What 2nd Ed Got Right

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 Lately I have been rereading my second ed books and memories of Lake Geneva came coming back. After getting bored of D&DN in the last packet or 2 I have run a couple of game of it with my players most of all who had 0 or limited second ed experience.

 What surprised me was they had fun with it. The other surprise was it got alot of things right that post 2nd ed games have been struggling with. Although try wrapping your head around THACO and 2nd ed saves can be frustrating. Anyway the things that it got right.

1. Optional rules. 2nd ed was full of them and most of the splats made it very clear everything was optional. In 3rd ed this was kind of assumed and in 4th ed they went as far as declearing everything core. The 2nd ed books loved their tables as well and even had them for class abilites such as the Wild Mage. My percentile dice have not got much love since 2000. There has been a heavy shift towards what one may call player entitlement while 1st ed was often percieved as player vs DM. 2nd ed seems to have got the balance right.

2. No wealth by level guidelines. 3.5 and 4th ed both gave magic items a price in gold and RAW they were reasonably easy to make and buy. This lead to builds in both systems due to a reaosnable expectation of getting the stuff you wanted when you wanted it and in some cases was baked into class abilities with 3rd eds item creation feats for the wizard and rituals for the 4ht ed wizard. The DM had alot more ability to say no in 2nd ed or could just make something very difficult to aquire. If you have had things like players getting an keen scimitar in 3rd or abusing the frost cheese combo in 4th you have this to thank for that. You could say no I suppose but the DM would be going against RAW. RAW in 2nd ed most things were optional outside the core books.

3. No assumed magic level. D&D tends to be a high magic game and 3rd and 4th ed gave the PCs alot of it compared to pre 3rd ed games with maybe the exception of magic items. As mentioned ealrier magic items were easy to create but second ed books would go to great lengths discussing low and high magic worlds. In the historical sourcebooks a Rome or Greek based one wizards for example were a banned class or heavily restricted.  While one could houserule in in 3rd and 4th ed I can't recall a source book spelling it out like that.

4. No assumed number of players or party composition. The rules kind of assumed the party was alot larger than 3rd and 4th ed. In 3rd ed the defualt assumption was 4, 4th ed it was a 5 member party. As a general rule you would need to have all of the bases covered in terms of party composiiton and 4th ed in particular heavily encouraged 2 defenders, 1 leader/striker/controller. One was not locked into it of course. 2nd ed players option discussed things like all fighter or all wizard parties. An all fighter party would be derided in 3rd and 4th ed but back then they more or less said change the campaigns setting. An all thieves game make it an urban one. All fighters put them in the army or have a war raging etc.

5. Fluff heavy rule books. 2nd ed books are really nice to read even after all these years. By 3rd and 4th ed standards there is not alot of mechanics to them but what mechanics there are are often very useful. The class splatbooks usually had kits for the classes and a few magic items. It cut back on the mechanical bloat alot while still giving you alot of options with your character. In a way kits kind of functioned as a hybrid between paragon paths and prestige classes but you could take them from level 1. Very similar to varient class abilities in 3rd eds Unearthed Arcana and Advanced Players Guide in PF I suppose.

 Thats it I suppose. The 2nd ed books leave one with the impression they were wrtten by gamers for gamers. WoTC era have lost a little of that feel with the heavy focucs on spamming mechanical rules made for the sole purpose of selling more books regardless of the impact they have on your game. 2nd ed ha some outright silly stuff in it though but it was usually clear that it was optional  ad often it was intentional. Alright now where did I put my Gnome rubber band and giant gerbil powered Spelljammer ship.......

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 Fear is the Mind Killer  

2nd ed rules! Thac0 is easy! What you get on the die minus your thac0= what you hit(important to remember that lower thac0 and ac are better!). But I have no idea how they came up with that before d20!

Optional rules and advice for making houserules, hell yea! Wealth by level sucks and makes the game feel very meta! Fluff heavy, but nothing that defines your setting too much, love that too!

Hmm... Maybe I`ll go back to 2nd ed...

1. Optional rules.  

Heck yeah. Tough, just to point out that core doesn't mean manditory. So you don't have to include a core race in your game, just that is works without having to change anything.

2. No wealth by level guidelines.

Loved these. Made adding/replacing characters after start simple and easy. Please keep.

3. No assumed magic level.

I'm fine with an assumed level, as long as it isn't too difficult to slide. 4e had rules for no magic items games. (inherent bonuses)

4. No assumed number of players or party composition.

Well, you have to at least have a base number to figure things out. So say the base is 1 and you multiply the number of players to get the exp for encounters. No set party makeup is good though.
5. Fluff heavy rule books.

For the love of [insert deity] NO! Fluff heavy setting/background books and fluff light rule books. Put the fluff in it's own book and have a fluff orgy if that's what you're into, but I'd like to just add my setting on to the rules without having to chop out huge swathes of the default fluff.

Alright now where did I put my Gnome rubber band and giant gerbil powered Spelljammer ship.......

And Hippo's with guns!

