Wednesday, September 5, 2012

AD&D Morale versus D&D Morale

Continuing my contrasting of the AD&D system to the D&D system...

Something else I've noticed is the radical differences in how morale is treated.  First off, in D&D Morale is explicitly labeled as an optional rule.  In AD&D it isn't, however, the failure to label something as optional should not be taken as an indicator that it's essential due to the insistance in the rule book that one make the game their own.

More interesting, is how everything in AD&D has a base probability of morale failure of 50%.  Wow...

In this sense, D&D can be a much more brutal game than AD&D because certain opponents (e.g. skeletons) are absolutely relentless with their morale score of 12 (i.e. 0% probability of failing morale checks). 

Also interestingly, is that while D&D hints that a DM might modify morale based on the situation, AD&D has a table of suggested morale modifications which takes into account issues such as the death of a leader, encountering a larger force and suffering high casualties. 

I'm not sure which system I like better.  I like how in D&D the assignment of a morale score to each creature reflects it's intrinsic aggressiveness or disinterest in fighting.  I like how in AD&D there's a suggested modifier based on the scenario.  I think if I was going to come out with a "D&D Mine" I'd create some kind of hybrid of the two systems. 


  1. I found the AD&D morale rules so fiddly (having to compare friendly hit dice versus enemy hit dice forex) that I never actually used them.

    What I've been doing lately is use the basic D&D morale score unmodified but having more situations where the morale test is made. Making multiple rolls against an unmodified number is similar to making one roll against a lower modified number but ends up being faster.

    1. Lately I've been tossing around the thought that as far as AD&D vs. D&D goes, Labyrinth Lord with their Advanced Edition Companion might have the best balance between the advantages of disadvantages of the two systems. There they use the D&D combat system including morale. I do like the 1 minute combat round though, because I like spell casting times. I also really like spell components.