OK, here we go. I suppose I should have been expected to back this up a
bit more. Well, here we go. In the spirit of free speach and two gamers
disscusing diferent viewpoints, I present my defense...

- ----------
> From: verruchter@menagerie.net
> To: birthright@MPGN.COM
> Subject: Re: [BIRTHRIGHT] - Dea 1
> Date: Friday, April 11, 1997 8:30 AM
> IM> The last games they owned they made better (Ars Magics and
> >I believe). They were just making too much $$$ on Magic and having
> >much fun doing it.
> Yes but seriously, WHO was buying these products? I don't know a
> single person that bought them before or after the buyout.

[this part is reposted form another artical here on the BR list]-->
Strange....I work at a hobby store right now. In the last 3 months we
have sold exactly 6 things from TSR (which is about all we really
carry....too bad IMO. I like variety).
I know of at least 8 people who played Ars Magica....and at least 11
people who play Talislanta. Admittadly, the Ars Magica guys have put it on
hold as they are doing 'life stuff'; but the Talislanta troupe still play
it every now and then (they tend to switch games a lot----I am one of
them). >I think it would have been better if it was for 1st edition
> >(or Basic D&D). I am a devout 1st ed'er and 'dislike intensly' 2nd
> >edition.
> >Obviously, 2nd ed 'extras' (non- PHB, DMG, MM) were all nails in the
> >coffin, so to speak. Now, 2nd ed does have some great stuff
> >system comes to mind, organizing, and....hmmm. Nope. Thats it.).
> What? 1st Edition s*cks in comparison to 2nd Edition and I'll tell you
> why.

***I am assuming use of all official 1st ed 'rules books' vs. all 2nd ed
'rule books'). That means I will include UA, WSG and DSG for 1st ed., ;
and all the 'Handbooks' for 2nd.***

> Fighters: 1st Edition; Fighters began with no specialization and were
> pretty bland initially. Then when specialization
> came out in Unburped Arcana it was way out of
> hand with the potential to "super specialize"
> having a +3, +3 bonus with a weapon.
> 2nd Edition; Fighters now begin with a +1, +2 specialization
> bonus and have their attack rate raised. I truly
> think this has given the fighter his due and I
> for one have witnessed a dramatic decrease in
> min/maxing and players trying to cheat on their
> percentile strength rolls.

Lets analyze a bit...
1st Edition:
Fighter is double specialized. That gives him, at best, 2 attacks a
round with his, say, long sword. He gets +3/+3. That means, at beast, he
can dish out a max of ([12+3=15]*2atacks = ) 30 points of damage vs. large
creature with
+3 total to hit..
2nd Edition:
Fighter specializes, takes Ambidexterity and two weapon style and the
Berserker kit. That gives him, at best, 3 attacks a round. Damage is
51 points of damage vs. large creature with +2 to hit.
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm..................(As a side note, I would like to point out
that in 2nd ed, a fighter can specialize in multiple weapons.)

> Paladins: No real change

Depends. Uf you use the US Paladin (which i don't use it 'as is'; I have
modified it to make more sense), there is a lot of difference. I also
think Pro. fr Evil works differently in 2nd edition.

> Rangers: 1st Edition; You think 2nd Edition has munchkin rules but
> approve of a Ranger having 2-16 hit points at
> first level? Now thats a munchkin rule if I ever
> saw one.

I don't think 16 hp at level one is that bad. It is, admitedly, a lot,
but it doesn't 'unbalance' the class. And for a bit extra, the Barbarian
can have 20! THAT is a LOT of hp (mind you, they have HUGE drawbacks and
need about 6000xp to get to level 2, 12000 for lvl3,...). But, then
again, just look at some of the 'kits' in the various handbooks of 2nd

> Not to mention the +1 to damage/level
> a ranger gets against giants. I think
> realistically any giant in 1st Edition that sees
> a ranger would be wise to run screaming in the
> other direction.

Agreed. This is too much. +1dmg/3 levels or something like that would be

> 2nd Edition; Here the ranger can fight with two weapons with
> no penalty (which they took from Drizzt Do'
> Urden of course).

THAT is a Munchkin Rule.

> Has good relations with
> wildlife and can choose a bonus to hit against
> a specific monster type. Much more toned down
> and not as prone to Munchkinism.

Didn't you just mention Drizz't? ...'nuff said.

> Also replacing
> the surprise rules with Hide in Shadows/ Move
> Silently. My gaming group is much more
> comfortable with this.

I like the surprise thing. It incorporates the 2 thief abilities into one
overall game mechanic (surprise). But, I like the 2nd edition way too.

