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Personal History with D&D
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2023 10:33 pm    Post subject: Personal History with D&D Reply with quote

I expect that almost all middle aged gamers have played "D&D" at some point in their lives, but there are a lot of different D&Ds. Which versions did you play? What's your history with the game?

This is my personal history with the many editions of D&D, which for me started over 40 years ago. Below, the years listed for each edition are the year(s) the core rules were first published for that edition. I include select images.


OD&D (1974+)

I'm pretty sure I've never even seen TSR's original Dungeons & Dragons game, and I have little interest in it now. My understanding is that at first it required a couple other games to play, but was revised along to the way to be more self-sufficient. This original game evolved in two directions, to both the first Basic Set and the first Advanced D&D.


D&D Basic Set (Holmes, 1977)

This second edition of D&D came out before AD&D even started coming out. The outer box cover was the same art as below but in color, but I have no memory of the actual box. I've never owned this version but it was the first D&D I played. I fondly remember this "blue book," the first RPG rulebook I ever read for the first RPG I ever played...



In elementary school a good friend of mine was RJ, who was the same age as me but he was a genius with a college reading level (today he is a medical school professor). I went over to his apartment one 1981 morning, came across some D&D stuff and asked him about it. He explained roleplaying and I expressed interest in playing. He asked if some of our other friends might be interested and I said we should ask them.

He then explained the different options for player characters, and for Clerics he told me that the player must choose a god for the character to worship and the character receives powers in return. I was confused because I had never heard of polytheism, so he told me about ancient paganism. Something came over me and I suddenly told him I had to go. I ran home and sat down in front of my family's set of junior encyclopedias, spending the entire rest of the day reading everything in them about mythology (which only covered Greek, Norse, and Egyptian mythologies). It was the beginning of my love for mythology, which I still have over 40 years later.

The next day I went back to RJ's and told him I wanted to play a human Cleric. We soon got the other kids lined up and made characters. RJ ran the first RPG adventure I ever played in, B2 The Keep on the Borderlands. The Keep was our PC group's base of operations for the first few levels of the campaign.



The D&D Basic Set only covered character levels 1-3, but upon the completion of the AD&D core in 1979, it was expected that player groups playing this Basic game would eventually switch to AD&D.


AD&D ("1e", 1977-79)

The original AD&D is the third overall edition of D&D to be published. It still blows my mind that the three core books for this game (MM, PH, and DMG) came out so far apart (1977, 1978, and 1979, respectively) – No one could actually play AD&D as intended until 1979 when the DMG finally came out. (But this 3-book core for AD&D had already been complete before I was introduced to D&D.)

In addition to the first Basic Set, RJ also had early printings of the three AD&D core books (with the original covers). RJ knew AD&D would be harder for most 4th and 5th graders (even nerdy ones) with no experience in any D&D, so he had wisely started us on the Basic game. After our PCs reached 3rd level, he then converted our characters and campaign to AD&D and we continued the campaign with those rules. I remember that we played the adventure module series A1-4 (the "Slave Lords" campaign). I'm not sure what else.



RJ also had the first printing of Deities & Demigods (1980) which has H.P. Lovecraft's "Cthulhu Mythos" and Michael Moorcock's "Melnibonéan Mythos"; two sections removed from 1981 printings forward due to Chaosium holding the gaming publishing rights for those and TSR not wanting to have to cite a competitor in the credits (which they erroneously still did for a printing after the sections were removed). I was fascinated by this book.

There will be more on AD&D 1e below...


D&D BX (Moldvay, 1981)

This is the fourth overall edition of D&D. While the first Basic Set was somewhat compatible with AD&D, the game system of this new edition is further away from AD&D, making this a more distinctly separate version of the game compared to the three prior editions.



After our group had moved on to AD&D, Odin (in the guise of Santa) brought me the new D&D Basic Set for Christmas of 1981 which came with the (newly revised) B2 module I had just finished playing. I let RJ borrow the new Basic rulebook, which he of course completely read in one day. (I still have my original box set minus the original dice, but a kind online acquaintance in this century gifted me an authentic replacement set.)

I remember when D&D was officially banned from our elementary school (although I do not remember anyone taking it to school in the first place). On the day the banning was announced, some of us staged a 'protest' at the monkey bars at recess, chanting "We want D&D! We want D&D!" over and over again. Some teachers tried not to laugh while others were probably praying for our souls.

RJ's AD&D campaign went on until he moved out of state. At some point I acquired the BX Expert box set (1981) which used the same game system as the second basic set while extending play to 14th level, but I have no memory of actually using the BX version of the game until I also moved. All I have left from my BX Expert box set is the Expert Rulebook (which I store in my BX Basic box).



After I moved I befriended brothers around my age (Mike and Jason) who had some AD&D books. The three of us formed the core of a new RPG group where we each had PCs but took turns DMing the other players in a shared campaign world. Each DM mostly ran adventures he created, but we occasionally ran published ones. Other players such as their step brothers, my brother, and perhaps a couple neighborhood kids, played irregularly. I think my PC in this campaign was a multi-class half-elf fighter/magic-user/cleric.

