Sunday, 3 September 2017

Let's read Basic D&D: The Prologue

My friend and player in WFRP Roger Brasslett picked up a near mint copy of Basic D&D at GameHoleCon last year. Signed by the legend Frank Mentzer!

What a prize! 

I've been thumbing through it for months and recalling the genuine suppression of all things D&D in my parent's house in the 80s. I can't recall when I expressed interest in the game, but it was certainly not welcome by my mother; my father was probably ambivalent. It was 1983 or 1984—the irony not lost—that I recall getting DragonRaid, a Christian witness RPG. As I recall it was heavy on the catechism of Christian witness and included a cassette tape. And yet, even DragonRaid was a target of the Moral and Satanic Panic of the 80s. I don't recall the specifics, but DragonRaid was soon removed.

So it must have been 1984 that I picked up my own Red Box. My parents began building a house in the country and I quietly played to learn the game. I'm certain I hid it somewhere in the three bedroom duplex our family of six shared. Where in the shared room with a bunk, amongst my own stuff and one of my younger brother's items I don't recall.

Today, in possession of the game that set me on my journey to always the GM rarely the player, I want to reacquaint myself with the Rules as Written. What do I assume are the rules? How does the game introduce the tropes all of us so often take as canon? How does the pre-teen and teen gamer, steeped in a period of oppression of fantasy read and develop expectations of play?

Forewarning: I'm not an educator. This is going to be about as raw a personal impression as you get. In 30+ years life teaches people in subtle ways about life.

Don't look for safe spaces, X-cards, or validation in this series. While some might argue words are violence, I don't subscribe to the idea. Sticks and stones break bones, but "Words are wind," it is somewhere oft written. But words can set expectations and reading the opening introduction of Basic D&D by Mentzer, those expectations are clearly set. 

Next, we meet Aleena, Bargle, and some of the words that cement D&D tropes all the way back to the beginnings. 

Posted by caffeinated at 11:44 AM in d10

 

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