making plans for nigel

My brain keeps giving me 404s when I try to get focused long enough to write this short scary story (well, I think it's scary. It has a monster in it) in time for Halloween.

So I'm doing other things to try and trick it into rebooting the server, like cleaning up my house, playing with my dog, and wishing that I had this book again:


and this:


and this:


Well, I'm not a lot closer to getting this story out, but I'm certainly a lot happier in general than I was a couple hours ago. Funny how just looking at old AD&D stuff can do that for me.

(Images borrowed from The Acaeum, which is a fantastic D&D historical reference site.)

82 thoughts on “making plans for nigel”

  1. You mean to say that you *don’t* have those anymore? I’m almost tempted to loan you mine just so that you can see them again. It’s comforting knowing they’re on the shelf should I ever need them.

  2. I’ve got those, picked up circa 1980, and all the 1st ed books, including the original Deities & Demigods. Wonderful books all. I’ve recently dragged my (surprisingly willing) girls into my return to D&D, but we’re going to stick with 4e — far easier to translate the combat rules into what they see on the battlemat for their age (9).

  3. I wholeheartedly agree that 4th edition is much much simpler for people just learning RPGs and the game in general. I used to play a loose rendtion of 2nd edition with my older brother in our huge hunk of American made van whenever we went on long trips. Amusingly, I find the 3rd edition system a good bit more painful to play because, from a player’s perspective, it takes a significantly longer time to crest the learning curve than 4th.
    Wow, nostalgia is setting in for me too. Though I’m not one of the 80’s vets a lot of you are, I have very fond memories of fighting dragons and other horrifying monsters. My older brother, it seems, was a much more pleasant person back then; never once in the probably four or five years we played did I die.
    Wil, I must admit that your blog is the reason I started watching TNG. Having been born in ’86, I was hardly cognizant when the show was first aired. Additionally, when I was younger, I was reading much more often than any of my classmates rather than playing sports, watching television or playing video games. I’ve been remiss in picking up your five books, but hey, my family gets perpetually annoyed that I never want anything for Christmas, and I find it encouraging that being an adult does not preclude one from being a geek.

  4. You aren’t the only one having focus issues relating to authoring a short, Wil. I only have two of the three (my DMG is the next one with the spooky warlock and the huge doors). Thanks for the imagery.
    Also…Friday’s are looking bleak now with no DnD Podcast. What is the word on your Radio Free Burrito idea?

  5. You know what? I just bought my self a set of those books on EBay last year when I started getting back into RPGs.
    Just last week I was giddy (yes, giddy) as I went into my local game store to buy the Pathfinder Beastiary. The owner had even put one aside for me so it would be (in his words )”crisp” for me.
    1st edition AD&D does bring back great memories. But it also reminds me of the 1st edition mechanics.
    PC: “OK, I rolled a 15. Do I hit?”
    DM: “He has an AC of 3 so, you’re a cleric right?”
    PC: “Yeah, just like last time you asked me that.”
    [DM finds the “Cleric” hit table on his dungeon master screen.]
    DM: Are you 2nd level or 3rd now?
    PC: “Third”
    DM: “OK, the table says you need a 16. Do you have any modifiers?”
    PC: “No, it’s just my normal mace (Because clerics couldn’t use edged weapons back then).”
    DM: “Then you miss”
    PC: “Well that was fun”
    Seriously, I so much prefer the newer d20 system:
    PC: “What do I need to roll to hit an AC of 15?”
    DM: “15”
    But now, I’m a Pathfinder junkie. The quality of the books is outstanding and the ruleset is easy to use while still keeping the 3.5 feel. When we play it still feels like I’m playing D&D, it’s familiar.
    BTW, I would still love to have a T-Shirt with the Aeofel’s portrait under the tree and the words “His Name Was Aeofel!”
    *sniff* in loving memory. *sniff*

  6. Proud to say I still have all my old school AD&D books including one of the original copies of Dieties and Demigods with the Cthulhu and Melnibonean mythos.
    To this day the thing I love the most about the AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide is the random generation of creatures from the lower planes tables in the back. Good stuff there!

