I was comparing the ability modifiers in Swords & Wizardry to that in the Rules Cyclopedia. I think it is interesting the power creep from original edition to the Moldvay edition. Even Swords & Wizardry has it from the "white box" edition to the core rules edition. One of the surprises to me was just how stingy AD&D was between 7 and 14, which S&W white box also is.
AD&D modifiers are all over the place, so I just averaged them.
Moldvay-Cyclopedia: all editions of "basic" D&D after the Holmes edition have the same modifiers (including Red box, Elmore cover red box, Cyclopedia, and Classic)
Personally I really like the spread in the Moldvay edition, and the Rules Cyclopedia has long been one of my favorite RPG books. I've found myself rereading the Cyclopedia after Swords & Wizardry sucked me back into "old school" gaming. I didn't recall it rambling so much - kind of like the 1st edition DMG except without all the personality of Gygaxian prose. And as it has often been commented, the layout and art are not exactly inspiring. Still, it has a magic quality to it. Probably because it is the only official D&D book ever published that can truly be called "complete".
So what was the point of this excercise? I'm not sure I'm sold on the ability adjustments as presented in S&W, they're just a bit too conservative, and I'm thinking of just using the Moldvay edition in that respect.
Another reason, when I first got the Deities and Demigods book in high school it was mind-blowingly cool that it expanded the ability stats table up to 25. Yeah, we just looked at that book as the "really high level monster book". Of course this kind of "monty haul" gaming is frowned upon these days, but I don't care what anyone thinks, we were having fun! Isn't that really the point?
I was curious how the Moldvay/Cyclopedia ability spread would look expanded in the way the original Deities and Demigods did. Also, Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes has a tradition going back to original edition. I'm looking through my copy right now. It's funny how the introduction claims it is the "last D&D supplement"...
I haven't seen a table like this done for basic D&D, and thought it'd be fun. I took a few liberties, and ironed a couple of spots, but this is basically it:
* a character gains at least 1 hp per level
** a character normally has 2 languages: common and his native, below 9 intelligence he has only 1 language, below 6 intelligence he cannot speak any language
Normal Human limit is 3-18, only immortals may have ability scores higher than 18
Demi-God: only Demi-gods may have ability scores 21 or higher.
Lesser God: only Lesser God s may have ability scores 24 or higher.
Greater God: only Greater Gods may have ability scores 27 or higher.
Paragon: 30 is the quintessence of an ability. For example, Thor is the paragon of Strength. There is no one stronger.