2e

druid equipment

I preferred 1e druids over 2e, when they were a distinct subclass like paladin, rather than shoved into a cleric with a nature focus.  Oddly, though, some of the characteristics that were carried over intact remained opaque and arbitrary.  One of these is the equipment restrictions. 1e simply states that they have “an inability to wear protective armor of metal” (1e PH, p. 21).  Their weapons, without any explanation, are limited to “club, dagger, dart, hammer, scimitar, sling, spear, staff”.  For 2e, they tried a little harder to justify these same restrictions by stating explicitly a druid can only use “natural” armors, with weapons still unexplained (2e PH, p. 35).

I don’t see how iron is any different in “naturalness” than leather.  The distinction they seem to want to make is “organic” or “biological”, so let’s treat that as the reason.  Either way, it still shines no light on why this would apply to armor, when weapons like scimitars still violate the rule.  This is another example of trying to retrofit a somewhat rational design scheme onto a hodge-podge of peremptory rules:  It is incomplete, inconsistent, and unsatisfactory.

chargen

(from Character doc)

Anyone familiar with the original PnP will know how difficult it is to roll an 18.

.               % chance
score          on 3d6
3                    0.42
4                    1.25
5                    2.50
6                    4.17
7                     6.25
8                    8.75
9                     11.7
10                    15.0
11                    15.0
12                    11.7
13                    8.75
14                    6.25
15                    4.17
16                    2.50
17                     1.25
18                    0.42

That’s right:  a less than one half of one percent chance of getting an 18 (less than once per 200 rolls), and a less than 10% chance of getting a 15 or higher.  It is more than 50% likely that a roll will fall into the average range of 9-12.

As you can see, 18’s were monumentally difficult to achieve.  Most of the alternative rolling methods dealt with how to assign them to the attributes, as much as slightly raising the average.  You could also raise one attribute by one by lowering another by two — once.  This was when you rolled before choosing a class and not the other way around as in BG2, making being a paladin or druid or ranger much less likely and way more awesome.  The net result is that no one ever had more than one 18 if any, and having more than two stats higher than 14 was exceedingly rare.  Imoen’s stats (18 17 16 16 11 9) are absolutely godlike and should be treated as virtually cheating.  Multiple 18’s and the rest as 10’s should be disallowed, as should any stat below 6.  There’s no way to do this with BG2’s character generator, which makes any other workaround an automatic fail since re-generating Charname in Candlekeep/CI via scripts and dialogs would be cumbersome and clumsy.

Most (combat) grunt NPCs should have their primary class attribute in the 13-15 range with “bosses” 16 or higher.  Only unique or rightfully powerful NPCs should have 17 or higher or multiple attributes over 14.  Non-class attributes should be 12 or less.  The sheer number of fodder NPCs that routinely have 18’s is ridiculous.

One thing missing entirely from BG2 are class level limits for nonhumans.  Even 2e held this concept over as a way to balance power and justify a human-centric milieu.  Even though BG2’s setting, The Forgotten Realms, was born of that era, it is understandable a game that would see human characters attaining level 19 and upwards would not want to keep nonhumans in the 8 to 16 range.  Had they done so, multiclassing would have gone from optional to required just to maintain viability.  The glaring problem is, of course, that any class available to a nonhuman is going to automatically be more powerful played by a nonhuman, i.e. outside of class availability restrictions, there is a tremendous disadvantage to being human.  While I can’t easily — and don’t want to, anyway — impose level limits on nonhumans, I will be giving humans in non-exclusive classes some advantages

such hope dashed

Remember this?

convman1

It was the conversion booklet put out by WotC for the changeover from 2e to 3e.  Just skimming through it, I knew it was not the direction I was interested in.  Whereas 2e was definitely more structured than 1e, it also felt soulless as it was obviously trying to compensate for uncreative DMs, leaving no room for innovation by the players or DMs.  Instead, 3e just broke things down even more, getting rid of race/class restrictions, making weapon groups available to any class, butchering thieves to spread their skills to all, etc.  Toss in that Neverwinter Nights was boring as hell, it’s no wonder I got into modding BG.