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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
Bard Spell spellcasting...some rule they can in armor...as long as it is...

Elven Chain...

Very plausible to have at higher levels.

Bards were pretty good in AD&D 2e. Got depowered by a LOT in 3e.

PS: One of the BEST spells a Bard could cast on an unprepared Magic-User in the first round was Color Spray. Have to win initiative and then you have a possibility of having ended that battle right then and there.
Or sleep, or magic missile, or etc. depending on what level you are. of course it works equally well in the opposite direction, and by 2e rules the mage/wizard is much more likely to have the correct spell in his book.

As for Elven Chain... yeah, maybe. Assuming the DM rules that it actually works in this situation and that it works for non-elves (if you aren't one) and that some elf ninjas aren't after you in that case, and he makes some available. I agree it is not entirely implausible to hope for.

Anyway, at high levels you probably can get bracers, rings, robes, cloaks, stoneskin, etc. so AC becomes less of a really big deal. One big huge problem is that bards do not get any ability to use wizard-specific magic items, which means no rods, staves, or wands. They can use 'thief only' items I guess, though even this is rather ambiguous. Presumably their 'may use any weapon' extends to magical versions. This is a big limitation vs wizards, huge really at higher levels when things like Staff of Power might be in play.
 

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GreyLord

Hero
Or sleep, or magic missile, or etc. depending on what level you are. of course it works equally well in the opposite direction, and by 2e rules the mage/wizard is much more likely to have the correct spell in his book.
The BIG advantage of Color Spray over Sleep is if you have a DM that interprets the rules as written (rather than guessing at what may have been intended). Rules as written, even at a high level (let's just say...20th) it is a one hit knock out if the Magic-user fails their save.

The spell specifies anyone of a less level than the spellcaster is knocked out if they fail their save. Lesser penalties if they are a higher level.

Some read it that anyone over 6th level is not knocked out, but that isn't how it's written...

Which makes the spell itself an overly powerful one for Bards...

Magic Missile is dependable, but won't knock out the Magic-User as quickly as Color Spray in that case...though it is a mighty big gamble...Saves also get easier to make at high levels...
 

The BIG advantage of Color Spray over Sleep is if you have a DM that interprets the rules as written (rather than guessing at what may have been intended). Rules as written, even at a high level (let's just say...20th) it is a one hit knock out if the Magic-user fails their save.

The spell specifies anyone of a less level than the spellcaster is knocked out if they fail their save. Lesser penalties if they are a higher level.

Some read it that anyone over 6th level is not knocked out, but that isn't how it's written...

Which makes the spell itself an overly powerful one for Bards...

Magic Missile is dependable, but won't knock out the Magic-User as quickly as Color Spray in that case...though it is a mighty big gamble...Saves also get easier to make at high levels...
MM does enough damage on average to knock out a wizard at low levels, and the 100% hit with no save makes it a pretty good spell for that purpose (it is otherwise rather mediocre though, but you may not have better options). Once you get to casting 3rd or 4th level spells there are solid strategies to deal with enemy casters. Walls are quite effective since they are not direct attacks they generally side-step saves. Bringing the roof down with some lightning, again avoids save problems. There are quite a few similar tricks. Push and any sort of convenient precipice is a no-brainer. Any spell that creates slippery conditions will prevent casting if you go strictly by the general casting rules, and there are a few of those (Grease is a pretty good spell). Stuff like Tasha's is also pretty solid. Of course Color Spray takes up a low level slot and I agree it is one of the better options. Back in AD&D days I was rather known for 'Advanced Casting Tactics', hehe.
 

Voadam

Legend
Yeah, I thought it was a reasonably solid class. The toughest comparison is really with the Elf mage/thief. Yes, you're a bit more than a level ahead, maybe even 2.5 to 3 levels ahead in a few spots, but the MC character can wear armor and cast spells, which is pretty nice. Plus they have ALL the thief abilities (and are better at most of them even with the level difference). Again, its a toss up, and the bard abilities are definitely worth having.

