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8/10/2014 10:42 pm  #1


Ascending AC

My group wants to houserule to Ascending AC but I'm confused about how to convert it. If unarmoured AC is 9 Descending, is it 10 or 11 Ascending?

 

8/11/2014 3:09 am  #2


Re: Ascending AC

I am not quite sure why unarmored AC in AS&SH is 9, since in AD&D it is 10.
Effectively, all characters got a +1 bonus to AC, so if you want to convert directly the base would be 11.

However, AC for monsters was taken over directly without any adjustment.


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
 

8/11/2014 7:00 am  #3


Re: Ascending AC

Yora wrote:

I am not quite sure why unarmored AC in AS&SH is 9, since in AD&D it is 10.

The combat portions of AS&SH more closely resemble Basic, and Basic starts with AC 9 instead of 10.

I've never really understood the "problem" with descending AC - if you use a table it doesn't matter which way the numbers run, and if you want to do a calculation you can always use THAC0 - but if someone absolutely must convert, the method you describe should work fine. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png

 


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

8/11/2014 10:54 am  #4


Re: Ascending AC

Substraction never comes quite as easy as addition.

And it's also so much more intuitive. I am acting, I roll the die, I add my combat skill. I compare what I did with what the enemy has (a static number).

In the old system, I am acting, I roll the die, and substract the enemies defense ability. Then I compare that to my fighting skill? If the enemies ability is added to the roll, shouldn't he roll the die?
How is that in any way better than the other system?

Yes, when you've done it for 30 years, one comes as easily to you as the other. But I don't see a reason to get used to a needlessly convoluted and unintuitive system if you can just go with a different one that everyone understands the first time.


"Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger. What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?"

Spriggan's Den
 

8/11/2014 11:48 am  #5


Re: Ascending AC

Neither system is particularly "intuitive".  Both are abstract, entirely artificial constructs.


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

8/11/2014 12:12 pm  #6


Re: Ascending AC

It's funny, because when we tried 3e in the early 2000's, I had the most difficult time dealing with positive ACs; going back to traditional scores was like going back to an old friend.

Regarding the AC 9 base, I just want to say that AS&SH is not intended to be a 1e emulator. If you look under the hood, you will find a mix of 0e, 1e, Holmes, Moldvay, and many unique ideas and other adjustments. Heck, my attribute modifiers are more in line with how Gary suggested B2 be played with Holmes -- a very shallow curve of modifiers, not even as generous as Moldvay. Scroll creation inspired by Holmes, DX breaking initiative ties are inspired by Holmes -- those are just a few off the top of my head, in addition to AC9. My point is, if you try to match up AS&SH's rules convenitons with 1e, you will soon discover many mismatches.
 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

8/11/2014 12:21 pm  #7


Re: Ascending AC

Yora wrote:

In the old system, I am acting, I roll the die, and substract the enemies defense ability. Then I compare that to my fighting skill? If the enemies ability is added to the roll, shouldn't he roll the die?

How is that in any way better than the other system?

Yes, when you've done it for 30 years, one comes as easily to you as the other. But I don't see a reason to get used to a needlessly convoluted and unintuitive system if you can just go with a different one that everyone understands the first time.

There's nothing really convoluted about using descending AC in combat, although the way you describe it is somewhat peculiar.  You cross-index your level (or FA in AS&SH) with the enemy AC on the combat table, and that tells you the target number you need to beat on a d20.  That's it.  If you'd rather not use a table, you need merely note the number you need to hit AC 0 on your sheet.  When you make an attack, you subtract the opponent's AC from your THAC0 and that (again) gives you the target number you need to beat on a d20.  Neither of those methods seems especially complicated to me. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/errr.png


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

8/11/2014 3:53 pm  #8


Re: Ascending AC

I use ascending AC in my campaign and find it much faster. d20 + Fighting Ability (or hit dice for monsters) + attribute bonus + magic bonus >= AC is a hit. Much easier for me to DM and for new players to learn. To compute ascending AC, I subtract descending AC from 20.

 

8/11/2014 5:40 pm  #9


Re: Ascending AC

Although there are to-hit tables, the maths currently works like this:
d20 + attacker's FA + defender's AC (+ other modifiers) >= 20 -> a hit

So, with an FA 0 and no modifiers, there's a 50% chance of hitting. To replicate this, yeah, unarmoured ascending AC should start at 11

 

8/11/2014 9:56 pm  #10


Re: Ascending AC

Ynas Midgard wrote:

Although there are to-hit tables, the maths currently works like this:
d20 + attacker's FA + defender's AC (+ other modifiers) >= 20 -> a hit

So, with an FA 0 and no modifiers, there's a 50% chance of hitting. To replicate this, yeah, unarmoured ascending AC should start at 11

Once I stumbled on to that formula a while back, it suddenly made my whole life make sense. No more fiddly calculations or lookups. I just hand the players the monster/NPC AC, give them the modifiers and they tell me if they got to twenty or not. Perfect.

