D&D 2E On AD&D 2E

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
For some groups, that was the point.

This is why you could have a group play for a decade and yet their characters are only between the levels of 7th to 10th level.

A feature, not a bug ;-)

I miss the slower leveling myself. It's why D&D now feels like a superhero game, characters level up so fast and get so many powers and spells that within 3 months it's basically playing Champions or Mutants & Masterminds.
I think there's a happy medium. It's important, IMO, for the first couple/few levels to click along reasonably fast so PCs can get out of the "dead in 1-2 hits" zone and into the sweet spot, which is traditionally roughly 3rd-7th level or so. Maybe 3rd to 9th, depending on the edition (4E being a definite exception due to stretching to 30 levels).

I think Moldvay had it right that an average of 3-4 sessions per level is about perfect for the first few. Once you get a bit more durable and enter "the sweet spot", I'm definitely open to it taking a long time. I think the longest 2E games I played all ended in the high single digits of levels, but we definitely felt like we didn't really need to go higher.
 

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dagger

Explorer
AD&D 2e does level slow but 1e levels up pretty fast. In 1e if you do treasure xp by the book then it levels the same speed if not faster than 3.0/3.5 till maybe 9th or 10th.

Interesting look at the actual level speed comparing 1e to 3rd edition here:

 

DammitVictor

Trust the Fungus
Supporter
Something else I have considered with regard to weapon proficiencies is similar to what @deganawida proposed which is to get rid of them completely and just say that classes are proficient in whatever weapons are allowed by their class, but, I would still grant fighters weapon specialisation allowing them to get multiple specialisations as they level up so that they can keep that as their special thing for their class.
Yeah, this is something I do-- classes are proficient in all their class weapons, weapon proficiency slots are for cross-class weapons, fighting styles, martial arts, and (if you're a fighter) specialization/mastery.
 

2Eguy

Villager
A friend of mine asked, rather out of the blue, what edition of D&D I would use for my "last D&D campaign ever" and I answered, without hesitation, 2nd Edition AD&D. I kind of want to examine that a little bit, and thought here would eb a good place.

1. For sure there is a lot of nostalgia involved. While I was a "BECMI kid" -- we started with B and kept going knowing with nothing else for years -- it wasn't until I discovered 2nd Edition that the whole D&D thing blossomed for me. We played a tiny bit of 1E but discovered it so late that 2E was out within 6 months. Suddenly all the impenetrable esoterica of 1E was gone and the game made sense. Moreover, we could use the truly awesome bits of BECMI without any trouble at all, particularly the Domain rules and the War Machine.

2. 2E is so broadly written that it covers almost any subgenre of fantasy you can think of. You can still 1E dungeon crawl with it, but you can also Lord of the Rings with it and Game of Throne with it.

3. THAC0 is not hard. It's subtraction. Stop it.

4. This goes back to 1 above a bit, but my longest running campaign (20 years) started with 2E and even though it went through 3E and 3.5 and even Mutants and Masterminds (when the campaign world advanced to the super hero age) it still had its heart in 2E.

5. I feel like I could bolt any system from any D&D edition or any other game onto 2E and never worry about "balance." I could add advantage/disadvantage and it would work fine. I could include item creation from 3.x. I could, as mentioned, implement the BECMI domain management and mass combat rules. People sing the praises of a integrated core mechanic, but I thing a solid game with disparate systems lends itself to infinite hacking, which is a core tenet of D&D.

6. That Monster Manual is a thing of beauty.

7. There was SO MUCH STUFF for it. I know that wasn't good for TSR, but it was freaking great for my table and campaigns.

Anyway, I just felt like articulating the things I love about 2E. Carry on.
Awesome post, thank you.
 

teitan

Legend
AD&D 2e does level slow but 1e levels up pretty fast. In 1e if you do treasure xp by the book then it levels the same speed if not faster than 3.0/3.5 till maybe 9th or 10th.

Interesting look at the actual level speed comparing 1e to 3rd edition here:

There is a flaw in the arguments made with this, it assumes the players in older editions find all the treasure and they figured out how to get it all OUT of the dungeons they are exploring. Unlike 3.x to 5e where it is raw experience points for overcoming the encounter, treasure as XP is only given if you get it out of the dungeon and actually find it. In practice most treasure was not found and most, by the rules, did not escape the dungeon with the players. In AD&D magic items did not award XP for their GP value unless they were sold:

"Magic items gained and retained have only a low experience point value, for they benefit the character through their use. Magic items gained and sold immediately are treated as gold pieces, the selling price bringing an award in experience on the stated one for one basis" -Gygax AD&D PHB pg 106

Also:

"When the adventure is over, the DM gives experience points to the surviving characters. Experience points (abbreviated XP, as ep stands for electrum pieces) are given for non-magical treasure and for defeating monsters. For every 1 gp value of non-magical treasure the characters recover, the DM should give 1 XP to the party (this will be divided among all the player characters). Experience points are not given for magic items."

The example in the link provided is giving XP for the magic items, greatly bumping the XP award given on top of the assumption the party will recover all the treasure and kill or encounter all the monsters in the dungeon. In much larger dungeons than generally experienced in 3.x and later editions. So levelling COULD be as fast but in general was, being generous, about half as fast as 3.x
 

A feature, not a bug ;-)

I miss the slower leveling myself. It's why D&D now feels like a superhero game, characters level up so fast and get so many powers and spells that within 3 months it's basically playing Champions or Mutants & Masterminds. Even in AD&D once the equipment or spellbooks were stripped PCs were meatbags, sacks of hitpoints who could hit more often but basically Biff, the retired military guy or Giles in his library at the school, surprisingly effective but a shadow of their glory days... which wasn't quite so bombastic as the stories told about them.

Agree very much with this. Also I like using different rates of leveling as a way to balance out classes
 

Voadam

Legend
With 3 hour games once a week, year three of my 5e game using milestone xp running a pathfinder adventure path the party just hit level 7. This is probably [edit faster] than my old AD&D games which ran 5+ hours at a time and I was notoriously stingy on xp then, but I wouldn't say that it is a terribly different pace now.

2e had more straightforward monster xp than 1e, but the optional class xp awards were a big increase in accounting if you used them.

I am a big fan of milestone levelling.
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
With 3 hour games once a week, year three of my 5e game using milestone xp running a pathfinder adventure path the party just hit level 7. This is probably slower than my old AD&D games which ran 5+ hours at a time and I was notoriously stingy on xp then, but I wouldn't say that it is a terribly different pace now.

2e had more straightforward monster xp than 1e, but the optional class xp awards were a big increase in accounting if you used them.

I am a big fan of milestone levelling.
My favorite fantasy advancement system is still the sword & sorcery style XP for gold spent on carousing, bribes, gifts, tithes, training, building things, etc.
 

2e was the peak of my D&D playing and certainly still love it. That said, the designers just made stuff that they thought was cool. My favorite example is the swashbuckler kit from Complete Thieves. You get Fighter THACO and rapier in exchange for lower thief skill points. Other kits give you the ability to plant flowers better or whatever. Also Priest spheres/spell selection. Oh boy.
 

2Eguy

Villager
2e was the peak of my D&D playing and certainly still love it. That said, the designers just made stuff that they thought was cool. My favorite example is the swashbuckler kit from Complete Thieves. You get Fighter THACO and rapier in exchange for lower thief skill points. Other kits give you the ability to plant flowers better or whatever. Also Priest spheres/spell selection. Oh boy.
Kits rock.
 

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