"Black Dougal gasps 'Poison!' and falls to the floor. He looks dead."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

B/X By the Book

An interesting post at Dragonsfoot (http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=34434) asks, "This came up in a conversation at my gaming table last weekend; how would B/X play, if the only D&D products you had ever heard of or seen were the Basic and Expert rulebooks? If you had no experience of 1974 D&D, AD&D or any supplements or modules, and had to generate adventures for your players with just the red and cyan books, what would it look like?"

A few of specific characteristics that are identified in the post are:
- Alignment Languages
- The assortment of Monsters
- Power level of characters and magic
- Adventure design

I would also throw in the impact that the art has on the feel of the game.

I think that all of these characteristics lend themselves to a specific style of game play. The selection of "lost world"-type and the various "what the heck was that?" monsters, the three alignments (Law, Neutral, Chaos) and the alignment languages, the low power level of magic (primarily in restricting access to spells) and the examples given in the adventure design sections of both the Basic book and the Expert book lend themselves to a game where the forces of Chaos are pressing against the few scattered pockets of lawful civilization. Everything beyond the guarded walls are dark and mysterious.


  1. Hmmm...this actually WAS my early experience with D&D. I introduced myself to the game by getting the Basic set for my 8th birthday and later acquiring the Expert set...I never knew there was any other type of D&D (I thought Basic and Expert said it all)...I got my first Monster Manual for either Christmas a couple years later or another birthday, and I thought "WTF?" After only playing B/X for the first year and a half, our adventures were a bit different perhaps...

  2. We started with B/X rules and I've found it hard to find any other game to play.

    The rules are breif and open ended. We weren't gamers; didn't have any influences or past experience; D&D was a surprise and completely new. We did what we wanted with it and had fun.

    I don't get the references to other games influencing how to play B/X rules. Except perhaps in that some people are infleunced by the way they are introduced to gaming and they think how they played is how everyone else plays.

    If they have fun: fine.

    It suited our tastes for a simple way of playing escapist fantasy adventure fun. When it came to the actual detials of the game world and adventures, we made them up as we wanted and had balls of fun.