Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dungeons & Dragons & birthdays

So the OSR section of the blogosphere has come to the consensus that today marks the 40th anniversary of when Dungeons & Dragons first hit the market (based on this detailed research from the author of a history of roleplaying games called Playing at the World). 

Sounds good to me. And while a lot of old-school D&D players associate the game with the original white box, for me D&D will always be linked to the first basic set, edited by J. Eric Holmes.  That was my first roleplaying game, and I got it on my birthday, which is also in January.
My parents bought me D&D after hearing me blather on about it for weeks, since I first heard about it from friends.  This version had been out for several years, and it came with dungeon module B2 Keep on the Borderlands and numbered chits instead of dice.  I raided the family's Risk box for six-siders to roll up characters, and soon after, I had my bemused parents and brother at the table, taking them through an adventure for an evening, the first (and only) time we all played D&D together.

That box and that rulebook are long lost--the container was flattened and thrown away, and I cut up my original blue book to place the sample dungeon in a folder with adventures pulled out of various issues of The Dragon--but this version of the game will always be my favorite.  I've since replaced the boxed set with a used earlier printing acquired for ten bucks at a hobby shop (which also contained three original D&D supplements and Swords & Spells) and even found a couple more copies of the blue book in used bookstores.

And after months of thinking about it and weeks of preparation, a couple of weeks ago, I brought to my table a half-dozen players to go through a dungeon I created, going (mostly) with the Holmes rules as written.  Now, the game I got as a birthday present more than thirty years ago is celebrating a milestone of its own. 

Happy 40th, D&D, and here's to many more!


Chris Kutalik said...

Danna's birthday today too!

Desert Scribe said...

So did she get D&D as a birthday present? :)

Gonsalvo said...

My copy was the original boxed set that came in a sort of pseudo wood-finish box. It was inspirational but frankly all but impossible to use as written, referring vaguely to Gygax's "Chainmail" for combat, which was completely irrelevant! We wrote our own combat rules.... and never went back once they clarified how it was actually supposed to work in later editions.