Monday, April 23, 2018

Is it a "Hell yes"?

One of the things I've frequently heard with regard to both hobbies and life choices is that you shouldn't make a big decision unless the answer is "Hell yes!" This is usually applied to things like moving to a new city, moving in with a romantic partner, or spending a bunch of money on something. But it can work for hobbies as well, when deciding how to spend one's time and effort.

And one of the elements of my hobby that I've been thinking a lot about for the past two weeks is Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, 2nd Edition. I know, I know - I said I'd be taking a break from trying to run D&D in any of its forms. But that doesn't mean I don't still spend time thinking about it. Part of the reason that I switched my campaign from it to Basic Fantasy is because I viewed the front-loaded complexity of AD&D (as in, it takes a long time to make characters, but the actual gameplay is pretty smooth and fast for someone who's familiar with the rules) as a deterrent to new players.

Maybe (as some of you have pointed out) I just got a group of dud players. The decrease in complexity hasn't served to get them to actually show up to sessions, or pay attention if they do show up. Meanwhile, the same lightness that I initially reveled in now means that I have to do a lot more work on my own, as it's harder to import rules from other books I own without doing some (at times extensive) tweaking.

Not to mention the nostalgia that I still feel for 2e. Unlike the fond memories I have of the Pathfinder Beginner Box, however, the system is still one that I like; Pathfinder is both front-, middle-, and end-loaded, not to mention excessively dependent on miniatures. (I do like minis, but I don't want to be forced to use them - especially for a random encounter with a couple of rats.) In contrast, 2e is flexible enough for both my needs and those of players who desire a moderately complex system (with specialist wizards and the wide variety of mechanically distinct weapons).

So - assuming I had courteous, consistent players who were willing to pull their weight as far as learning the rules is concerned - would I want to run AD&D 2nd Edition again?

Hell yes!


  1. Damnation, now I want to run AD&D2.

    (Or just pore lovingly through my old books...)

    1. Hey, nothing wrong with some loving poring. ;)

  2. I'd use Ascending Armor Classes and Base Attack Bonuses, but otherwise: "hell yes!"

    1. I completely understand - in fact, those very things are something I enjoyed about Basic Fantasy. But then, I find that THAC0 allows the less rules-oriented players to focus more on the game world than on mechanics. Similar to the way you described your brother running 1e for you: "Don't worry so much [about] the rules, just tell me what you want your character to do, and I’ll tell you what happens."

      That said, for the players who are very mechanically-inclined, it usually takes them about five seconds to calculate a monster's AC from their own THAC0 and dice roll. I appreciate players who put in an effort to understand the nuts and bolts, but when there's a slight barrier to thinking in purely numeric terms, more organic interaction is free to occur as well.

      (Heck, if some more modern players insist on AAC - and their commitment to the game is commensurate with their insistence on rules changes - it won't be hard to implement.)

    2. There is something to be said about Thac0 requiring a little bit of extra commitment. And Thac0 WAS better than those old combat charts.