An Elven mage/thief could use elven chain, but otherwise RAW that was it.

"Wizard: A multi-classed wizard can freely combine the powers of the wizard with any other class allowed, although the wearing of armor is restricted. Elves wearing elven chain can cast spells in armor, as magic is part of the nature of elves. However, elven chain is extremely rare and can never be purchased. It must be given, found, or won."

This is under multiclassed benefits, and bards in 2e could not be multiclassed, and it did not apply to single classed elven wizards.

"In his travels, a bard also manages to learn a few wizard spells. Like a wizard, a bard’s Intelligence determines the number of spells he can know and the chance to know any given spell. These he keeps in his spell book, abiding by all the restrictions on memorization and spell use that bind a wizard, especially in the prohibition of armor."

Worth noting that bards are not a class open to full elves in the 2e PH.
 


An Elven mage/thief could use elven chain, but otherwise RAW that was it.

"Wizard: A multi-classed wizard can freely combine the powers of the wizard with any other class allowed, although the wearing of armor is restricted. Elves wearing elven chain can cast spells in armor, as magic is part of the nature of elves. However, elven chain is extremely rare and can never be purchased. It must be given, found, or won."

This is under multiclassed benefits, and bards in 2e could not be multiclassed, and it did not apply to single classed elven wizards.

"In his travels, a bard also manages to learn a few wizard spells. Like a wizard, a bard’s Intelligence determines the number of spells he can know and the chance to know any given spell. These he keeps in his spell book, abiding by all the restrictions on memorization and spell use that bind a wizard, especially in the prohibition of armor."

Worth noting that bards are not a class open to full elves in the 2e PH.
Ah, yes, the ins and outs of slight differences between 1e and 2e. 1e MC magic users can cast in any type of armor. That was one of their outstanding benefits.
 


GreyLord

Hero
An Elven mage/thief could use elven chain, but otherwise RAW that was it.

"Wizard: A multi-classed wizard can freely combine the powers of the wizard with any other class allowed, although the wearing of armor is restricted. Elves wearing elven chain can cast spells in armor, as magic is part of the nature of elves. However, elven chain is extremely rare and can never be purchased. It must be given, found, or won."

This is under multiclassed benefits, and bards in 2e could not be multiclassed, and it did not apply to single classed elven wizards.

"In his travels, a bard also manages to learn a few wizard spells. Like a wizard, a bard’s Intelligence determines the number of spells he can know and the chance to know any given spell. These he keeps in his spell book, abiding by all the restrictions on memorization and spell use that bind a wizard, especially in the prohibition of armor."

Worth noting that bards are not a class open to full elves in the 2e PH.

Elven Chain Mail

(From DMG...revised 241)
This is magical armor so fine and light that it can be worn under normal clothing without revealing its presence. Its lightness and flexibility allow even BARDS and THIEVES to use it with few restrictions. Elven fighter/mages use it without restriction, however, it is rarely sized to fit anyone other than an elf or a half-elf.

Bolded words were not bolded in text, I put the bolding in there to point it out. Also, note, you had a 20% chance of getting man-sized elven chain if you found it, but Half-Elves could also be Bards.
 

On 1E, the best AC was actually Bracers + ring of protection. The bonus of magic armor and rings of protection did not stack, but bracers and ring did. I think this was also true in 2E, but I am not sure.
Right, I think that is true. I know my high level 1e wizard had Bracers of AC 2, high Dex, and a +2 ring of protection. He was pretty close to the fighters AC. Stoneskin, a Robe of Eyes, and a Cloak of Displacement, plus of course pretty much obligatory invisibility and the ability to fly in most situations, the only way he got hit with a spell was if it was an AoE, or some stupidly powerful being was involved, like a post-D&D demon lord. I am not 100% sure if we really vetted all this out with the 2e rules or not, since a lot of this stuff was just carried over. I suspect it did work though.

