View Full Version : Getting into ADnD (2nd Edition)

2010-12-15, 06:13 AM
I just picked up the ADnD 2nd edition players handbook and dungeon masters guide in my local game shop for 15, mainly because I hadn't seen them before. I've only played 4th and a bit of 3rd edition DnD up until now. Although I had picked up the "Wrath of the Immortals" Box set at some point in the past in a second hand shop, I'm pretty much clueless as to what to expect from ADnD other than THAC0.

Is there anything else I should look into picking up? I couldn't find a monster manual or similar in the store. Although they did have a rather large dragonlance box set for about 10 that I was considering. I doubt I'll ever play it seriously, but I'm kind of interested in having it, for curiosity's sake and to possibly run a once off now and then.

2010-12-15, 06:43 AM
If you don't want to invest in it seriously don't go buying everything. Try finding something about the game that is a thumbs up for your try reading about it.
Differently than 3.x and 4e, in 2ed I always had a time telling the diferencies between mechanics and fluff and where was what. Mostly because of that I always had a good time reading the books, it wasn't full of weird numbers and terms and the background of everything was well written and very interesting to understand.

One way to get yourself worked up on 2ed is by playing any one of it's prized games: BG or BG2, Icewind Dales I, Planescape: Torment. Those games made a famous entry on the RPG industry as the best games of the genre and not because of grafics, but because they were well written and very, very, very enticing.
The same happens with 2ed. If you read enough of it you will find it's extremely enticing.

Of course, if you don't like the feeling behind the numbers than it's not your game. It's somewhat hard to mechanize and you have to actually read the book to learn how to play.

2010-12-15, 09:30 AM
Prelim note: If you're worried about THAC0, then there's a simple solution. Forget about doing math while playing and just put together a chart. Very simple and fast and all you have to do is reference it during combat every now and then and your set.

Well, if you're not looking to get heavily invested - an act that can be quite expensive - then what you'll want to do is to identify and procure the core books. You've already got PHB and DMG. You need the monster manual and/or the various monstrous compendia.

The Monstrous Manual (which you can find virtually anywhere online for varying prices) is a compilation of the most common and many of the best liked monsters from across all of TSR's various settings. It's a very good collection for basic game play and a nice alternative to carrying around three ring binders full of monsters. There are a few errors and ommitted data, but nothing that you would notice unless you were looking very hard and nothing that would actually be problematic for game play.

At the other end, there's the various Monstrer Compendium volumes. They are three ring hole punched sheets with, generally, one monster per side of page, or one monster per page. The first two contain essentially every monster you would ever want in a generic vanilla game. The others (of which there are many) are geared towards the various settings. For instance, there is one for DragonLance, one for Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Kara Tur, etc. Several for Ravenloft. Two for Dark Sun. One for the Planar monsters. And a Fiend Folio loaded with . . . strange . . . monsters. These are all very nice to have, but are much more useful if you're playing within the noted worlds. Otherwise, you can pull a monster here or there from them for use as you wish.

There are also four anual compendium additions to the monstrous manual that contain some of the cooler monsters from modules and magazines. Some of the coolest - the Linnorm Dragons for instance - are in there. And they are great fun to have. Especially the first volume.

After that, it's all pretty much gravy. I'll list out some of the more prominent accessories for you, but for the most part, you dont' [i]need./i]of them to play.

* The various Complete guides to whatever (Fighters, Rangers, Paladins, Wizards, Clerics, etc.) are class and race splat books. They contain the lion's share of the infamous character kits (think mod packages to base classes) along with some of the worst material that 2e vomited up in the end. The Fighter's book is, IMO, the best with Thieves coming in a close second. These two had the best in terms of kits (they made sense damnit!) and a very minimum of stupid stuff. Plus, the Fighter book edges out because it had some very good info in it that allows you to add some nice stuff to combat and weapon proficiency rules. After that, especially when you get into the Elf, Dwarf, Ranger, and Druid books, things got really strange. Like being able to convert your character into a semi-ambulatory three armed plant person and elven magical artifical limb strange. Might want to keep your distance from that stuff.

*The Encyclopedia Magica is a 4 volume set of most of the magic items that cropped up during AD&D's run. It's missing a few, but you'll never miss them. Good for stirring things up in the treasure department.

*The Complete Wizard and Priest Spell Compendium are four and three book respectively sets containing all priest and wizard spells from across all AD&D sources. Good to have to add some new spells in as you please.

*Book of Artifacts is nice to have on hand. Each description is kind of like a mini-campaign arc in a page or two's worth of inspiration.

*Legends and Lore contains the various pantheons of the real world and a couple fictional ones. Worth having as it has a metric buttload of specialty priests for you to know and love and adapt as you see fit. Plus, rules on fighting gods if that's really your thing.

*Tome of Magic is a nice to have thing sometimes. Has some updated info on how magic functions and has the Wild Mage specialty in it.

*The various campaign setting boxes are always good. Almost. Depending on your style and wants, I'd recommend the Dragonlance boxed set you saw, with some reservations. Don't try to reenact the Tales of the Lance wars you saw in the novels. It won't work well as dragons got a bit of a boost in power between editions and you'll be a little unhappy. Also good are the old grey box Forgotten Realms (with a book called Forgotten Realms Adventures thrown in), the older 1980's World of Greyhawk boxed set (with the Greyhawk Adventures book thrown in, too), and, if you're feeling really adventurous, Birthright which casts you as a leader of men and a ruler of realms (cruddy adventures, but an interesting world). Better yet, head out to the net and pick up a copy of the 3.x or even 2.0 version of the Kingdoms of Kalamar - best campaign world ever.

