What's the difference between AD&D 2nd edition and the current D&D game???

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I'm making up an article of sorts, and I need to know the following:

What are the main differences between the second edition AD&D (which came out in the 90's) and the current D&D roleplaying game?

How has the game changed? Why is the Advanced dropped from the title?

Just the main changes are enough, but if you have time, please go to specifics too, like how the dice rolling has changed and so on...

thank you for your help!!!
They are two different games with similar fluff and titles.

So much has changed, both mechanical and fluff, that it would be comparing apples to oranges.  I mean, you can compare apples to oranges (they are both fruit) but its gonna take forever to get through the details. 
 /writes book

Maybe it would help if you did a little of the leg work and we could help you fill in.  Rather than just asking us to do everything from scratch. 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
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Are you familiar with any of the two systems? That would help answering as one could be used as benchmark to highligh the main differences from the other.

Initially 'Advanced' was added to the so called 1st edition, to distiguish it from the orginal D&D game, to indicate increased complexity and number of options available in the new iteration. 2nd edition was an iteration over 1st ed so the 'Advanced' was kept there.

3rd edition was kind of a reboot of the D&D franchise, introducing the so called 'd20 system', and was rebranded just as Dungeons & Dragons (with mention of the edition number), and 4th edition (the latest published product) did the same.   
   
I am familiar with the two systems, they are the two editions of dnd I have played the most. To be honest, they are mechanically two different games.

The similarities is that you start out building characters by choosing a class and a race. What that means have changed a bit over the years.
In 2nd ed. a class was built on the expectations of what your job in the adventure or dungeon(the "quest") as a whole. In 4th editions, your class is built on the expectations of what you do in a combat encounter and the role your class have in that encounter. there are four different roles in 4e, Controller, defender, leader and striker, that is a new concept of the edition, and did not exist before. Every single class has a role, a few of the new classes even has two, a berserker barabarian, for example is both a defender and a striker. Other than that, your class gives an expectation HOW your character will solve a given situation, rather than IF you should solve it.
Races used to have class and level restrictions in 2nd ed., in 4e, every race can choose all classes, and there are no level restrictions.
Classes in 4e are balanced based on how powerful a character is, 2nd ed characters was balanced in a different way, more powerful classes advanced slower in level, you were restricted from playing them if you didn`t meet the ability score requirement and not all races could be those classes(but that may have something to do with what "fitted" the generic image of the race as well. Balance in the "equal" power level did not exist in 2nd ed, it was more to do with classes filling different areas of expertise in the adventure, like in a heist movie.
In 2nd ed, combat was most often played without grids, a more "theatre of the mind" kind of thing, although there were optional rules to play with grids, but I never used them and don`t know much about them. 4e use grids in combat and all characters have tactical options based on the powers they have based on class (and to a lesser extent, race). Combat encounters take up a lot of space and time in the 4e-system. People have mixed feelings about this.
Both games are still primarely roleplaying games, and for many players of the game, the rules and the mechanics of the game is just an aid to rolplay and tell a story together. For those players, the system and the rules doesn`t matter much.
 
2nd edition came out in the late 80's although a lot of the material was published in the early 90's.

Your best bet is to pick up a copy of 2E PHB, 3e PHB, 4E PHB and compare the three.  3E changed a lot about 2E mechanics such as AC going up as it got better instead of going down, adding feats, made all classes use the same XP system, and got rid of things like race-class restrictions and dual classing.  It kept some things like vancian casting.

It also streamlined how saving throws rolls worked, which were completely changed again in 4E.  It added prestige classes and brought in a skill system that every classed used.

4E sort of brought back dual classes, but called them hybrids.  It got rid of vancian casting and moved towards a more encounter focused system vs a daily focused system.  It got rid of things like level, Xp, and ability score drain and save or die effects and added healing surges to limit how much a PC could normally heal in a day.  4E made it so all classes roll d20 for almost all their attacks.  4E got rid of prestige classes, but added paragon paths and epic detinies, which are sort of similar. Changed the skill system yet again to a streamlined set of skills.  It redid multiclassing. 

The very basics of the 3 systems are the same.  Your dwarf fighter, elf wizard and human cleric roll d20s a lot, have ability scores and roll dice to determine damage, etc.
there are four different roles in 4e, Controller, defender, leader and striker, that is a new concept of the edition, and did not exist before.



