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Classic Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) - TSR Hobbies

D&D Accessories (AC series) | D&D Accessories (other) | D&D Modules (B series) | D&D Modules (C-D) | D&D Modules (I-O) | D&D Modules (X series) | D&D Modules (other) | Creature Crucible | Gazetteer | Hollow World | Mystara | Non-TSR D&D

Original D&D | Holmes Basic | Moldvay B/X | Mentzer BECMI

See also: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
Endless Quest books
Dungeons & Dragons Pinball



This set of miniatures rules combined with fantasy elements was a catalyst for the first Dungeons & Dragons game.

The Acaeum has the background and printing data for Chainmail.



RULES FOR MEDIEVAL MINIATURES: Turn Sequence; Terrain Effects Upon Movement; Terrain Selection; Movement; Formation and Facing; Fatigue; Missile Fire (excluding Gunpowder and Catapults); Catapult Fire; Gunpowder Weapons; Melees; Melee Optionals; Morale; Historical Characteristics (Optional); Weather; Sieges

MAN-TO-MAN COMBAT: Jousting; Suggested Point Values

FANTASTIC CHARACTERISTICS: Hobbits, Sprites, Dwarves, Goblins, Elves; Orcs, Heroes (and Anti-heroes), Super Heroes; Wizards; Wraiths, Lycanthropes, Trolls; Balrogs, Giants, Ents, Dragons; Rocs, Elementals; Wights; Magical Weapons; Air Movement; Catapult Fire vs. Fantastic Figures; Combination Figures; Fantastic Sieges; General Line-up.

1971 - 1979 ... Gary Gygax & Jeff Perren & Don Lowry (art) ... 44 pages

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Here it is. These Little Brown Books are where the Dungeons & Dragons began, designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The grand-daddy of RPGs.
Acaeum link for a detailed account of the printings.

Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 1: Men & Magic

See also: WARRIORS OF MARS (1974): A Rare Lost Cousin of D&D

1974 - 1978

Equipment, Character Alignment and Abilities, Languages, NPCs, Equipment, Experience Points, Alternative Combat System, Saving Throws, Spells.

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Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure

1974 - 1978

Monster Reference Table, Descriptions, Magic Items.

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Dungeons & Dragons, Volume 3: Underworld & Wilderness Adventures
1974 - 1978

Underworld, Monsters and Treasure by Dungeon Level, Wilderness, Castles, Wandering Monsters, Stronghold Construction, Specialists & Men at Arms, Upkeep, Baronies, Aerial & Naval Combat, Healing Wounds, Time.

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Dungeons & Dragons OCE (Original White Box) [BOX SET]

At my Game Gallery photoblog:

* A whole lotta photos inside a 5th print D&D White Box.

* A very special early Woodgrain set from Dave Arneson's personal collection... and how it ended up in Brazil!

* OD&D, all together: The 3 books & box set, plus supplements (Photos & printing notes)

I filmed a video with my son, unboxing the 2013 WotC reprint of the White Box, plus some discussion of the evolution of D&D.


The White Box D&D (4th-6th printings, 1975 - 1979) followed the earlier Woodgrain Box. They are essentially the same.

The set contains Volume 1: Men & Magic; Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure; Volume 3: Underworld & Wilderness Adventures; Reference Sheets.

1975 - 1979 ... TSR 2002

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Greyhawk (Dungeons & Dragons, Supplement I)
Rules expansion, New character classes: Paladin & Thief, New spells & treasure & combat rules.


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Blackmoor (Dungeons & Dragons, Supplement II)
Underwater rules, Monk & Assassin Classes, Hit location, Scenario: "Temple of the Frog"

Written by Dave Arneson; Forward by Gary Gygax

1975 - 1979 ... 60 pages ... TSR 2004

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Eldritch Wizardry (Dungeons & Dragons, Supplement III)
Demons, Psionics, Artifacts, Druid character class.

1976 ... TSR 2005

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Gods, Demi-Gods, & Heroes (Dungeons & Dragons, Supplement IV)
Pantheons of deities for the original Dungeons & Dragons game. Predecessor to the Deities & Demigods hardcover for the AD&D game.

1976 ... Robert Kuntz & James Ward ... TSR 2006

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Swords & Spells (Dungeons & Dragons, Supplement V)
"The fantasy-based successor to Chainmail"


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Dungeon Master's (Dungeonmaster's) Index: An Index to the D&D Family of Books for role playing games
An index to Chainmail; D&D (Vols. 1-3); Greyhawk; Blackmoor; Eldritch Wizardry; Gods, Demi-gods & Heroes; Swords and Spells; and Strategic Review (Issues 1-7).

