I grew up playing 2E, and lately have grown nostalgic for it. Sadly, I sold off my early-run books in college. I know that there was a set of "revised" core books, and that they have much less exciting art on their covers. What else changed?

Although some people have referred to that run as "edition 2.5," I found a web page about 2E revised that indicates that the changes are minor -- but that there's a huge increase in page count. Is it just layout changes?

The other way to ask this question is: if I am nostalgic for 2E, will I be stymied by changes found in the revised books?


2 Answers 2


No rules changed in that run.

The only things changed were trade dress, layout (and therefore pagination), artwork, (the interior artwork is just as bad as the covers), and possibly some trivial copyediting of language that didn't affect the rules, though I never actually noticed any text changes.

There is a grain of truth to the "edition 2.5" though: that trade dress was introduced to reboot the AD&D 2nd Edition line, which included the new Player's Option line of books and other non-core rules options such as a variety of spell point systems, alternate skill systems, class customisations, rules specific to high-level campaigns, and other rules that offered much more complexity and choice for groups. The Player's Option and related books in the line reboot are now often collectively referred to as "AD&D 2.5".

You can buy the revised-trade-dress core books without worrying about changes. However (and this is what I did when I wanted to re-acquire my 2e stuff) the core books are very reasonably priced and in good table condition from many of the second-hand sellers in this question's answers. I got mine on eBay for little more than their original cover price. I always hated the changed look and altered page numbers (and good gods, the horror that is a sans-serif body font!), and you might have similar pangs of regret if you pick up the black-bordered books. Otherwise, the revised books will serve you well while you revisit 2nd Edition!

  • \$\begingroup\$ I really don't like the new cover art, and now that you mention it, I do still remember the page number or quite a few important tables... \$\endgroup\$
    – rjbs
    Mar 30, 2011 at 0:53

The revised rulebooks make no intentional changes, per se, but merely are a relayout and errata-applied version. Some minor addenda changes were thus folded in. A few tables, most notably the Weapon Type vs Armor table, were laid out differently to make their use more clear. A few spells are worded differently.

2.5E refers not to the revised 2E rulebooks (which are, at best, 2.0.1), but to the combination of 2E core plus the Player's Option series.

The addition of the player's option series allowed hybrid Class&level and Point Build, multiple levels of specialization, alternate class abilities, alternate race abilities, disadvantages. If packaged as a whole game, rather than supplements, it would readily have been accepted as "3rd Edition"....

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ It would have been third edition, yeah, I'm not sure how readily accepted it would have been though. It had some good ideas, but I don't think it ever underwent any playtesting. \$\endgroup\$
    – migo
    Apr 1, 2011 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @migo it was playtested - and sold - as a supplement. It worked rather well... aside from 12 stats instead of 6, and increasing character gen to a multiple hour task... \$\endgroup\$
    – aramis
    Apr 6, 2013 at 0:46

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