"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

So B/X is my favorite... What about 1E vs 2E?

I surprised Timeshadows in the comments section for my post Why B/X is My Favorite #9 with a comment I made about 2E AD&D. While I am constantly surprised anyone reads my mental vomit here and since things seem quiet in the blog-o-verse, I feel like taking a quick break from why B/X is my favorite to look at why I prefer 2E to 1E AD&D.

While B/X is likely 98% to 99% the same as OD&D, I very much prefer B/X in part because it is much better organized and far more clearly written.

Welcome to reason #1 why I prefer 2E to 1E AD&D.

1. 2E, especially if you are not using many of the optional rules, is very clearly written and simple to understand.
2. It is compatible with all of the previous editions.
3. I am cool with THACO.
4. While I am very anti-splat book, there are numerous options available for those whose preference lean in that direction.
5. Specialist magic-users.
6. Nostalgia - I ran a very successful run with the Temple of Elemental Evil using 2E.

While B/X and 2E are very, very similar, to me they are very different games. I don't know if it is the way they are written or maybe the different play experiences I had with each version but, while B/X is a "game" to me (and one I love), 2E is a "roleplaying game" or nearly a "story game". And I believe there is nothing wrong with a story game so long as the players can have an impact on the story. I have even looked at Burning Wheel and while I found it very interesting and some of the mechanics quite provocative it is too rules heavy for me. Given my love of the reaction roll mechanic in B/X, it shouldn't surprise anyone to know that I don't mind social conflict resolution mechanics - so long as they are simple.

Today my true preference is rules-light games. The extent of the B/X or Savage Worlds rules are about my limit. Even the "basic" rules of 2E stretch my limit a bit. If I were to play a 2E-style game now I would use Castles & Crusades.

8 comments:

  1. I did find 2e preferable, when I was playing AD&D, but I'd say that things started to 'fall apart' for D&D around that time (beside L. Williams) [Monstrous Compendiumsssss, for example].

    I hated most of the art in the books. What was up with that blue junk? Ugh. Trauma.

    But, yes, overall, I agree (whoop-dee-doo lol) that it was a smoother play and GMing experience.

    I still prefer Ascending AC, though. :D

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  2. > goes for thirds on the mental vomit <

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  3. I agree on the blue art -most of it was crap. The color art was okay - no Erol Otus but okay.

    Yes, TSR began to fall apart then but the core rules were solid as were a number of the settings.

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  4. When I run AD&D, it is 2E - with 1E modules, supplements, etc. Organisation, clarity, clear delineation of core and optional rules, ease of adaptation, and (of course) THAC0. While I have used an "AAC" system, I find THAC0 much easier to use than a chart.

    Also, THAC0 exposes gamers unable to perform basic math. I've lost count of the number of players, college age and above, who have difficulty adding and subtracting a few and often single digit numbers.

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  5. Oh, my Mr. Armstrong...I was such a fan of yours until today! How could you truly stand that watered-down Coors that is 2E when you could have the hearty Guiness-like stout that is AD&D?

    Oh, well...I am still a fan of your blog, but on 2E we will have to agree to disagree. I have collected scores of RPGs over the years and sold very few of them back to Ye Olde Game Shoppe. AD&D2 was one of them (considering I still own 3E despite a vow never to play it again, that should say something!).

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  6. JB,
    I am glad you enjoy my little corner of the blog-o-verse. I am constantly surprised anyone would read my poorly written bather.

    I am actually getting ready to list my 3.5 stuff on Ebay.

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  7. Hey, man...this blog and Grognardia are the two blogs I've started my mornings with for last couple months. Still love the Citadel of the Amazons (as 1+1 HD monsters, they rock). Keep up the good work!

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  8. Thanks JB.
    I got to get back to the Pit of Tortured Souls.

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