2. No wealth by level guidelines. 3.5 and 4th ed both gave magic items a price in gold and RAW they were reasonably easy to make and buy. This lead to builds in both systems due to a reaosnable expectation of getting the stuff you wanted when you wanted it and in some cases was baked into class abilities with 3rd eds item creation feats for the wizard and rituals for the 4ht ed wizard. The DM had alot more ability to say no in 2nd ed or could just make something very difficult to aquire. If you have had things like players getting an keen scimitar in 3rd or abusing the frost cheese combo in 4th you have this to thank for that. You could say no I suppose but the DM would be going against RAW. RAW in 2nd ed most things were optional outside the core books.



Magic items were a huge problem in 3e and 4e but i'm kinda afraid that the cat is out of the bag now and that a lot of players are going to demand item creation of some sort in order to make the build they want. Hell, even non table top gamers coming from a video game background may have expectations of crafting what they want for a build, idk.

I don't think the best solution is to hand it back over to the DM, whole cloth, 2e style. I'd like to see items that don't give damage bonuses of any type and for players to have a limited number of items that they can use at one time, to stop all sorts of stacking.

3. No assumed magic level. D&D tends to be a high magic game and 3rd and 4th ed gave the PCs alot of it compared to pre 3rd ed games with maybe the exception of magic items. As mentioned ealrier magic items were easy to create but second ed books would go to great lengths discussing low and high magic worlds. In the historical sourcebooks a Rome or Greek based one wizards for example were a banned class or heavily restricted.  While one could houserule in in 3rd and 4th ed I can't recall a source book spelling it out like that.



You could do this pretty easily in 4e, actually, since martial classes could heal. You either used the inherent bonus progression from the later books instead of magic weapons or said that enhancement bonuses were from masterwork quality instead of magic. Not to tough and i'd wager such a party would actually be more viable than a magicless (healing-less?) 2e party.

5. Fluff heavy rule books. 2nd ed books are really nice to read even after all these years. By 3rd and 4th ed standards there is not alot of mechanics to them but what mechanics there are are often very useful. The class splatbooks usually had kits for the classes and a few magic items. It cut back on the mechanical bloat alot while still giving you alot of options with your character. In a way kits kind of functioned as a hybrid between paragon paths and prestige classes but you could take them from level 1. Very similar to varient class abilities in 3rd eds Unearthed Arcana and Advanced Players Guide in PF I suppose.



Never played with kits but i have a ton of books that had them in there. Didn't they give you a lot less than prestige class or paragon path?
The Powers and Skills books and their ilk.  More flexibility in character design, no need to be stuck with racial or class features you would never use.
They gave you less than a PrC and were probably comparable to a paragon path depending on the kit and the relaticve differences between the rules. Kinda of a paragon path at level 1 but most of them were relaly class varients.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 Fear is the Mind Killer  



 No assumed magic level.

I'm fine with an assumed level, as long as it isn't too difficult to slide. 4e had rules for no magic items games. (inherent bonuses)




People often mention the inherent bonuses when I say that my least favourite thing in 4e is how magic items are implemented into the game and how meta it feels that it is part of leveling! That doesn`t mean I want to use the inherent bonuses and have NO magic items! I still want magic items in my game, but I want them to be rare and to feel uniqe and special, not something you get a set number of at any level of the game! I have no problem houseruling it to fit what I want, I also kind of get why 4e did it, I just don`t agree with it and how it feels.
That doesn`t mean I want to use the inherent bonuses and have NO magic items!



Inherent bonuses still works perfectly for that.  Nothing says that you cannot use inherent bonuses while still distributing magic items as you desire.  Since the inherent bonus and any plusses granted by an item's enhancement bonus will not stack, it will not create an appreciable boost in power level.


People often mention the inherent bonuses when I say that my least favourite thing in 4e is how magic items are implemented into the game and how meta it feels that it is part of leveling! That doesn`t mean I want to use the inherent bonuses and have NO magic items! I still want magic items in my game, but I want them to be rare and to feel uniqe and special, not something you get a set number of at any level of the game! I have no problem houseruling it to fit what I want, I also kind of get why 4e did it, I just don`t agree with it and how it feels.



Inherent bonuses still works perfectly for that.  Nothing says that you cannot use inherent bonuses while still distributing magic items as you desire.

Yep! You use the best of inherent and magic bonuses so you aren't looking for magic items for those bonuses. That lets you focus on the cool extra abilities. It decouples level from magic items.

That doesn`t mean I want to use the inherent bonuses and have NO magic items!



Inherent bonuses still works perfectly for that.  Nothing says that you cannot use inherent bonuses while still distributing magic items as you desire.  Since the inherent bonus and any plusses granted by an item's enhancement bonus will not stack, it will not create an appreciable boost in power level.



Why couldn`t a just give the characters slightly higher level magic items or let the magic item go up in level as the characters go up in levels, or adding properties or powers to the item as they level up? Why can`t I say a fighter learned a new technique that gives him or her a +2 with long swords instead of a +2 long sword or why can`t the wizard just have learned a new way to use his or her staff? Maby +1,+2 and + weapons without properyies or powers could be mundane weapons, only really well balanced and well made, masterwork, not magic... There are tons of options that feels more right and are smpler than inherent bonuses.. Nut I digress! My point is that it shouldn`t be part of leveling and giving different inherent bonuses to all the characters is just confusing and is not worth it.
Inherent bonuses are not confusing in the slightest.

