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infinitypanda
2009-10-27, 10:24 PM
Hi everybody, infinitypanda here. I've been thinking about running my group through an older edition (either basic or 2e), and I've come here for advice. I already grok THAC0 and AC that goes down just fine. I've read the Primer to Old School Gaming. I was just wondering what else I, as a 3.5/4e/M&M DM should look out for.

Oh, and what's up with prime requisites? Do they have a justification?

drengnikrafe
2009-10-27, 10:53 PM
Alright, let's see here... Be ready to stop games a lot; everybody levels up at different times. Magic is complex, and a long process (1 hr per spell level, IIRC). Don't expect non-humans to get to high levels, and the Class/Race combos are painfully precise, in most cases. In regards to skill rolls, lower is better, so be ready to throw away everything you know about natural 20's, for the most part.

From what I've seen, the big difference between 2e and 3.5/4e is... in 2e, PCs are regular people in a dangerous world where everything spectacular is amazingly spectacular. Magic? Magic items? High Stats? Class Skills? It's absolutely insanely amazing! Plus, all the power is in the DMs hands in 2e, whereas 3e and on give the PCs much more freedom. As a result, your PCs may be a little angry when you take away so many of their freedoms, dropping back an edition like that. Be ready to be stern about the rules. They're there for a reason.

Remember, all of this is assuming I remember my time as a 2e-er right, and in my opinion. If you disagree... you are probably right. I think the phrase is... "take what I say with a grain of salt".

EDIT: Prime Requisites. Right. I totally forgot. In any case, the theory is... "I'm so naturally good at what I do (having that 15+ score in the key score(s)) that... I mean, I'm just naturally built to do this." People who are "naturally built" to do something tend to be better. People with genes that say they're strong are naturally better at strength based jobs. People who are naturally extremely inquisistive do much better as scientists (or the like). If you are born with average intellect and go into science... you may not do as well. Just because your mind wasn't formed to fit into that niche.

infinitypanda
2009-10-27, 10:57 PM
All of that advice shall be duly noted.

Mark Hall
2009-10-27, 10:59 PM
Hi everybody, infinitypanda here. I've been thinking about running my group through an older edition (either basic or 2e), and I've come here for advice. I already grok THAC0 and AC that goes down just fine. I've read the Primer to Old School Gaming. I was just wondering what else I, as a 3.5/4e/M&M DM should look out for.

Oh, and what's up with prime requisites? Do they have a justification?

Basically, the justification for Prime Reqs is that, if you're naturally good at something, it will come easier for you, and thus you will advance faster.

The main thing you should probably watch out for is spell memorization, especially if you're going to be playing higher levels... a wizard who blows his load is out of things for a while, because it will take days for a high-level wizard to rememorize all of the spells he's expended.

sambo.
2009-10-27, 11:05 PM
my advice: don't.

3ed simplified the mechanics of the game by a huge amount and generally streamlined gameplay by a similar margin.

us old skool 1ed folks (well, this old skool 1ed/2ed folk) with several boxes of 1ed/2ed stuff under the bed is in no hurry to return to those days of yor.

if you really want to play an older RPG, i'd suggest Paranoia second edition.

infinitypanda
2009-10-27, 11:20 PM
my advice: don't.

3ed simplified the mechanics of the game by a huge amount and generally streamlined gameplay by a similar margin.

us old skool 1ed folks (well, this old skool 1ed/2ed folk) with several boxes of 1ed/2ed stuff under the bed is in no hurry to return to those days of yor.

if you really want to play an older RPG, i'd suggest Paranoia second edition.

That said, I'd still like to at least give 2e a try. I figure everything's worth a try once.

Except FATAL.

drengnikrafe
2009-10-27, 11:47 PM
That said, I'd still like to at least give 2e a try. I figure everything's worth a try once.

Except FATAL.

People are most likely to stick with the edition they started with, and with good reason. Forward versions feel more contrived, too free, and lack realism. Backwards versions are too constricting, and have more nonsense that doesn't make sense.

I started as a 3e kid. I tried 2e, but it didn't suit my tastes (I like being able to achieve 10th level as a not-human, thank you. And multiclassing is nice too). I tried 4e, but it seemed too streamlined and lacked realism. Again, IMO.


So, final point of this whole thing... Yes, give it a try. Once. Don't put too much stock into it, though, you're extremely unlikely to turn.

sambo.
2009-10-27, 11:55 PM
People are most likely to stick with the edition they started with, and with good reason. Forward versions feel more contrived, too free, and lack realism. Backwards versions are too constricting, and have more nonsense that doesn't make sense.
i totally disagree with that statment.

i started in 1ed, when 2ed came along, it was like, WHEW, this is easier.

when 3ed came out, it was like OMG, so much simpler. everything is additive! none of that old "do i need to roll high or low here?!"

i've yet to try 4ed.

drengnikrafe
2009-10-27, 11:59 PM
i totally disagree with that statment.

i started in 1ed, when 2ed came along, it was like, WHEW, this is easier.

when 3ed came out, it was like OMG, so much simpler. everything is additive! none of that old "do i need to roll high or low here?!"

i've yet to try 4ed.

The reason I say this is because the only gamers I've ever met that started out in 2e (keep in mind, I am a teenager, so my gamer-pallate is limited) stayed in 2e, citing that 3e gave too many freedoms to PCs.

Zaydos
2009-10-28, 12:02 AM
Started with Red Box, was a little kid and liked it. Went to 2e looked better. 3.X came along and I finally upgraded to it and I love it still. 4e... I didn't enjoy as much. As far as narrative goes I think I like 2e best, but I like the character options of 3.X. So I moved to 3.X and then stayed; still like going back to 2e occasionally though.

infinitypanda
2009-10-28, 12:13 AM
As far as narrative goes I think I like 2e best

Ooh, this has my interest. Please go into more detail.

Zaydos
2009-10-28, 12:21 AM
Mostly that the rules got in the way least when I played it. Might have been because we knew the rules less, but as a DM I felt more comfortable making stuff on the fly, making my own rules, etc. If something didn't have a rule I made it; with 3.X I get caught up in RAW and kind of lose my way.

Last time I ran 2e it was a world where the gods had been slain and the PCs were actually fledgling gods slowly growing in power and trying to avoid execution from the "godking". It was a fun game although we went back to 3e before too long (just more familiar with it). Had to make the rules for being a fledgling god on the fly (granted some spells, and thematic abilities).

I could do the same thing in 3.X but I'd get caught in balancing things, and what this rulebook says, etc. I know a dozen campaign specific splatbooks for 2e but don't let that interfere like I sometimes do with 3.X so it gives me a freer room for narrative. 3.X also made it the assumption that the rules were the same for PCs and enemies, where as before the rules were the same for PCs and PCs but enemies functioned differently which also helped.

tl;dr: I feel constrained to play by the rules DMing 3.X but not 2e.

drengnikrafe
2009-10-28, 12:22 AM
Ooh, this has my interest. Please go into more detail.

If I may speak on behalf of 2e one more time...

3e and 4e have a lot of abilities to keep track of. You generally need to pay most of your attention to what your abilities let you do, and the DM does too. 2e has fewer such things, allowing more concentration of stories. Rather than everything being a math problem, things are simpler (sometimes). QED, focus on stories.

EDIT: Ninja'd. And bested.

infinitypanda
2009-10-28, 12:34 AM
Ah, I see. Well, I've decided to run my group through a little dungeon one-shot in basic dnd. This brings me to my next question: with only one cure light wounds spell per day, they're pretty much reduced to avoiding combat as much as possible, yes?

Eldariel
2009-10-28, 01:48 AM
The reason I say this is because the only gamers I've ever met that started out in 2e (keep in mind, I am a teenager, so my gamer-pallate is limited) stayed in 2e, citing that 3e gave too many freedoms to PCs.

I've played 2e AD&D, 1e AD&D, Basic, 3e, 3.5e and 4e (though only a little) and really enjoyed all except 4e, and even that's just because of the style. I don't know who you're talking about.

JonestheSpy
2009-10-28, 02:05 AM
Ah, I see. Well, I've decided to run my group through a little dungeon one-shot in basic dnd. This brings me to my next question: with only one cure light wounds spell per day, they're pretty much reduced to avoiding combat as much as possible, yes?

Actually, clerics and druids get bonus spells per day for high wisdom, though magic users don't for high intelligence. Probable written that way just to avoid the problem you describe.

And my $.02, 3.x is much better than earlier editions for two reasons: skill and feats. Earlier verisons, you didn't get to do anything if you weren't a thief. If you were, say, a cleric trapped in an alleyway trying to climb the wall to escape, or a fighter trying to sneak up on someone, forget about it - there were zero rules to determine whether you could possibly succeed.

Basically, 3.x took a lot of the good rules from other systems (most noticeably Chaosium's Runequest) and folded them into D&D.

