Sunday, July 23, 2017

Second Edition AD&D Is Only 3/4ths Of a Game and Even Though I Love It, We All Have to Acknowledge That

On Friday, the Swords of Stock (formerly Fenrus' Very Best) were in the Tomb of Queen Serenavalla, last of the Golden Age Queens of Tailmisia, seeking her undecomposed silver elvish corpse in order to talk with her ghost about who should rule the Greatwood.

They came upon a puzzle (the Queen had always intended for the very clever and very strong to be able to reclaim her belongings from the tomb) that included a series of traps in the form of 5' wide 30' long mosaic strips on the floor.

The question arose, "Can we jump them?"

Can they?

I flipped to the index of the DMG and looked up jumping. Oh, page 82. No, not 82 in the DMG, there's no jumping entry here. Someone check the PHB.

Huh, the jumping proficiency, which gives rules for if you have it... but no default rules for jumping. Interesting.

Did I go over to my computer and scroll through the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide pdf? No. I frantically checked all the other 2e books I own. Meanwhile, half of the party walked into another room and began their scientific jumping trials. They put out a measuring tape and began jumping from a standstill to see if they could make it across.

Eventually, since a heroic and enterprising member of the group was able to broad jump 4.5' from a standstill, we agreed that they could probably jump it. To be safe, they never did, rather using a slow and tortuous method of casting dispel magic, crossing the mosaic, and sleeping on the far side so they could use a dispel magic to escape.

But the question lingered. Where the hell are jumping rules in 2e?

Oh, as I thought: they're in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide. A 1e book.

Now, let me just say that I love 2e. It's the perfect iteration of D&D. I'll never change. I've houseruled it to death. I just added a houserule granting specialists a -2 penalty to all saving throws made against spells by opponents hit by spells of their specialty to represent their increased understanding of how their own school of magic works. I use Combat and Tactics 15 second rounds, but don't reduce the duration of spells to match (should a first level spell only last 15 seconds? That seems like not even magic at that point). It doesn't break the game, because the game is flexible and doesn't exist on a razor's edge of functionality.

But 2e is missing so many important things. And they're all in 1e.

This means I have to get the 1e books, since I finally have a real group of flesh and blood people, in person, to play with and I can't take the time while people are typing on IRC to putter around through 1e pdfs.

What rules am I talking about?

The data for construction a holy water font? In the 1e books. 2e hints at, but never grants the full explanation, of how holy water is made. Things like exposure rules from the Wilderness Survival Guide. The jumping rules in the Dungeoneer's Survival Guide.

The fact of the matter is, 2e doesn't appear to have been designed with just itself in mind. It is an expansion of 1e and while many of the rules are different, it builds on rules that people were either expected to know or have access to. But 2e was my first D&D, so I never had the 1e books.

Now, it's time to fill in the gap.


  1. There are a lot of mechanics not spelled out in AD&D (1 or 2). Frankly I'm glad because if there was a rule for everything it would look to much like 3e+.

    WSG is a mess of to many rules and I certainly am glad it's not part of 2e.

    1. Certainly, but there are GOOD mechanics from 1e that simply aren't printed anywhere in 2e, and they make the game better. I haven't read the WSG cover to cover so I'm not really qualified to talk about how good it is or isn't, but there are a lot of GREAT little tidbits in the 1e DMG and parts of the DSG.