RADD 15th ED

Really Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Edition XV

This edition of RADD is directed toward the Seekers of the Forbidden City campaign. Somewhere in the Sea of Memory, the Forbidden City awaits you, and within the city is the Mirror of True Desires, capable of granting any wish to any who meets his own gaze. You seek it, for you have a desire that cannot be satisfied in any other way.

Seekers of the Forbidden City is a drop-in-friendly mid-level campaign with sandbox capacity, but with a mandated overall quest to unify action. Characters start at mid-level, and will die or succeed before becoming very powerful, so neither the beginning nor the endgame of a long term campaign is addressed here. Seekers is concerned with the clash of human desires; non-humans would dull the edge of the theme. Therefore, there are no rules for playing non-humans herein. Spell acquisition, casting, and other rules for magical researches are notably looser or deemphasized. Spellcasters would be irritatingly limited in this campaign environment if they had to obey all the conventional strictures. To help emphasize the setting, an additional characteristic is rolled: Salt.

The general reference for the working of individual spells, monsters, and magic items is the first edition of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. However, any rule here or the DM’s wisdom of the moment supersedes any rule in those works.


FIRST Roll seven characteristics: Salt, Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Sum the best 3 out of 4d6 for each stat, rolling in order. Try to find the shining light inside any character you roll, but if you are not jazzed about playing a set of stats, you are not allowed to play them. Start again. All characters are effectively human. Some could be an odd variety of human, perhaps called elves or dwarves in their homeland. If you’re interested in this option, see the section below on special abilities.

Roll Modifier
3 -3
4-5 -2
6-8 -1
9-12 0
13-15 +1
16-17 +2
18 +3

Salt represents the character’s seamanship and general familiarity with travel in the Sea of Memory. Characters with a high Salt stat know how to navigate and handle a ship, swim well, and are likely to recognize references to obscure islands. Characters with low Salt stats are useless on ships, flounder easily, and know little of the Sea of Memory. Salt modifies rolls to survive in water, to navigate, and knowledge of the Sea and its inhabitants.
Strength modifies hit and damage rolls in melee combat and d6 rolls to perform feats of strength.
Constitution modifies hit points and saves vs. poison.
Dexterity modifies ranged hit and damage rolls and AC, some thief skills, and some saves.
Intelligence modifies the number of magical spells a caster can prepare, some saves, d6 rolls to recall general knowledge, and some thief skills.
Wisdom modifies the number of clerical spells preparable and some saves.
Charisma modifies 2d6 reaction rolls and the character’s level with respect to number and level of followers.

THEN Choose a class: Fighter, Thief, Wizard, or Cleric. Each class has at least one subclass. Turn to the individual classes for more information. You will create an adventurer with 10,000 XP — 5th level. Here’s the XP chart:

Level XP Level XP
1 - 6 15,000
2 1300 7 23,000
3 3,300 8 34,000
4 6,000 9 50,000
5 10,000 10 71,000

OH AND You have traveled far to get here. It is likely that you have already earned and spent a small fortune or two. You may start the game with up to 9 mundane items in your possession. Some examples of mundane items are given below. You also possess one magic item chosen from the “Magic” list below. You have 1d12 gp. The DM will assess cruel and whimsical penalties to your abilities when you seem to be encumbered.


Any armor with underarmor clothing, belt and belt pouch, general gear harnessing, and small pack.
Any set of clothes with pouches and general gear harnessing, and small pack, of any style or classiness. No matter how fine, the clothes are not quite fresh.
A shield.
A weapon.
A quiver of 20 arrows.
A mule with saddlebags and harness.
A horse with saddle and harness.
A hammer and spikes.
50’ of rope.
A machete or wood axe.
Rations for a few days (1d4+3 if it comes to it) and water container.
Voluminous cloak with deep hood and many pockets, suitable for tavern-cornering.
Tools for a vile habit, like a pouch of tobacco, pipe, and other fixings.
A spell book.
A small sailing ship big enough to carry a few people in amiable waters.


