Sunday, September 24, 2023

OSR Commentary- '83 'Into The Frying Pan' With Frank Mentzer's Expert Dungeons & Dragons set

 So let's pick it up from the other day's blog entry here. So the year is Eighty Three and the revamp of the Expert Dungeons & Dragons set hits the stands. And this was another rung on the ladder of Dungeons & Dragons. Not only do we have total reexamination of Dungeons & Dragons but the PC levels skyrocketed. And the Expert set increased the PC levels from four to fourteen! This was a big deal in '83. 

Mentzer Expert did a bunch of stuff all at once. One it expanded the monsters of Basic and built on those. Then we got new treasures, and magic plus an update with a Tim Truman cover of X1 Isle of Dread. And Expert also brought the Wilderness into a huge role in Mentzer Basic/Expert. This shift from simply dungeons into Wilderness adventures added a whole different dimension to the grand game. 

 And Mentzer further refined the B/X rules building on Moldvay/Cook while adding his own spin to the rules. Frank Mentzer brought a different feel to D&D. There was module and with the Dungeons & Dragons Basic set there was enough here to do a campaign that could last for years. 
And Mentzer Dungeons & Dragons had a different feel to it. There was lots of new blood in the hobby in '83. For us it meant that we could begin to carve out are own little niche of the Isle of Dread. As I said Mentzer Dungeons & Dragons was far more mainstream and no where was that more evident then in the Eighty Three Sears Christmas catalog where both Mentzer Expert & Basic were for sale. Soon we saw far more gamers enter the hobby. Expert had a alot going for it.

  1. Expert was literally the next rung of the levels of Dungeons & Dragons adding levels four to fourteen. 
  2. The Wilderness opened up to every group of players adding in a place where the monsters dwelled. 
  3. Mentzer Expert D&D was easily understood by the average 12 to 50 year old. The rules were clear and concise. 
  4. The stakes became higher in Expert with the introduction of X1 The Isle of Dread.
  5. Mentze Expert  D&D  easy to design home brew adventures or use easily accesible modules for the game. This was because the PC's levels were on point with published modules. 
Mentzer Expert Dungeons & Dragons preparred players for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. And this started a love affair with BECMI Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first edition. 

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