3 October 2020

Tactical Encounter Variety

At the end of my last post I referenced the use of a table that added further structure to encounters.  I've long been fond of What are those wandering monsters up to?, from the late, lamented 1d8 blog, and do use it once in a while.  However, with random encounters being essentially entirely improvised encounters, generated then and there and often several times a session, I found it a bit taxing to constantly roll on that table and come up with a narrative on the spot to match the result.

As such, I went looking for something that generated the encounter variety I was looking for, but in a quicker, easier-to-use fashion.  Not really finding anything I liked, I considered how I was running encounters already.  In the dungeon I tended to follow the environment and setting: that is, the dungeon structure itself suggested the creature motivations and approaches.  In the wilderness things were hazier, as there's less structure to work off of: you're in a forest hex, and you roll up an encounter with forest monsters, and that's often all there is to it (e.g. the bandits are intelligent, but unless you've set up some sort of persistent society or structure for them in the hex, they're just an encounter; the T-Rex just doesn't care at all).

 

What's my motivation?

 

I realized that I had wound up varying them tactically.  Sometimes the party is forewarned, and gets a chance to make some decisions.  Sometimes they can outright ambush the enemy.  Sometimes the enemy returns the favour.  From there, I took the improvisations I had made and codified them.

I don't use the standard D&D surprise mechanics, as I wasn’t thrilled with their seemingly arbitrary nature: doesn’t initiative already measure getting the drop on someone?  Why are a quarter or third of all encounters, all other things being equal, complete shockers resulting in 10 seconds (or more) of pure inaction by at least one side (almost always the players, since carried light negates surprise for its carriers)?  It results in a high lethality, without much in the way of room for player skill to mitigate it.  As such, I've switched to making surprise only applicable during ambush-type situations, such as what could be generated here using these rules.  If you do use full old-school surprise, however, these rules can still be useful, in that an ambush not only means the standard surprise situation is achieved, but also lays down tactical parametres: as a proper ambush rather than just a bad surprise roll, the ambushing side will presumably be taking advantage of the terrain to their best effect: missle weapons at the ready, cover taken, ideal target(s) focused on, etc.

I've found the results to be a very simple way to help keep my encounters fresh.  Even just being able to say "a group of ogres break through the treeline ahead and are already almost on top of you" (a Stumbled-upon result) is a touch of variety that helps.  A Brief Warning result might be spotting those about to be encountered a few seconds before they spot you, or it might be "you hear a lot of noise in the brush directly ahead: something's coming your way fast".

It also feeds into the reaction roll, which I always make afterwards.  For example, if the enemy has managed to pull off an ambush, that's going to shape how I develop the reaction result I roll up immediately afterwards.  A hostile result will resolve as usual of course, but an unfriendly Ambushed result would probably lead to a shakedown attempt if the creatures are intelligent.

This is the table: 




23 September 2020

Across the Editions - The Reaction Table

Not what I had in mind when I googled my post topic.

The Reaction Table is one of my favourite elements of old-school D&D.  The idea of not moving straight to combat with a random encounter, but assuming that the creatures have agency and so their own ideas of how things might go down is a wonderful idea that leads to vastly more varied gameplay.

The idea of how the Reaction Table should function has not been consistent across D&D editions; I'm going to take a look at the differences, with the hope of drawing some useful lessons for my own efforts.

 

OD&D 


Despite the above, monsters automatically attack unless they're both intelligent and confronted by an "obviously superior force".  As such, the table doesn't actually come into play all that often.  Otherwise, it's definitely the simplest reaction table, very easy to use, albeit with no advice as to how to adjudicate results.

Reaction Adjustment: None (Charisma has no effect on the roll, even if using the Greyhawk supplement).

 

AD&D 1st Edition 

 
 
 
AD&D moves to percentile, as is often the case with that work: Gygax seems to have preferred a greater granularity with most things by the time he put it together.  It's fairly straightforward, with the exception of the Uncertain results, which require subrolls to see if they are further inclined towards negative / positive (something I'm not fond of: I'd prefer to adjudicate everything with the single roll).  Surprisingly, for an otherwise generally verbose book, there is no further advice or conditionals laid on top, not even OD&D's brief note about the power of bribes, fear, and alignment.
 