Eldariel
2009-10-28, 02:09 AM
Actually, clerics and druids get bonus spells per day for high wisdom, though magic users don't for high intelligence. Probable written that way just to avoid the problem you describe.

And my $.02, 3.x is much better than earlier editions for two reasons: skill and feats. Earlier verisons, you didn't get to do anything if you weren't a thief. If you were, say, a cleric trapped in an alleyway trying to climb the wall to escape, or a fighter trying to sneak up on someone, forget about it - there were zero rules to determine whether you could possibly succeed.

Basically, 3.x took a lot of the good rules from other systems (most noticeably Chaosium's Runequest) and folded them into D&D.

That's arguable; the balance in the older versions is much better. 3e basically took balance and threw it out of the window. Also, the Christmas Tree-effect; it was generated in 3.X.

Decoy Lockbox
2009-10-28, 02:20 AM
Ah, I see. Well, I've decided to run my group through a little dungeon one-shot in basic dnd. This brings me to my next question: with only one cure light wounds spell per day, they're pretty much reduced to avoiding combat as much as possible, yes?

Imagine a level one fighter with a CON <= 14. He has, if you are playing trve kvlt oldschool AD&D, 1d10+0 hp, avg of 5.5 HP. Now, imagine that he is fighting a single orc. That orc does 1d8+1 damage per hit, avg of 5.5 damage per hit. So if that fighter ever gets hit, he stands a fairly decent chance of dying instantly (remember that you die at 0 HP). It takes 2,000 experience points to hit second level as a fighter, and an orc is worth about 20 experience points. You do the math! Surviving to second level isn't a right, its a privilege that must be earned.

I've played both 1e and 2e AD&D. AD&D 1e is actually my second favorite version of D&D, but its got a lot of problems. Our group found the rule somewhat freeing, which was bizarre; the rules are quite strict, but their lack of organization led us to be lackadaisical about actually finding the rules for any given situation (for example, the saving throws for characters are not in the PHB). Since we could only rarely find the rules we needed, we just made stuff up and had a blast! Of course, we could have made stuff up on our own, but then we wouldn't have had that classic AD&D flavor.

Also, the ranger in 1e can fight in plate armor, and cast both druid AND wizard spells.

Matthew
2009-10-28, 06:24 AM
It is all subjectively preferential. I much prefer AD&D to D20/3e, but over the years it has become apparent that, although a lot of criticism of the former is the result of misunderstanding, the major issues of disagreement are always "but I like that thing that you do not like".

AD&D is typically less combat orientated than D20/3e, but that also depends on your style of play. It is possible to play it as a hack and slash dungeon crawl (loads of people have done and still do, it is probably the most common method of play), but you are correct to note that a better strategy is to 'pick your fights'. Wandering patrol of orcs? Avoid. Orcs protecting a valuable looking chest in a 10 x 10 room? Figure out the best way to access the treasure, kill them if you have to.

You are well on your way having read the "Old School Primer" to a less rules orientated play experience, though AD&D feels more restrictive to many ("Where are all my carefully delineated options? What do you mean I have to make them up myself? How do I know if my fighter can ride a horse?"). It is a game master orientated game, occasionally disapragingly described as a "mother may I?" style of play, neatly avoiding the fact that heavier rules systems simply move the answer from the game master to the game designers.

Prime requisites are inheritance from Original Dungeons & Dragons where that was pretty much the only benefit of having high attributes in the prime requisite for a class. In actual play it makes very little difference. A 10% bonus means for 1 in 10 of every session played that character is a level ahead of the party, given that there is opportunity to advance in level (if training rules are used, chances are everybody will advance in level together anyway).

Given that this is your first foray into second edition you should stay away from any optional rules as much as possible, including proficiencies (and weapon proficiencies). The system is pretty robust and minimalist, you can add on bells and whistles once you become comfortable with the game and figure out what would improve the experience for you.

AD&D is no more for everyone than D20/3e, so do not worry if it turns out that it is not the game for you.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-10-28, 07:15 AM
I don't have a citation for this, but I heard that 2e published adventures actually had about as much treasure as 3.5 published adventures; and the only accounting for the relative prevalence of treasure in 3.5 was the formal guidelines for it.
I don't quite understand completely about all the 3.5 rules being restrictive. You're a human. You have the right and power to make up stuff. The existence of rules only adds another step (screw the rules) into the process. But w/e.

Based on my brief foray into 2E, I really would have to agree with Matthew about first forays. Stay away from optional rules. I jumped into 3.5's mess of sourcebooks just fine as a noob; but throwing in all the optional rules (and don't even mention the sourcebook) steepened the 2E learning curve. Since you're doing this to get to know 2E, start basic. If you think like a 3.5 player, it will be the best way to approach the feel.

bosssmiley
2009-10-28, 07:36 AM
Ah, I see. Well, I've decided to run my group through a little dungeon one-shot in basic dnd. This brings me to my next question: with only one cure light wounds spell per day, they're pretty much reduced to avoiding combat as much as possible, yes?

Yep. First level is a whole separate mini-game in which the objective is to gain enough loot to level up while avoiding crazy risks like combat. "Think before you charge" is an essential part of old school play, and fair fights are for suckers. :smallwink:

Some DMs throw in house rules that allow you to buy cheap potions of healing (or pain-numbing alkeyhol) before starting play, or they might let characters bind their wounds after a fight. Others let characters rest and heal up in secured areas of the dungeon. Such DMs and players are naught but simpering gurlymen who lack the courage to drain the brimming cup of delicious suffering that is 1st level. The Dice Gods are pleased by hecatombs of low-level character deaths.

Remember: adversity is the spice of dungeoneering. Also, check everything for traps.


And my $.02, 3.x is much better than earlier editions for two reasons: skill and feats. Earlier versions, you didn't get to do anything if you weren't a thief. If you were, say, a cleric trapped in an alleyway trying to climb the wall to escape, or a fighter trying to sneak up on someone, forget about it - there were zero rules to determine whether you could possibly succeed.

That's a misapprehension. It comes from a mistaken belief in ability exclusivity. The Thief has a specialized knowledge of, and ability with, certain adventuring tasks. This doesn't mean all the other characters are forbidden from trying any of them (albeit with reduced chances of success). What do you think ability checks and the various "Xin6 chance to detect" abilities were there for?

Yes, there is a lot of DM fiat in these things. But that just encourages players to think on their feet and come up with ways to persuade him/her that "I should succeed because...", or at least that they plotted and schemed well enough that they should get a roll for it.

Feats were a good idea badly executed. It was 3E's feats that finally set in stone the idea that "You MUST have this ability to do this" where earlier D&D had an attitude of "It doesn't say you can't. Roll for it". AD&D's kludged together proficiencies system had already set this course towards permission-based play; 3E just formalized it and wrapped it in 'RAW is law' pseudo-legalese.


Basically, 3.x took a lot of the good rules from other systems (most noticeably Chaosium's Runequest) and folded them into D&D.

Ironic, considering that RuneQuest started out as Steve Perrin's houserules for D&D. (He's the guy who co-wrote Chainmail with EGG)

Tyndmyr
2009-10-28, 08:42 AM
People are most likely to stick with the edition they started with, and with good reason. Forward versions feel more contrived, too free, and lack realism. Backwards versions are too constricting, and have more nonsense that doesn't make sense.

I started as a 3e kid. I tried 2e, but it didn't suit my tastes (I like being able to achieve 10th level as a not-human, thank you. And multiclassing is nice too). I tried 4e, but it seemed too streamlined and lacked realism. Again, IMO.


So, final point of this whole thing... Yes, give it a try. Once. Don't put too much stock into it, though, you're extremely unlikely to turn.

I disagree with this. I started in 2nd ed...which though I enjoyed it, I never grokked it entirely, and upon playing 3.0, and later, 3.5, preferred both upgrades. 4.0 though, I hate.

Most of the players I play with have similar preferences and experiences(though one retains a fondness for 2e), so I wouldn't write off the love of 3.x as just a "thats what you started with" bias.

t_catt11
2009-10-28, 09:12 AM
Let me state that I love 2e. I'll play d20 and have a good time, but my houseruled 2e is the system of choice for me. It comes down to the fact that I much prefer the feel that you are (possibly exceptional) people in a dangerous world, whereas d20 games feel like you are have to be a ninny to NOT be a hero.

One cure light wounds per day? How did you arrive at that? If your cleric has at least a 14 in wisdom, he gets two bonus 1st level spells per day. I houserule religions, so he might get another bonus spell, as well (something like how domains are done in d20).

Aldizog
2009-10-28, 09:12 AM
I have heard it said that in 3E and onward, you build a character, whereas in early editions, you play a character.