Anyway, once your casters get past name level and have hoovered up the remains of a few fallen comrades, they get to be pretty stupid powerful.
 


Voadam

Legend
Elven Chain Mail

(From DMG...revised 241)
This is magical armor so fine and light that it can be worn under normal clothing without revealing its presence. Its lightness and flexibility allow even BARDS and THIEVES to use it with few restrictions. Elven fighter/mages use it without restriction, however, it is rarely sized to fit anyone other than an elf or a half-elf.

Bolded words were not bolded in text, I put the bolding in there to point it out. Also, note, you had a 20% chance of getting man-sized elven chain if you found it, but Half-Elves could also be Bards.

Yes they can use it. It does not say they can cast in it. :)

It says they can use it in the PH too. "He can wear any armor up to, and including, chain mail, but he cannot use a shield."

Same for thieves "A thief can wear leather, studded leather, padded leather, or elven chain armor. When wearing any allowed armor other than leather, the thief’s abilities are penalized (see Table 29)."

I would place the bolding in a different part of the sentence.

"Its lightness and flexibility allow even BARDS and THIEVES to use it with few restrictions."

One of those restrictions is penalties to thief skills, another seems to be casting in armor.
 

Yes they can use it. It does not say they can cast in it. :)

It says they can use it in the PH too. "He can wear any armor up to, and including, chain mail, but he cannot use a shield."

Same for thieves "A thief can wear leather, studded leather, padded leather, or elven chain armor. When wearing any allowed armor other than leather, the thief’s abilities are penalized (see Table 29)."

I would place the bolding in a different part of the sentence.

"Its lightness and flexibility allow even BARDS and THIEVES to use it with few restrictions."

One of those restrictions is penalties to thief skills, another seems to be casting in armor.
Ahhhhh, AD&D rules debates, good luck!
 



Zardnaar

Legend
Bard Spell spellcasting...some rule they can in armor...as long as it is...

Elven Chain...

Very plausible to have at higher levels.

Bards were pretty good in AD&D 2e. Got depowered by a LOT in 3e.

PS: One of the BEST spells a Bard could cast on an unprepared Magic-User in the first round was Color Spray. Have to win initiative and then you have a possibility of having ended that battle right then and there.

Only elves could cast in EC and couldn't be bards.....

Then they made elven plate mail.
 

Only elves could cast in EC and couldn't be bards.....

Then they made elven plate mail.
LOL, I don't recall at this late stage all the various spots in 2e where this stuff was touched on. I'm guessing if you pick the right quotes from the right spots in specific places in the rules you might be able to support "Only elves could cast in EC", I don't know. This is the point. I could easily find paragraphs which clearly contradict that. Other sections of the rules are written as if one or the other position is simply assumed. There is no possibility of definitive answers to all but the most basic and trivial of AD&D rules questions.
 


I've seen at least three different takes on the question of "what rank does a deity need to be in order to grant quest spells?"
The other part is just 'process'. How does combat ACTUALLY WORK? We know how to roll for initiative and make attacks and such. We know rules for calculating who's blow struck first, and etc. However, we don't know what the heck the rule is for who can attack whom in a melee and whether you can even decide that or if it has to be determined at random. How does that interact with rules like facing when it is defined that you don't have a definite specific location within the melee? It is clear as mud.
 

Voadam

Legend
LOL, I don't recall at this late stage all the various spots in 2e where this stuff was touched on. I'm guessing if you pick the right quotes from the right spots in specific places in the rules you might be able to support "Only elves could cast in EC", I don't know.
Page 64 of the PH Revised under benefits of multiclassing where it talks about multiclassing wizards and armor:

"Wizard: A multi-classed wizard can freely combine the powers of the wizard with any other class allowed, although the wearing of armor is restricted. Elves wearing elven chain can cast spells in armor, as magic is part of the nature of elves. However, elven chain is extremely rare and can never be purchased. It must be given, found, or won."

