Friday, October 1, 2010

D&D vs. AD&D

In reading through the D&D Rules Cyclopedia (1991) I came across this helpful summary of the differences between RC D&D and AD&D (p. 291):

·         AD&D characters tend to have higher ability scores, especially if some of the optional character generation rules are used. However, ability score bonuses are generally gained at a score of 15 instead of 13.

·         AD&D characters usually use different dice to roll hit points (for example, fighters roll d10).

·         AD&D game clerics get spells at first level, and often start with two or three spells.

·         The AD&D system separates character class and character race. Different class and race combinations are available (e.g. dwarf fighter/thief).

·         The AD&D alignment system adds a Good-Evil axis to the D&D game Law-Chaos axis, allowing greater detail (Lawful-Good, Chaotic-Neutral, etc.).

·         AD&D game spells are more complex. While one or two elements of a D&D spell may vary by character level, any and all elements of an AD&D spell (range, duration, effect) might vary in this way. AD&D spells are also more likely to have multiple effects or reversals.

·         AD&D game magical items are more complex; many have three or more separate functions.

·         The systems have different combat round time scales (affects encounter pacing).

·         The AD&D system uses a 10-point armor class scale.

·         The AD&D game weapons inflict different damage against larger-than-man-sized opponents than against smaller opponents.

·         Equipment prices and encumbrance numbers are different between the two systems.

·         Some D&D optional rules (Fighter Maneuvers, Weapon Mastery, and so on) have no equivalent in the AD&D system.

While I was aware of these differences, I thought it was nice to have the “official” listing as per TSR. It’s proven to be helpful as I work to determine which incarnation of (A)D&D I’ll ultimately choose as my main system.


  1. What do your players say about system?

  2. Ghost,

    They’re open to just about anything at this point. We were playing Pathfinder but they’re all really interested in branching out and playing some old school games the old school way. Right now, I’m leaning toward either B/X D&D or AD&D.

    Any thoughts/suggestions?

  3. As a big fan of both there's no bad decision here in my opinion. If you have players that like crunch AD&D would appeal more to them (probably). You could run a session of each to let them get a feel.