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2nd vs 3rd edition D&D

RainOPainRainOPain Registered User
edited July 2007 in Critical Failures
I'm going to be DMing a campaign shortly and am trying to figure out which edition to run. I've got two friends, one of which that swears 2nd edition is the best thing ever and that 3rd edition sucked the life out of it, and another who claims the exact opposite.

So which does everyone here think is the best? I've never played a 2nd edition game before (unless the Baldur's Gate games count), just 3.5. What's better/worse about 2nd?

RainOPain on

Posts

  • Mr_RoseMr_Rose Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    I'm just gonna come right out and say this; if you've never played 2nd, you don't want your first experience to be DMing it. Especially if you're coming in from 3.5. This is nothing to do with how good or bad the systems are and everything to do with the DM not having to look up rules half-way through a task... Going with what you know will make everything better, regardless of what system may be "better".

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  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic I've Done Worse Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    RainOPain wrote: »
    I'm going to be DMing a campaign shortly and am trying to figure out which edition to run. I've got two friends, one of which that swears 2nd edition is the best thing ever and that 3rd edition sucked the life out of it, and another who claims the exact opposite.

    The life of a game is almost always the responsibility of the players and the GM. Their are exceptions but neither 2nd or 3rd are unplayable.
    So which does everyone here think is the best? I've never played a 2nd edition game before (unless the Baldur's Gate games count), just 3.5. What's better/worse about 2nd?

    Run the fuck away from 2nd edition.

    The biggest reason is you have a player who thinks they understand it. They may but 2nd edition is fairly ambiguous in lots of places and if you're the DM you have to be the one in charge and to make those judgement calls.

    The next reason is that if you want, you can get answers to rules questions about 3rd trivially easy. Ask here or at Enworld.org and you'll get a prompt answer. I played 2nd for years and couldn't answer a question on it that was anything more that stupidly easy.

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  • ReynoldsReynolds Japan's Greatest Import Proto Neo TokyoRegistered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Mixing people that divided on 2e and 3e is going to be devastating. I don't even care that much, and I've gotten into a long arguments about it. Tread carefully.

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  • Cilla BlackCilla Black Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    2nd edition really isn't as complex as many make it out to be. THAC0 scares a lot of people off, but it really is a pretty basic AC system. The worst you could say about it is how it tends to make an otherwise simple action take longer than it needs to.

    That having been said, I still prefer 3/3.5 because they have feats. And I just fucking love feats.

  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic I've Done Worse Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    2nd edition initiative is such a waste of time it'd kill it for me at this point.

    Trogg wrote: »
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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    3.5 may have its faults... but I'd never go back to 2nd edition.

    I shudder to remember what leveling a wizard was like back in those days.

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  • GodOfCheeseGodOfCheese Registered User
    edited July 2007
    Horseshoe wrote: »
    3.5 may have its faults... but I'd never go back to 2nd edition.

    I shudder to remember what leveling a wizard was like back in those days.

    Amen, brother.
    If you've played 3.0 or 3.5 AND never played 2.0 AND have at least one player who plays 2.0, the answer is very simple here:
    Kill that player's character every game, at least once, due to rules problems.

    Take no prisoners. Although there might be good reasons why a DM or gaming group might want to play 2.0 over 3.0, a player asking an experienced 3.0+ gamer to downgrade to 2.0 without ever having played it before can have no good outcome. Either that player knows how to powergame 2.0 better, or is a reactionary spanktard, or fears the unknown, or is too cheap to pickup the 3.0+ books. But in the end, the outcome can only be the same: repeated lightning bolts from the sky until the dude wises up. Sorry dude, your Halberd is a lightning rod. Here's another character sheet.

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  • HorseshoeHorseshoe Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    Either that player knows how to powergame 2.0 better

    A likely reason. If he has either:

    "Player’s Option: Combat & Tactics" or "Player’s Option: Skills & Powers"

    then that would be a definite yes.

    There's probably others in 2nd that broke the game as well but I can't recall at the moment.

    And if this is the case, you could make your campaign core rules only.

    Dealing with "book-itis" is usually not so fun, unless your games are one-shots centered around people coming in with the most fucked up characters possible (which my group does occasionally, and some of the characters that we come up with are indeed hilariously broken... the other week a buddy of mine brought something like a centaur monk with horseshoes of speed whose main tactic centered around being able to move over 100ft per round).

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  • LeztaLezta Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    2nd Ed is just, depthless, compared to 3rd ed. This isn't true if you have the Player's Option books but you need a group of non-powergamers for those books to work, really.

