I have discussed recently here that I am returning to 2nd Edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. This is because every version of D&D that came after it is deeply flawed in one way or another. I want to bring it back to basics. So far I have read the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master Guide. But already I am running into problems for the game and that is beginning to make me wonder if I should bother.
I have a pool of potential players. They are keen to run in the game and this is great. For most of them the movement to second edition is one they have never experienced before, and this is causing problems. I remember that second edition was a game where the Player’s had free access to the Player’s Handbook but access to the Dungeon Master Guide was pretty much forbidden. Reading both manuals, this is an enforced concept and the reasoning behind it is pretty clear when you read the Dungeon Master Guide. I have already had one of the players tell me that he was concerned about a rule in the Player’s Handbook that stated the details were in the Dungeon Master Guide. He downloaded a copy and freely looked into it.
Is this a player problem or a technology problem? I don’t know but I do know that I felt violated already. The rules looked into are something that I am meant to have full control over but it is already looking like I have a group that are trying to min/max the whole system. I went for second edition because the number of options are greatly reduced. I am using the base three books and that is it. Min/maxing is not an easy thing to do. But after that revelation I had to endure a conversation between two of them that basically showed me they had looked at the weapons that gave maximum benefit. Another sign that min/maxing is just around the corner.
On the opposite side I have an old school player that was for a time looking at all the expanded material for the books. Kits for gnomes and halflings came up in a conversation and I had to make it very clear that the base books were the limit. He was reading these books for flavour but these are not books that I am ever entertaining to include. Complexity is what I am moving away from.
I am getting pressure to speed the process up. The players are keen, and that is great, but I want to get this right. I have only now (within minutes of writing this post) finished the Dungeon Master Guide and I do have to return to the Player’s Handbook to closely read spells. I have ideas beginning to form of a very magical, different style of setting but I need the basis to get it right.
Players are already wanting to make characters though and I am not prepared for that. I want to put all the pieces in place so I can answer the questions that they will have. Since my store closed down I have been super busy (unemployment is busier than I expected). I am not getting the time to plan as I thought I would and the time I am getting is all about reading rules and the like. Running excellent games is something I always want to do and I am not sure I have done that well in the store. I want to make sure I do now.
I am feeling overwhelmed at the moment. These problems are weighing on me. In each instance they are smaller problems but they are causing me to desire this game less. I understand these players like my games but I need time, space and respect to get the work done. True role playing is not about the numbers, it is about the interactions. The rules magnification going on around me will lead the game to ruin. I won’t accept players opening books to certain pages in the middle of a game to show me rules. Second Edition games were always run with what the Dungeon Master says and rules discussions happen outside of the game.
This game is very important to me in a lot of ways. I never thought that I would be facing these problems at this point and it is making me doubt myself. Am I wrong to make this move? Is this a sign of burnout? Should I push through and just lay it on the line? I will have to see what I feel like when I actually get to put pen to paper. When I start the building of this campaign world despite its problems.