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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Scowling Dragon's Avatar

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    Default 2e: Ups and Downs

    I have a bunch of PDFs for supplementary material for Dark Sun Campaign setting purely for the fluff (Which shows how good the fluff is).

    I always enjoy getting into a new RPG. So why not 2e so I can fully understand not only the flavor text, but also the mechanics.

    I want to hear the ups and downs of 2e, so I can analyze if its worth getting into.

    And then potentially ask for a link for where I can find 2e material.
    Last edited by Scowling Dragon; 2012-11-15 at 07:51 AM.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Google the retroclone called 'For Gold and Glory'. Also look into first edition retro-material since the two systems are ninety percent identical and can be used pretty much interchangeably for things like monsters, spells and character stats.

    Good points of AD&D 2e;
    It's actually simpler than 3e when you actually get down to it. And not in the 4e fashion either, where you're basically put on a characterisation railroad, but instead more straightforward and possessing more variable archetypes. A fighter can be everyone from Lancelot to Conan. On top of that, kits allow you to adjust and customise with just a few minor tweaks.

    Combat is much, much faster than any later edition. Once you get past the whole THAC0 thing, though I think a better way is to simply use the attack matrices like in AD&D 1e. This is due to a mix of the initiative system, which rolls for the entire party rather than individual characters, and the fact that hit point scores are much lower while the amount of damage inflicted can go a lot higher.

    There's a lot of descriptive freedom, since the rules don't cover every area, and as such it leaves you with the ability to do things that aren't covered on your character sheet. Which 3rd edition seems greatly unwilling to do.

    It's compatible enough with other Old School games like Basic D&D, AD&D 1e, and even OD&D to an extent that there is a lot of material for stuff like monsters, spells, classes and other such, spanning over twenty years of publication rather than the eight years that 3e had. A lot of the modern non-2e retroclones also fall into this category, like Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, Adventures Dark & Deep, OSRIC and others, all adding material and adjustments available for you to take inspiration from.

    Some of the best ideas to have been seen in Dungeons & Dragons. The old AD&D 2e Tome of Magic is by far one of the greatest sourcebooks ever made, introducing the original Wild Mage and giving it the proper wild magic abilities it ought to have.

    It's also very easy to house-rule, and making custom monsters takes about five seconds.

    The Council of Wyrms campaign setting. Which allows you to play dragons to a degree of quality that I have never seen before or since in a Dungeons & Dragons related game.

    Bad Points of AD&D 2e:
    The first instance of system bloat with the sheer number of sourcebooks to draw from, some of them having poorly-designed rules and concepts. The psionics in the Dark Sun revised box set released in the late-2e era, for one instance, practically don't work. Most of the Player's Option and Dungeon Master's Option books are greatly unbalanced and, due to the influence of Lorraine Williams, almost completely untested.

    THAC0 can be annoying to some players, as can the 'sometimes roll high, sometimes roll low' nature of AD&D. Multiclass and dual-classing rules can be quite daunting to someone who's unfamiliar with the system, as well.

    It's got a few aspects you'll likely want to change in order to bring it more in line with 1st edition once you learn more about that.


    Is it worth looking at?
    Yes. Much moreso than any modern edition of the game.
    Last edited by Narsil; 2012-11-15 at 07:31 AM.

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    Superhero in the Playground Moderator
     
    Mark Hall's Avatar

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    For what it's worth, while I like 2nd edition AD&D, if I want to play that, I tend to go with Castles and Crusades these days.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Scowling Dragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Can you explain why?

    I enjoy getting into new games but it takes allot of effort so I want it to be worth it.

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Just a note here, this thread shouldn't be in this forum. You should ask the forum for the older dnd systems.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Can you explain why?

