I wanted to throw this out there to see what folks did or did not do back when 2E was introduced and they removed monks, assassins, psionics and half-orcs.
Personally I play a mish mash of 1E and 2E, basically all the original races and classes of 1E but with 2E level limits, 2E bard since it was a bit more streamlined, 2E spells, etc. I don't see any real conflicts between the two editions other than the removal of a few things from 1E to 2E.
We simply continued to use Assassins, Monks, and half-orcs. None of us really liked any of the 2E Monk treatments that eventually became available, and the Assassin kit was a big yawner in our opinion too. We tried them out to be sure, but the desired flavor just wasn't there. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
Yes, we moved to the Dragon 53 Monk, although I do remember a player wanting to play the 1st edition "pure" monk for the challenge. The assassin kit was a bit "meh" and wasn't inspired. Some of the other kits we took on as classes. I liked the kit system, I thought it was a clean, simple extension of 1E rules that worked. There were a few kits that I didn't allow (can't remember exactly which, but I still use UA for classes so a barbarian "kit" doesn't really exist).
As for my own 2 cents, I also play a mixture of 1e/2e hybrid, with more towards the latter than the former (with the exception of the DMG...I find myself constantly using the 1e text instead of the 2e version, primarily the XP tables and random encounters).
However, in saying that, I never removed half-orcs from play. Ever. I saw them as a completely viable race and used them as I saw fit.
As for monks, I admit that I rarely used them. I know some people absolutely loved them (I believe Masterarminas is one such personage), but I had a hard time accepting them into an European/Occidental setting when they seemed to fit more into the Oriental/Eastern setting. Nevertheless, I made some half-hearted stabs at infusing the odd monk or two into a campaign, primarily when they were part of a module. One was mentioned as a low level 'villain' in The Village of Hommlet, and another was noted, as a slave, in one of the Slavers modules, not to mention two of the Slave Lords themselves! I have a mixed feeling with monks, not completely resolved in my own mind, but am leaning to the 1e variation that was resurrected in the module, The Scarlet Brotherhood. I am doing my utmost to overcome my reluctance to the introducing the class in a European-style setting.
I barely missed the removal of the assassin from the list given that I have all (?) of the Complete Guides and the assassin kit was listed therein. I have no compunction in using them as a thief kit. There is also an assassin kit mentioned in The Scarlet Brotherhood book, too.
As for psionicists...they are my ultimate Achilles' heel. I have NEVER used one as a PC, or NPC. I guess mind powers to me are as alien to a medieval setting as travel through space on ships powered by magic (I never liked the idea of Spelljammer, though I know some will find this idea anathema). Nevertheless, with some monsters like the aboleth and mind flayer, psionics are a 'necessary evil' in my mind (pun intended), and I am softening to the notion of tossing in a psionicist these days than I would've earlier. In fact, I find myself dabbling with the idea of adding one in a campaign plot even now...
p.s. I gotta check out this Dragon Magazine 53 article you all are taking about with regard to the monk...
I for one always tweaked with the monk class unless we where in an oriental type setting though I used different monk styles for the rare player that wanted to play a monk based on the location the monk resided from. I used the kits though tweaked it a little to match in line with the 1e assassin class.
I call psionicists, psychics and I think they fit well in the baklunish lands. Though one must remember a psychic draws upon their psyche which is a manifestation of one mind, body, and soul. Like clairsentient powers more of a second sense and more likely draws more from one's soul then their mind, while metabolic abilities draw more from one's body then their soul or mind. Not that all are not included however kinetic powers draw on mind dominating matter and channeling the soul into forms of energy, telepathy focuses on a strong mind focused skill. Choporative draws heavily on ones soul and body.
I don't like how 3rd edition treated many of the powers and prefer green ronins IMO 2e meets 3e take. Though it needs fixing, something I am working on 2e rules need some help. Try Mayfair games they had a pretty workable 2e psychic. Though not sure you can find it any where now as I think thats when TSR went broke buying out clones of their game setting rules.
Psionics are part of the game that can have quite a fantasy and dare I say medieval feel if handled appropriately.
Yes, going back to when 2e first came out, I gasped and went "noooooooooooo" until the shop owner told me to shut up. However, after reading 2e Players Handbook, I just took everything from 1e and moved it to 2e. Even my players were fine with that. Half-orcs had to stay, they're everywhere so why they suddenly took them out was a poor decision in my mind (and to think later they thought dragonborn? or eladrin or that nonsense was a good idea - those were reasons I stayed in 1e/2e).
Monks are such an interesting decision. When you read 1e PHB they sound amazing if they can survive but obviously they are drawn from Asian history, at least moreso than from Occidental! In any case, I've never had many PCs that were monks, usually because their survival at the lowest levels is pretty dicey. Those that did either played the "visitor from some far away land nobody ever heard of" which worked great in many ways, the PC had somehow ended up there when they were child and now were back or they were from the Baklunish area.
