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2E Returning to 2nd Edition

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
Well, I will say that over on Fantasy Grounds their is actually a growing 2E community. I'm sure it's growth is limited, but since they introduced an official 2E AD&D ruleset and the core books to go with it a couple months ago, their is a bit of a revival over there. No idea how long it will last or how big it will grow, but if you want to play 2E, you can do it anywhere in the world.
I thought that was pretty cool that they decided to support 2e on fantasy grounds.
 

Reynard

Adventurer
I'm not really interested in trying to make 5e feel like 2e. I was just saying it doesn't so if I want that 2e experience, 5e isn't going to provide it.

As to aesthetic: I want something that feels like LotR and GoT had an angry child on a battlefield.
 

dnd4vr

Explorer
Depends on your table. In my old days of playing 1st and 2nd edition, we were already using the houserule of not dead til at -10 HP. Been so long that I do not remember if that ever became an official rule before 3rd edition or not.
Going to -10 wasn't a house-rule in 1E. It is on page 82 in the 1E DMG.

0hp.png
 
I wish I was still running 2e, but my group wants to play a modern game with official support. It was easier to challenge that when the available options were Pathfinder and 4e, two games that play nothing like AD&D. I wish 5e was more like AD&D, but it's close enough to create a fair compromise between what I want to run and that desire for official support and modern sensibilities.
 

Nebulous

Explorer
The 2e monster stat blocks are still my favorite of all the editions. So much info was packed in there, and i guess they were just more fun to actually *read* as opposed to a purely gamist reference.
 

pogre

Adventurer
I skipped 2e. I went from AD&D to WFRP to 3e.

However, I do enjoy playing once a week in an OSR campaign and running my 5e campaign on a different day. The OSR game is a very different experience and quite fun. Some of our OSR players came from my 5e group.

So, my reason for posting in a 2e game thread - if lack of players is a concern for a 2e fan, maybe run a 5e campaign and a 2e campaign and funnel some of your interested 5e players into the 2e game. Something similar has happened naturally in our campaigns, but not by "design."

Honestly though, IME if a DM has great enthusiasm for a system - finding players is not really a problem.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
I'm not sure where people get the idea 2e was anymore some sort of grueling fantasy Vietnam, anyway.
Because it was. Especially compare to later editions, and especially compared to 5e. You seem to be forgetting a lot of differences.

* Hit die was lower in 2e. Wizards used a d4 for hit points, for example.
* You stopped getting HP above level 9 from said HD, but instead got a very tiny amount depending on class
* Saving throws. In 2e, a lowly venomous creature could kill you in one failed roll. 5e? Not even a risk. Even for deadly creatures like a medusa, in 5e it's "Oh, you failed? That's OK. You just can't move. You get another chance to avoid it." And before someone says at higher levels you succeeded anyway, that's not true. A 10th level PC in 2e still had roughly a 50% chance of failing, depending on class/ST type
* saving throws part II. Items had saving throws in 2e. Every time you got hit with acid, or dragon's breath, or even fell from a decent distance, you had to make saving throws for your items. All those magic items didn't last forever
* non magical healing. 2e didn't have hit dice, and it didn't have heal to max after every long rest automatically. That's a tremendous amount of extra healing in 5e compared to 2e
* you couldn't use your lower spells in higher spell slots like you can in 5e. A 10th level priest in 2e had 4/4/3/3/2 spells. That's 4 cure light, 3 cure serious, and 2 cure critical spells. 9 healing spells provided you didn't cast any other spell. Compare to a 5e cleric at 4/3/3/3/2, each one could be used to cast healing--15 healing spells.
* 2e had level draining
* 2e didn't have potions of healing as a common item you could buy. You had to find it in an adventure
* In 5e, every PC is pretty competent in skills even at level 1. In 2e, only rogues had exploration skills, and they sucked until higher level. Even with the improvement on skill advancement over 1e's system