    I enjoy getting into new games but it takes allot of effort so I want it to be worth it.
    I can't speak for Mark, but as I recall, C&C cleans up a lot of 1e while avoiding a lot of the issues that 2e introduced. I believe Gygax himself on more than one occasion expressed his approval of C&C as a successor to 1e D&D.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Quote Originally Posted by 1337 b4k4 View Post
    I can't speak for Mark, but as I recall, C&C cleans up a lot of 1e while avoiding a lot of the issues that 2e introduced. I believe Gygax himself on more than one occasion expressed his approval of C&C as a successor to 1e D&D.
    Yeah, he did, but keep in mind that he was never keen on 2e in the first place.

    And C&C isn't all that and a bag of chips for everybody, either. Personally, I don't overly care for it's "fixes," but yes, it's a fairly good rendition of the game.

    As for "For Gold and Glory" retroclone, be careful with that. It's a good overview of the 2e system, however it introduces a fair bit of stuff from the various splat books (specifically from the Fighter's book) as core, which is a lot of bloat to an otherwise sleek system. If you read it and like the idea, I'd actually recommend heading over to Amazon, Ebay, or Nobleknight and picking up a copy of the three core books there, which can be done for, maybe, $30 all together. They are, IMO, where the heart of the game is and the best framework upon which to build. Then you can start adding/modifying from a cleaner core with less clutter.

    But that's just my opinion on the matter.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    I recommended For Gold and Glory mostly for its cheap availability.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Quote Originally Posted by Narsil View Post
    I recommended For Gold and Glory mostly for its cheap availability.
    Yes, and I agree with that. However, I still stand by my comment that it's got a lot of what I would consider added bloat that I don't neccessarily want stitched into the core rules. That's just personal opinion, though. It's easier to add than it is to subtract.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    FYI, if you're interested in Dark Sun but don't want the hassle of learning 2e, there is a 3.5 conversion at athas.org... and you can use all the excellent 2e fluff.

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    I don't have a whole lot of love for 2e itself, but it had some fantastic supplements - all the historically-based campaign settings, dark sun, planescape and those thousands of pages of monsters. I'd second the suggestion for C&C as the actual game engine (it's just easier to use), but it's definitely worth scrounging up 2e splatbooks to flesh it out.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    The historical books were fairly good, though actual historians have been known to be driven to convulsions by reading them.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    That's half the fun!

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Scowling Dragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Say. I found a 1995 revised copy. Is that still OK? Or is it garbage?

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    The rules are the same as the first printing of 2e. The pictures might have changed.

    Whether it's garbage or not... it's well-produced and well-done as a gaming book, but its usability probably boils down to your personal tastes.

    Speaking for myself, I doubt I'll ever use it again, knowing there are easier or more coherent games around, but I know some people like mastering all the eclectic mismatched rules and procedures that fit together into the older versions of D&D.

    If you're into Thac0, Dual-Classing/Multiclassing disparities, eclectic dice uses (d10 initiative/d20 attack/d100 Thief skills) and individualized experience charts/progression, it's a workable system. At very least, it's iconic. But there are simpler games that don't necessarily lose any depth.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Scowling Dragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Ive read like 30 pages and even know I find some of its choices simply genuis.

    Like linking lots of stuff to ability score. So If I want to find out everything related to intelligence I just look at the intelligence table. Instead of page hunting across the book.

    I also find the resurrection rules to my liking and Im even liking some of the funky rules:

    "Why can't I try to open the door again?"

    *Game takes out pistol and aims it at my head*

    "Do you REALY want to ask that question son? Do yah?"

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    The revised prints are just fine, though the art in them is flat out sucktastic.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    I like what 2e is doing. Its sort of an edition thats made for looking in the book.

    It has lots of fiddly rules, but once you find the page in the book: BAM. Thats it.

    The rules are laid out clear and simple. Though if a bit more disconnected.

    3e is a different horse and works differently. Its a more immersive yes, but it tries to work under the principle that everything you need can be planned beforehand.....And it kinda fails at that.

    As a result when you need to reference something you end up needing to do extra work because the data usualy isn't simple.

    Its not like: "Ok so my con is 22 so I get regeneration yadadada"

    Its more like: "Ok so my con is yada, plus yada, divided by yada and modified by my size"

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Yes, AD&D is significantly more "agile" a system, in that it has less encumberance to haul around when you keep it to the essentials. Quicker and easier to make respond to unexpected situations.

