I've introduced my 5th ed group to AD&D 2E

Preface: I'm not here to poopoo on 5th ed. I like playing it, I just got real real tired of DMing it.

So I’ve been having my group play an AD&D 2E campaign. 3 of the 5 of the players have only ever played 5th ed when it came to D&D.

The 2 youngest 14 and 16 are really liking it.

The youngest is playing the Thief. She always plays that sneaky stabby guy in whatever we play.
Whe I first told her that when sneaking you either are or you are not. There is no chance to see you. She said ”It should always be like this!” I agreed.

The older kid is playing a Fighter (as he usually does) and he told me he really likes that combat comes down to AC instead of HP. He likes that he can turn the tide of battle in a swing or two of his axe. He feels more “useful.” He likes that it was more deadly. And I agreed, to much HP/healing etc bogs it all down.

Of course getting used to the way “skills” work and how saves work and of course THAC0 (which i just convert to modern AC in my head anyways) is an ongoing process but they’ve mostly got it down. Not to mention stuff like have 3/2 attacks.

The other person who has only played 5th may have the hardest adjustment due always playing Druids and the drop in power to AD&D can be a bit off putting. So I gave her character a magic ring so she can shapechange into an animal and back once per day and a magic staff.

But so far for a group that’s played mostly 5th Ed since we got together a few years ago, it’s been a big success. They have even learned to search for secret doors and be more cautious. That sense of fear and danger, that’s the best part! It’s an adventure not just obstacles to roll over. It’s been amazing seeing them go from just brazen kick in the door super heroes to using scouting and listening etc because they know assaulting a cult filled dungeon should actually be dangerous. And everyone keeps having “hero moments” which rarely seemed to pop up in 5E aside from "how do you want to do this" when killing a boss.

A Harpy charmed 4/5 of the party and it was down to the Cleric/Wizard. Remember this was one save period not fail 3 times and get repeat saves each turn. The C/W used his one arcane spell per day to fry her, made a few charm saves himself and finished her with his mace to her face. Clutch moment.

And I have found a renewed passion for DMing D&D. It has been missing a long time.

AD&D is always will be D&D to me. It just feels more like an actual adventure. IMO.

Now I’m not trying to say one edition is better than the other. If you are having fun that’s what’s important.

I will simply say, maybe branch out and try the older Ed’s. If you feel you want a tad more danger and a lower power level.

There a few good 0E, Basic, 1E, 2E clones out there. Try one of those. “For Gold and Glory” is one book and has everything you need in it and is my go to when playing 2E (along side the original books as well for more monsters etc). Or “OSRIC” for 1E. These clones format the old systems into a more modern RPG book. OSRIC was a big help to understand 1E for me.

Speaking of ”all in one book” the original “Rules Cyclopedia” which covers BECMI era is great all on its own.
Most of these clones (and Rules Cyc) can be printed off DrivethruRPG for cheap. The clones I mentioned PDFs are generally free.

Role Playing Magic GIF by Dungeons & Dragons


Edit: Kid who plays the fighter told me today he likes that its one save and not multiple saves like in 5th ed because it mean's that your single roll/save means more.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I don‘t think I could run 2e without house-ruling the crap out of it. But then, that’s what I was doing back in the 90s too.
Top of my list these days, were I to run some 2e, is fixing saving throws. They’re still based on 1e’s obsolete combat tables and thieves get the shaft, badly.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
First of all, that’s awesome, I’m glad it seems like you’re all having a lot of fun!

The youngest is playing the Thief. She always plays that sneaky standby guy in whatever we play.
Whe I first told her that when sneaking you either are or you are not. There is chance to see you. She said ”It should always be like this!” I agreed.
I’m not sure what this means. How is this different from how it works in, say, 5e?
 

First of all, that’s awesome, I’m glad it seems like you’re all having a lot of fun!


I’m not sure what this means. How is this different from how it works in, say, 5e?

In 5E your for has a chance to see you. His perception check vs your sneak roll.

AD&D if you roll well enough on your hide and move silent you simply are doing it and they can’t see/hear you. There is no perception check to counter it.
 

In 5E your for has a chance to see you. His perception check vs your sneak roll.