Here encounters specifically only apply to intelligent creatures which can be conversed with.
 
Reaction Adjustment: -25% (Charisma 3); +35% (Charisma 18) 

An interesting side effect of the AD&D system is that Paladins, with their minimum Charisma of 17 (+30%), will literally never encounter immediately hostile intelligent creatures if the two can understand one another, and have a 35-40% chance of enthusiastic greetings from such.  As such, the crusading, purging holy warrior also tends to leave a trail of magical friendship in his wake.  It also means that it's in the interest of a Paladin (or any other high-Charisma character) to speak as many languages as possible, as the ability only triggers with creatures that can be conversed with.  A high Int score (or some sort of Tongues item) is a godsend to such, rewarding what nominally might be considered dump stats on many characters.
 

AD&D 2nd Edition

 

2nd edition has a reputation for cleaning up 1st ed's wonkiness, but in my experience it tends to improve only the clarity of the text.  In terms of mechanical subsystems, it delights in baroque complication every bit as much as 1st, and in many cases even more so.  Here we've switched to a 2D10 table (rather than percentile), with the players' base attitude being the primary factor.  Why there needed to be a threatening vs a hostile column I don't know, but if players want to be murderhobos (as 2nd ed tends to encourage, since combat became the primary XP source in 2nd unless the DM really embraced the vague story-based XP reward concept or used the now-optional gold for XP rules), then they have a 40% chance of immediate hostility, the highest chance by far in any system featured here.

One of the most important things the table assumes is that hostility is the "good" result.  That is, hostility is the highest result in the chart, so that any positive chart modifiers lead the players towards it.  This is true even if the players want to be friendly: a friendly approach only reduces the range of possible hostile results.

At the same time, the 2nd ed reactions are the most nebulous aside from OD&D.  Even hostile is coded only as "Irritable, hot-tempered, aggressive, or violent": that is to say, there are no behaviours mandated by the results, only attitudes.  However, these rules don't have the same restriction on communication and creature intelligence that the earlier systems do.  As such, it's easy to assume you roll reaction for wolves and the like just as much as you would bandits, although the DMG suggests that "The creatures should act in the manner the DM thinks is most appropriate to the situation" and that you should only use reaction when you don't "have a clue about what the monsters will do."  Considering combat is much more the norm in 2nd ed, I suspect that most campaigns went with DM inclination, that inclination being "attack".

Overall, I can see the value in having a player-directed reaction table, but not in four categories and having Charisma behave in such a monolithic, unintuitive fashion.

Reaction Adjustment: -5 (Charisma 3); +7 (Charisma 18).  Again, the chart tends towards hostility as the "positive" option, so that someone more charismatic is more likely to get into an immediate battle, even if they don't want to (i.e. their initial approach is Friendly).  This is a baffling system for me.  What's worst is that this could have easily been avoided: just alter the Friendly column so that the friendly results are the highest results, so that a Friendly approach plus a charismatic actor leads to friendly results.  Similarly, while I don't see the need for a Hostile column separate from a Threatening column, altering the latter so that flight is the highest result then makes room for a charismatic intimidator.  As it is, there's little difference between the two except that you still have a 3% chance of bullying someone into being your friend (more if you're uncharismatic, oddly enough).


Holmes / Moldvay Basic


Clean, simple, and straightforward, this system originated in Holmes.  The use of 2D6 effectively creates a curve leading towards the confused monster result (44.42% of the time), which suggests that most monsters of the world are baffled by the existence of adventurers and means that most of the time the initiative lies with the players.  (The image is from Moldvay; Holmes notes the 6-8 result as "Uncertain, make another offer, roll again").

Holmes and Moldvay, like 2nd ed, don't place the restrictions of OD&D and 1st ed about only applying to certain subtypes of monsters and situations (beyond specific monsters such as zombies).  The entirety of the relevant section is given above: there's no further advice.  Unlike 2nd, however, the reaction roll is given as an equal option to predetermined reactions, not a fallback.

