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D&D's The Wild Beyond The Witchlight Mocks The Game's Worst Rule

The upcoming The Wild Beyond the Witchlight campaign for Dungeons & Dragons takes a shot at THAC0, one of the worst rules in the history of the game. The people who played Advanced Dungeons & Dragons or the first two Baldur's Gate games will remember the horrors of THAC0, which was a major rule that was part of the combat system in the second edition of D&D.

THAC0 was one of the worst D&D rules in the history of the game. THAC0 stands for To Hit Armor Class Zero. In the current edition of D&D, hits in combat are resolved with a very simple mathematical formula. The player has an attack bonus, they roll D20, and if the number is the same or higher than the enemy's Armor Class score, then it's a hit. If the roll is lower, then it's a miss. In Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, A player's Armor Class was lowered by stronger armor & spells. A character's THACo score was used to determine what they needed to roll to hit Armor Class zero, with every number above or below determining what other Armor Class scores they will hit when they roll a D20.

Related: Dungeons & Dragons: All Pros & Cons Of Multiclassing

THAC0 was abandoned in the third edition of D&D and has never returned. Only those who play the modern remasters of the old Black Isle RPGs based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (like Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition) are likely to run into it. THAC0 has now become the subject of mockery within D&D itself.

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight campaign starts off with the players visiting the Witchlight Carnival, where they can encounter all kinds of colorful characters. One character who isn't so welcoming is Thaco the clown, who is described as an angry old man who hates children. Thaco is one of the oldest residents of the Witchlight Carnival and he needs to paint a grin on his face, as he doesn't have one already. The book goes out of its way to describe Thaco as a jerk, which evokes similar feelings to how people remember THAC0.

The Thaco name is likely to go over the heads of most modern D&D players, as it was abandoned in 2000. The Wild Beyond the Witchlight features all kinds of references to the history of D&D, including shout-outs to the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon from the 1980s, so the THAC0 nod isn't too out of place. Anyone who is concerned about THAC0 returning in the sixth edition of Dungeons & Dragons needn't worry, as the creators of the game know that it's something best left in the past.

Next: Ridiculous D&D Exploits That Should Return In 5e

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight will be released on September 21, 2021.

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