Any magical +1 weapon, armor, or shield with no special abilities.
3 potions (or dusts) from this list: Animal Control, Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, Climbing, Delusion, Diminuition, ESP, Extra-Healing, Fire Resistance, Flying, Gaseous Form, Growth, Heroism, Invisibility, Levitation, Longevity, Oil of Etherealness, Oil of Slipperiness, Philter of Love, Philter of Persuasiveness, Plant Control, Poison, Speed, Sweet Water, Treasure Finding, Undead Control (must choose the potion, then roll to see what type of undead is affected), Water Breathing. Dust of Appearance, Dust of Disappearance, or Dust of Sneezing and Choking.
1 Protection Scroll: Choose Demons, Devils, Elementals, Lycanthropes (choose type), Magic, Petrification, Possession, Undead.
1 Ring: Contrariness, Delusion, Feather Falling, Fire Resistance, Free Action, Protection +2, Swimming, Telekinesis 25 lb. weight, Warmth, Weakness, X-ray Vision.
1 Wand (20 charges): Enemy Detection, Magic Detection, Metal and Mineral Detection, Magic Missiles, Wonder.
1 Miscellaneous Magic Item: Alchemy Jug, Amulet of Inescapable Location, Amulet of Life Protection, Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location, Bag of Devouring, Fight Bag, Bag of Holding (weight limit 500 lbs), Bag of Transmuting, Bag of Tricks (roll for type), Boots of Dancing, Boots of Elvenkind, Boots of Levitation, Bracers of Defense AC 8, Bracers of Defenselessness, Brooch of Shielding, Candle of Invocation, Cloak of Elvenkind, Cloak of Poisonousness, Cloak of Protection +2, Cube of Frost Resistance, Decanter of Endless Water, Eyes of the Eagle, Eyes of Minute Seeing, Gem of Brightness (20 charges), Gem of Seeing, Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity, Helm of Opposite Alignment, Helm of Underwater Action, Horseshoes of Speed, Horseshoes of a Zephyr, Necklace of Strangulation, Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments (1-4 containers), Peripapt of Foul Rotting, Periapt of Health, Periapt of Wound Closure, Phylactery of Faithfulness, Phylactery of Long Age, Phylactery of Monstrous Attention, Portable Hole, Robe of Useful Items, Rope of climbing, Rope of Constriction, Rope of Entanglement.

NOW THAT YOU'VE GOT ALL THAT Choose a name and an alignment: Lawful Good, Neutral Good, etc. No classes have alignment restrictions.

AND HERE'S THE POINT OF PLAYING Write your True Desire in one sentence. You’re done! Play.



Any armor or weapon, d10 hit dice, to hit bonus = level.
Fighters can define their fighting style, choosing two out of these three benefits when using the equipment appropriate to their style: +1 to hit, +1 to damage, or -1 AC. For example, a Knight may do +1 damage and be -1 AC when in his plate armor and using his longsword, or a Forester may be +1 to hit and damage with his bow when wearing his leathers, or a Barbarian may be -1 AC and +1 to hit when in his loincloth and wicker shield and using his spear, subject to GM approval. Fighters are encouraged to attempt bold maneuvers in keeping with their fighting style and the GM should recognize the significance of their training in the determination of their success. Fighters of 5th level make two attacks a round. At 9th level they make 3 attacks a round.

Savages are fighters from more primitive societies. They are not familiar with heavy armor or weapons, so they can only use spears, hand axes, clubs, daggers, warclubs, etc. They can use shields, and leather or hide armors if from cold regions. Savages can use their primitive magic to aid them in their traditional pursuits. Savages know and can use spells as a wizard three levels lower. The spells can be chosen from any class with the DM’s approval. The DM will not approve most offensive spells, or any that seem overtly magical. Scrolls and spellbooks are useless to a savage. DMs may require that savages find a shaman to learn new spells, especially if the desired spell is questionable under the above rubric. Savages have no reserve of spells; they only know those spells which they can cast. For example, a 5th level savage with an Int bonus of +1 knows 3 first level spells, but can use only 2 a day. This savage knows no other magic. He only learns more as he goes up in level. Perhaps he knows invisibility to animals, jump, and protection from evil. Savages can use these thief skills as if they were one level lower: Move Silently and Hide in Cover. Savages are generally good at orienting and foraging in terrains they are familiar with. Otherwise, savages have the same abilities as fighters, including multiple attacks and fighting styles.