False.  It simply wasn't codified, which resulted in classes that could do everything and classes that could do nothing.
You're writing an article about this rather substantial topic and yet know nothing?

Arghhh.

If you really want to know then download the free 4E adventure, Keep on the Shadowfell, from this website. It includes some fairly basic 4E rules and you can also find some premade characters. Then play it or, better yet, have someone run it for you.

Now, find a copy of Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale for the PC and play those for an hour or two. They're 2E rules.

After that, come back with some more specific questions.
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Are you familiar with any of the two systems? That would help answering as one could be used as benchmark to highligh the main differences from the other.

Initially 'Advanced' was added to the so called 1st edition, to distiguish it from the orginal D&D game, to indicate increased complexity and number of options available in the new iteration. 2nd edition was an iteration over 1st ed so the 'Advanced' was kept there.

3rd edition was kind of a reboot of the D&D franchise, introducing the so called 'd20 system', and was rebranded just as Dungeons & Dragons (with mention of the edition number), and 4th edition (the latest published product) did the same.   
   

I think the "Advanced" was removed from the name in 3rd Edition because prior to that TSR had maintained two somewhat separate but almost identical games, Advanced D&D (1st and 2nd Editions) and Dungeons and Dragons (which had several incarnations and was first published in a series of softcover books known as Basic, Expert, Companion, Masters, and Immortals). When WotC took over the franchise they presumably decided to simplify things and dropped the Dungeons & Dragons line. At that point the "Advanced" was redundant. 3rd Edition is the 3rd edition of Advanced D&D in terms of rules and structure. You could I suppose consider the name to be "The Third incarnation of D&D overall" with the original D&D game being 1st, all the BECMI etc 2nd, and WotC D&D being 3rd, but I seriously doubt they thought of it that way.

As for the mechanical differences there's not a lot of point enumerating them for people that don't know anything about the rules. Suffice it to say that the earliest versions of the game were quite simple and had very few options. Essentially it was almost a parlor game with the players exploring a 'Dungeon' using some very simple rules. The unique feature being the rules were open-ended and characters could continue from one adventure to the next and become stronger. The AD&D and other TSR variants of the game all used pretty much the same original rules with some additions and refinement.

Over the years players wanted to have more options. They wanted more types of races to play, more classes of character (your basic character concept, wizard, fighter, thief, etc). More spells and magic items were added as well. Additionally over time people extended the way they played. Where the original 1974 game was mostly a 'dungeon crawl' players quickly began to create more sophisticated settings, cities, towns, castles, and whole worlds filled with anything they could imagine. Where the original concept was pretty clear, the Dungeon Master created a dangerous dungeon to explore and acted as a referee the new concept extended the DM's role to that of author of an entire world and possibly intricate plots and characters.

When TSR created the 2nd Edition of AD&D they clearly realized that RPGs had long since gone beyond exploring dungeons. Zeb Cook was the main author of 2e and he and the TSR team left the rules mostly the same, but added some more open-ended features (non-weapon proficiencies, a type of skill system) and changed the tone of the game to talk much more about storylines, character, motive, plot, etc. and instruct the DM to give out experience points to the characters for doing things that advanced the story and enhanced the authenticity of the characters (instead of the simply 'get more gold' based goal of earlier versions). Once the 2nd Edition books were released TSR also rapidly put out a large number of supplements which added more modular options to the characters, so a given PC could be fighter, but he could choose to focus on being a master of a certain weapon, etc.

After TSR went broke and WotC bought them out 2nd Edition was largely out of print and so a 3rd Edition was created. Presumably the goal of the 3rd Edition's designers was to take the hodge podge of rules that evolved from all the 2nd Edition supplements and construct a more flexible game that would incorporate all that material in a simpler way from the start. The result was a more complex game with so many different ways to build a character that people are still inventing new tricks a dozen years later. Not everyone found this new game to be an improvement, but it has been quite popular overall.

4th Edition was invented largely as an answer to the perceived problems with the 3rd Edition's rules, presumably. Like 3rd Edition it is both more complex and flexible than the old D&D/AD&D games, but also uses some different rules concepts. The result is that some people don't find 4e to be suitable for the same sorts of games that worked in previous editions. The basic concepts are the same, but the details are different enough that people's style of play is often different. It is hard to explain that to someone who hasn't played a number of RPGs enough to understand RPG play style. That's pretty much the lowdown on it.