  7. If I were to expand this wishlist just a little bit (because, let’s be honest, if I could expand it without bounds, I’d just go on a quest for *all* the books) I’d expand it to include Deities & Demigods and the Fiend Folio, for sure.

  8. Wil, I’ve got my original AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide (1979). I don’t have the opportunity to play much any more and it needs a good home. It’s yours if you want it.

  9. Some of my AD&D mates had those covers. By the time I’d saved up enough paper-round money to buy my own, they were reprinted with the brown and orange covers. Mind you, I had DMs, Players, MM1 & 2, FF, L&L, UA, Dragonlance and several others. My daughter has them now – I don’t think they get used much, though.

  10. I’m looking at my hubby’s copies of those books right now. Between this article and THIS I am jonesing pretty badly. Anyone have a google wave invite?

  11. Hey Jeanette!
    Okay, this is hilarious. I know the previous poster personally (and have gamed with her). I have these books. I used them to teach my son how to game…

  12. Thanks for these memories. I remember buying my first Dungeon Master’s guide after getting the $20 my sister promised if I would ride Revolution with her at Magic Mountain. On a slightly separate note, thanks for the autograph at w00tstock 1.0 – as you said – went through the whole tree of gushing fan mentally.

  13. I think both Rolemaster(RM) and Warhammer did that. But yeah RM had those weird mega tables that once you found where you were supposed to be looking said stuff like, “The slice of the newly sharpened blade cuts your second toe off on your left foot which makes you limp for the next 1d4 days, and lowers your CHA by 2, or by 8 for Dwarven females with a foot fetish.” – perhaps a tad too much detail.
    However, I liked the RM concept of rolling a number greater than 100 (by rolling again every time you roll 96-100 or somesuch range). It allowed for more realistic odds. The D20 minimum of 5% for almost everything – especially failing saves no matter who you are and what your bonuses be – DON’T GET ME STARTED! – makes my ass twitch.
    I also loved the character defects that you could choose to have… one of my characters had a fascination with furry things, and was easily distracted by fire… was in quirk-heaven when in “survival mode” we had to roast squirrels.
    “Ooh… furry! …ooh… fire… furry… fire… ooh…”
    Good times. :)

  14. Re: that tiny font: When I got my first publishing job, I measured it with my E-gauge. Those books were typeset in 6-point Futura. SIX-POINT! No wonder I eventually needed glasses!

  15. I have a copy of that 1st ed Player’s handbook sitting in my office at the library. It was on the shelf and pulled to be discarded, as the spine is broken. The pages are all intact and in fairly good condition, so I’m thinking of finding a good home for it.

  16. Wow! What a trip back in time! I have those somewhere in the garage I think, along with the original Star Wars RPG Rulebooks too (I could never break the “group” of regular players away from D&D long enough to get into it though).
    Did anyone ever do the Middle Earth RPG? I only played it a few times, but I remember spending most of a Saturday rolling up a character (and even then being real, REAL confused)!

  17. My local comic shop has the DM guide. Possibly the Player’s Handbook, as well. Haven’t seen the Monster Manual, though.
    I’d offer to act as courier, but it looks like a lot of generous folk already have.

  18. I’m not sure but I think I have all of those. And I say “I’m not sure” because while several of my friends were, I never got into playing anything like that. Unless you count Oblivion and Morrowind on my Xbox once in awhile nowadays. I have the books because somewhere along the way someone said “Do you want these?” and for me the answer to that question is always “Yes.”

  19. Someone said that these older books are complicated compared to the original Red Box D&D stuff and he’s right, but compared to the overly complicated 4E crap out there, these are simple. I think that 2E was the best for the storytelling type of roleplaying. If you want the board game, where’s the next big monster to fight, type of game, then 4E works pretty well. I think we should all post digital pictures of our collections. I am the same age as you Wil and I have some stuff from back in the 80’s. Back when there was no internet and Asteroids on my Atari was the shit for a video game. Is there a place we can all post our collection photos?

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