B/X Known World
I keep seeing generally positive comparisons made between 2E and 5E. So I wanted to get more info on that comparison. To avoid further derailing another thread, I'm moving things here.
I started with B/X and AD&D, collected 2E settings but never played 2E proper, skipped 3E entirely, and jumped on 4E and now 5E. So I have no frame of reference for this comment. So, honest question: what aspects of 5E are reminiscent of 2E? It seems to be a generally positive comparison.
It is generally positive - certainly for me.
The classes are very 3e, but with twists to lessen the caster disparity.
The magic items etc. are back to 2e (not easy to craft, set stat score items as opposed to just bonuses etc - not exact but certainly more like)
The roles are less defined than 4e, at least officially - they're still there but again not explicitly called out.
Those are the things that jump out immediately.
So, what aspects of 5E are reminiscent of 2E?Yeah, we're definitely closer to 2e feel than 3e or 4e for a lot of things with 5e. The magic items are, of course, a major component of that. For all of its good intentions in getting crafting into the hands of the players, it really screwed the pooch on how D&D played and in turning full casters into amok monsters. Returning to a structure in which magic items are benefits, not expected components of developing power, and wands are specialty combat/weird utility items rather than capable of holding any spell for cheap really resets the expectations.
One other aspect that probably doesn't get enough consideration is multiple attacks. While the 2e rules imply that you can only get one attack if you have to close, it's not very explicit. I'd wager most players assumed that fighter-types with multiple attacks got them all no matter how far they moved in their turn. Allowing that in 5e gets D&D back to that style of playing martial characters.
Removing most of the niggling little abilities given by feats (like avoiding AoO while shoving someone, or allowing someone to split their move by making an attack) also pushes us more toward a free-form combat turn where the main unit of concern - the action and maybe bonus action - is the only thing we need to really focus on, not moving around the board - something also more in keeping with 2e as it was played.
All of this contributes to why 5e is, hands down, my favorite edition. While I liked 3e and PF's upgrade to it, 2e always stayed up near the top of my list. And an edition of D&D that has a mix of modern design takes on spells and classes with expectations more like 2nd is right up my alley.