In short 4e is a lot more tightly written game than 2e. It probably isn't actually more complicated, but the rules do have more structure and organization.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Are we talking mechanically game wise?
Socially?
Are we trying to compare it to the times in which they were created?

I need more info on what you are looking for before I can give you a useful opinion.

.
Races used to have class and level restrictions in 2nd ed., in 4e, every race can choose all classes, and there are no level restrictions
 



Thank you for that, zombie, it was very helpful

But one question about the above line:
Are you saying dwarves could become wizards, or halflings become barbarians in the current DD edition?!?!?!

.
Races used to have class and level restrictions in 2nd ed., in 4e, every race can choose all classes, and there are no level restrictions
 



Thank you for that, zombie, it was very helpful

But one question about the above line:
Are you saying dwarves could become wizards, or halflings become barbarians in the current DD edition?!?!?!




Any race can be any class, yes. Arbitrary race/class restrictions do not exist.

 2nd Edition was the last edition to have racial restrictions, and to require minimum ability scores to qualify for certain classes. In 3rd Ed., any character could play any class they wanted - they'd just be less good at it if they didn't have good scores in the primary abilities of those classes.

 And to be quite honest, the majority of people I know who played 2nd Ed. either relaxed or completely eliminated those racial restrictions while they were playing it.


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For a definitive rundown of the different versions of D&D, see Wikipedia.

It goes into some of the rules differences too. 

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

.
Races used to have class and level restrictions in 2nd ed., in 4e, every race can choose all classes, and there are no level restrictions
 



Thank you for that, zombie, it was very helpful

But one question about the above line:
Are you saying dwarves could become wizards, or halflings become barbarians in the current DD edition?!?!?!


How long have you been awayfrom the D&D scene my friend? This changes have been around since 2000.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

I for one will be sticking to the original system as it is more familiar to me. I personally do not like the new saving throw system, initiative, AC, to hits etc. I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff. D&D 4e and D&D 2nd edition are two totally different games and there is room for the love of both of them. 
I for one will be sticking to the original system as it is more familiar to me. I personally do not like the new saving throw system, initiative, AC, to hits etc. I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff. D&D 4e and D&D 2nd edition are two totally different games and there is room for the love of both of them. 



Tell that to Mearls, he seem to think it can be done...he is wrong, thought...he just discarded the entire 4e demography to make his personal game.
Is this thread for real!? Got to be another one of my forum dreams.
I for one will be sticking to the original system as it is more familiar to me. I personally do not like the new saving throw system, initiative, AC, to hits etc. I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff. D&D 4e and D&D 2nd edition are two totally different games and there is room for the love of both of them. 


One quick question... Why are you on the 4e general Discussion if you don't like the game? For real what is up with that?

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

I for one will be sticking to the original system as it is more familiar to me. I personally do not like the new saving throw system, initiative, AC, to hits etc. I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff. D&D 4e and D&D 2nd edition are two totally different games and there is room for the love of both of them. 


One quick question... Why are you on the 4e general Discussion if you don't like the game? For real what is up with that?

He did address some of the differences, which is the topic.  He also chose to opine on how he doesn't like 4e and prefers 2e, because of the differences with 2e that he is familiar with.  Nothing wrong with that.  I mean, he only did ONE post, and he's welcome to insert his opinion as long as it's on topic.

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

I for one will be sticking to the original system as it is more familiar to me. I personally do not like the new saving throw system, initiative, AC, to hits etc. I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff. D&D 4e and D&D 2nd edition are two totally different games and there is room for the love of both of them. 



It isn't just newer players that prefer 4E. I've been playing and DMing since 1979, and 4E is my preferred edition.

Part of this is due to the fact that I strayed from D&D quite a bit. Hero System, Storyteller, GURPS, Runequest, WEG d6 System, etc. My relationship with D&D was never exclusive, but I always kept bringing the good ideas from other games back and incorporating them into D&D. As D&D editions changed, they also incorporated refinements in game design, and I adopted those editions. 4E, for me, is the most modern and advanced version of D&D to date (advanced not necessarily meaning complex, just that it drew on 35 years of experience designing and playing roleplaying games).

Not that I begrudge anyone their favorite editions, just pointing out that 4E is not a symptom of "kids these days."

I for one will be sticking to the original system as it is more familiar to me. I personally do not like the new saving throw system, initiative, AC, to hits etc. I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff. D&D 4e and D&D 2nd edition are two totally different games and there is room for the love of both of them. 