Then look at iconic monster comparisons. And adult red dragon in 5e has a 19 AC and it's breath: 18d6. And that's a creature designed for a party of 17th level. An adult red in 2e had AC -5 (25 in 5e terms), breath weapon did 12d10+6, and was NOT meant for a 17th level party, but about half that. A 10th level fighter in 5e would have almost 100 hp. A 10th level 2e fighter would have 65-70. A 10th level wizard in 5e has 40-45 hp. A 10th level 2e magic user has 25. An equal level 2e party has almost half the hp of a 5e party, a fraction of the healing capability, and is put up against the same power of dragons twice as soon as their 5e counterparts would face (level wise).

2e had rot grubs, and green slimes that killed you in minutes. And a ton of monsters that were flat out immune to almost everything a party would be carrying.

So yeah, compared to 5e, 2e was very much fantasy fraking Vietnam.
 
We used the death at -10 rule in 2e.

Psionics were absolutely a mess in 2e, but I got lucky in that the only player interested in them never abused the system.

I will always have a soft spot for 2e. It wasn’t where I started gaming, but until recently it was the edition I played the longest (since supplanted by 5e). However, it probably remains the edition I’ve played the most intensely, with multiple sessions in a week, multiple campaigns running. Courtesy of being an adult now, I don’t see it being dethroned there.

I’m actually going to be playing in a 2e game at Origins, and I’m pretty excited.
 

Jack Daniel

Adventurer
I tried switching back to 2nd edition twice; it didn't take in either case.

The first time was 2006, when I'd become fed up with (revised) 3rd edition. I tried switching my campaign over to Castles & Crusades, and I liked it well enough, but that SIEGE mechanic… between the weirdness of its level-bonuses and TNs, the wonky saving throws, and a pure nostalgic desire to rekindle my old love of gaming, the C&C phase only lasted a couple of weeks before I decided to go all the way back to 2nd edition. And that worked well enough for a couple of weeks too, but then, looking around online (Dragonsfoot and such), I saw a lot of incipient interest in other old-school versions of D&D, the whole proto-OSR-thing percolating around here and there, and I wound up giving basic D&D a try again. (I was one of those players who had started with the black box in the 90s and then switched to 2nd edition after a few months as my "formative/definitive D&D"). And, well, I just liked basic better. So that was what I played from then on.

It wasn't without its hiccups, though. This was really before all of the OSR theorizing and navel-gazing had appeared, so I kept on trying to run basic the same way that I'd run 2nd and 3rd: as a traditional story-centric, character-driven RPG. And so I was never, ever satisfied. I loved that basic D&D basically did all of the dungeon-design and monster and item stocking for you and it balanced itself out; but certain things (like gold for XP) I never really "got," and so I replaced them with house rules. And, of course, that's how you break D&D. "XP? Sure, you get that for killing monsters, like in video games! Where else would you get it?"

Eventually, frustration with my broken basic experience led me to flirting with other systems, looking for that perfect go-to game. This would have been, say, 2011 to 2014 for me. I tried rules-light games like Risus and Barbarians of Lemuria. I tried FATE and Savage Worlds. And in 2014, after deciding that Barbarians of Lemuria just didn't have enough "there" there to support a campaign, I tried my second return to 2nd edition. Converted the whole game mid-stride, and ran it another few months all the way to its conclusion. But it was a conclusion that I'd artificially hastened to its end, because I found myself annoyed that 2nd edition was more complicated than basic; and that it did things differently than I had become used to. 2nd edition had been my D&D back when I was in high school, but now I discovered that it just wasn't my D&D anymore.

Since then, I've been running basic D&D again, increasingly by the book with each new campaign. Discarding more house-rules, it seems, every time I start a new one.
 

LordEntrails

Explorer
Because it was. Especially compare to later editions, and especially compared to 5e. You seem to be forgetting a lot of differences.
...

