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D&D 2E Edition Experience - Did/Do you Play AD&D 2E? How Was/Is It?

How Did/Do You Feel About 2nd Edition AD&D?

  • I'm playing it right now; I'll have to let you know later.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm playing it right now and so far, I don't like it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    198

Tallifer

Hero
I distinctly remember that the 2E Bard was truly hosed. Some of his songs took 5 minutes to cast before any effect happened. Which is fine if your dungeon master does not start every combat with, "Roll initiative. You didn't see them."
 

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Hussar

Legend
I remember liking 2e so much that I actually held out switching to 3e for about 2 years. Then I bought 3e and BAM 3.5 came out. Grrr. That was the end of my gaming purchasing largely. I went from buying several books a year to maybe buying one book, and most of them were d20, not WOtC, a year for the duration of 3e.

One thing that struck me in the change from 2e to 3e was the ability to actually rely on the rules, rather than knowing that the rules were garbage and I was always going to have to make house rules to spackle over the holes in the 2e ruleset. I went from a binder of house rules in 2e to a page in 3e.
 

Shroompunk Warlord

Archdruid of the Warp Zones
One thing that struck me in the change from 2e to 3e was the ability to actually rely on the rules, rather than knowing that the rules were garbage and I was always going to have to make house rules to spackle over the holes in the 2e ruleset. I went from a binder of house rules in 2e to a page in 3e.

I had way more house rules for 3e. I generally agree with your complaint about the ramshackle nature of the 2e rules... but trying to fix anything in 3e means having to fix everything else that depended on the rule you're trying to fix. Plus I'm a hamfisted idiot when it comes to game design, always trying to put the baroque in broken.

Whereas I replace all of the class and multiclass options for every nonhuman race in AD&D and still probably couldn't get away with charging $10 for it unless I included all of the Complete Humanoids Handbook.
 

Hussar

Legend
I just found that in 3e, house rules were far more problematic than not. Usually, you'd see someone trying to "fix" a problem with a house rule and it turned out, more often than not, that the person didn't actually know the actual rule in the first place. So, the fix was generally worse than the problem. And then you'd see all sorts of "Oh, 3e is borken" type threads on various forums, when, in reality, the problem was far more often user error.

We ran 3e almost entirely by the book. Heck, trying to get my players to use stuff that wasn't WotC sanctioned was always a challenge. I loved using d20 stuff, but, my players would very rarely stray from official books.
 

Mark Hope

Adventurer
I'm running it now and loving it. I started with B/X back in 82, moved to AD&D1e, transitioned to 2e and played it until a couple of years into 3e's run. I did play 3e for a while, but went back to 2e. It's just such a great, solid system at its core. I've accumulated a fair amount of houserules over the years but the basic system really sings. I like its asymmetry, its differentiated systems, its flexibility. I love the campaign settings (Dark Sun is just the best, and Ravenloft, Spelljammer, and Planescape are works of wild imagination). I like how it encourages you to add your own elements and doesn't fall apart if you hack at it. It's very robust and flexible like that. I'd happily play any of the TSR editions, but 2e is the one I play the most.
 

I found the Player's Option books to be questionable myself. Sometimes changing the game way too much for my tastes, I was always a core kind of guy.
I hated Skills and Powers and wasn't terribly fond of Spells and Magic. But I loved Combat and Tactics, that was the one Player's Option book that I felt kept the core largely intact while expanding on it in a brilliant way.

2e with C&T and the Complete class books was my favorite edition until 5e came along.
 

Badvoc

Explorer
I have fond memories of 2e - it and 1e were the editions that I played the most. Some of the rules were quite janky but there were some glorious supplements published.
 

David Howery

Adventurer
I was roughly in the middle of my gaming years when 2E came out, and there were some things I wanted to see done that weren't. I wanted an end to level limits for non-humans (or at least more generous ones), a revamping but still included barbarian and cavalier, and most of all, a complete reworking of 1E's wonky 'it runs backwards' AC system. Sure, THACO was easy enough, but the whole 'a +2 to AC actually means you subtract 2' thing always annoyed me, and I always thought there had to be a better way. The fix to AC in 3E and later editions was about the only thing I liked about them...
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
This survey is only a couple weeks old, and it hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as AD&D 1E. Strange.

I remember that AD&D 2E was a juggernaut back in the day, with tons of new campaign settings (Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Planescape...) and some of the most popular adventure modules. I thought that more people would have at least tried it, even if they didn't particularly care for it.

(Or maybe my memory is just skewed. I wanted to keep playing BECMI, and I would get so excited every time I heard someone talking about a new D&D book....only to discover they were talking about "Advanced" and I didn't have the right books to play it.) New D&D books were hard to come by for a teenager living in Oklahoma during the late 80s....

I always thought that Spelljammer was too campy and silly for me (giant space hamsters, really? Squids in space, really?) I really wanted to play Dark Sun...the story was so friggin' cool, and I was really into post-apocalyptic sci-fi at the time. And years later, after my first stint at university, I picked up Planescape: Torment on PC and really enjoyed it.
 
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atanakar

Hero
This survey is only a couple weeks old, and it hasn't gotten nearly as much attention as AD&D 1E. Strange.

I remember that AD&D 2E was a juggernaut back in the day, with tons of new campaign settings (Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Planescape...) and some of the most popular adventure modules. I thought that more people would have at least tried it, even if they didn't particularly care for it.

Played it and remember liking it ranking:
  • AD&D : 108
  • 3e : 84
  • AD&D2e : 82
  • BECMI : 50
  • Basic Holmes : 39
  • OD&D : 31
  • BX : 27

AD&D2e was indeed the height of the popularity for the game but I suspect that most tried it because it was in vogue at the time. This would not be reflected on forums today because the larger player base was soft.

