Resources for TSR's legacy AD&D
I spent many years playing TSR games. AD&D was the first RPG I ever played and the second one I ran as a Dungeon Master/Game Master/Storyteller.
I'll be honest, I never have liked the D&D 3 or later. I liked THAC0. It was fast and easy and kept us from even considering creating crazy armor bonuses to deal with monsters. It worked okay for the computer game, Neverwinter Nights, but any basic mechanics could have been put in place and that game would have rocked.
Now, for the youngsters...there was Dungeons & Dragons before D&D 3.0 and D20 did not mean TSR/Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro's copyrighted set of mechanics. It referred to the basic dice pool. Otherwise, Palladium Books would have been sued out of business before they got started.
My first RPG where I ran a game was TMNT from Palladium Systems. I graduated to their other game lines, including Rifts. Rifts was an awesome concept. Personally, I did not care for the mechanics. Too many numbers. And battles took forever for any Palladium game.
I bought the classic, "Basic" box set D&D and the "Masters" box set. Unfortunately, many of my games tended to follow the template of the Dungeon included in the Basic set. It took me years to shake that from my practice.
A couple of years later, I got into AD&D, which boasted some significant improvements. Yes, it was Second Edition. I also had some First Edition books and blended the two (common practice at the time) and borrowed a few monsters from the Masters D&D box set (such as the Athatch and Nucklavee). I built my own game world and started tuning the players into more of a focused purpose. My last few games, after I'd revised vampires to be something fearsome, I had the players hunting nests of the Undead. I'd abandoned gold=xp and switched to more of a "role-play and actions and monsters killed = xp" approach.
A friend of mine talked me into trying Whitewolf Studios "Vampire: The Masquerade." After playing his games for several months, I began buying game books and started on my own "Alternate History" world to build out my own games from. I prefer the classic, "Vampire: The Masquerade" from the Old World of Darkness, as well as the rest of the OWoD systems. I even liked the D10 system of "Aberrant" -- White Wolf's superhero game. I did not care for the trend I saw, nor the writings of one of the big-wig editors...the company had transformed from a "do it your way" to a "yeah, we said do it your way, but if you do it this way, you suck." I disliked their reboot of the World of Darkness immensely. The OWoD was not perfect, but it had lots going for it.
One of my problems with most RPGs is that the characters have levels, a holdover from the wargaming era. And with these levels, the character gets increased hit-points. Why should some veteran be able to take unnatural amounts of damage just because he's a vet? In real life, anybody can die by a single gunshot wound to the right location. White Wolf solved this by having "health levels" that were standard and static, only modified if the character was extra large or extra small. And even then, never increased simply due to experience.
The Old World of Darkness mechanics were also simple to implement. Realistic enough to seem decent but simple enough to not spend all night in combat. A few things required in-house tweaks, but what game doesn't?
Anyways, I'll add more stuff to this page as time permits.