[AD&D and me] pt. 1

Posted on September 4, 2011


I’ve been interested in the cultural roots of the role-playing game for some time now, reading blog posts and the like, but only recently have I gone out and acquired some primary sources. The sources being, of course, 1st-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons books, the ones with the original fuck-yeah covers full of demons with sword-cocks and awkwardly-drawn mystical beasts. But I’m not here to be WTF, D&D!? I’m here as someone who wants to earnestly understand some of the earliest role-playing stuff. To that end, obviously, I bring my own experiences and biases–I’m not trying to re-discover old school play in its original form, were that even possible; however I am trying to read the texts without any assumptions about what play is like.

It’s been very eye-opening, so far. It seemed good to me to start with the Player’s Handbook, being as it is the entry point and first interface for the game for the prototypical player. So I’ll go through these books from the perspective of their audience (reading the PHB like a player and the DMG like a dungeon master), and try to get a feel for play, and for what’s exciting about playing this game.

Before I kick this series of posts off, let me say: I’ve never played AD&D. Neither first nor second edition. In fact, I’ve played D&D probably about five or six times in my life, with an equal split between 3rd & 4th editions, and an equal split between GMing and playing a PC. Which is just to say, hey, this is where I’m coming from. I’m far more conversant in Burning Wheel and Apocalypse World than in any edition of D&D. Which is part of the reason I’m embarking on this project, anyway.

So…off to the dungeons, then?

Posted in: Old-school, Readings, rpg