15 March, 2012

This Might Be Considered a Rant: THAC0

I just started reading Howling Tower.  I opened up a post from January today and the author referenced a post on Critical Hits about the way the game has changed, the influence of the Internet, et cetera.  I was cruising through this post and suddenly came to a screeching halt at this sentence: "We all know that huge weight that was lifted when THAC0 went away."


What's wrong with THAC0?  If I know your character's THAC0 I know what Armour Class he's going to hit.  THAC0 20?  Rolled a 12?  AC 8.  It's basic subtraction, folks.  Not rocket science.  Third Edition decided to dumb down the system and now you all can't do math?  Eh?  Sure, it's easier to go, "The monster's AC is 12 so you need a 12 to hit it," but really.  I'm an English  Major.  I don't do math like some people don't do windows, get it?  I  like rules-light systems because I don't want to spend all my time figuring out seventy billion adjustments to my roll just to see if I can successfully walk down the street without falling over.  But THAC0 is not an example of a complex rule.

I started playing D&D (red box Mentzer) around 1984 or so.  I don't recall, as a child, having a great difficulty with descending Armour Class.  I learned it, and THAC0, very quickly.  Could it be that today's players are preoccupied with having the game their way, so their characters can be the special snowflake?  That they love all the new rules that "protect" them from "nasty DMs"?  That's fine for them.  I feel sad for them, but I'm not gonna argue with them, as long as they don't come leaning over here and telling me I'm a moron for using THAC0 and descending AC.  I feel sad that they've had to play with selfish and/or killer DMs who've abused them so much that they see a complicated, bloated ruleset as their only salvation.  And honestly: if you wanna be the badass mofo who kills all the monsters flawlessly and can never ever lose?  Go play an FPS game and turn on god mode.  If you want an experience that you'll remember, a fun time with friends, by all means, play D&D.

Told you this was gonna be ranty.

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