There has been several posts (The TSR Reprints Keep Coming and Second Edition Core Rulebooks to be Re-Released in May) at other blogs about the upcoming reprint of the AD&D Second Edition core rulebooks in May of 2013. I thought this was a perfect time to re-post and expand one of my earlier blog posts about AD&D Second Edition. The original post is presented as it orginally appeared while any updated thoughts will be presented in this format.
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.
I guess you could call this a lazy post also but my life is so busy right now with work, school, kids, and whatever other random crap pops up that it is probably the easiest way for me to stay posting until the end of the semester. I am excited about the 2E reprints and I will be picking them up. I have not picked up the AD&D reprints but I seem to be able to find those pretty easy around here.
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.
Yes, I know that was pretty close-minded on my part. I could have easily used" any AD&D material that I wished. It would have been a matter of simple conversion to the updated rules. In reality, it would have been a smoother transition between those two rules and later editions. I could have used the guidelines in the DMG to attempt to standardize the bard, for example.
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.
I still pretty much feel the same way after looking at several of the books full of kits. I think they were a good idea that just snowballed out of control - much like feats and prestige classes in later rules. I think that a short list of kits to personalize each class would probably be the best idea with the focus squarely on campaign-specific kits.
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...
Like I said, I am planning on picking up the AD&D Second Edition reprints. I have also looked at some of the 2E inspired games. While M&M does have several vast differences, I believe it would make for a fine game. Adventures Dark & Deep - if I am remembering correctly - is supposed to be a "Gygaxian 2E" and I would very much like to see it completed just for the interesting "what if" potential and the debates that would assuredly arise from that game.