Greetings, fellow adventurers!
I recently had a dream of when we played ad&d 2nd edition, back in the 1990's. I couldn't resist the urge, so I wrote this short story, to share with anyone that has ever played ad&d with pencil and paper. I hope you enjoy it.
For those of us that played the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, back in the 80's and 90's, using dice, paper, pencils, erasers, rule books, and imagination... I wrote this for you.
For you younger adventurers, that never enjoyed the pencil and paper version of ad&d, and probably have no real idea what it was like, well, here you go. This is a taste of what you missed. Check this out. We had a blast! It was awesome. Step back into time, and join us on an adventure...
A tale of high adventure
It's the late 1990's. Little Johnny arrives at the Dungeons and Dragons meetup with his friends. "This is going to be great!" Johnny thinks to himself. "This time, I've got a surprise for the Dungeon Master" he chuckles to himself.
Here we are again. Six friends. Five players, and the DM, get together for the whole weekend, starting Friday evening after work, and play all the way through Sunday evening. We do this at least once a month, and have been doing this for over a year now.
Everyone brings something to the event. If you can cook, you bring food. If you can't, you buy food, beer, cigarettes, munchies, or anything else you might want. It's going to be a long weekend.
Without saying anything, everyone knows what to do. As usual, the living room is rearranged. The table inserts are added to make the table bigger, and all furniture is moved back, to make room, except for the six chairs around the table. On the table is a large erasable marker white board. The DM draws the scene on the white board, and we players all mark our location, using erasable markers. It works better than paper.
As usual, everyone sits in their normal seat, and unpacks their backpacks. The DM sits at the head of the table, where he has all of his stuff laid out, but hidden behind a cardboard folding barrier he places on the table. The cook sits at the other end, so he can keep going to the kitchen, to make the next batch of hot munchy food.
The rest of us sit in our normal seats. You keep your character sheet notes in a folder, either on the table infront of you, or in your lap, leaning against the table, ready to whip out at a moment's notice. You take all of your ad&d 2nd addition books out of your backpack, and lean them against your chair, line up all your dice on the table in front of you. Pencils sharpened, first cold beer in the insulated holder, munchies on the table. All the players are ready, and we patiently watch the DM and wait for him to start the event. Somebody grabs him a beer. Another packs a bowl and lights it, and passes it to the DM. Wink wink. Here 'ya go, big guy.
The DM takes a drink, and a drag, then begins the game.
"When we last played, you all had finished clearing the undead out of the temple, and were back in town. You left off inside the tavern" the DM says, as he draws the tavern on the white board, with an erasable marker. He draws the floor plan, the tables, the bar, and where the NPC's are. "Everyone make your mark" meaning draw on the board your initial, showing where your character is.
Mosh the dwarven warrior/priest writes an "M" on a seat at a table. Barlow the Cleric writes a "B" next to Mosh. The other players, Niveck the elven thief, Zultutan the elven fighter/mage blade singer, and Taz the big dumb human fighter each write their initial on the board.
"Okay, when you left off, you were all drinking ale's, celebrating your victory, and spending some of the gold you had looted from the temple" the DM says. "You each grabbed a wench or two, and planned to party until you drop". He looks around at us, and asks "what are you doing now?"
Barlow, our natural leader, speaks up "well, you know, we get hammered!" he laughs as he grabs his beer, and says "Cheers!" and we all grab our beers and cling them together over the table. "Cheers!" everyone laughs, and takes a swig.
"Seriously, we all have some drinks, then crash for the night?" Barlow asks, looking at everyone at the table. "Yeah, sure" everyone agrees.
"Okay" the DM says "the innkeeper has your usual rooms ready. I assume you each spend at least a gold piece eating, drinking, and to cover the room."
"Yeah, that's cool. We'll each toss him a gold piece" the players say.
The DM makes a few dice rolls, then checks his notes, looks at us, then makes a few more dice rolls. He scribbles something on his notes, hidden behind his cardboard barrier he hides behind.
"The evening is uneventful" the DM finally announces. "You finish partying and make it to bed, getting a good night's sleep, without any problems. It's the next day".
It's a few hours later. Everyone sitting at the table has been eating and drinking beer, we have a good buzz going, we've added pillows to our chairs for comfort, and the game has finally wound up. All of the preliminary details are done, healing up, studying/praying for new spells, replenished supplies, put the loot away in hidden locations, and the adventure has begun.
The adventurers have gone back to the temple. There were rooms they didn't get a chance to search, and wanted another attempt at trying to open a dungeon door that was locked, and they couldn't get open. The mage studied the "Knock" spell, and they are ready to try again.
The DM again erases the white board, and draws the hidden passage we had found, that ends at a large wooden door that's locked. The hallway is the usual eight to ten feet wide, enough to walk in armor, two by two.
"Draw your locations on the board" the DM says. We have our usual marching order for two by two. The two fighters in the front, the thief and cleric in the second rank, and the mage at the back. Sometimes, and mage and cleric switch spots, but not right now.
Zultutan, the blade singer, says "I step up to the door, and cast my 'Knock' spell", and he grabs his dice, and rolls an Intelligence check roll, and says "yes, it casts".
