If you had a choice, Original Dungeons & Dragons (plus or minus the supplement) or Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which would you play? 

In recent posts we’ve discuss the merits and flaws of Original D&D [Here’s Part 1Part 2, and Part 3 ].

After reading through OD&D and its supplements, I surmised: Since so many of the rules make the game like AD&D, why don’t I just run that? 

Well, there’s a lot of reasons, mainly because of how the rules are organized.

Now here’s my caveat before I continue: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a decent system. It’s how I got into the hobby. I can run it, and I have run it, and I understand it (1 minute combat rounds, segments, and all). This post isn’t intended to bash the system.

If I run the game with like-minded players, I have no doubt in my mind the game would run fairly smoothly.

The downside comes with trying to attract players who are more familiar with later editions of the game (which are pretty much most of my friends and acquaintances).

Such a player opening AD&D Players Handbook might rise a brow and say: “Hey? Where’s the rules for combat? What about saving throws?”

(Or ask the dreaded question: “Can my character have psionics?”)

A few years ago, when I ran AD&D for a group of these newer players, one player (a great gamer in her own right), lamented: “I have no idea what’s going on with these rules!”

Players these days want something tangible to study. Having most of the important rules  in a Dungeon Master’s Guide won’t work, at least, not well. I remember one session when multiple characters had to level up and there was only one AD&D DMG available for players to adjust their combat statics (this was before the official pdfs were available, and I didn’t allow players use computers at the tabletop, still don’t).

Possible solutions? 

First, there’s the Old School Reference and Index Compilation available for download.

Second, perhaps players can learn AD&D how I learned AD&D: in small steps.

I had access only to the AD&D Players Handbook.  My brother who introduced me to the game, forbade me from peeking that Dungeon Masters Guide.

He told me: “Don’t worry so much about the rules, just tell me what you want your character to do, and I’ll tell you what happens.”

There’s a lot of wisdom in that.

Perhaps, even now, I’m putting too much emphasis on the rules.