Reaction Adjustment: None in Holmes.  -2 (Charisma 3); +2 (Charisma 18) in Moldvay.  All you need is a Charisma of 13 to avoid all possible immediate attack results (though admittedly these only occur 1 in 36 times anyways).  A Charisma of 18 gets you a 1 in 6 chance of enthusiastic friendship for every encounter.


Mentzer Basic (Red Box)


People are fond of saying that Mentzer and Moldvay are the same, the only difference being formatting, but this is not the case: reaction is one area where they notably differ, as seen above.

I dislike this system as it falls back to a 1st edition sin that Holmes/Moldvay dodged: the reaction re-roll.  It actually triples down on this: rolling a 3-5, for instance, gets a possible attack, but you need to roll again, and if you roll 9-12, you have to roll yet again.  Your possible attack could thus turn into friendship.  I again see the value in varied results, but not via such a clumsy implementation; I'd prefer a reworked version of 2nd edition's master table if I was going for that.  It does have the advantage of giving more guidelines than Holmes/Moldvay, however, including a little advice on negotiations.

Reaction Adjustment: -2 (Charisma 3); +2 (Charisma 18).  The notes given for Holmes/Moldvay in this section apply here as well.  However, unlike Holmes/Moldvay, Charisma adjustments only apply if the players can talk to the monster.  There is also a specific allowance made for character reactions, with the same -2 / +2 range of possible reaction adjustments suggested for this, which is cumulative with any Charisma modifier.  It's not clear if you apply your modifier(s) to every subroll, or just the first roll in the series.

 

Rules Cyclopedia / The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game


1991's New Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons Game (TSR 1070) and 1994's The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game (TSR 1106), the final gasps of old-school D&D base rules implementation, use the exact same table.  This table walks back from the nested subcomplexities of Mentzer, but still relies on re-rolls.  The nature of the 2D6 scale means that a 4-point modifier is huge, making it very likely for you to achieve the result it's pushing you towards.  Still, it is possible you could wind up rolling several times.  Both books state to not roll more than three times, however.  "If the PCs don't do something to get a reaction (talk to it, or attack it, or put it to sleep—something) by the third roll, the monster attacks if the roll was 9 or less (remember to take into account the monster's alignment).  It just leaves if the result was between 10 and 12."

"Monsters" here are specifically defined as anything that isn't an NPC / doesn't have a character class.  As such, the reaction roll is very clearly applicable for most anything in the game.

1991's Rules Cyclopedia also uses the above table, only changing the wording on the first part of result 10-11 to "monster is neutral".  Like Mentzer, it also suggests a -2 / +2 allowance for character reactions, which its more introductory 90s brethren skip.  It oddly decides to be less granular than the intro products, however, if three rolls occur: "If by the third roll the monster hasn't achieved a roll of 10 or better, it will decide to attack or leave."  Interestingly, it is the only ruleset that uses subrolls to rule on when Charisma adjustments apply: they are only used for rolls after the first.  As such, if you get a hostile result, no amount of Charisma will save you.  Essentially, the initial reaction is as-is, but if the room for negotiation is there, charm (or the lack thereof) can come to the fore.  I like this a lot, although by being able to stack Charisma adjustments and player behaviour adjustments to these later rolls, it's pretty easy to swing the 2D6 scale in your favour.

Reaction Adjustment: -3 (Charisma 3); +3 (Charisma 18).  Unless using the Cyclopedia, with an 18 Charisma one can avoid any "monster attacks" results, and it's not clear if you apply your modifier to every subroll, or just the first roll in the series.  Also unless using the Cyclopedia, a Charisma of 18 gets you a better than 1 in 4 chance of a friendly result with every encounter.

 

What I Use 

 

Click for pdf.

I wanted results that reflected monster alignment, clear statements of intent about what each reaction means, no nested rolls, and some decent guidelines as to when to use the rolls and how to modify them.  As such, I've gone with a basic 2D6 scale, matching Holmes and Moldvay (and thus maintaining compatibility with products designed for such).  Sometimes I've gone with major changes when implementing a common system, but I really felt in this case that if it isn't broken, why fix it?  The only mechanical change I introduced is a roll penalty for dealing with Evil creatures and an accompanying hostility re-roll when generally dealing with Good ones.