 

8/11/2014 9:57 pm  #11


Re: Ascending AC

I should point out that "to hit" numbers in Old School games are not really meant to be calculated on the fly or looked up on a table during play.  They're meant to be written on your sheet at character creation (and altered whenever they change due to level gains).  Modifiers are applied to the d20 roll, not the target number.  That doesn't change.  No matter how fast someone can calculate a hit number, it won't be faster than just reading it off their character sheet - which is equally true no matter which way the AC numbers run.

Last edited by Blackadder23 (8/11/2014 9:58 pm)


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

8/12/2014 6:04 am  #12


Re: Ascending AC

Blackadder23 wrote:

I should point out that "to hit" numbers in Old School games are not really meant to be calculated on the fly or looked up on a table during play.  They're meant to be written on your sheet at character creation (and altered whenever they change due to level gains).

I would argue that a table on your character sheet, even if if has only a single row, is still a table.

Blackadder23 wrote:

Modifiers are applied to the d20 roll, not the target number.  That doesn't change.  No matter how fast someone can calculate a hit number, it won't be faster than just reading it off their character sheet - which is equally true no matter which way the AC numbers run.

If the AC is the hit number, then, yes, that's faster than reading it off their character sheet.  *roll d20* *apply modifiers*  "I rolled 15 and the monster is AC 13, so I hit."

Both table lookups and THAC0 insert an extra step (either a lookup or subtraction) to convert from "modified die roll" to "AC which is hit".  3e-style ascending AC removes that step entirely because the modified die roll and the AC which is hit are one and the same - roll a (modified) 12 and you hit AC 12; roll a 17 and you hit AC 17.

 

8/12/2014 8:05 am  #13


Re: Ascending AC

Well, I'm not going to say that one method is more elegant than the other, or that one is more intuitive. Perhaps for the newly initiated, the ascending method is easier to grasp. Maybe it is a breath of fresh air for some older players, too.

When we tried some 3e and even C&C in the early 2000's, it took me some time to grasp this newer, "easier" method, but I don't think even then it was the first time I'd heard of it. I swear there was a Dragon article or some other magazine article that championed the method. I digress. Part of the reason I came to disfavor the method is somewhat related to geometry.

3e/C&C looks like this:
______________________________

0e/1e/2e/BASIC look this
._____________________________.

Infinte vs. finite. In 3e/C&C, when the PCs start to reach 8th, 9th, 10th level or so, you can have a character whose bonuses come out to +16, but they need to hit an AC 34 monster. There are only 20 sides to a 20-sided die, and the roll required is still 18, 19, or 20 in this situation (or 15% chance-to-hit). It keeps growing and growing, and to me (this is strictly IMO) it becomes preposterous. I prefer a tight, finite scale of 10 (worst) to -10 (best) or 9 (worst) to -9 (best) in which you generally are not going to see a lot of AC scores that are better than 0, the benchmark for "tough to hit". A game in which a +3 sword is one of the most powerful weapons a fighter can aquire. I just like it that way!

Which brings me to a more important point -- AS&SH was never designed to accomodate specifc trends or methods that may or may not be more mathematically sound. It has no universal mechanic, no overarching concept or theory behind its various conventions. It is, by intent, a complete exercise in self-indulgence. I made a game that I would enjoy playing my drinking buddies and, by extension, like-minded gamers that I meet at cons and other places. Sure, there were a great group of fellows who contributed ideas and opinions -- a closed group (not a public, open playtest) of fellows who offered some of their candid thoughts, and some of them are among us in this forum. And then Dave Prata combed through the whole of it and ripped apart my errors and contradictions with machine-like precision. But at the end of the day, if any of AS&SH's conventions are clunky or unwieldy, and maybe not as elegant as some modern ideas, I can accept that. But I would also encourage any referee to adjust or house-rule as desired.

Heck, my way is not going to be the RIGHT way -- not by any stretch -- but I can say with confidence that I cobbled together a game and setting that I keep wanting to play with my buddies, so that to me is reward enough. It's been an honor and a pleasure to have recieved award nominations for the game and positive reviews, because I never expected that. So, going forward, I plan to keep on keeping on, and maybe more folks will check it out, if it is to their tastes.

Lastly, my apologies for the soap box-like post.

Cheers,
Jeff T.
 


Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea - A Role-Playing Game of Swords, Sorcery, and Weird Fantasy
 

8/12/2014 8:18 am  #14


Re: Ascending AC

Ascending AC doesn't especially bother me.  As far as I can tell, the rules in 3e that aren't based on earlier editions fall into two different categories:

1) Rules originating in the near-crippling OCD of the designers or
2) Rules intended to pander to entitled players

I don't really see how ascending AC (which is more or less identical to descending AC, just turned inside-out) especially panders to players, protects their precious snowflakes, or makes sure everybody gets a trophy.  Therefore I can only assume it's rooted in the near-crippling OCD of the designers ("Must... make... to hit numbers... match... ACs or... head... will... explode") and so is basically harmless.  I would even be willing to entertain that there is a (very) minute theoretical chance it might be an improvement.  Even a stopped clock (or in the case of the 3e designers, an already-defective clock that has been bashed with a sledgehammer and kicked down three flights of stairs) is right twice a day. http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/cute.png

Last edited by Blackadder23 (8/12/2014 8:19 am)


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

8/12/2014 6:49 pm  #15


Re: Ascending AC

I prefer ascending AC for this type of game (D20, levels) simply because I ran BRP games mostly back in my day. I got used to running combat without referring to a chart and with percentile dice...ie a 50% chance is 50 or less on the dice. So naturally I am inclined to see 'target or higher' faster and without hesitation when using the d20 . Y'all are right, there is no real difference and it has the same result. It's just a matter of what's comfortable for each individual. It's certainly no barrier to this game. All you have to do is look at the AC of the critter you want to use and subtract it from 19 or 20 (depending on whether the base is 10 or 11), and make a note so that it's ready for play with no chart to intervene (I hate charts). So no harm, no foul. So long as everyone in a group is on the same page as to which way to do it.
I haven't run this yet, but have gotten used to the D20, levels paradigm with Crypts and Things. ASSH is what I'm looking to run next (assuming I can draw someone there away from 5e *sigh*). It'll be at a local gamestore. Maybe I can send some more orders your way.
 

 

8/12/2014 7:13 pm  #16


Re: Ascending AC

Welcome to the forum! http://cdn.boardhost.com/emoticons/happy.png


Don't pay any attention to my outbursts.

Last edited by Blackadder23 (8/12/2014 7:14 pm)


"The fear of death, its risk each time, is one of the most stimulating parts of the game. It therefore behooves the referee to include as many mystifying and dangerous areas as is consistent with a reasonable chance for survival." - J. Eric Holmes
 

8/12/2014 9:02 pm  #17


Re: Ascending AC

Outbursts?
Naw, you seem reasonable.

 

8/13/2014 4:57 am  #18


Re: Ascending AC

Ghul wrote:

Well, I'm not going to say that one method is more elegant than the other, or that one is more intuitive. Perhaps for the newly initiated, the ascending method is easier to grasp. Maybe it is a breath of fresh air for some older players, too.

I don't personally have any strong attachment to either method, but I do know that, when my group tried switching from traditional descending AC to d20 + FA >= AC (at the request of a 3e player), combats immediately started to run noticeably faster, even for players who had never played any flavor of D&D before and taking into account the time needed to remind people of the rules change on their first few turns.

Ghul wrote:

Infinte vs. finite. In 3e/C&C, when the PCs start to reach 8th, 9th, 10th level or so, you can have a character whose bonuses come out to +16, but they need to hit an AC 34 monster.

I agree with you completely, but, really, that's an orthogonal issue.  You could just as easily have a monster with AC -14 and characters with THAC0 4 in a descending AC model and they'd need to roll a natural 18+ to hit, too.  The problem here is with the ever-growing numbers rather than the direction that AC runs.

Ghul wrote:

It is, by intent, a complete exercise in self-indulgence.

As well it should be!

 

8/13/2014 7:19 am  #19


Re: Ascending AC

I've used both methods, don't have any problem performing either and think both are perfectly valid (it's just math after all), but prefer descending because it's what I used growing up and "feels more like D&D" to me.

I wouldn't not play in an ascending game and if as a referee all of my players wanted ascending I would certainly do it, but like I said, I prefer descending for what I guess could be called aesthetic or nostalgic reasons.

For me, arguments appealing to the comparative "efficiency" of ascending have never been that compelling. I'm not necessarily interested in saving seconds over creating a certain experience, especially when, for me, roleplaying is really just a backdrop for socializing.


Blackadder23: Insanely long villain soliloquy, then "Your action?"
BORGO'S PLAYER: I shoot him in the face
 

8/13/2014 7:46 am  #20


Re: Ascending AC

While I vastly prefer ascending AC for play, I still tend to think in terms of descending AC. When someone says plate and shield, I think AC 2 not AC 18.

 

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