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Celebrating Dungeons & Dragons' 40th Anniversary 218

disconj writes "With the 40th anniversary of the release of Dungeons & Dragons coming up this weekend, the Internet is ablaze with reflections on its legacy. Dave Ewalt gives an intro for the uninitiated. Ethan Gilsdorf explains how 'all I need to know about life I learned from Dungeons & Dragons'. Finally, Jon Peterson presents a video show-and-tell of rare artifacts from D&D's development." The real question is how many characters have you lost in Tomb of Horrors?
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Celebrating Dungeons & Dragons' 40th Anniversary

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  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @11:11PM (#46042657)

    You fail your morale check and can't post this round.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @11:12PM (#46042665)

    Got bogged down by the rules.

    I always had a lot more fun as a kid playing pretend games (when kids still played those instead of video games) than RPGs with a lot of rules. I think the amount of books and their expense just killed it. Tried several RPGing systems since, BESM and the like.

    I learned that I like it a lot better when a computer takes care of all the details.

    • by msevior ( 145103 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @11:25PM (#46042747)

      Clear rules are what makes a good game. It's really frustrating to play a game where "you make it up as you go along" :-)

      D&D was awesome as a 20-year-old and its far more fun having people rather then computers to interact with.

      • Cl

        D&D was awesome as a 20-year-old

        It's still awesome as a 30-year-old :) I'm playing with a bunch of people who work in the same building as I do. We usually play every two weeks. Sometimes it's old-school AD&D, sometimes the newer 3.5. It's amazing to just forget a bit about work, wife and kid, and play the hammer-wielding cleric.

        • Newer 3.5? 5th edition is coming out. Unless you're talking about Pathfinder being the next revision of 3.5 but Pathfinder was trash that didn't really address most of the issues with 3.5 like it claimed to.

      • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Thursday January 23, 2014 @03:15AM (#46043655)

        Clear rules are what makes a good game. It's really frustrating to play a game where "you make it up as you go along" :-)

        This is an anecdotal statement, and I disagree vehemently. The rules only help the GM make a game good. I shall counter with my own anecdote: In my youth I played a wide variety of RPGs in a nearly daily group of about 10 friends, we'd hit up someone's house after school, and summer time was 3 months of non stop RPG building, story crafting, and playing. We had some games that lasted for years, and developed a set of "house rules" for running games. In our experience Role Playing games are far more fun when the Game Master (read: DM) is used as a story teller and the rules are largely set aside to let us focus on the game play, i.e. let us use the available skills and world crafting and thinking in-character on the fly instead of hampering creativity and bogging down battles. If a plausible explanation could be made, we rolled with it -- or rather didn't roll for anything at all. Rules of the game were used to settle disputes between the players and GM, and the GM applied the player's actions to the world according to a general understanding of the character. Anyone could challenge an event to trial by dice, and that's really the only role the strict rules played well. In fact, when the new editions of AD&D came out we just used the settings and monsters, etc., screw all those bullshit rules. GURPS was better for combating power creep anyway (and let us throw in time traveling cyborgs, or characters from other campaigns etc. from time to time).

        In fact, some games like In Nomine, embraced this type of game-play where rules take a back seat explicitly. It had a simplistic dice mechanic that called for a degree of interpretation and yielded far more frequent spectacular successes and failures. [2D6 to beat a target number for a skill / ability, blow karma points to lower the target, 1D6 is severity of success or failure, 1,1,1 = Divine intervention. 6,6,6 = Satan smiles upon you -- Either is good or bad depending on who you're working for.] The dice in this use were like an aide to the story teller and players -- To smooth disputes, and let chaos nudge the course while allowing a player's desire to win a dice roll actually influence its outcome somewhat. E.g., A player spends two karma points to really end his foe, and insists on rolling to ensure the GM doesn't tamper with fate:

        You rare back and throw every fiber of your angelic form into the punch, nearly tearing the tendons of your corporeal vessel. The blow destroys the treacherous demon's skull will a loud crunch. As the vermin's soul escapes back to hell you catch a fleeting whiff of brimstone and realize that in the scuffle your own flaming sword of valor has set your hair afire. The voice of the Dark Prince himself booms from everywhere and nowhere, "Consider the hair cut a gift for saving me the trouble of finding that fiendish failure. Yes, the diabolical look does suit you..." The 666 roll doesn't have to be terribly bad for the good guys, it can just add character and mood, or it can enhance the plot -- for instance, if the angel falls. The flexible rules allow success and failure to be far more nuanced and malleable to both players and story tellers. A good Game Master uses the rules to make the game more fun, and a good rule set lets them do so. It's why we play after all.

