The Delightful Oddity of Al-Qadim

Not so long ago, I wrote about one of my favorite 2nd editions settings, Planescape. Besides the wacky hijinks of the planes, it was the song of the sands that captured my interests. Not Dark Sun, that fantastical post-apocalyptic adventure wasteland, but Al-Qadim, the Land of Fate. Technically a sub-setting of Forgotten Realms, Al-Qadim has precious little in common with the core setting. In fact, most of the link is through the primordials, which are central to the setting’s past, but less so to the present day setting. While it is easy to dismiss the setting as a riff on One Thousand and One Nights and voyages of Sinbad, it proves to be so much richer than a simple reskinned setting dump.

Five 2nd Edition D&D Boxed Sets That Deserve 5th Edition Makeovers

Back in the eighties and early nineties, TSR decided to release 2nd Edition material in boxed sets. In my opinion, these sets were top notch and provided exactly what most DMs needed: playgrounds. They provided just enough information to get an adventure or a campaign started and left more than enough blank spaces for the DM and players to fill in with their own ideas and material. There was usually a fully developed pre-fab adventure to introduce the PCs to the location/setting and then the box was jammed full of extra goodies like NPC pre-gens, very high quality maps, and monster manual supplements. Aside from my core books, these boxed sets were the most used materials in my library by a very wide margin.

The Bard Class, Part Two

This time out, I’ll be writing about the Bard of AD&D, Second Edition. The bard of OD&D started as a magical and thiefly dabbler, loremaster, and diplomat, and grew into a quite potent magic-user. The 1e bard is an end goal to be attained, and is the result of dabbling in fighting and a little light crime (the thief class, that is). It leads to druid spellcasting, hyper-fast leveling for a little while, and more lore/charm stuff. It’s a very potent class, justified only in the extraordinary unpleasantness required to achieve it – but it’s the only way in the game to get 7d10+11d6+(Con bonus x 18) hit points. Assuming a +1 bonus from Con, which is I think pretty conservative if you know enough to maximize the benefit of your choices, you’re talking about an average 94 hit points at Bard 11 (requiring a total of 340k XP, equivalent to midway through Fighter 9)… yeah, it’s brutal to reach but bizarro-potent if you manage it.