[Let's Read] The AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide (1e)

LordofArcana

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Man, I remember in Baldur's Gate when I thought that the Necklace of Missiles casted Magic Missile and used it point blank against some gnolls at level 1. That was a fun discovery.
 

servoret

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The Medallion of ESP is totally a takeoff on Dr. Strange's amulet. I don't think the cone his amulet projected became cylindrical though.
 

Sleeper

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The Medallion of ESP is totally a takeoff on Dr. Strange's amulet. I don't think the cone his amulet projected became cylindrical though.
Except the Amulet of Agamotto's power is more comparable to true seeing than ESP. And it's generally aimed at a single target in line of sight.
 

Felix

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Are there many comic book references in AD&D? I know that "Super Hero" was a title in OD&D for high level fighters.
 

rstites

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Are there many comic book references in AD&D? I know that "Super Hero" was a title in OD&D for high level fighters.
I don't that's really a comic book reference. The 4th level Fighter is a Hero, so naturally an 8th level Fighter is a Superhero.
 

Marc17

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I remember this item being used by nasty DMs as a trap... put inside chests or around tight corners. This is a cursed item that is far worse for high level PCs than lower level ones... especially when vorpal blades are in the mix....
The one I'm most familiar with is the one in L1 The Secret of Bone Hill because I've run it in several games fairly recently, upgrading the module with each edition change. It's in a room with a collapsed corridor and actually sucks people into an endless plane devoid of features to fight the battle. The trick to this is usually to go in as a party and gang up on people's opposites. The opposites will not gang up, only attack their respective duplicate and everybody is there till one side or the other is destroyed.
 

Felix

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TABLE (III.E.) 4. (Con’t)
Net of Entrapment:
This useful net is really tough. You need a Strength of 20 to lift it or need a good sharp weapon and a hit against AC -10 to break it; sawing at the won’t work, only hacking. It also requires a save vs. magic to avoid if thrown, and can be suspended on a ceiling or concealed on a floor and magically drop/ensnare when a command word is spoken.

Net of Snaring: A Net of Entrapment that only works underwater.

Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments: Do you like the cartoons where Wile E. Coyote paints a realistic tunnel on the wall so the Road Runner will smack into a solid surface only to be dismayed when the bird zips through and then a train comes out and hits him? Well, apparently he was using these pigments, which will turn a 2D scene painted on up to 100 square feet into a realistic 3d scene. It won’t create living animals (so no drawing a lion to fight), but flowers and trees are okay, as are houses, normal weapons and equipment and anything non-valuable. Even if you drew a platinum ring, it will come out as tin.

I couldn’t find anything about who Nolzur was (PC, NPC, random name Gygax invented, etc.), but WizKIds has a line called Nolzur’s Marvelous Unpainted Miniatures. I like them, but wonder if some of the details would be lost if you actually apply pigments, like the drapes of the robe of this mindflayer:


Pearl of Power: A normal looking pearl that lets a magic-user recall one of the spells he’s cast and cast it again. You roll randomly to see what spell level is the highest it will recall. One percent let you recall 9th level spells and another one percent allow you to recall two spells (roll d6 to determine what level). One in 20 is cursed to cause you to forget a random spell you memorized each day, but a simple Wish or Exorcism will remove the pearl from your possession.

Pearl of Wisdom: If a cleric holds on to this for a month, they gain a point of Wisdom -- as long as they keep it in their possession. One in 20 are cursed and cause the holder to permanently lose a point of Wisdom -- though you can use a Wish or the right tome to get it back.

Periapt of Foul Rotting: Gygax keeps describing Periapts as “gems,” though the dictionary calls them amulets (their name derives from ancient Greek phrase “fasten around oneself”), Not that this matters unless you are dealing with item slots in a video game or certain editions. The possessor of this periapt, which appears to have “small value” will contract a horrible disease that will cause them to lose a point of Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma each week until one reaches zero and they die. To remove this, there are two simple techniques. You can find a Periapt of Health, grind it up and sprinkle it over the afflicted. Or you can cast Remove Curse, followed by Cure DIsease, then your choice of Wish, Limited Wish or Heal. Neither method restores lost characteristics.

Periapt of Health: In addition to countering Periapts of Foul Rotting when applied, these also make you immune to all other diseases while worn.

Periapt of Proof Against Poison: These come in four varieties, +1 to +4. They give that bonus when a normal save vs. poisons is called for. If the save would usually be made at a penalty, they instead negate the penalty. And any poison which doesn’t allow saves is resisted 10% per plus (so +2 is 20% chance of not instantly dying.) I don’t know why the bonus isn’t just used to counter penalties, but it makes +1 amulets almost as desirable as +4 if the DM likes strong toxins.

