2E Returning to 2e

Jack99

Community Supporter
So, a late night talk about the dndnext playtest, resulted in all of my players and I realizing that we probably had more fun when we played 2e (89-05) than when we played 3.x (05-08) or 4e (08-12). Nostalgia or not, we decided to start a new campaign, using the 2e rules.

Now, I must admit I have lost all my old 2e notes and folders, as they pre-date me going fully digital, so I have no list of houserules and such. I do recall having quite a few...

Anyway, I was just wondering if there was some relevant posts about houserules for 2e around here? Been reading up on Dragonsfoot 2e section, but dont know where else to go and talk about 2e.

Cheers
 

Luce

Explorer
First good luck. I started with 2e and it holds a special place in my hearth.

Few suggestions/rule interpretations on my table.

Max hp at first level the edition is deadly enough at low levels as it is.

Spells do not have to be memorized all at once- it is fine to leave a slot open then spend the time between encounters to fill it in as needed. This came into play mid to high levels when the party needed a knock, dispel magic or remove curse etc. Spend the 10min/spell level (knock will take 20 min of uninterrupted study with the traveling spellbook) and you are good to go. Since casters have fairly limited number of spells to begin with this solved the problem of not having utility spells ready while heightening the danger for the caster (such as running out of combat spells in mid fight) while increasing his problem solving utility.

No 2.5e.

Start with the core 3 books and only once you are comfortable again with the rules contemplate optional things like the complete handbooks. While that holds true on general principle, I have seen people (GMs) who have not gamed for a while try to recapture the past glories and try to jump right back into 10+ sources game only to burn out overwhelmed.

Even if you are not a module GM consider digging into your Dungeon magazine and reading few modules. You may or may not run them but it helps to get into the spirit of things once again.
Some low level examples:
"Visiting Tylwyth" Dungeon 77
"Bad Seeds" Dungeon 79
"Race Against Time" Dungeon 81
 

Holy Bovine

Visitor
So, a late night talk about the dndnext playtest, resulted in all of my players and I realizing that we probably had more fun when we played 2e (89-05) than when we played 3.x (05-08) or 4e (08-12). Nostalgia or not, we decided to start a new campaign, using the 2e rules.

Now, I must admit I have lost all my old 2e notes and folders, as they pre-date me going fully digital, so I have no list of houserules and such. I do recall having quite a few...

Anyway, I was just wondering if there was some relevant posts about houserules for 2e around here? Been reading up on Dragonsfoot 2e section, but dont know where else to go and talk about 2e.

Cheers
Hey - great idea! While 2E isn't my personal choice (I lurves me some Rules Cyclopedia D&D) I fully endorse the idea of playing any and all editions of D&D.

I would suggest going 'vanilla' 2E at first - you will likely quickly remember your personal houserules as you encounter things that don't work or are a bother to have at the table (to hit adjustment vs. AC chart I'm looking right at you). I would strongly recommend not adding in Skills & Powers as they, to me, added a really unneeded level of complexity to 2E. At least they contributed to my personal disenfranchisement with the system.

Just my 2cp - you might also look at RPGGeek as there is a large pre3E community there.
 

Sekhmet

Visitor
my personal disenfranchisement
Deprived of the right to vote, or deprived of power or rights?
What?

Do you mean disillusionment (feeling disappointed as a result of the discovery that something is not as awesome as once [or initially] believed) or disenchantment (to be freed from false belief or illusions)?
I'm actually fairly confused here.
 

Jack99

Community Supporter
First good luck. I started with 2e and it holds a special place in my hearth.
Thanks, I have a feeling we might need it. So many new (old) weird rules to get used to.

Max hp at first level the edition is deadly enough at low levels as it is.
Yeah, that's pretty much a given. Been considering implementing something a la dndnext for hit points further down the road, as in, you get minimum half hit points rounded down, no matter what you roll.

Spells do not have to be memorized all at once- it is fine to leave a slot open then spend the time between encounters to fill it in as needed. This came into play mid to high levels when the party needed a knock, dispel magic or remove curse etc. Spend the 10min/spell level (knock will take 20 min of uninterrupted study with the traveling spellbook) and you are good to go. Since casters have fairly limited number of spells to begin with this solved the problem of not having utility spells ready while heightening the danger for the caster (such as running out of combat spells in mid fight) while increasing his problem solving utility.
That's an interesting take on it. Will consider it. Inspired by dndnext, I had considered implementing a way to cast such spells as rituals (as in longer casting time) outside of combat. Need to come up with a price though, as it shouldn't just be gold.

