D&D 1E Edition Experience: Did/Do you Play 1E AD&D? How Was/Is It?

How Did/Do You Feel About 1E D&D?

  • I'm playing it right now; I'll have to let you know later.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'm playing it right now and so far, I don't like it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%


Victoria Rules
Started out with it, started kitbashing it, never stopped playing it, never stopped kitbashing it, still playing it (in a very kitbashed form), still kitbashing it.

I like the randomness in abilities, where someone really can be better at everything than someone else, because that reflects real life.

I like the lethality and risk, and the high rewards for the survivors.

I like that there's vastly different subsystems for different things, as it's then possible to use or design the best sub-system for a particular need and not have to worry about how it affects any other systems.

I like the strong niche protection afforded most classes (though it's still far from perfect)

I like the underlying sense of whimsy and occasional silliness that quietly runs through it all. Later editions, much to their demerit, lost this.

I like that it's open-ended without really having to worry about being open-ended; as in if you drop xp-for-gp your advancement slows down so much that while in theory you can get to 15th level, in practice you're extremely likely not to unless your campaign is 30 years long.

I like that it fairly often makes me use every die in the bag.

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Golden Procrastinator
I have played a ton of AD&D 1e and I absolutely love it. In recent years, I ran for a long time a campaign that went on indefinite hiatus (due to real life) about a year and a half ago. I'm currently playing in a PBEM game and, one year ago, I ran Tomb of Horrors.


I like that there's vastly different subsystems for different things, as it's then possible to use or design the best sub-system for a particular need and not have to worry about how it affects any other systems.

That is a good point I had forgotten about.
Unified systems are easier to grasp but are hard to hack properly.

I really miss the 100% table for thieves in later editions. Letting the player distribute the percentages was a nice touch in 2e.


Rob Of The North
Played it during a brief window of 3 years or so. Loved it but never found a group to play with after other kids' interest waned. For me the richness of the game was what made it so incredible. The random encounter odds in the DMG especially made clear that the distribution odds are important for making a world feel real. To this day I still am revulsed by random encounter tables that have even odds for all encounters. % or a bell curve is the only way it should ever be done.

Started playing D&D again in 2006 with 3.5e. While I wouldn't play AD&D again as I think 5e does it well enough, I do still play B/X as I feel that's the best ruleset. My ideal game would be B/X rules with all the DMG random encounter tables and magic.

You should probably change this to:

Note that this is different from the "Advanced Dungeons and Dragons" 2nd Edition, which had a much worse illustration of guy riding his horsey on the cover (and the words "2nd Edition" in bold, red letters). That version is the version that is terrible. It was called "2nd" because it was twice as bad. Like, you know, TSR did the number two all over the better edition.

:poop: Hi! I'm the Second Edition Mascot! Ask me about Kits!

To non-AD&D players, the 1e vs 2e war is like listening to the Independent Fundamental Baptists explain why they can never, ever get along with the Fundamental Independent Baptists.


AD&D 1e anecdote #2 :

We are level 10-12. After years of carving out a territory we have a restored castle and a large valley under our control. Suddenly news arrives that the capital of the kingdom was attacked by a fleet of ships from a foreign nation never heard of before. The sea-side capital is in the hands of the enemy.

We rally the troops and other nobles and march towards the city. Once there we build siege engines and start a proper siege. The enemy (Arabs) have flying carpets and keep bombarding our position with incendiary bombs. Our men are starting to loose morale fast.

The players and I ask for a 15 minutes break to talk strategy. We go to another room while the DM stays in the gaming room. We come back with a plan.

We tell the troops that we are invading the city right now! The DM thinks we are crazy. Our armies starts moving forward. The party is in front on horse with cavalry charging madly at the stone wall. Arrows fly. When we arrive at the proper range my wizard puts one hand forward and says «I wish that a 30' wide portion of wall in front of me disappears!» The last wish on a ring of three wishes is spent. The DM cries... Noooooooooooo! Gets up from his chair and lies down on the floor. He doesn't speak for a good 10 minutes.

Our group had a convention. Wishes were only supposed to be used to bring back dead characters. The poor DM had spent weeks creating a new part for the campaign. We were supposed to get capture and brought to the desert city. He learned a valuable lesson that day. Never prepare too much in advance cause players will not follow the script.

The DM let us storm the city and win the day. We shot fireballs and flaming arrows at the enemy ships and freed the kingdom from the invaders. It was awesome !!!

Sadly, the DM was so utterly crushed that we never played that campaign again.
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This is what I learned on back in 1980, and even then we ignored modifiers by AC type and weapon type. Still, too many level 1 deaths, even with 4d6k3. Starting at max HP would have been huge, and I developed my own point buy system back then.

Note, the title of the post (1E AD&D) doesn't match the title of the poll (1E D&D).

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
For people who, like me, like the 1E tone and flavor, if not the mechanics now, may I recommend Goodman Games' Dungeon Alphabet and Monster Alphabet? They're books of more than 26 random tables (each keeps getting expanded during subsequent reprint Kickstarter campaigns) featuring cool and atmospheric things to add to your game, surrounded by new art by classic AD&D artists and their modern proteges.

Both books are systemless, and thus work with any edition forever.

EDIT: The Monster Alphabet is out of print at the moment, which likely means it'll be part of a Goodman Games Kickstarter campaign some time in 2021 or 2022. Worth keeping an eye out for that, because they'll be adding even more pages of random tables and old school art. (And I'll likely be selling my earlier edition of the book to Noble Knight at the same time, to make room for the new edition.)
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