Introducing THACO DRAGON

The following page presents our modified 'house rules' for the AD&D Second Edition Game. Players and Dungeon Masters will require the 2nd Edition Player's Handbook (PHB), the Dungeon Master's Guide (DMG), the Monstrous Compendium (MC), and the Complete Fighter's Handbook (CFHB). Also recommended is the Complete Ninja's, Priest's, Wizard's and Thief's Handbook, plus the 1st Edition Oriental Adventures (OA) rule book. Dungeon Masters are encouraged to include material from 1st Edition AD&D wherever they see fit.

Our group believes that playing Dungeons and Dragons is not just about running a fantasy genre. The AD&D system was Dungeons and Dragons.

We found the character, quirks and level of complexity present in the Second Edition, whilst incorporating a wealth of First Edition material, very satisfying. We greatly appreciated the restrictions and limitations inherent in AD&D that encouraged co-operative, and resource conscience, gameplay.
With the emergence of newer versions of our game, we offer the following rules supplement as an alternative - designed to slightly enhance player options, low level survivability, and increase the fun, of the old THACO system. Long live AD&D !

*Please note we also have a few simple suggestions to modify the D&D Basic Game following the main text. These 'version 2.6' rules are periodically updated.

Make sure to check out our THACO DRAGON ADVENTURES page that contains a number of very challenging stand alone adventures.

AD&D Version 2.6

Ability Scores:

*At 5th and 10th level characters gain 1 point that can be placed into any single ability score. At 15th and 20th level 1 point can be added to two separate scores. Only a character's prime requisite scores can be increased to 18 or greater.

*Strength - characters with scores of 14 or 15 gain +1 damage bonus while scores of 16 now have +1 to hit as well as damage. Any strength score of 18 now gains a +2 bonus to hit.

*Dexterity - characters with scores of 14 or 15 gain +1 defensive bonus and +1 to reaction & missile attack adjustments.

*Wisdom - characters with scores of 14 gain +1 bonus versus mind impacting magical attacks.

*Constitution - characters with scores of 14 receive +1 bonus to hit points and the overall poison save bonus improves by 4 places ie. Constitution scores of 15 to 16 gain +1 bonus, 17 to 18 gain +2 bonus etc.

Ability Checks:

*Ability checks are task orientated d20 (or percentage die) rolls that succeed on results less than the character's ability score. They range from easy (+8 or +40%), to neutral, to very difficult (-8 or -40%). Naturally the DM can (drastically) alter the bonuses or penalties to suit the particular situation. Most checks are made in instances where a dexterity check (roll under PC's dexterity score) is needed to stay upright, to grab an item etc. Note: In the case of the rogue open locks & move silently skills, many of these checks should be rated as easy. Moving silently across a paved area should not be too difficult and should have a bonus. The DM may rule that success is automatic in some instances.

*Perception checks allow characters to detect things that are not readily apparent. In passive situations, where the character is not actively examining an area, the roll (with easy, neutral or very difficult modifiers) is made against the average of their wisdom and intelligence scores. Actively attempting to comprehend a situation allows the check made against the highest of these two attributes.

Character Hit Points:

*All Player Characters (NPCs, monsters, 0-levels) begin with maximum or near maximum hit points (75%-100%).

*Some Player Characters may begin adventuring at 2nd level after training for a number of years under a high level instructor (see Experience Points).

*PC characters may gain a 'unique' +4 bonus to their starting hit points while they are at 1st level - having it bestowed upon them from a higher power, via a blessing or through special holy water - or they can be gifted rare Potions of Physical Fortitude that expire after one week. The DM may wish to simply have all PC characters start with mandatory high Constitution scores (15-18).

*(DM Option): Alternatively 1st level characters, plus NPCs, regardless of class, roll 1d8 for hit points, except warriors who roll 1d10. All additional hit point rolls thereafter follow the standard format. Remember this rule can be applied broadly and may negate the chance of encountering 4 hp wizard opponents!

*Rolls below half the hit die on subsequent hit point rolls, from 2nd level upwards, are adjusted upwards to half. For instance, a character rolling 1d8 who rolls 2 automatically has it adjusted to 4 hit points. Rolls of 4 or higher would be unadjusted. Alternatively the DM may ask the player to re-roll the dice.

Experience Points:

*The final experience point multiple per level is halved. For example, Fighter experience each level is now 125,000 from 9th to 10th level, and each level thereafter, rather than 250,000.

*Characters or NPCs can gain experience via non-combat training. The experience gained is 5xp per level of the teacher, per week of training. Personal instruction is required for any experience beyond 10xp per week.

1st level NPCs could train together gaining 5xp per week or 3rd level sergeants could instruct a group to a maximum of 10xp per week. If a 3rd level sergeant personally instructed a 1st level character then the rate would be 15xp per week (ie 5xp per level of the teacher). This training experience is only gained after characters acquire their 1st level skills that typically takes 1-4 years. Training is applicable to all classes, including spell casters. For example, a 10th level Wizard may personally teach a 1st level 'apprentice' who receives 50xp per week of instruction.

The ramifications of training xp is that there should be somewhat more 2nd level NPCs and more elite/veteran 2HD army units (for both humanoids and humans), but not excessively so, with the exception of the longer lived races such as Elves or Dwarves.

*In the case of Wizards (or Priests), individual experience may also be awarded for successfully creating magical items or for conducting research where valuable knowledge is gained. The experience gained can range from a few hundred xp to thousands of experience points.

