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What did you like/hate about AD&D 2nd Edition

GaladournGaladourn Member RarePosts: 1,723
I've been reminiscing lately of my first RPG days and came across this page on the internet:

http://www.story-games.com/forums/discussion/18860/what-was-good-about-ad-d-2nd-edition

I thought it was an interesting read, so decided to bring the discussion to these fora. What did you like, what did you hate about AD&D 2nd Edition?

I'll start myself.

I liked the sense of incompleteness and limited choices in the character classes. I know it sounds crazy, but it's a bit like what WoW felt in the early days with equipment/talent min/maxing: Trying to work around the rules with kits/special rules/equipment in order to develop your character but ultimately knowing that you would never be the best compared to other classes in certain situations. Trying to prove that certain "hopeless builds" were actually competitive and could stand their ground (*ahem* sounds familiar?).

I liked the amazing settings created for the game, namely Dragonlance, Dark Sun and Ravenloft (was never much of a fan of Forgotten Realms because it felt like a mix-and-match of various settings, but I did love the FR Adventures module with the detailed descriptions for each city in the Sword Coast).

I stood in awe before the piles of textbooks with rules for all types of situations. Little did I know back then that those rules had never been put to test in a comprehensive manner and were oftimes contradicting themselves; the sheer amount of data gave me the impression that this was a perfectly thought-out game with answers for everything.

Last but not least: the amazing artwork, where big part of the credit goes for luring me to RPGs in general. The wonderful works by Larry Elmore, Jeff Easley, and so many others presented me with images of fantasy worlds I had never thought of before.

Now with the bad:

I hated the imbalance in low level gameplay; the hit points were ridiculous, you were one-shot all the time. If you were a caster, good luck using the ONE spell available at level 1 and then your knife forever after. It's like the game was made for level 9+; at that level, you felt decent - mind you, the world was still a threat, but you could afford the luxury of choosing your engagements.

The rules were all over the place. Impossible to keep track of every option. And at times, they just didn't make sense: why simply do double damage with +4 to hit against an immobilized target and not kill him instantly? Why can't my cleric wield a sword, but is perfectly proficient with a flail ffs (which is about twice as hard in reality to master)?

Rising from level 1 to level 9 presented the player with interesting options almost at every level-up. This can't be said for levels 9-20 (or 30). With the exception of druids, all other classes had reached "endgame" at around level 9 and were simply "alternately advancing" from then on. Sure the followers/army gained past level 9 was cool, but the game was designed around character progression, not territoy control and strategic gameplay.

These are some of my thoughts for 2e AD&D which, in my eyes, was at the time the most comprehensive RPG on the market.

Torvalbcbully
«134

Comments

  • MeleconMelecon Member UncommonPosts: 72
    THAC0 was needlessly complicated....
    gunklackerTorvalAlmostLancelotbcbullyH0urg1assMalathoosalkarionlog
  • UngoodUngood Member EpicPosts: 2,466
    I loved 2nd edition, because it was vast. The choices were in many ways.. endless.

    I hated most of the people that I played with at the table top as they were often huge assholes that were always trying to rules lawyer in their favor and just sucked the fun out of the game.
    Galadournbcbully
  • BaronMunchausenBaronMunchausen Newbie CommonPosts: 2
    edited May 2
    Loved 2nd ed D&D.  Books were cheap, people actually had to read to understand (like simple math) how the system worked.  Unlike today games where companies, imho, dumb down systems cause heaven forbid one has to READ and LEARN a RPG system.  Loved the THACO system (even have a character named Thaco).  I do miss the weapon speeds though.

    Give me 2nd Ed D&D , Traveller(Mega) or any old RPG system over many, MANY of todays systems.  Systems that WERE systems not what we have today which is lets make a Roll face over keyboard but in a tabletop RPG format.

