2E worries about 2nd edition (archiving this for posterity)
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  1. #1
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    worries about 2nd edition (archiving this for posterity)

    I dug this stuff up and posted it while 3E was still in development, maybe 3 message boards ago. While cleaning out my D&D 3E News e-mails today, I came across it again. I'm just posting this for posterity so that if someone is searching for it they can find it.


    I've been reading through issues of Dragon Magazine (gotta love that CD-ROM archive!) and have found some quotes about the decision to create a 2nd edition of D&D. I think some of the complaints/worries/predictions are kind of amusing.


    Dragon #120 -- Editorial:
    With the second edition of the AD&D game presently in the works, more complaints and letter expressing confusion arrive each day. Some gamers worry that their favorite classes will no longer be part of the “official” rules, hence they will no longer be able to use them in play. Still others complain that they are displeased with having to buy the second edition — a purchase which will outmode their first-edition rules. These same people are further annoyed that the second-edition rules won’t mesh with the first edition, thereby “forcing” them to purchase the second edition. In the end, it all leads up to one thing: a lot of needless worry and unnecessary complaints.

    Dragon #119 -- Zeb Cook on Character Classes
    (which ones to keep, which ones to pitch)

    The assassin is a goner — virtually guar-
    anteed. It is highly unlikely that any
    amount of appeal will save his neck. He is
    disruptive to party harmony and, more
    importantly, presents the wrong image
    about AD&D games. If you really like
    assassin characters, I’m sorry, but you can
    still use the first-edition character class.

    The bard just doesn’t work. Too many
    confused rules and special exceptions
    were created just to make the bard fly.
    Some of his powers were seriously unbal-
    ancing and dumb (in my personal opinion).
    Finally, the way he is described, the bard
    really belongs only in a Western European
    setting. Whoever heard of an Amerind
    bard with a magical harp or a Polynesian
    harpist bard? (I’m sure I’ll hear from some-
    one.) Thus, the bard as he currently exists
    will die. But is he gone? I don’t know for
    sure. It seems like a good idea to heavily
    redesign the bard to fit with the rules and
    increase his playability. If this happened, it
    would probably mean a character class
    that specialized in communication and
    dealing with people. We’ll see what


    Dragon #121 -- Zeb Cook responding to quotes from letters he's received about the prospect of 2nd Edition

    “The best way to avoid edition three is to
    make allowance for changes.” — Kerry T. Brown

    Really, I do want to avoid having to do a
    Third Edition —at least having to repeat
    what I’m going through on Second Edition!
    The only way to do this is to build a set of
    core rules that can accommodate the
    inevitable changes and additions that will
    come. Just as the First Edition was not
    perfect, I know that new and better ideas
    will surface after Second Edition is done.
    Our current plan is that we haven’t got a
    plan. We are still looking at a lot of differ-
    ent ideas. Currently, all of them revolve
    around building a core set of rules that
    can be used by all players. One thought is
    that there would be two hardbound rule
    books— the Players Handbook and the
    Dungeon Masters Handbook (note the title

    “We have spent a lot of time and money
    on the game. . . .After buying the present
    books, I do not relish the thought of buy-
    ing them all over again!” — Bill Aasvanger

    As I have said before, TSR is well aware
    of the investment you have made in the
    AD&D game. We are trying to make sure
    the Second Edition will grow and expand
    without out-dating the core rules. No one
    is trying to arrange the AD&D game sys-
    tem so you must buy every rule book we
    print. If we do our job right, you and a lot
    of new players will want the core rules of
    the Second Edition because they are good.
    Anything that follows is optional, and
    optional means just that — you make the
    choice, not us. Certainly, we hope that you
    will buy these expansion rule books, based
    on the quality and usefulness of the
    product. We are not trying to rip you off.

    “The first and most pressing comment I
    have to make is that revised game remain
    100% compatible with the old.” — John J.

    This comment is almost identical to one
    of our design standards for Second Edi-
    tion, design standards being the guidelines
    game designers live by (or try to live by).
    One of the big issues of the Second Edition
    is compatibility. It’s not my intention to
    force you to throw away your old rule
    books and rush out to buy the Second
    Edition. You want to be able to pick up the
    Second Edition rules and use them in your
    campaign without having to make exten-
    sive changes first. That is a perfectly fair
    demand on your part.

