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Friday, February 18, 2011

AD&D 2nd Edition Retrospective II- The Revenge of the Books

I probably should have grabbed the books and looked through them before I wrote my last blog entry since I have not played 2nd edition AD&D in about five years and not regularly since about 2002. There were a few other things that weren't on my mind and were a little fuzzy in my memory.

To start us off- the change to a decimal monetary system was annoying to me. I assume this is because I learned the old system first because a decimal system is obviously easier to use. Less realistic, but easier to learn and use. Changing prices in the Player's Handbook is another one of the things that bugs me. I remember at the time TSR insiders saying it was based on making the prices more reflective of real world medieval prices, but that is clearly BS. Some of the stuff seems to be vaguely based on an English medieval price scale, but the accuracy there might just be coincidental. Mostly it seems to have been done to make better things cost more, despite the fact that when the technology came around to make those better things, like plate armor, the process was actually cheaper and easier than making earlier armors like chain mail, and used fewer raw materials.

Loss of the 1/2 Orc. I don't think anyone I knew really missed the 1/2 Orc, but we could just as easily lost the Gnome if all we were doing was cutting PC races no one really used. I think we all know that the real reason the 1/2 Orc got the axe was because of those Christian housewives that were never going to either play the game themselves or let their kids play; pretty much regardless of how much sanitizing of the D&D image corporate TSR did. What's worse is that the angry mom brigade had already become irrelevant by the time AD&D2 arrived on the scene. I guess they were trying to insulate themselves in case the BADD ladies returned, but most of them had gone on to hating more socially relevant things by then.

When we get to classes we see the Assassin has been done away with, likely for the same reason the 1/2 Orc was; another cowardly move by corporate TSR, but with just as much of the "meh" reaction from me an my gaming buddies. Assassins made good enemies but crappy characters, essentially lousy thieves that were less trustworthy. The Monk said sayonara too, again with about the same reaction, but at least this time it didn't seem to be a reaction to what mom might think. Ditching the Monk may have been the best decision TSR made with 2nd edition, everyone knew he didn't really fit the default medieval European setting. The Druid got messed with kind of like the Ranger, but without the reasoning of making the class cooler, they appear to have been trying to make the Druid fit their new Priest mold.