Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

***********Just for the sake of clarity - the theme for my A to Z postings is gaming in the 1980's with my friends.*************

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
It just makes sense that AD&D is one of the subjects of my A - Z posts, doesn't it?  It (and the Holmes Basic set) are what introduced me to the role playing hobby.  It was the summer of 1980 when I received the  PHB, DMG, MM, and the Holmes Basic from my uncle David.  He had been a player of the original rules and had bought these revisions and played for some time before handing them down to me.  
I was pretty excited by these books because I was a fan of all things fantasy and now I had the opportunity to play out my own adventures similar to Conan, King Arthur, or the animated version of The Hobbit that the local PBS station played pretty regularly at the time. I do, however, admit that some of that stuff was pretty confusing for an 8 year old and took the assistance of my uncle to fully understand.  Once the concept was understood, we played pretty obsessively taking any free moment we could to sneak in some game time. 

The common rules at the time were usually a mish-mash of AD&D with D&D and some house rules thrown in for good measure.  Our group was no different from the norm.  I probably have many of our house rules in one of my old gaming notebooks somewhere.  Rules that I particularly remember are ignoring the class/level limits for demi-humans and a +1 to an Ability would allow you a score of 19 in our games.  Maybe it was not "balanced" but we had a blast and THAT is what's important.

AD&D was the mainstay of my gaming group for many years.  It started with just my brother Mark and me but quickly expanded to my friend Jamie.  Over the years other players would come and go.  Some of the most notable additions were Ray and Neal (brothers) and Travis.  Other games might temporarily hold our interest but AD&D was the most played game until most of us graduated in 1991. 

At this point, several of us joined the Army and went our separate ways.  I gamed a few times in the 8 years that I served but it was mostly a drought of gaming.  I know that Ray and Neal have not gamed since high school, Jamie has gamed - we are trying to get a group together - and I am unsure of the rest of the group.  Unfortunately, my original rpg collection met the fate described in this post earlier on my blog.  I would love to have some of these games now or even get a gaming group together.  I think it's about time to get the band back together for one last adventure.  Maybe I'll grab a copy of OSRIC and make a few phone calls...

 

42 comments:

  1. It's interesting looking back at the road we travel with our interest and passions.
    How cool of your uncle David to hand over the Holmes Basics and extras.

    I wish you luck in getting a gaming group together.

    Cheers, Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

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    1. Indeed, it is. Yeah, my uncle always had the cool stuff - Conan books/movie, Excalibur, Monty Python, and D&D just to name a short list.

      Thanks!

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  2. I'm looking forward to your 1980s gaming posts. I first found the Dungeon Masters' Guide for AD + D in my school library and pored over all the great magical items I could use.

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    1. Oh man, that old AD&D DMG is still the ultimate fantasy gaming reference!

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  3. Nice A

    here is mine
    http://pa-ul.blogspot.com/search/label/GAC%20A-Z%20Artists

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  4. Very interesting to read.
    Good luck with the challenge.

    Yvonne

    http://www.welcometomyworldofpoetry.blogspot.com

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  5. I remember the last game we played in the 80's it lasted for three days and we all ended in some horrific death... it was awesome. It had to we were following some crazy wizard named "Judas Priest"

    Great start... to the challenge "A" is for Awesome!
    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    A to Z Co-Host
    IZOMBIE: Visit the Madness

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    1. We used to game for days like that also! A wizard named "Judas Priest" - that is retrogaming goodness right there!!!!

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    1. Thanks! I totally dig the subjects on your blog!!!

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  7. When my grandson tries to explain his DS games to me, I nod and try to understand.

    I have to say I'm stuck in the times of tv tennis and Pac Man.

    Teresa

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    1. [nods head] I understand....seriously, there's nothing wrong with tv tennis and Pac Man!

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  8. Heheh, that picture looks familiar. ;)

    I got my copy of Holmes from my Uncle as well, interestingly enough.

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    1. It may be familiar! :-) I did use google image search to find it...