At level 2, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to attack, and +1d6 critical dice.  Every 5 levels, these numbers go up by 1.
At level 4, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to all defenses. Every 5 levels, this number goes up by 1.
I odn't see why you coldn't just ditch inherent boniese completely in 4th ed as long as the DM scaled the encounters to acount for your PCs not haivng +3 or whatever to hit. In 2nd ed if all the 8th level PCs have +3 swords they may get tougher enounters or monsters to compensate. A level 10 Paladin may have a holy avenger.

 No big deal. DM fiat may be coming a lost skill after 12 years of d20 mechanics.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 Fear is the Mind Killer  

Simplicity.  Each player only has to adjust a single character, while the DM will have to adjust every single monster he uses.

And let us hope DM fiat is a thing of the past, as Fiat means "an arbitrary decree".  And as arbitrary means "
capricious; unreasonable; unsupported", this cannot be considered a good thing.
Inherent bonuses are not confusing in the slightest.

At level 2, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to attack, and +1d6 critical dice.  Every 5 levels, these numbers go up by 1.
At level 4, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to all defenses. Every 5 levels, this number goes up by 1.



So you could just have one weapon or armor that get better too?... But my main point is that I don`t agree with magic items beeing part of leveling, it feels wrong from a narrative sense and a game world logic perspective, even more so if you want a more or less sand box feel to it. I get why they did it, I just don`t agree with it!
Inherent bonuses are not confusing in the slightest.

At level 2, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to attack, and +1d6 critical dice.  Every 5 levels, these numbers go up by 1.
At level 4, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to all defenses. Every 5 levels, this number goes up by 1.



So you could just have one weapon or armor that got better too?... But my main point is that I don`t agree with magic items beeing part of leveling, it feels wrong from a narrative sense and a game world logic perspective, even more so if you want a more or less sand box feel to it. I get why they did it, I just don`t agree with it!



Your armor and weapons would not get better.  YOU would get better.
That doesn`t mean I want to use the inherent bonuses and have NO magic items!



Inherent bonuses still works perfectly for that.  Nothing says that you cannot use inherent bonuses while still distributing magic items as you desire.  Since the inherent bonus and any plusses granted by an item's enhancement bonus will not stack, it will not create an appreciable boost in power level.



Why couldn`t a just give the characters slightly higher level magic items or let the magic item go up in level as the characters go up in levels, or adding properties or powers to the item as they level up? Why can`t I say a fighter learned a new technique that gives him or her a +2 with long swords instead of a +2 long sword or why can`t the wizard just have learned a new way to use his or her staff? Maby +1,+2 and + weapons without properyies or powers could be mundane weapons, only really well balanced and well made, masterwork, not magic... There are tons of options that feels more right and are smpler than inherent bonuses.. Nut I digress! My point is that it shouldn`t be part of leveling and giving different inherent bonuses to all the characters is just confusing and is not worth it.


Look, it's pretty simple.  If you don't like the idea of the amount or power of magic items being tied to character level, inherent bonuses is one method you can use to fix it.  No one is telling you that you can't try something else if you want to, but if you ask how to pound in a nail, you shouldn't be surprised when people recommend a hammer.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
That doesn`t mean I want to use the inherent bonuses and have NO magic items!



Inherent bonuses still works perfectly for that.  Nothing says that you cannot use inherent bonuses while still distributing magic items as you desire.  Since the inherent bonus and any plusses granted by an item's enhancement bonus will not stack, it will not create an appreciable boost in power level.



Why couldn`t a just give the characters slightly higher level magic items or let the magic item go up in level as the characters go up in levels, or adding properties or powers to the item as they level up? Why can`t I say a fighter learned a new technique that gives him or her a +2 with long swords instead of a +2 long sword or why can`t the wizard just have learned a new way to use his or her staff? Maby +1,+2 and + weapons without properyies or powers could be mundane weapons, only really well balanced and well made, masterwork, not magic... There are tons of options that feels more right and are smpler than inherent bonuses.. Nut I digress! My point is that it shouldn`t be part of leveling and giving different inherent bonuses to all the characters is just confusing and is not worth it.


Look, it's pretty simple.  If you don't like the idea of the amount or power of magic items being tied to character level, inherent bonuses is one method you can use to fix it.  No one is telling you that you can't try something else if you want to, but if you ask how to pound in a nail, you shouldn't be surprised when people recommend a hammer.

Darn... And I was going to say rock! Tongue Out

Seriously though, the inherent bonus just meant that the math worked out right and it worked behind the scenes. Since it interacted well with the expectations of the game, it was pretty much a add and forget method of making things low magic items. If you wished level up items, you can do that also. Just pay the difference in magic budget. Or you can say the inherent balance IS the masterwork items you where talking about. Just cross out inherent and write in masterwork bonus. 