My main "alterations" have been in presenting firm guidelines as to how the system is meant to work: not just when to use it, but what specifically happens when you do.  Holmes and Moldvay were very weak here, lacking the solid advice of Mentzer or even the 1990s efforts.  I wanted a GM to be able to readily able to apply this at the table.

I don't use Charisma modifiers, so the table results stand as they are, which is also a key structural change.  This was because I wanted to completely leave social interactions to roleplaying and random rolls, without even a stat influencing them.  I have nothing specific against Charisma: this was just something I wanted to do here.

There is a note about the "Ambushed" result in the text.  That is because I introduced a basic encounter structure table, specifically for outdoor encounters, meant to adjudicate the general tactical situation so as to provide some encounter variety.  It's possible that the encounter begins with the monsters springing an ambush on the party, and so I wanted to make sure that such a situation was covered.  I'll examine that in a future update.

I must admit to being tempted by the prospect of a cleaned up and more rational 2nd ed approach, and having written this up I am again, but for now I'm sticking with the Holmes/Moldvay interpretation.  I may come back to this, however.

8 September 2020

OSR Introductory Adventures -- A List


One of the most common questions on 4chan's /osrg thread (still the best place on the web for a steady discussion of OSR gameplay, rampant shitposting aside) is "what are some intro adventures I can run for my OSR game of choice".  As it kept coming up, I decided to create a list that attempted to tackle just that.  It's been iterated a few times and now I figure I'd list it here rather than limiting it to an obscure PDF.
 
These are adventures adhering to some sort of old-school mindset that were intended to be faced by 1st-level characters, included because I either think that they’re good or because they’re commonly recommended.  Bear in mind that authors’ ideas of what constitutes an appropriate low-level challenge varies.  Also bear in mind that the assumed party size varies, so that some of these adventures were only intended to be tackled at 1st level if the party was quite large and/or supplemented with 2nd-level characters (e.g. B2 was intended for 6-9 players; B4 for 6-10 players).

As an aside, it's this assumption of huge parties that I think is partially responsible for old-school games' reputation for lethality, since it's quite rare to see regular player groups of that size any longer.  I can see a lot of otherwise cautious, well-prepared players running into serious trouble when revisiting older modules simply because they don't have the small army the older TSR modules in particular assumed you had.  It's this that caused me to set Simulacrum's assumed player group at a more modern 4-5 players in size but to raise the average PC power level a bit: so that I could run B4 and the like with a group size I'm comfortable with and yet be confident that the players still had a decent chance at getting out alive.

No download links are provided (since most of these are for sale) but, with the exception of one module detailed below, purchase or download links for all of these should be readily searchable.  If you have any you think should be added to the list (bearing in mind that I want 2nd ed and back or OSR adventures, and for 0 or 1st level only), please let me know.


The Classics


B1 In Search of the Unknown
Basic D&D.  Introductory scenario with DM advice, intended to teach how to not just run but create dungeons.  It does this by leaving lots of blank spaces for you to work your magic, but for that reason it’s only as good as you are, and if you’re just starting, that’s probably not so good.  Also hard to map if you’re teaching that (though see here for an easier-to-use version of the upper level map, and here for an alternate full dungeon layout).  For creatives only.





B2 The Keep on the Borderlands
Basic D&D.  A small keep to explore, and a nearby cave system full of beasties, with short play and rules advice for those new to the game.  Very straightforward.  Easier to use out of the gate than B1, but pretty basic.  It can be argued that if you’re just starting D&D then you want basic, because you’re trying to learn a lot at once.  Still, some encountering this as their first D&D experience might be rather bored unless the DM is good at setting up faction play.
Pacesetter has put out two add-ons to this module that expand the original content: B2 Beyond the Caves of Chaos and B2.5 Blizzard on the Borderland.  I can’t speak to their quality.


B4 The Lost City
Basic D&D.  Sort of a Conanesque "Red Nails" B2 with a more interesting background and environment.  Though lacking advice for those new to D&D, IMO this is the superior of the first four intro Basic modules.  See here for further material.