Hero Dice (Optional Rule):

Once per game session each player may use 2d6 'hero dice' to boost their chances of success. The 1d6 can be rolled together or separately and are added or subtracted to any die roll. The d6 rolls can be actioned after any roll is made and it is not necessary to declare their use prior to the first roll [unless the DM enforces prior declarations in particular circumstances, like when boosting hit roll results]. The dice themselves cannot be used to increase weapon damage but if they are used to boost the roll on a 1d20 to a 'natural' 20 then a critical hit is scored which automatically results in causing maximum damage (version 2.6 critical hit rules). It is recommended that hero dice be used to save the PC's lives in life-or-death situations, where characters have fallen below 0 hit points or need to make a vital Saving Throw roll. DMs may allocate one additional d6 hero dice to players during the course of play as a reward for particularly heroic actions, where the total available dice is never greater than three.


*Elves are completely immune to Ghoul Paralysis in addition to their 90% immunity against Sleep and Charm (where checks are made before saving throws are rolled).

*All Dwarves have the Endurance non-weapon proficiency as a bonus.

*Half-Orcs are returned as a character class following the rules in 1st Edition AD&D. They may become Fighters, Clerics (Priests), Thieves or Assassins or a multi-classed Fighter/Cleric, Cleric/Thief, Cleric/Assassin, Fighter/Thief, or Fighter/Assassin. Other classes, such as Wizard, may be allowed determined by the DM. They have a +1 bonus to both their initial Strength and Constitution scores and -2 to Charisma. They also have 60' infravision.

Warrior Classes:

*Only single class Fighters may learn weapon Specialisation, Weapon Mastery and then Grand Mastery. All other Warrior Class characters, including multi-classes, are restricted to initially learning Weapon Expertise or Partial Specialisation. These proficiencies may be combined, but not at 1st level, to create a de facto weapon specialisation at 3rd level. Thereafter Paladins (and Barbarians, if this option is used) may learn Weapon Mastery, which costs two weapon proficiency slots and therefore cannot be achieved until 9th level. Further Weapon Mastery advancement, Grand Mastery, is restricted to single class Fighters. The exception to this rule is Rangers who may become specialised in the bow at 1st level with no restrictions on mastery levels.

*At the DM's discretion any medium sized creature may be eligible to become a Paladin.

*The Paladin now has a +3 bonus to all saving throws.

*Paladins and Rangers gain spell casting ability at 6th and 5th level respectively. (DM option) At 8th (or 9th) level Rangers, in addition to casting priest spells of the Plant and Animal sphere, can receive Wizard spells that are granted by the Neutral Good God Vangelis (or an equivalent). The wizardly spells that are available must be checked against the Chance to Learn Spell percentage found on the Intelligence table at the start of the PHB. Once the available spells are determined they cannot be altered. Spell progression follows at the same rate as the Ranger's spell chart except that access is only granted to 1st and 2nd level spells. No 3rd level spells can be cast.

*Rangers gain +1 to hit and +1 damage bonus when fighting Goblinoid creatures which include Kobolds, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Orcs, Bugbears, and Gnolls. The damage bonus improves every five levels so a 5th level Ranger gains +2 to damage. (This replaces the 2nd Edition "species enemy".)

*Rangers gain +1 to hit and +1 damage bonus when hitting Giant Classed creatures where the damage bonus improves every 3 levels of experience. A 3rd level Ranger has a +2 damage bonus. These monsters include: Ettins, Ogres, Ogre Magi, Oni, Trolls & Giants.

*Rangers have a +2 AC bonus when fighting against Giant Classed creatures due to specialised training and knowledge. At 9th level a Ranger may avoid one attack from a Giant that would otherwise hit, as per the Mystic/Monk deflection rule, by making a saving throw vs breath weapon adjusted for dexterity bonuses.

*Restrictions on Ranger classed characters conform to 1st Edition norms in terms of not employing hirelings, or servants until 8th level, not operating in groups with more than three rangers, and only having goods or wealth that can be placed upon themselves or mount (although they may donate excess to a charity or commune, or in the purpose of building a wilderness stronghold).

*[Optional] Rangers roll 2d8 for hit points at first level and 1d8 per level up to and including 10th level, with +2 hit points thereafter.

Priest Classes:

*Spell casting priests now require a minimum of 12 in wisdom. (Shaman conform to the existing rules outlined in the Humanoid's Handbook).

*Priests may cast Bless once per day plus an additional time every 6 levels without having memorised the spell. ie once at 1st level, twice at 6th level, thrice at 12th level etc.

*The spells Striking and Sticks to Snakes are included as part of the standard casting repertoire, increasing combat capability (see New Spells).

*All healing magic is 75-100% effective - with the exception of 'spell sacrifice' [and priest-optional cantrip] healing magic (see below).

*Priests with access to the healing sphere may convert any previously memorised spell into healing energy at the rate of 1d3 per spell level (roll 1d6 and halve the number. Round up for non-whole numbers). This action erases the spell as if it had been used for casting.

*Ritual Chants. Priests can now cast spells that they have not currently memorised through a drawn out process of chanting ritual. This action can be performed once per day every 5 levels (ie. 3 times at 10th level). The casting time is always 10 rounds plus double the normal casting time. However, priests who engage in such actions lose 3 hit points plus 2 points in constitution per level of the spell being cast. ie a 3rd level spell costs 9 hp and 6 points off the caster's constitution score. These points can only be recovered at a rate of 2 hp and 1 constitution point per night of rest and never from magical healing.

