Friday, April 1, 2022

A-Z 10 Year Update: A is for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

This post has been updated since originally being published on April 1, 2012.

A to Z: Gaming in the 80s.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
It just makes sense that AD&D is one of the subjects of my A - Z posts, doesn't it?  This game (and the Holmes Basic set) served as my introduction 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 could 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 role-playing game 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...

...and that never did happen.  Don't get me wrong.  Calls were made.  Texts were made.  Tentative plans were never finalized though.  Most of the trouble seemed to come from scheduling around the work commitments of all possible participants.  Honestly, I think it came down to a difference in opinion over what kind of commitment was involved.  It doesn't matter because in the end the game never happened.  I had another opportunity that presented itself but I had to respectfully bow out to avoid any....well, let's just say you should trust your intuition because ANY gaming is NOT better than no gaming.  

After all this time I have started participating in a play-by-post game at The Ruins of Murkhill forums. The game has been going on for a while and there's been a ton of posts made.  I'm surprised that I enjoy it so much because I always assumed that I wouldn't be able to get into that style of gaming.  It's a solo game at the moment but others can join in if they're interested.  I will definitely participate in more play by post games in the future.

I still haven't purchased a hard copy of OSRIC but I have added to my game collection by re-acquiring the AD&D PHB and DMG. It's awesome to have these books again and I plan on buying the Monster Manual and Unearthed Arcana in the future.  I've also bought the AD&D 2E core books.  Never having owned them before and doing some random reading, the 2E books seem like a reasonable update to the original edition.  Honestly, if you're unhappy with some of the alterations and omissions that happened with the new edition it shouldn't be too difficult to add them back in for your campaign.  The games are not that dissimilar.  Personally, I would probably just use AD&D with a few of the revisions from 2E for my games if I was playing AD&D.

As fondly as I remember those old days of AD&D from my youth it is highly likely that I would pass over the chance to run AD&D again if I had a gaming group sitting around a table. I would go with Delving Deeper or one of the other rules light retro-clones like White Box, Full Metal Plate Mail, or Iron Falcon.  Why not OD&D you might ask?  Quite simply, I don't own OD&D in physical form or pdf.  While a pdf is great for reading, I don't want to use it for reference. I may get OD&D in pdf at some point and do a home print but it sure would be nice if it was available as print-on-demand product.


  1. I've been playing PbP games for years now, and I really enjoy it. I use (Role-Play Online) It's a clunky website from the old days of the internet, but the games are a lot of fun. I'd recommend you to join a game there called The Mines of Nemrac. AD&D 1E, really active, lots of players and a really cool DM.

    1. Oh cool! Thanks for the recommendation. I will definitely check that out.

    2. If you join Nemrac, tell them that Wehostan sent you. You can get a discount on Gang Green initiation fees (in game joke).

    3. I will do just that! I've been looking around the site and I should be joining Nemrac later on today.

  2. One quick question. I'm navigating around the site trying to get acquainted with stuff before I do join. What is the expected posting frequency of the Nemrac game?

    1. Sorry I missed this. Glad you found the answer. Jeff is away for a bit so it may be a couple days before you get admitted. Looking forward to seeing you there!

  3. Thanks! That's actually making me want to do it myself now. That sounds much easier than I imagined. I think I'm going to start with OD&D and see how it goes.