[AD&D 2e] What are the hallmarks of a classic tabletop game?

Stormy

Retired User
Last weekend, my tabletop RPG group gathered to play a classic Dungeons and Dragons module using the AD&D 2nd Edition revised system. It was sort of a nostalgic Gygax/Arneson memorial game.

As I prepared for the game, I was surprised how difficult it was to set up all the classic elements of the AD&D games I used to play. I hadn't played AD&D 2e in years and some of the details have slipped from memory. Here are the trademarks I remembered:

Vinyl grid map with wet/dry erase colored pens.
Pewter/lead figurines.
Old style polyhedron dice.
Worn, photocopied character sheets.
Stereotypical multi-classed characters.
Cola, pizza, chips, and other junk food.
Player handouts with cheesy artwork.
A monster in nearly every room with no thought to ecology.
Wandering monster encounters.
Giant rats, poisonous snakes, kobolds, carrion crawlers, and other staple monsters.
Pit, poison needle, crossbow bolt, and crushing stone traps.
Treasure rolled from tables.
Saving throws versus death.
Indescriminate rocks of god.

The group is halfway through the module. I probably ought to drag out a rust monster at some point. There's a scantily clad damsel in distress a few rooms ahead.

I still feel like I'm missing something.

So, I have a few questions for fellow gaming veterans:
What are the hallmarks of a classic AD&D 2e tabletop game?
What elements were always present in your game sessions, both within the adventure and at the table?
What would you add to give the game an "authentic" feel?


Thank you in advance for your suggestions!
 

Panda-s1

NO NOT BLACK LEAF NO! D:
I hate to sound like a n00b, but aren't things like a monster in nearly every room with no thought to ecology, wandering monster encounters, giant rats, poisonous snakes, kobolds, carrion crawlers, and other staple monsters, and pit, poison needle, crossbow bolt, and crushing stone traps more of a 1st ed./Basic thing? :confused:
 

markkat

J. T. Swill III
Validated User
I know those all fit the stereotype, but I never knew anyone that played that way, 1E or 2E.

Still, sounds like it could be fun.
 

Maxwell Luther

Registered User
Validated User
How are you applying the rules? Think back to the very first time you played and try to identify just what it was that hooked you in the first place.

This is just a guess, but if you've been away from the AD&D mindset for a while, especially if you've played 3e or 4e, you might be approaching the game from a 'rule for every situation, look it up in the book' style of game that is counter to the spirit of classic D&D.

In the old school meme (in general) there are no skill systems, no feats and much of the rules boil down to DM fiat. All the other rules are and have always been optional andit was never intended that you cleave to them as inviolable and slow the game down to look them up.

Player Kits in 2E are a good example of this. Use what you want, throw away the rest, but you could easily play the game with just the Player's Handbook and the Monster Manual if you wanted.

Thing is most folks who started with 2E began in an era where playign by the seat of your pants was quickly fading from view. If you want to truly recapture that old feel, then I suggest reading The Quick Primer for Old School Gaming. After you go through that, I'm sure your games will start to rekindle that feeling you used to get from roleplaying. You know the feeling you had when the ability to just use your imagination was more important than knowing a rulebook from cover to cover?

Or it might just be that you forgot to include a 10'x10' room with an orc guarding a pie. Try that as well...
 

Eryops

Level five vegan
Validated User
I still feel like I'm missing something.
You haven't taken into account the passage of time. You can recreate everything exactly, and it can still come up short to your expectations and memories. That just happens... we change.
 

Ivan Sorensen

Amiga fan
Validated User
I hate to sound like a n00b, but aren't things like a monster in nearly every room with no thought to ecology, wandering monster encounters, giant rats, poisonous snakes, kobolds, carrion crawlers, and other staple monsters, and pit, poison needle, crossbow bolt, and crushing stone traps more of a 1st ed./Basic thing? :confused:
Looking at classic D&D and original AD&D modules, no. The "dungeon with weird shit just because" is more of an internet thing.
 

Dice Hound

D12 never gets any love
Vinyl grid map with wet/dry erase colored pens.
Pewter/lead figurines.
Stereotypical multi-classed characters.
I've been playing D&D 1e/2e since '81, and I can tell you that the above was more the exception than the rule. In fact, one of the things I didn't like about 3.x and 4e is that you are pretty much required to use minis.

Old style polyhedron dice.
As opposed to a new style? Maybe I'm not getting it. In 2e, there were all the same kinds of dice there are now.
 

Nai_Calus

Retired User
As opposed to a new style? Maybe I'm not getting it. In 2e, there were all the same kinds of dice there are now.
He probably means the unpolished opaque dice like Gamescience makes rather than the polished holographic glitter swirly stuff made by companies like Chessex.

This: http://www.iankunx.net/uglydice.jpg (Though the d20 there is arguably not oldschool enough since it's actually numbered 1-20. XP)

As opposed to this: http://www.iankunx.net/borealisroyalpurple.jpg
 
Top Bottom