Inherent bonuses are not confusing in the slightest.

At level 2, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to attack, and +1d6 critical dice.  Every 5 levels, these numbers go up by 1.
At level 4, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to all defenses. Every 5 levels, this number goes up by 1.



So you could just have one weapon or armor that got better too?... But my main point is that I don`t agree with magic items beeing part of leveling, it feels wrong from a narrative sense and a game world logic perspective, even more so if you want a more or less sand box feel to it. I get why they did it, I just don`t agree with it!



Your armor and weapons would not get better.  YOU would get better.



I get that, but I COULD just as well give them magic items that go better too;)
In addition to 4E campaign and D&D Next playtest sessions, I am also running a AD&D 2nd edition campaign and i agree with the OP on many points.

Additional points that contrast with D&D Next during Playtest sesisons that we observed:  

1. Initiative: Rolling initiative every round slows combat greatly. D&D Next Initiative is both very fast and simple yet more organic with how you can interact in the Initiative Order with Ready An Action for exemple.

2. Facing: It has Facing rules that require extra tracking that generate to-hit bonus or deny shield or Dexterity bonus accordingly depending if you attack the rear or flank. D&D Next doesn't have Flanking rules yet and thus no additional complexity.

3. Healing: Limited natural healing put more pressure on magical healing reliance. D&D Next HD machanic really ease things. Magical healing is still required though.

4. Dying Rules: Death's Door rule put much more stress on PC and is more critical. D&D Next's more flexible Dying rules really favor survivability.

5. Saving Throw: A commun Saving Throw Table that start really high and descend slowly compared to D&D Next Ability Score saving throw vs DC is more intuitive D&D Next.

6. Profiency Check:  A ability score based Proficiency check that highly favor high stats PC compared to D&D Next  Ability check + Skill bonus vs DC is more intuitive in D&D Next.

And more...

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

What I don`t like about 2nd is the ability score reqirements for classes and the race limitations on classes and max levels for races in different classes... But there were optional rules to scratch that too, and the books incouraged houseruling and creativity And rules to make your own race and your own class, right there in the dmg!
One of my best AD&D 2nd Edition campaigns used the class creation optional system in the DMG.  The players all made up their own classes and played a time traveling, dimension hopping extravaganza of a campaign.

All around helpful simian

One of my best AD&D 2nd Edition campaigns used the class creation optional system in the DMG.  The players all made up their own classes and played a time traveling, dimension hopping extravaganza of a campaign.



Nice!
They did have some darn good art in 2e books.
They did have some darn good art in 2e books.



YES! And what was great about 2e art was that it also depicted scenes from everyday life in the fantasy world, not only intense encounter and action shots that practcally scream EXXXTREME!!! in your face as you open the bookTongue Out I really enjoyed that, it made the game world seem like a real and living world with real people that did other things than fighting monsters all day!
Monsters: Looking back at the AD&D monster stat block, all I can say is that it really is a thing of beauty. Being able to fit a monster in a single paragraph is incredibly awesome, as opposed to the massive stat blocks of 3E and 4E. I liked the old AD&D setup where you could put lots of monster stats in a table, and a single table might hold stats for 20 monsters or so on a single page. AD&D monsters were complex enough to be interesting while still very simple.

Further, the whole bounded accuracy thing works well in AD&D, because monsters like trolls, ghouls and ogres remain pretty relevant even at higher levels.

Magic items: None of this high magic "buy your items" crap. Magic items in AD&D were actually magical treasures that people prized, and most importantly it felt more like magic, as opposed to some trinket you got in Diablo 3. Magic item creation was difficult and wasn't simply gold in a jar.

Ability Checks: While a lot of people will criticize the "roll-under" system of ability checks, the system nonetheless made ability scores matter a lot, because you actually used the full ability score instead of just the modifier, there was a signfiicant difference between 14 dexterity and 10 dexterity, even though the diference in modifiers was very small.

Books with Fluff: This can't be emphasized enough. In AD&D, they realized that not every book needs to be 90% crunch. In fact, a great deal of books had minimal crunch and a lot of fluff, setting detail and story ideas.

Gridless play: I like the fact that AD&D downplayed the use of a battlemap and focused more on Theater of the Mind. I definitely don't want a ton of rules linked to the battlemap or specific positioning like 3E/4E. Let the battlemap be an optional add-on instead of a mandatory tool.
For the record I still play AD&D weekly to by weekly, I love the rules light approach. I also like the Many optional splat books- the complete series. Love the Art for AD&D Elmore and Jeff Easly, Clide Cauldwell. I like exceptional Strength for warriors only as well as Con. To make them physically toughter and overall better combatants. I like decending A.C. and Thaco was always a breeze but some find it to hard nowadays or as they call it anti intuative. I enjoyed facing rules for clarification, movement & encumberance rules, and a 1 minute round where much could happen.Combat and Tactics as a suppliment, High level campaigns, and the customization of Skills and powers as a series. I prefer1st edition most of all including all the Orange border or 6th printing books so than NWP's and weapon proficiencies are in play. I like that AD&D is grid optional. I also like to D.M. the AD&D system because of the D.M. fiat and Massive amounts of Setting info and optional rules.  basically I play AD&D over every other version of the game even today. I'm very jazzed over the reprints. Next- Not so much.
I forgot about the total political incorrectness of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. I like that.
What I don`t like about 2nd is the ability score reqirements for classes and the race limitations on classes and max levels for races in different classes


I never really minded the racial class and level limits, since those rules being in use was the only thing that made Humans worth playing - and even then it was only worth it if you were sure you were going to be playing through to high level.