> Wizards: 1st Edition; No real problems with the 1st Edition
> Magic-user.
> 2nd Edition; Added the Specialists (Which makes a whole lot
> of sense to me). Cleaned up the spell
> descriptions. But I will give you this, the
> stone skin spell gets a little out of hand.

I like and hate the 2nd ed thing with specialist wizards. I think it was
a good idea, but they did it wrong. A Necromancer should be a NECROMANCER;
not a 'wizard who knows a lot about necromantic spells'. All of the
'specialist wizards' should have been classes, IMHO. (Players Option:
Spells & Magic sort of does this). Picture: 2nd Ed:two buck nakid'
wizards. Both cast Spectral Hand. Which one is the necromancer?

> Priests: 1st Edition; Again unrealistically limiting. I mean a cleric
> of Odin choosing a mace over a spear? Get real.
> Its just plain silly in my opinion for clerics
> of all pantheons having the same powers.
> Thats like saying Hindu's and Christians would
> have the same powers. Can't see a Hindu wielding
> a morning star and wearing Plate armor, sorry.
> 2nd Edition; Priests are more limited in "spheres of
> influence" but gain granted powers. I see this
> as adding much more diversity in the priest
> class. Not to mention they aren't limited to
> blunt weapons. Also they still let you play the
> generic cleric if you want.

Given. Clerics, as they are in the PHB, are pretty plain and boring and
don't make too much sense. You have to get into 'customizing' them as a DM
(ie requiering clerics of Odin to use spears, for example).

> Theives 1st Edition; I really hated that table with the thieving
> abilities on it. I have always seen thieves as
> having versatile personalities like merchants
> and locksmiths but 1st Edition didn't support
> this.
> 2nd Edition; Now with 2nd Edition you can be a specialist
> in picking locks OR picking pockets. You no
> longer have to rely on the type of race you
> play.

Gennerally, I like the 2nd ed way of 'allocation'. But, with the 30
points they give you per level, a thief sucks. While all the other 9th
level characters are turning Lich's, Conjuring Elementals, building armies,
etc., the thief is trying to sneak into a townhouse with a move silently
score of about 40%. Ick.

> * A quick word about the Assassin. Isn't the
> backstab ability enough? Do we really need a
> class that can automatically kill characters?*

Yes, you need the 'auto kill'. That makes it an assassin instead of a
fighter who just decided to one day kill people for money (ie, become a
murderer). When you hear about black-ops militarty guys...are they just
fighters who decided to kill people for a certain cause? Or are they
specially trained in how to best kill someone? In my opinion, there are no
'assassins' in 2nd ed. An assassin in like a cleric, or a magic-user, or
any other class; the person has been trained his/her whole life on the
covert trade of killing and spying (mostly the former).

> Bards 1st Edition; The original munchkin rule in my opinion. I've
> heard tales of people rising to 1st Edition Bard
> and then becoming mages. Now thats being a
> munchkin!
> 2nd Edition; Thank god they turned the Bard into an
> entertainer/wise man instead of an overblown
> Fighter/Thief/Druid.

Bards are fairly tough in 1st edition; but man-o-man are they nigh
impossible to qualify for! S15, I12, W15, D15, Cn10, Ch15. Then, in order
to become a full-fledged bard, you need to advance to between 5-7 as
fighter; then 5-8 as thief; then you are a 1st level bard. (at that time,
everyone else is about 10th+ level). I don't mind it, but we use the Bard
from the gold 'Best of Dragon' (vol 5 I think).

> Initiative The only thing you like about 2nd Edition, the
> only thing I hate. It takes sooooo long.

Never had that problem. Hmm.

> Nails in the Coffin; Yes and no. If they would have just left well
> enough alone without coming out with new covers
> and the New Options books I think things would
> have been ok. Of course by the time 1st Edition
> came around, those of us with the Basic AD&D set
> were already tired of buying new books anyway.
> If they had just continued to print 1st and 2nd
> Edition (giving both supporters a choice) they
> have been much better off. But to be honest, if
> 2nd Edition had never come out, I wouldn't have
> it.

Yes. They should have kept printing 1st and 2nd. They might not have gone
under (they would have kept virtually ALL of their customers----the old and
the new). As an aside, I have seen about 50% of the people I know who play
2nd edition switch to 1st (even the ones who *started* with 2nd!)....I
suspect this is a common thing....maybe a reason TSR's income decreased...
> > And I really do like Birthright (and the concept behind Dark
> (Continued to next message)

(Sorry this is taking up so much space. After this public reply, I will
take it to private email if verruchter wants to debate---or pass