What were the problems with 2 edition D&D?


3.5/d20/OGL

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Liberty's Edge

memorax wrote:
I feel it adds nothing to the rpg. Just a way to shoehorn players into taking humans. Since the developers were either unable or unwilling to add something unique to human in 1E and 2E.

It really was a D&D "the world is like this" device. The rule was there not because it made the game like chess with everyone having equal pieces, it was there to give context to a fantasy world. In many other threads Gygaxian Naturlism is invoked, and that is likely the best explanation for any of the quirks in 1e and many of those were transferred into 2e.

I guess I just got a little annoyed at you throwing around 'bad game design', perhaps when taken piece-meal it is, but in the whole game of 1e (and 2e) it fits with what the designers were trying (on purpose) to achieve. For the same reasons I dislike the that all races can be all classes in 3e+. That to me is, to use your term, is bad, nay horrible, game design (for D&D). Now we have human, short human, shorter human, and shortest human as playable races...

Horses for Courses and it is cool I agree that we all like D&D so much we spend time debating!

Regards Sir!


A half-elven cleric/fighter/mage clocked in at 5/8/5 in 1st edition, I seem to recall...


Sissyl wrote:


A half-elven cleric/fighter/mage clocked in at 5/8/5 in 1st edition, I seem to recall...

Half Elf went to 6th level in Fighter and Magic User, high stats could get you to 8th level in either iirc. Cleric I don't recall. They were unlimited in Thief progress...

The level limits for demi-humans went up every edition, from original D&D to 1E to 2E to no limits in 3E. They opened up more classes to demi-humans each new edition as well.

There were classes with level limits as well. The Assassin (in OD&D, 1E), Druid and Monk. I never had the Grandmaster of the Flowers (the 17th level maximum for Monks) but I had fun trying to get there. There were even limited numbers of Monks above 6th level (in OD&D, 7th level in 1E). You had to challenge an NPC to go up and stay at that level. Level limits weren't just for demi-humans in short. In fact you had to be human to be one of them and accept the "limits" in the class. And they introduced classes in which demi-humans weren't limited (Thief).

Demi-humans were the ultimate multiclass characters as well. Humans had a painfully odd way to do it. You advanced in only one class at a time and needed really high attributes to do it at all. Once you embarked on your new class you couldn't "go back" to the old and if you used any class ability from your original class you lost all xp gained for that adventure. Meantime your Half Elf buddy who multi classed in Fighter / Magic User split his experience between the two and leveled up while making use of all his abilities.

There were trade offs depending on what you wanted to be.


Dual classing required the most amazing stats, but seriously, it was FAR more powerful than multiclassing.


Sissyl wrote:
Dual classing required the most amazing stats, but seriously, it was FAR more powerful than multiclassing.

Yeah, given my pathological ability never to roll above a 16, I don't think I've ever seen dual-classing in my games. I know I've never done it.


Sissyl wrote:
Dual classing required the most amazing stats, but seriously, it was FAR more powerful than multiclassing.

Powerful perhaps, but frustrating. The whole "Yeah, I'm going to suck for the next few adventures, since I can't do anything I'm actually capable at without losing all experience" thing kept us from doing much with it, as I recall.

Yeah, I know it's not going to be that long, since experience was exponential and you kept earning high level experience, but it's still being a drag on the group, if you have anything you're actually trying to accomplish. Though there are still rules about not gaining more than one level after each adventure.

Probably less of a big deal if you're used to starting new characters at 1st elevel and tagging along with the rest of your higher level group, but we never played that way.


The only time I ever dual-classed was in a game where the DM was starting at above first level (I forget exactly what XP he had us start at) and I rolled absolutely phenomenal stats for my thief (something like Str 17/Dex 18/Con 10/Int 14/Wis 12/Cha 18) so I gave him a couple levels of fighter with Weapon Spec: Dagger and then dual-classed into Thief. All the benefits without having to live through the painful "can't use the abilities of your first class" period. Which was pretty cheesy, in retrospect.

I also remember spending a non-weapon proficiency (or was it 2?) on Juggling so he could catch thrown weapons as well.


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Stefan Hill wrote:
memorax wrote:
I feel it adds nothing to the rpg. Just a way to shoehorn players into taking humans. Since the developers were either unable or unwilling to add something unique to human in 1E and 2E.