1977 ... 38 pages ... self-published by Dave Arneson

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D&D Basic Set (Blue Book)

Visit my photoblog for a closer look at one of these sets:

Holmes D&D: The First Basic Set (1977-80)

Professor John Eric Holmes took on the task of organizing the D&D rules scattered across the brown books into a more easily playable game.

This boxed set contains the 1978-1979 rules book (#2001, ISBN 0935696032), with a light blue cover. This is the branching point between D&D and AD&D; they would develop independently later. Elements of both games can be seen in this rules set.

Some editions of the Holmes D&D set had a sheet of numbered chits to cut out to substitute for dice. (Polyhedral dice were not common in the early days) Other sets had 5 of TSR's early dice that became chipped and dinged after a little use at the game table.

Early Basic sets -- 1977-1978 -- contained Dungeon Geomorphs Set One & Monster & Treasure Assortment Set One to complement the blue rulebook.

Later, they were jettisoned in favor of module B1: In Search of the Unknown.

And finally B2 - The Keep on the Borderlands became the module insert at the end of the Basic set's print run.

See the Acaeum page for specific print info.


1977-1979 ... Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson & Eric Holmes (editor) ... TSR 1001 ... ISBN 0394511115

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A 3rd print Holmes D&D Basic Set. TSR Lizard logo on all components; 3rd print blue book (May 1978); Monster & Treasure Assorment (2nd printing); Dungeon Geomorphs, set 1 (2nd printing); 5 original TSR "low impact" polyhedral dice.


The Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (often nicknamed the "Holmes" edition for editor J. Eric Holmes) was sold between 1977-79, and went through numerous minor graphical and content changes during that period.

The top box graphics (with art by David C. Sutherland III) changed little, but the box bottom saw more alterations as the designers tried to keep up with the shifting contents.

The scans are mine, with identifications based on descriptions over at the Acaeum.

[What I've identified as a "3rd" might be a 1st or 2nd, but I took the scan years ago before I was aware of the various printings, so I'm being conservative.]


D&D Basic Set (Red Book) [BOX SET]

Covers beginning characters, levels 1-3. Box set includes Basic Rules book and module B2: The Keep on the Borderlands.

More at my photoblog:
B/X Dungeons & Dragons (1980-1): Basic & Expert Sets side-by-side

B/X D&D Basic Rules book: 1st print vs subsequent prints


"Fire and smoke surround you as you swing your sword and land a mighty blow upon the dragon's head. The great creature crashes to the ground with a thud.

The treasure lies only a short distance past the dragon's body. Your eyes gleam. Riches beyond your wildest dreams await you. You race forward to claim your prize, heart pounding in anticipation. From nowhere a huge man dressed in black armor steps out in front of you, blocking your way. The treasure is no more than an arm's reach behind him.

"None shall pass!" he warns.

This is what it is like to participate in a DUNGEONS & DRAGONS game.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Fantasy Adventure game is probably unlike any other game you've played before.

In D&D adventures players take the roles of elves, dwarves, halflings, or humans. They will wander through dark dungeons, meet strange wizards, and battle ferocious dragons. Playing D&D is like writing a novel with each player contributing a part.

DUNGEONS & DRAGONS fantasy game is the original "role playing" game and it is now easier than ever to play. The rules are easy to read and understand and have been specially organized for new players. Anyone can join in a D&D adventure.

The DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Basic Set has everything you need to begin playing D&D games. In this box are a rulebook, dice, and a special instructional module. In short, everything needed to start playing quickly, including descriptions of over 100 monsters.

So enter the Gateway to Adventure - step into the world of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS fantasy role playing game, a world of endless excitement and thrilling fun."

1981 ... Tom Moldvay ... TSR 1011 (box), TSR 2014 (book, 64 pages) ... ISBN 0394518349 (box) / 0935696482 (book)

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Dungeons & Dragons Expert Set [BOX SET]

The set comes with the 64-page Expert rulebook and module X1: The Isle of Dread. Covers intermediate-level characters, levels 4-14.

Pics of an Expert D&D set still in shrinkwrap over at our Games Gallery.

Some photos showing the transition of TSR box formats over at our Games Gallery.

B/X Companion and B/X Adventurer in stock


"The DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Expert Set is an expansion, and adds variety to the D&D game system. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS games, the original "role playing" games, can be played by anyone with imagination.

The DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Expert Set comes complete with dice, a rulebook, and a special instructional module. In short, everything needed to expand a D&D game, with a minimum amount of preparation, is contained within, including over 100 new monsters.

The rule booklet is easy to read and understand, and the rules have been organized into eight modular sections that can easily be integrated with the D&D Basic rules."