    Back then even today there will always be asshats that are rules lawyers in RPGs.
    Ortho
  • CleffyCleffy Member RarePosts: 5,962
    Player options: Combat & Tactics
    Weapon Mastery: Stone.
  • Dagon13Dagon13 Member UncommonPosts: 552
    I always felt the stats in general were out of whack.  It's like you had to roll a yahtzee just to get a bonus.  Then, mysteriously, there was always at least one player with two 18's.

    THACO too.  It seemed like we were constantly in "roll 19 or above to not die" situations.  Whoever designed this crap didn't realize that my D20 had 6 1's on it...

    HP rolls.  We had a graveyard of new characters because 1D4.  I lost a full health character to a flight of slippery stairs once.  Good thing making new characters was my favorite part.

    A lot of the time we just ignored rules we didn't like or the DM would dig us out when things were unreasonable.  In the end, the worst part of 2nd edition was 3rd coming out and materials getting spread across more editions.  I lost my career fighter to a monk npc because the DM didn't realize his pre-fab adventure was for 3rd edition.  Ironically, I had originally wanted that character to be a monk style fighter and he shot me down because the rules didn't support it.
    Galadourn
  • HorusraHorusra Member EpicPosts: 4,021
    Dagon13 said:
    I always felt the stats in general were out of whack.  It's like you had to roll a yahtzee just to get a bonus.  Then, mysteriously, there was always at least one player with two 18's.

    THACO too.  It seemed like we were constantly in "roll 19 or above to not die" situations.  Whoever designed this crap didn't realize that my D20 had 6 1's on it...

    HP rolls.  We had a graveyard of new characters because 1D4.  I lost a full health character to a flight of slippery stairs once.  Good thing making new characters was my favorite part.

    A lot of the time we just ignored rules we didn't like or the DM would dig us out when things were unreasonable.  In the end, the worst part of 2nd edition was 3rd coming out and materials getting spread across more editions.  I lost my career fighter to a monk npc because the DM didn't realize his pre-fab adventure was for 3rd edition.  Ironically, I had originally wanted that character to be a monk style fighter and he shot me down because the rules didn't support it.
    THAC0 was to hit things...think you mean Saving Throws.
  • Dagon13Dagon13 Member UncommonPosts: 552
    Horusra said:
    Dagon13 said:
    I always felt the stats in general were out of whack.  It's like you had to roll a yahtzee just to get a bonus.  Then, mysteriously, there was always at least one player with two 18's.

    THACO too.  It seemed like we were constantly in "roll 19 or above to not die" situations.  Whoever designed this crap didn't realize that my D20 had 6 1's on it...

    HP rolls.  We had a graveyard of new characters because 1D4.  I lost a full health character to a flight of slippery stairs once.  Good thing making new characters was my favorite part.

    A lot of the time we just ignored rules we didn't like or the DM would dig us out when things were unreasonable.  In the end, the worst part of 2nd edition was 3rd coming out and materials getting spread across more editions.  I lost my career fighter to a monk npc because the DM didn't realize his pre-fab adventure was for 3rd edition.  Ironically, I had originally wanted that character to be a monk style fighter and he shot me down because the rules didn't support it.
    THAC0 was to hit things...think you mean Saving Throws.
    I'm thinking along the lines of kill or be killed.
  • AethaerynAethaeryn Member RarePosts: 2,949
    Melecon said:
    THAC0 was needlessly complicated....
    I never had a problem with hit.  I don't know why. . maybe brain is crossed the same way as the person who created it :)

    For me I liked that the classes weren't balanced.  I love 5E but it seems like everyone gets to do a bit of everything.  I liked the restrictions.

    I LOVED Darksun and it worked so well with 2nd edition (starting at level 3 of course).  It just loses its rawness with future versions of D&D.

    I enjoyed the handbooks as well. . just reading them. 

    Hated?   The rules about XP going to who killed the monster?  maybe that was optional but I found that horrible.
    Galadourn

    Wa min God! Se æx on min heafod is!

  • gervaise1gervaise1 Member EpicPosts: 5,810
    Gulp! Should I confess my part?

