D&D 2E Which optional rules did your group use?

In discussing weapon speed with @Lanefan in another thread, after looking it up I realized that was actually an optional rule in AD&D 2nd edition. As things like this tend to happen, my group used the rule right from the beginning so I completely forgot it was even optional after years of not playing 2e. While looking it up, I found it interesting just how many rules were optional. There were a ton of optional rules listed in just the core PHB and DMG books! And that’s without getting into all the additional books that came out later in the edition’s lifespan ("The Complete _____ Handbook" series or the Player’s Options series). So which ones did or does your group use? Here’s some examples taken from the PHB/DMG table of contents:

PHB Optional rules
  • Initial stat generation options
  • Weapon Proficiencies
  • Nonweapon Proficiencies
  • Encumbrance
  • Spell Components
  • Weapon Type vs. Armor modifiers
  • Group initiative
  • Individual initiative
  • Weapon Speed and Initiative
  • Parrying
  • Jogging and Running movement
DMG Optional rules
  • Racial level restriction slow advancement
  • Racial level restriction exceeding level limits
  • Armors made of unusual metals
  • Individual experience awards
  • Training to level
  • Critical hits
  • Specific injuries
  • Character death: Hovering on death’s door
The thread is tagged as a D&D 2e thread but feel free to discuss 1e. :)

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Yep! We used WPs and NWPs, and it wasn’t unt
Up last month or the month before that I realized WPs were optional (bought a copy of the original PHB). It’s very interesting if one doesn’t use WPS, as suddenly Priest and Rogue melee efficacy doesn’t fall so far behind.

Jack Daniel

Thinking back to my 2e days, we used the "points plus dice" method of stat gen (stats start at 8, roll 7d6 and assign whole dice to each stat), critical hits, hovering at death's door, WPs and NWPs (including the Ninja's Handbook martial arts), psionics, and kits; and we largely ignored racial level limits (but kept to the class and multiclass restrictions).

We also definitely used armors (and weapons) of unusual materials, because if you don't include mithril and adamant, how will your game ever feel like Lord of the Final Hobbit Rings Fantasy?

If it was in a 1e hardcover or a leatherette splat, it was fair game and we allowed it. We also used the High-Level Campaigns and Spells & Magic options (including spell points sometimes) because we had physical copies of those books; even after I got my hands on a Core Rules 2.0 + Expansion CD-ROM set, we never bothered with Combat & Tactics (except for the expanded equipment lists) or Skills & Powers.


The EN World kitten
I'm trying to remember if it was in Legends & Lore or DMGR4 Monster Mythlogy, but there was a rule that any character who had a patron deity had a 1% chance to receive divine intervention if they called out to their god for help (though a character could only receive such aid once).

It wasn't explicitly tagged as an optional rule, but it was one that my players wanted to be able to rely on just in case things got bad and they didn't know what else to do.

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Victoria Rules
We just took most of the rules as being more or less optional and slowly rewrote the lot of 'em over the years.

I've never used weapon-v-armour-type, never used weapon speed, completely re-did how initiative works (and removed all modifiers - if you've got something giving you an initiative bonus it's a damn rare thing), and never used nonweapon proficiencies. I've only very rarely used armour made of unusual metals, though my armour write-up does jokingly mention plexiglass shields.

I've kept parrying, weapon proficiencies, and spell components pretty much as they were. Movement works much as it always did, but I expanded the tables and better codified who could move how fast (and in some cases for how long). Experience points have always been individually awarded, and I've always had training requirements (though modified, and without the silly roleplay judgment piece in the 1e DMG). I've tweaked the advancement tables - of note, MUs no longer have that odd speed-up between 5th and 10th level - but they're still different by class.

I've slowly removed species-based level restrictions - some species still simply can't be some classes at all, but if you can be a class you can advance in it as far as your luck and abilities will take you.

Our initial stat generation method is more generous than the 1e DMG but nowhere near as bad as that in UA. I've always had both critical hits and fumbles. Death is at -10, between 0 and -9 you roll to see if you're still conscious; if you'r still awake your ability to do anything is very restricted.

Behind the screen many monsters have been beefed up, most notably is they get the same bonuses for stats as do characters (thus a Giant is always attacking with giant strength - somehow this just seems to make sense!), and monsters also get to not necessarily go down at 0 h.p.; they use the same consciousness rules as do characters, though their death point might be modified: a little Sprite might die at -5 while a giant might not die until -15 or more.

And we've added three homebrew classes - Necromancer, War Cleric, and redesigned Bard.


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🤫 Shh! Not so loud! 🤐Do you want to get us all sued by those litigious Tolkien Estate IP-tyrants!?

It's mithral!
The exceptionally litigious Saul Zaentz has been dead nearly a decade. I'd guess his successors would be less litigious almost by definition.

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