Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Second Thoughts About Second Edition

I admit it - I'm taking the easy way out and doing a lazy post today.  I'm taking this opportunity to say "I didn't give second edition a fair chance".  Of course, the second edition I'm talking about is the AD&D second edition.  I remember the buildup to the release in Dragon magazine.  I was pretty excited and was looking forward to the new books.

My buddy Jamie got the 2E PHB and we went through it cover to cover.  I liked the clearer language and organization but I did not like what I felt was the "de-Gygaxing" of the rules.  That pretty much sums up my impression of the core books.  It felt sanitized and politically correct with the removal of Assassins, Barbarians, Half-Orcs, and many of the monsters.  I never bought the second edition books and never played in a straight second edition game either.

I have had the opportunity to look at the core books again and I must say that for the most part the game is better explained, organized, and presented.  Plus, it's close enough to AD&D to add back in anything that got "left out".  So, on a second look, I would play in a second edition game IF it was limited to the core books, certain first edition material added back in, & house rules.  I do know for a fact that I would avoid the Complete series of books and kits altogether.

There it is - a quick and lazy post.  I'm hitting the sack.  Maybe I'll write more about second edition sometime if I pick up the books or maybe one of the 2E retroclones...


  1. After having reread a couple of the 2e books, I still tend to agree with your initial impressions.

    Yes, the organization and presentation are a lot snazzier. But to me, the heart and soul of the game mechanics started down the Medusa trail with 2e. And it never let up.

    I'll always think that the Moldvay books were the best D&D game mechanics that I ever played. As it was the first I ever played I do acknowledge that nostalgia rules apply. Still, the game was charming.

    AD&D was cool. 2e, not as such.

  2. @Baker: I think that's the biggest problem with 2E - even though the presentation is quite a bit more user friendly, the charm of first edition is just missing.

    I totally get why you enjoyed Moldvay so much. I inherited my Holmes Basic from my unclude and within a week I got the Moldvay set. I keep going back and forth on which one I like best. You can not go wrong with Moldvay - art, layout, fonts, etc. - and I would have liked to have seen a full run from Basic to Masters done in the Moldvay style.