Ascending AC for Basic D&D

Basic D&D is an old beast that uses descending AC and THAC0. When I was starting this campaign and going through the rulebook I quickly came to the conclusion that I don’t want to do table lookups every time monsters are attacking the PCs. That would get tedious very quickly. I’ve played a lot of D&D 3.x which uses ascending AC and attack bonuses that make the whole attack and defense system very straight forward to use.

You roll d20 + your attack bonus and you need to score at least your opponents AC to hit. First I took the armor table and converted armors to give ascending bonuses. The basis is unarmored man with AC 9 which becomes AC 11 in ascending system (20 – descending AC). The same formula applies to calculating ascending AC for monsters, just take 20 – monster AC to get the target number for your PCs’ attacks.

Type Armor bonus
Unarmored Base AC 11
Leather Armor +2
Scale Mail +3
Chain Mail +4
Banded Mail +5
Plate Mail +6
Suit Armor* +9
Shield +1

* Full plate armor, fitted for the user. No one can use suit armor made to another person without modifications. Modifying suit armor costs (3 + 1d4) * 10% of the original cost and takes one week.

The bit about modifying suit armor is my own, just felt the need to write something I quickly thought about it based on the description of the armor.


Next I converted all character class to-hit tables to attack bonus by level tables using the to-hit AC 9 (unarmored man) column on the attack tables.

Human Attack Bonuses

Level Fighter Cleric/Thief Magic-user
1 +1 +1 +1
2 +1 +1 +1
3 +1 +1 +1
4 +3 +1 +1
5 +3 +3 +1
6 +3 +3 +3
7 +5 +3 +3
8 +5 +3 +3
9 +5 +5 +3
10 +7 +5 +3
11 +7 +5 +5
12 +7 +5 +5
13 +9 +7 +5
14 +9 +7 +5
15 +9 +7 +5
16 +9 +7 +7
17 +9 +9 +7
18 +9 +9 +7
19 +9 +9 +7
20 +9 +9 +7
21 +9 +9 +9
22 +11* +9 +9
23 +11* +9 +9
24 +11* +9 +9
25 +13* +9 +9
26 +13* +9 +9
27 +13* +9 +9
28 +15* +9 +9
29 +15* +11* +9
30 +15* +11* +9
31 +17* +11* +9
32 +17* +11* +9
33 +17* +13* +9
34 +19* +13* +9
35 +19* +13* +9
36 +19* +15* +11*

* Every point character of this level beats his opponents AC is dealt as extra damage in the attack.

Demihuman Attack Bonus

Level / Rank (Dwarf) Dwarf Elf Halfling Level / Rank (Elf/Halfling)
1 +1 +1 +1 1
2 +1 +1 +1 2
3 +1 +1 +1 3
4 +3 +3 +3 4
5 +3 +3 +3 5
6 +3 +3 +3 6
7 +5 +5 +5 7
8 +5 +5 +5 8, A
9 +5 +6 +6 9, B
10 +7 +7 +7 C
11 +7 +8 +8 D
12, C +7 +7 +7 E
D +8 +7 +7 F
E +9 +7 +7 G
F +9 +7 +7 H
G +9 +7 +7 I
H +9 +8 +8 J
I +9 +9 +9 K
J +10 +10 +10 L
K +11* +11* +11* M
L +12*
M +13*

* Every point character of this level beats his opponents AC is dealt as extra damage in the attack.

Monsters

HD Attack Bonus
Normal Man +0
Up to 1 +1
1+ – 2 +2
2+ – 3 +3
3+ – 4 +4
4+ – 5 +5
5+ – 6 +6
6+ – 7 +7
7+ – 8 +8
8+ – 9 +9
9+ – 11 +9
11+ – 13 +9
13+ – 15 +9
15+ – 17 +9
17+ – 19 +10
19+ – 21 +11*
21+ – 23 +12*
23+ – 25 +13*
25+ – 27 +14*
27+ – 29 +15*
29+ – 31 +16*
31+ – 33 +17*
33+ – 35 +18*
35+ and up +19*

* Every point character of this level beats his opponents AC is dealt as extra damage in the attack.

Naturally characters add their Strength modifier to melee attack and Dexterity modifier to ranged attacks. The asterisk is something I had to come up with since there wasn’t direct way to convert the rule in Rules Cyclopedia. In Rules Cyclopedia after certain point the to hit table started saying that “only misses on natural 1 and add the number shown to damage of the attack”. Basically, you’re such a bad ass that you hardly ever miss and every time you hit you do extra damage. This isn’t exactly same but there is the extra damage component. The math most like doesn’t add up but I’m not worried, the first times this comes up is beyond level 20.

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