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

I'm not entirely sure why OD&D settled on these systems. Ability checks to roll under your ability score, ok, that makes sense. But there's so much else that can trip up newbies, lol.

DM: "Ok, so, your AC goes down, based on what armor you wear, and your defensive adjustment from Dexterity lowers your AC."

Player: "Right, ok, so in that case, my Platemail gives me 3, my 15 Dex reduces that to 2 and my shield...oh!"

DM: "Oh?"

Player: "So that magic shield +2 is cursed then! I want to get rid of it!"

DM: "No, it's not cursed, it lowers your AC by 2."

Player: "Wouldn't that be a Shield -2 then?"

DM: "....."
Baldurs Gate introduced me to the rules of AD&D.

So I load up the game and make a fighter and start off next to the inn.

I go in and buy some leather armor and equip it…. Why did my Armor Class go down? I figured I wasn’t trained to use it yet and took it off and went about my way to explore..
 
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Emirikol

Adventurer
During the forced world shutdown, we played A4 Slavelords dungeon with 1e (yes, naked with a dagger). We had a blast. No Im keen to run it again.
During 2008-2014-ish we switched to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. It has MUCH lower hit points (wound threshold) but damage still scales up dangerously.
Since we use milestone xp for all our games, players really use their skill and creativity more often to solve problems.
 
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Jahydin

Adventurer
@DarkCrisis

Had a blast reading about your experience and feel the same way. I was a bit too young to play AD&D, so no nostalgia at play when I say I find it more exciting to run than the current edition. As a player though, I prefer to run two different classes to keep things more interesting. Leveling up at different intervals, getting more use out of random treasure, and solving different sets of problems are just some of the perks.

Have you tried Castles & Crusades? It's free to check out!

Keeps all the combat math of AD&D, has well written classes, uses a simple d20 attribute check system, and ascending AC!

For those that dislike the Thief's low-success rate, C&C has that covered as well. Thieves usually start with at least a 50% chance to succeed in their Dex Skills.

But if you're really in love with AD&D rules, Hyperborea is also a fun read just for the 22 subclasses alone!
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
The way to do this would be to do it as color, which is how Raistlin was run by the player in Dragonlance. Raistlin's CON was actually a 12, but he roleplayed it as Raistlin had very poor health and only kept going because of the potions and herbs he was continually consuming.
Minor nitpick, but Raistlin's Constitution score was 10, not 12. I checked in Dragonlance Adventures, DLC3 Dragonlance Classics Volume III, and Dragonlance Classics: 15th Anniversary Edition, and they're all in agreement on that point. Not that it makes much of a difference, but I thought it was worth noting.

Please note my use of affiliate links in this post.
 

Celebrim

Legend
Minor nitpick, but Raistlin's Constitution score was 10, not 12. I checked in Dragonlance Adventures, DLC3 Dragonlance Classics Volume III, and Dragonlance Classics: 15th Anniversary Edition, and they're all in agreement on that point. Not that it makes much of a difference, but I thought it was worth noting.

Fair enough. I was going on memory and should have looked it up before stating it as a fact. Thank you for the correction.

The point however stands. Constitution of 10 is not a particularly low score suggesting fragility and ill health. It's perfectly average. Neither CON 10 or CON 12 would have in 1e AD&D provided bonus hit points.
 


Mallus

Legend
A 2e game sounds great!

Maybe 2e will be our next D&D campaign. We’re playing 5e now after a 2-year 0e (Labyrinth Lord) game and I admit it a nice change of pace to be able to do heroic practically from the start.

2e with the common house rules and all the kits/splatbooks would make a nice middle ground between 5e and (the oldest) old-school.
 

