I know that I’ve mentioned several times that there are drastic changes between AD&D 2e and D&D 3e but no where is this more apparent than when we’re talking about combat. So please forgive me if this sounds a bit over the top: but the AD&D 2e combat round is 1 minute long.
Let that sink in for a minute.
When we’re talking about the round in D&D 3e we’re talking about 6 second segments of time within the game world. It completely changes the way that you think about the game when you change the length of the round.
In D&D 3e it isn’t uncommon for the player to conceive of each round being a single hit in that time and for them to “call” where their shots hit. AD&D 2e completely flips that concept on it’s head by expanding the length of time. But AD&D 2e isn’t done there as the round and turn (10 rounds) are actually just approximations because “. . . precise time measurements are impossible in combat” (pg 122).
The book then gives the best example of how time works in the game by examining drinking a potion in combat:
. . . The potion is sagely stowed in the character’s backpack. First, he takes stock of the situation to see if anyone else can get the potion out for him, but, not surprisingly, everyone is rather busy. So, Sword in one hand, he shrugs one strap of the pack off his shoulder. Then, just as two orcs leap toward him, the other strap threatens to slip down, entangling his sword arm. Already the loose strap keeps him from fully using his shield.Cook, pg 122
Holding the shield as best as possible in front of him, he scrambles backward to avoid the monster’s first wild swings. He gets pushed back a few more feet when a companion shoulders past to block their advance. His companion bought him a little time, so he kneels, lays down his sword, and slips the backpack all the way off. Hearing a wild cry, he instinctively swings his shield up just in time to ward off a glancing blow.
Rummaging through the pack, he finally find the potion, pulls it out, and huddling behind his shield, works the cork free. Just then there is a flash of flame all around him – a fireball! He grits his teeth against the heat, shock, and pain and tries to remember not to crush or spill the potion vial. Biting back the pain of the flames, he is relieved to see the potion still intact.
Quickly, he gulps it down, reclaims his sword, kicks his backpack out of the way, and runs back up to the front line . . .
In game terms the player was able to withdraw their character from combat. During their withdrawal their character avoided a blow from an attacking orc and managed to successfully save vs spell when the Wizard dropped a fireball in the middle of combat. They then drank a potion. All of that in a single round!
The way the Combat round presents itself in AD&D 2e leads me to believe that combat is to be played in a more narrative fashion than I’m used to with D&D 3e. Especially with the above example. Can any of my 2e readers confirm this suspicion?
Cook, David “Zeb,” et al. Player’s Handbook for the AD&D Game. USA: TSR Inc, 1996. pg 116, 122 PRINT