The base game system for our D&D group was BX, but we did incorporate some rules from AD&D (half-elves and multi-classing are two things that required importing AD&D rules) and a few of our own house rules (thus making the system "BX+"). After we saw RotJ, Jason and I created a Star Wars RPG based on our homebrew D&D game system (none of us had heard of Traveller at that point). We called our homebrew Star Wars game "Stars & Wars" (I know, groan). I remember we added an ability score that basically amounted to Mechanical to handle piloting abilities. Jason and I took turns running adventures for it the summer of 1983 (alternating this with our D&D campaign), and I remember that Mike played a Wookiee. By the end of the summer our interest in it waned and "S&W" fizzled out. We had put a lot of work into creating the game, and I wish I still had it. (A retronym I jokingly devised in this century to define the game system of BX+ and S&W is "proto-d20.")

See the bottom of this post for spin-offs of BX.


AD&D ("1e" ...continued)

For Christmas of 1983, I received the three AD&D core books. The versions I got were the first reprints that have the new covers (and references to rape that Gygax wrote into the original DMG had been removed). Once I had my own copies we probably incorporated a bit more from them into our 'BX+" game, but how much I could not say now. I still have these three books.



In 1985 they reprinted Deities & Demigods as Legends & Lore, with new cover art featuring a beautiful painting of Odin, the king of the Norse gods (see below). It has some cool art and fluff inside too. I bought this book as soon as I could and it is still one of my most cherished books in my RPG collection, at least in the category of games I don't play.



Once the core PCs in our BX+ campaign had all reached 14th level, we ended the campaign. In 1986, I ran one more D&D adventure (probably just straight BX this time). This was an attempt to kick off a new campaign with all new 1st level PCs for some of the players from our group, but this time I was just going to be sole DM. It fizzled out. I did end up getting a few other AD&D products, such as Oriental Adventures (which I ended up using for inspiration for a Star Wars mini-campaign in 1989).

I was inspired by DC Comics' Crisis on Infinite Earths series to begin planning a new campaign, but this time it would use AD&D rules. I began creating an original campaign world with an elaborate "creation myth" describing a prior multiverse that experienced a outer planes apocalypse which killed off most of the deities in the Legends & Lore book. The few surviving gods from each pantheon went back to the dawn of time for an epic battle against evil, sacrificing themselves so that a new multiverse would be born. My new campaign would have a new pantheon of deities inspired by DC superheroes and villains. I created a map for the prime material universe campaign world and began detailing the world.

I was still actively planning this AD&D campaign in the Fall of 1987 when I showed up for a shift at my high school job and found the first two WEG Star Wars books. My SW movie fandom had been rekindled back in the Summer of 1987 when my friend Mark and I "trilogized" (watched the entire CT back-to-back in one sitting) which had lead me to save up to buy my own trilogy on VHS. Needless to say, I bought the two WEG books before my shift even started (at a 40% discount), looked at them when I could during my shift, and took them home that night to deep dive into them. Before I went to bed that night, I had decided to drop my D&D campaign and start planning a WEG Star Wars campaign.

Someone I gamed with, but I don't remember who, had the Fiend Folio, but I am sure I never had that book. At some point before the end of the century, I got rid of all my AD&D stuff except for the my 3-book core and L&L. In this century I added one special AD&D book to my collection. Back in the aughts, I came across a copy of the first printing of Deities & Demigods at Half-Price so bought it. It is in rougher condition than the rest of the books in my collection, but it was an affordable way to own the original version of the book with the Cthulhu gods, like RJ's copy that I had first read.


AD&D 2e (1989)

One of my three high school Star Wars groups at the time still played AD&D when I was running Star Wars for my other groups, and they were very excited about the 2nd Edition of AD&D. They wanted me to try it so I did play it and felt like it was an improvement. Star Wars is a skill-based system and I was pleased that they added them to D&D in the form of proficiencies. I got my own 2e PH and I played through a 2e campaign that got my character up to 10th level (I think). I remember one Spelljammer adventure along the way. That campaign ended in 1990 with a TPK in the Tomb of Horrors, a 1e module which the DM had adapted to 2e, but we were all going our separate ways off to college anyway. (I likewise wrapped up my SW 1e campaigns.)



In 1991, I befriended a DM in college who started a Ravenloft campaign I played in. In my second non-SW game where I played a character inspired by the Failed Jedi template (the first was a catholic priest in Cthulhu), I played a fallen paladin who eventually recovered his faith after being sucked into Ravenloft. The paladin might have died because I also remember playing a Bard in Ravenloft. (I went through a short vampire phase in college and I actually read the first Ravenloft novel.) During this time I remember owning a copy of the 2e DMG and a Monstrous Compendium binder (with a few monster packets), so I must have been planning on running AD&D 2e, but I never ended up doing that.

When Blue Vader came out in 1992, I started running WEG Star Wars 2e for my fraternity brothers in college and stopped playing AD&D 2e. I eventually sold all my AD&D 2e stuff, but sometime in this century I re-bought the 2e PH because in retrospect I realized AD&D 2e was the best version of D&D that I've played.

In recent years I picked up a copy of the 2e Planescapes supplement On Hallowed Ground because this fluff-oriented book provides more details about the deities of the pantheons and their worshipers than any D&D book of any edition (so I never got the 2e L&L book). And Planescapes seems to be similar to what I had envisioned the high level adventures of my abandoned 1e high school campaign would have been like, where the PCs travelled the planes of existence and were directly involved in the machinations of the gods. I had never heard of Planescapes at the time it came out because I didn't play any D&D in that era.


D&D "3e" (d20, 2000)

This is really the third edition of AD&D, but they just dropped the "Advanced" from the title. I think I had heard of Wizards of the Coast as the company that got the Star Wars RPG license after WEG at the same time of hearing they had bought TSR so were making another version of D&D.

