SystemMastery 25 – D&D Set 1 Basic Rules
We celebrate a year’s worth of RPG reviews with a return to a true classic. The original Red Box D&D, complete with the white crayon for your dice and the $30 registration form for the 1981 RPGA. Take to the dungeon as a fighter, a magic-user, or perhaps a halfling in one of the earliest iterations of the Dungeons & Dragons name.
Let us know what you thought of D&D Basic in the comments! Have a book you’d us to cover? Let us know about that too.
The mapper is necessary because the DM’s map includes all of the things that the party might not find. It’s entirely possible that the players will decide that they’ve cleared a room, when it actually has hidden passages or loot; at which point the DM would be giving away information, whether or not he handed over the map.
While I don’t necessarily agree with all of the podcast – Thieves are slightly better than they may seem, for instance, since Hide in Shadows lets them literally just hide in shadows and everyone can Find/Remove Traps through roleplaying and the skills are just fallbacks for when that fails – it was very good nonetheless. Bravo on that.
Have you guys considered doing something with the followup, Mentzer’s Expert set? It kind of sounded like you guys were part of the crowd that jumped directly from Basic to Advanced, but the two are different enough games that seeing what you think of all that hexploration would be very interesting. It also has the Thief become more reliable and the Cleric/Magic-User more sustainable, which is a good thing. (The former is still kind of weak, though.)
Our current plan is to go up the whole line of D&D one edition at a time, in order. Well be using them for milestone episodes.
Technically, Mentzer Redbox D&D is the 2nd Red Box D&D.
Thieves are useless, I agree. So does Frank Mentzer, actually.
The stats all have mods (ranging from -3 to +3, except a couple specific cases). page 10 covers them.
Strength helps melee to hit and damage.
Dexterity helps your AC and missile attacks (and initiative if you use individual initiative)
Constitution helps your HP
Intelligence gives you langauges, which is useful in an edition where negotiation is usually an option
Wisdom gives bonus to your spell saving throw (all of them, not just charms like AD&D 1st edition had for some reason).
and charisma’s reaction bonuses and retainer morale bonuses is nice for negotiation.
Clerics always get turn undead.
DM book says for giving the first magic user spell, give either shield, magic missile, or sleep. Creative intelligent usage of limited spells was supposed to be encouraged, so good job with the disk usage!.
Caller was also in AD&D 1st edition. I continued to use it in 2nd edition. It helps to have a player who’s job is to keep the other players on track, so that I’m not always the one who has to say “ok, we’ve had enough side talk, let’s get back to the game” Or encouraging the players planning as a group rather than each one having their own idea of what is going on and each trying to get that done.
My favourite section was the play advice, which I still read through from time to time. the discussion of the creative uses of hammer and pitons for example really encourages what makes tabletop RPGs unique as a game.
Anyways, I really love the podcast so far, I’m looking forwards to the next 50 episodes I have to get caught up on
As for your wondering where teh Dwarves are scottish thing came from, I believe I recall Dwarves being Scottish in the earliest decent combat oriented computer games that had voices- both Myth and Warcraft – and I think that’s what would have been in the air by the time 2e rolled around.
Yeah warcraft i think was one of the first that had scot drunk axey dwarves
And then it exploded to even the tolkien films, making it come full circle all the way around to the source of dwarves in modern fantasy
(would it kill someone to make like creepy monster smith dwarves from norse mythology or child napping dwarves rather than just tolkien ones?)
Nah, it’s way older than that (we’ve had a lot of time to research it in the past 100 episodes). It originates from the 1953 Poul Anderson Novel “Three Hearts and Three Lions” which had a fairly well known (in nerd circles at the time) dwarf with a Scottish accent. It was also the origin of the D&D Paladin (instead of just being guys that directly work for Charlemagne) and the Law/Chaos alignment axis. I guess Gygax was a fan.