AD&D 2nd Ed


  • Pitcrew

    Would anybody be interested in playing a game of AD&D 2E over Roll20 or the like? It remains my edition of choice, and when I went back to my DMG I remembered just how good it was, and how even the things people pooh-pooh as too complicated (like THAC0) had an elegance that made them easy enough for a 10 year-old to grasp.

    Suggestions for game worlds are also appreciated, but I'll ki-bosh a couple:

    Forgotten Realms, not because I dislike it, but because I like it too much and I want to branch out.

    Ravenloft, because I play too much WoD anyway.

    I'm also not opposed to creating a setting out of whole cloth.



  • @The-Tree-of-Woe

    Thac0 is awesome, and sensible. Who knew that as you progressed in level, you would get harder to hit by dint of being a combat veteran? No, fighters and such remain just as hittable forever, better have nicer armor, Thac0 is just too much mathing.


  • Pitcrew

    Well, somewhere along the line for awhile (5e's attempted to reinforce the point) it became lost that hit points are an abstraction and that one "attack" for the round is actually a sequence of blows and parries.

    THAC0 was nice because it revolved around a fixed point which was influenced one way by strength, weapon bonuses, etc. and the other by dexterity, armor, etc. Your level gain just changed where the fixed point was.

    Of course, I still believe in re-rolling initiative every round.



  • I don't have time to play right now (maybe when my FF tabletop ends), but you could do worse than Dragonlance as a setting. There's enough stuff going on around during the War of the Lance and just after that there's tons of room (plus it wouldn't be hard to divert and do your own thing).


  • Pitcrew

    @Derp

    Thac0 is awesome, and sensible.

    Or the opposite of both of those things. I'm kidding about the 'or', it's just that one, the opposite of those things one.

    How much AC does a suit of Chain Mail (AC 5) +3 give you? If you answered 2, congratulations, you got it in one. Because of course 5+3 is 2. Except that lower is better so the 5 is dropping you from the 10 of an unarmored human so 2 is better than 5 is better than 10 so obviously +3 really means -3. And if you're really lucky you can get to the point of having a negative value so that when figuring out your to-hit number you can subtract a negative number and...

    Yeah, sensible and awesome, totally.

    I realize that much of that is a factor of AC rather than of THAC0 directly, but it's part and parcel of the same subsystem so it's just as guilty. :p

    Thac0 is just too much mathing.

    If you've got an AC of -3 and a THAC0 of 12, and your enemy has an AC of 2 and a THAC0 of 15:

    • Your chance of hitting them is 12 - 2 = 10, if no armor v weapon interaction.
    • Their chance of hitting you is 15 - -3 = 18, if no armor v weapon interaction.

    For 3.x/Pathfinder it's the same numbers, just calculated differently, with 20-(THACo or AC) to get the converted values. You'd have an AC of 23 and To-Hit of 8, they'd have an AC of 18 and To-Hit of 5.

    The difference being that there's not stupid shit like listing positive modifiers to represent negative values, or subtracting negatives. A + is a + and a - is a -. Positives are good to have, negatives are bad to have, period.

    THAC0 offers absolutely nothing over the 3.x model except a less intuitive system, and slightly worse to-hit numbers for non-warrior classes. That's not exactly hitting 'sensible and awesome' for me, I guess.

    Who knew that as you progressed in level, you would get harder to hit by dint of being a combat veteran? No, fighters and such remain just as hittable forever, better have nicer armor

    Err. Okay, it's been a loooong time since I played AD&D, but I don't remember getting AC bonuses by level. 10 was unarmored human, modified from there by armor. So an unarmored fighter and an unarmored wizard with the same exact Dexterity both had the same AC.

    Am I misremembering this? It's possible.

    tl;dr - You're both monsters.



  • Hits points made more experienced characters have less chance to be taken out by a single boring blow. Meaning more hit points mean that blows land less well, or some fictional thing that still needs high level spells to heal what isn't a mortal wound.


  • Pitcrew

    @The-Tree-of-Woe

    Well, somewhere along the line for awhile (5e's attempted to reinforce the point) it became lost that hit points are an abstraction and that one "attack" for the round is actually a sequence of blows and parries.

    3.x and Pathfinder have systems that split up hit points into Vitality and Wound points, which we rather like. Vitality represents that sort of cinematic durability that gets worn away but returns quickly (i.e. almost every action hero for the first hour of a movie) and Wound points which recover more slowly and represent actual damage that is going to take time or magic to recover from.

    Unfortunately they require a lot of adjustment for the rest of the systems, and how they interact with feats, spells, etc is often kind of kludgy. I haven't played 5e, so I'll have to go look up their hit point system to see if we could adapt it.



  • Wounds + Vitality felt a lot better to my group when we played, even with the additional questions of how much of each thing spells heal and so on.


