Greetings! As I already mentioned earlier in posts, we just started a retrospective series of games to play, explore and (re)discover the evolution of Dungeons & Dragon games.
After our great opening event, we move on to AD&D with the help of @gridshadow, who shall introduce us the second and longest-running era of Dungeons and Dragons. Was “A” really referring to “Advanced” or only to “Another” (or yet another phrase starting with “A”)?
What was the difference between the “old” D&D and the newer iterations (D&D 5E)?
Let’s explore it together on Thursday evening at the Spielbar!
(As usual, no pre-knowledge required)
There was actually two editions of AD&D (1st and 2nd, with the first edition released running in parallel with OD&D), but the changes between the two are fairly minor, and @H, @S_journ, and I agreed that if we play all versions of OD&D/AD&D it will take a while, and there isn’t enough differences for it to be noticeable.
As such, I’ll actually be running 2nd edition, the main changes to the first was the fact the books were better organised, the removal of several character classes, and the removal of lots of references to demons/devils (due to a slight media perception problem (A)D&D suffered a lot during the eighties).
The main thing about the 2nd edition AD&D era - it was all about campaign settings. During the 1st edition/eighties there were three settings: Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, and Dragonlance (all fairly high fantasy). With the second edition TSR started producing a campaign setting every year: Spelljammer, Ravenloft, Birthright, Dark Sun, Planespace etc. to not name a non-exhaustive list, each often with its own slight rule changes and a slightly different theme (Spelljammer was “Science fantasy”-ish, Ravenloft gothic horror, for example). So, therefore, we will be playing an adventure in one of those settings, with the slight changes to rules it introduced.
I’m aiming for a slightly higher level (4/5), so I’ll bring pre-generated characters. If anyone wants to create characters then I’ll be there shortly before 7, and as @OddlyEd is unlikely to appear before 8 we will have time to create some.
Would have loved to join, but won’t be able to make it tonight, sadly. Have fun, all!
That’s a good question. I suppose it depends on your point of reference. I mean, sure, compared with the first game we played in this series, then, yes, AD&D is advanced. Much as I think that later editions are almost never as good as the originals, the truly old games are the exception to that rule. OD&D was still figuring this whole role-playing business out; AD&D had a much clearer idea of what it wanted to be.
But compared with Basic in the usual sense? I’m not so sure. AD&D is definitely more complicated, and there’s a whole lot more of it, but advanced may not be quite the right word. In many ways, including quality, the two are equals.
If this is older D&D, then this is the newer versions. The lyrics are the same, but everything else is different.
Anyway, have a great time! AD&D truly is the magnum opus.
Shoot, I keep forgetting that 2nd edition was AD&D as well. :b
But yeah, while the changes are quite minor - mainly sanding off some rough edges - the difference in the tone of the rulebooks couldn’t be greater. AD&D was pure inpiration; it’s Gygax giddily telling you about this fantastic place he’s discovered right behind the wardrobe, and urging you to come join him. (Gygax is totally Lucy.) Second edition was more of an instruction manual; it’s so much better organized - which isn’t hard, because AD&D’s organizational structure is along the lines of “… and there are diseases and flying beasts and spells and traps and treasures …” - and a whole lot easier to understand, but also rather sterile.
Not to quibble with gridshadow’s excellent points, but just to add to the discussion: initially, Greyhawk was pure Sword & Sorcery, and D&D was primarily a Sword & Sorcery game. High fantasy really came in with Dragonlance, and I still feel that the game is somewhat miscast in that role.
But yeah, 2nd edition’s settings were fantastic. There was just so much creativity flowing through them. Great stuff. Have fun!