No armor, dagger or staff only, d4 hit dice, to hit bonus = level/5 round down.
Knows these basic 1st level spells at start: Charm Person, Detect Magic, Hold Portal, Light, Protection from Evil, Read Magic, Read Languages, and Sleep, plus a number of randomly determined 1st level spells equal to his intelligence modifier. The number of spells the wizard can memorize and cast of each level is given in the table below. The wizard’s intelligence modifier affects the number of each level that he can memorize, but does not affect the number he can cast. So, a second level wizard with an intelligence of 16 (+2 modifier) can memorize 4 1st level spells but can only cast 2 of them. The wizard can cast the same spell more than once without having to memorize it extra times. For example, Shooloothoo the Pungent, a 1st level mage, has an intelligence of 16, so he has an Int modifier of +2. He has randomly determined that in addition to the basic spells, he also knows Tenser’s Floating Disc and Affect Normal Fires. He can prepare 1 + 2 = spells, but can only cast one a day. He decides that his three prepared spells will be Sleep, Read Magic, and Affect Normal Fires. If the occasion arises, he can cast any of those spells, but is then bereft of magic until he can rest for 8 hours.

Wizard Level 1 2 3
1 1
2 2
3 2 1
4 3 2
5 4 2 1

SUBCLASS: Illusionists.
Illusionists use the Illusionist spell list but the wizard spell progression, and can use the Thief skill Fast Talk / Disguise as a Thief of the same level, as well as Pick Pockets as a Thief two levels lower. Illusionists are generally not as good at general magical knowledge and magic item research as Wizards.


Any armor, only “blunt” weapons, d8 hit dice, to hit bonus = level * 1/2 rounded up.
Know all basic 1st level spells at start (Bless, Ceremony, Cure Light Wounds, Protection from Evil or Good, and Light) plus 1 + his wisdom modifier number of spells particular to his deity that he can select, possibly from the wizard list if appropriate. Clerics can prepare and cast spells exactly as described above for Wizards, substituting their wisdom modifier for the wizard’s intelligence modifier.
Clerics can Turn Undead.

SUBCLASS: Priests.
Priests have the hit dice, combat ability, and weapon and armor restrictions of Wizards, but have the spell casting, turning abilities, and leadership abilities of a cleric one level greater.

Monks fight as clerics, but have different weapon and armor restrictions. They may use no armor or shields whatsoever, and are restricted to weapons derived from normal tools, rather than any devised for war: bo sticks, club, dagger, hand axe, javelin, jo stick, pole arms, spears, or staffs. Monks fighting without weapons may cause weapon damage with their bare hands. Add 1 to the monk’s level and roll a die of that value to determine the damage. For example, a 5th level monk does 1-6 damage with his hands, a 6th level monk does 1-7 damage. Monks subtract their level from their armor class (if they are aware of the attack). Monks attack twice a round when they reach 7th level. Monks have the spellcasting and turning abilities of a cleric 2 levels lower. Their specialty spells concern only their bodily abilities or healing others. In general, if a spell does something that seems purely miraculous, like creating water or light or animating the dead, it is not a monk spell. If reference can be made to chi adjustment or chakra rearrangement, it could be a monk spell. Like regular clerics, some wizard or druid spells or even illusionist spells like spider climb or pass without trace are appropriate representations of the monk’s training. Monks can also use these thief skills at 2 levels lower ability: Move Silently, Climb Walls, Hide in Shadows, and Hear Noise. Finally, Monks have +2 on their Saves versus mental enchantments like charms and illusions.