That's an oversimplification, and it can be taken the wrong way, but there is some truth to it. When there isn't as much mechanical differentiation between characters, the in-game decisions matter more for survival. On the other hand, late 2E does make builds much more an aspect of the game, including some really broken things like ability subscores, and the Complete Book of Thieves offers a classless thief. Not sure how that would work out in practice. Most kits don't offer huge mechanical changes; a fighter with the barbarian kit is much more like the "baseline" fighter than the 3E barbarian.

2E had some excellent settings. Also liked compared to 3E: more limited magic, drawbacks to some spells (like Haste and Teleport), much less buffing available, hard caps on ability scores, and saving throws getting objectively easier as you leveled up. The system wasn't perfect but it had a lot going for it.

infinitypanda
2009-10-28, 10:33 AM
Thank you all so much for the advice. I'm going to start a 2e campaign in a while once my M&M campaign wraps up. I am starting a little basic dnd mini-campaign to run concurrently in the meantime.

The reason that the cleric only has one spell per day is because we're using the Labyrinth Lord rules (LL is basically bd&d, right?), and under Wisdom I didn't see anything about bonus spells. Also the cleric only has 10 Wisdom. Yeah, he rolled pretty poorly for everything.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-28, 10:34 AM
Just chiming in that everybody gets locked into comparing 1st to 2nd to 3rd to 4th edition, but there's lots more. I run a Rules Cyclopedia campaign myself, but it doesn't have an edition tag because up through the RC TSR had 2 separate lines of D&D. Rules Cyclopedia D&D is great. It has a rules lite feel but has some of the things you'd want coming from a 3E mindset. It has skills, and the feats are wrapped up into the skills & weapon mastery rules. Weapon mastery for me is the shining crown of the system.

Cyrion
2009-10-28, 10:47 AM
One of the biggest changes I've noticed in making my transition from 1e and 2e to 3.x is in multiclassing. Almost everything else involves fairly simple changes, especially if you've played other games.

In 3.x multiclassing linearly and only until you can get into a prestige class is favored. This is largely because if you go with 2 classes you will always be half of the class levels of your single class companions, and this drops you waaaaayyy behind in the power curve. In the earlier editions you actually profited from multiclassing simultaneously. You got the abilities of two classes and were ever only one or two levels behind. This would extend even to moderately high level- except that non-humans, the only ones allowed to multi-class, didn't have level limits that topped them out at about 11th level.

As others have said, there's also a lot more "think for yourself" in the earlier editions. CR is an example- there's no such thing in early editions. TSR expected you as a DM to be able to figure out whether a given moster or group of monsters was appropriate. WOTC didn't think people were smart enough to do that on their own and introduced the semi-functional CR system.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-28, 11:07 AM
As others have said, there's also a lot more "think for yourself" in the earlier editions. CR is an example- there's no such thing in early editions. TSR expected you as a DM to be able to figure out whether a given moster or group of monsters was appropriate. WOTC didn't think people were smart enough to do that on their own and introduced the semi-functional CR system.

Not true, AD&D 1E definitely has a CR system, it uses Roman Numerals and goes from I to X.

Matthew
2009-10-28, 11:29 AM
Thank you all so much for the advice. I'm going to start a 2e campaign in a while once my M&M campaign wraps up. I am starting a little basic dnd mini-campaign to run concurrently in the meantime.

The reason that the cleric only has one spell per day is because we're using the Labyrinth Lord rules (LL is basically bd&d, right?), and under Wisdom I didn't see anything about bonus spells. Also the cleric only has 10 Wisdom. Yeah, he rolled pretty poorly for everything.

More or less; Labyrinth Lord is a simulacrum of Dungeons & Dragons Basic/Expert (B/X), and I believe you are correct that no bonus spells are gained from wisdom. In fact, in the "true" version clerics get no spells at first level, one of the differences between Labyrinth Lord and sthe source material.



Not true, AD&D 1E definitely has a CR system, it uses Roman Numerals and goes from I to X.

I to X doesn't actually tell you much of anything about expected party strength, just what dungeon level is suggested for the monster. I do not think I have ever even seen it used in a published module or advocated as a method of determining encounter difficulty. Technically, the experience point reward for defeating a monster would be a better guide, but there is no stated relationship between character level and experience points, and for good reason. The DMG goes into the subject a little when it points out that ten orcs are not likely an even match for a 10th level magician, but essentially says "judge for yourself".

Person_Man
2009-10-28, 11:34 AM
If you're looking for simpler, more roleplaying heavy rules, you might want to try the Storyteller System (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storytelling_System). I'm particularly fond of Mage the Ascension (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mage:_The_Ascension).

ken-do-nim
2009-10-28, 11:53 AM
I to X doesn't actually tell you much of anything about expected party strength, just what dungeon level is suggested for the monster. I do not think I have ever even seen it used in a published module or advocated as a method of determining encounter difficulty.

Well, I think the "dungeon level suggestion" is the answer. A 4th level party should have a very hard time with a monster usually found on the 7th dungeon level. Of course even the CR system in 3.5 is only a rough estimate, as we've discussed Tucker's kobolds to death here already.

hamlet
2009-10-28, 12:12 PM
AD&D's kludged together proficiencies system had already set this course towards permission-based play; 3E just formalized it and wrapped it in 'RAW is law' pseudo-legalese.


That's only partly accurate. Yes, the proficiency system did lay the ground for what became the skill system and the feat system, but most people misinterprate it as being a "you have to have x proficiency to do that" when the books explicitely stated that these were not indicators of what a person was capable of doing, but what a person was capable of doing professionaly.

The cooking proficiency was the primo example. Any idiot is capable of cooking up a night's worth of nourishing food, though it probably wouldn't be something you'd find in a restaurant where the waiters wear black ties. What the cooking proficiency gave you was the ability to cook on the level of a trained and seasoned chef, prepare gourmet meals, and probably open one's own eatery.

But then, of course, TSR really shot itself in the foot with a lot of idiocy later on, and even in the main book, when proficiencies did, indeed, start turning into a skill system rather than a profesionalism system.

jmbrown
2009-10-28, 12:23 PM
But then, of course, TSR really shot itself in the foot with a lot of idiocy later on, and even in the main book, when proficiencies did, indeed, start turning into a skill system rather than a profesionalism system.

Yeah, infinitypanda, be careful with the mid-90s reprints and fluff books like Unearthed Arcana and Player's Options. Towards the end so much garbage got tacked on the game turned into a clunky mess. It's optional so you don't have to use it but it really bloated the books for reference sakes and a new DM can easily bog his game down with wild magic rules and critical fumble tables.

Zaydos
2009-10-28, 12:30 PM
I remember my first impression of the Player's Options books. Okay my first was: "Cool I want this."

A year later it was: This is just a guide to break the game into pieces by total min-maxing.

Now its: Hey it's 3.X lite.

Even so I love 3.X and it's my favorite. I still like 2e, it works for what it's meant to be, but I have to agree don't use the mid-late 90s books.

Matthew
2009-10-28, 12:30 PM
Well, I think the "dungeon level suggestion" is the answer. A 4th level party should have a very hard time with a monster usually found on the 7th dungeon level. Of course even the CR system in 3.5 is only a rough estimate, as we've discussed Tucker's kobolds to death here already.

Without an expected level of power for a given party, that information is pretty useless. The CR system assumes a certain number of characters with a certain degree of wealth. Without an X to Y value the I to X notation is next to useless beyond the statement II is stronger than I, III is stronger then II and so on.

hamlet
2009-10-28, 12:53 PM
Without an expected level of power for a given party, that information is pretty useless. The CR system assumes a certain number of characters with a certain degree of wealth. Without an X to Y value the I to X notation is next to useless beyond the statement II is stronger than I, III is stronger then II and so on.

I think that there might have been a point to it being like that, in a way. After all, relative power level in AD&D isn't as closely tied to level as it is in later editions. When a party can kick a vampire's hind end in two rounds but gets there backsides handed to them by an ambush of half a dozen bugbears, well, that's kind of part of the fun.

The DM has to be aware of his party's capabilities and likely weaknesses and plan around them.

Dimers
2009-10-28, 06:49 PM
I've played 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and my focus has always been on what the characters can do besides combat. (It's clearly spelled out what everyone can do in combat.) Thus, I played thieves, wizards and the occasional bard in 2e, since they had abilities that could be used in social and/or sneaky situations. And I'm disgusted by the way 4e removes the opportunity to strongly specialize in a skill, and reduces noncombat abilities to a few (often mutually contradictory) powers per class.

This means I'm looking for rules to specify what my character is able to do. I wouldn't trust most DMs to be consistent and fair (or at least fun) in adjudicating social situations, acrobatics, senses, and so forth. If my conception of a character says I have a chance to pull off a difficult task but my DM tries to say "No way, you don't even get a roll", I want something to point to that supports my view of my character.

