Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Quick OSR Commentary On The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons First Edition 1979 Dungeon Master's Guide By Gary Gygax Edited by Mike Carr

So I'm about to piss a whole bunch of OSR people off but there's one only one real book that I've needed in all of the years of my 40 plus years of table top gaming. Published in '79 by TSR & written by Gary Gygax & Mike Carr  its been my go to book for original Dungeons & Dragons, Gamma World, Boot Hill, & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition.

For me the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide has been my Swiss Army knife of table top role playing books. The book covers all of the basics & advanced aspects of the grand game.
"It is intended as a companion book to the Player's Handbook, which contains all of the basic rules of gameplay, and the Monster Manual, which is a reference book giving statistics and characteristics to various animals and monsters. The Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, and Monster Manual are collectively referred to as the "core rules" of the Dungeons & Dragons game.[4] Both the Dungeon Master's Guide and the Player's Handbook give advice, tips, and suggestions for various styles of play.[5]"
So why this post & now? Well there seems to be a movement in the last couple of months to frown upon the use of third tier OSR product with older original systems.  This sort of thing sticks in my craw because it really gets to the idea of the DYI OSR movement.
"The first edition Dungeon Masters Guide covered all the essential rules for the Dungeon Master: creating and maintaining player characters and managing non-player characters, handling combat, and running adventures and multi-session campaigns.[7] The book also included descriptions of magic items and treasure, random monster encounters, and statistics for the basic monsters and creatures of the game.[7] New magic items were introduced, including the Apparatus of Kwalish.
The Dungeon Masters Guide contains scores of tables and charts for figuring damage and resolving encounters in a typical adventure, tables and rules for creating characters, and lists of the various abilities of the different classes of characters."
I've run everything from Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea first & second edition, to Dark Albion all the way to  Carcosa & back again. Yet I've almost always used the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide for reference time and again.

Here are my top ten  reasons why I love the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide from 1979 especially.
  1. The random dungeon generator! This one key part of the original DMG was precious to any DM with a crew of players coming over in forty five minutes and no side quest or other adventure ready!
    "A feature of the first edition Dungeon Masters Guide was the random dungeon generator. The generator allowed the Dungeon Master, by the rolling of dice, to generate a dungeon adventure "on the fly". A dungeon complete with passageways, rooms, treasure, monsters, and other encounters could easily and randomly be constructed as the player progressed. It could be used with several people or a single player. The generator was not included in subsequent editions of the Dungeon Master's Guide but made a re-appearance in the fifth edition Dungeon Master's Guide." 
  2. All of the stats for all of the monster in the Fiend Folio & Monster Manual. This might not sound like a big deal but man does it come in very handy. 
  3. The original random harlot table! This one table provides the DM with endless opportunities for assassins, thieves guild contacts, pick pockets, and even the occasional one night stand. Where do other bastard son or daughter adventurers come from? They come from the original harlot table. Need to know where that sexually transmitted magical disease came from? Can be used for men as well with a handy dictionary or Theseus. 
  4. Want to take your PC's into Hell or the Abyss? The DMG had everything you needed. 
  5. A butt load of artifacts that you could customize to your own campaign. These weren't the product  iconic artifacts of later editions. Instead these artifacts were the stuff of legend that DM's would day dream about throwing into a campaign someday. BTW a pro tip from my friend Peter those random artifact tables could be used to generate your own artifacts or add powers to existing ones such as Odin's spear or some other godly item.
  6. Everything you need for campaign & dungeon management is in one book! You don't have to spend a billion dollars to get everything you need. 
  7. DYI PC customization, everything is here for creating PC's from the ground up. 
  8. Dungeon management 101 is contained within the DMG and the advice still applies in 2018. 
  9. Appendixes that actually make sense & are actually useful for a DM. Everything from Appendix N as a source of guidelines on what books to read for inspiration to random demon generation is right here. 
  10. Gary Gygax himself wrote this book and it comes through loud & clear. His voice echoes through this tome & the ideas are all still fresh today.

    For the record this book can & is in use today with any number of retroclone systems & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition campaigns across the planet.
    For now keep em rolling!

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