*Priests who Turn Undead now cause 2d6+1 per level of undead creatures to be turned per group encountered. ie at second level 2d6+2 are turned.

*Priests may keep Demons and Devils at bay, but not destroy them, on a successful Turn Undead roll. The priest's Turning Undead level for this action is calculated as being two levels lower than normal. ie A 7th level priest trying to keep Demons at bay Turns them as if he or she were only 5th level.

*At 9th level the base attack rate improves to 3 attacks every 2 rounds.

*Priests of a specific mythos in the Complete Priest's Hand Book are restricted to using blunt instruments as weapons, as per clerics, with the exception of bows or crossbows where listed. The spell casting capabilities of those losing access to bladed weapons should be expanded by the DM, and blunt weapon options added. The exception to this rule are multi-classed fighter/priests of war. The DM may also allow various militant priests or clerics to use crossbows in addition to their blunt weapons when on campaign.

*Priests with the Fear power can only use this once per day, rather than twice per day (see the CPHB). The DM must make the necessary balance modifications for those priests.

*[Optional] Spell casting priests may invoke minor healing prayers (see cantrips link).

Wizard Classes:

*Wizard class characters now require a minimum of 12 in intelligence.

*Specialist wizards are only banned from casting spells in the direct opposite school

*All wizards may cast cantrip spells that do not require prior memorisation. The number of cantrips is 10 per day + the language bonus + 1 per level. Typically Flame Dart is conjured that does 1d2 damage, requires a THACO roll and has the range of a dagger. At 9th level a wizard may cast an unlimited number of cantrips (DM option).

*The spells Read Magic and Detect Magic are considered cantrips.

*The complement of 1st and 2nd levels spells is interchangeable. Two 1st levels spells can be memorised in place of one 2nd level spell or the other way around.

*Once every 6 levels one spell of any higher level can be memorised in place of multiple spells of lower levels. ie one extra 3rd level spell is memorised in place of one 1st & one 2nd level spell. Conversely, extra lower level spells can be learnt in place of one higher level spell. However, if this second option is taken only one spell from each of the lower levels (excepting 1st and 2nd level spells) can be memorised. A 6th level spell cannot be used to gain two 3rd level spells but it can be used to gain one 3rd, one 2nd, and one 1st level spell or a mixture of only 1st and 2nd level spells. Also, any first level spell can be substituted with ten cantrips.

*Wizards may "unlearn" one no-longer-wanted spell from their spell book each time they advance in level. If unused, these "unlearnt slots" can accumulate.

*In an emergency a wizard may read a spell from his or her spellbook as if it were a scroll. However, this action always takes at least 2 rounds, or double the normal casting time, and erases the page plus one other randomly selected page. There is also a failure rate of 3% chance per level of the spell being cast. DMs are to discourage using spellbooks as scroll substitutes.

*Ritual Spell Casting can be performed for spells that can be cast by the wizard but are not presently memorised. This action can be performed once per day every 5 levels (ie. 3 times at 10th level). The spell is read from the wizard's spellbook in a drawn out way that does not erase the page. This process requires double the amount of spell components and another 200 gp worth of "catalysing" spell component material per level of the spell to be cast, often diamond dust. Casting these spells takes 10 rounds + double the normal casting time. (This requirement is different to the rules for non-spellcasters engaging in Ritual Magic).

*At 9th level a wizard may construct a personal Glyph of Magic Absorption. Construction takes one week, only one can be created at any one time, it must be carried on person and it absorbs 1d4+3 levels of spell energy plus provides immunity to cantrips.

*[Optional] War trained wizards may wear padded armour but this costs two proficiency slots.


*Single classed thieves add +1 to their dexterity score upon creation.

*Rogue characters can attempt to open a lock 3 times before failing. Each subsequent attempt taking triple the original time. ie 1 round, 3 rounds, 9 rounds.

*Rogue class characters may employ a small or buckler shield with a respective 50% or 20% penalty to the hiding in shadows and the move silently ability. Penalties may be incurred on other thieving skills, such as climb walls, at the DM's discretion. Competent shield use requires the use of a weapon proficiency slot (see Weapon Proficiencies).

*The Backstab multiplier when using a Dagger is calculated as one category higher than listed once the character reaches 3rd level. At 3rd to 4th level a thief backstabbing with a dagger does triple rather than double damage, at 5th level they do quadruple damage, and so forth.

*Backstab multiplier and attack roll bonus also applies in Ambush situations where the victim is surprised even if they are facing the Rogue. The Rogue must be within 5 feet at the beginning of the action with the victim being surprised in the Ambush process.

*In an Ambush situation a rogue may use the backstab multiplier, but not the +4 attack bonus, for Thrown or Missile Weapons (DM option), causing damage at half the normal backstab rate, rounded up - to those within a 10 foot radius. Multiple targets can be hit so long as they are subject to an Ambush situation. For a backstab multiplier of x3 the damage rate is 1.5 rounded up to x2, for a x4 multiplier the damage remains doubled.

*Knock out - the same rules apply for a backstab but no damage multiplier is used. It requires a blunt instrument with a 10% + 5% KO chance per point of damage and a 2d4 round duration. The DM may rule that the victim is also allowed a saving throw vs paralysis which results in stunning or partial incapacitation rather than unconsciousness for the duration. Partially incapacitated NPCs are unable to talk or cast spells, they move at half speed, attack at half the normal rate, and all bonuses for dexterity are lost. Tough monsters may be exempt from being knocked out and high level individuals are allowed a saving throw versus paralysation with a +4 bonus. They are also affected for only half the duration. Rogues may end up bludgeoning a low level opponent into unconsciousness in certain circumstances, reducing their hit points to zero, through blunt instrument damage (see Combat).

