AD&D 2e, D&D 3.5e, D&D 3e, Dungeons & Dragons, Learn the Game

Learning to Play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition

When I first started playing Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) I began, like many other new players in the early 2000s, with Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition (D&D 3e). At the time I started playing there were more than a dozen groups playing role-playing games at our local gaming store. All of them played D&D 3e, all but one of them. It was the second largest group, after the one I ran, and they played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition (AD&D 2e).

The group was run by a wild-eyed, angry dwarf who loved to lecture me on the failings of D&D 3e, or as he often called it, “Dungeons and Dragons for Dummies.” Most of his players idolized him and consequentially were as self-righteous and self-important as he was. The exception among his group was this beautiful girl that took my breath away every time I looked at her. I tried to join so that I could get to know this girl better, but his group was full; so, she joined mine instead.

We’ve been together thirteen years come this May, married for twelve of them, and during all that time I’ve never played AD&D 2e with her. At first it was because her group didn’t want me to join, and then after we moved away it was because we couldn’t find an AD&D 2e group for us to join. This year, though, I would like to change that. I’d like to run AD&D 2e for her so that she can play the game she grew up playing.

In order to learn the game I’m going to be working my way through the Player’s Handbook, the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and the Monstrous Manual. I’ll be going through chapter by chapter with the first two books and through the important highlights of the Monstrous Manual. Then, before I run the game for my wife, I’m going to find a game online to play in and write about my experiences on the blog. 

My problem is that I’ve never played the game so I’m learning to play a bit blind here. To help correct my blind spots before they become ingrained in my memory I’m going to be posting my development on the blog here and inviting a few of the AD&D 2e communities that I’ve discovered to check it out and help me correct the places that I go astray so that I can run this correctly for her. Also for my new readers, if you’ve always wanted to learn how to play this older edition of D&D then this will be a great place for you to learn along with me!

Updates Every Monday


9 thoughts on “Learning to Play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition”

  1. Yes, I remember those days when I was chided and derided for playing D&D 3e. How dare I try something new and abandon the old?

    D&D 3e didn’t dumb down the rules, but it certainly made things more complicated. It’s the first version of the game where I felt like I needed to study the heck out of it lest I miss some important modifier.

    The wonderful thing about AD&D 2e is you don’t have to use all the rules at once and still have a cohesive and enjoyable game. For example:

    1. Non-Weapon Proficiencies and Secondary Skills. Choose one or the other or omit them until you’ve made choice.
    2. Check out the options for initiative. When I ran AD&D 2e, I used Individual Initiatives and Weapons Speed. This, however, can slow the game down a bit. You might want to use the standard group initiative until everybody is used to the lowest rolls going first.
    3. Clerics vs. specialty priests. I gave my players the option to use specialty priests–I owned 2e Greyhawk books that showed what abilities these specialty priests could receive. But my players just said, “We’ll just play regular clerics.” Again, no big deal.

    Right now, I’m running Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. But my second choice would be AD&D 2e combined with some elements from AD&D 1e–like assassins…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. STELIOS!

      Two things (1) I am more excited than ever to go down this path; and (2) where is your blog? I tried clicking on your name but it comes up as private? Did you decide to not share it publicly?

      ALSO, I miss talking to you. We should totally get in the next online conversation Mark Van Vlack and I have!


      1. My blog is on hiatus and hidden until I figure out what the next step should be. I plan on having it resurface in the near future in one form or another in the future once I’ve completed a project or two in the pipeline. As for an online conversation—yeah, that sounds like fun!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Second Edition is when I fell in love with D&D. My friends and I played the hell out of it through the early to mid-90’s. Once I went off to school I fell out of D&D, returning in the late 00’s to 3.5E which I found to be okay but a bit too complicated in some ways.

    Good luck on your learning journey.

    Oh, and cute story about meeting your wife through the game shop.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.