Tuesday, 11 February 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary - Feeling Old?

With the realisation that it was forty years ago this year that the venerable D&D rules were released on an unsuspecting world made me stop and think.
I first picked up on the rules towards the end of the 1974 from an issue of Military Modelling which had an advert for the rules and as I was already getting into Fantasy Table Top gaming at the time and it caught my attention so I launched out and spent my pocket money on the boxed set of booklet and I was hooked.

I spent the next fourteen years or so enjoying the game that was D&D and then AD&D with my RPG gaming starting out at the old Clydesdale Wargames Club, and then moving to my own group The Lords of Entropy, where up to about 30 players at one time or another dropped in and out with a hard core of about a dozen or so regulars and was a great social event every week, often two or three times each week in one campaign or another.

In the late 80's I dropped out of RPG's and gaming in general for a while, largely due to the pressure's of a young family and career and all that entails and the lure of D&D paled.

Getting back into gaming in the late 90's D&D reared it's head again but in a much quieter model with a few short campaigns now and again but these fizzled out by the time the mid Naughties rolled around. The various guises of 2nd, 3rd and 3.5 editions never really catching the original wonder of the original and to my mind best, AD&D.

The huge plethora of material available over the years ranging from the TSR/WOTC produced official stuff to the fanzine and less professional modules, articles and so on is immense and quite mind-boggling really, and all the names that go with this plethora that still conjure up memories; Judges Guild, Trollcrusher, Fantasy Games Unlimited, Underworld Oracle, TSR and a hundred others.

The RPG genre has blossomed over the years into all sorts of games, and in fact if you can think of it, there's an RPG version of it. Going into your local game store and seeing what's on offer is often a sobering sight by it's sheer quantity.

The art work generated over the years is quite staggering too and the humble D&D was the progenitor of a huge art industry now largely feeding the games industry both electronic and table top or card based. I still think many of the early illustrations from the rule books are quite iconic and summon up all sorts of memories from those that know them.

I still have huge numbers of very fond memories of all the campaign's which latterly I DM'd more often than not in the world of Alba which ranged from the usual dungeon bashes to large continent spanning conflicts and I still have pretty much all the material generated for Alba Campaign's and indeed is the basis of my slowly ongoing solo wargames campaign over at The Lornian Chronicles.

To think that the mighty D&D has been around for 40 years does make you stop and think, and although it's fortunes have gone up and down a bit, there aren't many rule sets or games out there that are still alive and kicking after 40 years so it must have something. A quick search on the internet will easily show that the game is very much alive and with the recent re-launch and Beta test not long complete D&D should be here for a while yet and still inspiring gaming out there. Still it's been a while. 


  1. Great write-up, I didn't realize it's been 40 years!

    I first played in 1976 so I was close behind you. When I'd come home from college in the 80s, I ran campaigns for my siblings. My kids were quite taken with it for a spell as well. Great times!

    1. Close behind right enough. You must be almost as old as me Monty :-)

      Good times indeed.

    2. I had the same thought. It's our little secret, eh?

      Just rewatched a rerun of Community. In the episode,they combined the music & voice of LoTR with the cast playing a game of D & D. I want to play again!

    3. shhh! I won't tell anyone. Playing again sounds good but may just be a descent into madness at our age! :-)

  2. I first started about 89 I think with the basic set then 2nd Edition while still at school. Only falling away from RPG's after I moved away from Dundee (and the easily accessible Uni club) However a few close friends and me have just started up an Al-Quadim campaign, something I bought back in 1993 and haven't ever really got round to running before, so it's been over a decade for all of us since we last played and we're giving it a shot.

    1. Just shows you Andy that you should never get rid of anything, 20 years is nothing to prove that you needed that module after all :-)


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