 





N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God
AD&D 1st ed.  Technically level 1, but tough at that level.  Great mystery surrounding cultists, and a bit of a Body-Snatchers feel.  Town, wilderness, and dungeon components give some good variety.  Needing an NPC to save the day at the end lets it down somewhat, however.
Pacesetter released a N0.5 add-on (Twisting Trail of the Reptile God) that expands the wilderness portion.





U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
AD&D 1st ed.  Scooby Doo: AD&D edition, dealing with an apparently haunted house.  Progress is contingent on the party finding a secret door, however, so this could wind up being just a boring exploration of a relatively empty house.  Intended to lead into two sequels, but they’re not as good.






Caverns of Thracia
AD&D 1st ed (Judges Guild).  Technically level 1, but tough at that level.  The Greek-themed module that made “Jaquaying the dungeon” a thing and helped make Judges Guild a beloved name.  A faction-heavy, very open dungeon that’s a good way to see non-linear mapping and exploration in action.  Somewhat rough in terms of keying / room descriptions, though, so it requires more work than usual for a DM to prep.  Republished in its original form by Goodman Games a few years back; that is the version pictured.



Misc OSR Stuff

Blood Moon Rising
Labyrinth Lord.  A small village in the middle of a festival.  Colourful timed events, and during it all monsters attack.  Avoids being a railroad, unlike many things with timed events, which is a helpful lesson.  Good NPCs.
 







Blood of the Dragon (UK-S01)
Crypts & Things 1st edition.  You’ve got a bandit village, and battle apes, and an area dripping with sword & sorcery vibes.  Unfortunately removed from official circulation for some reason, but hopefully it returns soon.








Prison of the Hated Pretender
Vaguely Basic / 1st ed.  Short.  A giant statue head with an undead dude inside that’s been imprisoned for his crimes so long ago that no one remembers what they are.  Great atmosphere.  Free in its original version, but recently cleaned up and re-released in a PWYW version.



 
 
Purple Worm Graveyard
Labyrinth Lord (with some custom bits that are kind of fluffy but oh well).  A short, small dungeon where purple worms go to die.  Stay as long as you dare and harvest the plentiful worm ivory, but the longer you stick around, the more you risk getting to play with a 15HD monster.  Really nails the risk vs. reward issue.






The Sanctuary Ruin
Labyrinth Lord.  A basic goblin lair, but a very well done basic goblin lair.







 


Tomb of the Dragon’s Heart
Labyrinth Lord.  Short (aims for 4 hours) single-level dungeon with some solid faction bits and a good mythic vibe.





 



Tomb of the Iron God
Swords & Wizardry.  Designed specifically to be an intro module, with an appendix at the back giving some helpful lessons.  Interesting setting, sort of let down by the second level (too much undead and other non-negotiable stuff for me to like it, though the room of 50 skeletons teaches useful lessons); mentioned here more because it’s often recommended.  Still, it’s workable, and the specific design element raises it up.  Revised edition available that removes the advice, changes the layout to an extremely annoying comic book style, and tweaks the encounters (bye-bye 50 skeletons).
 

Tomb of the Serpent Kings
Largely systemless.  Designed specifically to teach old-school dungeon crawls.  Most rooms have a “lesson” call-out to let you know why it was added—what lesson it’s conveying to the DM and the players.  Latest is version 4.0.  Free.







 
Tower of the Stargazer
Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP).  Storming a wizard’s apparently abandoned tower.  Another module with advice designed to introduce old-school play, this one is heralded in some quarters for properly informing players as to the dangers of old-school play.  While it definitely can be fun, IMO it teaches bad habits by not having time pressure (no wandering monsters) and being too aggressive in penalizing players for actually exploring.  Quicker to just listen to Rainbow while considering the advice and making save or die checks.



The Withered Crag
AD&D 1st ed.  A dungeon in an ancient, mist-shrouded crater, with differing day and night time play.









Magazine Material


Barnacus: City in Peril
Dragon #80.  A bandit hunt, complicated by the fact that the bandits have spies within the city that have to be ferreted out.  The main feature here is the reasonably detailed settlement provided that the adventure is set against.






Citadel by the Sea
Dragon #78.  Orcs and party square off in a search for a legendary orcish spear in a ruined citadel.  A seemingly cursed village and a hidden opponent add some further depth to this one.