*At 9th level the base attack rate improves to 3 attacks every 2 rounds.

*Bards can cast cantrips similar to a wizard. The number of cantrips is equal to the Bard's language bonus + one per two levels.

*At 12th level bards may construct a Glyph of Spell Absorption as a wizard.

New Character Classes:

*Version 2.6 provides details for new rogue subclasses: the Venturer, Druidic Bard & Assassin.

Optional Character Classes:

*Version 2.6 also provides details for optional character classes: the Barbarian, Warlock and Witch, that modify and expand upon existing material. Guidelines are also provided for an Alchemist 'class' derived from the non-weapon proficiency (see here for details).

Oriental Character Classes:

Version 2.6 provides details for Kensai, Ninja, Shukenja, Sohei & Mystic (Monk) characters. Bushi are considered as fighters and Yakuza are generally not regarded as a class but an organisation. Thieves may be included as per the existing rules. 2nd Edition versions already exist for Samurai (CFHB), Wu Jen (CWHB) and further material on Ninja can be found in the CNHB. Additional abilities for Scholar Wizards are also provided which allow them to ward against undead. Click here for details.

The Oriental Campaign World:

*In regard to Honour, Oriental Magics, Monsters, and Races (such as Korobokura, Hengeyokai & Spirit Folk) we ask that you read our suggestions but rely on the existing Oriental Adventures products as the primary source for your version 2.6 campaign. Click here for a brief Oriental Campaign World overview.

Dual & Multi-Class Characters:

*Single classed demi-humans can opt to become dual classed although they are limited to the restrictions outlined in the Multi Class rules for their race. Unlike humans, demi-humans need only have a score of 15 in the prime requisites of their new class.

*Dual class humans now require a score of only 16 in the Prime Requisite of their newly chosen class.

*Dual class characters always use the best THACO and Saving Throws available.

*Using weapons and spells of the PC's old class, before the new class has reached a level higher than the old class, only results in no experience for that encounter (or half at the DM's discretion).

*After reaching a level higher than that of their old class Dual class characters add between 10% to 20% of their total experience to their previous class. No extra hit points are gained if this class rises in level.

*Humans may advance as multi-classed characters under special (and rare) circumstances. These characters must have scores of 16 or more in the prime requisites of both classes and are almost always a combination that does not involve spellcasting - a highly specialised discipline.


*The combat round is around 10 to 15 seconds divided into 10 (spell casting) segments.

*Characters or NPCs with multiple melee attacks launch their attacks in one block rather than staggered. The PC or NPC effectively launches a flurry, or combination, of attacks before (or after) their opponent can rally to launch their blows. Previously an initiative winning player character, who could swing twice (2/1) with the same weapon, would roll at the start of the round, then their opponent would swing, then the PC would deliver their final swing. For bow and crossbow weapons the rolls remain staggered.

*Non-specialised bow R.O.F. is 3 shots per 2 rounds with the combat round being 10 seconds (DM option).

*Thrown weapon hit and damage bonuses for spears, axes, daggers (etc) conform to the following conditions:
>Strength modifiers only apply to damage bonuses, and not to hit rolls
>Dexterity modifiers apply to the hit rolls
>Specialisation modifiers apply to the attack roll (plus ROF) while the damage bonus is only applicable within short range.
>Specialisation bonuses are cumulative with Strength and Dexterity bonuses.

*Blunt instrument damage - 25% of damage from blunt weapons is temporary; round any fractions downwards with losses less than 4hp. 1hp damage is completely temporary. Half of the damage from a 2hp strike is temporary, one third of the damage from a 3hp strike is temporary). Temporary damage is incurred from clubs, poles, shields, small rocks, coconuts etc, but not from maces, warhammers, giant fists, giant sized clubs, or large rocks. Note that 75% of damage from punching, according the PHB, is temporary.

*Any character using a shield can perform a shield punch that inflicts 1d3 damage (+ any strength bonuses) as per the CFHB. The character strikes with the raised edge of the shield at a -2 penalty to hit and only regains their shield AC bonus at the start of their next attack roll (after their opponents have attacked) or at the start of the next round - only if they win initiative. Those specialised in using a shield do not incur the hit roll penalty.

*Characters can also use their shields as cover against frontal missile fire (but not spells), the bonus for the area covered being: Small +3 AC, Medium + 5 AC, Large +8 to +10. Characters hiding behind their shields, who thereby cannot attack, do not gain any bonuses for dexterity and can only move at 1/4 the normal movement rate. Characters may not use their shields to directly parry missile attacks (CFHB p.70).

*Critical hits and misses - On a natural roll of 20 characters deal their full damage for that strike. Rolls of 1 indicate a miss where the DM should have the character lose initiative for the next round or lose their next attack roll (or drop their weapon).

*Fleeing Combat - Characters who face opponents who turn their backs and run (no dexterity & no shield bonus) can now only make ONE attack at +2 to hit and +2 to damage, provided they have not yet made an attack during the round, OR they can swipe with their weapon, dealing half damage, if attacks have already been made.

*Opportunity attacks - one free swing, on top of all other attacks, can be made upon opponents that move (squeeze) directly past without engaging the combatant. The opportunity attack is rolled if a successful dexterity check is first made (by rolling under your dexterity score) and the damage inflicted is half normal if the character is engaged in combat with another foe.

