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2E Returning to 2nd Edition

Fenris-77

Explorer
Yes. 2E was an edition where it was the DM’s job to bring balance to the game. Some optional rules changes the balance. 2E may not be for some people. I have no problem balancing a 2E game on the fly. But I’ve been doing it for over 30 years. This was just kind of expected by my generation imho. You were supposed to customize for the type of setting or game you wanted to play.
I feel ya. There's a pretty significant understanding gap between the people with long term actual 2E experience like you and I, and people who only understand it as an artifact. Thats not a value judgement either, before anyone gets up in arms. A huge part of that is that at the time each group was figuring it out for themselves as there was no site like this one. Just a different experience.
 

Orius

Adventurer
There may be a lot of different directions TSR material was going in the 2e era, but I think its core is a lot less of a hodgepodge of semi-disconnected ideas than 1e was.
Core yes. But I'm talking core, and splats, and PO, and that's not even getting into supplements.

Yes. 2E was an edition where it was the DM’s job to bring balance to the game. Some optional rules changes the balance. 2E may not be for some people. I have no problem balancing a 2E game on the fly. But I’ve been doing it for over 30 years. This was just kind of expected by my generation imho. You were supposed to customize for the type of setting or game you wanted to play.
That was a problem for me BitD when I didn't have enough experience to balance and customize things properly. These days, I can handle that better, but much of what I want to do 3e does already.
 

Arnwolf666

Explorer
I loved the oddball books. I loved the jakandor series. There will probaly be nothing like that again. The crusaders handbook and the Viking handbook were phenomenal. I can go on. There was a good book on seven sisters and another on elves of evermeet. And u could very easily adapt things from becmi. I loved the creatures crucible series too. And still play with those wonderful rule and setting books. Heck I have a friend playing a human ninja/wu-Jen from the 1E oriental adventures with a custom martial arts from that book. Had another play a pooka from the creatures crucible. While another is playing a thief with the swashbuckler kit. Our cleric is a specialty priest of weejas. And the fighter is like all I need is to specialize in this long sword and I can have fun. Another is a paladin that just reached eight level and excited about getting spells.
 

TBeholder

Explorer
Core yes. But I'm talking core, and splats, and PO, and that's not even getting into supplements.
Well, yes. PO was a fair attempt to sort this mess, but too rushed. And had some otherwise good components made needlessly clunky (Severity rolled separate from damage, Character Points rather than costs in XP).

The crusaders handbook and the Viking handbook were phenomenal. I can go on.
HR series? Yes, good stuff.
 

Yardiff

Explorer
I would like to see a 2e based game with some of the options from later editions.

Some changes I'd like to make are fairly simple.
No gender limitations.


Cant think of others, gotta head to work.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I would like to see a 2e based game with some of the options from later editions.

Some changes I'd like to make are fairly simple.
No gender limitations.


Cant think of others, gotta head to work.
Do you mean the strength limitations for women, because 2e didn't have that.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
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.
The 2e monster manual is a treasure, it's a good resource for any edition.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
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.
You need to try the GLOG. I recommend the rat on a stick edition.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
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 ceases to exist for the players - casters had access to too much.

Now if you dump/nerf casters, maybe you'd get there.
The quadratic wizard absolutely was a thing BUT there were a lot limits to the wizard's power that arent' there in 5e:

Super low HP - 1d4, harder to get a con bonus
Casting time and interuption. When we played, the 2 fighters kept daggers with them to gang up on a wizard and interupt their spells. Due to casting time modifier to initiative, they usually interupted
Monsters with spell resistance, or even almost magic immunity (like golems).

I think the peak of quadratic wizard was 3.X though, with several of these limits removed

The 5e concentration mechanism, as well as more limited slots, did much to reduce (not sure about eliminate) the quadratic problem.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Yes. A DM ran Dark Sun in 2E rules.

It was horrible. The balance between the classes is ridiculously bad, a lot of spells are incredibly vague and it just generally feels clunky.

The campaign ended for me when my wizard cast disintegrate at a giant skeleton. Who turned out to be a powerful spellcaster in disguise. Who had spell turning. Which turned my spell back on my wizard and disintegrated him.