We are having a blast with 2E. All but one of the players that is. I think she (Druid player) feels under powered compared to what shes used to in 5E.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
We are having a blast with 2E. All but one of the players that is. I think she (Druid player) feels under powered compared to what shes used to in 5E.
Yeah, AD&D Druids had a lot of spells that only work in specific environments, and their ability to take on animal forms wasn't nearly the powerhouse it became in the WotC era. It gets better at higher levels...but then you have to start fighting other Druids for supremacy!
 

deganawida

Adventurer
We are having a blast with 2E. All but one of the players that is. I think she (Druid player) feels under powered compared to what shes used to in 5E.
Not surprising, as all of the classes have less overall power. However, I hope that she finds a way to enjoy it. My 18 year old’s Druid (initially 5e, then Castles & Crusades) was more fun for her after changing rules sets, as she focused more on how her abilities reacted with the world than in focusing on combat. Not entirely an apples-to-apples comparison, but there is hope.
 

sithholocron

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



Role Playing Magic GIF by Dungeons & Dragons

AD&D 2e, is where my D&D stops. I always loathed things like feats, the elimination of importance of AC and many other things.
 

corwyn77

Explorer
Yeah, my experience was that the victim had to be unaware of you. You had to move silently, hide in shadows, or be invisible. Which is ironic because it means the best backstabber is now the thief/magic-user with improved invisibility, and as an added bonus you get lightning bolt, mage armor, charm person, silence, knock, detect magic, alter self, etc.

Your description also seems to apply to how racial level limits worked in actual play. In my experience, every table 100% enforces racial level limits... at level 1. However, when you actually have PCs hitting the limits, the DM magically forgets that they exist. Or, sometimes, applies a penalty. 10% to 20% XP penalty seemed to be standard in my area. Because stopping progression was obviously dumb. It meant you should just retire, and neither the player, nor the rest of the party, nor the DM were ever interested in that.
Yeah, my first character was a single-class Halfling Thief named Purloin (I know, I know, I was young) because I didn't know any better. Every Thief after that was a MC Thief/MU or Thief/MU/Fighter or Thief/Illusionist. I don't think any of those games went high enough to bother about limits. The last one only went to level 7 (2e) before being converted to gurps.
 

corwyn77

Explorer
Yep. That's just it. It's math. Some people have a good relationship with it, and some really don't. And, truthfully, some people only have a good relationship with parts of it - cross that 0 line and all hell breaks loose for them. This is why ascending ACs was such a user experience improvement in D&D.
It's still a problem for some people. Running encounters, I have had multiple players need a calculator to figure out their D20+mod to see what AC they hit.
 

Iosue

Hero
The idea was cribbed from a naval wargame, so the story goes. In that naval wargame, a ship's armor class was something akin to 1st rate, 2nd rate, 3rd rate, etc with 1st rate being the best and things descending in quality from there despite the numerical value ranking increasing.
The important thing to note was that, like in many wargames of the period, the most salient information was in the table referenced. With the table doing all the math, how the armor is classified is somewhat superfluous; they could have just called Armor Class A, B, C, etc. The central design conceit is that you're trying to keep the target numbers "on the die," so that you can just roll, see the result, and know the outcome. Arneson & Gygax just happened to use ordinal numbers for the classes, which allowed for further expansion using negative numbers.

THAC0, then, was just a later innovation from people noticing, "Hey, the to-hit numbers go down by one counting armor class from 0, so if you subtract the Armor Class number from the to-hit number for AC 0, you get the to-hit number for that AC." And from there, "So if you roll a d20 and subtract the result from the to-hit number for AC 0, you get the number for the lowest AC that you can hit!" And they started using that so they didn't have to reference the tables. Then, that shortcut was put into the official game.

The innovation of 3e was its embrace of "imaginary die results". By which I mean, you have an attack bonus of +7, and your opponent has an AC of 21. Not only is the target number "off the die", but so is the final result if you roll a 14 or higher. This is certainly a cromulent way of doing things (though things got out of hand in 3e and 4e, IMO, when AC and attack bonuses could be so high, that the die roll was a proportionately smaller contributor to success).

But such a system (and THAC0 for that matter) would have been thought inelegant from a design perspective in 1970s wargaming culture. Why make the participants do math in their head in the first place, when you can just get all the math out on a table, and a few plusses or minuses notwithstanding, roll the die and immediately see if you were successful or not.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
The important thing to note was that, like in many wargames of the period, the most salient information was in the table referenced. With the table doing all the math, how the armor is classified is somewhat superfluous; they could have just called Armor Class A, B, C, etc. The central design conceit is that you're trying to keep the target numbers "on the die," so that you can just roll, see the result, and know the outcome. Arneson & Gygax just happened to use ordinal numbers for the classes, which allowed for further expansion using negative numbers.