        D&D was awesome as a 20-year-old and its far more fun having people rather then computers to interact with.

        Then why the hell would you apply strict rules to make humans emulate computers? All the speed and determinism of a human calculator trying to apply complex rule based programs with all the frustration of interfacing with a dumb computer running glitchy logic and neither knows nor cares about what 'fun' is. You picked the worst spot in the venn diagram ever. Creative people make the classic RPGs fun, not the boring rules.

        • by msevior ( 145103 )

          You missed the point of my post . See my reply to dinkypoo.

        • by Mashdar ( 876825 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @11:43AM (#46046359)
          Hell, as a DM I even lied about rolls with some frequency. Players rolled their own attacks for the excitement of it, but many of the various environmental checks and more bizzare actions taken by players were rolled behind a screen. (Along with many "fake" rolls to prevent metagaming.) Sometimes the lie was just more fun than the actual roll. :)
      • Clear rules are what makes a good game. It's really frustrating to play a game where "you make it up as you go along" :-)

        Ever played Amber DRPG? If the storyteller is good, the game is good. If the storyteller sucks, the game sucks. Strict rules are a crutch for shitty storytellers. And as has been noted, it is a pain in the arsehole tracking all the rules. It's daft to play complex RPGs without a computer to mediate unless you've got a group of math savants.

        • by msevior ( 145103 )

          We were all Physics nerds so I guess that is close enough :-) Not that it was hard to play AD&D in the 1980's. There were tables for everything and the DM had them all on easy to read screens. As a DM I invented my own monsters and dungeons as did my friends when they were DM in their turn. I also bent some of the rules... A good dungeon is one where the players barely survive and sometimes you have to adjust probability to get that :-)

          The rules give the game structure. The human element knows when to a

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        The problem is you end up with players quoting rules at each other and the DM, and the whole thing degenerates into a court room full of rules lawyers.

        I found Warhammer and Fighting Fantasy (yes, there was a roleplaying system based on the system used in the books) good for that reason. Not too many rules, especially in FF's case. Less argument, what the DM says goes.

        You have to have a fair DM even with the detailed rules of D&D. They hide behind their screen, add a few hit points to the troll if you ar

    • That's a shame, computers are largely limited to what the coder who wrote a piece of software came up with, which, if you're imaginative and have played a tabletop RPG, you'll find ends up missing an awful lot. That's why tabletop RPGs find a wide audience to this day, they give you the flexibility to do what you want even when what you want to do isn't covered by the rules explicitly. In the majority of computer RPGs out there, if what you want to do isn't covered by the rules, tough shit. Either mod it (w

    • by DrFalkyn ( 102068 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @11:51PM (#46042841)

      D&D was all about the DM ... if you have a good one, it was a blast, if you had a bad one it was snore. The rules were really only there as a guide, a good DM would learn to ignore a bad dice role (and, occassionally ignore a good one :-) ) .. thats what those screens were for :-)

      • I was the king of bad rolls back in the day... or I would have been if the tens die had been a 9 instead of a 2. Many's the time when I heard the DM roll, then roll again, mutter, then roll again, before announcing that I'd been seriously injured. I think the bad rolls are what kept me from getting too serious about gaming.
      • I agree about the need for a good DM. I disagree about the "rules are a guide" bit.

        In my experience, the DMs who "didn't stop the game to go find obscure rules, to make it more interesting", just as those who dealt with rules doubts and questions with "It's an interpretative game" were simply too stupid to understand and follow the rules quick enough.