In 2002, I visited my hometown with a friend and went to a hobby shop that wasn't there when I had lived there. They had a new 3e Deities & Demigods book (L&L had returned to this title for the first time since the early 80s version). I looked at it and it had cut out most of the pantheons of the 1e L&L to focus on the 'D&D pantheon' and only three of the real-world pantheons. But the three there are my three favorites (Greek, Egyptian, and Norse), and it also provided guidance for designing new religions for the game, which I thought might be helpful for my Star Wars campaigns. So I went ahead and bought it. I still have this book.

Later that year, I befriended a guy at work who had the same favorite band as me (Clutch). He was into roleplaying so I invited him to join my Star Wars campaign at the time, but he declined (he hadn't played much WEG SW and he hated TPM and AotC so had no interest in SW roleplaying). He invited me to join his D&D group which only met once or twice a month and was getting ready to start a new campaign. It had been 10 years since I had played any D&D, so I said what the hell. I went out and bought a 3e PH, which gave me a headache every time I tried to read it for long, so I asked if I could just play a human fighter (which I had hoped would would mean I would have to learn a minimum of rules). He was a fairly creative DM who made adventures interesting and I liked the other players in the group, but I had no love for the game system. That campaign ended in 2004.


D&D 3.5 (d20, 2003)

In 2004 I picked up Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons (2003) because I love a lot of the dragon art and thought it might be inspirational for making a humanoid dragon-like species for Star Wars. I still have it.



That year my DM decided to upgrade to 3.5 and run a new campaign set in Eberron. I traded in my 3e PH for a 3.5 PH (above), and also bought the Eberron book. I really liked the setting and created a Warforged character with an elaborate background, but didn't feel that the 3.5 system was much better. It was a decent campaign, overall better than the last one because of the cool setting and character I liked playing better.

A SWD6 campaign ended in 2006 and those players were all moving on to two other games I didn't want to play, so I suddenly found myself with no SW players. The Eberron campaign was about to end and discussion had begun of what to do next, so I suggested that the DM take a break from DMing and D&D altogether with this group, and I run SWD6 for this group. I knew the DM and his fiancée were D&D fanatics, but they were also players in another D&D group at the time, they had liked RotS more than first two prequels, and the SW game would be set in the classic era anyway, so I really thought they might go for it. Three of the players were interested in playing SWD6, but the DM and his fiancée didn't want to change from D&D. After going to the DM and his fiancée's wedding, I stopped being invited to D&D, and that was the last time I played any D&D.

After playing d20 for 4 years (3e and 3.5, two years each), I have the educated opinion that the d20 system sucks. I got rid of the Eberron book but I kept the 3.5 PH. During my years playing 3e/3.5, I had collected the entire game line of Dragonstar, a science fantasy version of D&D published as a d20 OGL game by FFG and Mystic Eye Games. It requires a 3e PH as a core book, and I have this collection desire where I like to have the core rules for any RPG books I have, even if the book is only for inspiration for Star Wars. The Dragonstar game line was ending as 3.5 was starting, but I figure the 3.5 PH would work as well as the 3e PH. I picked up a final D&D 3.5 book, Races of the Dragon (2006), because it has humanoid dragon people in it.


D&D 4e (2008)

Sometime after 4e came out, I picked up a 4e PH. A version of Dragonborn were a PC race. I thought just in case I get invited to a D&D game, I'd have the PH. I didn't spend much time reading the book, but my impression was that there was an effort made to address some of the crunchiness of d20. I don't know how successful it was, because I've never played 4e. I've heard this edition was not well received by D&D fans.


D&D 5e (2014)

At some point after 5e came out, I traded in my 4e PH for a 5e PH. It was the latest edition, and it still has Dragonborn. From what I've gathered, 5e is generally considered an improvement over 4e. I still have it, but I've never used it.




One D&D (2024)

Supposedly "One D&D" will not be a full-fledged 6th edition, but rather an update that is backward compatible with 5e. However this "update" will be coming out with three new core books for D&D's 50th anniversary, so I'm guessing that after the cores they will slowly replace the current non-core books with updated versions, but make it so gamers can keep using their 5e versions of non-core books in the mean time. I suspect that "One D&D" will really just be 5.5. I will not be trading in my 5e PH for a "One" PH next year.


D&D BX SPIN-OFFS

I have no experience with any of these, and it is my understanding that these have expansions and minor revisions to BX D&D, so none of these should really be considered distinct editions of D&D.

"BECMI" (Mentzer, 1983-85)

In addition to revised Basic and Expert box sets, the revised system is extended with three more box sets: Companion (Character Levels 15-25), Master (26-36) and Immortals (>36). I do remember that one of my SW players in high school had these five boxed sets, but I do not remember if he had played them or not. I may have even looked at them out of curiosity, but have no memory of that.

"Black Box" (Denning, 1991)

The New Easy-to-Master Dungeons & Dragons Game was the first of two AD&D 2e-era revisions to BECMI. This version was written by Troy Denning, author of GG4. This box set covered Levels 1-5, thus mainly taking material from "B" and "E." It is my understanding that "The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game box set (1994) is just a reformatting of this box set without revising the rules.

Rules Cyclopedia/Wrath of the Immortals (Allston, 1991-92)

Star Wars novel author Aaron Allston's revision to the BECMI system was published as a revised hardcover book that compiled "BECM" followed later by a box set that replaced the first "I" box set.


