BX3E (First Draft)

So, after a month’s delay, my D20 take on Tom Moldvay’s Basic and Expert rules is ready to go.

Here’s the link to the rules: http://www.scruffygrognard.com/documents/BX3e.pdf

The cover
A sample character, the iconic Morgan Ironwolf

27 thoughts on “BX3E (First Draft)

  1. thanks alot ill run this by the boys in Bangkok, i live in thailand Dave

    On Tue, Nov 16, 2021 at 8:14 AM From the Sorcerer’s Scroll wrote:

    > Chris Perkins posted: ” So, after a month’s delay, my D20 take on Tom > Moldvay’s Basic and Expert rules is ready to go. Here’s the link to the > rules: http://www.scruffygrognard.com/documents/BX3e.pdf The cover A > sample character, the iconic Morgan Ironwolf ” >

  2. I noticed you used Century Gothic rather than Soutane. Was there a reason? This isn’t a criticism. I like Century Gothic too. 🙂

  3. Found another one. Page 69 under traps references “chapter 5 the encounter” for ability checks. Ability check are on page 69.

    1. Great question. The only thing I can say with certainty is that Lulu isn’t the place to print this. I tried and got my account closed… even though I was only printing this for myself.
      If anyone knows of a printer who’d print this, I’d love to know.

  4. Couple other typos … Chapter One … just noticed on initial read through.

    1. Definitions of Standard D&D Terms: 1st paragraph (line 7) “non-player characters” should be bolded. It can then be rendered normally in paragraph 7.

    2. How to Create a Player Character: List items 4 and 5 should really be reversed.

    3. Character Class Overview (Dwarves) … under Dwarf Class Description. Second sentence – remove “Hill” should just be “Dwarves”.

    Awesome work, btw … love the vibe the layout gives.
    Like reading the old AD&D books.

    1. Thank you for looking this over (and for the corrections). I’ll make these edits today and re-upload the PDF.

      1. Cool. Thanks for putting in the work on this … have a few comments regarding the actual “rule choices” you made that I was planning on posting today and tomorrow if you don’t mind taking a look and replying at your convenience. 🙂

      2. A couple of others I noted … all in Chapter One

        How to Use This Book
        Second Paragraph — unbold APPENDIX B
        Fifth Paragraph — replace “is filled with” with “presents
        Sixth Paragraph — unbold “ability checks”

        Definitions of Standard D&D Terms
        Lose the “D&D” in the above title and list as “Definitions of Standard Terms” in the ToC
        Sixth Paragraph — unbold “party” as you already bolded it in Paragraph 1

        Use of the Word Level
        Replace last sentence with “All player characters begin the game at the first level of experience and gain levels of experience through the accumulation of experience points which are acquired through adventures.”.

  5. Hey Chris > still looking through this and noticed a typo on page 22 in the Example of Creating A Player Character section. In 10] it should read “120 gp is recorded…” not 110. I’m sure there’s a few others, but it looks really good.

  6. Some more typos found in BX3E:


    How to Use this Book

    First paragraph … there are four appendices
    Appendix B should be “The Planes of Existence”
    Appendix C should be “Glossary”
    ADD “Appendix D: Inspirational Reading”


    First paragraph … remove “barbaric” so it reads “wandering fighter” and matches the single descriptors given for the other examples
    Adjust images on pages 4, 6, 15, and 20 so that footer (with page #) is visible
    p.5 (Character Ability Scores) – Charisma should be “CHA” not “CHR”
    p.5 (Ability Score Adjustments) – SUGGEST (Just a house rule I’ve used for 30+ years and never had a complaint) adding a note that scores cannot be adjusted above 17 thus preserving a result of 18 only for those that actually roll it.
    p.6 (Ability Modifiers) – Under the STR table it should also be noted that the modifier applies to damage rolls for unarmed and thrown weapon attacks as mentioned on p.84

  7. Some more fixes/suggestions …note that the suggestions come from multiple players/groups as a result of multiple playtest sessions.

    Just a suggestion, but I would add a full-page illustration (see p.p. 23-24) at the end of each chapter so that all new chapters fall on the right-hand page. Just makes for better content separation in my opinion. So, for example, I’d swap the image/text on p.p. 3-4. 😉

    Para3 should reference APPENDIX C rather than APPENDIX B

    Para8 (Charisma) – remove first reference to p.75 so sentence reads, “…affects the number of retainers a character can hire as well as the morale of these retainers (see page 75).

    Might also consider changing all page references from “(see page XX)” to simply “(p.XX)”. I’d also consider removing inline references (e.g., “see page XX of section XX”) as much as possible (e.g., on p.8 last sentence Para1 of Spell Use – change to read. “…in greater detail in CHAPTER 3: SPELLS (p.24)”… you’ll probably save 5-6 pages in the long run that can be used for something else or future add-ons as needed. Perhaps an APPENDIX E: POPULAR HOUSE RULES? 😉

    Charisma table header should read “Charisma (CHA)”

    I would add a note in the opening paragraph that the prime requisite entry for each class lists the minimum ability score(s) required to become a member of that class. Also – just to clarify – as far as I can tell (correct me if I’m wrong), prime requisites do not affect earned XP.