D&D is an RPG - a role playing game. You want a rule set to support heroic stories for the PCs. 5E does that much better.
Replying to your last paragraph: that is a very, very narrow view of role playing games. Some can be very gritty, but still are valid modes of play.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
Replying to your last paragraph: that (heroic) is a very, very narrow view of role playing games. Some can be very gritty, but still are valid modes of play.
... and gritty does not negate what I meant by heroic. Gritty and heroic are not opposites. They're two uncorrelated concepts.

Wandering randomly into PC death is not heroic. Nor is it gritty, really. That is one of the core elements of older editions that results in them being unheroic games. It also doesn't particularly contribute to a game being gritty.

Gritty, by definition (unless you're talking about games focused on substantial dirt or something related to cornmeal), is about perseverance and passion. That is a matter of definition.

It is not inherently grimdark, although it is often seen that way. However, many gritty heroes in comics, books, movies, etc... are heroic - willing to do whatever it takes, no matter the personal cost, to do what is right in their eyes.

A paladin devoted to a God of Justice that hunts a villain across the lands, leaving behind his family and friends as he enters a Hellish wildland filled with strange monsters and deadly traps, would be an example of a PC that is both heroic and gritty.
 

Yardiff

Explorer
Things I would add to 2e.
5e cantrips minus combat cantrips.
Reserve feats from 3.5 as class features maybe.
Spontaneous cure spells from 3e.
Cure spells for 2nd and 3rd lvs.
5e ritual spells.
 
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digitalelf

Explorer
My attitude is no one gets plot armor, not villains, not important NPCs and certainly not PCs. You want to live to see 20th level? Act accordingly? If that gets in the way of your conception of how your character's story is supposed to look, that's something we need to talk about. It's a conversation worth having. But generally speaking when it comes to D&D, you're going to find that my table is not the one you want to be at if you already know what your character's fate should be.
This is pretty much how I run my games as well; having done so throughout all of the editions that I have run (i.e. BECMI - 3.5/PFRPG).

I really dislike, bordering on hate the term "Character Build"... Just make a freaking character so we can play!

So yeah, if you have plotted out your character's path from level 1 to level 20 or more, already having decided that you will require this or that magical sword or magical item by this or that level, then you will be very unhappy at my table to be sure.
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
... and gritty does not negate what I meant by heroic. Gritty and heroic are not opposites. They're two uncorrelated concepts.

Wandering randomly into PC death is not heroic. Nor is it gritty, really. That is one of the core elements of older editions that results in them being unheroic games. It also doesn't particularly contribute to a game being gritty.

Gritty, by definition (unless you're talking about games focused on substantial dirt or something related to cornmeal), is about perseverance and passion. That is a matter of definition.

It is not inherently grimdark, although it is often seen that way. However, many gritty heroes in comics, books, movies, etc... are heroic - willing to do whatever it takes, no matter the personal cost, to do what is right in their eyes.

A paladin devoted to a God of Justice that hunts a villain across the lands, leaving behind his family and friends as he enters a Hellish wildland filled with strange monsters and deadly traps, would be an example of a PC that is both heroic and gritty.
Yeah, but you said "D&D is an RPG, you want something that support heroics". This imply that the lack of plot armor, that insta-death, is *not* a proper RPG. There are plenty of RPG with those features that are proper RPGs.
 

jgsugden

Explorer
Yeah, but you said "D&D is an RPG, you want something that support heroics". This imply that the lack of plot armor, that insta-death, is *not* a proper RPG. There are plenty of RPG with those features that are proper RPGs.
Role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. The game is all about the story.

Random insta-death does not make for good stories. Imagine that at the end of Infinity War Thanos snapped... and all the heroes, including ones in the Microverse, died. Good story? Imagine that Vader shoots Luke's X-wing in the Death Star battle. Good story? Imagine that Batman gets hit by a stray bullet and bleeds out. Good story?

Casual death is bad for the game.

But wait - what about pure Hack and Slash? Those games are not worried about the story so much. If the PCs die, you just make more and dive back in, as if you were hitting restart on a video game....

