Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What I (Re)discovered When Looking at 1E and 2E AD&D

Just a quick note about my lack of recall regarding 1E and 2E AD&D and how I was shocked to relearn something about those two editions: I was flipping through PDFs of the 1E and 2E Player's Handbooks last night. I was looking at character classes and races. And I was shocked that I had forgotten that 1E is pretty restrictive when it comes to what classes the demihuman races can take. It's not much different from what was in OD&D, as far as I am concerned. Then I looked at the 2E PHB and saw it was much less restrictive.

During my return to gaming over the last couple years, I was under the impression that 1E and 2E were very similar when it came to allowed race/class combinations. My memory was obviously flawed! Despite my disdain for 2E (which is probably due mostly to the unsavory characters I was gaming with during my 2E era), I think I would much rather play that edition that 1E due to the difference in race/class restrictions. In its own way, 2E is closer to my current game of choice, Castles & Crusades, than 1E.

I feel pretty sheepish at the moment. Ah, what a journey of rediscovery I am on!


  1. 2e's unforgivable sin, though, was dropping 1/2 orcs. :)

  2. You know, I had that exact same experience just last night! Was flipping through my old 2e player's handbook and discovered, to my shock, that dwarves have a 20% chance of having a magic item (excluding weapons and armor and certain class-specific items) malfunction every time they try to use it! Made me wonder how many groups actually used that rule!

  3. Google keeps eating my post. Since my gaming group and I were already playing 1E, we tended to only add 2E stuff as it came out if we thought it would add more to the game.

  4. I was so into 2e in my younger days...we always ignored the racial level limits. However, more and more nowadays I see some value in them.


  5. I remember when the 1E Unearthed Arcana book opened up a bunch more classes for demi-humans and how cool I thought that was, and as I remember, 2E pretty much continued that tradition (although, if memory serves, 2E was even morerestrictive than UA but of course less restrictive than original 1E).

    One thing I always thought was weird in 1E was how NPC demi-humans were allowed to take levels in some classes, like dwarves taking levels in Cleric, or halflings taking levels in Druid, but as a PC, you "weren't allowed" to do that. We played "by the book" so we kept those restrictions intact, but I always thought it was kind of silly.

    That's one thing that I feel 3.x D&D got right - any race can be any class.