The DM checks his notes, makes a few dice rolls behind his partition, and says "you hear the door lock click, and the door swings open".
"YEAH!" all the players cheer.
Taz, the fighter, says "I hold up my lantern, as usual, and shine it through the door. What do we see?"
"You see a large room, roughly thirty feet by twenty feet, that is dark and dusty, with cobb webbs everywhere. There are bags, boxes, chests and bookcases in the room. It looks like it hasn't been disturbed for millenea." the DM replies.
"Jackpot!" Niveck the thief proclaims with glee. "I step up, and with my lantern, examine the floor for traps as we enter in", and rolls his trap check with his dice, and says "made it".
The DM makes a few dice rolls, then asks "are you all going in?"
Before anyone can reply, Barlow the Cleric blurts out "Yes yes, the usual, we all follow the thief in."
"Fine, you all enter the room" the DM says as he constantly keeps rolling his dice, sometimes looking at them, sometimes not, just to keep us in doubt. "You make it to the center of the room." The DM erases the board, and draws the floor plan for the room. "The walls are plain barren rock, the usual. There are bags, boxes, chests, bookcases... and on the far wall, is a large door."
The DM finishes drawing the room, then says "mark your location in the room". We draw our formation, two by two, in the center of the room. The DM rolls more dice, then says "what are you doing?"
"Loot Loot LOOT!" Niveck the thief blurts out. "We're searching the bags, boxes, and did you say chests? I'll check the chests for traps!" and he begins tossing his dice, excited about finding more loot.
"What is everyone else doing? Are you all searching the room?" the DM asks.
Barlow blurts out "yes yes we're searching the room, what do we find?"
The DM makes a few more dice rolls, and says "okay you are all opening bags and boxes, the thief is checking the chests..." he makes a few more rolls "and nobody notices the far door swing open, and some big ugly nasty looking creatures with axes come running into the room!" as he keeps rolling his dice. "Roll your initiatives!"
"Battle!" everyone at the table shouts with glee, and all grab their dice.
We each grab a 10-sided die, and roll it, on the white board, in front of us, so the DM can see. He looks at each of our rolls, and writes them down on the white board, infront of him. "Okay, Taz, you rolled a one, you're first. My monsters make it into the room, and are within striking distance of you, but you have the initiative. What do you do?"
The DM draws on the board the six orcs, three by three, approaching the party.
"I draw my sword and swing at the closest orc!" Taz says as he grabs a 20-sided die, and tosses it on the board... a twelve. "That should be a hit!" Taz declares. The DM already knows the orc's armor class, and Taz's to-hit score, and says "yes, you clobber him. Which orc?"
Taz points to the closest orc on the board, and grabs more dice, rolls, and says "yeah! 12 points of damage!"
"The orc screams in pain, as he drops to one knee" the DM proclaims, as he writes in his notes, then rolls some dice. "The orc has a spear, and jabs at you Taz, but misses."
"Yeah!" Taz cheers. Everyone sitting at the table is excited, and sitting on the edge of their cushioned chairs, ready for battle!
The DM looks at the initiative list, and says "Mosh, you're next. What are you doing?"
Mosh grins from ear to ear. Mosh smiles while looking at the board, thinking now is the time to pull out the new rules he found in a new supplemental player's guide.
Mosh begins "As you know, I walk with my two-handed battle axe in my hands. I take a deep breath, rear back, and begin to make a huge, arching swing at that orc" and he points to the orc on the board infront of his character, then continues "but before I actually swing, I say the words 'animation cancel' which instantly gives me a second attack, and I swing again".
"What?" the DM asks, now staring at Mosh.
Mosh ignores the question, and tosses his dice on the board, and says "let's see, an 18! that's a hit!" then makes another roll "and a 12! that should be a hit too!" Mosh smiles with pride, like a little boy brandishing his father's gun he found hidden in a shoe box.
Everyone at the table is staring at Mosh, wondering what on earth he is talking about.
The DM looks at him with a puzzled look on his face, and asks "What the @#$
! are you talking about? You don't get a second attack!"
"Yes I do!" Mosh declares. "It's in the rules."
"What?" the DM replies. "No it's not! That's stupid!"
"YES. IT. IS." Mosh proudly declares, as he reaches down, and grabs a book he found at the store. He holds up the book, and proudly shows it to everyone.
The DM scowls at Mosh, starting to get annoyed, and asks "yeah? and what is that?"
Mosh smiles, and says "remember you DID SAY that we can use anything in the player's handbook, as well as any supplemental player's handbooks we have." as he waves the new book in the air.
"Yeah, so?" the DM says. "What's that?"
Everyone at the table is staring at Mosh's book.
"This is the new Zenimax Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Supplemental Player's Handbook" Mosh proudly declares, as he waves the book back and forth to everyone.
"Zeni what?" the DM asks.
"Zenimax!" Mosh proudly replies.
"Give me that!" the DM demands, as he yanks the book out of Mosh's hands. "What in earth are you talking about?" he demands.