So yeah, compared to 5e, 2e was very much fantasy fraking Vietnam.
A lot of those reasons were exactly what we didn't like about 2E.

DM narrated death with no chance of the players doing anything meaningful to cause it or prevent it. Or perhaps a single save or die roll.

You can still do that in any system, just make the saves or damage high enough that anything you want becomes just a lethal. Use the slow healing and other options in the DMG and you can do the same thing. Want Rot Grubs in 5E (or any other system)? Then just create them (I did, but not as lethal as 2E).

But, if 2E is the only thing that you want, then play it as is. No need to justify it.
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
A lot of those reasons were exactly what we didn't like about 2E.

DM narrated death with no chance of the players doing anything meaningful to cause it or prevent it. Or perhaps a single save or die roll.

You can still do that in any system, just make the saves or damage high enough that anything you want becomes just a lethal. Use the slow healing and other options in the DMG and you can do the same thing. Want Rot Grubs in 5E (or any other system)? Then just create them (I did, but not as lethal as 2E).

But, if 2E is the only thing that you want, then play it as is. No need to justify it.
No.

You should have to justify it, in much the same way a person has to justify a love for gnomes. "What, like, a garden gnome? Wait ... you want to PLAY a gnome? Why would you ever do that?"

2e is the rapier of editions. I mean, sure, I suppose there are people out there, justifying it, telling themselves, "Self, you know what would be awesome? Smiting with a rapier!"

Don't be that person.

If you're going back old-school, go 1e. 1e, also known as "The Katana of D&D" is the only appropriate past edition to play.*

AD&D. Accept no substitutes.


*Okay, the Committee also accepts B/X (Moldvay/Cook) as an answer.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
You can still do that in any system, just make the saves or damage high enough that anything you want becomes just a lethal. Use the slow healing and other options in the DMG and you can do the same thing. Want Rot Grubs in 5E (or any other system)? Then just create them (I did, but not as lethal as 2E).
.
Well, it's more than just increasing damage and using slow healing in the DMG. You'd have to eliminate non magical healing completely Then cut all the PC's HP by about half. And get rid of the skill system. And change how spells work. Really, there is lot more to do than just increase damage.

If you're going back old-school, go 1e. 1e, also known as "The Katana of D&D" is the only appropriate past edition to play.*

AD&D. Accept no substitutes.


*Okay, the Committee also accepts B/X (Moldvay/Cook) as an answer.
1e with 2e's THAC0, thief skill progression, and the bard class (for those sick enough to want to play a bard). I compromise ;)
 

lowkey13

Exterminate all rational thought
1e with 2e's THAC0, thief skill progression, and the bard class (for those sick enough to want to play a bard). I compromise ;)

Bards are just Paladins ... for those who lack the courage of their convictions.

I mean, say what you will about the tenets of the LG Paladin, Dude, at least it's an ethos.

Whereas Bards? Most classes causes happiness wherever they go; but Bards whenever they go.
 

LordEntrails

Explorer
Well, it's more than just increasing damage and using slow healing in the DMG. You'd have to eliminate non magical healing completely Then cut all the PC's HP by about half. And get rid of the skill system. And change how spells work. Really, there is lot more to do than just increase damage.
Not if your target goal is a system with arbitrary, non-meaningful, and frequent character death.
 

Tony Vargas

Adventurer
Humor is obviously lost on you, Z.
Also, the meaning of "that's a wash" - maybe it's not a kiwi idiom?

Bingo, Psionics in 2E were way overpowered. In fact, they broke the game at my groups table.
I actually liked 2e's psionics. Way better than 1e.
These two statements are in no way contradictory. Seriously, 1e psionics was just weird, random, barely-useable, and not particularly less broken than 2e, just not something you could gain access to merely by choosing a class.
Because it was. Especially compare to later editions, and especially compared to 5e. You seem to be forgetting a lot of differences.
Possible. By the time I migrated to 2e, I'd modified 1e rather extensively, and continued freely modding 2e. Of course, everyone I knew did that, so ::shrug:: talking about what AD&D did or didn't do is often an exchange of variants we thought were rules and options we thought were default...