I did, however, dislike that you had to roll a more powerful character (higher stats) in order to have access to a more powerful class - tended to make the difference between your average Fighter and your average Ranger or Paladin pretty extreme... though I never really had a solid idea as to how to re-balance things since saying "You rolled really good stats - you have to play one of the 4 basic classes so you aren't too powerful" just seemed weird.

Likewise with the bonus XP for high prime-requisite(s) rules too... seems strange to have a rule that effectively exaggerates how much better a character is at his class - example, you have two fighters in the same party and one has a 12 strength and is just playing a fighter because they like to... and then you have the fighter with the 17 strength that gets bonuses to-hit and damage over the 12 strength fighter. He's already got an advantage... but lets compound that by making him level up faster too, so even if these two fighters are always side by side and do everything together the one that is already better than his buddy will have numerous moments of being even better still in comparison!

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

Gridless play: I like the fact that AD&D downplayed the use of a battlemap

Except for measuring all movement rates and weapon ranges in inches.

...actually, AD&D didn't encourage or discourage grid usage - it just had movement rules that only apply without mental conversion to use of miniatures on your table. The book even listed two different scales at which to translate those inches listed in the stats depending on whether your characters were inside a dungeon or outside in the world.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.


1. Optional rules. 2nd ed was full of them and most of the splats made it very clear everything was optional. In 3rd ed this was kind of assumed and in 4th ed they went as far as declearing everything core. The 2nd ed books loved their tables as well and even had them for class abilites such as the Wild Mage. My percentile dice have not got much love since 2000. There has been a heavy shift towards what one may call player entitlement while 1st ed was often percieved as player vs DM. 2nd ed seems to have got the balance right.



See, I always felt that the rules being optional was baked into EVERY edition of D&D.  Rule 0 alone says so.  They did in fact get alway from spelling it out in 3.x and 4th, but it shouldn't have been necessary to do so.

4e's point in "everything core" was to maintain relative balance from the actual core books, to the splats.  And to that end, I agree with the concept.  In execution, it missed the mark a bit.  "Everything is core" is meant to establish that nothing they print should be game breaking or imbalanced.  Not "DM's can't say 'No'".

Tables and charts... I'd prefer to leave in the past.  Percentile?  A d20 is a percentile in increments of 5%.  Not to sure we need a lot more grainular than that in game.  64% for X, 23% for Y, 12% for Z and 1% that you win the game?  Pass.  (Nightmares of 1st and 2nd Psionics...)


2. No wealth by level guidelines. 3.5 and 4th ed both gave magic items a price in gold and RAW they were reasonably easy to make and buy. This lead to builds in both systems due to a reaosnable expectation of getting the stuff you wanted when you wanted it and in some cases was baked into class abilities with 3rd eds item creation feats for the wizard and rituals for the 4ht ed wizard. The DM had alot more ability to say no in 2nd ed or could just make something very difficult to aquire. If you have had things like players getting an keen scimitar in 3rd or abusing the frost cheese combo in 4th you have this to thank for that. You could say no I suppose but the DM would be going against RAW. RAW in 2nd ed most things were optional outside the core books.



Wealth by level was a great addition to the game as a guideline.  Without a lot of experience with a given set of rules, it's not always easy to judge exactly where the PCs should be.  I played a game in 3rd with a DM who had only played 2nd, and as a player.  His concept of what the party should have vs. what the DM threw at them was WAAAAY off, because he disregarded the wealth guidelines by an order of magnitude (at the very least).  We died a lot, and had a LOT of 5 minute workdays because of how under powered we were.  Now with experience, I'm all for DM fiat on such systems, but without a guideline for new DMs and DMs with lower levels of experience with the system, it's vital to have.

That said, 1st and 2nd math and design (what little there was) didn't assume players had any given level of wealth or resources... 3rd and 4th very much did assume it.  I do prefer games where even high level characters in mundane gear have a fighting chance.


3. No assumed magic level. D&D tends to be a high magic game and 3rd and 4th ed gave the PCs alot of it compared to pre 3rd ed games with maybe the exception of magic items. As mentioned ealrier magic items were easy to create but second ed books would go to great lengths discussing low and high magic worlds. In the historical sourcebooks a Rome or Greek based one wizards for example were a banned class or heavily restricted.  While one could houserule in in 3rd and 4th ed I can't recall a source book spelling it out like that.



This sort of ties into 1 and 2.  Restricting/banning classes is Rule 0.  I don't feel that it needs spelling out every time.  Low magic can be more easily done in systems that don't assume a specific level of wealth/gearing.


