Before posting character class revisions for my “modern take” on Moldvay’s B/X D&D rules, I wanted to post about coins’ weight and the value of each coin in relation to other coins.
Based on the description given in Moldvay’s Basic and Expert rules, “all coins are about equal in size and weight. Each coin is about the size and weight of an American half-dollar piece.” With a weight of .4 oz each, that means 40 coins weigh about 1 pound. For ease of calculating encumbrance, I’m going to make coins 20% smaller, approximately the size and weight of an American quarter, so that 50 coins weigh 1 pound.
The conversion rate between different types of coins will remain unchanged:
So I’ve decided to use the shorthand title of BX3E for my modern take on Moldvay’s Basic and Expert rules. Looking over those rules, I’ve seen that the Basic rules, for levels 1-3, and Expert rules, for levels 4-14, were eventually going to be followed by a set of Companion rules. These rules would have allowed for characters to range from levels 1 through 36, exactly like Frank Mentzer’s subsequent BECMI ruleset. Unfortunately, Tom Moldvay never released his Companion Rules, and the BECMI rules soon followed. For the record, I have nothing against the BECMI rules… my preference just runs toward the B/X boxed sets.
Mulling this over, I’ve decided to take a different tack than the Old School Essentials retroclone, which maintains the 14 level limits of the Expert rules, or Mentzer’s BECMI rules, which brought characters to 36th level (and beyond). Instead, I opted to design the game for characters of level 1 through 20. Having never played beyond 13th level in any iteration of D&D, I’m not entirely comfortable with trying to flesh out rules for characters above 20th level. Besides, I could always try to revise the rules at a later date in order to incorporate those rules, if I ever get around to actually playing BX3E.
Also, I’ve decided to standardize character advancement by using the same XP Progression Table for all classes and by allowing all classes to attain level 20. Hopefully I’m able to balance the classes in way that isn’t too off-putting for old school gamers, or that adds needless complexity to the rules.
Character Class Overview
Most D&D characters will be humans. A human may be a cleric, fighter, magic-user, or thief. Humans are the most widespread of all races. The human traits of curiosity, courage, and resourcefulness have helped them to adapt, survive, and prosper everywhere they have gone.
Some players may wish to have demi-human characters (elves, dwarves, or halflings). Each type of demi-human is a class in itself. The demihuman races are cousin species to humans. Each character class is further explained hereafter.
The character class tables that follow give the official name of each level in each character class or profession. They also give the type and number of Hit Dice used to determine the Hit Points for each class.
Descriptions of special abilities for each class follow each character class table. The tables are arranged in alphabetical order, by class.
The following chart shows the number of Experience Point (XP) needed for characters to advance in level in any of the listed character classes.
In trying to come up with a modern take on classic, Moldvay, Dungeons & Dragons, I’m going to use the old Basic and Expert rules from 1981 as my guide.
The goal is to keep the rules for characters and DMs, including monster and treasure listings, to under 150 pages. I know you’re probably thinking, “that doesn’t sound very rules-light or basic to me,” but the combined rules for Moldvay’s rules come to over 120 pages and I want to add some simple rules for skill use to the mix.
The rules, like their predecessor, will only cover character levels 1-14 and will only include the following classes: Cleric, Dwarf, Elf, Fighter, Halfling, Magic-User, and Thief. Alignment will be limited to Chaotic, Neutral, and Lawful.
Should be an interesting project, especially since I haven’t really played Basic D&D since the early 1980s!
While Covid has put a damper (to say the least) on my gaming over the past year, the last few months have seen a return to gaming through use of both Zoom and Roll20.
One group, currently playing GURPS via Zoom, picked up in November, after leaving off in-person gaming last spring. The other, which plays a Barbarians of Lemuria game via Roll20, started up a few weeks ago after the pandemic put an end to us gathering in my basement last March.
So, now that I’m back to gaming again, I’m hoping to start working on a Basic D&D version of AD&D 3rd Edition. As someone who hasn’t played a ton of Basic D&D, and who prefers Moldvay Basic over every other iteration, I hope to do the system justice while keeping the rules both brief and intuitive. I’ll be adding materials as I work on the system, which will be based (of course) on AD&D 3rd Edition.