Hit die was lower in 2e. Wizards used a d4 for hit points, for example.
True of the wizard & rogue, yeah. Not of everyone else, though, Fighters've been d10 the whole time :):sigh:: 'cept for 4e of course, the eternal exception to all general statements about D&D)
5e do have a lotta hps, almost as many as unlimited-CON 3e characters - but then 3e & 5e monsters dish more damage, too.
* You stopped getting HP above level 9 from said HD
'Name level,' sure, which varied with class, but by 9th the game wasn't that deadly anymore.
* Saving throws. In 2e, a lowly venomous creature could kill you in one failed roll.
well, a /lowly/ one, like a giant centipede, might just make you sick. And a 2nd level Slow Poison could bring you right back.
And before someone says at higher levels you succeeded anyway, that's not true. A 10th level PC in 2e still had roughly a 50% chance of failing, depending on class/ST type
And what his save bonuses from items and whatever else added up to. SoDs were very real back in the day, but so were attempts to mitigate and avoid them. A /first/ level cleric could have a 50/50 poison save. A low level dwarf might have a quite good one, too. By 10th, the fighter's saves would've improved 5 times. You must be looking at the poor-to-mediocre matrix of the Thief & Wizard, and assuming no items, even though it seemed like every 1st level module had a ring of protection, and there were numerous other such items.

saving throws part II. Items had saving throws in 2e.
One of the least-used/most-conveniently-forgotten rules I've ever seen - only weapon vs armor type seemed less popular. That said, the few times it did get used - hilarious. But old-school characters /were/ so much their items, that destroying those was worse than character death. Afterall, you could be raised.
* non magical healing. 2e didn't have hit dice, and it didn't have heal to max after every long rest automatically. That's a tremendous amount of extra healing in 5e compared to 2e
In a practical sense, if you stopped to heal up after being really battered, you rested until your Cleric (or equiv) had prepped-and-cast enough spells to heal you all up, /and/ recharged a full slate. Maybe that was a day, maybe several, or even a week (probably not). "Slow natural healing" was academic.
* you couldn't use your lower spells in higher spell slots like you can in 5e.
No, they just got better as you leveled, without having to be put in a higher level slot. sheesh




Yeah, OK, we played AD&D differently, I can see that. We probably play 5e differently, too. 1st level characters seem to die at my 5e table more than often enough to establish the fear of death. Not s'much after 1st, but once they've had a PC croak, or a TPK, the impression is set.




BTW, to the OP: did I miss the answer to the question "what, about 2e, is specifically 'medieval' in it's fantasy?"

Because, I mean, Dark Sun, not medieval, Planescape, downright post-modern.
 
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dave2008

Adventurer
Then look at iconic monster comparisons. And adult red dragon in 5e has a 19 AC and it's breath: 18d6. And that's a creature designed for a party of 17th level. An adult red in 2e had AC -5 (25 in 5e terms), breath weapon did 12d10+6, and was NOT meant for a 17th level party, but about half that.
My favorite part of 2e was the beefed up dragons. Such an improvement over 1e IMO. However, having said that this is kinda a cherry-picked example (intended or not). 2e dragons were the toughest dragons (relatively) of any edition.

Also, a 5e adult red dragon is CR17, it is not meant to be a challenge for 17th level party. Per the encounter guidelines it is a deadly encounter for (4) 12th level PCs, only hard for a group of higher level, and only a medium encounter for a 17th level party. IMO "deadly" is the metric of a "challenging" encounter. So in my mind, and adult red dragon in 5e is meant to challenge PCs in the 12-13 range. . That is also a lot closer to your 2e metric, as failed save could equal out right death for a 5e wizard at that level. Of course, I still think the dragon needs to hit harder too. ;)
 

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