Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh 2e, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...

In addition to starting character creation for Ark's Stars Without Number game, we cracked the books and started building characters for an upcoming 2e game that I'm about to start running.  I was born into this world of Dungeons and Dragons in the time of 2e, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.  Which is unfortunate, because it's grown up to be the redheaded stepchild of the D&D community.  Not old school enough for the grognards, but too old fashioned for the Pathfinder generation.  Which is unfortunate, because it had some really great ideas.  I love non weapon proficiencies, and THAC0 just make sense to me.

Yes, as Ark reminded me (several times) the books were not laid out as well as they could have been, but that's more an impediment to getting started - once you move past that, of course the armor prices are on a different chart than their respective armor classes!

Anyway, I've got a great idea for a campaign, and I'm looking forward to running them through it.  The greatest joy of the night, though, was our resident powergamer trying to min/max his way out of fantastically average stats, finding out he had 4 hit points, and one spell that he could use once per day.  You are not a hero, you are not special.  You are a dude who picked up a sword.  Now go out into the world and make something of yourself!


  1. D&D ended with 2e. That is to say, the game was perfected at that point. Not that 2e was necessarily a good thing, but if you are looking for the clearest, most concise version of D&D, 2e is it. 2e also killed the magic of D&D, but that's another issue entirely.

  2. It's ironic, isn't it? It was everything D&D could be, while also being everything it shouldn't be, all at the same time.

  3. Wow. Even on a pro-2e blog, the only two comments are staunchly anti-2e.

    As someone who was introduced to the hobby through the Baldur's Gate computer game, and, by extension, 2e, I can assure you that 2e was plenty full of magic. I have no problem playing in other editions of D&D, but 2e remains my favorite to this day.

  4. I don't know if I'd characterize my post (or Aaron's, if I may speak for him) as "staunchly" anti-2e, but rather acknowledgments of the faults that existed there.

    I think it codified everything that needed to be codified, answered all the questions that were raised by 1e, and created a system that was easy to learn, and engaging to play.

    For me, though, I think the problem was that it didn't know when/where to stop, and it gave in to the darkest capitalist impulses. The desire to make great games gave way to the need for quarter over quarter growth. Eventually the quality of the releases, and more importantly, the integrity of the brand, diminished. So yeah - the best and the worst, all at once.


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