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

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
Tough question, mostly because so much of 2e was called out as technically optional. But here's a (at least partial) accounting:

Specialty priests
Weapon proficiencies (including weapon groups and styles from Complete Fighter's Handbook)
Non-Weapon proficiencies
Encumbrance (at least with standard kit - we tended to gloss over much of the treasure load)
Spell components
Individual initiative (with weapon speeds)
Parrying
Jogging and Running
Individual XPs
Hovering on Death's Door
Artifacts and Relics
Terrain effects on movement

Obviously, some of those got used more than others (proficiencies being the obvious one).
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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. :)
We used these.

PHB Optional rules
  • Initial stat generation options
  • Weapon Proficiencies
  • Nonweapon Proficiencies
  • Encumbrance
  • Spell Components
  • Individual initiative
  • Weapon Speed and Initiative
DMG Optional rules
  • Racial level restriction exceeding level limits(we had no limits)
  • Armors made of unusual metals
  • Individual experience awards
  • Critical hits
  • Specific injuries
  • Character death: Hovering on death’s door
 


billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him) 🇺🇦🇵🇸🏳️‍⚧️
We used those as well. Were those an optional rule?
Yes, the description of the section spells that out very clearly. It's couched in the terms of some (not all) DMs detailing things out about the campaign world and that if the DM allows it, there may be specialty priests.
 



Overall my group used quite a few of the optional rules. For stat generation, we tried a few different methods before eventually settling on 4d6, drop the lowest and arrange as you like. We used both the weapon and nonweapon proficiencies. We kinda used encumbrance, but really just paid attention to how many weapons and sets of armor a person could carry. We never got into things like coins being a factor from what I remember.

For combat we used individual initiative along with weapon speed modifiers. There had to be a drawback to using that huge two-handed sword afterall. We tried critical hits but found them to be far too deadly at low levels, even using the hovering at death's door rule to handle character death. I don't recall us awarding exp for anything exp whatever a monster's exp value was and a story award for achieving specific goals.

For the racial level limits, we mostly played in the Dragonlance setting so we used the "Tales of the Lance" level limit list combined with allowing a character to exceed the limit if they had a high prime requisite score and then half exp gained past that limit. That made sense to me at the time because most non-human races had a longer natural lifespan and I just associated humans being able to typically level quicker to them being more impulsive while the longer lived races were in less of a rush to get there. We simplified training to level and used what I largely use to this day in 5e and PF2e: you level up while back at town recovering.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
For combat we used individual initiative along with weapon speed modifiers. There had to be a drawback to using that huge two-handed sword afterall.
The usual drawback IME is that in many combats there simply isn't any room to swing it effectively, thus increasing your chance of fumbling and-or clobbering an ally.
 

cbwjm

Seb-wejem
It's been so long that I'm not 100% on which ones we used, other than proficiencies, I have considered dropping them if I ran a 2e game again, though the fighter would still get specialisation.

I'm pretty sure we used weapon speeds and casting times (was casting time optional?). No idea if we used group or individual initiative.

We might have dabbled with weapon vs armour type adjustments, but I feel like we ended up moving away from that.

Almost 100% that we didn't worry about spell material components.

We used 4k3 for stat generation, I think the base stat method was 3d6, though I had my players roll 8 times and drop the 2 lowest to get their stats. I also allowed my players to bump stats to get a class they wanted, but they'd have to put their highest stat there before bumping up.

We did use individual xp awards and critical hits. I think we ignored demihuman level limits rather than using slow advancement, but in reality they never really came up any way.

What I want to know is, were there any DMs that used the class creation system in the DMG? I read a cool article in dragon showcasing a couple of classes and I think the thieves handbook had a unique class using the same system.
 

Voadam

Legend
We used a bunch of the standard options.

Stat Generation Options.
Individual Initiative.
Weapon Speed in Initiative.
Weapons Proficiencies (and specializations)
Non-Weapon Proficiencies.
Hovering on Death's Door.
Individual xp.* (My original 1e campaign that kept going into 2e used 1e xp and allowed other 1e stuff like races and classes to continue).
Parrying (but I don't think anyone ever did).
Spell components.
Kits.
Classes from everywhere.
From later 2e skills and powers I allowed the split stats but capped at 18s so there would not be huge mechanical discrepancies if someone rolled a 16 strength versus an 18.
I did not have the 2e DMG but I think I used a double damage on 20s critical hits. In 1e I had used a Best of Dragon critical hits system ("Good Hits and Bad Misses") for a while.

Did not use encumbrance. Same as in B/X and 1e.
I do not remember jogging and running ever being relevant.
Did not allow custom classes from DMG or later Skills and Powers point buys.
Did not use Combat and Tactics (never had it during the AD&D era) or a bunch from Spells and Magic.

Level limits never became relevant but my instincts were to be generous on the options for those.
 

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