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What is What is Dungeons & Dragons?

I found this book a while back at one of the local used bookstore. It's obvious that it was written during some of the early times of Role-Playing.

It's a guide book to playing basic D&D. I'm not talking about wonderful two book red boxed set that Frank Metzner did the re-write for, no way, that was mid-eightes. This is an introduction to the older edition, with the female magic user & fighter battling a dragon. We're talking 1982 baby!

According to the back, it was written by John Butterfield, Philip Parker, and David Honigmann, three British schoolboys. They would have been about 17 when the book was published.

So here's the scoop:

Introduction - This is the chapter is where they try to drumb up excitement for the subject. They start off with a few descriptions of characters which were typical of the time. They go on to talk about some of the basic concepts of roleplaying, the propper setting and equivelant time period, a history of gaming including wargaming, and some of the influences.

Getting Started - Explains what the DM's job is, some of material needed to play, and tips on how to find a gaming group. At the end of the chapter is a discussion about dice, it shows some drawings of what they look like and even has a chart explaining how to simulate polyhedron dice with only d6's.

Character Generation - Guides players through the pocess of making their character. It talks about the choice of character class, along with a lot of optional rules.

Dungeon Design - Tells the new DM how to make a dungeon. It covers things like making maps, deciding on traps and treasures and choosing which monsters to populate the dungon with. They use the example of a ruined temple.

The Adventure - This chapter discusses approches to running a session. Using the dungeon created in the previous chapter, they go through a sample adventure. The left-hand page reads just like a novel. The right hand side, has an example of in game notes.

The Dungeon Master - Advice for DMs about how to keep you players interested, on track, and making sure the game is not impossible to complete while still remaining challenging.

Figures and Other Accessories - How to use models and figures, and how to find them. It talks about modules and tells about some of the magazines and fanzines dedicated to gaming.

Computers - Talks about using computer programs to do thing like generating characters and storing stats for monsters. Early computer adventure games are also mentioned.

Further Complexit - Introduces the Expert rules books, so that you will know what to do with your characters beyond 4th level. This chapter also talks about the AD&D First Edition game.

Other Worlds - Has a brief introduction to some other gaming systems that were popular at the time. There's a little talk about Traveller, DragonQuest, Gamma World, Boot Hill, Top Secret, and even Villains and Vigilantes. In some cases it talks about some of the mechanics of the games.

The last few pages of the book are dedicated to list. Fist is a list of model and gaming companies and their addresses. Next is a suggested reading list. Finally there's a glossary and author's notes about the book.

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Last Updated Sat Aug 11, 2007