4. No assumed number of players or party composition. The rules kind of assumed the party was alot larger than 3rd and 4th ed. In 3rd ed the defualt assumption was 4, 4th ed it was a 5 member party. As a general rule you would need to have all of the bases covered in terms of party composiiton and 4th ed in particular heavily encouraged 2 defenders, 1 leader/striker/controller. One was not locked into it of course. 2nd ed players option discussed things like all fighter or all wizard parties. An all fighter party would be derided in 3rd and 4th ed but back then they more or less said change the campaigns setting. An all thieves game make it an urban one. All fighters put them in the army or have a war raging etc.



1st and 2nd always sorta assumed you had a party of 4 (Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, and Rogue).  It wasn't directly stated as such, but was always there.  (Hell, 1st and 2nd were rather rough without DM intervention if the party lacked a healbot Cleric... and making it too long in the early levels without a Rogue to pick locks, find traps, etc... was not a walk in the park.)  I don't recall specifics in either 3.x or 4th, but 3.x always had well rounded party examples and 4th talked about parties that lacked role "X".  Maybe not "We're all Warlock" parties, but how a group might more effectively make due without a defender, or leader, etc...


5. Fluff heavy rule books. 2nd ed books are really nice to read even after all these years. By 3rd and 4th ed standards there is not alot of mechanics to them but what mechanics there are are often very useful. The class splatbooks usually had kits for the classes and a few magic items. It cut back on the mechanical bloat alot while still giving you alot of options with your character. In a way kits kind of functioned as a hybrid between paragon paths and prestige classes but you could take them from level 1. Very similar to varient class abilities in 3rd eds Unearthed Arcana and Advanced Players Guide in PF I suppose.



Fluff is nice to read... until it's been reprinted for more than 30 years.  After a while, it just feels like you're paying for copy and paste.  I didn't buy 3.x for fluff.  I was looking for mechanics that made the game more fun, or let it run more smoothly.  I junked my 3.x books for 4e in order to improve on that.  

I have fond memories of reading "The Complete Elf" or "The Complete Wizard" and letting those and many other books inspire characters, settings, etc...  But those aren't books you use to run the game, and the fluff very much gets in the way of game time rules referencing.  

Print new, interesting and unique fluff books.

I don't need it in my mechanics though.



Stay Frosty! - Shado
Gridless play: I like the fact that AD&D downplayed the use of a battlemap

Except for measuring all movement rates and weapon ranges in inches.

...actually, AD&D didn't encourage or discourage grid usage - it just had movement rules that only apply without mental conversion to use of miniatures on your table. The book even listed two different scales at which to translate those inches listed in the stats depending on whether your characters were inside a dungeon or outside in the world.



We have a winner!

Always bothered me how pissed off people got about the emphasis of 3.x and 4e on using minitures and mats when from the get go, D&D has had rules for using mats.

The difference?  The rules weren't that good in the beginning and we were all too poor/cheap to buy the materials.  Rules got better, we all got better jobs (or got them to begin with) = people start using the miniture and mat rules, and want them improved.

You can play 4e and 3.x without a mat just as easily as you could with 1st and 2nd.  It's just the rules are so much better for it in 3.x and 4e, and it eliminates so many arguments at the table, that it's become the expectation. 
Stay Frosty! - Shado
Yes the "grid argument" against 4th edition as been killed in a recent thread.

In favor of 2nd edition, I'd say art choices were better.
People were smiling, fearful, impressed, and not just always angry like in most arts from recent editions.
I think the 4th edition gained most of its all about combat undeserved reputation with its art. The major part of it could be described with : one or two angry individuals fighting or ready to fight enemies, lol

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

Inherent bonuses are not confusing in the slightest.

At level 2, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to attack, and +1d6 critical dice.  Every 5 levels, these numbers go up by 1.
At level 4, you get a +1 enhancement bonus to all defenses. Every 5 levels, this number goes up by 1.



So you could just have one weapon or armor that got better too?... But my main point is that I don`t agree with magic items beeing part of leveling, it feels wrong from a narrative sense and a game world logic perspective, even more so if you want a more or less sand box feel to it. I get why they did it, I just don`t agree with it!



Your armor and weapons would not get better.  YOU would get better.



I get that, but I COULD just as well give them magic items that go better too;)


Inherant bonuses doesn't stop you from doing that.
Gridless play: I like the fact that AD&D downplayed the use of a battlemap

Except for measuring all movement rates and weapon ranges in inches.

...actually, AD&D didn't encourage or discourage grid usage - it just had movement rules that only apply without mental conversion to use of miniatures on your table. The book even listed two different scales at which to translate those inches listed in the stats depending on whether your characters were inside a dungeon or outside in the world.



True. however beyond that, none of the rules relied heavily on specific positioning and small shifts of position the way 3E and 4E do. When you require that stuff where every 5 feet matters, then you start to require a map. In all the 2E groups I've played with, nobody used a grid and a map was brought out to roughly visualize the action maybe 1 out of 5 sessions at most, and movement was always eyeballed and not strictly done.