AD&D if you roll well enough on your hide and move silent you simply are doing it and they can’t see/hear you. There is no perception check to counter it.
How is rolling well enough on your hide different from rolling high enough on your sneak roll to beat their perception number?
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Oh well, you see, the way Thieves work, they have a percentage chance to Hide in Shadows and Move Silently, based on points you've placed in those abilities, Dexterity, and Racial modifiers.

So, for example, a 1st level Halfling Thief might have 50% Hide in Shadows. You try to hide, the 50% chance is rolled- as long as you meet the requirements for the ability (and your DM isn't a monster), voila, you're hidden. Eventually, in a few levels, you can rise to 95%.

Monsters don't have "perception" as we know it, so it generally just works.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
In 5E your for has a chance to see you. His perception check vs your sneak roll.

AD&D if you roll well enough on your hide and move silent you simply are doing it and they can’t see/hear you. There is no perception check to counter it.
Ok, I see what you mean.
 

Oh well, you see, the way Thieves work, they have a percentage chance to Hide in Shadows and Move Silently, based on points you've placed in those abilities, Dexterity, and Racial modifiers.

So, for example, a 1st level Halfling Thief might have 50% Hide in Shadows. You try to hide, the 50% chance is rolled- as long as you meet the requirements for the ability (and your DM isn't a monster), voila, you're hidden. Eventually, in a few levels, you can rise to 95%.

Monsters don't have "perception" as we know it, so it generally just works.
Oh, interesting, so your ability to sneak past something is completely decoupled from that thing-- so like an ancient dragon and the farmer have the same shot at seeing you, weird.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
Oh, interesting, so your ability to sneak past something is completely decoupled from that thing-- so like an ancient dragon and the farmer have the same shot at seeing you, weird.
But you also have the situation where if you fail the hide/sneak roll, you're noticeable by everyone from said ancient dragon to the goblin village idiot who thinks that the potatoes are conspiring against him.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Oh, interesting, so your ability to sneak past something is completely decoupled from that thing-- so like an ancient dragon and the farmer have the same shot at seeing you, weird.
In general, yes. There are some caveats to the Thieving abilities- depending on how strictly your DM conforms to what the books say, you might run into difficulties. There was a forum thread about this several months back, where we had quite a back and forth about how well these abilities performed in games, and how often one could actually employ abilities like Backstab. But if your DM isn't a jerk about it, it can play fairly smoothly.

EDIT: for example, the caveat that you can't use Hide in Shadows in total darkness....
 



tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Oh, interesting, so your ability to sneak past something is completely decoupled from that thing-- so like an ancient dragon and the farmer have the same shot at seeing you, weird.
It was balanced by the fact that you might not be the one rolling & may not know if you are being stealthy or not and by PCs being far more fragile when out on their own. Sneaking past monsters & interacting with stuff while sneaking was pretty dangerous :D
 

Oh, interesting, so your ability to sneak past something is completely decoupled from that thing-- so like an ancient dragon and the farmer have the same shot at seeing you, weird.
Dragons can see invis and can smell you, as can some monsters with better senses. So sort of but not exactly.

Remember Smog could still smell Bilbo.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I don't think there exists an AD&D group that uses the rules as written. Either they don't actually know all the rules and came up with their own solutions, or they just don't like how the rules work, it's all academic.

I used to have to deal with some obnoxious rules lawyers when I started DMing, so I made sure to read the rulebooks constantly, to the point that, even if I didn't know it by heart, I knew where a given rule was in the book, and could quickly find it.

To this day, there are rules that, when I bring them up, make long-time veterans of the game look at me like I'm speaking arcane gibberish. Then I show them the passage in a book, and they go "oh well, we never played it that way", lol.
 

Dragons can see in is and can smell you, as can some monsters with better senses. So sort of but not exactly.

Remember Smog could still smell Bilbo.
Is that reflected mechanically somehow as part of the sneak or is this part of that "Gygaxian skilled play" thing where you would have to think to prepare to have a way to disguise your scent to not get auto found?
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Hide in Shadows and Move Silently do nothing to mask your scent. However, it is worth nothing that most creatures, in addition to lacking perception, do not have exceptional senses. Dragons are an exception, however:

Dragon.jpg

The Complete Thief's Handbook, however, has some items you can purchase that can mask your scent and help you camouflage yourself, to supplement your own abilities.
 


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