It really was a D&D "the world is like this" device. The rule was there not because it made the game like chess with everyone having equal pieces, it was there to give context to a fantasy world. In many other threads Gygaxian Naturlism is invoked, and that is likely the best explanation for any of the quirks in 1e and many of those were transferred into 2e.

I guess I just got a little annoyed at you throwing around 'bad game design', perhaps when taken piece-meal it is, but in the whole game of 1e (and 2e) it fits with what the designers were trying (on purpose) to achieve. For the same reasons I dislike the that all races can be all classes in 3e+. That to me is, to use your term, is bad, nay horrible, game design (for D&D). Now we have human, short human, shorter human, and shortest human as playable races...

To me a decision is only bad design if it fails to achieve the game you're trying to invent.

I like level limits. That doesn't mean a game without those limitations is badly designed, it's just not for me.


Auxmaulous wrote:
Voadam wrote:


I had a number of problems with 2e:

The extreme bell curve of the stat bonuses.

I like and miss this - too many pile on numbers in 3rd ed/PF, the fact that you did't get anything till 15 and stats don't go up as you leveled was a good thing. Focus on playing, less are CharOp and builds.

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At the end of the 2e era I was seriously tempted to switch to Moldvay Basic for the stat bonuses: 13-15 = +1, 16-17 +2, 18=+3.

I would be comfortable with people rolling 3d6 in order under Moldvay and not sweat the small variances, but in AD&D the difference of a fighter with a 15 str and 18 (XX) strength were significant.

Auxmaulous wrote:
Voadam wrote:
The importance of stats and stat bonuses. (nonweapon skill rolls were based on rolling under your stat on a d20, hp bonuses were significant, max spell levels, significant combat bonuses in a game with few bonuses)

Not even close to 3rd ed based games. MAD and SAD are 3rd ed creations.

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The question was what were mechanical problems with 2e, not what mechanical problems with 2e were solved by 3e.

And AD&D had its own MAD issues with class prerequisites.

Auxmaulous wrote:
Voadam wrote:
Random stat generation and hp rolling.

Was fun but swingy, better than point buy generic builds of 3rd

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1 hp level 1 fighters are crappy, taking the average HD and rounding up can be done in any edition and makes it better IMO.

Auxmaulous wrote:
Voadam wrote:
Calculating THACO versus descending AC was an annoying speedbump in the middle of action.

Vs calculating 10 different bonuses from varied abilities and powers, spells, potions (spells part II) that all stack up in a 9th level character fight in 3rd ed games? Lol

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I was quite glad to see ascending AC in near-end 2e DragonFist. It made running the game better IMO.

Auxmaulous wrote:
Voadam wrote:

Significant disparity in class combat powers.

Disparities between classes over different levels.

Managed by different xp progression, and I don't recall caster martial disparity arguments prior to 3rd ed - they never came up because the disparity didn't exist.

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The different xp progressions were poorly balanced for that purpose except for thieves going up quickly. And I consider it a poor design.

There were plenty of discussions of caster disparity before 3e. How much damage can a high level caster do to multiple opponents in a round with evocations versus fighters? How many more utility things can casters do (Fly, Teleport, Invisibility)? The levels where it comes in were higher but the issues were there and apparent and discussed. Without the internet the discussions were not the same though.

Auxmaulous wrote:
Voadam wrote:

Class ability score prerequisites.

Limited demihuman levels.

These were good things. Demi-humans had many gimmies, this was a way to balance them out without giving humans (default race) super human powers to compete.

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I disagree.

Class prereqs meant certain more powerful classes were more rare and depended on character generation method. It created more power disparity among PCs throughout the game.

Demi human limits were a poor balancing mechanism similar to comparatively weak low level wizards vs powerful high level ones. Some games were long campaigns. Others were one shots or short term at various levels. Many groups played the high level giants and drow modules with characters never used before that point.

And for world building, the DM is in complete control of NPC levels and demographics.


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The level limits on Demi-humans were a hold over from the earlier editions where they were more powerful than humans. You could argue that this difference had been lessened by 2e. However, as noted in the swords and wizardry rule book, the level limits are part of a package that genuinely distinguish between human and Demi-human characters.

Liberty's Edge

Steve Geddes wrote:


I like level limits. That doesn't mean a game without those limitations is badly designed, it's just not for me.