    (At this point, it's worth noting I really, REALLY prefer player's option 2nd ed to 3.5. That's as someone who likes to make interesting characters, not as someone who power-games. I can't be having with powergaming. I'm a ROLEPLAYER)

    Just go 3rd. It's current.

  • Alexan DriteAlexan Drite Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    First off, Second Edition is dead. No new material is being made for it. Take that what you will, but it's been dead long enough that that which was printed might be difficult to track down in hard copy form.

    But the second edition third edition decision is not as clear cut as it seems. The reason many people enjoy second edition more is the fact that the second edition material is much fluffier, more well developed in general, and avoids crunchyness. In Faerün especially you can see the difference. The 3.0 book Faiths and Pantheons is really a shrinking down of 3 books released in second edition, with much less content, some updating to account for the changes in the world, and some new 'content' added in the form of classes (most are unusable outside of NPCs) and some spells and items (again mostly worthless).

    Earlier material in third edition, and second edition, tends towards fluff. Later 3.5 materials, achieving a height with either the Compendiums or the complete series, and since then we've been seeing a return of the fluff, or rather a balance between the two, with a tendency towards weaker fluff and more mechanics. There is also the further reinforcement of the miniatures system towards the mechanics.

    Look at planescape. In 2.0 it was an extremely well developed system, with about a dozen sourcebooks, lots of good material, and it could be merged easily into larger campaigns. In 3.0 the entire planescape format was no longer supported. A lot of the basic info and ideas though were translated into a book called Manual of the Planes. MotP was actually a pretty decent fluff book with not a lot of prestige classes, and covered a lot of very important parts of planar D&D. In 3.5 MotP was updated with the Planar Handbook.
    Right here we see how 3.5 is a much more codified, crunchy, system. Take the awesome faction system. How does 3.5 represent it?
    With prestige classes. Xaosects have a prestige class, and Anarchists have a prestige class, and the Athar have one too.
    It has planar domains, which introduces a new mechanic, variant rules for base classes, all sorts of magical items and spells.
    But very little fluff.

    If you're not running Eberron, you're kind of missing out on a bunch of the 'fluff' that makes RPing so good.

    Fluff doesn't matter though. It is a-mechanical, and can be used in any system with easy conversions. Role playing can happen in systems without mechanics at all. You see free styling larp, or free styling forum posting, or people who write stories that are interactive. You'll see very weak mechanical systems that people still enjoy and roleplay quite well in. On the other end of the spectrum you have people role playing in heavily codified systems, even computer games. People roleplay in MMOs.
    Mechanics does not stop a person from roleplaying. So if you're going to have a mechanical system, you should strive to have one that is best and most fun.

    3.5's mechanical system is the best D&D has ever had, and it is incredibly well supported. Hundreds of classes and prestige classes, thousands of spells and monsters with stats, such that it becomes almost like a computer game. In fact, a few people have complained that a lot of the latest changes have been to reinforce a pattern of play more like a MMOG or other times like a tabletop miniatures game. Rules are more intricate, codified, and explainable, and especially explainable to people who have played video games. While there were some amazing 2.0 video games, they often times had to make weird limitations to the D&D system to translate it to a video game.
    People who have played more popular and recent games like neverwinter should have no trouble understanding third edition.

    If the lack of fluff bothers you, then as a DM just borrow the appropriate second edition books, and ignore all the mechanics listed (though do get a general idea of how 2.0 worked). Otherwise I guess play Eberron.

    See the Eberron excuse I think here actually works extremely well. You can go to your 2nd edition guy and go, "I'm kind of wanting to run eberron, and it's only a third edition world. It was, in fact, a contest winner." Even if you don't do Eberron it might convince him to realize that there is third edition exclusive content that is pretty excellent and second edition is dead. So dead it might be difficult to play.

    ==
    Edit: BTW The crunchiness/fluff argument is something HUGELY important in D&D and something the writers of the game have recognized.
    Here is an amazing article on it.
    Spoiler:

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  • VoraciousAardvarkVoraciousAardvark Registered User regular
    edited July 2007
    There's another question to ask yourself here. How many players new to BOTH systems are you bringing into the game, if any? The mass market appeal of 3rd or even 3.5 over 2nd is that its just easier to pick up for someone completely new to the genre.

    i played 2nd edition for years, but even with players option materials, I still feel theres just more depth and options for your characters in 3rd edition. Feats, prestige classes, a CLEARLY WRITTEN set of rules for creating magic items. You know, stuff like that...

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