        At some point, some people decided that anyone could manage a game where a single person had to read, understand, remember and correctly apply a hundred books

        • disagree - its not about learning the rules inside out, its about relaxing the rules where you disagree with them, bringing in "house rules" that suit your style of play better.

          People who lawyer up on the rules end up just playing a game of who knows the rules better. Those who take a more relaxed approach to having fun, have fun.

    • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:00AM (#46042893)

      As an avid video gamer who's gotten into tabletop gaming, I've found they both have their strengths.

      Computers work well for rigidly-defined rules, particularly for stuff like combat. If all you're doing is slaying orcs and such, computers can do a lot of it better.

      Tabletop gaming works for less well-defined systems. No game has really, *really* gotten diplomacy right - it comes down to figuring out the right choices to make in a few menus. And clever players will be able to work better in a tabletop RPG - things that totally would work in the real world, but the official rules don't have anything for. With video games, maybe you can find a mod to add a button to let you do something, but with a tabletop game and a decent GM, you'll be able to create "rules" on the fly to handle it.

      My players were fighting a dragon, and managed to wound it enough that it would (logically) retreat rather than keep fighting. He took off, they all fired off ranged attacks while he flew off, except for one. She threw her grappling hook at it, which there aren't specific rules for so I treated it as a ranged touch attack. Success. She tried to climb it (which there is a set of rules for), failed, and then failed an opposed strength check from the dragon trying to shake her off (I improvised the check being necessary, but used the general rule for "two people doing something against each other involving muscle").

      I've gotten to the point now where I don't even try to plan things step-by-step, I just invent a scenario and let my players figure out the best solution. For another example:
      In the aftermath of the last quest, two of the three players ended up in jail (on charges of public indecency/intoxication and high treason/negligent regicide, respectively). The last had to break them out. All I had planned was what sort of cells and protection each was under, as well as the idea that they would be taken eventually to the court to be judged and they could possibly be rescued in transit. They figured out how to get one out beforehand by bending the bars of the window enough for him to slip through. They then set up a detailed plan to rescue the last guy in transit, having one person in disguise as a guard to disable the guards with drugged treats, with the other standing by on the rooftops to Errol Flynn his way in if combat broke out. Meanwhile, the imprisoned guy was taunting his captors, trying to goad them into dragging him out of his cage to engage in some police brutality (both as a distraction, and to get out of some of his restraints). Their stealth approach failed, but they managed to fight their way through it with the element of surprise. The game starts up again tomorrow with them on the run in the immediate aftermath, and I have absolutely no idea how they're going to get out of this, but I'm sure they'll come up with something.

      As a guy who both studied game design and is working on a video game, and as a guy running two Pathfinder* campaigns, both have their unique strengths. A paper RPG that has too many rules *is* doing something wrong, but that's a fault of the specific game, not tabletop RPGs in general. And I think it may have been a historic thing - since I'm far from the first to realize the strengths of the two, tabletop RPGs have mostly gotten simpler and more streamlined since the early days, and having massive multi-volume rulebooks is no longer considered a good thing.

      * Pathfinder is basically D&D 3.75. Like with any nerddom, major changes piss off users, so a company (actually the magazine publishing arm of WotC, which was spun off shortly before D&D 4.0) took advantage of the open-sourcing of D&D 3.5 to fork it and make a new game that's basically 3.5 with some simplifications and a new trademark, rather than the major upheaval that is 4.0. I like it because it's just complex enough to be interesting, and it's also like 75% cheaper (you can get into it with just the Beginner Box for $30 or so, and the only book you absolutely need for the full game

    • Got bogged down by the rules.

      I remember the rules as favoring human player characters over all others, no matter how well played. When the dice are loaded a game stops being fun.

      • No edition of D&D has ever favored human PCs unfairly, if all the rules surrounding age, multiclassing, etc. were followed. Most likely, the DM and/or players were ignoring some rules.

        But this comment - like the parent - come from a basic problem some people have with role-playing games: the inability to see rules as guidelines.

