A Tour through the Editions of D&D

As you may or may not be aware, I have recently been blogging about the History of D&D.  The series is meant as an overview and is not necessarily comprehensive.  (I should also note that there is a fascinating looking documentary on this subject in the works over on Kickstarter.)

However, there is something a bit more satisfying than reading about the history of D&D...playing it.  I, Crazy Monkey, intend to take you on a tour of the editions of Dungeons & Dragons.  You will get to experience the rules and "feel" of each edition in a play-by-post campaign format, one at a time, until we reach D&D Next.  
 
A few notes:

1. For each stop on the tour, I would like to encourage folks who have never played that particular edition to take part as players.  When we move on to the next edition, I'd like bring in an entirely new group of players, though the previous group is encouraged to stick around for the discussions.  We will generally try to maintain a group of about five players, with a waiting list maintained in case someone drops out.

2. The play-by-post format may be new to you.  Don't worry, I will help you through both the learning process of play-by-post and the rules of the edition we are currently playing.  I should note, however, that play-by-post does tend to be much slower than a normal face to face or chat-based campaign.  The game thread will be updated most Wednesday evenings (I say most because other responsibilities may pull me away on any given Wednesday).  If there will be no update on a given Wednesday, I will post a notice to that effect.

3. We will be covering the following editions on this tour.

BECMI - Specifically the "Red Box"
AD&D 1st Edition
AD&D 2nd Edition
D&D 3rd Edition - Specifically the 3.5 revision
D&D 4th Edition

If there is time and interest, we may try to cover some of the sub-editions, such as the Rules Cyclopedia update of the BECMI rules, the Player's Option books in 2nd Edition, the pre-3.5 version of 3rd Edition, and the Essentials rules for 4th Edition.  In all cases, we will be using only the core books of each edition (the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual...just the "Red Box" boxed set in the case of BECMI) and the campaign setting resource for that edition (see point 4, below).

4. The first stop on the tour will be set in the "Known World" also known as Mystara.  For the rest of the tour, we will be exploring the Forgotten Realms, visiting each era presented in the Campaign Setting products of every edition (the original 1st edition boxed set, the post Time of Troubles era of the 2nd edition boxed set, the 3rd edition hardcover volume, and the post-Spellplague era of the 4th edition Forgotten Realms campaign setting).

5. Spectators and lurkers are very welcome.  Commentary and discussion is likewise encouraged.  Please do so in the Out of Character Discussion Thread so as not to clutter up the actual game threads or the D&D Next General Discussion forum.

6. Players and the DM (yours truly) will be using the online dice roller Invisible Castle to make all rolls.
 
Without further adieu, I present A Tour through the Editions (hosted in the Crazy Monkey's Asylum Group).  Enjoy.  

All around helpful simian

Do we post our interest here or in the sub-forum you linked to? Because I would def be up for BECMI, having never gotten the chance to try out the old school action.
My Sig
Reality is but the sum total of all illusions. Proud Hand of Karsus, now and forever Mess with one Hand, mess with 'em all I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
"just do what LM the lord of magical might does, and you'll be fine" - sfdragon, 10/12/09
Board Snippets
147048523 wrote:
"I don't like X, they should remove it." "I like X, they should keep it." "They should replace X with Y." "Anybody that likes X is dumb. Y is better." "Why don't they include both X and Y." "Yeah, everybody can be happy then!" "But I don't like X, they should remove it." "X really needs to be replaced with Y." "But they can include both X and Y." "But I don't like X, they need to remove it." "Remove X, I don't like it." Repeat. Obstinance?
56790678 wrote:
Until you've had an in-law tell you your choice of game was stupid, and just Warcraft on paper, and dumbed down for dumber players who can't handle a real RPG, you haven't lived. You haven't lived.
56902498 wrote:
Lady and gentlemen.... I present to you the Edition War without Contrition, the War of the Web, the Mighty Match-up! We're using standard edition war rules. No posts of substance. Do not read the other person's posts with comprehension. Make frequent comparison to video games, MMOs, and CCGs. Use the words "fallacy" and "straw man", incorrectly and often. Passive aggressiveness gets you extra points and asking misleading and inflammatory questions is mandatory. If you're getting tired, just declare victory and leave the thread. Wait for the buzzer... and.... One, two, three, four, I declare Edition War Five, six, seven eight, I use the web to Go!
57062508 wrote:
D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
56760448 wrote:
Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison... MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development. TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment. You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
90571711 wrote:
Adding options at the system level is good. Adding options at the table level is hard. Removing options at the system level is bad. Removing options at the table level is easy. This is not complicated.
57333888 wrote:
112760109 wrote:
56902838 wrote:
Something like Tactical Shift is more magical than martial healing.
Telling someone to move over a few feet is magical now? :| I weep for this generation.
Given the laziness and morbid obsesity amongst D&Ders, being able to convince someone to get on their feet, do some heavy exercise, and use their words to make them be healthier must seem magical.
158710691 wrote:
D&D definitely improves mental health; Just as long as you stay away from these forums ;)
Both.  Both is good.  ;)

The character creation and game discussion and game play and all that good stuff will happen in the Group, but please do express initial interest and ask questions here.

