Jul 4, 2010

Original Edition Combat + Chainmail

Combat in D&D has often been complicated or confusing as described in the original rules, yet simple in principle and in action. When I first acquired an original white box set it was always the combat that seemed most challenging to wrap my head around. If there is any flaw to the original set (other than the delightfully chaotic organization) is that it required Chainmail in order to properly use. It is strange to me Gygax's decision to not properly cover Combat, one of the cornerstones of any adventure, in the original rules.

The reasons for the omission of combat only become clear when you understand the cultural context of the white box set: that it was aimed at the existing war gaming hobby crowd. They didn't need rules for handling combat, they already had a good understanding of that, what they needed was the form and breadth of the concept of role-playing in general.

Over the years I have collected bits of wisdom and information on how combat was handled by players in those precious early years of D&D, with some intent of formally organizing them into a legible document. Fortunately

Using Chainmail Combat with OD&D.

I particularly like the way Aldarron gathered information from Swords & Spells, combined with published Q&A's from Gygax, and the Chainmail rules all applied to OD&D into a legible format. If you've ever tried to make heads or tails of Swords & Spells you will really appreciate the work that has been done here.