      • by Boronx ( 228853 )

        D&D only approaches fun for all when the characters are relatively balanced. This screams bad game design to me. An RPG should be fun even with a weak character relative to everyone else. In other words, failure should be as fun as success.

        The fact that good DMing in D&D means fudging dice rolls is another sign of this same problem. When the dice hit the table, quite often only some of the possible outcomes don't kill the fun.

        • by nedlohs ( 1335013 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:16AM (#46043191)

          1. It is fun with a weak character relative to everyone else.
          2. Failure is as fun as success - notice that almost all old school D&D players have a favorite story to tell in which usually a character if not the entire party dies.
          3. Fudging dice rolls is unnecessary. Yes some DMs want a softer game and so do that - which I guess is fine if that's the game you want to play. There's no need to, just don't get attached to that character...

          • by Boronx ( 228853 )

            All this is true with an excellent DM in any RPG, but the D&D rules do not help at all. There are plenty of systems out there that help even newbie DMs create a fun time for everyone.

          • 1. It is fun with a weak character relative to everyone else.

            That's simply not true. I've played alot of D&D, and DM'ed alot of D&D as well -- the players whose actions simply don't matter because they're overshadowed greatly by other players really don't have much fun. Seriously, when you do like 50 dmg, and the next 2 people do 150 dmg + stun + some other ludicrous effect, it's somewhat hard to feel triumphant about your character. And this is reflection on players that were hardcore RPers as

            • You do not do 50 damage, and the next 2 people do not do 150 damage + stun + whatever

              A first level character hits with a sword and does 1d6 damage. A 7th level character hits with a sword and does 1d6 damage. One of them might be a fighter and get a bonus for strength if they have a high strength which isn't likely anyway - but that could be the 1st level character.

              Now of course the first level character will die faster - which is why they are actually using missile weapons and not making themselves a targ

              • If you're talking 3.5 D&D then you should read up and understand the Tippyverse. It's an application of the 3.5 ruleset in its entirety.

        • by Vintermann ( 400722 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @04:49AM (#46043967) Homepage

          The dice are there to force you out of your prior expectations, and keep you from going down the same old paths.

          This was one of the central messages of Kirk Botula's "Complete book of Villains", IMHO one of the most underestimated RPG accessories of all time. Many bestselling fiction writers would have been better for reading that book.

          If you tell a person "make up a hero", or "make up a villain", he might make up an original one - once or twice. Then odds are they'll start to resemble each other, and display lack of interesting diversity. Botula's advice was to use die rolls, and try to make sense of them. So your villain has high intelligence but low wisdom. How can we interpret that?

          Or you could roll for a villain's motives. Wealth? Power? The need to feel loved? Or even the need to be seen as the good guy?

          And as always, of course, not slavishly follow the die rolls. If every villain is super-complex, you get a soap opera. Some combinations just don't make sense (or, at least, you're going to get a really weird world if you always try to force them to make sense.)

          Basically, you use randomness to resist your own biases and predictability, and push the limits of your creativity and imagination.

      • You played some crappy house rules then...

    • You ignored the most important rule: it's your game.
    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      A good dungeon master makes all the difference.

      Especially one who can make up the game as they go along instead of strictly following "the path" one is *supposed* to be following. Many a night we'd never actually get around to the campaign, because we decided to get drunk at the bar and rearrange the trees and shrubberies in town in our drunken 18S stupors.

      He wouldn't even let us play some of the campaigns after we did that because he said we'd been banished from the village for our behaviour. :D

      • I got into a game one night with a DM who told us that "things don't always work the way you expect." It took me less than twenty minutes to learn that this meant that anything you tried to do other than what she expected Just Didn't Work, and we weren't going to be allowed to do anything that wasn't in her script. At that point, I closed my books and left, telling the DM exactly why I was leaving. The weird thing is that nobody else followed my example, because most of us were pretty free-wheeling and l
        • "Things don't always work the way you expect" would be better advice for a GM than for a player. At least with one set of players (I GM two games), I've found it better to just create a scenario and let them figure out how to deal with it, rather than to come up with one solution and try to lead players to it. Which leads me to think like an adversary - I'll think "OK, so the players are going to try to bust this guy out of jail, now how would the city guard be protecting him? He's awaiting trial for multip

    • by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      we had a mix, where the D&D rules were easily indexed from CD rom and most of the consumables were printed

    • Different editions vary a lot. The original edition was the best IMO -- one single box, three small booklets with everything needed to play (monsters, infinite levels, dungeon/wilderness/air/water environments, castle-building, etc. etc.; 1974 white box set). I only got my hands on it myself in 2007. It was truly eye-opening, and it's all I've played since.