  • Pitcrew

    The 'fix' I always used for hit points was slightly different. Hit points stayed the same but instead of negative hit points they stopped at zero and any overflow was taken as damage to con. It worked fairly well. Normal healing spells would restore hit points and con was only healed though rest or the restoration spells. Since Clerics can't default to restorations just cure x wounds spells con damage it was usually not curable right away.
    It works fairly well for the flavor of some wounds being minor and then others much more serious.
    While this is similar to the hit point / vitality systems it also had the added effect of con damage making saves harder etc.



  • We houseruled that "level drain" effects were constitution drains in our games. Never thought of using them as hit point overflow.


  • Coder

    Thac0 was terrible. This is a trivial fix. The end.

    I don't have time for a 2nd Ed game, I just wanted to say this.


  • Pitcrew

    @Thenomain - I'd eat dirt before I played with you anyway.


  • Coder

    @The-Tree-of-Woe said:

    @Thenomain - I'd eat dirt before I played with you anyway.

    Um ... okay? Go you? This was a ... strangely attacky non sequitur. I'd ... rather know who you were before I responded in kind.


  • Admin

    @Thenomain said:

    @The-Tree-of-Woe said:

    @Thenomain - I'd eat dirt before I played with you anyway.

    Um ... okay? Go you? This was a ... strangely attacky non sequitur. I'd ... rather know who you were before I responded in kind.

    Hey, maybe @The-Tree-of-Woe likes eating dirt. Come on, let's not be too hasty here in thinking that's an attack.


  • Pitcrew

    @Arkandel I'm an eccentric man, yes. I mean, I asked about AD&D in this place for God's sake.



  • @The-Tree-of-Woe said:

    Would anybody be interested in playing a game of AD&D 2E over Roll20 or the like? It remains my edition of choice, and when I went back to my DMG I remembered just how good it was, and how even the things people pooh-pooh as too complicated (like THAC0) had an elegance that made them easy enough for a 10 year-old to grasp.

    Suggestions for game worlds are also appreciated, but I'll ki-bosh a couple:

    Forgotten Realms, not because I dislike it, but because I like it too much and I want to branch out.

    Ravenloft, because I play too much WoD anyway.

    I'm also not opposed to creating a setting out of whole cloth.

    You could check out the Greyhawk source material. Oerth is pretty diverse like Forgotten Realms but not as magic heavy. While it has Elves, Dwarves, etc. I'd consider it a more low fantasy setting compared to the high fantasy that FR is.

    If you want a unique campaign setting for 2nd Ed, you could also check out the Birthright materials or get into the esoteric goodness of Darksun.

    If you need any source books let me know. I have every AD&D book put to print on PDF and can give you anything, but it'd require Skype contact.


  • Pitcrew

    @Jaded

    You could check out the Greyhawk source material. Oerth is pretty diverse like Forgotten Realms but not as magic heavy. While it has Elves, Dwarves, etc. I'd consider it a more low fantasy setting compared to the high fantasy that FR is.

    Greyhawk is more middle-magic to FR's high-magic, with LotR being a pretty low-magic fantasy setting.

    Greyhawk has a ton of high level magic shit happening almost everywhere there are people, it's just not as pervasive to the setting as it is in Forgotten Realms. Anywhere there are magic-marts (even if only in major cities) where you can buy all manner of magical goods, isn't going to qualify as low-magic.

    I prefer low/medium/high-magic over low/medium/high-fantasy, because LotR was plenty high fantasy while being distinctly low-magic, really.


  • Pitcrew

    I mean, if I ran FR, I'd definately be using the 2E timeline, because the ass-end of 3.5's events were craptastic, and the 4E writers stripped anything out of the setting that wasn't white and eurocentric. It was an absolute travesty.

    I admit the idea of Birthright has always intrigued me, mostly because it has mechanics for titles and estates other settings don't.



  • @HR

    Oh yeah I forgot about the magic marts. When our DM runs the setting we keep it pretty low magic and the materials don't have it so much in your face at times as FR does. But it is the setting that birthed all of the named spells in the PHB. Rary, Otiluke, Tasha, etc.

    @The-Tree-of-Woe

    Birthright is pretty fun. Another option you could do, and I only mention this because we had a DM do it once, is take the Mystara setting and drop AD&D character into it. That's a pretty rich environment and world too. You could also consider dropping them into Hollow World if you want to go for a Land of the Lost kind of campaign.


  • Pitcrew

    @The-Tree-of-Woe said:

    I mean, if I ran FR, I'd definately be using the 2E timeline, because the ass-end of 3.5's events were craptastic, and the 4E writers stripped anything out of the setting that wasn't white and eurocentric. It was an absolute travesty.

    I admit the idea of Birthright has always intrigued me, mostly because it has mechanics for titles and estates other settings don't.

    What did they strip out in the 4E setting? We didn't play any FR games when we were doing 4E, so I only know what bits I caught in the few novels I read at the time. Admittedly I did like most of the 3.x stuff for it, even towards the end.