    As a side note … since it figures in prominently, perhaps add an “Experience Bonus” space next to the “Level” space on the character sheet at the back of the book? Maybe add it under the level entry on the example character sheet on p.4?

    Clerics – I’d swap the Cleric’s and Thief’s Attack Bonuses. Also, in Para2 under Turn Undead where Wisdom Saving Throws are mentioned the page reference should just be for p.73 as that’s where the topic starts.

    Dwarves – given that they have a bunch of class abilities (extra languages, Ancient Foes, Darkvision, Master of Stone and the Forge, and magic & poison resistances) AND they have the same HD and Attack Bonus as Fighters … I’d cut the Extra Attacks ability (leave that the purview of the Fighter). Also add page reference – change “(also known as Perception checks)” under Masters of Stone and the Forge to “(also known as Perception checks, p.71)”. Under Resistant to Magic and Poison change “+4 to all Saving Throws versus magic” to “+4 to all Saving Throws (p.73) to magic”. Under Strongholds add “(p.160) after “…may build strongholds…”

    Elves – again, LOTS of special abilities (including spellcasting in armor), so perhaps change their combat progression to that of the Cleric (or Thief if you don’t agree with swapping ABs as noted above) and restrict the Stealthy ability to wilderness settings? Under Strongholds add “(p.160) after “…kind of stronghold…”

    Fighter – Weapon Mastery … I’d add a note that a Fighter can choose to improve with a weapon already Mastered rather than choosing a new weapon; however, the maximum bonus to be gained in this manner is +6

    Halfling – Change HD to D6; Attack bonus equal to Thief (assuming you agree with change noted above; otherwise, Cleric); NO Darkvision – Frodo couldn’t see shit in the Goblin caves! Get rid of Extra Attacks – that should remain exclusive to Fighters. Restrict their ability to build a Stronghold to 9th level. Again, building a castle whenever you can afford it should be left to the Fighter.

    Magic-Users – These guys have so much stacked against them … d4 HD, half the AB of the Cleric, no armor, limited weapons …suggest making the following changes so that they take their rightful place as the game’s “Masters of Magic”: Increase HD to d6 – seriously, no class should ever have a d4! Grant them a +2 bonus on saving throws against all magical effects. Make their spell DC equal to 10 + Class Bonus + Experience Bonus. Under Wizard’s Tower add “(p.160) after “…to build a tower…”

    Thieves – I’d swap the Cleric’s and Thief’s Attack Bonuses as noted previously.

    I’d also rewrite the following:

    CLIMB WALLS: Thieves gain a +2 bonus to all Dexterity checks (p.71) made to climb walls and other surfaces. This is in addition to their Class Bonus to Dexterity checks.

    DISABLE DEVICE: Thieves may make a Dexterity check (p.71) to disable mundane and magical traps or open a lock.

    FIND TRAPS: Thieves may make an Intelligence check (p.70) to search for traps, including magical traps within 5’. To find a trap, the thief spends time intently studying and searching an area to deduce possible trap locations. It takes one minute to locate a trap on a specific object such as a lock or a doorknob and one turn (p.65) to locate traps in a 5’ by 5’ foot area.
    A successful check indicates that the thief finds a trap if one is present. If multiple traps are in an area, the result of this Intelligence check is applied against all traps in the area.

    STEALTHY: Thieves get a +2 bonus to all Dexterity checks (p.71) as well as to sleight of hand attempts made to palm objects and pick pockets. This is in addition to their Class Bonus to Dexterity checks. Unlike other characters, thieves may move at full Movement Rate (p.65) when moving quietly. If they choose to move at 1/2 the allowed rate they are considered to be moving silently and impose a -4 penalty on all Wisdom (Perception) checks (p.71) to notice them.

    When reading Magic-User or Elf scrolls – and failing one’s INT check – I would make the chance of “backfire” 10% per spell level.

    Finally, under Guild Master change “may construct a hideout” to “…a thief may construct a hideout – such as a fortified house in a city, a cave network, or so forth (p.160)”.

    1. Some quick notes:
      1] Clerics and Thieves had the same attack bonus progression in BX, so I just changed that.
      2] I’m not giving an XP bonus for high ability scores… the bonuses it gives are its own reward.
      3] I’m going to adjust the demihumans to make them on par with fighters.

  8. Hi. The rules discuss Prime Requisites on page 5, but I’ll add a note on page 7 too. I’ll look over your other notes and tweak the rules a bit.

  9. Just noticed (in Table of Contents – Chapter 8) that “Designing” is misspelled.

    From the Equipment section …

    Question as to why the different starting funds under Initial Character Funds? Suggest just sticking with 30-180 [(3d6) x10]gp for all the classes as in the original.

    ACs seem off … Suggest that Leather should be 12, Chain 14, and Plate 16 if using ascending with AC10 base (this gives the same range as the original which used AC9). Allows best non-magical (Plate + Shield+ DEX 18) protection to sit right at “20”.

    Suggest creating three separate sections in Chapter 4 … “Land Adventures”, “Water Adventures”, and “Air Adventures”. Move all the waterborne stuff from the Equipment section to “Waterborne Adventures”. Put all the Siege Equipment from the Equipment section with the section on Strongholds.

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