*Movement rates during Combat are between half and two thirds the normal rate in feet. A Human with a movement rate of 12' can move a maximum of 60 feet in a combat round whereas a Dwarf with a movement rate of 6' can now move 40 feet. A full Movement Action allows only one attack at the end of the round (plus a minor action, such as calling out).

*Characters that only move up to half of their combat movement rate (30 or 20 feet) can make their full number of attacks (and make a minor action). Characters moving their full distance only make one attack (and make a minor action), as mentioned above, whilst charging characters can make one attack at the end of their (full plus a half) movement while dealing double damage (if using a spear or appropriate weapon) but lose their dexterity AC bonus, suffer -1AC penalty and give a -2 bonus to their opponent's initiative rolls (where the lowest roll goes first).

*Spellcasters that move in combat (their max movement being half their non-combat rate) can only move 1/3 of their distance and cast a spell of 1 round casting time. Spells of 6 segments or less allow 1/2 movement whilst spells of 1-2 segments allow 3/4 full movement.

*Characters that move up to frontally attack opponents, using all their available attacks during a combat round, and still have movement available, cannot disengage from that opponent until the start of the next round (the opponent is allowed to swing back, whilst the PC attacks have used up potential movement opportunity). This move restriction does not apply for surprise attacks or rear attacks. An attacking character can move away (withdraw, retreat, continue past) in the same round an enemy is met if the opponent falls (ie a Warrior with two attacks moves 10 feet and slays an Orc with one blow, and then continues 10 more feet and uses his second attack on other Orc).

*The general movement in combat rule is either 'move and attack', or 'attack and then move', or 'just move', or 'just attack'.

* See here for handy Combat Rules Reminders taken primarily from the DMG.

THACO: Modified (Optional Rule):

*Warrior THACO is 19 at first level > the same as 1 HD monsters. This assumes a level of training and practice with weapons. Progression thereafter is at the normal rate, improving one place each level so that the BASE THACO of a 2nd level Fighter would be 18.

*Priest and Rogue THACO is 20 at first level, as are non-combat 1 HD monsters and untrained or non-combat 1 HD (0-level) NPCs. The THACO chart improvement rate, for both Priests and Rogues, remains unchanged.

*Wizard THACO is 21 at 1st level and improves one place every 3 levels. A 4th level Wizard now has a THACO of 20.

Weapon Proficiencies:

*Bonus weapon (or non-weapon) proficiency slots are granted for high intelligence scores equal to the language bonus (PHB).

*Weapon Specialisation - this costs 1 proficiency slot, after the character has gained proficiency in a weapon, and grants a +1 to hit and +2 to damage, plus increased attacks per round, and is only available to single classed Fighters (PHB).

*Weapon Expertise - this costs the same as specialisation except that the character gains ONLY the improved attacks per round and NOT the hit or damage bonus.

*Partial Specialisation - this costs the same as specialisation except that the character ONLY gains the +1 to hit and +2 damage bonus but NOT the improved attacks per round.

*Bow Specialisation - this costs 2 slots and confers +2 to hit and +1 to damage at Point Blank range, which is from 6' to 30' for bows and 6' to 60' for crossbows, and gives a bonus +1 to hit for all other ranges (that lessens range modifier penalties). The non-crossbow specialist Rate Of Fire is always 2/1 and if their weapon is notched and drawn, and target sighted, they can fire once at the start of combat, before initiative is rolled, in addition to their normal attacks - non-specialists may also perform this same maneuver but it counts as an attack for the round. Rangers may become specialised in the bow at 1st level.

*Weapon Mastery - this costs 2 weapon slots, where the player gains one of the following:
>a +1 to hit along with an improved die roll for damage so that a weapon inflicting 1d6 now does 1d8, where weapons of 1d8 do 1d10, and where a two handed sword vs large improves the roll from 3d6 to 3d8, and so forth, OR
>a +1 to hit and +1 to damage along with an increased attack rate so that specialised weapon attacks of 3/2 are now made at 2/1 per round, OR
>the ability to critically hit opponents (inflicting full damage) on a successful roll of 19 that improves every three levels so that a character learning this skill at 5th level will be able to score critical hits at 8th level on a roll of 18 or better. Characters with Dexterity scores of 15 or greater have the option, in place of the critical hit improvement, to deflect one melee attack per round as a Mystic. They can apply a dexterity bonus to the deflection roll if wearing studded leather or lighter armour, but must use the warrior Saving throw table, otherwise it functions in full armour. This skill improves one increment every 5 levels thereafter (ie 5 levels later they may deflect two attacks).

Learning Weapon Mastery skills typically require a teacher and can only be achieved upon reaching 5th level (the same being true of bow mastery). Characters that acquire two levels of Weapon Mastery, spending 4 weapon slots, which can be achieved by 9th level, automatically learn all Style Specialisation skills with their chosen weapon and are known as Grand Masters 

*Bow Mastery - this costs 2 slots and extends the Point Blank +2 bonus to hit out to Short Range. The damage bonus within this distance is increased to a total of +2. Furthermore, a damage bonus of +1 now applies to those struck within Medium Range - whilst retaining the previous +1 to hit bonus. The maximum distance in each range category is extended by 20 feet and the base ROF improves to 5/2 attacks per round. Grand Mastery - Devoting 2 more weapon slots improves the to hit and damage bonuses by +1 in all existing categories and increases the ROF to 3/1 attacks per round.