The Darkness Beneath, Level 1: The Upper Caves
Fight On! #2.  Honestly never played it, but Bryce at tenfootpole voted it the best OSR adventure he’s ever seen.








The Lichway
White Dwarf #9.  Short crypt adventure with a great gimmick later borrowed by LotFP’s Death Frost Doom.









Dungeon Crawl Classics Stuff

Requires more conversion work than other OSR stuff, as DCC is based on 3.5 and then adds its own mutations on top, though as these are all modules for 0-level and 1st-level characters they’re (comparatively) simple.  The main note is that DCC doesn’t use gold for XP, and so treasure levels may not be appropriate.  For these reasons I recommend these for more advanced DMs only (unless you’re playing DCC itself, of course).

Doom of the Savage Kings
“The footprints of a gigantic hound…”.  Strong Beowulf vibes in a sandboxy setting.  Decent mix of horror and NPC interaction, with a mini-crawl at the end to tie it all together.







In the Wake of the Zorkul
0-level funnel.  Literally starts in a tavern, but gets much better from there.  Good resource management.  Free.








The One Who Watches from Below
Impossible threats, impossible treasure, lots of eyeballs.  Great module for emphasizing player skill over level-appropriate encounters, and a similar risk vs. reward bit to Purple Worm Graveyard. Get the 2nd printing if you can (8 extra pages).






People of the Pit
Cultists are a great enemy, and when backed by a Cthulhu-like patron (and I really mean this: not some stupid large but killable squid monster, but something unspeakably huge and powerful), they can be really scary.  Nonstop unreasoning cultists makes it a bit of a combat grind, though.  Another good one for teaching players that PC death isn’t unusual.





Sailors on the Starless Seas
0-level funnel.  Linear and quite small, but dramatic and evocative.  Good for being at once basic and memorable.








Tower of the Black Pearl
Short.  Linear and with basic opponents, but the setting (a sunken tower that rises from the ocean once a decade for only eight hours) is great: a good way to teach time management and actually considering environmental dangers.  Also available in full-size / non-digest format with a variant cover .







Well of the Worm
Short.  A mini-dungeon full of creepy human-faced giant maggots.

15 August 2020

A Treasure Type Comparison

Someone asked how the various treasure classes compared across editions (and with Labyrinth Lord), and since I had already done the work analyzing this for Simulacrum, I thought I'd post the results (along with what I wound up going with, as usual).

I'm only going to cover "lair" treasures here (the large ones).  I'm also leaving out magic items: I'm only interested in cash value for the moment.  Click on any of the images to enlarge, but I have a spreadsheet at the bottom that you can download to view all that info together.

All average values listed are in gold pieces.


B/X

You can find the B/X treasure classes on page X43.  Here's what they look like:

B/X lair treasure types and their averages

The order of worth is C, B, E, D, F, I, A, G, M, H.  There are two unusual items here.  First, there's Type M, which neither Advanced edition felt the need to bother making into another lair level.  Second, B/X hands out platinum on the table at a much higher volume, equal to the other coins (×1000); 1st and 2nd ed use only ×100.

Types B and E overlap pretty strongly (though E has a much better chance for magic items, a factor not being considered here).  The race to the upper range is rather poor as well, going 7.6K, 11K, 17.7K, 23K, 50K, 60K.  Unlike 1st or 2nd ed, the B/X designers listed the averages of these types in the text (p. B45).  Unfortunately, they were calculated incorrectly: the designers thought the progression was 5K, 8K, 15K, 17K, 25K, 50K.  Below are the major discrepancies:

Type F: Stated average: 5,000 gp.  Actual average: ~7,600 gp (~50% higher than stated)
Type H: Stated average: 50,000 gp.  Actual average: ~60,000 gp (~20% higher than stated)
Type I: Stated average: 8,000 gp.  Actual average: ~11,000 gp (~40% higher than stated)
Type M: Stated average: 15,000 gp.  Actual average: ~50,000 gp (~230% higher than stated)

1st Edition

You can find the 1st AD&D treasure classes on page 105 of the Monster Manual.  Here's what they look like:

1st edition lair treasure types and their averages

The order of worth here is C, B, E, D, F, I, G, A, H.  The oddity is transposing the escalating worth of A and G, compared to the other two editions.

