2E Returning to 2nd Edition

Xaelvaen

Explorer
I have a lot of nostalgia for 1e/2e AD&D, basic D&D and OD&D. Out of all the rules, there's only one that keeps me from playing it ever again: Descending armor class. Everything else I can deal with. I'm never going to put up with the attack roll -- the most basic roll in the entire game -- being even slightly more complicated than it is in 3e+. I don't care if the DM is willing to completely handle the charts or run THAC0. It's not happening.
We made these little custom blocks where you would write in the AC you would hit based on what showed up on the d20, so there was no math involved, but your point is completely valid nonetheless haha.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
This is not my recollection of 2e at all, and I played A LOT of it in high school and college!

Once you got past the lower levels (where admittedly mages, at least, could have a rough time), casters were basically superheroes. The linear fighter, quadratic wizard was a huge issue back then. I remember getting access to stone skin: when the DM has to change his approach to encounters just to challenge 1 spell, there's a problem.

And once you got past those low levels, low magic as a setting crease to exist for the players - casters had access to too much.

Now if you dump/nerf casters, maybe you'd get there.
There was some power there, but the trick was in successfully casting. It was highly interruptable in 2e to a degree not easily matched in subsequent editions. Initiative, action declaration, and casting time played a significant role in this, though it could be fairly complex at times. Stoneskin may have been a fairly useful counter to that, but it was ablated away by attacks directed at the wizard - whether they hit or not. So it never lasted that long. The material of diamond dust wasn't given a defined cost until Players Option: Spells and Magic and that put it at 100gp/casting. So, unless the DM was handwaving that away, it wasn't the cheapest spell to cast willy nilly.

Save or die spells were also increasingly sketchy as you went up in levels compared to 3e in particular. There was no way to increase the difficulty of the save and the tougher the monster, the easier it made its saves.
 
Reading through threads like these makes me remember just how many house rules the groups I played in/Dmed for actually used back in the 80's and early 90's. lol
 

Zardnaar

Hero
PCs had to find stoneskin as well only transmuters would get the choice of picking it.

Then they would have to find a diamond and crush it.
 

mach1.9pants

Adventurer
And Fighter's saves became really good at higher levels, LFQW was def something introduced in 3E. Maybe Linear Fighters Doubling Wizards is true in older editions, but man you started from a very low base and it wasn't until the teens that problems arised - or so I gather. I never got beyond 13 or so, and MUs were always fine IME.
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
There was some power there, but the trick was in successfully casting. It was highly interruptable in 2e to a degree not easily matched in subsequent editions. Initiative, action declaration, and casting time played a significant role in this, though it could be fairly complex at times. Stoneskin may have been a fairly useful counter to that, but it was ablated away by attacks directed at the wizard - whether they hit or not. So it never lasted that long. The material of diamond dust wasn't given a defined cost until Players Option: Spells and Magic and that put it at 100gp/casting. So, unless the DM was handwaving that away, it wasn't the cheapest spell to cast willy nilly.

Save or die spells were also increasingly sketchy as you went up in levels compared to 3e in particular. There was no way to increase the difficulty of the save and the tougher the monster, the easier it made its saves.
Yep. Between spell interruption (every fighter I knew carried a bag of pebbles just for this reason) and a ton of monsters having magic resistance (a % to flat out ignore the effect), and mages still had a fairly rough go even at higher levels. It only took a couple hits even at name level to bring a magic user down.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
High Level AD&D wizards were easy to interrupt, kill, and their save or suck spells became very unreliable.

A 5E T Rex for example flunks a wisdom save around 75% of the time. A 2E one makes the save 75% of the time.

And 2E magic resistance was the strongest D&D ever had. Unlike 1E damage spells were also capped. It was probably the best balanced of the edition except for 4E but was better to play at mid to high level.
 
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To be clear, I am not saying that 2e is itself inherently low fantasy, but rather that I want to do low fantasy and I think 2e works better for that than 5e and with less adjustments to either the rules or the implied setting. We played a lot of high fantasy 2e back in the day, too, whether homebrew airship campaigns or epic Dragonlance pastiches. But if you keep magic rare and keep advancement slow and maintain a consistent atmosphere, 2e I think lends itself better to Abercrombie or Martin or any fantasy movie starring Rutger Hauer.
 

thundershot

Explorer
Looking back, I had the most FUN playing 2E. I started with BECMI, had a couple 1E books before 2E came out and we graduated to that. Played for 10 years. Definitely had lots of fun adventures in various settings.

3E was all well and good and was very modular and easily customized, but it just took forever for combat. 4E... I won't go there. We moved to PF after a failed 4E experience. 5E, to me, is the best experience and most fun since 2E.

However, there are elements of 2E that I still feel could be incorporated. It's not about limitations for me (you could limit yourself on classes and races all you want). I think it's the flavor of the classes. Mostly the SPELLS. I loved the unbalanced over the top spells. I loved the "save or die" anxiety. I loved the monster entries with ecology and habitat (which you can still use with 5E just not with newer monsters). Also there was monster magic resistance. I loved some of the crazy magic items that could make or break a campaign. I loved how ability scores gave you more than a + bonus to things.

With 5E, I would keep the static XP table. The mostly balanced races. I love how cantrips are early spells are more plentiful. Rogue sneak attack I'd keep. Also the easier multiclassing rules (though the 3.5 mutliclassing was fine).

If I had the time, I'd do test runs on certain things... but I don't...
 