*Single class fighters receive one weapon proficiency slot at 3rd level and one more every two levels thereafter. ie one at 3rd, 5th, 7th 9th etc.

*Proficiency in the Long Bow requires 2 slots with one additional slot to specialise (DM Option).

*Characters not normally proficient with a shield who use one only deal half damage during combat.

*Characters employing a shield may become specialised in its use gaining a +1AC bonus (for a total of +2). This requires a teacher & costs one weapon proficiency slot.

*Rogue class characters may employ a small or buckler shield but this requires the cost of 1 weapon proficiency slot and causes a respective 50% or 20% penalty to hiding in shadows and move silently abilities. The DM may also apply penalties to other thieving skills such as climb walls.

*All characters can learn proficiency in weapons and styles that are normally restricted by their class. This can only be done after first level and at the cost of one extra weapon slot.

*Martial Arts rules follow those outlined in the Complete Fighter's Handbook with two exceptions. A Martial artist's unarmed AC gains a +1 bonus (no shield allowed) & they may learn Martial Arts Proficiencies (see Unarmed Combat).

Non-Weapon Proficiencies:

*The DM is encouraged to grant bonus non-weapon proficiencies during the course of the characters' lives.

*All spellcasting characters gain Reading and Writing proficiencies as a bonus.

*All PCs gain 1 additional non-weapon proficiency slot at 1st level.

*The following proficiencies are considered core rules (taken from/inspired by Handbooks, and the Rules Cyclopedia) to allow for more instances of trickery or political manipulation, often in an urban setting:

Acting/Bluffing: (Charisma, 1 slot) Allows the character to skilfully portray various roles and/or show false emotions. Most often used in entertainment, it can also be useful in aiding a disguise. If both are known a +2 bonus is gained for either check when having to 'ad lib' (on short notice) a specific role.

Intimidation: (Use Strength or Charisma, 1 slot) The former employs a threatening physical presence while the latter relies on subtle threats. This is only effective until which point the NPC believes the PC can be overcome. Intimidation does not work on NPCs that are 5th level or higher, or on low level NPCs with body guards (like a young Prince or King), unless the bodyguards are also intimidated. Player characters are not subject to making checks against this skill because it detracts from role playing.

Voice Mimicry: (Charisma, 2 slots): There are two uses. It can be used to portray a different accent and is automatically successful unless used against others with the same accent (which still confers +2 bonus). Mimicry can also be used to portray a specific individual where there are various penalties for fooling the audience, from zero for a fleeting acquaintance, to -2 for a friend, to -5 or -7 for a close relative. Prolonged exposure to the subject will also be needed to achieve success or else arbitrary penalties will also apply. A +5 bonus is granted if a successful disguise has been achieved first. If the disguise is deemed a failure in portraying a specific person, then the mimicry check automatically fails.

*Healing proficient characters can now restore 1d3 hp to the injured immediately after a combat encounter rather than in the round directly after being hit. This healing is not cumulative with other healing proficiency attempts but it is with magic. Non-magical healing of this type cannot restore characters to their full hp, the best efforts always resulting in 1 hp less than the maximum.

*Thief skills may be learnt as proficiencies. It costs 2 slots (weapon & non-weapon slots may be used) and bonuses for high dexterity scores apply. If learnt at 1st level the base is 5% + 6% per level thereafter. Characters learning these skills after 1st level have them calculated at 3% per level + 6% per level thereafter. Each time the skill is used a proficiency check versus dexterity (with a +2 bonus) must be made first. (In our campaign world bonuses to thieving checks, of 30-50% or more, are often given in easy situations).

*Unskilled characters can attempt to use thieving skills if there is a bonus to the ability check in a given situation - like a 30% bonus for opening a very simple lock (or they may make a wild low percentage attempt, 1-2%, in a normal situation at the DM's discretion). The character must first roll below their dexterity score and then make a percentage check using only the DM ruled bonus, plus any dexterity bonus, plus adding a cumulative 2% bonus if their intelligence or wisdom scores are 14 or greater.


*Warhammer damage is 1d6.

*Bastard sword, two handed damage vs small/medium is 2d4+1

*Two handed sword damage vs small/medium is 1d10+1

*Light quarrel (Sheaf), 1d4+1/1d4+1 Range is 40/80/140. Such bolts can only be fired by human sized crossbows. Small versions used by Goblins can only fire the equivalent of the standard quarrel inflicting 1d4/1d4

*Heavy crossbow damage is 1d8+1/1d6+1

*Small rock damage is 1d2 to 1d3 (25% temporary). Thrown range is 20/30/60. ROF is 2/1 or 3/2 if the optional combat rule for non-specialised bows is used.

*Elven Chainmail, is only able to be employed by dual or multi-class spellcasters that include a militant priest or fighter combination, and never available to single classed wizards.

*Holy water does 2d6 damage (not 2d4) against undead (& silver weapons do double damage against lycanthropes- Optional Rule). Holy water applied within one hour to the wounds caused by lycanthropes lessens the chance of contracting the curse by 50%.

*The herb, Belladonna, gives a 25% chance to cure the lycanthropic curse within 1 hour of an attack.

