AD&D 2e, Learn the Game

Learning AD&D 2e: Chapter 9, Combat, More than Meets the Eye (pgs 118 – 141)

Image by Moebius, Title Unknown

All that we have explored this far in the Learning Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition (AD&D 2e) project has been a preamble for this chapter as it represents one of the most common occurrences within the game: the combat encounter. Before we get into the meat of this chapter there is a cautioning statement for all of us:

. . . As important as fighting is to the AD&D game, it isn’t the be-all and end-all of play. It’s just one way for the characters to deal with situations. If characters could do nothing but fight, the game would quickly get boring – every encounter would be the same. Because there is more to the game than fighting, we’ll cover much more than simple hack-and-slash combat in this chapter . . .”

Cook, 118

One of the criticisms that often accompanies each version of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) is that the game is populated by homeless vagrants who go about killing and taking stuff that isn’t theirs. The criticism is so pervasive that the term “murder hobos” was coined to describe that type of play; however, in a lot of ways it’s an unfair criticism that tends to overemphasize combat and downplay all the other things players do in a session. Players spend time: talking to non-player characters (NPCs); developing wider stories about the world their characters live in; they plot, spy, and work to help NPC organizations and individuals; and they build families and take on responsibilities within the world.

Combat is absolutely a part of the game, and if you’re doing nothing but exploring a dungeon, it can seem as though there is nothing else to the game; but such an impression is false. Even in the dungeon your characters are interacting with the world. They’re discovering traps, searching for clues, and they’re negotiating with enemies and potential allies. And once your characters enter the wider world – once they go to the town to sell their gear or to recover from their wounds – the game really starts going.

In the next part we’ll be talking about THACO; what it is, how to find it, and why it’s not as mystifying as it’s often presented with newer editions of the game. Until then.

Works Cited

Cook, David “Zeb,” et al. Player’s Handbook for the AD&D Game. USA: TSR Inc, 1996. pg 118 PRINT

1 thought on “Learning AD&D 2e: Chapter 9, Combat, More than Meets the Eye (pgs 118 – 141)”

  1. THAC0 is so easy. Maybe that’s years of experience talking. What I honestly never figured out was to-hit in BECMI, though I ran quite a bit.


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