Friday, March 8, 2019

3/8 Friday Trivia Travisty

A question a week, answer the following week, until I get bored or forget. All questions from the 2ed AD&D Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, Monstrous Compendium Volume I, and Monstrous Compendium Volume II. Even setting aside 2ed is one of my least favorites, most the questions are troll piss. Rule math minutiae. Aspects of 2ed I find too stupid to endure. Quite a few that are common knowledge to any player these days. Mostly in regards to iconic monsters that were relatively new and unknown back in 1991.

First up last week's answer; On a clear plain, how far can the silhouettes of characters at a campsite be seen due to the brightness of the fire?

1,500 yards DMG, page 118.  Sure, whatever, like I even have a map or know scale or distances to that precision. And every possible creature, magical or not, has the exact same night vision?  I'd rather abstract everything and leave it to chance; 1 in 6 something curious wanders close enough to see their fire. Also known as Wandering Monster Check.  Maybe increase/decrease chances if party is lax or cunning in not being detected.  Or, if I'm bored and the first 3 hours of session has been all role-play and exploration and there is just enough time for one battle before everyone goes home; DM fiat, monster night raid!  Fun, pacing trumps simulation. And no matter how comprehensive you try to make your simulation it will never cover all situations. So, why bother with anything but the barest of simulation at all? All that energy remembering and following overwrought rules is better expended on being creative, inventing cool encounters, developing interesting foes, in a word; being a DM.

There's a saying from Software Development, a mantra against over-engineering, over-complicating things. YAGNI - You Aren't Gonna Need It. Sadly it is easier to sell books full of rules than it is to sell "Just play the damn game."

Question (3rd lvl)

When Kendor drinks a potion of speed, he can move twice as fast and perform twice as many actions as usual. What ill effect does he suffer?

Hmmm, I;ve always treated magic items are proper nouns and capitalize them. Nobody remembers this nor similar effect with Haste spell and in 1st ed (not sure if it carried forward to 2ed) there was an obscure to find but nasty combination with System Shock.


  1. Hmm...I missed last week's question, but I never would have gotten it.

    In first edition I THINK that ill effect you're talking about was a 3 year age gain (I don't remember the system shock roll for speed magic, but it's been a loooong while since I ran AD&D). Gosh, I feel like some edition (BECMI?) increased this to 10 years (!) but I may be misremembering. Hell, maybe it was only a single year gain....haste spells being thrown around a lot back in the old days...but I'll stick with three for my "official" answer. I doubt 2nd edition changed the number from 1st.

    Regardless, "premature aging" is the general answer to the question.

    [I've never capitalized magic items. These days, I prefer to keep them "bold" in the B/X style]

    1. You sir, have an excellent memory and knowledge of old D&D.

      Crushing this Trivia :)

      PHB pg 12 "System Shock Survival states the percentage chance the character has of surviving the following forms of magical attacks (or simple application of the magic): aging, petrification (including flesh to stone spell), polymorph any object polymorph others."

      DMG pg 13 list following as aging magic: casting alter reality spell, casting gate spell, casting limited wish spell, casting restoration spell, casting resurrection spell, casting wish spell, imbibing a speed potion, under a haste spell

      One interpretation is; since those age character they require System Shock or die on the spot. Harsh.

  2. It is my firm belief that DM fiat should be kept entirely secret from the players. And don't get caught. A DM should strive to be the illuminati; keeping the players guessing at whether their fortune or misfortune was coincidence, or something more sinister.


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