Armour Class & Magical Items:

*Armour class bonuses for magical items, such as rings or bracers, are not cumulative, except when one of these items is used in conjunction with a Cloak of Protection. A Ring of Protection +4 will override the protection offered by Bracers of AC7.  The same ring used with a Cloak of Protection +2 will grant a total +6 AC bonus. Restrictions on wearing armour with Rings and Cloaks of Protection still apply. A Ring of Protection only works with non-magical armours (that includes shields) while a Cloak of Protection can work with leather armour but not with any metal armour or any sort of magical armour or any type of shield (p.148 and 164 DMG). Magical armour & shields still combine all their bonuses. Also, Saving Throw bonuses still accumulate with rings, protection cloaks, anklets (etc) even if the overall AC does not. And magical armour bonuses are added in saves versus physical attacks - as per the existing 2nd Edition rules.

Creating Magical Items:

*Lower level priests, magic users and occasionally 0-level characters (alchemists) can now create basic items such as scrolls, potions or short lived amulets. However, VASTLY greater amounts of time and resources are required if the character has not reached the minimum level noted in the 2nd Edition rules. Note: Certain low level magic using characters may tend to stock up on scrolls or other items in lieu of their limited spell casting capacity.


*Victims who are Charmed can make new saves against the effects depending on their wisdom or intelligence. For those with high scores (14-18) the time between saves is 1 day, for those with scores (9-13) the save is once per week, while those of scores (3-8) the time is one month.

*Recipients, plus the caster, of the spell Haste do not subsequently age one year but are now Slowed for the same duration as they were sped up. Multiple Haste spells are not cumulative.

*Continual Light lasts 2 years per level of the caster. It can be negated with Continual Darkness or Dispel Magic. The spell can be made permanent with a Permanency spell. 

*The total number of bolts generated by Magic Missile is no longer restricted to five.

*Levitate, when successfully cast against other creatures, is limited to raising the target 10 feet per level of the caster.

*Shield now lasts 3 turns per level. ie at 2nd level this spell lasts 1 hour.

*Sleep spell range is now 80 yards.

*Infravision now lasts 12 hours.

*Stoneskin protects against hits rather than a number of attacks.

*Contingency is now a 5th level spell where multiple castings do not cause the cancellation of the previous dweomer. At higher levels, or with ritual magic, the duration of the enchantment, 1 day per level, can be considerably extended.

*Ritual Magic. Any character, NPC or monster can attempt to cast spells, or invoke temporary spell-like effects, of ANY spell via the use of elaborate ceremony and substantial material expense. The individual need not be a spellcaster. Spells are not memorised but must be read off a carefully prepared script that always requires a substantial material component. The chance of spell failure is the same as when reading scrolls of a higher level than the caster (5% per level difference between the character's level and the level at which the spell could be cast. DMG p.145). Casting times can range between a few hours to a few days (or longer!) depending on the spell. The cost of such magic varies but typically starts with material costs of 300gp for 1st level spells and doubles every level thereafter ie. 300gp, 600gp, 1200gp etc. Furthermore, a level of physical sacrifice is often demanded depending on the type and level of spell being attempted.

*Permanency can be cast using Ritual Magic techniques at lower levels or by non-wizards (crafting a weapon) at considerable expense, and often using other magical aids.

Spell-Like Powers:

*The DM is encouraged to introduce spell-like powers into the campaign for NPCs, villains & PCs. These supernatural powers usually derive from magical research, magical items or from higher powers (either good or evil). Occasionally 0-level humans may have such power. These powers may include access through prayer, to low level spells, additional spells per level for spellcasters, the ability to regenerate, supernatural strength, telekinesis, the detection of evil etc (see New Spells and Spell-like Powers).


*DMs may add strength bonuses to monster weapon THACO calculations or simply improve the monster THACO roll when exceptional examples of particular types are encountered (DM Option).

*The DM is encouraged to max out the hit points of powerful monsters or even double the HD in the case of dragons. Assume constitution bonuses apply - dragons may have scores of 18, 19 or higher.

*Most monster poison that normally results in death now causes 8d4 points of damage (8-32hp). This level of damage will almost certainly kill any 0-level human or demi-human. Stronger poisons do even more damage.

*Energy Drained levels (not experience) return at the rate of one level every month back to the minimum required for each level. If during that time the character advances back up a level during the course of an adventure the remaining time for regaining the remaining lost levels is still calculated from when the PC was at the lowest level after draining.

*(DM Option) Lycanthropes - Magical weapons of any type only do 1/2 damage to lycanthropes while non-magical ones do no harm. However, silver weapons do double damage to such monsters. >Wererats, that are supposed to be 'physically weaker than most species that dominate the surface' (MM), take half damage from normal weapons, full damage from magical weapons, and (only) full damage from silver (unlike other more powerful lycanthropes that take double). Hit points per die for these 3HD monsters should only be 3 to 4 maximum.

*Demons or Devils can be struck by blessed weapons and suffer double the normal damage when hit.

Death and Poison:

*If reduced to 0 hit points the PC does not die but instead falls to the ground and is incapacitated, being unable to fight. When at -1 to -9 hit points the character falls unconscious and loses 1hp per round until reaching -10 hp whereupon the character expires. During this time the PC is entitled to roll a saving throw versus death each round. If two successful (non-consecutive) saves are made the character stabilises and has lapsed into a coma. If the character has been physically struck down to -10, two consecutive saving throws vs death can be rolled in order to stabilise. Characters with high constitution scores, that allow limited regeneration, automatically stabilise when reduced to negative hit points. Other PCs can stabilise a wounded comrade by tending to their wounds. If reduced to 0 or less hit points from temporary damage the injured character is incapacitated and unconscious, but their condition does not deteriorate.