1st ed races up the charts very fast, going 5500, 6700, 21K, 34K, 77K.  Its Type H treasure is also the clear winner amongst all editions, truly a treasure of legend.

The real money in 1st edition is in jewelry: any Treasure Type that feeds you this is a license to print money.  A piece of jewelry is worth, on average, 3,336 GP (allowing for the opportunity to get that sweet double-value result by rolling 1 on a D8 and then once more by rolling 1 on a D6; this can continue indefinitely, but gets vanishingly unlikely quite quickly so I didn't try to model for it past two instances).  This is the reason Type A and especially Type H generates such high values: while your dragon hoard is going to have tons of coins, as you'd expect, about half of its value is actually going to come from the on-average 25 pieces of jewelry you're going to find in it.

2nd Edition

You can find the 2nd ed AD&D treasure classes on page 133 of the DM Guide.  Here's what they look like:

2nd edition lair treasure types and their averages

The order of worth here is C, B, E, D, F, I, A, G, H.  This follows the general pattern we've seen, matching B/X specifically (minus the presence of Type M).

What's remarkable is how much poorer they are than 1st ed classes.  The letter codes are a very good match in terms of order of ascension.  However, the clustering here is all down low--excessively so--with nothing really up high to compensate unless you want to start stacking instances of H.  700, 1250, 1450, 2250, 2650, 4000, 5750, 7500, 15K.

If you're using the gold for XP rules, made optional in 2nd edition, you're going to make a lot less of your XP from cash in this edition.  As monsters are worth far more XP in 2nd, and there's an arbitrary story award called for that can compensate to some degree for a lack of coin if the DM feels like it, this isn't as big a deal as it appears.  But trying to run a game primarily with gold for XP and relying on these treasure tables would go poorly past the lowest levels.

The reasons for this are 1) the removal of the princely jewelry category, and 2) the removal of the fixed platinum category.  In place of the latter, you instead get a result that can be either electrum or platinum, this being determined by what the DM feels like handing out.  This gives a DM a bit of flexibility in moderating the treasure amount rolled, even if it does somewhat defeat the purpose of allowing random chance to guide things, which is primarily the point of these tables in the first place.  The introduction of the art objects category (which is supposed to include jewelry) and the increase in value of copper and silver does not even remotely compensate for the above.

Adaptation / Conversion Notes

First, here's the spreadsheet with the above analysis on it (note that there's two sheets in the single file, and that I've also included Labyrinth Lord conversion notes):

Treasure Type Comparisons

So what does this mean at the table?  We have some wild variation here, and so no nice and clean way of converting between treasure types from different editions: you'll have to convert one at a time.  In the linked spreadsheet I've given some suggested conversions, though they often involve using two or even three of another table's types to get an equivalent.

The value of gems is pretty consistent.  A B/X gem is worth about 70% (on average) of a 1st or 2nd ed gem, but since the average values are generally low (194.5 vs 275) the variance isn't too big a deal and you can generally be comfortable converting a gem hoard from a module in one edition to another straight across (or just going with a clean 3 B/X gems for every 2 Advanced gems).

If you try that with jewelry, on the other hand, you may wind up turbo-levelling a party if you're not careful.  In B/X, jewelry is worth about 1,050 gp on average.  2nd edition does away with jewelry altogether, but replaces it with art objects that are worth almost exactly the same as B/X jewelry (average value: 1,100 gp, albeit with a much higher possible maximum).  In 1st edition, as we've seen, jewelry averages to triple those values.  ×3 / ÷3 are pretty easy values to work with, however, if you're dealing with converting material from one edition to another.



What to do with Treasure Types

My main issue with the canon tables is how chaotic they are.  They don't rise alphabetically from low to high, and they crowd too much down low, while having a poor spread elsewhere.  The first issue is largely just an aesthetic concern, but then again there's no real reason to preserve a less intuitive format for the sake of tradition.  It's not conducive to memorization.  If we're going to bother with treasure tables (I like them, but not all old schoolers agree there), then I think they need to be recoded to sort low to high, but more importantly to also offer a better spread of values, so that it's easy to have a treasure type on hand for all expected levels of the game.

