Sunday, September 18, 2011

Get Your 1st ed out of my 2nd ed!

Warning: Ranting ahead

  While I fully acknowledge that the modularity of 2nd edition, and the ability to import stuff from 1st edition is a positive design feature, I really wish the 1e players would go play in their own boxes. The rallying cry for the opposition seems to boil down to the idea that 2nd edition is not a real edition at all, but instead it's some sort of super-sized version of Unearthed Arcana.
  Before I get any further into this, I need to make some things clear: Dragon Magazine may have offered "legal" rulings, but they are NOT core. If it's not in the bleedin' DMG or PHB, it's only a part of the game by house ruling. On Dragonsfoot's 2e forums, one of the moderators posted this section from Dragon issue 121, Game Wizards article by David "Zeb" Cook:

"“In any case, no matter what you change in the AD&D game system, a good number of us will continue to play bards. . . . and whatever else gets axed or deleted.”" —- Steve Null
Please do. I anticipate that many out there will mix parts of First and Second Editions together to get the game they want (along with a healthy dose of DRAGON Magazine articles and other ideas). Do this! Have fun and use your own creativity. At any rate, rest assured that as far as TSR is concerned, anything you liked in First Edition is legal in Second Edition. If you liked First Edition bards, they’re legal. If you liked monks, they’re legal. Ultimately, there will be people out there who will be playing Version 1.0, Version 1.5, Version 2.0, and probably even Version 2.3 of the AD&D game. Perhaps we should figure out some type of numbering system like that used on computer programs!

The poster provided this as definitive "proof" of his position that what's "legal" in 1st edition is "legal" in 2nd edition.
  I have a few problems with this. One, this article was written in 1987, almost two whole years before 2nd edition was actually published. Not sure if my cynicism is the problem or not, but the "everything is legal" approach sounds like thinly veiled marketing. I think if Mr. Cook had actually intended for 1st edition to play such a major role in 2e mechanics by the time 2e was actually published, he would have at least mentioned it in one of the core rule books.
   The second problem I have with this idea is that in "Official Play" done by the RPGA and at various conventions, 1e characters were not "legal" as is until they were looked over and "converted" in 2e games. Monks and Assassins were not part of official 2e play to my knowledge(I never encountered any, that's for certain). If I'm wrong, PLEASE post in the comments section to tell me(My stint with the RPGA was short).
   Please understand that I'm not arguing that you can't do these things, or even that you shouldn't. What I am saying is that I for one would like it if people would recognize the fact that 2e has it's own solid, independent-from-1e system and mechanics, and that bringing 1e stuff into 2e is 100% in the realm of house ruling, not playing 2e as written/intended.

  I'll have a new post up later today that is decidedly less ranty.

Note: To the moderator who did the posting on Dragonsfoot: This is not a slam against you personally or Dragonsfoot. I didn't wish to hijack the thread and used my own judgement to determine that this subject falls under the category of "edition war" and is thus not suitable for posting on Dragonsfoot as per the ToS. If you feel somehow personally slighted, I apologize and ask that you contact me via pm on Dragonsfoot.


  1. I thought the same thing about monks and assassins for a long time. There are some variants in different "splat books." I don't know how core you want to go. If you want to use only the PHB and DMG and MM, then disregard. However, in the Faerun Faiths and Avatars book, there is a spell casting monk variant. In the Thief Handbook, there is an assassin variant. And, in one of the very last books out, a book called The Scarlet Brotherhood, there are 1st ed. assassins and monks that have been converted into 2E versions. In fact, I am about to start a 2E game with that Scarlet Brotherhood monk. (As an aside, I dug up the Scarlet Brotherhood gem by listening to THACO's Hammer, a podcast about 2E. It is pretty good.)

    Hope this helps.

  2. I can recommend Scarlet Brotherhood - it's a fun book about how an evil country can work credibly. As well as having assassins and monks. :)

  3. Lol, I wasn't actually meaning Monks and Assassins as in that was what was causing the problem. I was already aware of Faiths and Avatars as well as the Scarlet Brotherhood. I had just been in a . . . heated discussion where someone was trying to imply that 1st edition rules were a part of core second edition, and I'm finding it to be a fairly common misconception among many hybrid 1e/2e gamers. which is why I finally snapped and wrote a blog post on it.

  4. Hey not an issue. I have had arguments from some of my own players that think that 3.5 is the best addition and that we should incorporate that into the 2E game.

    I get what your saying, yeah 1E lead eventually to 2E. That doesn't mean it is the same bloody game. I am playing with the idea of trying a hybrid of the two, yet a larger portion of my mind is telling me to keep the two apart with a nice little crowbar.