I’m skipping ahead a few chapters in learning Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition (AD&D 2e) because I have no interest in discussing Alignment (Chapter 4 pgs 64 – 69) right now and I’m not ready to study an optional rule set (Chapter 5: Proficiencies pgs 70 – 87) until I understand the basics of play a bit better.
Chapter 6, Money and Equipment, begins with the usual discussion of what coins are used in the game, but then there’s an interesting paragraph I’d like to highlight:
. . . [Remember] that not all wealth is measured by coins. Wealth can take many forms – land, livestock, the right to collect taxes or customs, and jewelry are all measures of wealth. Coins have no guaranteed value. A gold piece can buy a lot in a small village but won’t go very far in a large city. This makes other forms of wealth, land for instance, all the more valuable. Indeed, many a piece of jewelry is actually a way of carrying one’s wealth. Silver armbands can be traded for goods, a golden brooch can buy a cow, ect. In your adventures, wealth and riches may take many forms . . .cook, 88
There are two major takeaways here: (1) that inflation, and by necessity, deflation are things in the game economies; and (2) that the best way to avoid that issue is by converting monetary wealth into physical property (for example: land, jewelry, livestock, et al). The idea that inflation is a thing in the game is something that I’ve often seen discussed on blogs that focus on older editions of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) where the authors talk about emulating it to add to the world’s sense of verisimilitude but it was always discussed as though it were an optional aspect of the game. Here though it is openly described in the Player’s Handbook as something players should actively be aware of and even given a work around in using luxury goods to circumvent it.
Coming from Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition (D&D 3e) that’s a shocking paragraph.
In D&D 3e it’s noted that most wealth is held in property (Tweet, 96) but the idea that you might want to emulate an inflationary rate across the game world isn’t even hinted at in the D&D 3e Player’s Handbook. My guess is that inflation was largely waved away during the conversion from AD&D 2e to D&D 3e as it added a layer of complexity to the game’s economy that tended to make play feel more like work instead of fun.
Without question one of the things that has surprised me the most is how little your character begins with in AD&D 2e by comparison to D&D 3e. Let’s look at the Warrior in AD&D 2e and compare it with the Fighter in D&D 3e because these two classes receive the most in starting cash. In AD&D 2e the Warrior starts with 5d4 x 10 gold pieces (gp) which provides the player with a potential starting sum of 200 gp if they’re really lucky. Compare this with the D&D 3e Fighter who starts with 6d4 x 10 gp; potentially 240 gp. Now the difference might not sound like that much to begin with but when you consider that the equipment pricing largely did not change between editions that 40gp difference is huge because your starting character is able to be significantly better equipped right out the gate.
This is a wholly new term for me as it did not exist in D&D 3e. We’ll be learning more about it when we come to Chapter 9: Combat but suffice it to say that, if I’m reading the description correctly (pg 96), lower is better because you can swing more times. That can be massive in combat for allowing a character to overcome more powerful foes.
It appears to be similar to how D&D 3e provided characters with additional attacks each turn as they advanced in level. The idea there being that as you became better at combat you would naturally be able to see more openings and react quickly to those opportunities. AD&D 2e appears to have taken a different tactic and I’m excited to read Chapter 9 to learn more.
Encumbrance (Optional Rules) pgs 102 -105
Now this is a fascinating series of optional rules. In Chapter 1: Player Character Ability Scores we’re provided with a Weight Allowance, “. . . the weight in pounds a character can carry without becoming encumbered (Cook, pg 20),” and Table 1: Strength on page 20 provides what the various weight allowances are for each point of Strength. This rule significantly increases the range a character can carry and how it affects them during play. I’m not sure that I’m going to use it just yet but I am incredibly intrigued right off the bat.
Cook, David “Zeb,” et al. Player’s Handbook for the AD&D Game. USA: TSR Inc, 1996. pg 20, 88 PRINT
Tweet, Jonathan, et al. Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook Core Rulebook I v3.5. Wizards of the Coast. USA, 2003. pg. 96. PRINT