If you, as a DM, already know you work well with your players in creating a world and telling a story without constant disagreement about what is and what ain't ... then you won't have my need for 3e and can probably have a grand old time with 2e. It is, as others have noted, more focused on playing a role than on statting a sheet.

Finally, I'd like to add that 2e is harsher for more than just first-level characters. Hit points increase only very slowly after about ninth level, there are lots of save-or-die effects, and someone working with an unfamiliar system could readily make an error of balance that ends up with half the party slaughtered. I'd recommend running a few test sessions with throwaway characters.

infinitypanda
2009-10-28, 07:19 PM
Wow, you guys are great! Thanks for all the great responses.
@Person_Man: I've played Storyteller before, and I enjoyed it, but I love trying new things.

@ken-do-nim: I've heard of the Rules Cyclopedia, but I have no experience with it. What would you say it does well? Poorly?

@Zaydos: Okay, I'll avoid them. Thanks.

@Dimers: I'm definitely the type of DM who would let players pull shenanigans that aren't on their character sheets, but thank you for your concern.

Seriously, you guys are great.

truemane
2009-10-28, 07:37 PM
I started in Red Box D&D but 2e was my primary game of choice for much, much, much of my RP'ing life. As you've heard many times in this thread, there's lots of differences, and a lot of them come down to certain mind set. Only Humans can be Paladins. Dwarves can ONLY be Clerics, Fighters and Thieves. Only Humans, Elves and Half-Elves can be Magic-Users. Non-human races have attribute requirements.

A lot of this stems from the fact that the classes aren't supposed to be balanced. Paladins were better, mechanically, than Fighters, and so they had to have high attributes (17 Cha, 12 Str, 14 Wis or something along those lines) and they had a Code of Conduct to keep them in line.

This is partly a hold-over from the days of 1e, when the general assumption of the game was it was DM's vs Players and the goal was to survive the DM's / Module's attempts to kill you. So the general flow was you make a character, play it for a while, it dies. Make a new one.

But anyway...

The biggest difference in terms of game-play that I noticed between the two editions is the tactical combat. I never made a to-scale map in all the years I DM'd 2e. And there were a lot of those years, some of them with some complicated combats. But you guesstimated distance and made a ruling and moved on.

You can't play 3.x without a to-scale map. I'd be lost without one myself.

So I think you'll find you're making a lot of on-the-fly judgement calls about who can do what, exactly, and how long it takes. And hwow it actually happens.

That's what they mean by the game being focused on story. Can the Figher in Full-Plate charge across the crowded tavern, leap up onto the table, grab the candellabra and stab the orc in the eyes with it? I don't know. You tell me. With no real movement/round rules, no Move Actions or Standard Actions, no real rules for Jumping, poorly tacked on rules for Attacks of Opportunity, the answer will depend entirely on what you want your game to look like and feel like.

Oh! And one round is one minute long. So when you're looking at Spell Duration, remember that. 1 round/level is 1 minute per level. Easy to mess that up.

Tequila Sunrise
2009-10-28, 07:42 PM
That said, I'd still like to at least give 2e a try. I figure everything's worth a try once.

If you're going to put yourself through this ordeal, at least use the opportunity to run a campaign that no other edition has even attempted: if you can track down a copy of the Council of Wyrms, give it a shot and then tell us about it!

truemane
2009-10-28, 07:53 PM
If you're going to put yourself through this ordeal, at least use the opportunity to run a campaign that no other edition has even attempted: if you can track down a copy of the Council of Wyrms, give it a shot and then tell us about it!

Man, oh man, my one try of that was a disaster. I didn't plan it properly and it was just bad bad bad.

I've always wanted to try it again. It would be MAD easy to work through in 3.5.

Tequila Sunrise
2009-10-28, 08:12 PM
Man, oh man, my one try of that was a disaster. I didn't plan it properly and it was just bad bad bad.

I've always wanted to try it again. It would be MAD easy to work through in 3.5.
I actually made a few basic dragon classes when this idea came up a few months ago, which were IMO more balanced than standard classes, but most posters on that thread said 'Eh, just use gestalt rules.' And then nobody was actually willing to run CoW, including me, so the idea flopped.

Anywho, what went wrong with your CoW game?

Mark Hall
2009-10-28, 08:19 PM
Council of Wyrms falls apart once the first wizard gets a hold of Haste. ;-)

truemane
2009-10-28, 08:27 PM
Anywho, what went wrong with your CoW game?

Classic lack of consensus concerning primary purpose. I was planning a game of in-depth intrigue and careful gathering and marshaling of resources and managing of assets. My thinking: you're already freaking dragons, so other than other dragons, what's going to bother you?

And they wanted to rip dudes up and steal their stuff.

It just didn't work.

Someday I'll create a custom setting with some CoW feel and try it again. Maybe a series of islands. Or one large island and several smaller. Each a little potentate.

Hmmm.....

sadi
2009-10-28, 08:36 PM
I liked the fact that high level fighters weren't completely useless. And there was some attempt at balance, the different xp charts, the fact that fighter types could get more bonus hps from having a great con and saves were based on level so you could actually save reasonably well, of course as a caster I like newer editions where you can impose your will as you choose.

Zaydos
2009-10-28, 08:45 PM
I liked casters in 2e, and there were a few levels where magic-user needed less XP than fighter; for about 2 or 3 levels in the high single digits (and then fighter stopped with the exponential progression and went linear a few levels before wizard); but clerics get faster leveling than either. Fighters' extra attacks were useful too.

Never played the old editions above low levels though, but I still loved magic-users. 1 (mostly) useless spell per day? Or the ability to hit people with a sword all day? Give me the spell please :smallsmile: Although my favorite was Elf Fighter/Mage :smallbiggrin:

infinitypanda
2009-10-28, 09:18 PM
Great comments here, but if I could ask a favor? AD&D vs Rule Cyclopedia. Not a "which is better, which is worse" or "list every difference," but do you guys have an opinion? Holistic opinions are fine; feel free to not list every single thing (unless you want to).

Tequila Sunrise
2009-10-28, 09:27 PM
Council of Wyrms falls apart once the first wizard gets a hold of Haste. ;-)
Lies and calumny! (CoW dragons need XP and bling bling to gain age categories too.)


And they wanted to rip dudes up and steal their stuff.
I'd like to claim that I was above all that when I owned CoW as a kid, but no, it was all about killing things and increasing my pile of shinies. And getting +5 wing spurs, +5 tail spikes and if I could talk the DM into it, +5 steel jaws and +5 claw tips. In other words, all the things that a 3e dragon would take for granted. :smallwink: Considering the fact that demihuman adventurers didn't get stat boosts in 2e, and the CoW dragon PC advancement charts, it shouldn't be surprising. :smalltongue:

Aldizog
2009-10-28, 10:47 PM
Great comments here, but if I could ask a favor? AD&D vs Rule Cyclopedia. Not a "which is better, which is worse" or "list every difference," but do you guys have an opinion? Holistic opinions are fine; feel free to not list every single thing (unless you want to).
I'll say Rules Cyclopedia. I started on BECMI (with Moldvay) and liked it more than AD&D.

AD&D seemed to have a lot of needless complexity, but Exceptional Strength was the worst. Just made ability scores TOO important.

BECMI's race-as-class is kind of simplistic, but, really, almost every dwarf in AD&D seemed to be a fighter, and almost every elf a fighter/magic-user, so not that big a deal. And easy to house-rule differently.

Weapon Mastery was neat if a little clunky and overpowered; it was cool that becoming a master of the longsword offered somewhat different abilities than becoming a master of another weapon. Could be simplified.

greenknight
2009-10-29, 02:54 AM
Ah, I see. Well, I've decided to run my group through a little dungeon one-shot in basic dnd. This brings me to my next question: with only one cure light wounds spell per day, they're pretty much reduced to avoiding combat as much as possible, yes?

If it's basic D&D, the Cleric can't cast spells until 2nd level (and doesn't get bonus spells, either). If you're talking 1st Ed AD&D, the Cleric can cast spells at 1st level, and will get bonus spells for a Wisdom of 13+.

If it's a choice between AD&D and classic D&D, I recommend you go with classic D&D. It's a fairly simple, fun game, and if you have the Rules Cyclopedia, everything you need to play it up to (but not including) Immortal levels can be found in one book.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-29, 08:10 AM
The Rules Cyclopedia is the culmination of the "classic" aka "basic" line of D&D. It takes a system that was perhaps too rules-lite and makes it just right. I will say though that having played 3.5, there are definitely small things here and there that I port back into my RC game. I've got a nice house rules pdf if you are interested. Where BECMI/RC really shines is the way it follows a progression from dungeon crawl to wilderness crawl to carving out outposts to ruling a territory to ruling a kingdom to ascending to immortality. There are rules for territory rule, jousts, conducting wars, conducting sieges, etc. It has a very medieval feel to it. Also the RC rules were particularly designed to support very high level play (goes up to level 36, then immortals rules), and those who have played that high marvel at how balanced the system is.