    By the by, learn the magic and power of "the ability check." It's my favorite mechanic in AD&D and one of the most powerful.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    Scowling Dragon's Avatar

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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    So which supplements would you people suggest?

    Whats balanced and whats not? What 2e Dark Sun Supplements are great (Fluff or crunch wise) and which to avoid like mummy curses?

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: 2e: Ups and Downs

    Quote Originally Posted by Scowling Dragon View Post
    So which supplements would you people suggest?

    Whats balanced and whats not? What 2e Dark Sun Supplements are great (Fluff or crunch wise) and which to avoid like mummy curses?
    That is an extremely touchy subject. Especially as it concerns 2nd edition IMO seeing as how you can play 1st edition with all or most of the supplemental things and not really get too much in the way of strangeness (barring the Unearthed Arcana, which is a very love/hate kind of thing), but by the time 2nd edition rolls around, some of those supplements did lots more than just supplement.

    If you're asking my 2 coppers on the matter:

    1) If you're playing Dark Sun, then I would be very very cautious about what I let in from the actual Dark Sun materials. Some of it, as you noticed yourself, is very good. Some of it was just terrible. Make sure you get yourself a copy of the original Dark Sun campaign setting box. There's a revised version that is just horrible in the violence it does to the world. Avoid it like the plague(sp?).

    1a) Also, you will want to pick up a few of the supplements if you're going to go in deep and really go for it. You will NEED the complete psionics handbook and you will need to spend a fair amount of time learning it. Learning it by rote. Psionics underpin virtually everything about the setting, and you will need to know it very well.

    1b) Also very good books to have are The Will and the Way, which is a psionics accessory for Dark Sun which has some extra nifty powers, but not too many, and some fun stuff for psionics including culture and schools and so on. Very good. Dragon Kings is a very good hard cover book with details on the phenomenally cool things that you can do with very high level characters including metamorphosis into Dragons and Avangions(sp?) and Elementals. Complete Gladiator's Handbook is not bad, and usefull if you plan on including lots of gladiator type material in the campaign, but be cautious with it since quality is unsteady. Of course you'll want the various monstrous compendiums printed for Dark Sun as they are invaluable and have lots of really excellent baddies that are never of poor quality.

    1c) Use with caution: the guides both to defiling/preserving and the cleric's supplement to the setting. Also, the trader's book and the elf book are moderately junky. The book on Tyr is . . . a mixed bag. It's got some interesting stuff in there, but you have to be careful with it since it relies on the assumption that you're advancing the setting timeline along with the novels. There's a setting, the name of which I've forgotten, about a there's a last green area up north that's maintained by ultra-powerful psionics where happiness is compulsory and enforced. It's a very mixed bag as well.

    1d) Avoid most of the rest including, and especially perhaps, the adventures. They're phenomenally poor.

    2) Since you're in Dark Sun, you'll also want to get your hands on one of the original Dark Sun Dragon Magazine articles. I don't remember, off hand, which issue it was in, but somebody with a better memory than I, or those nice folks over at Dragonsfoot, can remember. It has good info in there on tone, creepy crawlies, and which kits from across many of the splat books fit well within the setting and why there aren't any paladins and epic "good versus evil" struggles going on Athas. It's a good read and full of helpful pointers on what to include from the other, various materials.

    3) If you want to include even more stuff, my advice is to be very cautious about it and reflect on the impact of it. Some stuff is cool, but just doesn't fit the setting. You'll actually get more bang for your buck with less rather than more, here (which, actually, is the best advice for 2nd edition I can give: less is more). A cavalier kit, while very cool in a typical medieval setting, doesn't quite mesh with the style of the campaign. However, from the fighter's book, a peasant hero, patrician/noble hero, and myrmidon absolutely do. Start with the core books and the campaign setting itself, and then build a short list of what you're adding rather than restricting. If you go to more than one page, you've probably added too much.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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