This begins a new series of posts. The purpose here is to document revisions to rules between the first and last TSR versions of rulebooks of the Dungeons & Dragons game, defined here as the “woodgrain box” edition published in 1974 and the “blackbox” edition published in 1994. Only material actually present in the 1994 edition will be discussed. Other than the occasional comment, I won’t make any attempt to look at what has been left out of the 1994 rules – only what was put in. Unlike the original set, the 1994 rulset was introductory in nature, only going thru the first 5 levels.
Nevertheless, it may be valuable to have a look at topics covered in both sets and see where things were changed for the last published edition, no doubt with the intention of improvement. Changes may have been made anywhere along the line of numerous editions in between these two, and while it might be sometimes interesting to know what edition ushered in what change, that’s not my purpose here.
The intention here is practical, not exhaustive so I’m not attempting a scientific analysis of minutia, nor am I certain I’ve caught every instance, though I’ve made some effort to note the important things. Caveat emptor.
In this article D&D94 refers to the booklet developed and edited by Doug Stewart; D&D74 refers to the first publication of the game written by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. For the curious, I consulted the 2nd printing of the 1974 rules which is believed to be identical to the first. Regarding the 1994 edition, a second edition of this book was produced in 1996 but the text is apparently identical. The 1994 text incorporates the text from the rulebook and the “dragon cards” of the 1991 edition and whether there is any actual rule or method differences between these editions is unknown to me. It is clear however that despite the fact that the 1994 edition clearly follows the text of the Rules Cyclopedia in many places to the point of incorporating whole sentences, there are a number of rule changes between the RC and Blackbox along with a small amount of added information that is not present in any previous edition.
Following some posts I will add commentary regarding ideas I think may work well as house rules for OD&D. Here goes:
“d” and “d%” used throughout D&D 1994
NPC – defined as classed beings
Monsters – defined beings without a class
“THAC0” (to hit armor class 0) method presented as an option. (p46)
Elf, Dwarf, and Hobbit also recast as Classes. These classes are well familiar facets of “basic” D&D So no need to delve into those details here.
DHB Comments: D&D 1994's terminology is useful and I like it. :) Not so much the race as class thing.