Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Problems with AD&D

Now, I played a lot of Basic D&D in the 1980s and then went on to AD&D 2nd Edition. As much as I enjoyed Basic D&D I could never get my head around AD&D. My first opinion of it was that it was too complicated but that was to be expected, coming from Basic D&D as I did. I played it for about a year and during that time I slowly changed from simply disliking it to outright hating it. It just didn't work for me.

There were several reasons I didn't like it and quite a few things I couldn't quite put my finger on, but I recently found this website that lists a dude's problems with AD&D. He pretty much nails what I thought, and even though his crusade to make people discover other gaming systems seems pretty arrogant and some of his opinions are a matter of taste he makes some very good points, and reminds me why it was I stopped playing D&D for twenty years.

You can read the page here. It's an old collection of articles but I think they're still relevant.

I rediscovered D&D with 4th Edition in 2009 but didn't like that much, either, and I took a step back and bought the D&D 3.0 rules. Now, that was more like it. Even though there was still a lot of crap in there it was crap I could work with to get a decent game out of it. In fact, I've found an excellent website that converts the Birthright Campaign Setting to 3.x et al, and the documents are free to download. Birthright is my kind of setting and I'm seriously considering creating a campaign for it. In fact, if anyone out there has the old Birthright Conspectus and they don't want it anymore then let me know as I can give it a good home.

Right now I'm enjoying my mate Jason's Pathfinder campaign. I can watch him run it and, as it's pretty much 3.x in new clothes, I can observe how it plays and how he handles certain situations. I'm definitely interested in running a game but I know for a fact there'll have to be some trimming of the rules for me to fully enjoy it.


I'm not one to blow my own trumpet but a message a friend of mine left me has made me feel all warm and glowing inside. I'd been talking about the D6 Star Wars RPG and spoke about how those first few games taught me a lot. He left me this message:

'That's always been your biggest strength as a GM, as opposed to other gamers who only focussed on the rules and technical aspects of the game. You're always striving to finesse your GM skills and not get too stale, while always keeping the 'feel' of a Jon Hicks game. I think that's why your settings and game systems are so spot-on, you understand what makes a game work so well.
Yeah, thinking on it those first few months of SW RPG (I still have the map of the first game you did, the warehouse with the security guards) were pretty generic, but we were all so stoked to be playing SW RPG - who cared! It would have been easy not to analyse it, but you did, and what followed was far better!'

Cheers, Mark. I can't begin to tell you how much that means to me.


  1. I could never get my head around AD&D2, and missed out on D&D3 completely. The fourth edition came out as I was getting back into gaming, and I didn't get on with it at all. I prefer Pathfinder, but even that is too fussy to be a favourite.

  2. Yeah, I know what you mean with Pathfinder and 3.x in general - it's like they cleaned it up and then tacked on other stuff just to fill it out again and made it just as fiddly. I love Microlite20 at the moment, but still fancy a bit more crunch. I think I'll be taking the shears to 3.x and doing some trimming. As long as there's stuff in there to make my min/max players happy.

  3. I would have to read the other fellow's blog to properly understand your meaning but to use the term 'ignorant' in relation to trying to get people to try new systems in addition to the one(s) they already play seems a pretty worthwhile endeavour to me.

    After all, who best defines ignorant, the individual who only knows and accepts one way of thinking or the individual who knows and accepts many ways of thinking?

    Personally I understand all the different D&Ds to some degree and don't really enjoy any of them. Luckily I have dozens and dozens of other options to choose from.