Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Welcome Flyer to the Second Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Game
Stumbled across this flyer for AD&D 2nd edition in a random sig (already lost the source damnit, but thanks, whomever you are), a rather fun little artifact from a bygone era that I never knew of. When I got into AD&D it was late in 1989 during the fall at Eastern Arizona College. I'd been bouncing between using Runequest Basic (the Avalon hill Blue Box edition) and Dragonquest (the particular version of which was TSR's 3rd edition revision that had recently come out), but my group ultimately convinced me to pick up AD&D 2nd edition and give it a try. I ordered the books from a local book shop that was able to secure them for me and a week or two later we were rolling up characters and investigating the mystery of an amassing army of monsters near the capitol of Hyrkania. Good times! To this day that campaign remains one of my favorites, and was a defining time for my interest in the hobby. I stuck religiously with 2nd edition AD&D right up until the day 3rd edition came out (relying only on Runequest for a non-AD&D fantasy alternate); it was the edition that hit the sweet spot, and which provides the greatest nostalgia factor for me. I also periodically revisit it, and have recently been doing a 2nd edition game with Ravenloft.
One thing I have to say about the nineties, it was nice to have to only worry about one game system for fantasy gaming. Sure, there were other game systems, but you played them to get a decidedly different flavor and experience (Runequest was my top dog for non-D&D fantasy, but I played Dragonquest and GURPS Fantasy on occasion, and other games such as Dangerous Journeys existed). Today, I look on my shelf and I am faced with Swords & Wizardry, D&D 4E, Pathfinder, Castles & Crusades, GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, OSRIC, D&D 3rd edition...and the thing that is so head-scratching is both how much the market has fragmented, and how little of what I look at is in any meaningful way different. Sure, I can still grab Runequest II/Legend for an alt-D&D experience, or maybe something like Shadow, Sword & Spell or Dragon Age RPG and have some non-D&D fantasy fun, but I really do miss the old days where D&D was defined by AD&D 2nd edition (for me) and not by five or ten amorphous spin-offs and variant rulesets all competing for attention while offering essentially the same overall experience, just trussed up in slightly different dresses.
Game system polygamy is a sickness that must be stopped!