      Like many things, the business thereafter was increasingly built on unwanted features and unnecessary bloat.

      • The original edition was the best IMO -- one single box, three small booklets with everything needed to play

        Er, come again? The original three-booklet edition did *not* have everything you needed to play. It directed you to have a copy of Outdoor Survival to do the wilderness adventures. You could probably fudge that, but what you *couldn't* fudge was that you also needed a copy of Chainmail for the combat rules (or else have a copy of the first supplement, Greyhawk, which introduced new combat rules).

  • DM: What class is your character?
    Noob: Vulcan! Spock is wicked cool.

    • by VortexCortex ( 1117377 ) <.moc.edargorter- ... . .xetroCxetroV.> on Thursday January 23, 2014 @04:02AM (#46043823)

      DM: What class is your character?

      Noob: Vulcan! Spock is wicked cool.

      Irritated? Dungeon Master, heh, yeah. What a bore. A Game Master would be Overjoyed. Halflings and Wizards can work with Spock, (hell, he'd be mistaken for an Elf in Shadowrun []), and in games like Rifts, [] or super-rule-sets like GURPS, [] the more worlds collide the better!

      You'd actually be irritated instead of imagining a Star Trek 'away team' going off course on The Voyage Home and winding up amidst There and Back Again? You can't fathom the fun of Starfleet's finest crash landing on Bag End, and being guilt tripped into helping Gandalf take back the Lonely Mountain from a dragon that's been conspiring with dimensional shamblers to bring an evil cyBorg race to Middle Earth?

      Closed minds are the biggest reason the medium is in such a state.

      • You'd actually be irritated instead of imagining a Star Trek 'away team' going off course on The Voyage Home and winding up amidst There and Back Again?

        It's been TSR itself in the world of Mystara. Mystara was a nice normal fantasy world...until a star-trek style exploration ship called "Beagle" crash landed on it next to a Kingdom called Blackmoor. The First Contact situation did not end well. Eventually some of the ship's crew sold out and started handing out tech. Blackmoor soon became a high tech civilization building up it's military so that it could rule the planet. However...Mystara's magical nature makes nuclear technology unsta

  • In the early 80s a friend of mine was really into Dungeons and Dragons. He was constantly trying to get me to play and I tried a few times but I found it to be boring and pointless.

  • by xymog ( 59935 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @11:26PM (#46042755)
    A: All of them!
    • by zoward ( 188110 )

      This. I was the DM for our merry little band of adventurers traipsing through the Tomb of Horrors. We couldn't stop laughing. It was INSANE - no one could survive this. It was like they designed it to torture the players. One thing I'll never forget about it: after one particularly nasty trap that stripped the players of all the gear they were carrying, the text in the book said, parenthetically, "cruel, but most entertaining for the DM". And the same could be said for the entire module.

      Second place f

      • ToH is designed to be fun for the "killer DM", not for the players. I think most used it as a "one off" to see how far they'd get. It's a bad module actually, imbalanced. A good module is "fair enough" without DM meddling.

  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @11:27PM (#46042759)

    Adults in the 60s, 70s and 80s were smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, getting high on grass and coke before they had kids and now were suddenly worried about everyone's grip on reality.

    I was probably more obsessive about Star Fleet Battles than D&D but for some reason fears over D&D caught the wind. Why? Sci-Fi nerds were supposed to appreciate science but not people who were obsessed with dragons. Weird.

    • and it did. scoreboard.
    • Meanwhile, I played as a kid, and now I play with my kids. It's actually a convenient parenting tool, because you can let them perish from the consequences of their poor decisions without being arrested for child neglect.