AD&D is great too; I run it in my play-by-post forum. AD&D is very gritty; as Aldizog pointed out it has a lot of rules, and in a pbp format it is easier to take all those rules into account. That said, many people don't use all the AD&D rules at the gaming table and the system works just fine.

In either system you'll feel more freedom to make tweaks and house rules than in later systems like 3.5.

Overall, when it comes to choosing a system, I think you need to get past all the little debates about rolling high or low or unified systems. Anyone can master any of these D&D editions. What's really important is the question, "Does this edition of D&D support the kind of story I want to run?" I find that RC & AD&D are best for my kinds of stories. 3.5's power levels are spread too wide for my tastes (in other words, a 10th level party is really in for it with a CR 18 foe and can mop up a CR 4 foe), in AD&D the power levels are much closer together and I find that opens up more interesting plot lines.

hamlet
2009-10-29, 08:24 AM
@ken-do-nim: I've heard of the Rules Cyclopedia, but I have no experience with it. What would you say it does well? Poorly?



As far as the RC goes, I'm going to say something that'll have the grognards boxing me about the ears: everything that is good about the RC is better in Labyrinth Lord. Plus, you know, free . . .

With a few notable exceptions, pretty much everything good that you'll find in the RC is in LL, but more cleanly presented and leaner. LL is leaner and meaner and, IMO, just better for quick use in play.

That said, however, there are a number of things that make the RC very worthwhile if you want to shell out the cash to grab up a copy (they can get pricey when the seller knows what he has). First, some of the expanded rules for higher level play including domain management (which is in LL, but is more comprehensive in RC), mass combat (a very spiffy little system for abstracted battles), and a short primer on the immortal rules. Add in, as well, weapon mastery rules and a few other optional systems like skills and etc. and the RC is definately got some good stuff in it.

Second, and more importantly, the RC has a wealth of really good advice for DM's of all skill levels. On top of that, it has a very brief overview of the Known World campaign setting which is nice along with some great maps.

Third, it has a LOT of monsters and magic items in it.

Fourth, the Druid, Monk/Mystic, and the Avenger/Paladin/Knight are all present as character classes.

I recommend getting both of them if you've got the chiggs for them.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-29, 09:52 AM
LL is leaner, no doubt about it, and that's why I vastly prefer the RC. LL lacks:
- grappling rules
- diverse weaponry (RC has bolas, nets, blowpipes, pikes, shield weapons)
- demi-human attack ranks and abilities
- combat maneuvers

Also as hamlet noted the inclusion of a primer on the World of Mystara is a big selling point for me. One of the main reasons I am running an RC campaign is because I wanted to run a Mystara campaign, and the RC has the maps for the players to use and blurbs on the major countries right there in the rule book. We have found this extremely useful. Don't get the impression that the RC rules are tied to the Mystara world, though, they are generic.

So yeah, the RC may be the single greatest rpg book ever made: it is the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, and Mystara campaign setting all rolled into one book.

infinitypanda
2009-10-29, 10:30 AM
Okay, I'm starting LL this weekend. Any of you guys played the Dragon Warrior Monsters games? I'm trying to go for the planehopping feel of those. The PCs won't tame monsters or anything, but I'm just going to try to get the slightly procedurally generated adventure feel. Would you suggest RC or AD&D if I wanted to make a longer campaign of this?

hamlet
2009-10-29, 10:48 AM
LL is leaner, no doubt about it, and that's why I vastly prefer the RC. LL lacks:
- grappling rules
- diverse weaponry (RC has bolas, nets, blowpipes, pikes, shield weapons)
- demi-human attack ranks and abilities
- combat maneuvers

Also as hamlet noted the inclusion of a primer on the World of Mystara is a big selling point for me. One of the main reasons I am running an RC campaign is because I wanted to run a Mystara campaign, and the RC has the maps for the players to use and blurbs on the major countries right there in the rule book. We have found this extremely useful. Don't get the impression that the RC rules are tied to the Mystara world, though, they are generic.

So yeah, the RC may be the single greatest rpg book ever made: it is the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monster Manual, and Mystara campaign setting all rolled into one book.

Yeah, I agree with you for the most part, but for me, in actual play, I'd want the LL instead merely because of its leaner and more streamlined nature. I'll still have the RC on the table, but it'd be where I went for rules about other things.

Also, better for a beginner.

But yeah, I want both.

archmage45
2009-10-29, 10:57 AM
If I was sent to a desert island, and I could only bring one book with me, the Rules Cyclopedia is it.

I started with it, moved on to AD&D2e, 3.0, 3.5, 4e, and I still pull out my RC on a regular basis.

hamlet
2009-10-29, 10:58 AM
If I was sent to a desert island, and I could only bring one book with me, the Rules Cyclopedia is it.

I started with it, moved on to AD&D2e, 3.0, 3.5, 4e, and I still pull out my RC on a regular basis.

Nope. Would be OSRIC for me, only because I can't bring along all three PHB/DMG/MM from AD&D 2e.

fusilier
2009-10-29, 11:00 AM
While we are comparing different versions, there was something that really bugged me when 3e came out and I was wondering if anybody else felt this way:

I've never been a big fan of any version of D&D, but while 2e AD&D had kind of an awkward system (sometimes roll high, sometimes roll low), the system was still consistent and for the most part made sense. When there was an ability check, you wanted to roll lower than your ability score. However, in 3e they changed the fundamentals of the system, and simply linked the ability scores to a modifier. This made odd numbered stats totally useless. They were simply stepping stones to even numbered stats. That bugged the heck out of me. Why not use a more appropriate scale? Instead you have two values that give the same bonus, but one has a greater "cost" associated with it. My only guess is that they wanted the character sheet to "look" more like 2e AD&D. While they seem to have made a workable system out of it, it feels like a hack inserted in a core mechanic.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-10-29, 11:10 AM
Ability damage, I think. Gives you a buffer against, say, 3d4 ability damage. It is annoying about odd-scores being useless.

Random832
2009-10-29, 11:12 AM
How about stacking a "half" bonus point with a half point in cross class skills?

Mark Hall
2009-10-29, 11:12 AM
Part of the original design was that bonuses came at evens, and feat requirements came at odds.

Altair_the_Vexed
2009-10-29, 11:40 AM
Just chiming in that everybody gets locked into comparing 1st to 2nd to 3rd to 4th edition, but there's lots more. I run a Rules Cyclopedia campaign myself, but it doesn't have an edition tag because up through the RC TSR had 2 separate lines of D&D. Rules Cyclopedia D&D is great. It has a rules lite feel but has some of the things you'd want coming from a 3E mindset. It has skills, and the feats are wrapped up into the skills & weapon mastery rules. Weapon mastery for me is the shining crown of the system.
Mostly, I concur.... but the Cyclopedia (and the Basic, Expert, Companion and Master Sets is was based on) suffer from the "Demi-humans are a class" issue.

If you're going to go with the Cyclopedia, I'd recommend allowing elves and dwarves and halflings to be thieves and clerics, too - work out the difference in XP per level, and adjust what they need for those classes, and set the maximum limit the same way (or use the optional rules in the back for unlimited demi-humans).

ken-do-nim
2009-10-29, 02:45 PM
While we are comparing different versions, there was something that really bugged me when 3e came out and I was wondering if anybody else felt this way:

I've never been a big fan of any version of D&D, but while 2e AD&D had kind of an awkward system (sometimes roll high, sometimes roll low), the system was still consistent and for the most part made sense. When there was an ability check, you wanted to roll lower than your ability score. However, in 3e they changed the fundamentals of the system, and simply linked the ability scores to a modifier. This made odd numbered stats totally useless. They were simply stepping stones to even numbered stats. That bugged the heck out of me. Why not use a more appropriate scale? Instead you have two values that give the same bonus, but one has a greater "cost" associated with it. My only guess is that they wanted the character sheet to "look" more like 2e AD&D. While they seem to have made a workable system out of it, it feels like a hack inserted in a core mechanic.

For me, that paled in comparison to removing mechanics like bend bars/lift gates and open doors. So in 2E, if I have an 18 or so strength I can open a stuck door around 5 in 6, pretty good odds. In 3E I get a +4 to the dc check, which isn't nearly as big a boost. Likewise, if someone says make a strength check and you get to roll 18 or less on a d20 to make it, you have only a 10% chance of failure.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-29, 02:54 PM
Mostly, I concur.... but the Cyclopedia (and the Basic, Expert, Companion and Master Sets is was based on) suffer from the "Demi-humans are a class" issue.

If you're going to go with the Cyclopedia, I'd recommend allowing elves and dwarves and halflings to be thieves and clerics, too - work out the difference in XP per level, and adjust what they need for those classes, and set the maximum limit the same way (or use the optional rules in the back for unlimited demi-humans).

