Wednesday, May 3, 2017

my first edition PLAYER'S HANDBOOK

So, yesterday I happened to notice that I'd bought my copy of the 1st edition AD&D PLAYER'S HANDBOOK on May 2nd, 1980: exactly thirty-seven years earlier.

I'd started playing the game in February of that year, and remember that while I was fascinated by the game from the very start, I hesitated a while trying to decide which version to buy. There was the D&D boxed set, which seemed the reasonable place to start. But the guys I played with at the local Hobby Store urged me to ignore the word 'advanced' on the cover of the hardcover rulebooks buy this instead. I'm glad I did. Even though it was expensive for a poor grad student ($12.00) I've never regretted it. I still pull it down and create characters from time to time.

Just to make things more difficult, this was not the rules set by which the games were actually being run: that was a binder of xeroxed pages that I have since come to know were what's generally called 'the Cal-Tech rules'. I still have a copy of that as well, but I'm not nostalgic about it; it was superseded for me as soon as I got the hardcover PH. Eventually I managed to get all three books that made up the core AD&D rules set (at $12.00 for the MONSTER MANUAL and $15.00 for the DMG), but I don't seem to have written the date in my copy of either though I remember reading through the entire DMG over a Christmas break, which must have been December 1980.

A copy of Dungeon Geomorphs, and of Judge's Guild's DARK TOWER (the first module I ever bought, which still holds up well), and some dice, and I was off and running -- solo games mostly, until I found a group at Marquette circa the spring of 1982. And despite some periods when I cdn't find a group (the longest one corresponding to the first few years of Fourth Edition) I've been gaming ever since.

John R.
--who's too busy on the festschrift to roll up any characters right now, but knows it's just a matter of time.


Zenopus said...

It's neat the Caltech Rules aka Warlock made it that far east. Most others I've heard of that used them were in CA, like J. Eric Holmes who used the original (1975) Warlock rules because the original D&D books were so hard to understand. I think exposure to the relative clarity of Warlock was part of the process that led him to offer to edit D&D Basic. Do you think your photocopies are of the original Warlock (Spartan magazine Aug 1975) or the Complete Warlock (1978, Balboa Press). The latter has a great deal more complexity, including Quadruple Classed characters (!). I've previously written some about Warlock here:

N.E. Brigand said...

I thought you might find this article interesting; it's about the actor Vin Diesel, who is apparently a big D&D fan:

John D. Rateliff said...

Dear Z.
I don't know what version my xeroxed typescript was; I plan to post more about it once I'm back from Kalamazoo, as a glimpse into a long-extinct branch of D&D (analogous to Java Man?). Plus, that might allow those who've delved into such matters, like yourself, enough to be able to identify it more closely.

Dear NEB.
Thanks for the link. I'm not much of a Diesel fan (Vin that is -- I'm a great admirer of D.S.L., the D&D artist, who I was lucky enough to know in my TSR days) but there seems to be no doubt of his sincerity as One of Us: a true D&D fan. Good for him.

--John R.

Zenopus Archives said...

John, thanks & looking forward to reading more about your copy of Warlock.