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D&D General Which edition of D&D did you grow up with?

Which edition did you start with?


41st lv DM
Interesting to note that my story--first exposure with BECMI, but grew up with AD&D--is a common one. I wonder if the marketing of "Advanced" had something to do with it. I vaguely remember thinking that "basic" was OK, but "Advanced" was where it was at. Kind of amusing in retrospect.

In my case no.
My 1st exposure to our favorite game was sitting in the "book" section of my mom's favorite department store on summer days while she shopped looking through the 1e books that were out in summer of '80.
It was like a mini-oasis of not-clothing with several chairs.
They never had all the books at any one time. So although it was a game, I couldn't piece together how it all fit together. But it was interesting & I wanted to play it.
So a few months later I put Dungeons & Dragons - game on my Christmas list.
I should've been more specific & also said Players Handbook, Dungeon Masters Guide, Monster Manual.
But I was 10 going on 11 & didn't think of that. And I had no idea that a Basic boxed set existed....

Come Christmas time the only D&D Grandma found listed in whatever catalog she was ordering from was the Basic set.
Thus that's what I peeled the wrapping paper off of Christmas morning.

Looking back? It's good thing that 1) I wasn't more specific, 2) Grandma only found the Basic set.
Because if I'd gotten what I'd envisioned? We would've been lacking the dice. Without any clue where to get them. And that would've greatly hindered us. Maybe even killed our games before they'd begun.

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I'll put it this way: We used Chainmail and Outdoor Survival in conjunction with the rules....

Yes, I am old.

I was lucky where I grew up as a kid. If you drew a triangle with TSR, Games Designer Workshop and Judges Guild as points - I lived pretty near the middle.


Staff member
Started with 1Ed in 77-78, which was my main game for most of my D&D life. I bought and tried the earlier stuff, but stuck with AD&D.

Then came 3Ed/3.5Ed/3.x clones. That’s my D&D of choice.

I'm likely with the minority in that I didn't "grow up" with D&D. In my first 25 years of roleplaying, I played a single AD&D campaign (Al Quadim) that lasted maybe 3-6 months. I've played dozens of other RPGs during that time, instead.

And then when 5E came out, we tried it out, and found it much more comfortable to work with than earlier editions. And one friend who was part of that, a brand new player and thus getting his first experience in RPGs with D&D 5E, decided that D&D was everything, and has used it to run several years' worth of games since then. So in that sense, 5E is the version of D&D that I've spent the most time playing.

He's still in the baby GM stage, though, where he's trying to modify D&D to be something different, but hasn't really grokked that other games exist (aside from Pathfinder), and that many are better suited to what he wants to do.

Enrico Poli1

I started with BECMI, the first Italian translation of the Red Box, for some years in the late 80s if I remember correctly.
Then in the 90s my group switched directly to AD&D2e and the settings: Dragonlance, Dark Sun, Planescape...
Both were hugely satisfying experiences.


I am 48 year old pretending to be an elf. You gonna have to be more specific about this growing up business! But while I started with B/X we moved to AD&D 1e within the first year of playing the game.
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I feel like getting onboard D&D because of the CRPGs is its own separate formative experience. I only bought my first D&D book because of Pool of Radiance, and I had the books for almost 2 years before I ever actually played a real game.

It wasn't as direct for me* . However, I feel the endless hours with the Eye of the Beholder and Baldur's Gate series made it easy for me to join a group when the topic of playing D&D at the table finally came up.

*I did get into Shadowrun mostly because I read the novels, though.


Mention of Bargle in the iconic villians thread got me thinking about how back in the 80s, there were really two streams of D&D players: those who played BECMI and those who played AD&D; I was the latter, and thus had to look up Bargle. I had heard the name before, but didn't know who it was. It was curious to me that such an iconic figure (for BECMI) folks would barely register on my radar, despite playing since the early 80s.

Anyhow, when did you jump on the train? What did you grow up with? During which edition were you indoctrinated? Which edition is "home"?

I'm making some choices with the poll - like grouping 1st and 2nd edition, 3E and 3.5, as I'm less interested in specifics and more about which "branch" people started with. I was tempted to include Pathfinder with 3.x, but thought it might be interesting to see if anyone started with Pathfinder.

One final note: I am less interested in your very first game, and more in which game you grew up with. Meaning, which was your "imprinting" phase? I'll take myself as an example: my very first session (in which I was ushered into the back of a VW bus by a group of kids at a Buddhist festival and handed a character sheet) was probably either Holmes or Moldvay--I can't remember as I was 8 or 9 years old--but then when I got into D&D (some family friends gave me their AD&D books, as they got into early video games - their loss, my gain), it was AD&D all the way. I bought a few BECMI modules over the years, but I was very much indoctrinated into AD&D.

Feel free to share any specifics or your "origin story" in the comments.
Started in 1980 with AD&D. It and little black book Traveller was my "origin story" as far as RPGs go.

While as time went on there were lotsa others, those were the foundation.

However, there were several more earthquakes - moments where how I saw that ROG foundation shifted.

HERO system changed it twice - once for "build the result and then later for "where balance lives."

Vampire and Amber for learning a new way to dance between story and game.

There were lots of smaller tremors along the way, of course - and a blessing of plenty of fantastic players among the many who all showed me different things, good, bad and other.

That's kinda a point I want to end on, it's not just the system you started with but likely also the players as well.


I started with the black box. The next book I picked up however, was the 2e DMG, which lead to a bit of confusion as I initially took it to be advanced rules for D&D. So there was at least one instance of a basic elf (magic user spells and all) who was also a cleric (using AD&D multiclassing).

I eventually figured out that 2e was its own thing and focused on that (all the different campaign setting box sets were a delight for me during those years) though I did also pick up the Rules Cyclopedia. That said, I wasn't actually playing much.

It wasn't until college that I met my regular gaming group. They were playing 2e. Less than a year later, 3e was released, so we moved to that.

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