*Any character who has fallen below 0 hp (and not from temporary damage) who is rapidly healed must make a system shock check to function with penalties of one third strength, dexterity and constitution, with half movement, until they have 48 hours of bed rest. Characters rapidly healed from below 0 hit points can only be healed to a maximum of 2 hit points and are somewhat incoherent until complete bed rest is taken. A failed system shock check results in continued unconsciousness or delirium that lasts 1d12 hours whereafter the above penalties apply. For magic using characters, all spells previously memorised are erased. Also, any PC in such a condition that enters combat must make a save vs death at the end of each round or fall unconscious for 1d8 rounds.

*Where a poison attack would be fatal the PC is allowed a second check at half their constitution resurrection/survival percentage +2% per level. If successful the PC has lapsed into a coma (0hp). A luck stone or magic conferring bonuses against poison allows this constitution check to be made at the full resurrection/survival percentage.

*For characters or NPCs; preparing the ingredients and brewing the most basic poison takes time. Plant based poison that lasts one week can take up to one week to produce. Other poisons that cause paralysis may require exotic ingredients that are difficult or impossible to source, or cannot be realised without the right equipment. Types of ingested poison may simply come down to finding toxic plants or fruits that cause penalties to physical attributes (halving base ability score numbers) or will inflict varying levels of damage. The availability of these plants is wholly left to the DM's discretion. See the entries on Assassin, Ninja and Witch for details on the types of poisons suggested for use in the game.

Equipment Damage (Optional):

*Any character that is hit with two consecutive rolls of 20 or falls to 0 hit points, or less, during melee combat sustains damage to their equipment. Roll 1d4 for results. 1. Wrecked armour (-2 to AC) 2. wrecked shield (unusable). 3. broken weapon (or shield if weapon is magical). 4. wrecked backpack, backpack item(s), or other. Re-roll where appropriate. Note: Magical weapons can only be broken from strikes inflicted by other magical weapons or monsters with very high Hit Dice.


*DMs will require the BASIC RULES books and photocopies of the blank Character Record Sheet provided on the back of the Player's Manual. See here for details.

*Full hit points for PCs at 1st level for all classes (+ bonus hit points, mandatory high Constitution scores, and/or 1d8 hp for each character as per the suggestions already outlined above).

*Weapon Mastery rules are open to all classes and become available after 1st level. A limit on the maximum ability to Expert level is recommended (whereafter melee damage bonuses become excessive). Skilled weapon use gives a +2 to hit, while Experts have a +4 bonus to hit opponents. While the cost to learn each skill level requires only one 'proficiency slot' characters cannot become Experts with a weapon until reaching 9th level. Weapon Mastery is an uncommon skill.

*Poison does damage rather than death. The amount of damage is left up to the DM depending on the creature.

*Death results when characters are reduced to -10 hp. From 0 to -9 hp the PC has fallen unconscious and loses 1 hp per round unless a saving throw vs death is made to indicate they have stabilised.

*Elves are normally only Fighter/Magic-Users but can now also be of any class. The DM may wish all Elves to be magic-using beings so that they have to be either a multi-classed combination or single classed Magic-Users or Clerics.

*Elves are now 90% resistant to Sleep and Charm (taken from AD&D rules), along with their immunity to ghoul paralysis.

*Dwarves and Halflings who are normally only Fighters can also be either Thief or Cleric Classes.

*Dwarves must have minimum scores of 9 in Constitution as well as Strength.

*Thieves gain a 5% bonus to their skill checks, except Hear Noise and Read Languages, for every +1 bonus they get due to a high Dexterity score.

*Thieves Backstab multiplier improves to x3 at 10th level. In BASIC, strength and other bonuses are included before this multiplier is used. In AD&D the multiplier only applies to the dice roll. Note: The DM may wish to use the AD&D system.

*Punching damage is 1d2 plus any strength bonus.

For further details on playing the D&D BASIC GAME, the simplified version of AD&D, and the best for learning, click on this linked page.



AD&D On Camera

For those wanting to film and share their Advanced Dungeons and Dragons games THACO DRAGON recommends the following modifications to allow for quick and easy-to-comprehend onscreen gameplay:

*Player Characters start play at 3rd or 4th level or higher, which gives the characters enough hit points for continuous activity. The DM may elect to start at 1st level, with the interest coming in how characters with low hit points negotiate their way through various encounters.

*Hit points of all monsters be reduced to half their normal levels to cut down on the time taken to run battles.

*Use costumes so that viewers can easily identify what character the player is controlling - miniatures cannot be easily seen. If the players have a prominent NPC in the party the DM might want to dress up a dummy or large plush toy to represent this character.

*If one camera is used then avoid adventures that rely heavily on tactical plotting using a battle grid. If two cameras are used then filming techniques can include a close up of the battle grid or of individual players.

*Ensure that the sound recording is clear. Poor audio will discourage views no matter how good the visuals.

For an example of the BEST presentation of a Dungeons and Dragons game, from which the above points were derived, please consider the excellent Yogsquest D&D gaming session:

YogsQuest Episode 1: Adventurers Assemble - Funny D&D session (language warning)

YogsQuest Episode 2: Owl Tassels - Funny D&D session

Link: YogsQuest Episode 3: Jambawok Whispers - Funny D&D session

Link: YogsQuest Episode 4: Rubbish Dump - Funny D&D session

Link: YogsQuest Episode 5: Crazy Doors - Funny D&D session (battle commences)