I could easily see someone dropping the number of types: there's no compelling reason to have this many, though the extra granularity is nice.  However, remember that treasure types also include magic items: you want to be able to allow for a nice, steadily progressing distribution of both money and random magic items.  Still, I'm sure you could toss one or two without any real loss.

The only bit from the 2nd edition tables worth using, I think, is the art objects idea, which can be a lot of fun, allowing as it does for very unusual items to be added to a hoard in a systemic fashion.  I also prefer the lower jewelry values of B/X and 2nd ed, especially as it then allows me to cleanly transpose jewelry and art objects as desired (since statistically they're about the same value).

For my own game, I've gone with the following:

Simulacrum Treasure Types

I didn't bother with B/X's Type M because I felt I had enough granularity at this point, and because topping out at H for Hoard (as is traditional) pleases me; sometimes it's the little factors that matter.  I also don't use electrum, which is why there's two silver categories.  The overall values assume a silver standard (and then also 1 sp = 10 XP, effectively making it a copper standard).  I like this because it makes small amounts of coin truly valuable: my players actually care about finding a small purse of silver, which I really enjoy.  It also eliminates the "wagonloads of gold" issue that plagues so many D&D campaigns and which has generated so much writing.  If you're using the gold standard instead, you'll need to add a zero to every value.

Some might argue that making coins more valuable (and thus handing out fewer of them) undercuts one of the major resource management elements of old-school D&D: encumbrance and coin weights.  However, I feel that while encumbrance and resource management are vital considerations, the principle does break down after a certain point.  Wealth is the major arbiter of advancement in old-school games.  As such, no matter how onerous you make it, players are going to simply just going to grit their teeth and deal with it: they have no choice if they want to progress.  Additionally, there's only so many all-copper hoards and giant teak cabinets and roc attacks on the PC wagon train and the like to screw over treasure hauling before it all appears adversarial, and it's difficult to make an encumbrance system even remotely realistic that doesn't just let you haul off mountains of coins anyways, leading to a lot of bad encumbrance systems (something I'll look at more closely when I finally finish that encumbrance post I've been working on).

I've come to the conclusion that there's already enough other, better ways of dealing with resource management (e.g. light, time, food, ammo, spells, fatigue, HP, every other aspect of encumbrance) than constantly worrying about this one element, especially when you consider all the distortions created by insisting on masses of heavy coins.  A lot of systemic ugliness--coin weights, encumbrance rules, knock-on economy effects--can be solved by simply going with fewer, more valuable coins, and not thinking that this is letting players "get away with something".  If the players truly earn their treasure (something it's almost entirely in your hands to ensure), just let them have it.



Some other material on the topic:

OD&D treasure types analysis:
https://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2010/09/expected-treasure-value.html
https://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2011/10/on-expected-treasure-and-xp.html
https://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2014/02/dungeon-treasure-revisited.html
https://deltasdnd.blogspot.com/2018/08/more-dungeon-treasure.html
An analysis of OD&D treasure types (registration required):
https://odd74.proboards.com/thread/7606/analysis-od-treasure-types?page=1&scrollTo=100421

An analysis of 1st edition treasure types:
https://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=69289
Another analysis of treasure types:
OD&D: https://batintheattic.blogspot.com/2012/08/delving-into-ad-types-part-i.html
AD&D: https://batintheattic.blogspot.com/2012/08/delving-into-ad-treasure-types-part-ii.html

Moldvay Basic treasure types by monster:
https://detectmagic.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/basic-treasure-types
B/X treasure type densities:
http://blog.trilemma.com/2020/05/bx-treasure-types.html

You may also want to check Dragons #137 ("Treasures of the Wild") and #207 ("Trifling Treasures"), as well as Kellri's Old School Encounters Reference #4 and Treasure, by Courtney Campbell.  Lastly, the 2nd edition sourcebook Forgotten Realms Adventures has a fun Treasure chapter (pp. 130-146) that really expands on art objects and gemstones, for those who want to get extremely specific in those regards.