That bothers a lot of people, I know, but bear with me for a second.

Dwarves: In one of the supplements (Gaz6 I think), the Dwarven Cleric is introduced, so that takes care of that. I don't really care for the dwarven thief archetype.

Elves: I really like the concept that all elves are magical, period. An option for an elf to mix thieving and magic instead of fighting and magic might be nice, agreed. The Gaz5 supplement introduced an alternate spell list for elves so that elven magic is different from human magic, which has great flavor, and it contains some druid & cleric spells.

Halflings: I can see the desire for a thiefly halfling, though I give all halflings a move silent ability due to their padded feet, so combined with their hide ability I'm not sure it is really needed.

I certainly wouldn't want someone to not play RC D&D with me just because those class choices don't exist in the core rules, as Altair said you can just make the classes yourself. Homebrewing is half the fun of RC D&D.

In my campaign there are 20 class choices for pcs. I bring in the OD&D illusionist, ranger, and bard from Best of Dragon I, there's an OD&D warlock from a Dungeoneer magazine, I allow druids to start at level 1, there's a shaman class in one of the Gaz's, and I have variations of the basic classes in cloistered cleric, war priest, sorcerer, and swashbuckler. Nobody has asked yet for a halfling, nevermind a halfling thief, but if asked I want to make a slightly different class called the Halfling Burglar.

Matthew
2009-10-29, 05:17 PM
Great comments here, but if I could ask a favor? AD&D vs Rule Cyclopedia. Not a "which is better, which is worse" or "list every difference," but do you guys have an opinion? Holistic opinions are fine; feel free to not list every single thing (unless you want to).

I prefer AD&D myself, but I prefer the classic attribute array to the advanced one and various other things. They are very similar games, so it is hard to really differentiate them strongly. I suppose my overall impression of classic is that it is expected to be played to a higher level and it is designed with that in mind. On the whole, you would probably be best served borrowing from both.



AD&D seemed to have a lot of needless complexity, but Exceptional Strength was the worst. Just made ability scores TOO important.

I agree. The strange thing is that when it first appeared a strength of 13 was sufficient to get +1 to hit. One interesting recently suggested solution is to disconnect exceptional strength from the normal ratings and have every fighter benefit from it like a kind of weapon specialisation substitute.



BECMI's race-as-class is kind of simplistic, but, really, almost every dwarf in AD&D seemed to be a fighter, and almost every elf a fighter/magic-user, so not that big a deal. And easy to house-rule differently.

Yep.



Weapon Mastery was neat if a little clunky and overpowered; it was cool that becoming a master of the longsword offered somewhat different abilities than becoming a master of another weapon. Could be simplified.

Never much of a fan of weapon mastery, but I can see why it would appeal.



If it's basic D&D, the Cleric can't cast spells until 2nd level (and doesn't get bonus spells, either). If you're talking 1st Ed AD&D, the Cleric can cast spells at 1st level, and will get bonus spells for a Wisdom of 13+.

As mentioned earlier, InfinityPanda is using Labyrinth Lord, and one of the ways in which it deviates from the source material is that clerics get a spell at first level. There was quite a furore over that...



In either system you'll feel more freedom to make tweaks and house rules than in later systems like 3.5.

Overall, when it comes to choosing a system, I think you need to get past all the little debates about rolling high or low or unified systems. Anyone can master any of these D&D editions. What's really important is the question, "Does this edition of D&D support the kind of story I want to run?" I find that RC & AD&D are best for my kinds of stories. 3.5's power levels are spread too wide for my tastes (in other words, a 10th level party is really in for it with a CR 18 foe and can mop up a CR 4 foe), in AD&D the power levels are much closer together and I find that opens up more interesting plot lines.
Agreed.



As far as the RC goes, I'm going to say something that'll have the grognards boxing me about the ears: everything that is good about the RC is better in Labyrinth Lord. Plus, you know, free . . .

With a few notable exceptions, pretty much everything good that you'll find in the RC is in LL, but more cleanly presented and leaner. LL is leaner and meaner and, IMO, just better for quick use in play.

That said, however, there are a number of things that make the RC very worthwhile if you want to shell out the cash to grab up a copy (they can get pricey when the seller knows what he has). First, some of the expanded rules for higher level play including domain management (which is in LL, but is more comprehensive in RC), mass combat (a very spiffy little system for abstracted battles), and a short primer on the immortal rules. Add in, as well, weapon mastery rules and a few other optional systems like skills and etc. and the RC is definitely got some good stuff in it.

Second, and more importantly, the RC has a wealth of really good advice for DM's of all skill levels. On top of that, it has a very brief overview of the Known World campaign setting which is nice along with some great maps.

Third, it has a LOT of monsters and magic items in it.

Fourth, the Druid, Monk/Mystic, and the Avenger/Paladin/Knight are all present as character classes.

I recommend getting both of them if you've got the chiggs for them.

Also agreed; Labyrinth Lord is a good update of B/X and BEMCI, though not without its problems.

Zovc
2009-10-29, 06:03 PM
I already grok THAC0 and AC that goes down just fine.

I just wanted to point this pun out in case no one noticed it.

I'll be on my way now! *skips away*

infinitypanda
2009-10-29, 06:23 PM
I just wanted to point this pun out in case no one noticed it.

I'll be on my way now! *skips away*

Ooh, I didn't notice that pun. Can you explain it?

Edit: is it because "grok" also means "drink" and "goes down fine" is a way to describe an especially smooth drink?

Thane of Fife
2009-10-29, 07:03 PM
Ooh, I didn't notice that pun. Can you explain it?

Edit: is it because "grok" also means "drink" and "goes down fine" is a way to describe an especially smooth drink?

I think it might be that "AC goes down" and "that goes down fine".

I'm not entirely sure.

In other news, I encourage this interest in older editions of Dungeons and Dragons, because they shall forever be where my heart is at. Personally, I began with Dragon Quest, which was sort of like a board game version of Basic.

And, as a general challenge to all present: here's (http://www.sporcle.com/games/DD_classes.php) a "name all the core D&D classes, ever" quiz. I managed to get them all. Can you?

infinitypanda
2009-10-29, 07:17 PM
Dag. I got every single one except Specialist Wizard, from 2e.

amaranth69
2009-10-29, 09:32 PM
I have to put my two cents in here. I started playing AD&D in the early '80's. Since then I have played D&D, 2.0, 3.5, and 4th ed. I have to say that the most fun I have had both as a player and a DM has been playing AD&D with just the 2 core rule books DMG and PH. Later editions, specifically 3.5 just seem to me to be a pen and paper trading card game, whoever bought the most books built the most powerful character and wins. With 4th ed at least you are able to subscribe to DDI and use the character generator and have access to all of the latest and greatest even if you don't purchase the books. That being said, I also have to comment that regardless of the edition I love gaming. LOL

Good Gaming All,
Amaranth

Zaydos
2009-10-29, 10:07 PM
And, as a general challenge to all present: here's (http://www.sporcle.com/games/DD_classes.php) a "name all the core D&D classes, ever" quiz. I managed to get them all. Can you?

I got them all... took me 3 minutes, one and a half for just one class. I'd have possibly missed specialist mage but I started listing them by name.

Zovc
2009-10-29, 10:25 PM
I think it might be that "AC goes down" and "that goes down fine".

I'm not entirely sure.

That's what I was trying to point out.

I played Baldur's Gate as a kid. It took a while for me to realize that a negative armor class was better (so I like to think the system is unintuitive), but it was pretty clear when gear with higher armor classes made my armor lower. XD

Zaydos
2009-10-29, 10:48 PM
I never had trouble with the lower AC thing, I just started as a kid and since that was the rule it was the rule. I think I asked when I first played and my older brother said something to the effect "that's what the book says."

Roderick_BR
2009-10-30, 07:54 AM
People are most likely to stick with the edition they started with, and with good reason. Forward versions feel more contrived, too free, and lack realism. Backwards versions are too constricting, and have more nonsense that doesn't make sense.

I started as a 3e kid. I tried 2e, but it didn't suit my tastes (I like being able to achieve 10th level as a not-human, thank you. And multiclassing is nice too). I tried 4e, but it seemed too streamlined and lacked realism. Again, IMO.


So, final point of this whole thing... Yes, give it a try. Once. Don't put too much stock into it, though, you're extremely unlikely to turn.
Most likely, but not always. I started with 2e, and was amazed with 3e.
And my friends, with whom I learned to play, started with 1e, moved fully to 2e, and then into 3e. My old group disbanded before we could try 4e, so I can't five my thoughts on that.
But by what I read about 1e, I'd like to give it a try some day.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 08:27 AM
Yeah, I'd give it a shot some time. I expect it would likely be pretty lethal and have a lot of rough edges, but it'd be fun to give it a go just 'cause.