That can be a lot of fun. But it isn't really a role playing game because you're not playing roles when your characters are not given any depth. It is just a Pen and Paper version of Gauntlet.

But the DMG calls out Hack and Slash as a proper method to play D&D! Explicitly! Yes, they do. But note what they say about role playing in that section. They say, essentially, you're not doing it. Instead, read what the PHB has to say about Role Playing. They don't talk about not doing it there... instead they talk about how it is part of every aspect of the game. That is the real truth of the matter.

D&D is an RPG game. It is designed so that characters can play a role in a story. Stories are best when they have intent, rather than being random. While it is possible to use the mechanics of D&D for Hack and Slash with little to no story, it s not really role playing... and is not really D&D.

5E, for many reasons, is the best edition so far for telling great stories. Sure, there have been great stories told in older editions, but 5E supports the story telling the best.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. The game is all about the story.

Random insta-death does not make for good stories. Imagine that at the end of Infinity War Thanos snapped... and all the heroes, including ones in the Microverse, died. Good story?
That's called a TPK. They are very rare, but they *do* happen, and they are an important part of the game. They create tension, danger. The players want to be *challenged*. They want risk, danger.

Some games increase this danger further. The players have to be smart, cunning. Like REAL PEOPLE, their PCs know that to enter battle is to risk death. Like most people, the PCs avoid combat like the plague. They try to sneak, bluff, trick, cajole or bribe their way past problems. But sometimes these efforts fail, and combat is entered, and then, like life, which is tragic and random sometimes, someone may die.

Someone may say that this is a far superior roleplaying experience.
 
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Zardnaar

Adventurer
2E God wizard didn't really exist until the higher level and still had downside. I lost a lvl 19 one to troll shaman (hold person +hungary troll).

Clone was a good spell.
 

pming

Explorer
Hiya!

I'm a 1e/HM4 guy myself. We never really got into 2e. We tried it for about 2 years or so, but went back to 1e and BECMI (or other RPG's like Powers & Perils, MSHAS [Marvel..the "FASERIP" one], Star Frontiers or Gamma World 3rd, etc).

I've found that if you want to just put in "a bit of effort, but don't have time to REALLY do much" (e.g., less than a couple hours, tops, per week), then you're better off with a more simplistic game, mechanics wise. To this end, 5e is EASILY the 'best' version of D&D. It's the game for the guy who's been "more or less" keeping up with RPG's since high school and has somehow managed to convince a couple of 'normies' from work or the gym to come on over every other Saturday for BBQ, Beer and D&D. Don't expect much in the way of in-depth and deeply-caring for, PC's and whatnot. To these folks RPG's/Card Games/Boardgames are just "fun pass times when you have nothing else to do".

But, if you want to put effort into hand crafting a believable fantasy world, with all the bells and whistles that entails (re: Middle Earth, Harry Potter, Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Narnia, etc), then I think 1e, 2e and yes, even 3e (I can't believe I just said that!...), are better systems.

If/when 'you' go back to give 2e a shot...play it like 2e AD&D! If you keep your 5e "attitude and expectations of play", but use the 2e AD&D system...I suspect disappointment all around. Everyone going into the game as to be into all of the 2e system; that means looking at Level Limits as a GOOD THING, taking Class/Race Restrictions and thinking of a cool reason for WHY they are there, and for [insert favoured deity here] sake understand that going from 1st to 20th level IS NOT A LINEAR PATH! Oh, and one more important thing to reiterate...in 2e, "I'll try and sneak past the guards!" shouldn't be responded to with "What's your Move Silently?"...it should be responded to with "Ok, how are you planning to do that?". That is the single BIGGEST difference for enjoyment of a pre-3e system; the PLAYER input as a larger determining factor for success than the PC's abilities/skills.

Ok. I'll slink off back to my secret hide out now. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Reynard

Adventurer
Role playing game. Characters play a role in a story. The game is all about the story.
Yes, but the story is the result of play. it's the tale of what happened. And sometimes, what happened is that Dorf stepped into a pit and ended up bleeding out on kobold punji sticks while his friends argued about who got his boots. Sometimes, what happened is the party saves the princess, kills the dragon and then blows the hoard at the alehouse.
 

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