    D&D's "rules" (ditto AD&D)  were - on one level - intended to be about:

    - creating your own adventures - by a DM at least but sometimes via interaction with players;
    - for a DM to check that the party had a reasonable chance of succeeding in the adventure;
    - for the DM to adjust the adventure, on the fly, for balance.

    Trust between players and DM was needed. An adventure - to be worthy - had to be a challenge not a slaughter but with the prospect of death by stupidity always present.

    Which put a lot of onus on the DM.

    Needless to say TSR, in time, were happy to provide material. Judge's Guild actually printed some of the early stiff. Sadly, imo, this did lead to people somewhat slavishly turning the guidelines into rules.

    As for the material some worked - some good Judge's Guild D&D stuff early days ; some didn't work the early 1st gen TSR stuff imo.

    Some of the best stuff could be found in the likes of Dragon, Imagine and - in the early days - White Dwarf.  (Disclaimer: I could be biased.)  And in magazines like these "issues" were raised some of which were subsequently incorporated into future revisions. 

    Anyway I had a search and found this archive to issues 1 - 30 of Imagine. 

     https://archive.org/stream/Imagine14

    There is some serious reading - memories in this archive. (Memories for me.)


    bcbullyTorvalGaladournAlBQuirky
  • bcbullybcbully Member RarePosts: 9,540
    2nd addition is where I cut my teeth. 6 friends in the basement, mom cooking sloppy joes. There were the days.
    TorvalGaladournAlBQuirkySovrath
  • shetlandslarsenshetlandslarsen Member UncommonPosts: 88
    Was my introduction to the fantastic world of roleplay. Had a regular group going for 15 years after that. All good memories.
    bcbullydeniter
  • WizardryWizardry Member LegendaryPosts: 15,894
    I loved those settings back in the day and was researching all i could to get more of the DnD era.
    However that era didn't last long,the industry advanced and left Dnd in the dust forever.
    Most of the old school is lost to the archives,the Might n Magic series,wizardry series,lands of Lore..Westwood studios,New World computing,Lord British and his Ultima games,all amazing for that era but they just disappeared into the ether.

    The only guy that seems to mildly stick around ,a bit hidden behind his employer Zenimax is John Carmack of Doom/Quake/heretic/Hexen  fame.He is still rolling out games for Zeni.
    Would the legendary Gary Gygax be able to perform something grand in 2019 if he were still alive?
    I highly doubt it,he was a man of that era,great for that time but never advanced to become something better.


    Never forget 3 mile Island and never trust a government official or company spokesman.

  • ArteriusArterius Member RarePosts: 681
    Wizardry said:
    I loved those settings back in the day and was researching all i could to get more of the DnD era.
    However that era didn't last long,the industry advanced and left Dnd in the dust forever.
    Most of the old school is lost to the archives,the Might n Magic series,wizardry series,lands of Lore..Westwood studios,New World computing,Lord British and his Ultima games,all amazing for that era but they just disappeared into the ether.

    The only guy that seems to mildly stick around ,a bit hidden behind his employer Zenimax is John Carmack of Doom/Quake/heretic/Hexen  fame.He is still rolling out games for Zeni.
    Would the legendary Gary Gygax be able to perform something grand in 2019 if he were still alive?
    I highly doubt it,he was a man of that era,great for that time but never advanced to become something better.


    D&D has vanished forever? I mean I would argue that D&D is more popular than it has been in years. Before I struggled to find a group now there are tons of people playing thanks to people finding out about  the game through Critical Role and other streamers. I live in a small town and even my local game shop has about fifty people there every Friday play D&D
    Kyleran
  • noxaeternusnoxaeternus Member UncommonPosts: 15
    Elves being the only race that mattered due to terribly broken systems math.

    E: 86% S: 53% A: 40% K: 20%

  • AlBQuirkyAlBQuirky Member RarePosts: 4,909
    edited May 4
    In all honesty, I missed out on 2nd Edition. My group played AD&D until we all went off to college. I think this is when 2nd Edition came out. I bought the books, but never played a game. After college, my D&D friends moved all over America.

