Birthdays and Anniversaries: D&D

Red Box D&D

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) celebrates its own anniversary this year but, as well as today being my birthday, it is also the 40th anniversary of when I moved from Fighting Fantasy books (which I still love) to roleplaying games with the purchase of Red Box D&D.

Was D&D my destiny?

Red Box D&DThere’s a funny story attached to this as it happens. I’d been gifted some money from my father for my 13th birthday (a nice crisp £10 note!) An absolute fortune for a young Scottish lad in the early ’80s. I duly made my way into the city centre to the local Toymaster store (which sadly closed 6 years ago). While looking around to see what my money would buy me I dislodged a copy of Red Box D&D. Picking it up off the floor, I was instantly taken with the iconic Larry Elmore art on the cover. With a price sticker of £9.99 it also seemed like it was meant to be. Parting with my money and going home with the box set, I looked forward to diving in.

I loved the mixture of Elmore and Easley art and the way everything was put together engrossed me. And the dice! I had never seen anything like them. The rest of the day was spent creating new characters and the next day creating my own dungeon.

I didn’t have anyone else to play with at first (I wouldn’t find a group for another couple of years) so spent the time creating characters and locations. Unfortunately I no longer have the notes but I remember creating an populating a village that included an inn and tannery! I also bought the oversized official plastic figures (50mm?) I made cardboard locations to scale for them. The highlight being a two-storey inn.

Actual Play

Red Box D&DThe strange thing is that, despite Red Box D&D being my gateway into the roleplaying world, I never did get round to playing or running it. The first game I ran, in 1986, was Games Workshop’s Judge Dredd (and that was a disaster). The group I joined did play a little AD&D but our main game was Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. Red Box D&D still has a place in my heart though and when Old-School Essentials was released I jumped on it and have enjoyed running that since.

Anyway, enough of the memories! To celebrate this momentous day, everything in our catalog is 40% from tomorrow for a couple of days. Yes, I realise my birthday is today but, being disorganised like I am, I forgot to set up the sale in advance! Enjoy and may your dice always roll well.

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