OTHER D&D STARTER SETS

I don't know anything about these, but I included them here for completeness. I'm guessing that the game systems are just simplified versions of the main edition at the time of release. Above is a Wikipedia link.
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KageRyu
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2023 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first experiences with Dungeons and Dragons was actually the old Pick a Path books, and the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. I was already in love with a number of Fantasy Movies (especially Dragonslayer, Conan, and Beastmaster) by the time the Cartoon aired, and had only remotely heard of D&D aside from this on trips to the old book store/comic store in town. I still remember the first Endless Quest book I was given and read several times was Dragon of Doom. While I knew a small group of kids in elementary school who played D&D, I did not get along with any of them, so never was introduced to playin until much later. Somewhere in the early 80's one of my family did buy me the basic box set, and though I thumbed through it, none of my friends at the time were interested in playing so it really just sat on a shelf. D&D was not my first real RPG experience (that would end up being Robotech which I purchased as soon as I saw it having already been in love with the cartoon... and then other Palladium series books as they were compatible).

I do remember in the early to mid 80's looking at the various boxed sets for D&D (basic, expert, Masters, etc...) which covered differing levels of play. As I did not really have anyone to game with, and there were so many boxes that were confusing to me at the time, I never really got involved. It wasn't until high school that I picked up proper D&D books in the form of AD&D 2nd Edition Players Handbook and Dungeon Masters guide. By this time I had been running games of Robotech, Heros Unlimited, BeYond the Supernatural, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and other strangeness for a few years with groups of various friends and acquaintances. I couldn't really call most of these campaigns...they were pretty disjointed, people cam and went, they were heavily action focused and looking back I didn't write a lot up and ran a lot of it off the cuff... but in late High school I had my first proper group. Looking back we really only gamed for 2 years but it feels like it was a lifetime now (technically 4 years, but two of the core players moved away after the first 2). In this time we started with me and another friend both running interchangeable Robotech games (started as Solo adventures wit we took turns GMing and we both had a character that would be an NPC when it was our turn to GM - other players came later). Within a month or so This friend also pulled together others for an AD&D 2nd edition game. I had recently gotten the 2 core books, and toyed with running a game myself, but never did. In these years while playing I also picked up Other D&D books from the AD&D 1st edition line (Unearthed Arcana, Deities and Demigoods, 1e GMs Guide), and started collecting 2nd Edition modules and books.

In those few years in High School and the year after, we played so many games. Most of my Spare money went to Role Playing. We played Battletech, Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader, freely intermixed palladium books games and played a lot of that, Robotech, DC Heroes (Mayfair 2nd and third), I picked up Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, Elric of Melnibone ( I really like the chaosium systems btw), Tried Marvel (old FACERIP system), Star Wars... we eventually settled on a rotation of mainly Star Wars, Mekton II, and AD&D, with other games being played as one offs here and there or only when only a few of the group could get together (half of our six player core group had no interest in Mecha or Super Heroes, and no interest in occult horror). I alos had several other groups I ran aside from this core group (the core group was close friends, one of which I am stil close friends with and in communication with...it was my best group in my memories).

By the time I moved to college I had a fairly substantial core collection of D&D 2nd edition books, and continued collecting them. No one in Youngstown Ohio at the time seemed interested in playing Robotech, or DC Heroes, or anything from Palladium, or even Star Wars. So it was here, in 1992, where I first ran D&D. I had so many players come and go and it was hard putting together a coherent story because of it. The campaign I had been crafting flopped and was rebooted several times - and this continued through the 90s...at one point almost making progress and having a steady group for several years (but we also played other games I had gotten the players into like Mekton II and yes, finally, Star Wars). In the 90s I amassed a huge collection of AD&D Rules, boxed sets, etc... D&D for me ended with the advent of what I called 2.5e (not the official 2.5e which by my reckoning should have been 3rd). The release of the 2nd edition Players Option book which over ruled material already in the DMG, changed how the core attributes worked, and totally screwed up and discarded the idea of proficiencies by allowing players to change allowed weapons and armor per class with experience per level modifiers - I despised this book (and still do to this day) and when my group demanded I adopt it or else... well... TPK. Was it petty of me, yeah absolutely, but you do not tell the GM how to run his game... besides, we still had Metkon, DC Heroes (mayfair games version), Champions, The Palladium Line, Star Wars, Runequest, Call of Cthulhu, and...and...and... This group completely dissolved briefly and became just a tabletop war game group from 1998 through 2004, playing mostly Battletech, Warhammer 40, and Battlfleet Gothic (with reoccurring Space Hulk games). On player talked us all into trying Necromunda, but it never went beyond creating our gangs... same thing for Gorkamorka... then when same player brought up Mordheim (which looked cool and fun) we all said no).

Yeah, My role playing has always been pretty ADHD when I was younger and up until I gave up in 2007.

As a side note, I ended my last RPG group on a variant of D6, and as many know or can learn from my old posts here, I ran Star Wars for a number of years in the early millennium.

I still have my library of books for all my various games. If I were to return to running D&D it would be 2nd edition. This is what I have familiarity with and the most material for. My D&D collection alone, not counting all of the boxed sets, fills five milk crates (Palladium only fills 3, D6 fills 4.5).
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Banzaidyne
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2023 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I’ll be That Guy: I have never played D&D.
I got the Holmes Blue Box set as a Christmas gift in third grade (I think?) but ended up giving it all away except for the dice. I have owned the core books for AD&D and 3.0 (and maybe even 3.5), but I sold them all without ever cracking them open.
I own and have played a host of other games, but D&D never caught my interest. Go figure.
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TauntaunScout
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2023 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I probably first became aware of D&D from the cartoon honestly. I never it gave it much thought because I disliked the show. Then I found a DAS Modeling Clay kit for molding and painting D&D guys. I had no idea what it was, I just thought they were cool medieval people. However, expressing interest in it landed me a lecture about Satan and witchcraft from my mom.