When those groups converted to 3E/4E plus all the new groups I've played those games with. Everyone one of them has used a battlemap. It only took a few sessions for the old AD&D groups to start saying "Wow, we better start using a battlemap to track this stuff."

People can argue semantics, and yes, D&D did evolve from a wargame. But at the end of the day it was easy to play AD&D without a map, and it was very difficult to play 3E and especailly 4E without the map.


Gridless combat! Love it! No time to set up tiles or mat and minatures or anything! Can be played anywhere, anytime.
I like playing combat encounters in 4e too, they can be very fun with all the tactical options and movement, but I prefer my roleplaying games to have gridless and narrative combat in a more "theatre of the mind" method. The problem with a huge gridbased tactical combat system, however smooth and fun it might be, is that it takes up so much space of the game and easily overshadow the freeflowing roleplaying action and fun exploration. When combat takes as little time as a narrative skill challange, then you can go on to the other fun aspects of the game and not loose focus on roleplay and character interaction with eachother and the game world! And before anyone says anything, yes I know you can rp the hell out of any combat encounter, but to me it gets boring after a while! It should be possible to have many fast and fun combats in a session without so much fuzz:p Grids are fine as an optional rule! And by all means, if people like the combat encounters more than the narrative or the rp and exploration, focus on combat encounters and have fun!
It's not just a question of rolepaly, gridless combat was impossible in 2nd edition when fighting some creature like teleporting demons/devils summoning friends. Some creatures list of spells and abilities were so long that the DM needed players position to exploit them.

When you don't use a map in complex fights, you have to rely a lot on DM fiat, and the players have a harder time to keep track of everything going on. With a map, things are clear for everyone, from DM to player, and we do not have the classic spellcaster saying : "Oh, no, I don't do that, I didn't think we were positioned like this !"

Grid greatly simplify complex combats, but can be ignored for simple combat in all editions.

We used gaphic representations of combat with all editions of D&D as soon as things started to become unclear. And we used the grids of the paper sheets. So I never really understood the reject of 4th edition for having given easier rules to handle something I always have seen in use at rpgs tables.

I never saw an AD&D combat against high level group with teleporters, summoners, or creatures relying on AE played without graphic representation. Even common spells like lightning bolt used environment to function with ricochet, and fireball AE has to be recalculated as it was a volume.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

The 2e players option books had explicit rules for grid combat.     Even without those optional books, our 2e group always used a battlemat for as much as we could.    The game worked perfectly with or without a grid.    

I don't find that to be the case with 4e.   IMO, the grid IS required because it's baked into the rules.   Shifting, sliding, and positioning is just far too important in that game not to use a grid.     

What I found to be lacking from 4e was the idea that an encounter doesn't always begin in close terrain.      In 2e I really enjoyed the fact that an encounter could start at just about any distance, even those far beyond the size of your battle grid.    The 2e system provided charts and random rolls to determine encounter distance.      In 2e you roll for a random encounter and then roll for encounter distance.   In this case, the PCs might notice a group of trolls several rounds away and  have time to use their ranged weapons, even droping a few before the trolls even get close.  


Show

Encounter Distance
Once your character or party has an encounter and it has been determined whether or not anyone was surprised, your DM will tell you the range of the encounter--the distance separating you from the other group. Many factors affect encounter distance. These include the openness of the terrain, the weather conditions, whether surprise occurred, and the time of day, to name a few. Although you do not know the exact distance until your DM tells you, surprise, darkness, or close terrain (woods, city streets, or narrow dungeons) usually results in shorter encounter distances, while open ground (deserts, plains, or moors), good light, or advance warning results in greater encounter distances


This is why I fully support spells in Next with huge ranges like meteor swarm.  After all, the game world isn't limited by the bounds of the battlemat.    

D&D Next is doing the right thing by not using Squares and going back to real units of measurement.

Another great thing 2e did was make it very clear how encounters might playout.   Not everything must result in combat.      

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Encounter Options
Once an encounter occurs, there is no set sequence for what happens next. It all depends on just what your characters have encountered and what they choose to do. That's the excitement of a role-playing game--once you meet something, almost anything could happen. There are some fairly common results of encounters, however.

Evasion: Sometimes all you want is for your characters to avoid, escape, or otherwise get away from whatever it is you've met. Usually this is because you realize your group is seriously outmatched. Perhaps returning badly hurt from an adventure, your group spots a red dragon soaring overhead. You know it can turn your party to toast if it wants. Rather than take that risk, your group hides, waiting for it to pass. Or, topping a ridge, you see the army of Frazznargth the Impious, a noted warlord. There are 5,000 of them and six of you. Retreat seems like the better part of valor, so you turn your horses and ride.

Sometimes you want to avoid an encounter simply because it will take too much time. While riding with an urgent message for his lord, your character rides into a group of wandering pilgrims. Paying them no mind, he lashes his horse and gallops past.
Evading or avoiding an encounter is not always successful. Some monsters pursue; others do not. In the examples above, Frazznargth the Impious (being a prudent commander) orders a mounted patrol to chase the characters and bring them in for questioning. The pilgrims, on the other hand, shout a few oaths as your galloping horse splashes mud on them and then continue on their way. Your character's success at evading capture will depend on movement rates, determination of pursuit, terrain, and just a little luck. Sometimes when he really should be caught, your character gets lucky. At other times, well, he just has to stand his ground.