      • Good point. Also it teaches imagination, logic, basic arithmetic and the ability to write neatly in little boxes.
    • by msobkow ( 48369 )

      Yeah, but the same people who were ranting about D&D were also claiming Ozzy Osbourne was the devil himself, heavy metal was the end of society, and so on.

      Nowadays the descendants of those nutbars blame it all on the gays, the muslims, etc.

      There are always whack jobs looking for someone to blame for their own problems.

      Which reminds me of a good post I read recently:

      Believer: God, the troubles in this world -- it's all because of the gays, isn't it?
      God: Yes, yes it is.
      Believer: I knew it!

    • Recall how it was going to turn us into Satanists?

      I don't think that was generally the claim, but rather that it would be a diversion leading away from God and the church, and potentially leave one vulnerable to harmful influences of various sorts, including spiritual. Weren't there some people that committed suicide after their characters were killed in the game? I don't think time spent studying the monster manuals or magic would be of much aid in the actual spiritual journey we face on earth even if you could make various other claims of benefit.

      Adults in the 60s, 70s and 80s were smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, getting high on grass and coke before they had kids and


      • Weren't there some people that committed suicide after their characters were killed in the game?

        Please tell me you're joking, and don't actually think Dark Dungeons [] is a documentary.

        I don't think time spent studying the monster manuals or magic would be of much aid in the actual spiritual journey we face on earth even if you could make various other claims of benefit.

        It's amazing how many people have apparently completed their own journey despite still inhabiting their mortal coils, which they obviously m

    • There seemed to be a whole Satanism industry by the mid-late '70s.

      There were a ton of movies like "Race with the Devil", the whole backwards masking "expose" in rock music not to mention the literal threat posed by Black Sabbath and the existential (or is it metaphysical?) threat associated with cults, ironically many of which were Christian-based.

      I'm not sure if dope smoking Baby Boomers were ever really the source of the Satanism backlash, I think much of it was the generation before the Boomers who had c

  • I could never figure out how to save the game so I always had to start over naked, in the woods, on a dark path where I found a a wood club. Kinda strange how I always had a wood club when I was naked in the woods hmmmm. Wait a minute! Girl DM's go figure.

  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @11:44PM (#46042817) Journal
    The concept that alignment describes behavior along multiple axes [] and how the differences between wisdom and intelligence [] are explicitly called out, are a couple things that shaped my perspective on the world.
  • by SpankiMonki ( 3493987 ) on Wednesday January 22, 2014 @11:54PM (#46042863)

    ...when disaffected nerdy kids could lock themselves away to play for hours and hours and hours without fear of getting sent to Chinese rehabs. []

    Of course, players back then had to worry about being burned at the stake. []

  • D&D Anecdotes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:08AM (#46042927)

    Well, this seems to be the place for sharing anecdotes (which, I think, is the big pull of D&D - the ability to create shared moments that you can look back on, talk about, and laugh at).

    There was the time the party was sneaking in to a goblin warren. The rogue volunteered to try and scout out the entryway, and slipped in. Sure enough, there were two goblins on watch. When spotted, he managed to kill both goblins before they raised the alarm. After this impressive feat of martial prowess (and lucky dice), he signalled the rest of the party that the way was clear by blowing his signal whistle (which the player had included on his sheet, and was looking for a reason to use), thereby alerting the whole warren who promptly swarmed out and mobbed him. After the party had rescued him, and beaten back the goblins, the paladin smashed his signal whistle.

    Then there was the time the ranger decided to try and activate the mystic weapon-orb at the top of a tower under siege by the undead, because the party's wizard was being too slow and cautious. It activated, destroying the undead, but also blew the ranger off the top of the tower. He had the ability to reduce falling damage though, and survived the fall. Running up the tower to meet his companions, he forgot about the flame trap the party had avoided earlier, and got scorched into the bargain. Finally he stumbled out onto the towers roof, interrupting the party leader's impassioned eulogy.