    Now, 100% compatibility is just not
    possible. There are things that must be
    fixed. There are inevitable improvements
    and new ideas, These things are going to
    prevent Second Edition from being 100%
    compatible. Just what percent compatibil-
    ity we wind up with, I can’t say. Indeed,
    the need to keep things compatible results
    in us not making some changes that would
    only confuse the issue. Take the armor
    class numbering system. To many players,
    it does not make sense that the worst
    armor classes have higher numbers, and it
    would seem simple to change it. However,
    reversing the order of the armor class
    numbers would invalidate every AD&D
    game campaign and product in existence.
    For compatibility’s sake, it is better to
    make no change, since this change is not
    worth the trouble it will cause.

    “I will refuse to buy any second edition
    books if your plan is to change everything
    around so that it’s based on proficiencies.”
    — Guy Ellison

    There will be a proficiency system, and
    it will be presented as an optional rule.
    The proficiency system (similar to that of
    Oriental Adventures and the two survival-
    guide books) is there to give your game
    more range and scope. The proficiency
    system can be as important or unimport-
    ant as you want. The basic abilities of
    characters will still be defined by classes,
    but other talents will be available to the
    character. The AD&D game will be as
    playable with proficiencies as without
    them. It is yet another area where we are
    trying to build and increase your range of
    choices that you have in creating a


    Dragon # 130 -- Jon Pickens talks about magic

    A number of you would like to see a
    spell-point system. You will be disap-
    pointed. Spell-point systems are more
    complex than the current system, and
    trying to balance them is a pain. For exam-
    ple, in a very simple system in which a
    spell costs one point per spell level, a
    typical high-level cleric will seldom run
    out of cures, which creates severe balance
    problems in play.

    On the other hand, cantrips will disap-
    pear from the core rules (we have to get
    space from somewhere). The basic prob-
    lem that cantrips were introduced to solve
    – that of a 1st-level magic-user trapped in
    a 3- to 4-hour adventure with only one
    spell – will be dealt with in some other
    fashion. The idea of giving magic-users
    bonus spells for intelligence has problems;
    magic-users with intelligence scores of 9-
    15 are driven out of business.


    Dragon #139 -- Zeb Cook on Playtesting

    As mentioned above, Jon ran the play-
    testing of the second-edition rules. This
    doesn’t mean he was out there running
    playtesting games himself (Jon worked
    hard), but he estab-
    lished and monitored our playtesting
    groups. These groups had players just like
    you, RPGA™ Network members who vol-
    unteered to take part in our work. All
    told, Jon worked with about 20-30 groups.
    Now, I don’t know exact numbers, but if
    each group had an average of six players,
    that means about 100-200 players actually
    did the playtesting. Furthermore, they did
    the playtesting for eight months or more.
    On top of that, we have 10 years of com-
    ments, suggestions, criticisms, letters,
    DRAGON® Magazine articles, and two GEN
    CON® game fairs (and several regional
    conventions) that solicited your views.
    Thus, you have the most thoroughly play-
    tested and developed game done yet by
    TSR, Inc. (I won’t be so rash as to claim
    that it’s the most thoroughly playtested
    and designed game in the industry, but I
    think there are few games out there that
    have received as much attention.)

  2. #2
    Wow, that all sounds eerily familiar...

  3. #3
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    Thanks Eric, that's really cool to read through again

  4. #4
    Plus ca change, plus ca stay the same.

  5. #5
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    Now THAT's some good French!

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    I remember reading those when they were first published - really takes you back Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

  7. #7
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    I like that part about anything after the core rules would be optional and then... the rampant use of all those OPTIONAL rules all over the place and in various sourcebooks etc. NWPs were about as optional as THAC0.



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    “The first and most pressing comment I
    have to make is that revised game remain
    100% compatible with the old.” — John J.
    Is it logically possible to change something and yet have it 100% compatible?

  9. #9
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    Way to go, Eric. You're gonna make diaglo cry again...

  10. #10
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    So many memories these bring back.

    The fuss with axing the bard, then the letters suggesting ways to keep them.

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