Mosh watches the DM, as he starts thumbing through the guide, then says "it's in Chapter One."
The DM turns to chapter one, and reads out loud "Chapter One: Use Animation Cancelling to get a free second attack" then looks up at Mosh, and yells "THAT'S ABSURD!!!"
"Yeah, it is" all the players at the table speak up. They all chime in with comments "that's not fair" and "that's stupid" and "who's the idiot who came up with that garbage?"
Mosh patiently waits for them to finish talking, and watches the DM as he reads the book.
The DM continues reading "all a player needs to do, is before making an attack, say out loud the words 'animation cancel' and he instantly finishes that attack, and instantly gets a second attack as well..."
Again, the DM yells "THAT'S ABSURD!"
"But it's in the book!" Mosh proclaims. "You said we can use any rules we find in supplemental guides, and there it is, in your hands! You gotta allow it!"
Mosh waits. The DM is utterly dumbfounded, and now speechless. Yes, he did say he would allow rules from supplemental guides to be used in his campaign. The other players are using supplemental guides. Zultutan, the elf, is using the Blade Singer build from a supplemental guide.
At this point, the other players are now understanding what Mosh is up to, and they all are smiling with glee! Yes, Mosh found something we all can use! They all smile, and wait for the DM to say something.
The DM, still in total shock, looks around the table, and sees everyone staring at him. They all expect him to allow this new rule. Exasperated, he slouches down in his chair, bows his head, exhausts the air from his lungs with a painful moan, and finally says "Fine. Proceed" and hands the book back to Mosh.
"Yeah!" everyone at the table cheers.
Mosh thinks to himself. He did it. He's the hero of the day. All the other players stare at him in awe and bewilderment.
Before the DM can say or do anything, Mosh quickly yells "instant weapon swap!" at the DM.
The DM looks up. He looks at Mosh. You can see on his face the regret, but he has to ask "I know I'm going to regret this, but what the @#$
! are you talking about now?"
"Instant weapon swap!" Mosh proudly declares. "When I say that, I can instantly put away my current weapons, and ready different weapons" he says, while grinning from ear to ear. The other players eyes perk up! "Another rule?" Barlow asks.
"Yeah, it's in this supplemental guide. I can switch my weapons instantly."
Shaking his head in disbelief, the DM says "what, you gonna drop your axe on the ground, and pull out another weapon? You can already do that, but it takes time to do it" he finishes.
"Not anymore!" Mosh declares proudly, again handing the book back to the DM. "It's in chapter two, the instant weapon swap. I can remove the shield from my back, and strap my battle axe to my back, and pull out my one handed axe and be ready to fight, all instantly" he finishes.
"THAT'S ABSURD!" the DM yells, and yanks the book out of Mosh's hand again. "This is going too far. What a stupid book. We can't be doing this!" the DM snaps as he turns to chapter two, and begins reading aloud "... instant weapon swap, blah blah blah, a player simply declares aloud 'weapon swap' and can instantly switch any weapons for any weapons. The original weapons will be put away in the proper location, and the new weapons will be armed and ready to immediately deliver a blow, all happening instantaneously..."
The DM shakes his head, and again yells "THAT'S ABSURD!"
Again, the DM looks up from the book, and looks around the table. All of the players are again staring at him with anticipation. They all fully expect him to allow this new rule. After all, it's written in the rule book.
"You can see for yourself, it's written in the rules!" Mosh smuggly follows.
All life drains out of the DM's face, as he turns pale. His eyes turn into the thousand yard stare. His mind is somewhere else. His head bows, his shoulders slouch, and he exhausts a moan as he says "Fine. Proceed."
Mosh smiles. Every player at the table has a huge smile on their face. Again, he had won.
"One more thing..." Mosh declares. He takes a deep breath, holds it, grins, and says "ahhhh!" as he forces out a fart in his seat. Everyone looks at him in shock.
"Knockdown!" Mosh proudly declares.
The DM still has his head bowed. He doesn't even bother to look up. He just simply asks "what now?"
"It's the knockdown rule!" Mosh proudly replies. "If I fart, and say 'knockdown', it knocks down all the monsters in the area."
"THAT'S ABSURD!" the DM yells, now getting angry. He once again stares at Mosh.
"It's written in the rule book" Mosh proudly declares.
"Where?" the DM mutters, knowing he's going to regret looking this up.
"Turn to the last page in the book" Mosh says.
The DM begrudging flips to the last page, and looks at it. "This is the credits page, you moron."
"No, turn the page over. It's written on back of that page." Mosh replies.
The DM turns the page over, and sees hand-written notes on the page. It looks like somebody wrote in the book. He looks up, now very angry, and yells at Mosh "are you @#$
! kidding me? You want me to accept something you wrote in the book?"
The players, all shocked, now look at Mosh.
Mosh looks around the table, still smiling, and finally says "it's written in the book! You said you will allow any rules written in the book!"
The DM looks around the table. Again, they are all staring at him, hoping, in anticipation, they will have another rule they can use.
Again, all life drains out of the DM's face, as he slouches deeper into his seat. In total despair, he mutters "Fine. Proceed."