    What I find interesting about all D&D editions is the simplification of combat. Many players rail against this, but unless you want a whole weekend for one combat encounter, simplification is good. The THAC0 and subsequent damage, if lucky enough to hit, was all the pieces put into a single attack roll and then a damage roll. Hit Points did not make a player bigger, huger, or harder, they represented everything the character learned put into a survival pool. Between AC, Hit Points, and THAC0, you had dodges, armor deflection/absorption, blocks, ripostes, and general combat skill and knowledge.

    Depending on your DM, rules were observed or not. My group ignored weapon vs armor type boons/banes. If you've played or watched others play Pathfinder (3.5 edition of D&D), you will see more complicated combat, with die adjustments galore.

    D&D, in all it's forms/editions is a superb vehicle for "community storytelling" with bits of combat and action thrown in :)

    PS: I also never played a Wizard and only one Cleric due to their one spell at first level.
    gervaise1

    - Al

    Personally the only modern MMORPG trend that annoys me is the idea that MMOs need to be designed in a way to attract people who don't actually like MMOs. Which to me makes about as much sense as someone trying to figure out a way to get vegetarians to eat at their steakhouse.
    - FARGIN_WAR

  • GaladournGaladourn Member RarePosts: 1,723
    edited May 4
    Heh, I had two "mains", a cleric and a fighter, but I envied wizards because spells in AD&D are probably the best made part of the game and the most imbalanced. They are such multipliers of power at higher levels. Of course, reaching high enough level to be able to cast the good spells is a challenge as a wizard, even more so in our campaign setting, Dragonlance, which had a test of sorcery that had to be passed at around level 3 before specializing in one of the three Robes of sorcery (White, Red, Black).

  • KyleranKyleran Member LegendaryPosts: 32,435
    edited May 4
    I think 2nd edition still had Paladins as human, lawful good only alignment, if so, it gets my vote for best feature.


    GaladournUngoodAlBQuirky

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  • ScotScot Member LegendaryPosts: 10,901
    I was never a big fan of the DnD RPG as a rules system, it was not until you got to the development of D20 systems in various games that I think it came into its own. Though the setting of Forgotten Realms was always a favourite.

     25 Agrees

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  • Sal1Sal1 Member UncommonPosts: 307
    I played the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons rule set. So I don't remember 2nd edition. lol I do remember Basic D&D. But that's what they called the very very first rule set written by the late great Gary Gygax. 

    I had a great Dungeon Master friend (Vince) who introduced me to these games and he adapted the rules and changed things on the fly. It was always about the fun and role playing adventure of the games for him. And I learned this from him very early in my life. For example I had a multi- role Paladin back then but he allowed it. 

    We died often in the death dungeons he designed and it was ok. We would get resurrected by our jovial Cleric. Vince used the rules as a guidebook but didn't act like the Dungeon Master's Guide was the Bible set in stone.
  • Sal1Sal1 Member UncommonPosts: 307
    Wizardry said:
    I loved those settings back in the day and was researching all i could to get more of the DnD era.
    However that era didn't last long,the industry advanced and left Dnd in the dust forever.
    Most of the old school is lost to the archives,the Might n Magic series,wizardry series,lands of Lore..Westwood studios,New World computing,Lord British and his Ultima games,all amazing for that era but they just disappeared into the ether.

    The only guy that seems to mildly stick around ,a bit hidden behind his employer Zenimax is John Carmack of Doom/Quake/heretic/Hexen  fame.He is still rolling out games for Zeni.
    Would the legendary Gary Gygax be able to perform something grand in 2019 if he were still alive?
    I highly doubt it,he was a man of that era,great for that time but never advanced to become something better.