One quick question... Why are you on the 4e general Discussion if you don't like the game? For real what is up with that?

He did address some of the differences, which is the topic.  He also chose to opine on how he doesn't like 4e and prefers 2e, because of the differences with 2e that he is familiar with.  Nothing wrong with that.  I mean, he only did ONE post, and he's welcome to insert his opinion as long as it's on topic.


No, I completely understand that he is justified in sharing his opinion but why is he here? In 4e general discussion... And its his first post. If I didn't know better it seems like a troll/baiting attempt. Just because I don't like 2e (IMO its a crappy 1e knockoff with Gary's name completely stripped from it, that and TSRs CEO at the time...) doesn't mean I'm gonna head over to Dragonsfoot and tell them about it with my first post. Also assuming that 4e is easier to wrap your mind around it a bit stupid. Its just not overly self contradictory like AD&D is.

Come to 4ENCLAVE for a fan based 4th Edition Community.

 

I'm in the same boat as you MalakLightfoot and agree 100% with what you said.
I for one will be sticking to the original system as it is more familiar to me. I personally do not like the new saving throw system, initiative, AC, to hits etc. I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff. D&D 4e and D&D 2nd edition are two totally different games and there is room for the love of both of them. 



Tell that to Mearls, he seem to think it can be done...he is wrong, thought...he just discarded the entire 4e demography to make his personal game.



 We agree on something. I'm leaning towards discarding the 3.5 and 4th ed demography. Mealrs likes 2nd ed alot but IDK if he can figure out why we liked 2nd ed. Remake 2nd ed and make it d20 based and steamline the rules is better than D&DN.

 Fear is the Mind Killer

 Fear is the Mind Killer  

I for one will be sticking to the original system as it is more familiar to me. I personally do not like the new saving throw system, initiative, AC, to hits etc. I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff. D&D 4e and D&D 2nd edition are two totally different games and there is room for the love of both of them. 



It isn't just newer players that prefer 4E. I've been playing and DMing since 1979, and 4E is my preferred edition.

Part of this is due to the fact that I strayed from D&D quite a bit. Hero System, Storyteller, GURPS, Runequest, WEG d6 System, etc. My relationship with D&D was never exclusive, but I always kept bringing the good ideas from other games back and incorporating them into D&D. As D&D editions changed, they also incorporated refinements in game design, and I adopted those editions. 4E, for me, is the most modern and advanced version of D&D to date (advanced not necessarily meaning complex, just that it drew on 35 years of experience designing and playing roleplaying games).

Not that I begrudge anyone their favorite editions, just pointing out that 4E is not a symptom of "kids these days."


No kidding, I first played in 1975, I still like 4e better than anything that came before it. I don't really understand why the details of rules are something to get all caught up in. Its all about having fun playing and creating characters and stuff. I could care less how you roll saves as long as it is easy and sensible, and FORT/REF/WILL is WAY easier and more sensible than 'classic' D&D saves, which were completely arbitrary, for example.

That is not dead which may eternal lie
I am sure D&D 4e is a fantastic game for newer players to wrap their minds around but when I have played it since 1979, I find the old rules, tables, and fighting styles are just fine. I Dungeon Master for groups all the time and I try to also keep in mind what the players themselves want to play and for us older gamers its the old stuff.



It isn't just newer players that prefer 4E. I've been playing and DMing since 1979, and 4E is my preferred edition.

No kidding, I first played in 1975, I still like 4e better than anything that came before it.


I started in 1980 and can certainly see that 4e is the best of the bunch to date.  I think a lot of it has to do with the attitude you have towards the game.  If you're nostalgic for the time/youth when you used to play, only the old stuff will do.  If you've invested a lot in 'mastering' a particular system and don't want to do it again, you stick to that system.  If you play a lot of different games, picking up a new edition is no big deal, you pick up new games every year.

 

 

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 I don't really understand why the details of rules are something to get all caught up in. Its all about having fun playing and creating characters and stuff.



Pretty much this.

Gold is for the mistress, silver for the maid

Copper for the craftsman, cunning at his trade.

"Good!" said the Baron, sitting in his hall,

"But Iron -- Cold Iron -- is master of them all." -Kipling

 

Miss d20 Modern? Take a look at Dias Ex Machina Game's UltraModern 4e!

 

57019168 wrote:
I am a hero, not a chump.
 I don't really understand why the details of rules are something to get all caught up in. Its all about having fun playing and creating characters and stuff.