Yeah, no thanks, except for a few odd rules here and there.

Start with the core 3 books and only once you are comfortable again with the rules contemplate optional things like the complete handbooks. While that holds true on general principle, I have seen people (GMs) who have not gamed for a while try to recapture the past glories and try to jump right back into 10+ sources game only to burn out overwhelmed.
I think that's really good advice. I have almost been falling into said trap. Ever since we decided to switch back, I have been reading 2e books left and right, trying to figure out what to use. I need to limit myself from the get-go.

Even if you are not a module GM consider digging into your Dungeon magazine and reading few modules. You may or may not run them but it helps to get into the spirit of things once again.
Some low level examples:
"Visiting Tylwyth" Dungeon 77
"Bad Seeds" Dungeon 79
"Race Against Time" Dungeon 81
I am not, but it's another good idea. Thanks for the recommandations.

Hey - great idea! While 2E isn't my personal choice (I lurves me some Rules Cyclopedia D&D) I fully endorse the idea of playing any and all editions of D&D.

I would suggest going 'vanilla' 2E at first - you will likely quickly remember your personal houserules as you encounter things that don't work or are a bother to have at the table (to hit adjustment vs. AC chart I'm looking right at you). I would strongly recommend not adding in Skills & Powers as they, to me, added a really unneeded level of complexity to 2E. At least they contributed to my personal disenfranchisement with the system.
Yep, good idea.

Just my 2cp - you might also look at RPGGeek as there is a large pre3E community there.
That site looks confusing, or maybe I am just too hung over. Will come back once the mind clears up a bit.

On Twitter, I was recommended a podcast called THAC0's Hammer - any of you guys heard about it?
 

Crothian

Visitor
If I were to go back to 2e I'd do a planning session with my group. 2e had a lot of options some good and some bad. Depending on when in the edition cycle people played could really alter the type of rules they used and their experience with the game. So, I'd sit down with everyone and see what they expect from a 2e game, what character options they feel should be available, and what rule variations they favor. Once I got a feel for that then I'd discuss house rules with them though I admit in 2e we never used many house rules.
 

Jack99

Community Supporter
If I were to go back to 2e I'd do a planning session with my group. 2e had a lot of options some good and some bad. Depending on when in the edition cycle people played could really alter the type of rules they used and their experience with the game. So, I'd sit down with everyone and see what they expect from a 2e game, what character options they feel should be available, and what rule variations they favor. Once I got a feel for that then I'd discuss house rules with them though I admit in 2e we never used many house rules.
Thanks Cro, all sensible ideas. As I am currently on vacation and won't be back until a couple of days before the campaign is supposed to start, any debate concerning eventual house rules will be done by email. It shouldn't be too hard to agree though, since I was their DM for 16 years in 2e (Yep, same group) and we are usually on the same wavelength. Usually its just a matter of me presenting an issue with the game, and offering a solution, and they are fine with it. My problem is identifying the "problems", since its been so long. But I am sure they will resurface quickly.

Cheers
 

Crothian

Visitor
My problem is identifying the "problems", since its been so long. But I am sure they will resurface quickly.
I can see problems being difficult to identify. It is possible that now since you all are older and have more experience gaming that problems with the game you had then you wouldn't see as problems now. And depending on how your tastes may have evolved and changed there could be things that were not problems then that are now.

For instance if players are used to the constant getting abilities of characters in the new games they might not enjoy the character options as much since there are so fewer. I can see people liking a skill system well more then the non weapon proficiencies.

On the flip side I think I could handle the so called too powerful kits like most of the elven ones for instance a lot better now then I could then.
 
For house rules, I suggest allowing the Mage to get bonus spells based on high intelligence as the Cleric gets from high wisdom. Just take a look at the wisdom table in the PHB and substitute the Mage's intelligence score to determine how many and what level bonus spells are received. We used that one for both 1e and 2e over the years.

Max hit points at 1st level is one we used all the time as mentioned here already.

You'll need to decide if you are using demi-human level limits as is, modifying them or chucking them out altogether.

Aside from the 2e board at Welcome to Dragonsfoot, check out Welcome to PurpleWorm.org!. That is a pretty good 2e site. The forums are fairly active.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
1. max hp at 1st
2. spells are off the cuff as long you have material components needed, Aka like a 3e sorcerer.
 

