Character Creation Challenge: Adventures Dark and Deep

For this entry in the Character Creation Challenge, I made a character in Adventures Dark and Deep (ADD). This game is based on an intriguing concept (quote from the back cover of the Players Manual): “What if Gary Gygax had been allowed to go through with his plans for a second edition of the world’s most popular role-playing game?” Joseph Bloch took AD&D (including the additional material from Unearthed Arcana (UA)), as well as drawing upon articles in Dragon magazine and various online forums, and ADD is his interpretation of what that might have looked like. I find the results to be quite interesting. The game does feel like the next step after UA for the AD&D game (if not an alternate Gygaxian AD&D 2nd edition, it could be thought of as 1.75, if you consider UA as 1.5). UA added the barbarian, cavalier, thief-acrobat, and new playable elven, dwarven, and gnomish races. ADD builds on this. Additional classes you find in ADD are the jester, mystic, bard (as a full class of its own), savant, and mountebank. The Player’s Manual doesn’t just feel like an extension of AD&D, it even looks that way with a font that is similar if not identical to the AD&D 1st edition Players Handbook with similar chart and table formats. If you ever wanted to play a more expanded AD&D 1st edition without switching over to 2nd edition, then ADD is worth looking into (let me also add for those GM’s looking for OSR monsters, that the bestiary for ADD is one of the best collections of AD&D monsters you can get. It is over 450 pages and has over 900 monsters).

But enough of this introduction, let’s move on to my character.

I decided I wanted to make a Jester. This was a way for me to make an expanded AD&D-type character. I had to re-roll my attributes (3d6 six times) several times before I was able to meet the requirement of having at least a 13 in Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma. I then did the usual of populating the attribute scores, writing down what the modifiers do, consulting the saving throw charts, rolling starting coin and buying equipment. All of that is like AD&D. What stood out, however, is that much of the character background and character building material in AD&D which you had to get from the DMG (such as social class, birth order, family traits) are in the ADD Players Manual. I always loved choosing that in AD&D but going through two books at the same time – or three if you were also using UA – was a hassle. ADD has all of that in one book in the order in which you need it.

As for the Jester, what do they get? Frankly, quite a lot of unique abilities. Their powers and abilities are: verbal patter, tumbling and performing, pranks, spell use (starting at 3rd level), attract a troupe (10th level). The verbal patter is broken down into subcategories: assure, distract, befuddle, enrage, etc. These all go up percentage-wise like thief abilities. Likewise, tumbling and performing is broken down into: evasion, entertain, falling, balance, fire breathing, juggling, knife throwing, sword swallowing, etc. Like any other AD&D thief-like character, you get a lot of abilities, but they start out quite low (my evasion is 10%, balance is 20%, juggling is 25%, and so on). All these abilities are laid-out in charts, so they are easy to reference. This would be a fun class and character to use with all his acrobatic maneuvering possibilities and the different ways in which he could manipulate his target’s perceptions!

All in all, I had a lot of fun making this character. It was a pretty big shift from the previous characters I made in this challenge from games that were clones from 1977, 1981, and 1983 Basic D&D with their much more simplistic and bare-bones rules, but if you love referencing AD&D 1st edition-inspired charts and tables, this will make you happy! Much like Old School Essentials, and Blueholme, I’d love to play this at a convention, but I get the feeling that this has a much smaller group of adherents. I own all of Joseph Bloch’s ADD books (Players Manual, Game Masters Toolkit, Bestiary, Adventures Great and Glorious, and Castle of the Mad Archmage), but I make use of them for inspiration in my game of choice: Castles & Crusades.