Several years later (ultimately also due to my interest in painting wee blokes), the same mom bought me SW:TRPG for Christmas. Go figure.

This ultimately led to my older brother doing further research into RPG's, which of course led us to think that D&D was the real deal and everything else was a sideshow. This culminated in a couple clandestine copies of Dragon Magazine, and pilfering a mint loose complete copy of the Dungeons & Dragons "pink box". Pilfered from where you might ask? From a large pile of stuff our mom bought for the purpose of reselling at a profit: truly she's a woman of many contradictions.

We played a brief couple of sorta pointless adventures with our uncle Arvin as DM. Arvin had played the game back during the initial late 70's fad. I still have his copy of the blue cover "expert" rulebook. This led us to attempt playing with friends from school. The whole enterprise was very cloak and dagger, we couldn't have our parents finding out. It was bad parenting on their part for sure, but in retrospect it added a whole other layer of fun. It definitely drove a wedge in our relationship though. I've learned a lot about what not to do as a parent, from my parents examples.

I didn't really play D&D in earnest until my brother and I, and two other nerds, moved to Orlando for a summer to work at WDW, just to say we had. With wages and rent what they are now, it'd be impossible for kids to do that sort of adventure today sadly. In Orlando we bought what may have been the last of the THAC0 starter kits. The artwork would be incredibly dated today (it already looked painfully 80's-like in the 90's...) and it had pre-generated characters instead of rules for how to calculate saving throws and stuff but it was cheap and it kept us entertained. We bought the few additional adventure modules made to go with it. When we'd played them all, one of the roommates got his parents to mail him his 3 core AD&D books so we could write new adventures.

One summer later, I ran the same campaign over again, for a completely different group of friends. I got a lot of miles out of that version of D&D. Someday I'd love to track it down on eBay and run it for the kids.

I've played various iterations since then but nothing beats The Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game by Goodman Games. It's just a modified D20 engine but it's great. They were pretty careful to write rules evocative of the fiction that inspired D&D, and rules which would support a player in *not* minmaxing everything. As a result, playing that game nowadays feels more "like D&D", than D&D itself does. It's playing the game that was always hinted at but never fully achieved in D&D. Just last night I ran a session of it where the party split up and a guy with multiple PC's had two of his own characters trying to listen for trouble through different sides of the same door.

Another time in the DCC RPG, I had a party of PC's who accidentally, voluntarily, extinguished all their lightsources deep underground with no means of rekindling them.

One time, circumstances led up to the party packmule becoming a PC with STR 18, INT 3.

I feel like these are the kinds of things D&D just can't have happen, especially with current rulebooks. Mostly because D&D hands out god-like stats and a fortune in equipment at character generation and then doesn't provide much in the way of mechanics that drive story. In DCC, you can roll a hero with a lousy statline but you get really attached to them. And in character generation you roll up things like a "birth augur" and your PC's pre-adventuring civilian job. That gives you something to crystalize around, from a roleplaying perspective. There's not a dozen player-races or a ton of game mechanics that amount to "spells for fighters and thieves", but it runs smooth and there's a ton of fun had. Who needs animal companions or loads of player races when you can get transformed into an archaeopteryx by failing a Luck roll, and spend the rest of the campaign perched on another player's shoulder like a pirate's parrot, and flying around spying and carrying messages? Or wind up playing the party's mule because it got briefly possessed by the god of the party shaman, shortly before all of your PC's got killed? I bet modern D&D doesn't mules or archaeopteryxes for player races!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2023 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Played my first 5e game online, which was also my first D&D game ever, back in November; we haven't played a second game yet due to scheduling conflicts. On the plus side, the same group has started a Star Wars game (that I'm running), and we did a session zero on Sunday. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2023 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Got into D&D with the Basic/master boxed set in the late 80s, ran a few games, but nothing much.. Then got into 1st ed, 1990, and barely 2 years later, into 2e..

Gave newer editions (3.0/3.5) a try, but have not upgraded since.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2023 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't remember if it was Basic or Advanced, but I remember filling in for someone for a D&D session waaaaaay back when I was 12 years old, but that was my first time ever playing D&D. Aside from that one session, I didn't play any RPGs again until Vampire: the Masquerade in college.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2023 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first rpg session ever was a game of D&D in about 1978 (age 9). My dad's friend ran us through a dungeon. I don't know if it was OD&D, AD&D, or Holmes D&D.

That Christmas I got the Holmes Basic Set (with chits instead of dice!!). I played Holmes D&D for a while.

In 6th grade (1980, 11 years old) I discovered kids playing AD&D, and I played that for 3 years. But.....we all started with Holmes, and couldn't figure out the DMG at all. So we basically played OD&D with AD&D races, classes, and spells. I think a lot of kids back in the day did that.

I stopped rpg-ing in 1987 when I graduated HS. My group went different directions and I didn't pick it up again until 2003.

I've been gaming non-stop for 20 years now. Lord of the Rings rpg, D&D 3.5e, Castles & Crusades, D&D 5e, FATE, plus numerous one-shots and mini-campaigns with various systems.

