First Edition Was One Of A Kind
The hottest topic these days is fourth edition and beyond and on occasion there are topics about dnd 3.5. I have browsed the internet and there apparently a few people still discussing the very first dnd game books that started it all back in the 1970’s. Yes, it is that old of a role playing game. It must be pretty popular if it has lasted that many long years.
No, I did not personally play it. My brothers had played it though and they were the ones that got me fascinated about the game when I saw them reading the 2nd edition books as well as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons first edition.
The closest I got a glimpse on the original game was the character sheets that I still have in Ohio. I remember pretending to use the sheets as if I was taking part in the gaming process when I was a little boy.
Years later, I did manage to learn a lot more about the first edition that really amazed. It is totally different from present day game versions, but Wizards of the Coast did try to implement some of the old features at one point and then later
took them back out.
No Pictures Needed
No, the book did not have fancy pictures except for the awesome front cover. Instead, it just provided a player with the capability of being able to play. All game mechanics were laid out literally in black and white.
Personally, I think a lot of books are over exaggerated with the colorful pictures they have now-a-days. I am not saying I disagree with the pictures. In fact, the present day pictures are wonderfully displayed and I think that it gives artists a paycheck for once. I am just saying that too many people in the present have too high of an expectation for a role playing game when all they need are just some dice, a pencil (or pen), some paper, and a lot of imagination. The images are really
In fact, I remember back in my day, for dungeons and dragons, I use to draw my character’s pictures and whip out the old graph paper. True, it is easier to just get a character creation program, but nothing beats doing things the old fashioned way. What if your computer breaks down or you are stuck somewhere without internet access? What then? Trust me, I have been in that situation myself.
Do It Old School
There is nothing wrong with getting your graph paper, a calculator, some dice, and exercising the muscles in your hands as well as the side of the brain that controls your creativity functions. Put your computer to the side for at least one time. It hurts the eyes when stared at for long periods of time anyway. Forget your pdf’s and get an actual real book and read it. You will find it more relaxing instead of some awkward laptop on your legs.
If you do that, you will understand where I am coming from when I say there is nothing wrong with playing a game that is not so fancy looking as the present day stuff. Despite that there are not colorful photos or cd’s in the back of the book, the first version was a very fun game.
So enough of my not getting to the point. I apologize if I get a little side-tracked.
Fighting With Hands Only
The game has some classes that you may or may not see in present-day versions (or at least not in the primary player’s handbook). One of them I favored the most was the monk.
This guy wears no armor, uses no weapons, and uses no shields. All his actions are done with just the bare hands. Imagine getting attacked by an arrow and just swatting it to the side with only your bare hands. Ya, that good. He can also climb walls and do other thief abilities. His attacks are pure hand-to-hand combat. Nothing more.
I have tried to achieve the same experience in online gaming, but it was all in vain. Most of those games require wielding a weapon to succeed. I did manage to pull off something similar in the old Dungeons and Dragons computer games they use to have. What a rare treat it is to do everything without fancy equipment.
Other Unique Qualities of First Edition
Another thing I want to point out that I no longer see (or at least I am not aware of it) is titles given to the characters upon leveling up. No, I am not talking about titles gained in the game itself given by kings and knights that are encountered. The titles are just given after gaining a level automatically. It kind of makes you feel like you just accomplished something and gives you a feeling of great pride.
Another thing I admired was the spell list was a lot simpler back then. It was shorter and straight to the point. A player could easily memorize it in like one or two days of game sessions. The list in the present day is so long and detailed, I would pretty much need to have the book around for referencing every time. Plus, to top it off the newer editions have extra books covering even more spells as well. That is kind of an information overload right there. It is good to have variety for those who desire it, but sometimes it can get difficult when constantly having to look the stuff up.
Now, I do believe that in the present they still have infravision I think for the elves and such, but I no longer see ultravision – at least not that I am aware of. Ultravision is a rare ability where creatures can see via x-rays and gamma rays (stuff in the ultraviolet spectrum).
I would have to say the only complicated part was psionics. Now, that had a ton of detail in the book. It was a useful ability, but it required a lot of reading to understand its mechanics easier.
That pretty much covers a lot of the information you would encounter in the player’s handbook. Feel free to check it out for
1st Edition Player’s Handbook
1st Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide
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Your Fellow Gamer