Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some 2nd Edition love

Second edition has been on my mind a bit recently, and I just need to give it a little love here. It really was an elegant system, despite the flaws it did have. Sure, I'm biased since it was the system I learned D&D on, the system I was introduced to roleplaying games with, but it's been years since I've played 2nd edition and I still come back to it as a favorite. I remember character development just happening without really having to think about it. The classes were archetypal; each having their own "thing" that made them unique. With the advent of 3rd edition, there was a lot of overlap - each class can step of the toes of another class. I realize this was done intentionally so that a party wouldn't be gimped without having a cleric, or a rogue for example, but it makes each of the other classes shine a little less bright because of that. 

But the thing I've been thinking about, the thing that makes me want to play a little 2nd edition again, is the "backwards" rules; rolling under for some things and over for others. The idea of rolling below your stat for an ability check is just great, from a GM stand-point. Think about it: I don't have to come up with some number out thin air like you oft do with 3rd edition and its "Difficulty Check". Just roll under your ability. Need to raise a portcullis? Roll under your Strength. It's a simple, easy mechanic that just makes the GM's job easier. 

Now, I wonder if you could make a new Saving Throw chart, based off the old one, that could reverse Saving Throws so that you roll under for them too? Like subtract the listed number from 20 and that's the new number you have to roll under. That way it's one more thing that is "roll under" so as to be a little more uniform. I doubt there's anything to be done for combat, though, high rolls are still good there and I don't think anything can be done about that. Not that I'd want to anyway. Imagine the amount of "20's" you'd roll if suddenly "1" was a critical hit? That's tantamount to gamer sacrilege. 


aramis said...

Sure, one can make that reversed chart for saves. 21-save.

One could easily turn combat rolls around, too.

Michael Huxley said...

I'd have to get out my old 2nd Edition DM screen and take a look at some THAC0 charts to get an idea of how I would reverse those - I'm not a math-inclined person, by any means so I need the numbers in front of me.

All of this has got me thinking: by reversing the combat rolls as well, I am making a nice consistent mechanic - roll under for everything - but then I worry if I'm not just making the game a reversed version of 3rd Edition. The classes would stay the same, and there would still be percentile rolls (I love those), so I suppose not. Thanks for the comment!