Not everyone minded rolling 3d6 down the line for ability scores, but some did.
Not everyone minded the lower power level of starting Classic characters, but some did.
Not everyone minded the less heroic style of play, but some did.
Well, yesterday I was re-reading this old post over at Cyclopeatron. In it, he posted some house rules Gary Gygax used in an OD&D game in 2005 (originally chronicled by folks at K&K Alehouse and Dragonsfoot, and collated by Robert Fisher on his old Infogami site). I'll repost them here:
- Not using the supplements. Only the three little books.
- Ability scores rolled as best 3 out of 4d6. Arrange scores to taste.
- All PCs get 1d6 hp/level. HP rolls are rerolled on a 1.
- Fighters get +1 HP/die. All PCs get +1 HP/die if Con > 14.
- Fighters do +1 damage if Str > 14.
- Dex doesn't affect AC. (It does affect missile attack "to hit" rolls.)
- PCs started at 3rd level.
- PCs are unconscious at 0 hp. They can go as low as level +1 before death. (A 4th level fighter can be brought as low as -5 hp & just be unconscious.) A healing potion or cure spell restores them immediately.
- 1d6 for surprise. 1=1 round. 2=2 rounds. 3 or more=no surprise.
- PCs must declare actions before initiative. Casters must declare the specific spell being cast.
- 1d6 for initiative. A tie means simultaneous.
- A casting caster who loses initiative will lose his spell if hit.
- No training necessary to gain a level.
- To acquire new spells: Casters must find scrolls, spellbooks, or a friendly higher-level caster.
- Clerics don't need spellbooks. (The original books can be read to imply that they do.)
- Gary IDs most magic items immediately (charging large sums of money when they return to town to rest & recuperate for this service). (This is because the players are anxious to get back into the dungeon & don't want to bother with in-town adventures.) Potions must still be tasted to ID, though. Unusual items require a trip to the striped mage.
I can always try to find some players like me in the future. For now, I know I'd be playing more D&D if I instituted some (possibly all) of the following rules:
- Ability Scores: Roll 4d6 drop the lowest (re-roll 1s), or possibly 2d6+6 (no re-rolling of 1s). Arrange to taste. I'd keep the normal Classic D&D ability bonus/penalty spread, though.
- Hit Dice/Hit Points: I already allow Max HP at level 1 and re-rolling 1s, but I might consider upping the die types to match AD&D (something I've considered in the past).
- Level: Not sure if I'd want to up the starting level to 3rd or not. I kinda like the low levels of play. I'd likely just try to make them go quicker by being generous with rumors of where the phat lootz are hidden.
- Spells: Use Labyrinth Lord Cleric spell progression (spell at 1st level). Allow a bonus spell for Wis 13+ for Clerics/Druids, 13+ Int for M-Us/Illusionists, 13+ Cha for Bards. Magic Users and Illusionists bonus spells would not need to be prepared, it could be anything from the spell book, cast as needed.
- Death's Door: No negative hit point crap, but 0 HP is knocked out/incapacitated from wounds. Any attack on such a character would then be an instant kill (like with a sleeping victim). [not sure about this one, that might be going too soft...]
- Magic Items: Back in the old days, I usually just told the players what magic items they'd found. It was simple, and didn't ever detract from the game. I'd likely go back to that (of course, cursed items like potions of delusion or swords -1 would not be revealed until used).
- Encumbrance, Schmencumbrance: Yes, the logistics of hauling half a ton of gold up out of a maze may be fun for some, but it can also be a pain in the butt for others. You find the gold, you've earned the gold if you can get out alive. Realistic, no. Fun, yes.