Monday, March 12, 2012

The Original 7 - Dungeons & Dragons "White Box" - And So It Begins

Before I actually started the process of delving neck deep into the Original 7 RPGs, I thought about the scholarly approach I was going to take.  Let me start right now by saying "that shit ain't happening!"  Or, it may, but only as circumstances permit.  I find myself enjoying my trip far too much to make this a purely scholarly project.

In any case, I've been working my way through Dungeons & Dragons Volume 1 - Men and Magic, and finding the nuggets that, to my eyes, are the most insightful.
Number of Players:  At least one referee and from four to fifty players can be handled in any single campaign, but the referee to player ratio should be about 1:20 or thereabouts.  (holy shit!  50 players?!?  1 ref to every 20 players ?!?  I have trouble running a game with more than 5 sitting at my table these days)
Under Recommended Equipment - Imagination and 1 Patient Referee ;)

Elves:  They may use magic armor and still act as Magic-Users.  (as elves swapped out their classes, choosing between being fighters and magic-users in between adventures, the magic armor perk is pretty powerful)
Other Character Types:  There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided that they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begging as let us say, a "young" one and progress upwards in the usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee.  (hmmm... by the time AD&D was introduced, this little gem was forgotten.)
Strength gives no bonus to hit or damage.

6 levels of Magic-User spells and 5 levels of Cleric spells take up 11 1/2 pages.  About one spell level per page.  Digest sized.  How come we can't write stuff as concisely these days?


  1. I got chastised for bring up the 50 players and 1:20 ratio when I saw it. Apparently it was meant to include the number of people who would flow into and out of a campaign over time. Not a singular session instance.

  2. let them chastise me than ;)

    if i read this as a 12 year old back in the late 70's, it would certainly indicate to be that 1 ref to 20 players was supported by the rules as written ;P

  3. I started with the Holmes basic set so I missed out on the wacky fun of the Woodgrain and Whitebox booklets. Once the AD&D rulebooks came out I never looked back.

  4. How come we can't write stuff as concisely these days?

    You are so right!

  5. The Other Character Types said Balrog in the brown box. That got revised to Dragon when the Tolkein estate went after them. Here's what I did with it when one of my players insisted he wanted to play that rule in an 80s brown box revival campaign.


    On the game size, it was really the whole crowd that came and went most of the time, but big games did happen. At GenCon 7 I played in a game EGG ran that had about 15 of us, with the Great Svenny and Ernie leading the way and making most of us with our lowbie characters pretty irrelevant. Saw MAR Barker running an EPT game there on an amazing temple complex model and what must have been 20 people.


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