The Holidays are the perfect time to enjoy timeless holiday classics–come enjoy one with the BoLS crew as we take you through one of our favorite Holiday Classics, the 1st Edition Player’s Handbook.
The first edition Player’s Handbook is a fantastic resource for D&D, and has been since it was first published back in those elder halcyon days. Even though you might not use the classes and progression tables, there’s still plenty of fantastic advice and ideas to take hold of your imagination–which is why we’re traveling back through the misty corridors of time. Sure there are better things we could do while Time Traveling, but there’s more we could do.
One of the cool things about D&D is that, despite having been through 5 official editions (not counting the difference between basic, expert, advanced, and 3.5 or the fabled 2.5 [which was there, I know, that was my first PHB]) the game retains a fundamental shape to it. As though the various editions are outlining the edges of some kind of Platonic ideal that is D&D, and some of the core ideas shine through.
And for authenticity’s sake, Adam Harry and I have been chained to a cave to try and look at the shadows of the wall and discern the true shape of the game.As we dug through this, you could really get a sense of the spirit of early D&D. There were a lot of ideas that had been ported over from Chainmail and then given more creativity/freedom. Reading through the book you can almost hear the conversations that were happening in the developers’ home campaigns. Incidentally those home games are where a lot of D&D canon comes from–if you’ve ever cast a spell with someone’s name, odds are good it’s one of the designer’s characters.
More importantly, you get an idea of how much fun the game can be. Like the game is full of some fairly complex (and often arbitrarily so) rules, and many editions–especially 1st Edition–have a reputation for being particularly unfriendly to ‘filthy casuals’ but for all that, the game was still fun. There are plenty of light hearted moments to be found, both in the rules, and in the art that’s scattered through the book.
It’s a nice reminder that at the end of the day we’re all coming together to play a game. And that games can be fun and serious and though you might fumble your system shock roll and instantly die just for stumbling onto something–or get your party trapped in a chamber full of evil gods hellbent (literally) on sucking the soul from your marrow, you can also cast Otto’s irresistable dance on an Umber Hulk and confront talking crayfish.
At any rate, we enjoyed going back through the 1st Edition Player’s Guide, and hope that you’ll have fun too.
“Hey where should we put this book when we’re done with it?” “It belongs in a MUSEUM!”