This is something I was thinking about over the weekend. I doubt I'll ever complete it (I don't think there would be that much demand for such a thing), but I figured it might make a good blog post. If someone else wants to pick up this idea and run with it, feel free.
Here it is:
One problem a lot of younger gamers have with old school D&D in particular is how fragile low level characters are. It's a valid concern, even if my personal style is to embrace that fragility and try to make it a strength of the game play. Others see it as a flaw, and I can understand that.
But the problem with 'new school D&D' is that in order to make the PCs sturdy at low levels, they add a lot of complexity to the rules set overall, and also end up powering up the monsters to make them challenging. So (as I've blogged about before) you get a game where you don't really make the PCs more powerful, you only make things more complex.
I was wondering what the implications would be of changing the Classic D&D or AD&D framework so that levels were based around the increases in Thac0/Saves for each class. So a Fighter would have their first 3 (2 in AD&D) levels compressed into one. You'd start with Thac0 19 and have the Fighter 1-3 saves and 3d8 hit points. Magic-Users would start with Thac0 19, M-U 1-5 saves, 5d4 hit points, and 2/2/1 spellcasting. Etc.
Yeah, it would be a big jump in power for the PCs. But they'd still need to earn XP to hit the next tier mark to level up. The down side, from what little I ran of numbers is that Clerics would outclass Fighters for hit points. Especially if AD&D's system is used, where Fighters would only get 2d10 per 'level' while Clerics would get 4d8. Still, Fighter advancement would be quicker (at least at first, didn't really run the numbers yet).
Anyway, the idea is that the rest of the rules wouldn't change, only the power of the PCs.
Session Report – Barrowmaze – Session 13
1 hour ago