I've pretty much played B/X D&D exclusively for several years now, although I ran my group through a 6-month campaign using Wild West Cinema that they LOVED!!!!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2023 7:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Personal History with D&D Reply with quote

Very interesting to read all these replies!

garhkal wrote:
Got into D&D with the Basic/master boxed set in the late 80s, ran a few games, but nothing much.. Then got into 1st ed, 1990, and barely 2 years later, into 2e..

Gave newer editions (3.0/3.5) a try, but have not upgraded since.

I thought you would have a lot more to say about D&D. It sounds like your preferred edition is AD&D 2e too. Are you still playing 2e? Is anyone you know?

KageRyu wrote:
I was already in love with a number of Fantasy Movies (especially Dragonslayer, Conan, and Beastmaster) by the time the Cartoon aired, and had only remotely heard of D&D aside from this on trips to the old book store/comic store in town.

The summer of 1981 was a magical time for me as a kid because my dad took me to see four movies in the theater: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Clash of the Titans, Superman II, and Dragonslayer. These were all in American theaters at the same time, but in 1981 my town still only had a downtown historic theater with a single screen and a drive-in theater south of town, so some movies took a while to get there. We probably travelled to Columbus to see a couple of the movies after Raiders. I remember thinking the Dragonslayer movie was ok. I'm not sure when exactly I started playing D&D, but it was sometime before I saw Clash of the Titans (and Dragonslayer). BTW, Dragonslayer was the first non-Lucasfilm movie that ILM did the special effects for. And it featured a younger Ian McDiarmid!

TauntaunScout wrote:
I probably first became aware of D&D from the cartoon honestly.
KageRyu wrote:
My first experiences with Dungeons and Dragons was actually the old Pick a Path books, and the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon.

I do remember the TV series and thought it was cool that they made a show based on the game, but I didn't stay with the show because at some point in the three years the show was on I decided I was too old for cartoons and stopped watching them much. I also got rid of almost all my vintage SW figures and other toys at the time. But comic books and RPGs were ok, lol.

KageRyu wrote:
I still remember the first Endless Quest book I was given and read several times was Dragon of Doom.

Is that Choose Your Own Adventure but with some dice rolls? I don't remember Endless Quest but my childhood friend Mike (one of the core members of my D&D group) had a couple "Fighting Fantasy" books.

KageRyu wrote:
...D&D for me ended with the advent of what I called 2.5e (not the official 2.5e which by my reckoning should have been 3rd). The release of the 2nd edition Players Option book which over ruled material already in the DMG, changed how the core attributes worked, and totally screwed up and discarded the idea of proficiencies by allowing players to change allowed weapons and armor per class with experience per level modifiers - I despised this book (and still do to this day)

I stopped playing 2e in 1992 so I missed that era completely. Is this the book you are talking about? I had never heard of it until now. I guess there was a series of "Options" books that many fans do consider constitute a significant enough revision to 2e to warrant calling it "2.5". From what I've just read, it also foreshadowed some of the changes they would implement in 3e. Sounds horrid!

I'm morbidly interested in looking at them now, but not enough to buy them though. With the exception of the 5e PH, I only have books for editions that I've actually played.

TauntaunScout wrote:
However, expressing interest in it landed me a lecture about Satan and witchcraft from my mom... This led us to attempt playing with friends from school. The whole enterprise was very cloak and dagger, we couldn't have our parents finding out. It was bad parenting on their part for sure, but in retrospect it added a whole other layer of fun.

Yeah, I remember the whole 'D&D is satanic' era. We were churchgoing people, but thankfully my parents weren't like that. They got me the D&D BX set in elementary school, and my mom got me the three AD&D core books in junior high. Maybe they just trusted me because I had been into KISS since 1978 and they had observed it didn't make me the slightest bit murderous, suicidal, or satanic. Glad you at least had fun with it, sneaking around to play D&D.

TauntaunScout wrote:
One time, circumstances led up to the party packmule becoming a PC with STR 18, INT 3.

I feel like these are the kinds of things D&D just can't have happen, especially with current rulebooks. Mostly because D&D hands out god-like stats and a fortune in equipment at character generation and then doesn't provide much in the way of mechanics that drive story. In DCC, you can roll a hero with a lousy statline but you get really attached to them. And in character generation you roll up things like a "birth augur" and your PC's pre-adventuring civilian job. That gives you something to crystalize around, from a roleplaying perspective. There's not a dozen player-races or a ton of game mechanics that amount to "spells for fighters and thieves", but it runs smooth and there's a ton of fun had. Who needs animal companions or loads of player races when you can get transformed into an archaeopteryx by failing a Luck roll, and spend the rest of the campaign perched on another player's shoulder like a pirate's parrot, and flying around spying and carrying messages? Or wind up playing the party's mule because it got briefly possessed by the god of the party shaman, shortly before all of your PC's got killed? I bet modern D&D doesn't mules or archaeopteryxes for player races!

I think everything you mentioned is not inappropriate for a fantasy game if the DM and players are into that. For Star Wars, I actually had a player that played a Force Ghost for one adventure. He couldn't do anything but occasionally give suggestions to the Quixotic Jedi (the only corporeal character who could hear him). All the players and I thought it was fun at the time.

fogger1138 wrote:
On the plus side, the same group has started a Star Wars game (that I'm running), and we did a session zero on Sunday. Very Happy

Cool!

fogger1138 wrote:
Played my first 5e game online, which was also my first D&D game ever, back in November; we haven't played a second game yet due to scheduling conflicts.

How is 5e so far?

ThrorII wrote:
I've been gaming non-stop for 20 years now... D&D 3.5e... D&D 5e...

How does 5e compare to 3.5?