Pretty much this.

Some people have fun by learning and using the rules to the best of their ability and there's nothing wrong with that.  I personally don't understand why some people get all caught up with roleplaying shopping for clothes for five hours straight.  I've seen it happen.  Anything can be taken to excess, I guess.

But I'm in agreement with Abdul - I like 4e the best.  And I've been playing since about 1980.

But to each their own! 

OD&D, 1E and 2E challenged the player. 3E challenged the character, not the player. Now 4E takes it a step further by challenging a GROUP OF PLAYERS to work together as a TEAM. That's why I love 4E.

"Your ability to summon a horde of celestial superbeings at will is making my ... BMX skills look a bit redundant."

"People treat their lack of imagination as if it's the measure of what's silly. Which is silly." - Noon

"Challenge" is overrated.  "Immersion" is usually just a more pretentious way of saying "having fun playing D&D."

"Falling down is how you grow.  Staying down is how you die.  It's not what happens to you, it's what you do after it happens.”

Not to post some "Here be monsters" links, but I find 1d4chan's descriptions of the two systems to be fairly comprehensive.
AD&D and 4th Edition are both very particular breeds. It's also important to note that, in addition to the rage controversy of the systems, significant changes were made to the background settings.

AD&D had Greyhawk as it's default setting and produced material for The Forgotten Realms, Spelljammer, Dark Sun, Dragonlance, and so on. LOTS of material. AD&D probably has more fluff than 3rd and 4th Edition's have, combined.

With 3rd Edition, additional material was printed to update the rules and monsters for The Forgotten Realms only, which was also received a setting update to mesh with the new rules system. These changes did not cause very much upset, but neither were they heralded with loving joy from the fan base. As no other setting received a significant rules or history update to facilitate widespread 3rd Edition play. Instead of Greyhawk as the default setting, 3rd Edition's world was as generic as possible with a Planescape cosmology.

3rd Edition (3.5 technically) also saw the launch of Wizard's own setting Ebberon. Ebberon was and remains popular though it is not a traditional Sword & Sorcery sharing much in common with Steampunk and Wild West settings. Unfortunately, (for those of us who like our Sword & Sorcery settings to remain such) this lead to cross contamination as people wanted to play robots non-traditional species and character types where they were out of place.

4th Edition made massive changes to the fluff of it's combat and to the established settings that it was supporting, Ebberon and The Forgotten Realms making them near to unrecognizable. To those of us who cling to the glut of AD&D material on The Forgotten Realms and these other settings, the post-AD&D fluff changes are both disquieting due to the "perversions" of their updates and make it harder to run older settings that were never updated. Now to be fair there is an element of nostalgia to this love of older settings, however changes in writers, writing styles, and management could be said to have also contributed.
3rd Edition's world was as generic as possible with a Planescape cosmology.

3e's default setting was Greyhawk, which was not exactly generic, and Planescape's cosmology was anything but generic, having a complex set of named alignment-associated outer-planes, specific inner planes, and politics and power structures linking them all together with Sigil as a nexus and the Blood War as a handy source of conflict.  

4e assumed a generic setting, characterized as 'Points of Light' - a world in which darkness was ascendent, but some outposts of good remained, and heroes (the PCs) were on the rise.  Not a setting, so much as a vague suggestion of a sort of setting.   Similarly, the 'World Axis' cosmology, was a more generic aproach than the Planescape one, without a fixed set of alignment-associated planes, elemental planes, and so forth, instead have the usual myriad of parallel 'real worlds,' with light & dark other-worlds, and the rather formless Astral Sea and Elemental Chaos holding whatever heavens & hells might be envisioned.

4th Edition made massive changes to the fluff of it's combat and to the established settings that it was supporting, Ebberon and The Forgotten Realms making them near to unrecognizable.

There's no question FR got a shock treatment, but then it had been a world dominated by magic in a way that the new game didn't automatically imply the way the old one did, and shifting it to the 'points of light' theme, so there'd be things for PC heroes to do, meant dismantling it's coteries of uber-mages and generally making it a less settled world.

Ebberon, OTOH, with it's concept of being a sort of universal D&D setting in which all races, classes, and so forth had a place, just expanded a bit, making room for Dragonborn and the like.  If anything, Ebberon's existing cosmology meshed more easily with the more generic & flexible World Axis than it had with Planescape.

 

 

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