*If you want my advice (and I presume you do since you've read this far) then you'll stay far FAR away from the four P&O books. These are the powers and options books that read like the miscagenated offspring of GURPS and AD&D and are simply not worth the paper they're printed on IMO. Avoid them like the plague for they are evil and will taint your soul.:smalltongue:

2010-12-15, 10:44 AM
If you want to play, you'll need the DMG and MM as well.

If you just want the books as curios, I recommend picking up the MM and possibly some of the various Monster Comphendiums as well. Back in the day, TSR wrote out elaborate descriptions of their monsters - their appearance, how they live, what they do, etc. Plus the art is really something.

2010-12-15, 11:47 AM
PHB, DMG and MM are obvious. Other than that I recommend Player's Options: Skills and Powers.

One thing about 2nd ed is that after stats, race and class, everything is optional, the chapter about skills (called non weapon profiiencies) starts by saying that you can choose what your character knows, if you want to feel more restricted, your character knows what you know, so if you cant swim then your character cannot swim, AFTER that it introduces as an optional method, to trade points for skills.

Grelna the Blue
2010-12-15, 12:04 PM
*The Complete Wizard and Priest Spell Compendium are four and three book respectively sets containing all priest and wizard spells from across all AD&D sources. Good to have to add some new spells in as you please.

hamlet gave pretty good advice, overall. The books referenced above can be useful for any version of D&D, although some conversion is required. If you're looking for interesting spells in 3.5 to research for your character or to hand out to your players, the Spell Compendium has lots.

The Wizard's Handbook had, among other things, semi-detailed rules for spell research. Given that later editions completely glossed over this, it's still valuable as a reference for that alone.

On a different note, I didn't think the Player's Option books were nearly as bad as hamlet seems to, but tastes vary. They aren't really 2nd Ed anyway, more like 2.75 Ed., although 3.0 went in a completely different direction.

2010-12-15, 12:09 PM
On a different note, I didn't think the Player's Option books were nearly as bad as hamlet seems to, but tastes vary. They aren't really 2nd Ed anyway, more like 2.75 Ed., although 3.0 went in a completely different direction.

Actually, a great deal of what was in P&O found its way into 3.x.

And yes, it's entirely a matter of taste. I simply do not like those books. At all. But some may find them of use.

However, they are largely complicating factors and, again IMO, don't add a great deal to the base game, especially when you're looking for a core books kind of experience.

2010-12-17, 07:20 PM
Good advice given above; for my part, I would say all you really need are the three core books (preferably the original versions from 1989 in the case of the PHB and DMG), if you just want the "essentials" of the game. Monstrous Mythology is pretty good as well, if you are interested in allowing demi-human clerics to choose a specific deity.

2010-12-17, 11:20 PM
don't assume you're automatically a badass because you have an 18 strength

and don't assume you'll get an 18 strength, either. Because you probably won't. EVER.

2010-12-20, 08:14 AM
don't assume you're automatically a badass because you have an 18 strength

and don't assume you'll get an 18 strength, either. Because you probably won't. EVER.

Better yet, don't assume you're a badass just because your a PC. Hero is what you do, not what you are.

2010-12-20, 12:21 PM
18/00 Strength, however is pretty Bad Ass, until you get into magic anyway. The stacking rules were a bit different then.

2010-12-21, 08:49 AM
The trick to using the 2E AD&D class splat books is to pick and choose which kits you're going to allow the players to use. A lot of DMs made the mistake of just letting their players use any kit because the books were printed by TSR. Somewhere (and I don't remember where, exactly), the books tell you the kits aren't all meant to be used together in the same campaign. They're there to help DMs customize the player options to better fit their campaigns (e.g. Wilderness Warriors and Amazons don't really fit in a high-fantasy urban campaign).

2010-12-21, 10:12 AM
Forgotten Realms 2E is Awsome, specially the Arcane Age Setting and my favorite base class : the Netherese Arcanist ( a wizard using spell points), in Arcane Age you can reach lv45 and have access to 10th level spells.

Planescape is unavoidable. visit Sigil, the Abyss, Baator, Celestia, each plane is very detailed and fluffy. (4 boxes: 1 for the campaign setting, 3 for the chaotic, neutral and lawful planes)

Ravenloft is a must have (the only setting that allow you to play undead characters, if you use a special supplement).

Spelljammer... travel to other planets via magic flying boats. the only setting wotc didnt convert to 3e ! a big mistake...

Darksun, a "mad-max" world where use of magic transform it into a desert inhabited by crazy tribes of elves, cannibal halfelings, dangerous thri-kreen...water is vital more than money, magic is seen as evil and stigmatized by the inhabitant, evil wizard called defilers drain the plant life for casting their spells. gods doesn't exist anymore and are replaced by elemental patrons or by the Sorcerer-Kings (high level Defiler/Psionicist who undergone a ritual of transformation to achieve dragonhood, and rules large cities as fake gods), psionics are common.

ad&d 2e is highly enjoyable.