And this is the truth of the matter. Having grown up writing stories that had their 'reality' inter-meshed with the 1e/2e rules the race/class permissiveness of 3e+ stopped me being able to tell those stories with the same feel.

In 3e+ I had to now modify the rules to disallow Halfling Archmages, and was therefore seen as a restrictive or bad DM. In 1e/2e the rules supported my kind of game. I guess had I grown up with 3e+ I would have a different view.

Grand Lodge

Stefan Hill wrote:

In 3e+ I had to now modify the rules to disallow Halfling Archmages, and was therefore seen as a restrictive or bad DM.

Yeah, I love being labeled a bad, or... and I REALLY like this one - "an uncreative" DM just because I do not allow (or make allowances for) everything-under-the-sun in every game...


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Digitalelf wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:

In 3e+ I had to now modify the rules to disallow Halfling Archmages, and was therefore seen as a restrictive or bad DM.

Yeah, I love being labeled a bad, or... and I REALLY like this one - "an uncreative DM" just because I do not allow (or make allowances for) everything-under-the-sun in every game...

You should feel bad by not allowing the Halfling Dragon-Paladin who's 'special mount' at 4th level is a young Gold Dragon character concept into the game you're running. Like...what the hell man? Stop being uncreative ;)


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Stefan Hill wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:


I like level limits. That doesn't mean a game without those limitations is badly designed, it's just not for me.

And this is the truth of the matter. Having grown up writing stories that had their 'reality' inter-meshed with the 1e/2e rules the race/class permissiveness of 3e+ stopped me being able to tell those stories with the same feel.

In 3e+ I had to now modify the rules to disallow Halfling Archmages, and was therefore seen as a restrictive or bad DM. In 1e/2e the rules supported my kind of game. I guess had I grown up with 3e+ I would have a different view.

Since I used the "bad design" bit earlier, I'll clarify: I don't think level limits are necessarily bad design. I think level limits as a means to balance races are bad design.

If you like them thematically, that's an entirely different story. I don't think they function well as a balance mechanism.


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thejeff wrote:
Stefan Hill wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:


I like level limits. That doesn't mean a game without those limitations is badly designed, it's just not for me.

And this is the truth of the matter. Having grown up writing stories that had their 'reality' inter-meshed with the 1e/2e rules the race/class permissiveness of 3e+ stopped me being able to tell those stories with the same feel.

In 3e+ I had to now modify the rules to disallow Halfling Archmages, and was therefore seen as a restrictive or bad DM. In 1e/2e the rules supported my kind of game. I guess had I grown up with 3e+ I would have a different view.

Since I used the "bad design" bit earlier, I'll clarify: I don't think level limits are necessarily bad design. I think level limits as a means to balance races are bad design.

If you like them thematically, that's an entirely different story. I don't think they function well as a balance mechanism.

Yeah, my preferences are for unbalanced classes anyhow, so that probably feeds into it too.

I can see how someone who thinks every player should be similarly effective, no matter what choice of class or race they make would find the level limits a poor choice for a system.


Steve Geddes wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Since I used the "bad design" bit earlier, I'll clarify: I don't think level limits are necessarily bad design. I think level limits as a means to balance races are bad design.

If you like them thematically, that's an entirely different story. I don't think they function well as a balance mechanism.

Yeah, my preferences are for unbalanced classes anyhow, so that probably feeds into it too.

I can see how someone who thinks every player should be equally effective, no matter what choice of class or race they make would find the level limits a poor choice for a system.

Which is of course, not what I said. Whether or not you like balanced races, level limits are a poor way to achieve that goal. Since that is often cited as one of the reasons for them, I consider that bad design.

I don't even really dislike level limits, but using them to balance races is bad design.


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It wasn't about you, it was about me. I'll let you speak for yourself.

My point was that I disagree with you (I think it's a fine balancing method in that it reduces the effectiveness of a powerful choice of race without reducing what it is that makes the race powerful), but the fact I don't like balance as a goal probably skews my perspective of what constitutes "good" balance.


Steve Geddes wrote:
My point was that I disagree with you (I think it's a fine balancing method in that it reduces the effectiveness of a powerful choice of race without reducing what it is that makes the race powerful), but the fact I don't like balance as a goal probably skews my perspective of what constitutes "good" balance.

