10 Things I Miss from AD&D 2nd Edition by Ted

Like many readers, I came into the realm of epic fantasy and sword & sorcery fiction through role playing games. For our high school crew (and I realize this dates me a bit), it was Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, which led into the Dragonlance Chronicles by Weis & Hickman, The Dark Elf Trilogy by Salvatore, and all the other TSR tie-ins.

So, when Ted, Chief Adventurer at SkullSplitter Dice, contacted me about a guest post, we got to reminiscing about the good old days . . .

Hail Adventurers!

While Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition has been a smash hit, some of us that are longer in the tooth still miss some things that have disappeared since 2nd edition. While I totally understand that they had balance issues with classes, and removal of some of these things helped with that, it’s interesting to see people’s reactions to some of the things that have been removed from the game since then.

With that said, here are the things that I miss from 2nd edition:

  1. Permanency - When I tell newish  5e players that you used to be able to make spells permanent their eyes light up. While the list of spells you could make permanent was small it could be a game changer for a higher level PC.
  2. Mordenkainen’s  Disjunction - This spell ran a chance of permanently destroying a magic item. The look of horror on player’s faces when I talk about this spell being dropped on the party mid fight and losing key magic items is pretty priceless. While it sucked to lose magic items it also served as a way to take them away from the party if you’d given them too many. 
  3. No Cantrips - Ok, cantrips were in the game, but they didn’t do damage and were more limited in scope. This meant that spellcasters could actually run out of spells and resort to “I try to hit it with my stick”. And in 2nd edition that wizard was very flimsy and not likely to be able to actually hit. 
  4. Continual Light/Darkness - This spell was particularly powerful as it created a permanent light or dark source; no concentration required. We made dark arrows, darkness nets, flashlights and just about anything else you can think of to help do things like break line of sight or highlight targets for friends and foes.
  5. Darts - Thrown weapons in 2nd edition were completely broken. 2nd ed. Used a different rate of fire per weapon type, and darts added your strength modifier should you hit. Throw in some poison and your damage output per round could get extremely, extremely high.
  6. Ridiculous racial feats -“This party has too many elves”; frankly, it made a lot of sense to play an elf in 2nd edition. Races like duergar also shined in 2nd edition. The other thing I miss here is that you gave something up to play a race; negative ability modifiers were the tithe to the cool things.
  7. High Wisdom Bonus Spells for Clerics - High Wisdom Clerics could give a tremendous amount of extra spells; this could be super useful as in 2nd edition each spell had to be “prepared” ahead of time. With this limitation on flexibility those extra spells could come in handy.
  8. High Intelligence Bonus Languages Proficiencies - In 2nd edition you could get extra languages or proficiencies for a High INT.  Super high intelligence wizards could end up with a lot of languages and proficiencies; this also helped make sure this wasn’t a dump stat for a lot of people.
  9. Initiative Modifiers - In 2nd edition you’d roll initiative every round; every action had a “modifier” and certain spells would take a huge amount of time to cast, and certain weapons went quickly. It was nice because it made combat more fluid.
  10. THAC0 - Standing for “To Hit Armor Class 0” THAC0 was how you determined hits; I’m actually fibbing on this one. Removal of THAC0 was probably one of the smartest things WOTC has ever done. Adding is so much easier than subtracting. I don’t miss this one at all :)

If you like this blog post, don’t forget to like and share with your friends or leave a comment below with the things that you miss from 2nd edition.



About the Author

Ted is Chief Adventurer at SkullSplitter Dice. If you’d like to see a bunch of D&D related tools and resources, check out our resource guide here.