Jack99

Community Supporter
Make sure you keep the spell learning rules and limits in place. That keeps the wizard from having the whole spell list to choose from.
AHA. I think I misunderstood the initial statement. I jasper meant that the wizard could cast the spells at will, as long as he has components. Running him like a sorceror does make sense. And yes, no matter which rule we use, I will definitely be enforcing the learn spell-rules and the maximum number of spells as per his int.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
How on earth do you keep that balanced?
they have to have the spell in their spell book. Max spells know never came up due me moving or person getting tired of being mu. material components was a big one. I had a cheat sheet which listed them. At will if he had the spell slot open. This kept the normal 3 fireballs and one other third level spell being casted that day. I did 1E and had not problems but my games generally died around 11th level.
 
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TerraDave

5ever
Is this a thing, 2E?

Having criticized it in another thread...I won't here. It is a little cleaner version of AD&D, I suppose.

I will ask: was it your college game, early 20's game? Maybe that why it was the best.

I mean, yes, we had tons of fun, through many 2.5 and house rule variations...but as much in spite of then because of the core rules.
 

Jack99

Community Supporter
Is this a thing, 2E?

Having criticized it in another thread...I won't here. It is a little cleaner version of AD&D, I suppose.

I will ask: was it your college game, early 20's game? Maybe that why it was the best.

I mean, yes, we had tons of fun, through many 2.5 and house rule variations...but as much in spite of then because of the core rules.
Yep. I started dnd late, when I was 15, which was incidently in 89 when 2e came out. We played that exclusively up until 04 or 05 iirc. So it might be nostalgia, we are keenly aware of that. But it was something in the dndnext experience that reminded us of a feeling, or rather a way of playing we seemed to have lost, and we wanted that back. Dndnext seems to be able to provide that, but we don't want to wait a year for it, so in the meantime, we will try going back to 2e, while waiting for dndnext.
 

TerraDave

5ever
15 or 16 years...ok. My case was more like 9 (though I used NWP in a 1E game, so 1.5...and a bunch of 2.5...).


You have to have had a bunch of house rules...remember.
 

TerraDave

5ever
For whatever reason, I will try to put together some house rules and issues from back in the day, in no particular order:

1) Clerics and Priests: really three things--clerics know too many spells, specialty priests seem like a cool idea, and clerics have utility spells that can impact play, if only they were prepared in the first place. My solution, limit the number of--spheres, I think--but allow what would later be called spontaneous casting. Also allow druids to have spontaneous casting. Also, for specialty priest, don't be afraid to give them a few cool things on top of their spells. (yet another alternative is to allow all casters spontaneous casting, but not be able to cast the same spell more then 1 time per day. yet yet another is to do a ritual type thing, and cast from a spell book or through prayer at an increased casting cost in time or gold).

2) Running out of spells: long before at will magic, we worried about this. In hindsight, AD&D addresses this through wands and other items. Which is a good solution, you can increase flexibility quite a bit, keep things under (DM) control, but there is still a trade off in charges. If this is not enough, you can maybe allow some kind of over casting, ie cast an unprepared spell and lose 1d4 con for a day.

3) whimpy thieves and skill users: some people love the thief archetype, otherwise no one would have bothered to play one. I suggest giving a boost on % chance of success for easier (ie low level) tasks of at least 20%. Rangers and other % skill users can also benefit from this. Also, be generous with backstab. Let it happen. (also see 10 below)

4) multi and dual classing: let non-humans dual class and humans multi class. Its fine.

5) non-human level limits: We used an XP penalty (double I think) instead and I still had plenty of non-humans. What I might do know is let humans add +1 to any ability (up to 18) and maybe give a 10% XP bonus, and again remove the limits.

6) They die so fast: in the past, max HP at level 1, fudging some roles, and a generous death door policy. Though just giving +10 HP would be simpler, but maybe no purist enough. For save or die, maybe interpret die as "0 hp" (but still allow save or stone, charmed, etc, etc)

7) THACO...ugh. Use those sheets were they fill in a little thing were they see what AC they hit...

8) Fighting fun: weapon specialization is good, use it, and maybe allow others besides fighters to give up WP slots for it (not sure what the RAW was...maybe fighters the only ones at level 1?). We tried various maneuver rules. I might allow a called shot rule (-4 to hit to do something interesting) if it was clearly not being abused.

9) kits: I liked them, I hated them...but some of them were alright. This is were the OGL/OSR crowd could do something useful, not sure they have.

10) really pushing it...replace roll under NWP with a % based skill system. Maybe use some existing NWPs and skill or skill like things and then have a standard set of %s based on ability score and or level.
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
11) Fix the saving throws for thieves. There is no way they should have the worst breath weapon save when that's all about jumping out of the way.
 

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