Zardnaar

Hero
It does. It's also better than 1E as it has rules to support grittier games or make magic ritual based. Ritual magic originated in 2E not 4E.

We used elements of 3E in 2E as initially I tried fixing 3E by plugging in parts of AD&D. This was around 2010. For example I banned the magic item creation feats and used AD&D magic item creation rules.

Later I ran a 2E game as a one off but the 3E players enjoyed it. That turned into a new campaign. Kept doing that until 5E landed. 5E has it's own problems and after 5 years it's getting a bit boring. Getting sick of the encounter rules and whack a mole playstyle.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
LOL, - OK, you really are a fan of hyperbole.
Not really. I actually was motivated to write a book, primarily out of not wanting to subject anyone else to the horrors of 5E.

There are a lot of questionable design decisions in 5E.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Reading through threads like these makes me remember just how many house rules the groups I played in/Dmed for actually used back in the 80's and early 90's. lol
Right? And how many trules that just got ignored. "The rules for this are... nope." :D
 
Right? And how many trules that just got ignored. "The rules for this are... nope." :D
I think that why people have some weird negative memories of AD&D. It's actually a pretty complex system with a lot of interconnected parts. When people ignore some of those systems arbitrarily they end up creating unintended problems in other parts.

The easiest example is the book keeping associated with equipment. If you ignore encumbrance you end up with the Golf Bag problem and you neuter the resource management aspect. If you ignore spell components you overpower wizards. Etc.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
I think that why people have some weird negative memories of AD&D. It's actually a pretty complex system with a lot of interconnected parts. When people ignore some of those systems arbitrarily they end up creating unintended problems in other parts.

The easiest example is the book keeping associated with equipment. If you ignore encumbrance you end up with the Golf Bag problem and you neuter the resource management aspect. If you ignore spell components you overpower wizards. Etc.
And then there are the stupid things like weapon vs Armor mods, gender-based ability score maximums, going into comas at negative hp, racial level limits, etc. AD&D needed to be hacked apart and reassembled based on each groups' preferences. Especially 1e. @e had its own list of foibles, too, but many of them were (thankfully) optional.
 

Zardnaar

Hero
And then there are the stupid things like weapon vs Armor mods, gender-based ability score maximums, going into comas at negative hp, racial level limits, etc. AD&D needed to be hacked apart and reassembled based on each groups' preferences. Especially 1e. @e had its own list of foibles, too, but many of them were (thankfully) optional.
2E doesn't have gender based maximums. People throw shade at 2E via lumping things in from 1E.

2E isn't perfect, I don't expect everyone to like it but yeah it is different to 1E.
 
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And then there are the stupid things like weapon vs Armor mods
For every stupid thing, there's someone who liked it back in the day. I'm about the only one who liked that one. I think may I have a compatriot around here somewhere.

going into comas at negative hp, racial level limits
These weren't all bad, either.


And Fighter's saves became really good at higher levels, LFQW was def something introduced in 3E. Maybe Linear Fighters Doubling Wizards is true in older editions.
Heh. 3e did take casters off the hook when it came to Save DCs, that's for sure, if most dramatically for top-level spells, since DCs scaled with slot level instead of caster level. OTOH, in 1e, scaling - damage, range, duration, &c - of low-level spells by caster level was without limit; in 3e damage, at least, it ran up against caps based on spell level. In 5e, damage &c tends to scale with slot level - but save DCs scale with /character/ level ('Proficiency'), while 2/3rds of PC saves don't scale, at all.

So there's really LFQW going all through there, 1e/2e AD&D, 0D&D, 3e, or 5e, the exact formulae are a little different, but the fighter's is linear and the casters' as "quadratic" in one as another.

A linear magic-user, who's spell (he'd only know one) scaled damage (like fireball does) for instance, as in 1e (d6/level, no limit), would have a spell progression that looked like this:
Code:
level  Spells/day
1       1
2       1       
3       1
4       1
5       1
6       1
7       1
…
 
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dave2008

Adventurer
Not really. I actually was motivated to write a book, primarily out of not wanting to subject anyone else to the horrors of 5E.
But that is hyperbole. There are no "horrors" in 5e or any other edition of D&D or probably TTRPGs in general. There are real horror out there, D&D is not one of them. At least that is my opinion.

There are a lot of questionable design decisions in 5E.
Depends on your point of view. Every edition of D&D has things I don't like and that I change. However, I feel with 5e that, though I may not always like the decisions, I can usually understand why they did them. They are not questionable so to speak, I simply don't like them.
 

dave2008

Adventurer
Not really. I actually was motivated to write a book, primarily out of not wanting to subject anyone else to the horrors of 5E.
PS, you kinda failed at that - it is insanely popular. ;)

I think it is time to admit that what you like is not currently the mainstream (I know many of my tastes don't align with the mainstream). I like my games much more deadly and gritty than mainstream, but I feel I can easily do that in 5e so I am good to go. I also like epic level play, not so easy in 5e, but I'm working on that!
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
PS, you kinda failed at that - it is insanely popular. ;)

I think it is time to admit that what you like is not currently the mainstream (I know many of my tastes don't align with the mainstream). I like my games much more deadly and gritty than mainstream, but I feel I can easily do that in 5e so I am good to go. I also like epic level play, not so easy in 5e, but I'm working on that!
I succeeded at my goal, in that I don't have to subject anyone else to that. If other people want to subject themselves to it, of their own volition, then that's on them. I also don't mind if they put pineapple on their pizza, as long as it's not at my table.
 

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