ThrorII wrote:
That Christmas I got the Holmes Basic Set (with chits instead of dice!!). I played Holmes D&D for a while.

In my research for this I read about the chits due to a dice shortage. I don't know if my DM RJ had that version but I know he did have dice. The chits were also used for the Dungeon board game I have, but for another purpose than substituting for dice rolls because it came with dice. There is a set of paired number chits for marking rooms with certain monsters and treasure - If a player gets knocked out of a room, the room is marked with the number chit, and the monster card and any lost treasure cards are put face down off to the side with the matching number chit so it is the same undefeated monster and dropped treasures if another play goes into that same room.

ThrorII wrote:
In 6th grade (1980, 11 years old) I discovered kids playing AD&D, and I played that for 3 years. But.....we all started with Holmes, and couldn't figure out the DMG at all. So we basically played OD&D with AD&D races, classes, and spells...

Generally, OD&D refers to the original version of the game before the Holmes Basic Set...

ThrorII wrote:
...I think a lot of kids back in the day did that.

I didn't get the impression that RJ ported any AD&D into Holmes Basic when we were playing that for the first three levels of the campaign, but it is not impossible. He did convert our game from Holmes to AD&D at a certain point, but maybe there was a transition period since different classes advanced at different rates back then. RJ was a genius so he could have figured it out. Eventually we played straight AD&D. I was only an above average kid and the DMG definitely would have been too much for me in elementary school.

But what you describe sounds just like my experience in junior high with BX. We had AD&D books and ported some race and class rules (and possibly other stuff) into our BX game. My experience as a previous player of AD&D made that possible, but I'm not confident that we accomplished a balanced outcome. But we were kids and had fun with it, so mission accomplished there.

ThrorII wrote:
I've pretty much played B/X D&D exclusively for several years now

Wow, it is really neat that BX is still being played!

Banzaidyne wrote:
I’ll be That Guy: I have never played D&D.
I got the Holmes Blue Box set as a Christmas gift in third grade (I think?) but ended up giving it all away except for the dice.

It's ok to be that guy! I might play in a one-shot of D&D or may even run a mini-campaign, but I can say with certainty I will never play in a D&D campaign again, of any edition. I have zero interest in that.

Banzaidyne wrote:
I have owned the core books for AD&D and 3.0 (and maybe even 3.5), but I sold them all without ever cracking them open.
I own and have played a host of other games, but D&D never caught my interest. Go figure.

May I ask how you came to own core D&D books that you just sold? Were those gifts also? Just curious.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2023 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
fogger1138 wrote:
Played my first 5e game online, which was also my first D&D game ever, back in November; we haven't played a second game yet due to scheduling conflicts.

How is 5e so far?


My character almost died in the first adventure, so... good?

A level 1 character in this feels a lot less useful than a starting character in WEG Star Wars to me. Could just be me, though (I saw someone above mention godlike starting characters...)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2023 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

Is that Choose Your Own Adventure but with some dice rolls? I don't remember Endless Quest but my childhood friend Mike (one of the core members of my D&D group) had a couple "Fighting Fantasy" books.

They were essentially identical to Pick A Path books, but since that was trademarked by another company TSR called them Endless Quest. There were a lot for D&D, and a few for other TSR systems (like Star Frontiers). I actually had quote a few of these, as well as many from the Pick a Path series, and a few from a Choose Your Own Adventure series - all by different publishers. I still have them all, though they are in storage with a lot of my other novels and books. If I get a chance I will snap some photos of them. I also have a few duplicates (not sure how I got them).

Whill wrote:

I stopped playing 2e in 1992 so I missed that era completely. Is this the book you are talking about? I had never heard of it until now. I guess there was a series of "Options" books that many fans do consider constitute a significant enough revision to 2e to warrant calling it "2.5". From what I've just read, it also foreshadowed some of the changes they would implement in 3e. Sounds horrid!

That looks like it, and sounds like it, but I can't be sure. The whole sub-statistics it talks about I was immediately put off by as what they did was create sub-statistics already part and parcel of one of the other attributes. The Kits was a slap in the face to everyone who already had been buying the various brown or blue soft covered handbooks for different classes really, all of the nonsense about player background and social status, well, Unearthed Arcanna covered that once, then Birthright covered it again for 2nd E, so again nothing new really. I have heard it offered a better spell system for mages, but never read that far through...the redefining attributes and the class options were, imho, handled so poorly I had no desire to own or make use of it.

I was already using a lot of House rules in my 2nd Edition game as it was, and material from various boxed sets (like the idea of Character trees from Dark Sun and Council of Whyrms). I allowed characters to allocate weapon proficies as they pleased, provided their character had the strength to wield the weapon. I used proficiencies to help round out characters. I brought back the Comeliness attribute from 1e. I also had some custom classes. I would have kept running my 2e game - I almost started a new 2e game in 2018...but then my life took another left turn.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2023 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I thought you would have a lot more to say about D&D. It sounds like your preferred edition is AD&D 2e too. Are you still playing 2e? Is anyone you know?


I was in a hurry. Ive been playing it steady, through out most of my naval career, only with the last 7 years though, being in Guam then Gulfport, did i NOT have any 2e games going, either as player Or DM. After retiring, i had 4 years more, of no adnd, then i had several groups up here in C/bus, but most these days, seem to ONLY want to play pathfinder Or 5e.

Whill wrote:
I do remember the TV series and thought it was cool that they made a show based on the game, but I didn't stay with the show because at some point in the three years the show was on I decided I was too old for cartoons and stopped watching them much. I also got rid of almost all my vintage SW figures and other toys at the time. But comic books and RPGs were ok, lol.