Talk: Your character doesn't run from encounters all the time, and attacking everything you meet eventually leads to problems. Sometimes the best thing to do is talk, whether it's casual conversation, hardball negotiation, jovial rumor-swapping, or intimidating threats. In fact, talking is often better than fighting. To solve the problems your DM has created for your character, you need information. Asking the right questions, developing contacts, and putting out the word are all useful ways to use an encounter. Not everything you meet, human or otherwise, is out to kill your character. Help often appears in the most surprising forms. Thus it often pays to take the time to talk to creatures.
Fight: Of course, there are times when you don't want to or can't run away. (Running all the time is not that heroic.) And there are times when you know talking is not a good idea. Sooner or later, your character will have to fight. The real trick is knowing when to fight and when to talk or run. If you attack every creature you meet, the first thing that will happen is that nobody will want to meet with your character. Your character will also manage to kill or chase off everyone who might want to help him. Finally, sooner or later your DM is going to get tired of this and send an incredibly powerful group of monsters after your character. Given the fact that you've been killing everything in sight, he's justified in doing this.

So it is important always to know who you are attacking and why. As with the best police in the world today, the trick is to figure out who are the bad guys and who are the good guys. Make mistakes and you pay. You may kill an NPC who has a vital clue, or unintentionally anger a baron far more powerful than yourself. NPCs will be reluctant to associate with your character, and the law will find fewer and fewer reasons to protect him. It is always best to look on combat as a last resort.

Wait: Sometimes when you encounter another group, you don't know what you should do. You don't want to attack them in case they are friendly, but you don't want to say anything to provoke them. What you can do is wait and see how they react. Waiting is a perfectly sensible option. However, there is the risk that in waiting, you lose the advantage should the other side suddenly decide to attack. Waiting for a reaction so that you can decide what to do causes a +1 penalty to the first initiative roll for your group, if the other side attacks.

Of course, in any given encounter, there may be many other options open to your character. The only limit is your imagination (and common sense). Charging a band of orcs to break through their lines and flee may work. Talking them down with an elaborate bluff about the army coming up behind you might scare them off. Clever use of spells could end the encounter in sudden and unexpected ways. The point is, this is a role-playing game and the options are as varied as you wish to make them.

 



2. No wealth by level guidelines. 3.5 and 4th ed both gave magic items a price in gold and RAW they were reasonably easy to make and buy.




Here's something funny to remember...

2ed Player: "I want to make a magic longsword +1!"
2ed DM: "Very well, cast Permanency and spend 1 permanent point of Constitution."
2ed Player: "On a second thought................"


 
By the way, I do miss all that stuff from 2ed on your initial post, that's why I have always tried to house-rule them back into my 3ed games.
Money and treasures, for example... I have never used the rule of rewarding PCs' wealth by their level. That's just too "video-game" for me.
A monster or NPC should have the wealth it makes sense for him to have.


We have a winner!

Always bothered me how pissed off people got about the emphasis of 3.x and 4e on using minitures and mats when from the get go, D&D has had rules for using mats.



Indeed.  In 1e, you had to keep track of which way you were facing if you used a shield, because it could only intercept attacks from 3 of the 8 adjacent squares.

2. No wealth by level guidelines. 3.5 and 4th ed both gave magic items a price in gold and RAW they were reasonably easy to make and buy.




Here's something funny to remember...

2ed Player: "I want to make a magic longsword +1!"
2ed DM: "Very well, cast Permanency and spend 1 permanent point of Constitution."
2ed Player: "On a second thought................"


 
By the way, I do miss all that stuff from 2ed on your initial post, that's why I have always tried to house-rule them back into my 3ed games.
Money and treasures, for example... I have never used the rule of rewarding PCs' wealth by their level. That's just too "video-game" for me.
A monster or NPC should have the wealth it makes sense for him to have.



 Stopped the PCs spammig magical items. Probably don't agree with the -1 con part except maybe for the most powerful magic items (+4 or higher, gauntlets of ogre power etc). I like 3rd and 4th ed item creation rules as a player, as a DM not so much.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 Fear is the Mind Killer  


2. No wealth by level guidelines. 3.5 and 4th ed both gave magic items a price in gold and RAW they were reasonably easy to make and buy.




Here's something funny to remember...

2ed Player: "I want to make a magic longsword +1!"
2ed DM: "Very well, cast Permanency and spend 1 permanent point of Constitution."
2ed Player: "On a second thought................"


 
By the way, I do miss all that stuff from 2ed on your initial post, that's why I have always tried to house-rule them back into my 3ed games.
Money and treasures, for example... I have never used the rule of rewarding PCs' wealth by their level. That's just too "video-game" for me.
A monster or NPC should have the wealth it makes sense for him to have.



Only had a 5% chance to lose a point of Con for most uses of Permanency.

The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.