Ivory Goats may only be used three times before permanently losing its power.

Page 224, Horn of Blasting: The duration of deafness should be 1 turn, not 2d6 rounds.

Page 228, Rope of Strangulation: Victims are entitled to a saving throw versus spells to avoid being strangled.

Page 229, Talisman of Pure Good: A Chaotic cleric touching the talisman should also suffer damage.

Page 231, Sword +1, Flame Tongue: "Immune to fire" in sentence one should read "weak to fire." This error appears to be based on a misunderstanding of the term "inflammable" that appears in the DMG.

Page 232, Disruption Mace +1: Evil characters handling this weapon suffer 5d4 damage.

Page 238, Magic Research: "Spell casting classes may only create magic items usable by their class." This is clearly misleading as written, as it would preclude such commonly accepted practices as magic-users creating enchanted swords. The correct meaning could perhaps be better conveyed as "A spell caster may not create magic items that duplicate spell effects unique to other classes. For example, a magic-user could not create a Staff of Healing, nor a cleric a Wand of Fire Balls."

Pages 246 and 247, Sorrow of Brokenvale: The neanderthal stat blocks should list damage as 2d4 or weapon +1.

Page 261, Random Tavern Patron Traits: The second and third columns are swapped.

Page 263, Monster List: The giant boar should be listed in the HD 7 column. The lich should be listed in the HD 11 column.