Druids can use the Druid spell list instead of the clerical spell list (but use the clerical spell progression). They restrict themselves to less metallic armors and weapons: leather and shield, sling, club, staff, dagger, sickle, spear, scimitar. They may not Turn Undead. Add these magic user spells to the druidic list: Find Familiar as a 2nd level spell, and Polymorph Self as a 3rd level spell, restricted to natural animals but giving the full attack capabilities of that animal at the druid’s to hit chance as well as the full range of the creature’s senses.


Up to studded leather armor, no shield, and one hand melee weapons, any missile weapon except longbow, d6 hit dice, to hit bonus = level * 1/2 rounded up.
Thief skills supplement the ability any character has to sneak around, hear noises and the like. The player of a thief rolls his skill if his description of the action and normal checks on its success fail. So thief skills are sometimes backup. For example, a thief and his fighter friend are both climbing a rough stone wall. The GM determines that a 3d6 roll under each character’s Dex will determine if they fall. If both fail, the fighter plummets to his doom while the thief can roll his climb walls chance to catch himself with a pinky and boot tip and make it to the top after all, requiring no further roll. However, if both the late fighter and the thief want to pick locks, the GM may rule that the action is simply beyond the ability of a normal person, and give no chance of success to the fighter, and only the allow the thief his Open Locks roll. Various characteristic modifiers may affect thief skills, depending on the situation.

Thief Level Open Locks Find/Remove Traps Pick Pockets Move Silently Climb Walls Hide in Shadows Hear Noise Fast Talk / Disguise
1 10+ 11+ 10+ 10+ 5+ 11+ 1-2 11+
2 10+ 10+ 9+ 9+ 5+ 10+ 1-2 10+
3 9+ 10+ 9+ 9+ 5+ 10+ 1-3 10+
4 9+ 9+ 9+ 9+ 5+ 10+ 1-3 9+
5 9+ 9+ 8+ 8+ 5+ 9+ 1-3 9+

Thieves are particularly good at backstabbing opponents. All characters can sneak up on someone, and if successful deliver an attack at +4 to hit. Thieves do an extra multiple of this damage for every 4 levels – so double damage at levels 1-4, triple damage at levels 5-8, quadruple at 9-12, etc.
Thieves can use magical scrolls if they make a 4d6 roll under their Int plus their level minus the spell level.

SUBCLASS: Assassins.
Assassins have less restrictions on their weapons and armor than thieves, and are better at some skills and worse at others. They may use any weapon, though they may only use the magical powers of weapons allowed to thieves, and can do no more than 1d8 damage with any weapon, and may wear any armor, but their AC is only improved as if they were wearing studded leather and they may only use the magical abilities of armors that thieves can wear. Assassins can Disguise themselves as a thief 2 levels higher (though they only Fast Talk as a thief of their level) and Open Locks, Find/Remove Traps, and Pick Pockets as a thief two levels lower. When backstabbing, Assassins function as a thief two levels higher and are at an extra +2 to hit (+6 total). Assassins are familiar with poisons and can use them without risk of injuring themselves and potentially identify them by appearance, taste or smell. Assassins may not use magical scrolls like Thieves.


In consultation with the DM, each PC can have a special ability in keeping with his origin. Some special abilities will be more powerful than others, but some will be more fun than others. Special abilities are touchstones or prompts for improvisation as much as they are powers. Don't go crazy, but don't be afraid to make them matter.

