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Author Topic: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here  (Read 594 times)

Monero

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Been getting kind on nostalgic about 2nd ed lately and am even considering buying a couple of the well known boxes sets to run.

Anyone here still play 2E? Will the nostalgia fade quickly once it comes time to play? Does it do anything strictly better than 5E?

What would you consider the “must have” books and supplements?

FingerRod

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2022, 10:59:36 PM »
The Thief Handbook.

So many ideas and pieces of inspiration in there.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2022, 11:00:51 PM »
Been getting kind on nostalgic about 2nd ed lately and am even considering buying a couple of the well known boxes sets to run.

Anyone here still play 2E? Will the nostalgia fade quickly once it comes time to play? Does it do anything strictly better than 5E?

What would you consider the “must have” books and supplements?

I'm guessing you meant AD&D 2e

If my guess is correct then yes, I'm currently playing it, the campaign has 2 years, I didn't start playing it out of nostalgia since I had never played that edition, it's been great fun.

"Does it do anything strictly better than 5E?" Define better, it's different, it has morale roles, it doesn't have feats, it has too many (IMHO) skills. It's more dangerous, easier to get killed way harder to get resurrected.

As for the must have books, besides the PHB, DMG and Monstruous Manual? Aurora's Catalogue, maybe the player's option ones, the Dungeon Master's Option High Level Campaigns, Book of artifacts and the Complete X series of books.

But that's IMO.
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VisionStorm

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2022, 01:10:48 AM »
I doubt I'd ever get back to it, since I prefer more recent editions and I've also been working on my own game, but 2e used to be my main system back in the day and the first game I ever DMed/GMed (I started out with Basic, but played it only as a noob player). The Complete X Handbook series was perhaps the greatest series of supplements in D&D, IMO. Hard to single one out as the best, since they were all good, and it's been too many years to recall all the details, but it kinda depends on what class or race you want to focus on.

The Complete Cleric's Handbook did provide a lot of material for crafting Specialty Priests, though—which can help expand the class significantly—so that one's probably a good one to start with, but they were ALL good. Might want to get the Complete Spacefarer's Handbook as well, if you grab the old Spelljammer setting boxed set. It adds a bunch of spacefaring races, and kits as well if I recall correctly.

The Player's Options stuff is a bit take it or leave it IMO. I did play around with it a bit, but they add massive changes to the rules that are a bit fiddly and poorly balanced, if I recall correctly. But they add a bunch of customizability to the game.

The best 2e stuff other than the Complete X Handbooks are the settings, IMO. Though, those depend a lot on what your preferences are. Dark Sun is by far the most original D&D setting, but I recommend going with the original boxed set if you're getting it, cuz the Revised one kinda sucks, and they made a lot of changes to the setting that altered the tone around that era. Earlier supplements for it are the best, particularly stuff like Veiled Alliance, Elves of Athas and Dune Trader.

Ravenloft was also pretty good setting, if you're into gothic horror, and I regret never getting it (I only got access to the books from a friend who got most of them, but I lost touch with him over the years). Planescape was probably my favorite setting after Dark Sun, but I never got many of the supplements, so can't recommended any. I also played a lot of Spelljammer, but I only recall the Complete Spacefarer's Handbook, which I already mentioned.

EDIT/PS: You'll also want the Complete Psionicists Handbook if you get Dark Sun, since the setting makes heavy use of psionics, and relies on it a lot. Unfortunately, that one's actually the worst book in the Complete X series, but not so much for the quality of the writing, but because the class was poorly implemented. But you are going to need it to really get deep into Dark Sun.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2022, 01:19:48 AM by VisionStorm »

Philotomy Jurament

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2022, 02:32:45 AM »
No, not really. I prefer 1e or original D&D.

However, I think some of the green HR supplements (Vikings, Celts, etc.) from 2e were pretty cool. And I still have a soft spot for Return to the Tomb of Horrors.
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Steven Mitchell

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2022, 06:52:53 AM »
2E is the one I played the least, and the only version besides the original that I've never run.  It just doesn't grab me--comes across as most the negatives of 1E (such as they are), with none of the charm.  It probably is better organized, and thus more accessible to someone that's never played AD&D. 

2E's real claim to fame is all the settings.  The only one that really grabbed me was Al-Qadim.  But I'm odd that way. :)

Bedrockbrendan

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2022, 08:24:51 AM »
Been getting kind on nostalgic about 2nd ed lately and am even considering buying a couple of the well known boxes sets to run.

Anyone here still play 2E? Will the nostalgia fade quickly once it comes time to play? Does it do anything strictly better than 5E?

What would you consider the “must have” books and supplements?

I'm running a 2E Ravenloft mini-campaign with the Book of Crypts adventure anthology right now (we are finishing up Blood in Moondale tonight and will move into the Dark Minstrel after that).

I don't play 5E so I can't really compare them. The most recent edition I played a lot was 3E, and it is a very different experience playing 2E.

Overall 2E is similar mechanically to 1E (with some key differences around class options, the use of THAC0 instead of attack matrices, etc). I tend to view 2E as a variation of 1E, and prefer it mainly because I like running Ravenloft, and with the exception of the original adventure and the House on Gryphon Hill, the bulk of the Ravenloft material is 2E).

I think what might throw you off if you are accustomed to later editions is there are sections of the game that are either completely optional or not at all covered. The subsystems are also quite different. So as an example 2E doesn't have skills. It has optional rules for skills (which are nothing like skills in later editions) and it has optional rules for non-weapon proficiencies. Personally I prefer these to skills in later editions (both because I like the roll under mechanic for the attribute, and I like that they don't interfere as much with roleplaying).

In terms of must have for 2E, all you really need are the PHB, the DMG and the Monster manual. But I would recommend getting the campaign source book and catacomb guide as a lot of key GM advice is in there and isn't in the DMG itself. While I prefer the 1989 editions of the PHB, MM, and DMG, those are not currently available on Drivethru I believe. So you might have to get the revised version from the mid 90s (there are some differences in those, but I can't recall exactly what those differences are). The 1989 MM was a binder and you purchased individual packets to add to that binder (the revised edition was a hardback book).

There are lots of setting options for 2E. You might want to look at them and see if any of that material appeals to you. There is also a line of green books that provide historical setting information (this was one of my favorite lines). The complete books exist for 2E but are very different from the 3E complete books. You don't need them. But they have a lot of flavor for characters and aren't as heavy handed on the mechanics as the 3E completes. The blue books are the GM books and there are a number of good ones, but they aren't necessary (except for the Campaign source book and catacomb guide).

Keep in mind the modules are all over the map in terms of adventure structure, and the approach from that time was very different from now. I am running Book of Crypts and while I like the content, it is heavy on the railroading. Not all of the modules do this, but it was just more common during that period. If you want to avoid that you will need to be more selective about which modules you buy (and 2E is backwards compatible with 1E so 1E modules are an option if this is a concern), or you will need to make changes to the adventures.

GhostNinja

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2022, 08:26:40 AM »
Funny enough, I went into a local geek merch/game store and the owners had acquired a bunch of AD&D 2nd edition books.  And they were in great condition.   I was totally surprised to be honest.
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Palleon

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2022, 08:27:10 AM »
Most of the OSR folks gravitate to the B/X and BECMI lines.  AD&D 2E's 3-core books are my preferred distillation, but I don't play it much since I'm more into non-high fantasy systems and campaigns.

Ghostmaker

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Re: Anyone will play 2nd ED D&D? I don’t see it mentioned much on here
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2022, 10:16:02 AM »
Be very careful about what additional splats you allow into the game. 2E was as bad as 3E when it came to codex creep.