AD&D1e on the other hand has a hard core following. These players are older (50+) have more free time and are all over forums.

EnWorld represents only a microcosm of the total number of D&D players. If you ask the same question on Dragonsfoot (AD&D) or on the Piazza (BECMI) forums you will get very different results.
 
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It's still my favorite edition of D&D. I'm running a game of 2e for some old friends now, but I wish I could run at least one of my current campaigns in 2e. I even published the first part of a two-part essay on running it a few months ago. I tend to spend a lot of time between publications on that blog, but I hope to have the second part in a not so far future.
 

GreyLord

Hero
I distinctly remember that the 2E Bard was truly hosed. Some of his songs took 5 minutes to cast before any effect happened. Which is fine if your dungeon master does not start every combat with, "Roll initiative. You didn't see them."

Once a bard got spells they were pretty overpowered in the games I played in. One reason was that they gained levels faster than a Mage and so, although they could not cast the highest levels (unless you got the High Level Campaigns book and went to super high levels in which case you could cast those highest level spells), they advanced quickly enough that at times they were stronger casters for mid level spells than Mages. Couple that with the ability to use any weapon and armor and a few of the kits and they basically were able to buff themselves and fight better than others while also being able to be deadly casters.

Of course, this didn't kick in till at least the mid levels, but bards got pretty powerful pretty quick.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
On April 24th, I compiled the survey results and posted them in this thread. Not just the survey results; I also collected and analyzed (to the best of my ability) the comments and "nuance" I requested in the comment section as well. I have linked that survey to the OP in this thread, and in all of the other edition surveys as well.

But discussion continues, and votes are still coming in. I'll continue to collect and update the survey info, and I will be updating the summary soon. Thanks everyone for your (continued) participation! This has been a fun and enlightening exercise in the history of our hobby.
 
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Bohandas

Adventurer
I haven't played 2e tabletop, but I've played Baldur's Gate and Dark Queen of Krynn. I feel that Baldur's Gate was marred by its lack of true turnbased combat and its use instead of realtime and half-assed autopause realtime
 

Bohandas

Adventurer
I distinctly remember that the 2E Bard was truly hosed. Some of his songs took 5 minutes to cast before any effect happened.

At least that makes sense in-world. The 3e bard didn't make a lick of sense if you think about it. Six seconds is kind of short even for a jingle. The JG Wentworth jingle takes 9 seconds, and that's for the short version.
 


Ath-kethin

Elder Thing
Sure, THACO was easy enough, but the whole 'a +2 to AC actually means you subtract 2' thing always annoyed me, and I always thought there had to be a better way. The fix to AC in 3E and later editions was about the only thing I liked about them...
My groups and I never had a problem with the 2e math (though one player in particular seemed to have a hard time grasping that their AC didn't change just because they went up a level). I never really understood people who complained about THAC0 and descending armor class; it was literally 2nd or maybe 3rd grade math. At worst.

THAT SAID, adding positive numbers is just simpler and more intuitive than adding negative numbers, and certainly moreso than subtracting negative numbers. The ascending to-hit bonus and ascending armor class is, I agree, the best part of the 3.x era.

I run Rules Cyclopedia D&D most of the time these days, and the only real change I make to it is translating the to-hit chart to a steady progress in of bonuses and the AC progression to positive modifiers.
 

Ezequielramone

Explorer
It was weird af for me. I don't think my experience with this edition is the norm. I explain myself:
I started playing RPGs with pathfinder then moved to 5e. At the time I was moving from PF to 5e (that's another story) in Argentina we had a forum and one guy wrotte there: "I want to COME BACK to D&D". Long story short: he played a LOT in the 90s and beggining of 00s but had to work, kids, etc and he loves Dragonlance.
We ended up playing a Dragonlance campaing using 2e because that is what he knew. I played a red robe wizard and that was really great. It was weird for me because I was DMing 5e already and had DMed pathfinder a lot.

Funny fact: since I was only DMing 5e when it came up I didn't read the full magic chapter. And in 2e chromatic orb was like the signature spell of my wizard. This guy became my player also and started liking 5e and then he moved his game to 5e. I had to "convert" my wizard to 5e and I was tottaly dissapointed by how crappy was chromatic orb in 5e. It just broke my heart :ROFLMAO:
 

Bupp

Explorer
Probably the edition I put the most miles on as a DM. I played the most 1e, but I ran some epic campaigns using the 2e rules in high school and while in the Army.
 

cbwjm

Hero
It was weird af for me. I don't think my experience with this edition is the norm. I explain myself:
I started playing RPGs with pathfinder then moved to 5e. At the time I was moving from PF to 5e (that's another story) in Argentina we had a forum and one guy wrotte there: "I want to COME BACK to D&D". Long story short: he played a LOT in the 90s and beggining of 00s but had to work, kids, etc and he loves Dragonlance.
We ended up playing a Dragonlance campaing using 2e because that is what he knew. I played a red robe wizard and that was really great. It was weird for me because I was DMing 5e already and had DMed pathfinder a lot.

Funny fact: since I was only DMing 5e when it came up I didn't read the full magic chapter. And in 2e chromatic orb was like the signature spell of my wizard. This guy became my player also and started liking 5e and then he moved his game to 5e. I had to "convert" my wizard to 5e and I was tottaly dissapointed by how crappy was chromatic orb in 5e. It just broke my heart :ROFLMAO:
I really do miss the original chromatic orb. Makes me want to change the current one to have one or two options with a 1st level spell slot and if you cast it with higher level spell slots, new options arrive like stunning, petrification, and death!
 

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