I use Oriental Adventures too for these classes (instead of their kit equivalent) so if folks want to do that, that's fine. The roleplaying challenges are attractive to some.
Psionicists, ah yes, I've always loved them. Had a few NPCs but never a player go down the path of this discipline. I've always treated the actual abilities themselves as "unique spells" but it's all in the presentation of how it's used. Instead of "the wizard makes a few quick gestures uttering words of power as the <component> disappears in a puff of smoke a <awesome spell effect> occurs". For the psionicist, if using say Body Weaponry at a high level I would say "you see this person's eyes glow silver as if some energy were building inside them, it engulfs their form with what appears to be a sword of energy building around their arm! you've never heard of let alone seen something like this!" Again though, since I've never had a PC choose this I've never really used it heavily from a mechanical perspective. Definitely a class for someone who really wants to do something different.
I kept assassins, I really disliked the notion that "anyone can be an assassin". No, they can't. It does take practice, skill and a serious lack of empathy to do that. Just because someone puts poison in another's drink and kills them, it does not make them an assassin. I kept them and still do but I rarely have them because of alignment issues, i.e. evil and good characters are not going to actively work together except in the most unusual of circumstances. While one could argue that it could be possible to have a NG Assassin running around, I find that their class would be repugnant to other classes other than thieves or assassins.
I felt 2e's biggest improvement was the notion of Priests and spheres. I was initially very resistant to it upon first reading but it really opened up the class and made sense but that is for another thread.
Elliva, you are very welcome. Just passing along good fellowship as was done to me by several other posters when I stopped 'lurking' last summer...and they know who they are (thanks again)!
At any rate, I like how you describe psionic powers. I am sure I will overcome my reluctance soon (I have an idea for such an NPC and just need to pull the proverbial trigger).
Monks. (sigh) Yeah, I completely agree about their low survival rate (mages are the worst on this) at low levels. There were some aspects of the rules I just never liked or agreed with, starting with the initial (?) disregard of an AC bonus due to high Dex. I immediately broke that ruling and permitted it. I think one can do justice to an "Oriental" style monk with the Bakluni (Xan Yae) but can also try to justify some Occidental aspects. I added a posting called "Monks" you should peruse, as it garnered many responses. Check it out.
I loved the idea of Spheres for priests. Go ahead and create your post, and I will reply!
I used the Oriental Adventures monks, and was a bit disappointed when they didn't translate OA to 2nd ed. I think some modules came out in 2nd ed towards the end, but the system stayed 1st. Anyway, it was easy to just keep them. Besides, the martial arts system was quite good.
I also liked how they treated the Ninja, except that I decided to create my own style based on an amalgam between OA and the Complete Ninja Guidbook. I wanted them to be a true class, not the way they did in in OA; however, they stripped away some good abilities and IMHO didn't give them enough other ones, so I tweeked things. Anyway, it was fine, since I really didn't use many anyway. They were always just NPCs, and never actually seen! :)
2nd ed just was trying to put up a good public front, taking things that the "public" might consider objectionable. That was the main reason the Assassin and Half-Orc disappeared, along with things like renaming demons and devils. Whatever! But the system was basically the same. Thaco really wasn't new; it was simply a streamlined way of looking at the old 1st ed charts. Proficiencies were a nice touch, and I've expanded them since to be a bit more like 3rd ed, where they really came into their own. All the little changes didn't amount to much more than painting your house another color; everything inside it was still there, still the same.
I'm now using a modified version of both Monks and Ninjas IMC, almost all on an NPC level so it's not really a huge deal anyway. However, the party REALLY gets frustrated with OA style monks, and that's what it's about. Having fun, giving them a challenge, and making things memorable. I think bringing in an UA barbarian would be a nice touch. I have a player that would probably like that. That's the good thing about being a DM; you get to do what you want! :)
I almost forgot, there was a cool Assassin ability built right into 2nd ed. This was the Shadow kit in the Complete Book of Humanoids.
When attacking with surprise,
a shadow kills the victim if a hit is scored
and the victim fails a saving throw vs. death;
provided the victim has hit dice less than or
equal to the shadow's. Otherwise, damage
equal to a backstab is inflicted.
That's actually quite simple, almost elegant in its simplicity. At times I have used this for the basis of an assassin kit, just adding it to the Assassin kit in the Thief's Handbook. I also make one addition, the save vs. death is modified +/- 1/level difference between the assassin and the target. So, a 10th level assassin tries to kill a 5th level target, that target saves at -5. If a 5th level assassin tries to kill a 10th level target, the target saves at +5.
When you then add the backstabbing and use of poisons, assassins are no joke. Throw in good proficiencies, and they are once again something to be feared.
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