Periapt of Wound Closure: “The person possessing it will never need fear open, bleeding wounds, for the periapt prevents them,” we are told. Are there any bleed effects in the game? Luckily, it also doubles normal healing rate, and lets you heal from wounds that normally can’t be treated with mundane means.

Phylactery of Faithfulness: So a little bit of personal background. I’m Jewish, which I don’t usually bring up on rpg.net because it seems irrelevant to most of the conversations I’m involved with (it was the reason for a comment I made on the Manual of Golems, but I don’t think it’s had any other impact on this thread). But before I discovered D&D, I had seen the term phylactery used to refer to tefillin, which are little wooden boxes with prayers inside them and a thin leather strap coming out of them, which are wrapped around the arm and draped over the head during weekday morning prayers in Jewish services. (I do own a set of tefillin.) Dungeons & Dragons seems to use the phrase “phylactery” to refer to a sort of enchanted amulet or other item -- a usage I had not encountered before reading the game. So I wonder if I am the only person who imagines a lich has the same strange mental image of a skeletal figure wearing very specific religious items.

One of the three magical Phylacteries is given a physical description as an “arm wrapping,” but the Phylactery of Faithfulness is just described as a “device.” When “worn normally” it will let a cleric know that their planned actions could violate their alignment or displease their deity.

Phylactery of Long Years: As long as this is always worn, it will slow aging to ¾ normal. One in 20 is cursed to age you faster. I suspect the last one is insidious because the GM will one day say “Your character is middle aged and you lose a point of…” only to be interrupted by a player insisting they’ve been keeping careful track and are only in their mid-30s.

Phylactery of Monstrous Attention: This cursed arm wrapping causes monsters of the opposite alignment to be attracted to the cleric whenever it’s feasible they’d be in the area. If the cleric’s Level 10+, then powerful enemies of their god will notice them. To remove it requires an Exorcism then fulfilling a quest to prove your alignment.

Pipes of the Sewers: These allow the calling and control of a large number of either giant or normal rats (depending on the type of pipe). They’ll gradually appear from up to 40” away, and as long as the piper keeps playing there’s a 95 percent chance they’ll obey the musician. If the caller stops playing, the animals disperse, and there’s a 30% chance they’re turn on the piper if summoned a second time. There’s also rules for what happens if the rats are under someone else’s control, like a vampire. No rules on how to use the pipes to control juvenile humans for some reason.

Portable hole: “A portable hole is a circle of magical cloth spun from the webs of a phase spider interwoven with strands of ether and beams of Astral Plane luminaries. When opened fully, a portable hole is 6’ in diameter, but it can be folded as small as a pocket handkerchief.” Spreading it on a surface creates a 10’ hole, which can be folded up as if it weighs nothing. Don’t spend too long hiding in it; there’s only enough air for a turn.

There’s also specific rules for what happens when this is crossed with a Bag of Holding. If the Bag is put in the Hole, a rift to the astral plane is opened and both are sucked in and lost forever. If the Hole is put in the Bag, a gate is opened to another plane, sucking every creature within 10 feet there and destroying both magic items in the process. What happens when a Bag of Devouring eats a hole?

Quaal’s Feather Token: I do not know if there are actual feathers involved in these items, which are a “small magical device of various forms to suit a special need.” Whether these are one-shot or multi-use items is not mentioned, though in 3.5 they are explicitly one used and feather shaped. (I also don’t know who Quaal is, though there is an Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming, Michigan and when you google the name there are other references to Quaal things in the midwest.)

Types include:
  • Anchor: Keeps a boat from moving for up to a day.
  • Bird: Either keeps away hostile avians, or creates a roc-sized vehicle for a day.
  • Fan: Creates a strong breeze while on water, or if the wind is blowing the wrong way, counters the wind. (It explicitly does not enhance existing wind speeds.)
  • Swan Boat: A really big swan boat, capable of holding 32 men or 8 horses and moving at 24”.
  • Tree Makes a 60’, 6’ diameter trunk oak.
  • Whip: Like a Dancing Sword, but a Dancing Whip +1 which fights like a 9th level fighter and targets must save or be entangled for d6+1 rounds.



Next time: The elegantly named TABLE (III.E.) 5. begins with some nice robes.
 
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DavetheLost

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Portable hole: “A portable hole is a circle of magical cloth spun from the webs of a phase spider interwoven with strands of ether and beams of Astral Plane luminaries. When opened fully, a portable hole is 6’ in diameter, but it can be folded as small as a pocket handkerchief.” Spreading it on a surface creates a 10’ hole, which can be folded up as if it weighs nothing. Don’t spend too long hiding in it; there’s only enough air for a turn.
I am certain this one has its origins in the Roadrunner cartoons. Although Yellow Submarine is also a possibility.
 

Felix

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There's a lot of cartoony items in that entry. Those magic nets are exactly how snares work in cartoons when you step on them and they grab you. Plus the "paint a door here" pigments and the hole you can keep in your pocket.
 
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