    • Once, the party was investigating an abandoned Dwarven mine, when we stumbled into a beholder's laboratory, littered with odd, incredibly life-like statues of heroes in various horrifying poses. The beholder came home while we were rifling through his treasures - leading to a desperate battle in which the creature used telekinesis to pin the cleric to a wall, and heat rays to begin dissecting him. We soon discovered the provenance of the statues, when our brutal lizard-man warrior was turned to stone.

      The re

    • Re:D&D Anecdotes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @01:11AM (#46043175)
      Here's one for you. The party had decided that the Merchant was actually a thief (now known as rogue) and tried to force him to open a chest in an empty room. He figured it was a big obvious trap, and refused, also taking offense to being called a thief. They responded by putting a crossbow to his head (and other weapons pointed at other body parts) and forced him to open the chest.
      So he wouldn't try something, and so they'd be there to grab the loot, they went in the room as well. To avoid getting caught in the trap that must be on the chest, they were all 15' back.
      The merchant wasn't very happy about that. Seeing no other options that included possible survival, he unlocked and opened the chest.
      At this point, the entire floor of the room, except for the chest, and the tiny area in front of it collapsed into a very deep pit trap. All of the party except for the merchant were seriously injured by this.
      Taking advantage of the situation, the merchant spotted a handful of large gems in the chest on top of the coinage, which he promptly pocketed before yelling down to see if the party survived.

      Now you might think the GM was pulling a fast one to punish a party that turned on one of their own for loot and broke their vow to not harm one another. Well, we all pretty much thought that, including the player of the merchant. So we called the GM on it. He laughed and pulled out his map of that small area, and pointed out the room, and the trap notations. He didn't fudge a single thing. That's exactly how that trap was supposed to work.
      The GM thought this was hilarious. After seeing that the GM didn't pull a fast one of his own, the merchant player did to.
      On top of that, his character ended up with more valuables than the rest of the party did combined on that little delve, and he couldn't have done it if they'd have just trusted him. (Actually he wouldn't have even tried to steal those gems, except for the threats to his life. They convinced him that he needed some just compensation for their blackmail and attempts to kill him.)
    • The game master would give XP for making an impressive joke, or figuring out a difficult puzzle, or whatnot. We also used to refer to the "Detect Magic" spell by the initials "D.M." (as in "I cast D.M.")

      After we had finished cleaning the room, a female player casually remarked: "Ok, now I'm going to blow my D.M". To which he replied: "you get 1,000 XP".

      We were rolling on the floor for at least 30 minutes...

    • Two words: "camo sludge." I was on a dungeon crawl once, running a rather eccentric female cleric named Simple Aimee McPherson, who was chaotic neutral and buy-sexual. (If it was sexual, she'd buy it.) At one point, in a cave, we ran across some brown mold. Nobody was sure how to deal with it, but we knew it fed on heat. Then, Aimee had a "bright" idea: she pulled out a vial of green slime that she just happened to have and poured it on the mold. This sent the DM into a trance for about a minute as he
    • by Gryle ( 933382 )
      Our paladin was a descendant of a long-collapsed civilization and had a personal grudge against the death god in that campaign (she took his leg, longer story). We stumbled across one said civilization's ancient ruined cities to find it now housed worshipers of said death god. After clearing the lot of them out, the paladin took it into his head to destroy the altar of the death-god in the chapel, figuring to sanctify the city on the way out. Unfortunately his warhammer wasn't cutting it so he pulled out th
  • []

    They should try that inlane/outlane system in new games.

  • And I'll celebrate the 50th when it's over.

  • by Tolvor ( 579446 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @12:54AM (#46043119)

    You stand in front of the Cave of Alborath, and the signs point that the orc raiding party definitely passed this way. There is a fresh orc-clan sign written in blood to the left of the cave entrance. You hope that the blood is not of the town captives that you seek to rescue.

    From the cave mouth comes a slightly rotten stench. Light from the late afternoon sun allows you to see about 30 feet into the cave (60 with infravision) and you see a rough opening about 10' wide, with a 5' wide path around the larger rocks, strewn with fist-sized rocks fallen from the cave roof.

    How will you proceed?

