"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.


  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

  2. > goes for thirds on the mental vomit <

  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.

  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.

  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!).

  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.

  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!

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