    Are you kidding me? Didn't last long? D&D was the king for some 30 years. Go do some more research. 
  • slowpoke68slowpoke68 Member UncommonPosts: 532
    I just had to look to see when 2nd edition came out.  I played when I was a kid and quit in the 80s so that was still just AD&D, 2E didn't come out til '89.  My only real experience with 2E was Baldur's Gate.

    From what I remember AD&D and 2E were very similar.  Just lately I have been reading up on 5E a bit and am currently playing Pathfinder Kingmaker.

    I prefer 2E because that is what I knew and loved and is my idea of what D&D rules should be.  If you think carefully about EQ at launch it was very closely tied to that D&D ruleset.  Same class/race restrictions, same weapon restrictions, same character themes, etc.

    I haven't learned enough about 5E yet but am curious.  The idea of any race/any class is still really weird to me.
  • CaffynatedCaffynated Member RarePosts: 434
    I liked how much nicer a lot of the material was in 2nd edition than later releases. Many of my 2E books have leather covers with embossed images and text, and pages sometimes had a glossy/metallic patterns around the edges that made them feel like ancient manuscripts.

    3E was the start of DnD feeling like a mass media corporate product. While the rules improved, the love put into the material was gone.
    TorvalGaladourn
  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 18,790
    gervaise1 said:
    Gulp! Should I confess my part?

    D&D's "rules" (ditto AD&D)  were - on one level - intended to be about:

    - creating your own adventures - by a DM at least but sometimes via interaction with players;
    - for a DM to check that the party had a reasonable chance of succeeding in the adventure;
    - for the DM to adjust the adventure, on the fly, for balance.

    Trust between players and DM was needed. An adventure - to be worthy - had to be a challenge not a slaughter but with the prospect of death by stupidity always present.

    Which put a lot of onus on the DM.

    Needless to say TSR, in time, were happy to provide material. Judge's Guild actually printed some of the early stiff. Sadly, imo, this did lead to people somewhat slavishly turning the guidelines into rules.

    As for the material some worked - some good Judge's Guild D&D stuff early days ; some didn't work the early 1st gen TSR stuff imo.

    Some of the best stuff could be found in the likes of Dragon, Imagine and - in the early days - White Dwarf.  (Disclaimer: I could be biased.)  And in magazines like these "issues" were raised some of which were subsequently incorporated into future revisions. 

    Anyway I had a search and found this archive to issues 1 - 30 of Imagine. 

     https://archive.org/stream/Imagine14

    There is some serious reading - memories in this archive. (Memories for me.)


    This is how my friends and I played 1st/2nd ed AD&D, Traveller/MegaTraveller (including Striker, etc), and Top Secret; our main games. Rules were for guidelines and most of our campaign worlds were about creating and acting out stories. We also incorporated rules from other games and systems like ICE/Rolemaster.

    A lot of inspiration came from Dragon, White Dwarf, and Judges Guild. The new class and subclass ideas from those also fueled our own class creations. We would incorporate the dungeons and modules into our campaigns. Also, Ranger Rupert was awesome.

    Starting with AD&D 3.0 the rules and ThAC0 started getting so complicated. Combat became calculation focused rather than narrative driven and that doesn't grab me, for PnP at least. It can be fun in computer gaming - min/max - but not as fun for PnP RPG. There were better battle systems for that like Striker and Warhammer, in my opinion.
    gervaise1GaladournAlBQuirky
    take back the hobby: https://www.reddit.com/r/patientgamers/

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  • ShaighShaigh Member RarePosts: 1,941
    D&D was always the most fun around level 3-9, beyond that it felt like the rules fell apart. Main pitfalls with 2e was the horrible strength scaling, the absurd power of illusion/enchantment school and how they had never thought out the consequences on plenty of the rules within the game. It also became a victim of splatbooks creating even more imbalances.

    I loved the lore created for their settings but much of it could really have been used for any rulesetting.
    The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  • centkincentkin Member RarePosts: 1,400
    2nd ed wasn't complete until the monty haul add-on unearthed arcana. 
    GaladournTorval
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