Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

From day one, I loathed second edition.  I had already bought my Dungeons and Dragons, and it was ADVANCED.  So now they were telling me all of those books that I had scraped and saved for for years were out-dated and useless?  And to top it off, I was going to need a Trapper Keeper to store my loose frigging leaf Monster Manual in?


I had already moved away from AD&D by that point, anyway.  Beside all of the non-fantasy games I was  playing, I had also discovered MERPS, Rolemaster, GURPS, and Fantasy Hero - all of which, in my opinion at the time - were far superior to the out-dated and limiting fare that TSR was producing.

One of the local comic book stores was selling Second Edition hard - even putting on demo games to get people used to the new system.  I played.  I don't think I paid much attention - it was so foreign and evil and anti-fun, striking at the heart of what it meant to be a red-blooded American and a defender of liberty and free speech and preventing the government from boarding troops in one's home and . . .

Oh, okay, I had a severe spaz attack about the whole thing and didn't pay D&D for 18 or so years.

So, Crazy-Ass Tim, who I've been playing D&D with for around three years, loves second edition. He suckled at Zeb Cook's metaphorical teat as an RPG babe.  If second edition had lips, he'd be deep-throat kissing it.  If it were a biological female, he'd marry it and drag it to Niagara Falls for the honeymoon.  And he wanted to run it for us.  Geez Louise.

After years of resistance, I finally relented.

Come to find out - the second edition players handbook is perhaps the most horribly organized role playing reference in the history of mankind (actually, it's not - I just say that to piss Tim off.)  Okay, really - it's not that bad.  Second edition appears to basically be what happened if you took all of those books we used, and all of those Dragon magazine articles we turned to time and time again, and, oh, tried to make sense of them all and turn it into something comprehensible.

I realize that magic changed in some way - but I haven't delved that far.  But second edition is surprisingly familiar.  I'm not sure if there are any actual changes at all.  Tim keeps on raving about the marvel of second edition's THAC0 - but hell, we were using that in first edition from Dragon magazine - and if I remember correctly - THAC0 was developed back in 1977.  So really - nothing new to see here - just fine tuning, from what I can tell.

Okay, there is the explosion of splat books - but I'll just stick my fingers in my ears and ignore them for as long as I can.  Those are really just like an endless stream of optional Dragon Magazine class articles anyway.

So far, Tim's campaign and the ruleset feels very comfortable and I am enjoying that immensely.  But I must keep up appearances and continue to bitch about it because - well - because I am a grognard, dammit, and we must bitch about things - especially new-fangled things like second edition AD&D.

- Ark


  1. As much as I love Legend of the 5 Rings, Third Edition, its rulebook is HORRIBLY organized and might even give 23 AD&D a run for its money.

    Example: The rules for spending experience points are in at least three places: at the end of character generation (makes sense), at the beginning of the skills section (what?) and just after the Mass Battle rules (I have no words).

    And these are three DIFFERENT parts of the rules, not the same ones repeated three times.

  2. I recently sold my nearly complete and never played collection (lot acquired) of NM 2e books for a grand sum of $60. Haven't felt a pang of guilt or regret since!

    Now I'm just hoping it will cover the cost of WotC's upcoming anthology of TSR modules. Oh it's coming - it's just a matter of time... ;)

  3. At least third edition Lo5R had experience rules. I remember that my copy of first edition mentioned experience often, but never explained how it worked. What a horror that book was!

    Also, I'm rather fond of AD&D2, strange use of blue ink and all.

  4. Hopefully 4th edition L5R-RPG came out as better organized.

  5. Yanno, I'm of the opinion that 2nd Ed is not at all bad. In fact, I think it's better than not bad; I think AD&D 2nd Edition is good.

    Funny, 'cause I once described it as "a monkey in a diaper that no one bothers changing" and something that I "dropped like a greasy fingernail taco".

    Thing of it is, it's a fine condensation of old-school D&D-ness, and you can ignore the splats, like you said. The core rulebooks are well-organized, the layouts are easy on the eye and things make enough sense for crazy adventures to happen.

    I am Dr Rotwang1, and I am pro-2nd Ed.

  6. I never forgave 2nd edition AD&D for what it did to the Ranger or it's unpardonably short DMG; other than that and a few minor irritations, it was OK. I liked the changes to the Thief skills.