Dungeons and Dragons Dice

Dungeons and Dragons Dice

While out in the garage digging through moving boxes (remind me to never move again!) I stumbled across this purple Crown Royal bag. Upon seeing it I immediately knew what was in the bag — my old Dungeons and Dragons dice!

Dungeons and Dragons Dice

The light blue dice in the picture came from the D&D Basic Set, which I got back in the early 80s. The basic set came with six dice: 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, 12-sided, and 20-sided. About a year later I graduated to the D&D Expert Set, which came with the same six dice but darker blue in color. The other six-sided dice in this picture came from various other board games and just ended up in the bag with the others.

(Trivia: on the dice that came with the D&D sets, the numbers were not originally colored white. The game also came with a white crayon, which was used to scrub the dice and color in the numbers.)

Dungeons and Dragons Dice were used by Players and the Dungeon Master (the person running an adventure) to generate random numbers during gameplay. For example, a module (an adventure) might call for a single roll of the 4-sided die to determine the number of orcs your party was about to encounter. This would be written as “1d4”, or “1 roll of the 4-sided die.” When in combat, a dagger might inflict 1d4 of damage, whereas a sword might cause 1d8 (or more) worth of damage. Percentages could easily be figured by rolling the 10-sided die twice. Successful attacks, the amount of damage done, and the types and amounts of treasure found were all determined by a role of the die.

Hobby shops sold custom dice in unique shapes, colors, and sizes. At the local hobby shop in the mall I remember seeing a 100-sided die about the size of a golf ball. Dice could be purchased individually for generally a buck or two, or slightly cheaper when purchased as a set. Although I can’t seem to find them now, I used to own a complete set of translucent green dice that I paid $5 for by skipping lunch a few days at school. Ah, the sacrifices we made back then.

If you are looking for high quality Dungeons and Dragons Dice, might I suggest you read about the return of GameScience Dice.

Dungeons and Dragons Manuals

Dungeons and Dragons Manuals

Last night while boxing up some books out in my garage, I ran across my stash of old Advanced Dungeons and Dragons manuals. The books with the orange spines are AD&D Version 2 books, printed back in the 1980s. The bottom three books are from the first printing and date back to around 1980. Except for the two duplicates, I bought all of the orange ones new. Most of them still have their price tags on the front, ranging in cost from $15-$20. The first two books I purchased (the Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide) came from Toys ‘R Us.

The Player’s Handbook contained all the rules a player needed to play the game, while the Dungeon Master’s Guide contained even more rules and number needed by a Dungeon Master to run a game. Books like Unearthed Arcana and Oriental Adventures expanded the game’s boundaries by adding new races, classes, spells and items. (If you ever wanted to play as a ninja or a samurai, Oriental Adventures was a must own!) Although the Dungeon Master’s Guide came with a list of monsters to battle, Dungeon Masters could expand their worlds by purchasing the Monster Manuals and Legends & Lore, which contained hundreds of additional monsters, creatures, ghouls and goblins to attack players with.

Next to my stack of Dungeons and Dragons Manuals I found my old 3-ring binder, containing all of my old D&D characters.

dnd-art

This picture was photocopied (in black and white) from one of the manuals. My mom made a copy of it for me at her work, and I distinctly remember coloring it with colored pencils. This was probably around 1985 or so. The picture has been inside the binder so long that the ink from the original photocopy has literally melted on to the plastic. I couldn’t remove the picture even if I wanted to … which I don’t.

Inside the binder are years of memories, characters I took on countless adventures. In my mind they are all still hanging out somewhere together, waiting for the next adventure to come along. Perhaps they are all sitting in a tavern on the outskirts of town, drinking a mug full of ale and trading old war stories.

Each character sheet, along with dozens of little lines and boxes designed to track all sorts of information, contained a big empty square in which you could draw a picture of your character. I wasn’t a great artist by any stretch of the imagination, but I can remember spending lots of time on those little drawings. Sometimes I would find a picture in a magazine or in a computer game and then work on reproducing it on those paper sheets. One of my characters, “Elric”, was a half-Orc that I used to pretend was an old crotchety grandpa. No matter what other players wanted to do, I would always make Elric argue with them until they agreed with him. And when they finally did, I’d change my mind and argue the other way!

character-drawing

Elric wants youto give him your gold!

The more I pack for my impending move, the more I realize some of my most valued possessions, like these Dungeons and Dragons Manuals, are the things that, at least from a financial standpoint, many people would consider worthless.

TSR’s Star Frontiers – Join the Galactic Legions

My TSR catalog post went over so well last week that I thought I would post a great Star Frontiers ad from 1982. The ad features 2 humans and one of my favorite in-game races the Yazirians. Why were they my favorite? Because they had the best attributes of both bats AND Wookiees.

My friends and I usually played Star Frontiers after a sci-fi weekend on WPIX or if needed a break from the real money game “Top Secret”. For those of you not familiar, Star Frontiers was TSR’s 2nd attempt at a Sci-Fi themed RPG (yes I played Metamorphosis Alpha). What was cool about it was that it stepped away from the d20 system and instead used a percentile system for gameplay. Before I discovered dice-less RPG play. I preferred percentiles to d20.

starfrontiers.jpg

——-Start Random D&D Quote——-

Golem: Golem destroy intruders.
Bobby: Oh yeah? Not before I do a Steve Garvey number on your nose!

——-End Random D&D Quote——-

Classic!