The original covers for the 2nd edition Player's Handbook and Dungeon Master's Guide. The Monstrous Manual cover is from the re-released hardcover instead of the three ring binder.

Take It Back to ’89

I was texting to a friend of mine about their 5e game, but he interrupted himself to mention going old school. I immediately thought about B/X and thought about re-reading my old Blue Box at home. My friend remarked that his group would really like to run an older game, so I texted, "B/X, Rules Cyclopedia, or AD&D?"

He replied, "Second Edition."

I was taken aback a bit. That's when it dawned on me that I am old and he is not. AD&D came out before he was born, but was still around when he was a kid. I quickly moved on asking him who would run it. He said he has the books so he is learning it and then there was a pause. I waited a bit and then I made a fateful decision. I felt myself typing the question, "Would you like me to run it?"

Keep in mind that I have never really run 2e rules-as-written. My Edition was an unholy mishmash of systems, rules, and Jolt Cola infused madness. (Note, If you read the link, know that I don't use anything ACKS related anymore. I've replaced it with Old School Essentials.) Why did I just offer to run 2e, and 2e rules-as-written? I was dumbfounded by my brains' inability to stop my fingers from asking that questions. I eagerly awaited a response that said thanks for the offer but that the group will take care of it, would you like to play with us?

He replied that it would be awesome if I ran it. The full gravity of my hubris landed on my shoulders. I gently placed my phone on my desk and asked out loud, "what have I done?"

I sent a link to my Session Zero document to get a feel for what the group wanted to run. I found my backup of the 2e Rules on CD I found years ago at the thrift store and went to work. To paraphrase the Wu, I thought to myself, "Let's take it back to eighty-nine."

More texts followed with his desired character using the Myrmidon kit. When I saw that he rolled 18 for Strength, I had to explain the STR stat in 2e with 18 and percentages for Fighters. He rolled a 64. With that corrected, I then had to look up the kit. I found an Excel character sheet that calculated kits correctly, so I then turned that into a character sheet. I began to get excited about running it.

I started making a DM screen and offered to run Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. Now I am awaiting confirmation from the rest of the group.

Meanwhile, I am piecing together For Gold & Glory with my other digital books. I am tempted to say "CAN I HAVE ONLY 80 POTENTIAL MODIFIERS PLEASE" and resurrect my ill-fated 2e clone. Alas, they want the original, so that will not work. So far, settings do not need to be canon. This means, of course, that I will simply need to create an actual three-ring binder for the creatures, kits, and locations.

Anabe

The plane of Jugu is a vast swamp dotted with areas of relatively dry land throughout. A skilled primordial summoner learns of Jugu at some point in their career due to the vast numbers of Anabe found here.

The Anabe range in color from bright red to deep blue and every color in-between. Typical Anabe are a pale yellow or a sickly green color. They are recognizable for the large caps on the back of their oval shaped heads. They are roughly humanoid and stand about five feet tall. They have very long arms - their three-fingered hands almost reach their feet. Their faces appear to have two eye slits and a larger horizontal slit where a mouth should be. They have the appearance of a tight-lipped smile with their eyes closed.

Anabe do not organize socially. They are the lone semi-intelligent creature on their plane and do not have enemies there. Many Anabe live a solitary life in search of food and reproduction. To reproduce, an Anabe removes a small portion of their cap and throws it to the ground. In two weeks, a small Anabe begins to emerge from an egg-shaped plant. At five weeks, the Anabe is fully grown and ready to scavenge for food.

All Anage are immune to all diseases, even supernatural ones like mummy rot. Anabe are also immune to all poison. They also regenerate wounds very quickly.

Individual abilities vary widly. It is believed that all the many special abilities of the Anabe have not yet been discovered. When encountered, roll on the table below to determine the summoned Anabe's abilities:

Roll 2d6
1 Roll 2 Hurtful Abilities
2-4 Roll 1 Hurtful Ability
5-8 Roll 1 Hurtful and 1 Helpful ability
9-11 Roll 1 Helpful Ability
12 Roll 2 Helpful Abilities
Roll 1d8
Hurtful Ability Helpful Ability
1 Insanity Cure Insanity
2 Priest Bane Priest Boon
3 Change Color Remove Color
4 Generate Poison Cure Poison
5 Generate Disease Cure Disease
6 Grow Shrink
7 Clean Water Foul Water
8 Weaken Strengthen

Notes:

Both Insanity and Cure Insanity are temporary effects lasting 2d8 hours. Saving throw negates the effect.

The Preist Bane is an experience so blasphemous to the priest that he or she can only cast 1st Priest spells for one day. If the priest cannot cast 2nd level or higher spells, the priest will not be able to cast any spells for one day.

The Priest Boon is an experience so enlightening, the priest can cast one spell at a level higher than his or her highest level. If the priest can only cast up to 4th level spells, the priest will gain the one-time ability to cast a 5th level spell of his choosing. If the priest can already cast 7th level spells, the priest gains the ability to cast two 7th level spells.

The effect of Change Color or Remove Color lasts for 2d8 days.

The Cure Poison and Cure Disease abilities are permanent. The poison or diseaseĀ  generated by the Generate Poison or Generate Disease abilities is up to the GM.

The Anabe with the grow ability can transform to 1d4 times its normal size. The shirnk ability grants the Anabe to ability to shrink to 1d4 times its normal size.

The ability to Clean Water can remove contaminants from enough water to last four people for one day of hard traveling. The ability to Foul Water affects just as much water. Both effects are permanent.

The Weaken ability does 1d4 points of Strength damage. The Strengthen ability grants 1d4 additional points of Strength. Both effects wear off at the rate of one point a day.

What’s in a round?

While going through and rebuilding the spells with the spell building system, I ran across a big problem. Many of the spells were computing to second level spells, but were considerably weaker than spells listed in the PHB or even in the d20srd.

I couldn't figure it out until I realized my mistake.

I played D&D with 10 second rounds. I wrote Andras for 1 minute rounds. When I started using the spell building system, values for minutes were an order of magnitude higher than values for rounds.

I tried to rewrite the table as I hadn't changed much from d6 Fantasy at that time. Yet, the more I tried, the less it worked. I say that, but I think I got close only to realize that I had accidentally built something a little too close to EABA's master table of values.

One minute rounds just don't work for the spell system. The cost is pretty high for a spell that lasts more than a couple one-minute rounds. So, I decided to abstract the whole thing.

In one round, you can move half your move rate and attack. Kick over a table, jump on top of it and swing off the chandelier? Ok, you can do that in one round. Cast a spell? sure. Cast two spells with a casting time of 1? No. Move ten feet and cast a spell with a 6 casting time? Ok. Negotiate with the gelatinous cube? Unless you have a Speak with Goop spell already in effect, it won't do you much good, but sure, you can talk at it.

(I've actually had someone try to reason with a gelatinous cube. It didn't end well for neither negotiator nor cube.)

Point is, if you look at the spell building table, you find a round is 10 seconds. However, in the player's guide, that won't be mentioned.

If I can rebuild the table I will, but until then, this is what I got.

Hopefully, I'll be back with more content on the weekend. I also hope to have some news about the OSR Co-op