I can barely remember the cartoon..
Got into it, because i saw my Brother painting some of the minis, and had a copy of the 1e phb.. He was in a group for 3ish years before I got into it.
Sucks royally, he never invited me. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

Whill wrote:
I stopped playing 2e in 1992 so I missed that era completely. Is this the book you are talking about? I had never heard of it until now. I guess there was a series of "Options" books that many fans do consider constitute a significant enough revision to 2e to warrant calling it "2.5". From what I've just read, it also foreshadowed some of the changes they would implement in 3e. Sounds horrid!


Many over on Dragonsfoot (my mainstay adnd site), seem to consider the Players options books, where 2e went 'off the rails', and call it 2.5...
I've got all 4 of the option books (skills and powers, combat and tactics, Spells and magic, and DM's options high level campaign). I like what some of it did, but hated other parts... My preference was if they instead called ALL three books, DMS options!

Whill wrote:
Yeah, I remember the whole 'D&D is satanic' era. We were churchgoing people, but thankfully my parents weren't like that. They got me the D&D BX set in elementary school, and my mom got me the three AD&D core books in junior high. Maybe they just trusted me because I had been into KISS since 1978 and they had observed it didn't make me the slightest bit murderous, suicidal, or satanic. Glad you at least had fun with it, sneaking around to play D&D.


I've heard LOTS of folk who've had this issue, but thankfully i never experienced it.

Whill wrote:
I think everything you mentioned is not inappropriate for a fantasy game if the DM and players are into that. For Star Wars, I actually had a player that played a Force Ghost for one adventure. He couldn't do anything but occasionally give suggestions to the Quixotic Jedi (the only corporeal character who could hear him). All the players and I thought it was fun at the time.


One of my older DM's wanted to do that but the player wouldn't agree to do it.. Felt he'd not be as useful that way...
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2023 1:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fogger1138 wrote:
Quote:
How is 5e so far?

My character almost died in the first adventure, so... good?

A level 1 character in this feels a lot less useful than a starting character in WEG Star Wars to me.

Almost is usually good. I haven't played 5e but from my experience with the earlier editions, 1st level PCs are all pretty weak so it takes a really careful DM to not make the game too deadly, so they all have a chance to survive to advancement.

garhkal wrote:
After retiring, i had 4 years more, of no adnd, then i had several groups up here in C/bus, but most these days, seem to ONLY want to play pathfinder Or 5e.

Well those are the two biggest-selling RPGs in the world right now. I don't get the popularity, but to be fair, I haven't played either one. It just seems to me that both systems are spinoffs of d20, which I played for four years and know sucks. But maybe they are much better.

garhkal wrote:
Got into it, because i saw my Brother painting some of the minis, and had a copy of the 1e phb.. He was in a group for 3ish years before I got into it.
Sucks royally, he never invited me. Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad

I presume your brother is older? When I was in junior high, my younger brother did play in a few D&D and S&W adventures, but he never got into roleplaying. He loves watching Star Wars, but he watched Fellowship of the Ring and fell asleep so has no interest in seeing the other Middle Earth movies, even though I told him the next two are the best ones. He said he hates the fantasy genre. Oh well.

garhkal wrote:
Many over on Dragonsfoot (my mainstay adnd site), seem to consider the Players options books, where 2e went 'off the rails', and call it 2.5...
I've got all 4 of the option books (skills and powers, combat and tactics, Spells and magic, and DM's options high level campaign). I like what some of it did, but hated other parts... My preference was if they instead called ALL three books, DMS options!

It's all marketing. Players outnumber DMs, so players are a larger customer base. They want to sell the books to players, so the players can then badger their DMs about using the rules in the book. Right, KageRyu? Cool

IMO all game books of any game are GM Options no matter what they call them.

garhkal wrote:
Quote:
For Star Wars, I actually had a player that played a Force Ghost for one adventure. He couldn't do anything but occasionally give suggestions to the Quixotic Jedi (the only corporeal character who could hear him). All the players and I thought it was fun at the time.

One of my older DM's wanted to do that but the player wouldn't agree to do it.. Felt he'd not be as useful that way...

Well the Jedi ghost didn't need a character sheet and never rolled any dice, so he was literally only a player's voice. But no, he wasn't that useful. But back then I already had a full room of players playing warm body PCs so we didn't need another useful character.

Nowadays with much less players to go around, I'd probably side with those players, saying that having another warm body PC is more important. But if the GM and players are all for it and a player actually want to play a ghost instead of a traditionally corporeal PC, then they should have fun with it.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2023 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I presume your brother is older? When I was in junior high, my younger brother did play in a few D&D and S&W adventures, but he never got into roleplaying. He loves watching Star Wars, but he watched Fellowship of the Ring and fell asleep so has no interest in seeing the other Middle Earth movies, even though I told him the next two are the best ones. He said he hates the fantasy genre. Oh well.


Yup. He was born 72, sep. I was born 74, Feb.

Whill wrote:
It's all marketing. Players outnumber DMs, so players are a larger customer base. They want to sell the books to players, so the players can then badger their DMs about using the rules in the book. Right, KageRyu?


That's why i often say in my intro brief, IF I DON'T own the book, i care not what that book says for Rule XYZ, I DO NOT USE IT.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2023 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Happy Birthmonth! Yeah, kinda silly for players to try to hold a GM accountable to rules in a book he doesn't even own.
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