THAC0, then, was just a later innovation from people noticing, "Hey, the to-hit numbers go down by one counting armor class from 0, so if you subtract the Armor Class number from the to-hit number for AC 0, you get the to-hit number for that AC." And from there, "So if you roll a d20 and subtract the result from the to-hit number for AC 0, you get the number for the lowest AC that you can hit!" And they started using that so they didn't have to reference the tables. Then, that shortcut was put into the official game.

The innovation of 3e was its embrace of "imaginary die results". By which I mean, you have an attack bonus of +7, and your opponent has an AC of 21. Not only is the target number "off the die", but so is the final result if you roll a 14 or higher. This is certainly a cromulent way of doing things (though things got out of hand in 3e and 4e, IMO, when AC and attack bonuses could be so high, that the die roll was a proportionately smaller contributor to success).

But such a system (and THAC0 for that matter) would have been thought inelegant from a design perspective in 1970s wargaming culture. Why make the participants do math in their head in the first place, when you can just get all the math out on a table, and a few plusses or minuses notwithstanding, roll the die and immediately see if you were successful or not.
Good post!

I will note that a draft version of OD&D actually used exactly a THAC0-style calculation for Fighter (Fighting-Man) attacks of 5%/+1 to hit per level, which wound up being collapsed into irregular tables in the published OD&D, so the later "innovation" of THAC0 was more of a return to the original idea. Lawrence Schick, who claims responsibility for the appearance of THAC0 in the monster stats appendix at the back of the 1E DMG (before THAC0 actually became a rule in 2E) says he thinks he got the idea from a Judges' Guild product. But it turns out Gary originally did it that way.

 

Update: The Druid player (who until know inly ever played 5th) still isn't digging it. She doesn't like that she's the main healer and feels she has to use all her spell slots for Cure spells.

I've expressed to her that she is the main healer. The only other is the Cleric/Mage. 2E is more about scrolls and potions and wands etc and less about having a ton of spell slots and extra powers. I reminded her that the group does in fact have several cure potions and scrolls and she should feel free to use her spell slots for whatever spells she wants.

Everyone else, still loving it. The excitement the Fighter got when he rolled HP at level up and got a 9! People love the level up because it mens more survivability. Never saw that in 5E. The Cleric/Wiz is just praying for the day he gains a few levels under each class..
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Update: The Druid player (who until know inly ever played 5th) still isn't digging it. She doesn't like that she's the main healer and feels she has to use all her spell slots for Cure spells.

I've expressed to her that she is the main healer. The only other is the Cleric/Mage. 2E is more about scrolls and potions and wands etc and less about having a ton of spell slots and extra powers. I reminded her that the group does in fact have several cure potions and scrolls and she should feel free to use her spell slots for whatever spells she wants.

Everyone else, still loving it. The excitement the Fighter got when he rolled HP at level up and got a 9! People love the level up because it mens more survivability. Never saw that in 5E. The Cleric/Wiz is just praying for the day he gains a few levels under each class..
That's rough. I've encountered this with Druids before, they have a lot of cool spells they can cast, yet, just like Clerics, are expected to fill every spell slot with "Cure X Wounds", as if they are some kind of healing potion dispenser.

What I've always seen as part of the problem is that player characters who have ready access to healing tend to take silly risks, and ones that don't have to learn to be cautious.

What worked for me was the time I played the Cleric of a Neutral deity, who demanded a small tithe for the use of "her" magic (my Cleric being but the vessel), so I carried a small pouch specifically for donations to the faith.

This led to some irate players, but I told them it was out of my hands, it's what the Goddess demanded. Once there was an actual cost to healing ("my precious golds!"), the party started to use their brains more, lol.
 

Baldurs Gate introduced me to the rules of AD&D.

So I load up the game and make a fighter and start off next to the inn.

I go in and buy some leather armor and equip it…. Why did my Armor Class go down? I figured I wasn’t trained to use it yet and took it off and went about my way to explore..

I remember when I looked at the gelatineous cube and saw AC 6 along with the other stats and thought: wow, hard for that CR until I realized, how bad AC 6 is in 5e...
Even though it is 22 years ago that I last played 2e, I read AC below 10 as improvement on first glance, because it is so rare in 5e.
 

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