OSR Why B/X?

Voadam

Legend
Ok. But we've still got around 1.5 million people who already owned a 1E PH when 2E came out, vs. under 300k people buying a 2E PH in its release year, and under a million people buying a 2E PH ever.

Sure, we agree that a lot of 1E players DID get one. But clearly a lot of them didn't, even if we were to assume that ALL 2E PHs were bought by existing 1E players, and discounted brand new players entirely.
Yes, but what the chart looks like to me is that new players were consistently down and declining for the five years after the fad when there was just 1e and no 2e yet.

Then there is the silver medal 2e release spike year. Then a lower than fad but greater than post fad period of years of new sales for 2e for a spread of years, so it seems it was doing as good or slightly better than 1e outside of the fad to start for a good period of years then continued the decline trend.

I have no basis for saying whether the 1e players from the fad spike were continuing with 1e or were done with D&D entirely. So I can't really infer that because at least half a million of them did not get the 2e PH it was because they were unhappy with 2e changes.

Could have been, could have been half a million people who tried out D&D during the fad and left and were not buying any more D&D books. Could have been people who felt happy with their 1e core books and just got 2e supplements for more stuff to use with their compatible D&D games. Probably a mix but anybody's guess as to the proportions.

My guess is that the release year core book bump mostly shows old edition fans buying a new edition, but years afterwards it is mostly new fans coming into the hobby. How long new fans stay, I could not say and core books sales would not really touch on that.

I have stuck with it for over 40 years as an active hobby, but I also know people who played as kids and then stopped.

A big relevant unknown number for this would be how may people were playing 1e when 2e came out. If a lot of people played for four years or less then dropped out then a lot of the fad buyers would have already dropped D&D when 2e came out. If a lot would have stuck with it then that would have different implications on the 2e sales numbers.
 

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B/X is quick to prep (relatively) and quick to start playing.

As someone else mentioned, it has actual guidelines for creating dungeons—including a step-by-step example of a DM creating “The Haunted Keep”.

There are examples of play that demonstrate how to play, while at the same time showing the lethality to player characters, so players know what to expect.

Plenty of monsters to use, including a plethora of dragons. There are monsters that are well beyond the capabilities of a standard, eight person adventuring party, even if they are all at third level.

It says right in the introduction that “house rules” are not only allowed, but expected.

It has a more extensive list of inspirational literature than Appendix N.

It elevates ten year olds to the status of adults.

It’s fun for the whole family.

It’s good for mental development.

It teaches key life skills, like cooperation, saving for the future, and the importance of setting a watch when camping in the wilderness (seriously, I listened to an episode by “Mr. Ballen” where a group went camping in the northern wastes, and one of them got dragged off by a polar bear and was very nearly eaten, until the group leaders finally scared the bear away with flare guns. I kept thinking, “None of these people have played the B/X edition of D&D, otherwise, they would have set a watch.”)

It makes your breath smell good.

It’s funner than a root canal, even with anesthetic.
 


Re: the commercial

The product being advertised is the Moldvay Basic Game (a copy of “Keep on the Borderlands” is also lying (laying?) on the table, at the end), so the highest levels that the PCs can be is 3, and yet the magic user has access to lightning bolt, which isn’t even described in the DM section of Moldvay’s book—although fireball is.

The only logical conclusion (and I was helped by one of the commenters on YouTube to see this) is that the DM purchased the Cook/Marsh Expert set, as well, and had given out a staff of power to the magic user. The magic user’s lightning bolt does emanate from the staff.
 

Something else to add to @cavalier973 ’s fantastic summary:

My introduction to fantasy was not through Appendix N, video games, fantasy novels, movies, or from D&D. Instead, mine came from Thundar the Barbarian, Blackstar, Galtar, Herculoids, and He-Man. I’ve always been a huge animation fan, and those cartoons really sparked the imagination. That’s the fantasy that I truly love, and I don’t think any other system gets close to it.

I’ve mentioned in other threads that I think D&D’s genre is magical fantasy in a USA that had existed from the Bronze Age until a medieval or post-apocalyptic time. The assumptions of vast, untamed wildernesses with treasures and ancient civilizations, of free farmers who are definitely not serfs, of kings without divine right and more democratic societies, and of adventurers being less European knights and more prospectors, explorers, treasure hunters, and cowboys is unique. Erol Otus’ art just sells and cements the non-medieval European influence to me.

After B/X, it is my opinion that TSR, and subsequently WotC, pushed and embraced a more medieval European tone in the majority of their releases. Sure, Planescape and Eberron have some dungeon punk and magitech influences, as does Mystara, but a goodly number of products feel like a romanticized Western Europe of the 12th-15th centuries, just with more modern values.

Thus, with the above, the version of D&D which hews closest to what is near and dear to my heart is Moldvay/Cook Basic/Expert.
 

I saw a lot less animosity towards 2e because of demons/devils/assassins/half orcs, and more towards it being the Lorraine Edition. Which was a far greater sin. But even then, I didn't see it very much. Because it was completely backwards compatible, it was just an occasional grumbling, which is to be expected. After all, we were already all mix-matching B/X with 1e for years, so pulling bits of 2e into the game was second nature.

I was blissfully unaware of most of the animosity. Would occasionally hear grumbles but there was enough mixing and matching of 1E and 2E in my groups. The bigger split I saw was between 2e and basic but that might have just been what was going on in my small circle of friends in highschool.
 

Voadam

Legend
The bigger split I saw was between 2e and basic but that might have just been what was going on in my small circle of friends in highschool.
I think that was fairly common. A lot of attitude of Advanced is the real game that you move into when you are ready after learning with Basic (although at the same time considering basic materials like modules to be perfectly reasonable to use in AD&D games).
 

I think that was fairly common. A lot of attitude of Advanced is the real game that you move into when you are ready after learning with Basic (although at the same time considering basic materials like modules to be perfectly reasonable to use in AD&D games).
Yeah, I was told a few times that Basic and 2nd Edition were for kids, but 1st Edition was for adults, because it had harlot tables.
 



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