      That is interesting. I wonder if the hand me down approach is still as widespread today in the roleplaying hobby as it once was?

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    2. Heh. It's a picture of the six AD&D books in my local library system. You're welcome to use it.

      I'd bet a fair amount of gamers still get introduced by older gamers and/or get handed down old stuff. I have personally given away a lot of gaming material over the years, both to current and former players and to people I hoped would use it to game.

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    3. That's pretty awesome and thanks for the okay for using the picture!

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  9. The nice part is that you got to play D&D in an era when it was cool and popular. D&D commercials, D&D cartoons, games sold at Walmart, etc. When Lorraine Williams got a hold of it, she turned it into the niche hobby associated with geeks.

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    1. Darius, I think you nailed it! I remember browsing AD&D hardbacks at Toys-R-Us! I really believe the 80's were the golden age of D&D, if not the roleplaying hobby in general.

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    2. I think most people would agree with you that it was the Golden Age. I am just thinking that with boardgames coming back, that once the market has finished adjusting to the internet age then a possible silver age of rpgs will be around the corner.

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    3. Interesting thoughts, Darius. I am hoping for the silver age to be upon us in the near future also.

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  10. I have heard of D & D, but have never played. Interesting read!

    Monica, Older Mommy Still Yummy

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  11. Gaming - what a great theme. I hope you get your old crew together to game again! Happy A-Z challenge!

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    1. Thanks! I hope I can get it coordinated - even just one more game with the old crew would be cool.

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  12. I missed out on a lot I think, back in the 80's, as I was taught pretty much everything was evil. Well, if it was fun it was probably evil. So I never got to play even though many of my friends did. I wanted to when I got older, but by then no one was really interested... oh well, it can be fun to think of our youth.

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    1. I faced some of the "satanic scare of the 80's" when people found out I played D&D. It's never too late to try, Rusty.

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  13. The old books are still the best, in my mind - the 'roughness' of the illustrations captures all that was so dark and atmospheric within the mind's eye. Great stuff :)

    Happy A-Z!

    Kind regards

    Mark K

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    1. I couldn't agree more with you. Those old books just felt "right" when you held them in your hands to read. Great stuff, indeed!

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  14. My parents wouldn't let me play AD&D back in the day, but I'm currently playing in a Pathfinder campaign (kind of AD&D's grandchild, I guess). Played in several various RPG campaigns in college, walked away for about 10 years, but have moved closer to my old friends and have picked up the dice again. I forgot how much I loved getting engrossed in imagination. :)

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    1. Nothing wrong with Pathfinder at all! I have several of the manuals and I plan on getting more. Good times!

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  15. Great start to the challenge! I am playing a Pathfinder right now, but I got my start back with AD&D too! My husband still has some of the books and even some from the 1st edition!

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    1. Thanks! As I said in reply above, there is NOTHING wrong with some Pathfinder! That's cool that you and your husband both play.

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  16. This is a great post, Charlie; thanks for sharing. I can completely relate to good ol' Uncle David. In my case, his name was 'Larry'.

    It should be mandatory that every kid has that Uncle in their lives.


    5 of the 6 books pictured bring back found memories. At the time, I thought that the Deities and Demigods book was one of the greatest things ever published. My father strongly disagreed.

    Grab those books and make that call, Mr. Warren!

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    1. Thanks, Eric. I agree that every kid should have one of those Uncles in their lives.

      I also have to agree on the 5 of the 6 books bring fond memories; I never actually owned Fiend Folio. Yes, Deities & Demigods was one of the greatest things ever published!

      I know that one guy can make is so far...

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  17. always wanted to play D&D but just never found the time (or the playmates!)
    Great start to the A-Z!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. It's never too late to give it a try! Thanks for visiting. I have to visit your site with a title like "the writing nut"!

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  18. D&D...damn that brings back memories- we've still got my husband's original red box - signed by Larry Elmore!

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    1. WOW - signed by Elmore?! That totally rocks!

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  19. God, I love D&D. Now, you've seen this, right? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54VJWHL2K3I -- for all D&D lovers :)

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