Kaiyanwang
2009-10-30, 08:41 AM
Most likely, but not always. I started with 2e, and was amazed with 3e.
And my friends, with whom I learned to play, started with 1e, moved fully to 2e, and then into 3e. My old group disbanded before we could try 4e, so I can't five my thoughts on that.
But by what I read about 1e, I'd like to give it a try some day.

This is valid for me, too. I played BECMI, 2e, BECMI again, 3.0, 3.5.

3.5 is y favourite (even if I try to keep the spirit of 2e when I can) but if absolutely not my first edition played.

I refuted to switch only once.. guess when :smalltongue:

Thane of Fife
2009-10-30, 08:58 AM
As an aside, while I agree with the people here who say that you shouldn't use all of the various supplements to 2e, it should be noted that, used sparingly, they can add a lot to the game. A world where all wizards are Wild Mages or Channelers, for example, or where clerics get powerful granted powers rather than large numbers of spells can be very interesting. You just need to be sparing.

Zaydos
2009-10-30, 09:13 AM
I loved the Wild Magic table in the Tome of Magic... never got to use it. I like the 2e approach to wild magic better than the 3e.

Legends and Lore (2e) or the original Deities and Demigods are also excellent. I still use 2e Legends and Lore when making deities based on real world myths despite having access to the 3e Deities and Demigods and playing 3e. I will say some of the clerics, such as those of Odin, that fought as fighters were probably a little too strong even if their spell list was nerfed compared to a normal cleric (they were still a fighter + with less XP needed).

That said I'd say for a beginners' game I'd stick closer to core since it's simpler.

Aldizog
2009-10-30, 09:23 AM
I will say some of the clerics, such as those of Odin, that fought as fighters were probably a little too strong even if their spell list was nerfed compared to a normal cleric (they were still a fighter + with less XP needed).
Eh... no multiple attacks, no weapon specialization, no Exceptional Strength. Played a cleric of Odin in 2E and it didn't remotely compare to the ubiquitous twin-longsword 18/95 Cuisinarts in the party.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-30, 09:34 AM
Yeah, I'd give it a shot some time. I expect it would likely be pretty lethal and have a lot of rough edges, but it'd be fun to give it a go just 'cause.

I think the lethality of AD&D compared to later editions is way overblown. I don't think the pc kill rate between AD&D and 3.5 has been significantly different in my experience. (More energy drain though). Now the Classic line, that's a different story. Everyone except the magic-user is dropped down a hit die size, and clerics don't get spells at 1st level. I think the funniest thing about older edition talk is that Basic D&D is actually the hardest to play. Ever take a Basic party through Keep on the Borderlands? Meatgrinder central!

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 09:37 AM
I think the lethality of AD&D compared to later editions is way overblown. I don't think the pc kill rate between AD&D and 3.5 has been significantly different in my experience. (More energy drain though). Now the Classic line, that's a different story. Everyone except the magic-user is dropped down a hit die size, and clerics don't get spells at 1st level. I think the funniest thing about older edition talk is that Basic D&D is actually the hardest to play. Ever take a Basic party through Keep on the Borderlands? Meatgrinder central!

Actually, I can attest to this. I've lost 3 characters in the last year playing 4e. In 2e, that would have been a nearly-catastrophic loss.

jmbrown
2009-10-30, 09:59 AM
I think the lethality of AD&D compared to later editions is way overblown. I don't think the pc kill rate between AD&D and 3.5 has been significantly different in my experience. (More energy drain though). Now the Classic line, that's a different story. Everyone except the magic-user is dropped down a hit die size, and clerics don't get spells at 1st level. I think the funniest thing about older edition talk is that Basic D&D is actually the hardest to play. Ever take a Basic party through Keep on the Borderlands? Meatgrinder central!

AD&D 2E gave PCs more oomph but 1E is pretty damn lethal. You have to roll for your hit points at level 1 (hooray, Fighter with 3hp LETS ROCK), magic-users get a whopping one spell slot, and a lot of early modules expected you to have henchmen on hand to act as meat shields or face plant traps.

2E gave you a fighting chance with the 1995 reprint including options that finally made you feel like an epic hero. But yeah, the classic line's mortality rate is ridiculous. The DM should just say "roll d6, on a 1 you see second level."

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 10:09 AM
But yeah, the classic line's mortality rate is ridiculous. The DM should just say "roll d6, on a 1 you see second level."

It is a great aid that character creation is so fast, yes? ;-)

ken-do-nim
2009-10-30, 10:24 AM
AD&D 2E gave PCs more oomph but 1E is pretty damn lethal. You have to roll for your hit points at level 1 (hooray, Fighter with 3hp LETS ROCK), magic-users get a whopping one spell slot, and a lot of early modules expected you to have henchmen on hand to act as meat shields or face plant traps.

Unearthed Arcana made it an official rule that at first level the hp minimum is half your die size rounded up, so fighters can't start with less than 6.

I love the henchmen/hireling shields. It allows the game to feel deadly because they drop like flies without your main pcs getting hurt as much.

Matthew
2009-10-30, 10:28 AM
2E gave you a fighting chance with the 1995 reprint including options that finally made you feel like an epic hero. But yeah, the classic line's mortality rate is ridiculous. The DM should just say "roll d6, on a 1 you see second level."
The text of the 1989 and 1995 versions is 99.9% identical. To the best of my knowledge, the Complete Fighter's Handbook was the first place to suggest a full hit die for warrior types. You may be thinking of the "option" series, which allowed for greater character customisation, but it did very little for the average fighter to be honest.

Mark Hall
2009-10-30, 10:36 AM
The text of the 1989 and 1995 versions is 99.9% identical. To the best of my knowledge, the Complete Fighter's Handbook was the first place to suggest a full hit die for warrior types. You may be thinking of the "option" series, which allowed for greater character customisation, but it did very little for the average fighter to be honest.

In many ways, I wish Combat and Tactics had been developed after Skills and Powers... the butt-kicking options that Wizards and Clerics got in Spells and magic might have then shown up in the book about fighters.

In many ways, I feel that TSR (and, to a lesser extent, WotC) haven't really known what to do with combat specialists... or even non-magicians in general. Everyone can fight, but they've never really given those who specialize in it special abilities beyond what is possessed by the average person... just things that give them a couple more bonuses (specialization, mastery, etc). WotC did this far better, especially with things like skill tricks and ToB... but overcoming the "fighters are just good at what everyone does" is a major hurdle, IMO.

Matthew
2009-10-30, 11:22 AM
In many ways, I wish Combat and Tactics had been developed after Skills and Powers... the butt-kicking options that Wizards and Clerics got in Spells and magic might have then shown up in the book about fighters.

In many ways, I feel that TSR (and, to a lesser extent, WotC) haven't really known what to do with combat specialists... or even non-magicians in general. Everyone can fight, but they've never really given those who specialize in it special abilities beyond what is possessed by the average person... just things that give them a couple more bonuses (specialization, mastery, etc). WotC did this far better, especially with things like skill tricks and ToB... but overcoming the "fighters are just good at what everyone does" is a major hurdle, IMO.

I go back and forth on the issue. These days I have a great appreciation for the simplicity of the fighter class, and prefer to play without proficiencies or any other bells and whistles. Roll attributes, select a race, choose a class, buy equipment and off you go. A load of fiddly abilities to consider detracts from development in play and integration into the setting as a personality.

On the other hand, I can appreciate that this potentially makes for very similar characters and repetitive combats with limited choices, some players reacting by defining their characters by the "stuff" that gives them tactical options. The remedy for that without defined options is a game master who understands the design of the game and has a relationship with the players that allows for flexible play within reasonably understood limits. Not necessarily the easiest thing to find.

One of the things we have been trying to do with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is try to guide groups in that direction with optional suggested "rulings" that are somewhat analogous to skill tricks and the like. The real issue is that spell casters and non-spell casters play completely differently because they are completely different. Unless you are prepared to make fighters "good at fighting, bad at spells" or magicians "can cast spells, cannot fight" there is no really viable game play solution.

Aldizog
2009-10-30, 11:32 AM
In many ways, I feel that TSR (and, to a lesser extent, WotC) haven't really known what to do with combat specialists... or even non-magicians in general. Everyone can fight, but they've never really given those who specialize in it special abilities beyond what is possessed by the average person... just things that give them a couple more bonuses (specialization, mastery, etc). WotC did this far better, especially with things like skill tricks and ToB... but overcoming the "fighters are just good at what everyone does" is a major hurdle, IMO.
In 2E, fighters aren't just good at what everyone does. They're AMAZING. They're so much better that they leave everybody else in the dust, except for blaster wizards. The combination of multiple attacks and Exceptional Strength meant they were carving up monsters left and right. The thief's backstab generally wasn't usable multiple times per fight. Most wizard spells allowed saves (and most of those that didn't were touch), and saves got easier to make as the monsters got tougher. The wizard couldn't easily scribe scrolls for himself at low level, nor expect to be able to buy a wand of fireballs. The cleric didn't have anywhere near the spells that he got in 3E and couldn't use longswords (most of the powerful magic weapons); his offensive power much much lower. Specialist priests could use swords but suffered greatly on spell spheres.