Thanks.      

All around helpful simian

So why not OD&D?  No love for the LBBs?


And don't forget to have them appoint one of the players to be the caller.


Carl
Both.  Both is good.  ;)

The character creation and game discussion and game play and all that good stuff will happen in the Group, but please do express initial interest and ask questions here.

Thanks.      

Sounds good. I'm game. I'll head on over to the sub-forum.

My Sig
Reality is but the sum total of all illusions. Proud Hand of Karsus, now and forever Mess with one Hand, mess with 'em all I am Blue/Green
I am Blue/Green
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
"just do what LM the lord of magical might does, and you'll be fine" - sfdragon, 10/12/09
Board Snippets
147048523 wrote:
"I don't like X, they should remove it." "I like X, they should keep it." "They should replace X with Y." "Anybody that likes X is dumb. Y is better." "Why don't they include both X and Y." "Yeah, everybody can be happy then!" "But I don't like X, they should remove it." "X really needs to be replaced with Y." "But they can include both X and Y." "But I don't like X, they need to remove it." "Remove X, I don't like it." Repeat. Obstinance?
56790678 wrote:
Until you've had an in-law tell you your choice of game was stupid, and just Warcraft on paper, and dumbed down for dumber players who can't handle a real RPG, you haven't lived. You haven't lived.
56902498 wrote:
Lady and gentlemen.... I present to you the Edition War without Contrition, the War of the Web, the Mighty Match-up! We're using standard edition war rules. No posts of substance. Do not read the other person's posts with comprehension. Make frequent comparison to video games, MMOs, and CCGs. Use the words "fallacy" and "straw man", incorrectly and often. Passive aggressiveness gets you extra points and asking misleading and inflammatory questions is mandatory. If you're getting tired, just declare victory and leave the thread. Wait for the buzzer... and.... One, two, three, four, I declare Edition War Five, six, seven eight, I use the web to Go!
57062508 wrote:
D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
56760448 wrote:
Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison... MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development. TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment. You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
90571711 wrote:
Adding options at the system level is good. Adding options at the table level is hard. Removing options at the system level is bad. Removing options at the table level is easy. This is not complicated.
57333888 wrote:
112760109 wrote:
56902838 wrote:
Something like Tactical Shift is more magical than martial healing.
Telling someone to move over a few feet is magical now? :| I weep for this generation.
Given the laziness and morbid obsesity amongst D&Ders, being able to convince someone to get on their feet, do some heavy exercise, and use their words to make them be healthier must seem magical.
158710691 wrote:
D&D definitely improves mental health; Just as long as you stay away from these forums ;)
So why not OD&D?  No love for the LBBs?


And don't forget to have them appoint one of the players to be the caller.


Carl



Mainly because I don't have OD&D sitting on my shelf.  ;) 

Personal opinion...

It has long been an absurd and crazy dream of mine to run a D&D campaign using everything ever published from beginning to present.  This little jaunt through the editions shall have to suffice as, even with the back catalog becoming available in digital form next year, there is only so much time in one's life.  ;)

All around helpful simian

Both.  Both is good.  ;)

The character creation and game discussion and game play and all that good stuff will happen in the Group, but please do express initial interest and ask questions here.

Thanks.      

Sounds good. I'm game. I'll head on over to the sub-forum.




If you have any issues joining the Group, please let me know.

All around helpful simian

I'm in!
We need some more players folks!
I'm currently a player in a BECMI game, and the DM for a 2E and DDN game (not to mention converting 1E adventures to DDN), so I'm sort of already taking a "tour" through the editions. If I were not already as involved as I am I'd jump right on it, though. Hope it turns out great for all those involved!

Hmmm, I'm already in a PBP game, but I'd really like to join this too. It seems like a large quantity of the crazy new-to-me D&DN stuff I find awesome is often from X older edition. (I started with 3.5, post 4e release.)

Few questions:

How's the book situation going to work? Do I need to own a copy of the PHB of whatever edition in order to play? (Fine for some editions, little problem for others.)

The thing I'm most interested in playing, is Wilder from 3.5. I've played a lot of 3.5 and LOVE Wilders, but I have had very little actual experience with Wilders since my group didn't like Psionics. :c (I got to play a little bit, but that was gestalt so it was hardly legit.) If I jump in an early game like BECMI then cycle out, will I be able to cycle back in when 3.5 rolls around? And if so, can I play a Wilder? (If I can't play Widler, then I don't care either way about getting in on 3.5.)

Where can I see what classes / roles are already taken?