    • Ulmic Thogu the fighter lights his torch and takes lead, followed by the cleric, magic user, halfling thief, and the paladin brings up the rear. They proceed into the cave.
  • Party Time! (Score:5, Funny)

    by laejoh ( 648921 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @03:06AM (#46043605)
    I put on my robe and wizard's hat!
  • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @03:14AM (#46043647) Journal

    bloodninja: Baby, I been havin a tough night so treat me nice aight?
    BritneySpears14: Aight.
    bloodninja: Slip out of those pants baby, yeah.
    BritneySpears14: I slip out of my pants, just for you, bloodninja.
    bloodninja: Oh yeah, aight. Aight, I put on my robe and wizard hat.
    BritneySpears14: Oh, I like to play dress up.
    bloodninja: Me too baby.
    BritneySpears14: I kiss you softly on your chest.
    bloodninja: I cast Lvl. 3 Eroticism. You turn into a real beautiful woman.
    BritneySpears14: Hey...
    bloodninja: I meditate to regain my mana, before casting Lvl. 8 chicken of the Infinite.
    BritneySpears14: Funny I still don't see it.
    bloodninja: I spend my mana reserves to cast Mighty F*ck of the Beyondness.
    BritneySpears14: You are the worst cyber partner ever. This is ridiculous.
    bloodninja: Don't f*ck with me bitch, I'm the mightiest sorcerer of the lands.
    bloodninja: I steal yo soul and cast Lightning Lvl. 1,000,000 Your body explodes into a fine bloody mist, because you are only a Lvl. 2 Druid.
    BritneySpears14: Don't ever message me again you piece of ****.
    bloodninja: Robots are trying to drill my brain but my lightning shield inflicts DOA attack, leaving the robots as flaming piles of metal.
    bloodninja: King Arthur congratulates me for destroying Dr. Robotnik's evil army of Robot Socialist Republics. The cold war ends. Reagan steals my accomplishments and makes like it was cause of him.
    bloodninja: You still there baby? I think it's getting hard now.
    bloodninja: Baby?
    BritneySpears14: Ok, are you ready?
    eminemBNJA: Aight, yeah I'm ready.
    BritneySpears14: I like your music Em... Tee hee.
    eminemBNJA: huh huh, yeah, I make it for the ladies.
    BritneySpears14: Mmm, we like it a lot. Let me show you.
    BritneySpears14: I take off your pants, slowly, and massage your muscular physique.
    eminemBNJA: Oh I like that Baby. I put on my robe and wizard hat.
    BritneySpears14: What the f*ck, I told you not to message me again.
    eminemBNJA: Oh ****
    BritneySpears14: I swear if you do it one more time I'm gonna report your ISP and say you were sending me kiddie porn you f*ck up.
    eminemBNJA: Oh ****
    eminemBNJA: damn I gotta write down your names or something

  • Can anyone tell me where Gygax is burried? :D
  • by crossmr ( 957846 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @07:13AM (#46044489) Journal

    Holy shit this guy could make a giant mech battle at a strip club sound like doing your taxes.

  • The better question, at least in my case, is how many characters have I killed in ToH. I think I've lost 2 as a player but killed 50-75 as a DM. And some groups just keep coming back to get b-slapped more than once.

  • by runeghost ( 2509522 ) on Thursday January 23, 2014 @09:19AM (#46045023)

    ...guess I'll go play some Pathfinder to celebrate.

    Actually, I have a straight 1st Ed. game scheduled with some friends. But it is kind of sad that the name has been so badly handled by the current owners at Hasbro. I can't even find anything at their website to acknowledge, much less celebrate, the anniversary.

  • I first started playing in '79, with the old "Blue Box" my friends big brother had. Then I saw the first AD&D books and they blew my mind... When I was in HS I played with guys who were older, college aged. The D&D scene was totally different back then, more DIY and less conforming than it is now that everything is instantly at your fingertips. Players and DM's HAD to be more creative as there was much less to draw on.

    I played(DM'd mostly) regularly from then to the mid 90's. Then, for vario

Garbage In -- Gospel Out.