Game Rules

Scale: Combat scale is 1” = 5 ft, and one combat round takes (about) 10 seconds. Movement is 12" for an unencumbered person, 10" for someone in leather armor with a reasonable pack, and 9" for anyone in metal armor with a reasonable pack, -3'' for an unreasonable but doable load. Running is at double speed, but requires dropping or stowing all held items.
Combat Sequence: Roll d6 initiative for each side; play goes around the table. The first round may permit ranged attacks, but no movement, if it seems bowman would have a chance to fire before enemies could close. In subsequent rounds, each side moves and then attacks in order. Figures must stand unmoving to fire missiles, cast spells, and ready weapons.
Weapon Size: Melee weapons are short (daggers, shortswords, hand axes, clubs), medium (longswords, two-hand swords, battle axes, one-hand spears), or long (polearms, two-hand longspears). When using a shorter weapon against a longer weapon, the long weapon will get the first attack even if the short weapon won initiative. Long weapons prepared against an approaching enemy will get an extra attack unless the enemy also uses a polearm. Therefore, if you charge an orc with a glaive-guisarme while waving a shortsword, he will get two attacks at you before your first, even if your side won initiative. However, if circumstances allow the wielder of a shorter weapon to get in close (by battling within a confined dungeon passage perhaps, or even suffering through the extra attacks of the polearmer and succeeding on a strength roll to partially grapple his opponent), he will get first attack, and the user of a short weapon may get an extra attack on the user of a long weapon, who may not be able to attack at all.
Surprise: A roll of 2 in 6 indicates surprise (negated by light, noise, ESP, etc.). A surprised party is delayed by one round (no action in round #1; no movement in round #2; normal actions in following rounds).
Killing Things: roll a d20, add to hit bonus and any modifiers, then add your opponents armor class. If the result is 20 or more, you hit! Roll your damage. If you roll a natural 20, you hit and double the damage you roll. If you roll a 1, you miss and are subject to the GM’s whimsy.
TARGET 20 ALGORITHM: d20 + level bonus + AC + mods ≥ 20
Getting Hurt: You have one hit die per level, but you do not roll your hit points once and for all. Instead, when you get hurt, roll one hit die and apply your Con modifier. Subtract the incoming damage. If not all the damage is absorbed, that hit die is “blown through”, and you must roll another hit die and subtract the remaining damage When the danger is over and you have a few minutes to recover yourself, you can fully restore the last hit die to take damage, even if it was reduced to zero. If your hit points drop to zero, you are unconscious. If they drop to negatives lower than your level, you are dead.

Followers: Whether they be paid, loyal, or magically charmed minions, PCs can only accumulate followers whose level is no more than ½ the PC’s level rounded down. Monster hit dice count as levels. So 1st level PCs can only have followers of 0 level — untrained torch holders or charmed goblins with 1d4 hit die who will flee or die very easily. You can have only as many personal followers as your level. Your followers, however, may have followers. For example, a 3rd level Paladin may have up to three followers of up to first level, but each of them may have a 0 level follower — six men will follow the paladin. A 10th level wizard could have a total force of 260, of whom 160 are combatants. All expect regular meals. Followers are not acquired automatically. Each must be earned through cleverness, good roleplaying, and luck. Some will already have their own followers, but if they do not, the PC must arrange it if they are to acquire some.  If a PC acquires more or higher level followers than he can control, the situation will degrade. This applies to a 1st level wizard who has charmed a 1 hit die orc. Something seems not right to the orc, and he is likely to become uncharmed, and subsequently uncharming, at an inconvenient time. A kobold with 1/2 hit die would be a more suitable servant, but if a second kobold is acquired, they will either squabble or plot against the wizard. A player can control and roll for his entire train of followers, but cannot assume his minions are robots (unless they are). When a PC reaches 11th level and acquires a commanding majesty, he can have double the usual number of followers, at 13th, triple, at 15th, quadruple, and so on. None of these followers are acquired automatically. 

Morale: Enemies and followers sometimes lose their nerve. If substantially outnumbered, or when reduced to half numbers or hit points, monsters check morale. The DM rolls a 1d10. If the result is over the follower’s or monster’s hit dice, he will reconsider combat. He may not flee or surrender, but will look for an alternative to the current situation. PCs and enemy leaders can make saves to rally their followers. This usually does not take an action and can be performed with a battle cry or stern glance. It is even possible to rally in advance with threats, entreaties, or promises, so that the followers may rally without the PCs immediate knowledge. Followers that are very well-treated or thoroughly cowed may have a bonus to their hit dice for morale purposes. The save is not rolled until morale is checked. It is good form for players to call for morale checks on enemies when they think it appropriate, but the DM must bear the weighty responsibility of surveying the field of battle from the combatant’s point of view and determining whether they might break ranks.

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