Great initiative Quentin !  i hope this get  a golden success ! 
Way to go, Crazy Monkey! It's great to see a die hard fan introducing so much to new players. Kudos.

Brought a smile to my face as I remembered doing almost that a while ago. I took it back to 1e and everyone died. It was a blast! We kind of lost heart after that (don't get me wrong, I love 1e!).

Anyway, kudos!

All the Best,

--David
David L. Dostaler Author, Challenger RPG (free)
I'm in on this, I will join the group.  While I have played in nearly every edition of D&D, I think that going back and trying again after a few years might help bring back some fond memories and help bring down some of those edition war walls. 
Welcome to ZomboniLand - My D&D Blog http://zomboniland.blogspot.com/
I joined the group . I would be interested in playing 1st edition. I started with 2nd and have played all the way through. I recently managed to pick up the reprint and the Monk looked cool.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There is a nice little self created divide here. Shame there can't be more acceptance instead. I feel that is where the future of the game should be.

All this vitriol, pushing away, retroactive retaliation, and preemptive striking needs to stop.

I keep trying but some won't let things go. Will you?

 

Because you like something, it does not mean it is good. Because you dislike something, it does not mean it is bad. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it everyone's opinion. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it truth. Because it is your opinion, it does not make it the general consensus. Whatever side you want to take, at least remember these things.

If you've joined the group and want to play in the first game, please visit this thread to "roll up" your character!
Gimme a wave when 2e rolls around.
D&D Next = D&D: Quantum Edition
Great to see the level of interest!

Let me take a moment to answer a few questions.

VacantPsalm, you don't need to own any of the materials at all.  Imagine going in to a game store or convention and sitting down for a two hour introductory adventure that teaches the basics of the game.  That is the intent here.  On the flip side of that, it means we'll only be using the core rulebooks for characters, so that does mean no Wilders in 3.5, unfortunately.  However!  ;)  1st Edition had optional rules for psionics in the Player's Handbook so you may want to consider joining up for the 1st edition adventure a little later on.  There were no specific psionic classes, but you could add a touch of psionics to any character.

We still need about three more players for our first BECMI adventure so don't be shy!      

All around helpful simian

Oooooh, old psionics. I've heard crazy things about them, that will be interesting too. I'll take your suggesting and jump in on 1st edition, still watching BECMI of course. Thx for answers.
I'm in, though, based on my rolls, I doubt I'll be in for very long...
I'm interested. However, I don't know if I'll be available or not.
You can drop in on the Out of Character (OOC) discussion at any time and play in one of the next installments later on if you don't have the time right now.  :D

All around helpful simian

Give me a shout if you need anyone for the AD&D editions.  I never got much time on player's side of 1e, and hardly have done any 2e at all.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
I am very interested. Is it too late to join?
My Twitter
Hi Josha,

It is not too late.  We have five players, but I am leaving it open for a total of 8, in case someone drops out.  So, still three more spots before we start the game on Wednesday.

Pashalk_Mons, feel free to get in on the OOC (Out of Character) Discussion in the meantime.     

All around helpful simian

Hi Josha,

It is not too late.  We have five players, but I am leaving it open for a total of 8, in case someone drops out.  So, still three more spots before we start the game on Wednesday.

Pashalk_Mons, feel free to get in on the OOC (Out of Character) Discussion in the meantime.     


Great. I made a fighter.

This is an interesting exercise. I may take the time to really learn the systems and do the same with my group.
My Twitter
Let the games begin!

Everyone is welcome to watch the game and comment/discussion in the Out of Character thread, but no new players will be accepted for this stop on the tour.

I'll be starting up a new thread for the next stop, 1st Edition, when the BECMI game concludes.         

All around helpful simian

This sounds really interesting. I have played all editions, but with a 4E game I'm playing in, a 3.5 game I'm DMing, and numerous players begging me to DM a 2E game (I want to, but I'm also trying to work through a master's degree program here!) time is not on my side. I will be reading along to see how it's going on the forums, tho!

Just roll some dice.

 

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Nooooooo!!! I missed out on my favorite edition, BECMI Cry  This is what I get for not reading the forums closely enough. I have very fond memories of the ruined keep and that dastardly magic user Bargle.

For those who plan on following the action, a quick overview of the BECMI system can be found here and a list of the famous mid-80's box sets here. For those who aren't used to it, I'll just say "yes, dwarf is a class".

This edition plays very fast, allows for a great mix of RP and combat without too many rules getting in the way and was surprisingly balanced for an early edition. Have fun guys, I will be keeping a close eye on this campaign and living vicariously through your posts so keep 'em coming!

When you get around to AD&D please let me know, I'd love to roll up a character and join your group.

Watchers are quite welcome.  :D  Thanks for the links, Style75.

My intention is to recruit an entirely new group of players for each stop on the tour, preferably folks who have never played whichever edition we are currently exploring. 

All around helpful simian

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