Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Dungeons & Dragons Edition Wars: Advanced D&D

add2phbAdvanced Dungeons and Dragons, heralded by many for the diverse settings and options for play.  Reviled by just as many for adding a complexity that redefined the word “crunch”.  THAC0 is reportedly a difficult mechanic to master.

However AD&D has some of the more fascinating scenarios ever developed for the game.  Do you want to add Genies and an Arabian feel to your game? Run an Al-Qadim setting.  Space Travel? Spell Jammer.  Ghosts? Ghostwalk.  Do you want to actually play a Dragon? make sure you’ve got a copy of Council of Wyrms.

This is the version of the game that PIT#1 started playing when she was invited to an RPG group outside the home by her friends.  After gaming with her friends and new D&D for awhile, she invited Daddy to come along.  Bill, our DM, shares my sense of humor.  We’re having a ball.

My Favorite memory from AD&D: Our DM had planned out this extended campaign.  He cackled with glee as he described the opening scenario.  Every time we  encountered a monster our dice rolls went badly.  Suddenly PIT #3 comes up with an INSPIRED piece of RP.  Our DM looked at my 10-year old son with disbelief on his face and asked him to roll percentiles.  PIT #3 beat the roll and our DM’s disbelief suddenly shifted to a “now-what-do-I-do?” expression.  PIT #3 gained mega XP and high fives from the rest of the party’s players.  Suddenly PIT#1’s tag-along little brother was an accepted part of the group.

What I like best about AD&D: Gnomes, I can get the books cheap on Ebay.  My kids enjoy playing this version and we have a wonderful DM.

What do I dislike about AD&D: THAC0 ’nuff said.

June 13, 2009 - Posted by | Legacy D&D, News, Reviews and Culture, RPG | , , , , , ,


  1. I had a lot of fun playing 2E AD&D. Heck, I didn’t even mind THAC0, which at least had the advantage of being better than the charts you had to consult in 1E AD&D.

    One minor error I feel I have to point out. Ghostwalk was actually a 3E D&D setting created by Monte Cook and Sean K. Reynolds. I will admit that Ghostwalk has the feel of those other 2E AD&D settings though.

    Comment by Rob | June 13, 2009

  2. What I liked: The AD&D DMG feels like a wizards book of secrets. Every time I pick it up I still find some nugget of wisdom or strange bit of esoteric knowledge. I’ve never read if from cover to cover, and I often find things by accident, or forget which part I’d found things in.

    What I disliked: See above… 🙂

    Comment by Stuart | June 13, 2009

  3. @Rob – I got the list from Wikipedia not a personal collection Mea Cupla

    @Stuart – I’ll take your word for it on the DMG, I’ve avoided reading my copy as I don’t want to be second guessing my DM. We have a player who does that and it’s annoying as all get out.

    Hmmm… Same amount of time and only two replies to this post and ten for the OD&D. Pattern?

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | June 14, 2009

  4. No. Not a pattern, but the weekend. Most people only post during the week.

    One quibble, when a lot people hear “AD&D”, 2nd Ed is not what they think about.

    I never had an issue with THAC0, just add or subtract as needed, not really all that different than what we have now. Even that was easier than the Gygaxian weapon modifiers vs. AC that we had in 1st ed.

    AD&D 1st Ed really set the pace for all RPGs. Yes, there were other before, AD&D really set the tone of everything we do today.

    Comment by timsbrannan | June 14, 2009

  5. I have fond memories of AD&D; mostly 2nd. Loved the settings…

    I have had two characters in games that lasted more than a handful of sessions. One even survived multiple DMs. That one was a second edition Halfling Thief using the Burglar kit from the complete Halfling book. I still have that character sheet.

    Ready to go at a moments notice.

    Comment by drcheckmate | June 14, 2009

  6. @Tim – Please be aware that I am not a D&D history expert. I am only basing these articles off of what I tend to see discussed on the blogshpere.

    Original, AD&D, 3.5, and 4e

    @Dr. C – I’m really enjoying the AD&D game that we’re currently running. I got saddled with a 10th level Bard name Allouicious Yangovich. But I’m still enjoying it.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | June 15, 2009

  7. THACO took me years to understand. The lightbulb came on when a DM with no ego to bruise slowly explained it to me.

    There is nothing wrong with the THACO mechanic itself. The actual confusion comes from the potential 4-way “split” in the application of it. . .from DM-to-player and back again, plus monster-to-character and back again.

    The solution is to always consistently house-rule THACO in one direction for everything and everyone involved, such as crunching bonuses and penalties first thing right away before your roll. <– This determines your adjusted to hit number at the outset.

    THEN roll the dice. =)

    This also creates a bonus building of suspense + final sense of release for the party, where rolling first and then adding bonuses simply adds to the tedium at the table instead.

    Hope this helps.


    Comment by PJ | August 5, 2009

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