The other relevant places would be under the wizard (page 42) and bard (page 58) classes for the explicit general prohibitions on casting in armor, and on the entry for elven chain on page 241 in the revised DMG

"Elven Chain Mail: This is magical armor so fine and light that it can be worn under normal clothing without revealing its presence. Its lightness and flexibility allow even bards and thieves to use it with few restrictions (see Chapter 3 in the PHB). Elven fighter/mages use it without restriction. However, it is rarely sized to fit anyone other than an elf or a half-elf."

This is the point. I could easily find paragraphs which clearly contradict that.
I have not found them. The closest was that DMG quote which did not seem a clear contradiction to me. I am open to seeing such, but a search on the PDFs of the revised 2e PH and DMG for "elven chain" does not show any. I have not however checked my hardcopy of the unrevised 2e PH and I never owned the unrevised 2e DMG.

Other sections of the rules are written as if one or the other position is simply assumed. There is no possibility of definitive answers to all but the most basic and trivial of AD&D rules questions.
Rules things can be contradictory or ambiguous or inconsistent, particularly in different sources, but this seems clearly stated in places that make sense to look in the core rulebooks.
 

Page 64 of the PH Revised under benefits of multiclassing where it talks about multiclassing wizards and armor:

"Wizard: A multi-classed wizard can freely combine the powers of the wizard with any other class allowed, although the wearing of armor is restricted. Elves wearing elven chain can cast spells in armor, as magic is part of the nature of elves. However, elven chain is extremely rare and can never be purchased. It must be given, found, or won."

The other relevant places would be under the wizard (page 42) and bard (page 58) classes for the explicit general prohibitions on casting in armor, and on the entry for elven chain on page 241 in the revised DMG

"Elven Chain Mail: This is magical armor so fine and light that it can be worn under normal clothing without revealing its presence. Its lightness and flexibility allow even bards and thieves to use it with few restrictions (see Chapter 3 in the PHB). Elven fighter/mages use it without restriction. However, it is rarely sized to fit anyone other than an elf or a half-elf."


I have not found them. The closest was that DMG quote which did not seem a clear contradiction to me. I am open to seeing such, but a search on the PDFs of the revised 2e PH and DMG for "elven chain" does not show any. I have not however checked my hardcopy of the unrevised 2e PH and I never owned the unrevised 2e DMG.


Rules things can be contradictory or ambiguous or inconsistent, particularly in different sources, but this seems clearly stated in places that make sense to look in the core rulebooks.
Yeah, but then there's 10% of Elven Chainmail which is sized for humans. And there's the question of half-elves as well. So it is quite a bit less clear than it first appears. This is not even getting into the questions raised by various other supplements. Some of them are written under the assumption that this works for anyone, or at least some specific 'rules' are. There are NPCs/pregens in various places as well. It is really clear as mud. I don't argue that when Zeb or Steve or whomever wrote those paragraphs in the PHB that they were not definite in their minds about it, just that TSR as a whole didn't really consistently follow through on rules. They treated them more as "well, this is how we thought it maybe should be" vs "though shalt do X or be blasted by lightning."

Also, probably 90% of the people running 2e at the time the PHB/DMG/MC came out were simply skimming the rules and making a few minor adjustments to their 1e stuff. I mean, frankly, we didn't even read carefully enough or care enough to get into that kind of minutia, and at that level 1e and 2e are not particularly consistent. In fact there really isn't much point to Elven Chain in 1e since elves can cast spells in any sort of armor. At best it is just a way for your elf thief/m-u to have a better AC, assuming you can find a set.

Beyond that I'm pretty sure that elves got to be Bards later in some splat book anyway, so that would make the whole thing a bit more relevant to that class. Frankly I'm pretty sure we quickly decided that bards could cast in leather, as it was not a huge problem and the class is a bit on the weaker side as it is.
 

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