Did 2E TRULY change the archetypes?

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Any topics concerning TSR's 2nd edition Dungeons & Dragons.

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Did 2E TRULY change the archetypes?

Postby Halaster-Blackcloak » Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:19 pm

Over the years I've heard a lot of complaints (mainly from strict 1E fans) that 2E changed the archetypes of some classes. For example, the ranger and druid becoming tree-huggers, etc. But somehow I'm not seeing where that complaint comes from. I don't see that being true.

The 1E PHB says (concerning druids):

"They are the only absolute neutrals (see ALIGNMENT), viewing good and evil, law and chaos, as balancing forces of nature which are necessary for the continuation of all things."

"As priests of nature..."

"It will be noted that the spells usable by druids are more attuned to nature and the outdoors than are the spells of other clerics or magic-users."

"They have an obligation to protect trees and wild plants, crops and to a lesser extent , their human followers and animals. Thus, druids will never destroy woodlands or crops no matter what the circumstances."

"In similar fashion, they avoid slaying wild animals or even domestic ones except as necessary for self-preservation and sustenance."


- 1E PHB, pgs. 20-21

How is that any less a "tree hugger" than the 2E description of druids:

"The druid is a priest of nature and guardian of the wilderness, be it forest, plains, or jungle."

- 2E PHB, pg. 35

To me, the 2E description is nothing other than a brief summary of what was written in 1E. It doesn't change druids one bit, as far as I can see (flavor/archetype wise). Sure, the spells are different because the spellcasting system is changed a bit (with the druid being a sub-class of priests). But that certainly doesn't make the 2E druid any more a "tree hugger" than the 1E druid.
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Likewise the ranger...

"Rangers are a sub-class of fighter who are adept at woodcraft, tracking, scouting and infiltration and spying."

- 1E PHB, pg. 24

"The ranger is a hunter and woodsman who lives not only by his sword but also hit wits. The abilities of a ranger make him particularly good at tracking, woodcraft and spying."

- 2E PHB, pg. 28

Good at tracking, woodcraft and spying. Both editions.

So how are people seeing a change? Sure, the mechanics changed somewhat. Rangers are a subclass of fighter, but they were that (to some extent) back in 1E. It was just codified and simplified in 2E. Some of the mechanics (hit points, etc) changed. They didn't get magic user spells, but they still got spell use. How does that truly change the archetype? I can play a strictly 2E ranger the same way I could play a strictly 1E ranger, aside from a few mechanical changes. How does that change the archetype?

Even with wizards, the archetype didn't really change in 2E. Sure, in 1E there were only magic-users (generalists) or illusionists. When 2E introduced the idea of wizards being able to specialize in particular schools of magic (including illusions), that really didn't change the archetype. I have to admit, I never cared all that much for specialist wizards. After all, an 1E wizard could simply pick mainly conjuring spells (if he wanted to be a conjurer) or alteration spells (if he wanted to be an alterationist). There were no bonuses, opposing schools, etc. But is that really needed, as introduced in 2E? I sorta did prefer the 1E method, where illusionists were a very different sort of class from magic users. But still, how did 2E change the archetype of wizards overall? Not at all!

Priests became specific to each god. Which is as it should be. Yes, the 1E cleric was mainly the archetype of a Judeo-Christian cleric. But that never did make a lot of sense in a game where there are pantheons of gods of differing alignments, goals, areas of interest, etc. In a more realistic medieval game, the 1E cleric would make more sense (using just real world religions). But did 2E actually change the archetype? No. Clerics are still holy warriors, wandering priests of the church.

Thieves are still thieves.

Assassins were removed simply because of alignment/image issues. Not sure there's even an argument there. Just put them back in. In either case, the archetype isn't really changed, outside of the politically correct apologetic bullshit. :roll:

So really, where is all this archetype change nonsense I keep hearing about? :?
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