3E really boosted all the other characters' capabilities in a melee fight, closing this gap considerably. Before that, thieves dealt with traps, clerics healed, wizards blasted and problem-solved, and fighters killed things. Fighters killed things so well that the party wizard could actually hold his magic back if not needed, and NOT blast away. Why do that? Because *in practice*, nova-ing, finding a place to rest, defining your security measures, rolling for random encounters, re-prepping spells, and then continuing takes gaming time. Gaming time is your most precious resource; pushing on gets you to the fun stuff sooner.

Jayabalard
2009-10-30, 11:55 AM
us old skool 1ed folks (well, this old skool 1ed/2ed folk) with several boxes of 1ed/2ed stuff under the bed is in no hurry to return to those days of yor.There are still a fair amount of people who continue to play 1e and 2e (there have been several people posting to that effect here over the last 2 or 3 years )

jmbrown
2009-10-30, 12:14 PM
Unearthed Arcana made it an official rule that at first level the hp minimum is half your die size rounded up, so fighters can't start with less than 6.

I love the henchmen/hireling shields. It allows the game to feel deadly because they drop like flies without your main pcs getting hurt as much.


And as I mentioned earlier in this thread I felt Unearthed Arcana and the Options books were the downfall of TSR and in a way the prequel to the 3rd edition mind set of building a strong structure on weak supports.

edit: Wait, are you talking about AD&D 1E's Unearthed Arcana? Look, I hate every UA. Every single one. AD&D 1E's UA introduced some truly overpowered class (fear the cavalier... no, seriously start fearing). I liked the additional items and that non-humans could advance an extra 2 levels if they were single classed but every UA book is one big mess IMO.


The text of the 1989 and 1995 versions is 99.9% identical. To the best of my knowledge, the Complete Fighter's Handbook was the first place to suggest a full hit die for warrior types. You may be thinking of the "option" series, which allowed for greater character customisation, but it did very little for the average fighter to be honest.

I don't have the books on me right now to check but I'm certain the first edition didn't contain all the variant rules like using proficiency points for special skills.


There are still a fair amount of people who continue to play 1e and 2e (there have been several people posting to that effect here over the last 2 or 3 years )

I'm actually thinking of starting a game. Who wants to play AD&D 1E? The fast and loose "play it by ear" combat would be great for smooth pbp play.

Jayabalard
2009-10-30, 12:18 PM
I don't have the books on me right now to check but I'm certain the first edition didn't contain all the variant rules like using proficiency points for special skills.the PHB didn't but several of the other books did have proficiency points, as I recall: Oriental adventures, the Wilderness Survival Guide and the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide.


Unearthed Arcana made it an official rule that at first level the hp minimum is half your die size rounded up, so fighters can't start with less than 6.Lots of people played without UA, and most of people I know who did use it generally treated it as "suggestions" rather than "official rules"

ken-do-nim
2009-10-30, 12:21 PM
In many ways, I wish Combat and Tactics had been developed after Skills and Powers... the butt-kicking options that Wizards and Clerics got in Spells and magic might have then shown up in the book about fighters.

In many ways, I feel that TSR (and, to a lesser extent, WotC) haven't really known what to do with combat specialists... or even non-magicians in general. Everyone can fight, but they've never really given those who specialize in it special abilities beyond what is possessed by the average person... just things that give them a couple more bonuses (specialization, mastery, etc). WotC did this far better, especially with things like skill tricks and ToB... but overcoming the "fighters are just good at what everyone does" is a major hurdle, IMO.

The awesomeness of weapon mastery never made it into the AD&D or 3E lines, and it is a shame. Sure, both PC&T and 3.5 allow you to get much better with a weapon in terms of number of attacks and bonuses, but weapon mastery gives weapon-dependent special abilities. One-handed swords deflect, two-handed swords stun, halberdiers use the hook to disarm and trip, bolas strangle, etc.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-30, 12:22 PM
Lots of people played without UA, and most of people I know who did use it generally treated it as "suggestions" rather than "official rules"

Fair enough, but it has some very key suggestions, like single class demihumans getting the level limit raised by 2.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-30, 12:24 PM
I'm actually thinking of starting a game. Who wants to play AD&D 1E? The fast and loose "play it by ear" combat would be great for smooth pbp play.

I'm running 2 1E parties in my pbp on Dragonsfoot, and it really is great for pbp. I've gotten to the point now where I feel I've reached the AD&D initiative zen moment: everything starts from the moment of declaration and action is near-simultaneous, multiple attacks/shots are interleaved otherwise initiative determines who gets the edge.

I'm not sure I can take on another game; in addition to the 2 parties I run I play in about 5 other pbps, but if you are having trouble finding players lemme know.

jmbrown
2009-10-30, 12:40 PM
I'm running 2 1E parties in my pbp on Dragonsfoot, and it really is great for pbp. I've gotten to the point now where I feel I've reached the AD&D initiative zen moment: everything starts from the moment of declaration and action is near-simultaneous, multiple attacks/shots are interleaved otherwise initiative determines who gets the edge.

I'm not sure I can take on another game; in addition to the 2 parties I run I play in about 5 other pbps, but if you are having trouble finding players lemme know.

Can you link it so I can see how you do combat?

The way I handle combat is by what seems fair. I basically ask the players "You have initiative, what do you do within a minute that seems feasible?" My buddies who started on 3E couldn't wrap around their heads that an attack wasn't literally A SINGLE ATTACK but rather both parties going back-and-forth with your roll determining if one of those swings actually hit.

Kurald Galain
2009-10-30, 12:56 PM
My buddies who started on 3E couldn't wrap around their heads that an attack wasn't literally A SINGLE ATTACK but rather both parties going back-and-forth with your roll determining if one of those swings actually hit.

Well, regardless of how many strikes fall under a single attack roll, a one-minute combat round is nevertheless a bit silly for a few other reasons. As I recall, it was quite a common houserule to say a combat round is instead five or six seconds.

ken-do-nim
2009-10-30, 01:17 PM
Can you link it so I can see how you do combat?


Here's the last round I did:
http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=37087&p=798383#p798383

Note how I more or less moved everybody into combat positions, then resolved the attacks in initiative order.



The way I handle combat is by what seems fair. I basically ask the players "You have initiative, what do you do within a minute that seems feasible?" My buddies who started on 3E couldn't wrap around their heads that an attack wasn't literally A SINGLE ATTACK but rather both parties going back-and-forth with your roll determining if one of those swings actually hit.

Seems reasonable, I just like to emphasize the simultaneous nature of the round. I dislike it when side A wins initiative and completes a full round's worth of movement and attacks before side B even budges.

jmbrown
2009-10-30, 01:44 PM
I just set up a topic recruiting for an AD&D 1E game here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7221403#post7221403). This'll be the first time I've played in maybe 5 years but I hope it'll be fun for all parties involved.

Matthew
2009-10-31, 10:15 PM
I don't have the books on me right now to check but I'm certain the first edition didn't contain all the variant rules like using proficiency points for special skills.

Sounds like you are confusing print dates:

1977-9: First Edition
1989: Second Edition
1995: Second Edition Revised Printing

The second edition incorporated all the proficiency rules that made their way into the system from Oriental Adventures onwards, keeping them optional, but also linking them with just about every other optional rule in the game so that they became de facto "core".

lesser_minion
2009-11-01, 06:33 AM
I generally haven't had much experience of 1e being incredibly lethal - we did have one encounter that went along the lines of:

(having just found a sarcophagus, and prised the lid away so we could see underneath, we see a body carrying a sword and a shield)

Cleric: I grab the shield and the sword.

DM: The sword disintegrates completely as you touch it, but the shield seems to be in perfect condition apart from the straps.

Cleric: OK, I'll try to repair it using the straps from my old shield (which had broken in the previous fight).

Fighter: OK, we're done here. I drop the lid.

DM: You drop the lid, which breaks in half on impact. The room is suddenly filled with a cloud of sickly green-grey spores. Everyone make a save against death.

Barbarian: 1

Fighter: 2

Cleric: 3

Thief: 1

Magic User: 2

DM: Erm... OK. The highly toxic spores attack the insides of your throat and lungs, leaving you completely unable to breathe. You all slowly suffocate and die painfully.

That about the most lethal encounter we ever had, and our DM was kind enough to retcon it.

The one-minute round rule was a little bit odd, as was the rule that divided rounds up into segments (our DM actually just houseruled that spells were declared when it was your turn and completed at the start of your next turn) - it got especially bad when apparently we were firing one arrow every minute.