Back to Main PageDungeons and Dragons

Basic D&DBack in 1982, an old school friend said "Here, try this game thing we play at college (that's "High School" to you colonial yanks). Strangely, there didn't seem to be a board, just a load of dice, some paper, and people talking rather peculiarly...

And so I discovered roleplaying games, starting with the grand-daddy of them all - Dungeons and Dragons Basic. There is just no describing the sense of wonder embodied in that moment when you fully realize that you can have your character do anything you can think of - or try anyway. The only comparable joy is watching new players hit that point!

1st Edition PHBThe system was basically.. well, Basic, with a few extra bits thrown in. The Advanced books were just coming out then, though, and a good thing too, because a cap of 3rd level was a real problem! Advanced D&D kept us going throughout the Eighties, with a wide mix of games running.

Various campaigns, some epic, some short, have come and gone over the intervening decades. 2nd edition bypassed us pretty much. The near collapse of TSR at the end of the 80s and the dark period when their lawyers used to have any website with D&D material on shut down (no, really!) we took refuge in Traveller and Runequest.

3rd Ed PHBRecently, however, I felt the urge to go back to the roots and run some D&D again. 3rd Edition had just appeared, and I had a strong liking for the new system. So I decided to run some. The results are in the Campaigns section of this website under "Alair"; probably the best roleplaying campaign I have ever run.

But why D&D? Like Traveller, another of our favourites, D&D has many failings as a system. But it has a sense of character improvement like no other game anywhere; characters earn points as a direct result of their actions, and their capabilities improve as time goes on. They grow. And the system (particularly the new system!) is ultimately scalable, so however mighty the PCs may become, there is always a bigger foe to bring them to the edges of their seats.

But - hang on! Isn't Dungeons and Dragons the Work of the Devil? An evil influence that persuades American teenagers to shoot themselves? Or is that Doom?

Well, actually, no. Depressive American teenagers shoot themselves (and other people, sadly) because they're depressive American teenagers, not because they play games or computers or listen to rock music or accept their draft cards. Their personal tastes are not to blame for their psychological problems, though they may shape their expression. This is not my field, but for some proper gen, try this link: . Like any other article of fiction, created collectively or singly, it's fiction. It's imaginary. It's a story. Just because we gather to tell tales of heroes and gods and demons and devils and mayhem and black magic and rescues and adventures, doesn't mean we're suggesting or considering or recommending that people should gather in pubs, buy the best weapons they can find, rob graves and butcher anyone who gets in their way.

The reason it's escapist is that it's way removed from anything we'd ever actually do, that's why it's entertaining and interesting.