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Author Topic: There and back again  (Read 128 times)

Offline ian54

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There and back again
« on: August 05, 2018, 08:27:16 AM »
I wanted to share a small journey I undertook recently.

My original gaming background was almost exclusively AD&D 1e, I went through the emergence of the 1e supplementary books, the revisions in Dragon, all the way up to 2e and stopped shortly after that (not before amassing another huge collection of splat books).

Last year, primary driven by a D&D sale on PDFs, but also due to the occasional references in the OSR community, I got all the Original D&D books and supplements and decided to go through them all to see what gems they had. In the end I decided to accumulate them into a single document, first by copy/pasting the original three books, and then cutting out parts of each supplement and inserting or amending where necessary. I made some "changes of comfort" like combining the class experience and abilities tables, and reorganising monster stats into the more familiar format. All the while I was learning the rules and seeing the origins of the game unfold before my eyes.

My journey was nearly finished but so many things were missing from my compleat tome; monsters, classes, treasure. So to complement it I went though all seven issues of Strategic Review and the first ten issues of Dragon, taking out the additional rules, classes, monsters, treasure, and also articles such as the description of the inner and outer planes, and added them all into my ever growing compendium.

The final result of my labor, was ... a slightly rough version of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (1e), it was all there. Without doubt the issue of the 1e books was really a composition and reworking of the original rules, and that was it. Not to play this down, as the rules for 1e were (IMO) close to perfection, but I really understood how they came to be and the huge amount of ideas that Gygax and company had churned out in those early years, it really made me appreciate it all the more.

Additionally, what struck me was just how "basic" the eventual Holmes Basic edition that succeeded it was and how much of a rewrite it had become, no wonder it emerged as a separate product stream, I had some idea that Original edition was going to be pre-basic, but I was truly amazed at how much detail was in those first rules.

As a postscript, I can thoroughly recommend any 1e aficionado to take a moment to explore the OD&D rules, it does actually explain a lot and how the 1e rules came to be.


Offline Dizzy

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Re: There and back again
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2018, 01:22:08 PM »
Very cool Ian!

I've always considered doing this myself. OD&D plus all the supplements and stuff always felt like 1e to me. I think if you want a pre-basic OD&D you have to look at is as the original 3lbbs only. Even then, it is helpful to use your understanding of 1e or basic to fill in the gaps of stuff that isn't explained well. How long did this all take you? sounds like a fun little project!

Offline dramaman

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Re: There and back again
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2018, 08:40:22 PM »
This sounds kind of like what Swords and Wizardry Complete turned out to be - a rework of the various OD&D books into a single more straightforward volume that resembles 1e lite.
Gnomes are cool. Gnome Illusionist Thieves are WAYYY cool!