Foreword to the 2nd Edition

It has been a long time getting here. I don't mean the months, perhaps even years, you may have waited for a revised, expanded, and improved edition of the AD&D game. I mean the long time it has taken me to reach this point, the writing of the foreword. Forewords are written last, so that you can summarize your feelings and experiences about the book you have written.

It's not accurate to say this is a book that I alone have written. First off, there are a lot of other names listed in the credits. They, especially the editors, contributed time and talents that I don't have. Improving the organization and readability was one of the reasons we started this project in the first place. These are tasks that can't be done without talented editors who play and care about the game. If you discover that it's easier to find rules during your gaming sessions and that everything seems to make more sense, thank the editors.

Even with the editors, this is not our work alone. None of this would ever have come into being without interested and involved players. The people who really decided what needed to be done for the AD&D 2nd Edition game are the players who mailed in questions, everyone who wrote an article for DRAGONŽ Magazine, and everyone who button-holed me (or other designers) at conventions. These were the people who decided what needed to be done, what needed fixing, what was unclear, and what they just didn't like. I didn't sit in a vacuum and make these decisions. As the designer and developer, I had to make the final choice, but those choices were based on your input. And your input is the most valuable asset we have going.

So how do I feel? Excited, exhausted, relieved, and nervous -- all at once. It's a great bag of emotions. I'm excited to see this book come out. I've spent more time on this than I have on any other single work I've done. That leads to exhaustion. The AD&D 2nd Edition game has demanded and received hours upon months of attention. Now that it is finally coming out, the feeling of relief is beginning to set in. There were times when the task looked impossible, when it seemed it would never end, or when everything was going wrong. Only now, when it's in the final stages of polishing, am I beginning to realize that it is really done. And of course there is the nervousness. The AD&D game is the granddaddy of all role-playing games. You've made it perfectly clear that you liked the original edition of the AD&D game, even with all its warts. I liked (and still like) it. So, now with the arrival of AD&D 2nd Edition, of course I'm nervous.

None of this comes as any surprise. I volunteered to prepare this Edition because I wanted to do something for the game I liked. The ten years of experience I've had in game design has shown me what works and what doesn't and sometimes even why. At the very start, we outlined the goals: to make it easier to find things, to make the rules easier to understand, to fix the things that did not work, to add the best new ideas from the expansions and other sources, and, most important of all, to make sure the game was still the one you knew and enjoyed. Of them all, the last was the hardest and most demanding, conflicting as it did with my basic desire to design things. Fortunately, things didn't rest on me alone. Lots of eager eyes, from those of fellow designers to those of enthusiastic playtesters, minutely examined this book and restrained me from overzealousness. It hasn't always been easy to walk the fine line between "not enough" and "too much."

In the past two years, I've talked to interested players many times, hearing their concerns and sharing my ideas. It was at the end of one of these talks (at a convention in Missoula, Montana), just as I described some rules change, that one of the listeners smiled and said, "You know, we've been doing that for years." And that is what AD&D 2nd Edition is all about--collecting and organizing all those things that we, as players, have been doing for years.

David "Zeb" Cook

January, 1989

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