The following is neither here nor there, but racial level limits did fall in with early D&D's conception of game balance. I.e., being lame at low levels and awesome at high levels was considered a legitimate kind of balance. This conception of game balance resulted in other things that are considered imbalanced by modern game standards -- most notably LFQW.

Anywho...I'm going to get back to wishing that more 2e settings were converted to later editions!


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Tequila Sunrise wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
My point was that I disagree with you (I think it's a fine balancing method in that it reduces the effectiveness of a powerful choice of race without reducing what it is that makes the race powerful), but the fact I don't like balance as a goal probably skews my perspective of what constitutes "good" balance.
The following is neither here nor there, but racial level limits did fall in with early D&D's conception of game balance. I.e., being lame at low levels and awesome at high levels was considered a legitimate kind of balance. This conception of game balance resulted in other things that are considered imbalanced by modern game standards -- most notably LFQW.

Yeah, I think that kind of balance is perfectly legitimate, but I concede that my conception of "good balance" is at least informed by my preference for things like LFQW in a game. I similarly like systems where first level dwarves and elves are superior to humans but are not able to rise as far (I like that kind of system, quite apart from the flavour).

Quote:
Anywho...I'm going to get back to wishing that more 2e settings were converted to later editions!

Amen.


LFQW? What's that?


Linear Fighters Quadratic Wizards


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Linear Fighters Quadratic Wizards

Ah. I should have known. (But didn't.) :)


Lucien Malgus wrote:
You should feel bad by not allowing the Halfling Dragon-Paladin who's 'special mount' at 4th level is a young Gold Dragon character concept into the game you're running. Like...what the hell man? Stop being uncreative ;)

So, by allowing stuff beyond the core races, one must also allow the characters to start with superpowers and artifacts, and ignore all of the game rules at will. Fascinating.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Lucien Malgus wrote:
You should feel bad by not allowing the Halfling Dragon-Paladin who's 'special mount' at 4th level is a young Gold Dragon character concept into the game you're running. Like...what the hell man? Stop being uncreative ;)
So, by allowing stuff beyond the core races, one must also allow the characters to start with superpowers and artifacts, and ignore all of the game rules at will. Fascinating.

(It's just sarcasm, roll with it. Although, believe me, I've met players like this. Egad, the things they'd require...)


Wrong John Silver wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Lucien Malgus wrote:
You should feel bad by not allowing the Halfling Dragon-Paladin who's 'special mount' at 4th level is a young Gold Dragon character concept into the game you're running. Like...what the hell man? Stop being uncreative ;)
So, by allowing stuff beyond the core races, one must also allow the characters to start with superpowers and artifacts, and ignore all of the game rules at will. Fascinating.
(It's just sarcasm, roll with it. Although, believe me, I've met players like this. Egad, the things they'd require...)

Yeah, it wasn't meant in a serious tone. I would have thought the ;) would have given it away. This was actually something that my friend was trying to make happen back in the day for his Dragon-Paladin concept, Human, not Halfling.


Lucien Malgus wrote:
Yeah, it wasn't meant in a serious tone.

OK. It's hard for me to tell -- in every one of the endless threads on that topic, people make that same argument and are actually serious about it.


Kirth Gersen wrote:
Lucien Malgus wrote:
Yeah, it wasn't meant in a serious tone.
OK. It's hard for me to tell -- in every one of the endless threads on that topic, people make that same argument and are actually serious about it.

Nah, I love making allowances for players in 2e, such as the optional rules governing demi-human advancement, but nothing as absurd as what I posted in jest earlier.


2nd edition is cooler about giving players special abilities. In 3rd edition you wonk up the CR system if you do, and there is an expectation that every entity in the game below the level of deities needs to function the same way. In essence, you would have to make that special ability the function of a template or something.


Sissyl wrote:
2nd edition is cooler about giving players special abilities. In 3rd edition you wonk up the CR system if you do, and there is an expectation that every entity in the game below the level of deities needs to function the same way. In essence, you would have to make that special ability the function of a template or something.

Not only that, but it also felt more special if/when it happened.


Ah, I always enjoyed the mechanic behind Ravenloft's dark powers checks. If you know how to thematically curse someone, it really made it beautiful to watch PCs simultaneous yearn and fear gaining power.


Rules exploits. Who DIDN"T polymorph the entire party into gold dragons at some point?


Invisible gold dragons. Everyone had to be invisible and flying at all times. Even when trying to buy things in town.

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