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RPGaDay – Day 5: Most old school RPG owned

05/08/2014
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook

Short Answer: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook, circa mid-1980s.

Long Answer: I’ve had an odd history with Dungeons & Dragons, easily the most well-known roleplaying game of all time. This book was one of the first RPG books I ever read, after discovering it in my local library. I was already a fan of the Lone Wolf and Fighting Fantasy adventure books, and this seemed like the next logical step. The only problem was I didn’t know anybody else who even knew the game existed. The library activity room had copies of the DnD starter boxes in a cupboard, but none of the staff seemed inclined to even entertain the notion of using them.

My response to this was to borrow the books when I could, take them home, and read them cover to cover. I would marvel at the artwork, visualise the monsters in my head, and eventually come up with dungeon designs of my own. They were pretty basic affairs, made with no real knowledge of proper design. In my mind, the players would enter a dungeon at the top level, then work their way down as they increased in experience. Oddly enough, this is basically the way you play Torchlight, and may explain why I enjoyed that game so much.

All that work and I didn’t actually get to play the game until I was at University. By that time, AD&D was old hat. 3rd Edition was the new game in town, and it was the one that people wanted to play. I picked the new rules up fast enough and spent many, many hours fighting monsters, plundering dungeons, and getting up to all sorts of imaginary shenanigans. I bought a bunch of the books (of which there were so, so many), but my proudest moment was when I discovered the old AD&D Players Handbook in a second-hand shop. It was only $5, a price I was more than willing to pay for a couple of hundred pages of pure nostalgia.

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