Monday, December 10, 2012

The AD&D 2e Questionnaire

 ...or, "If You Think AD&D 2nd Edition Sucked, It's Your Fault For Not Filling This Out."

I thought I'd post some of the questions on the AD&D 2nd edition questionnaire I accidentally came into possession of over the weekend. You could white out the title of the document and it could almost be titled "Stuff OSR People Blog About."

Rather than post the entire questionnaire, (it's over 120 questions) I thought I'd just post some of the talking points that get floated around here every so often. It looks like these were things people wanted to change back in the day, but were either in the minority or were overruled by TSR.

(These questions ask the reader to rate them from 1= strongly disagree to 5= strongly agree)
22. Add special rules to make each weapon different
23. Drop some of the obscure pole arms
24. Cut longsword damage vs. large opponents 
40. The value of money should be changed so copper is worth something
41. The value of money should be converted to a decimal system to simplify math
42. The gold standard should be changed to a silver standard.
43. The "boom town" economy should be changed to something that works for a stable kingdom.
44. More ideas on how to take money out of the campaign should be added to this section.
45. Rules for incorporating gunpowder should be added
46. Rules for incorporating SF/high-tech should be added.
47. System crossover rules are needed for other TSR rule sets (TOP SECRET game, GAMMA WORLD game and others)
48. Any rule that gives an automatic adverse result should be revised to give at least a small chance of success. One that gives and automatic favorable result should be revised to give a small chance of failue. 
 50. Character classes are too restrictive and contrived. They should be replaced with a proficiencies that allow you to choose the abilities you want your character to have.
51. I hardly ever look at the rules while I'm running a game. I make things up according to what I think is right instead of following the rules.
52. Characters should be generated by rolling 3 dice with no re-rolls. Any other method creates super characters.
53. There should be character classes for every profession, PC and NPC, since this is the only way to measure character abilities.
55. The combat system needs a lot more detail: critical hits, exact hit location, shock, knockdown, and more special rules to make each weapon different.
56. Peopl who enjoy playing a Monty Hall campaign or have characters of 50+ levels dont' understand what the AD&D game is about.
57. The AD&D game is too confusing. There are too many different tables and systems. They should all be resolved by a single table to resolve everything.
58. Player characters need better reasons to do things than just killing monsters and getting treasure.
59. Alignments are stupid and without redeeming features. They should be removed from the game.
60. Too many people forget that the idea of playing the AD&D game is to have fun. They become too involved in their characters and the rules.

I could go on, but I think you get the idea. There are questions on how long combat should take, how long character creation should take, how long you should have to play before you reach 9th level, how experience should be doled out, spell points vs. Vancian, etc.

The apparent moral of this story is that we spend a lot of time bitching about stuff that we still bitched about in the 80's. (Well, I didn't then because I was like five in the 80's and D&D was just another Saturday morning cartoon to be enjoyed over a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal.) 


  1. If you can, track down the Dragon issue that appeared several months after the survey went out... the one with a summary of how people responded to the survey. It's great because there were a couple of points where the people answering the survey overwhelmingly picked answers that TSR simply rejected, *even though they said the fans would determine the direction of the game.*

  2. Do you know what issue, or around what issue?

    I suppose I can track it down. I'm pretty curious to see what the results were and what they blatantly ignored.

  3. Not offhand. I don't have my Dragon archive CDs available. I'd have to go look at online indices, which I'll do later... but you will probably beat me to it.

  4. 50. Character classes are too restrictive and contrived. They should be replaced with a proficiencies that allow you to choose the abilities you want your character to have.

    I could see having 'standard' 1st level PCs (as if out of 'school'). It would be nice to see variations after that. A fighter that adventures with a thief long enough could pick up some tricks w/o abandoning their fighter roots!