Well, it’s a classic, at least — the Dungeons & Dragons red box with the KILLER Larry Elmore art. Amusingly, what drove me to finally invest (does someone that young invest? Probably not) in roleplaying was watching the cool kids do it in the opening scenes of ET.
And boy, did I play the hell out of that box. I constantly re-stocked the included solo adventure with every increasingly powerful monsters, and annoyed my admittedly limited group of friends (yes, I was that kid) to join me.
I think I even insisted that my mother play with me. I… wasn’t proud.
But I loved that set. The dice were a wonder to someone who’d only ever seen a six-sided die before — I can even remember the distinct smell of the included crayon for colouring in the numbers on the dice. This was also the days when Basic D&D had extremely limited classes, and technically no races.
This sprang from the fact that while a human could be a Fighter, Cleric, Magic User or Rogue, poor Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits could only be that. Their race was their class, as if they were somehow, by royal decree, unable to hold down jobs of their own outside of their forests, caves, or holes in the ground.
There were no skills, either (unless you were the Rogue), and in-depth roleplaying was only hinted at. As for XP, well, that was earned by gold coins discovered — which I may have rorted in the aforementioned solo adventures. Those dragons always seemed to have a lot of cool stuff…
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