Editor: Dave Cook
Artists: Erol Otus (cover), Jeff Dee, James Roslof, David S. LaForce, Bill Willingham

1980, 1981 ... TSR 1012. Book: David Cook & Steve Marsh ... 64 pages ... TSR 2015 ... ISBN 0394521986 / 0935696296

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Dungeons & Dragons Basic Rules, Set 1 [BOX SET]

One of the aspects I enjoy most about the revised D&D rules series is all the interior line art done by Larry Elmore & Jeff Easley.

Often referred to as the "Mentzer D&D" after Frank Mentzer, the revising editor -OR- BECMI (Basic, Expert, Companion...)

The UK Paperback edition is very cool and hard-to-find. See my photoblog post:
D&D Basic Rules, UK Edition (1986): Rare BECMI Dungeons & Dragons in a Paperback Book


• Player's Manual (64 pages)
• Dungeon Masters Rulebook (48 pages)

"This New Popular Edition has been completely revised to include ONE-PLAYER GAMES as well as group games for Players and Dungeon Masters. YOU can start playing RIGHT AWAY!

This box contains all you need to start having FUN:
• Programmed adventures for easy learning and HOURS of FUN
• The PLAYER'S GUIDE for beginning characters - with simple and expert combat rules, magic spells, and role playing tips
• The DUNGEON MASTER'S HANDBOOK - full of treasures, monsters, and dungeons..."

1983, 1989 ... TSR 1011 ... ISBN 0880383380

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D&D Expert Rules (Revised)

The Expert set breaks the pattern of the Mentzer sets in having a single rulebook and a module, as opposed to a Players book and a DM's book.

Additional detail over at my Games Gallery blog: Which BECMI D&D Expert Rulebook do you have?


"This box contains all you need to continue the Adventure:

Endless hours of adventures.
The D&D Expert Set for character levels 4-14, including more combat rules, magic spells, treasures, monsters and added rules for Wilderness adventures.
Module X1, Isle of Dread. A combined wilderness and dungeon adventure on a remote island filled with savages and prehistoric monsters!
All the dice you need - six different kinds included with marker crayon."

1983 ... TSR 1012 ... ISBN 0880383399

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TSR sometimes dated the inside box lids of their sets. Usually this is the only indication of print date.

With the D&D revised Basic Set (1983), I've seen 9/87 and 3/90 stamped inside the later box lids. The books' dates were not updated: They still claim "First Printing, May 1983" on the title page.

The dice do change in the later sets, ditching the iconic TSR dice & crayon. Now they're modern, pre-inked, high-impact dice.

Like the Revised Basic Set, the cover graphics of the Expert set changed in midstream ("Expert Rules Set 2" - later prints say "Set 2: Expert Rules" - with a 7/87 stamp inside box lid. Also 3/90.)

The whole series is often termed "BECMI" ("Basic/Expert/Companion/Master/Immortals").

Much more over at my Games Gallery photo blog: BECMI Dungeons & Dragons (1983-90): Basic & Expert Sets fully revised by Frank Mentzer


D&D Companion Rules



Players Companion - Featuring rules for unarmed combat, strongholds, and new weapons and armor. Plus more advanced rules and spells or your characters.

Dungeon Masters Companion - New rules or ruling realms and the clash of kingdoms. New treasures and monsters. Plus new adventures for your high-level characters."

1984 ... TSR 1013 ... ISBN 0880383402

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D&D Master Rules



Master Players' Book - Featuring rules for new weapons, weapon masteries, and sieges. Also includes more advanced rules and spells for your master characters.

Master DM's Book - New rules for anti-magic effects, mystics, artifacts, and campaigning. Plus new treasures and monsters, including creatures from other planes."

1985 ... TSR 1021 ... ISBN 0880383429

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D&D Immortals Rules



Players' Guide to Immortals - Featuring rules for creating new characters and their form, abilities, powers, and home plane. Also includes rules for creating new artifacts.

Dungeon Master's Guide to Immortals - Introduction rules for Immortal level characters. Plus Immortal and other-planar creatures and a special pull-out Reference Guide."

1986 ... TSR 1017 ... ISBN 0880383410

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Rules Cyclopedia
A good buy, this book, as it contains all the rules from the Basic through Masters sets, missing only the Immortals rules. The Wrath of the Immortals box set fills that void.

See my photoblog post:
D&D RULES CYCLOPEDIA (1991): Original Dungeons & Dragons Complete in One Book


"Whether you're a player or a Dungeon Master, the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® Rules Cyclopedia is now the comprehensive sourcebook you need for the original fantasy role-playing game! For ages 12 and up, the Cyclopedia contains the complete game system and hundreds of features including:
* All the rules from the D&D® Boxed Set series, including Basic, Expert, Companion, and Masters.
* Guidelines to develop and play characters from levels 1-36.
* Comprehensive lists of weaponry and equipment.
* Expansion rules including optional skills and talents.
* An overview of the Known World and the HOLLOW WORLD™ game settings, the official D&D® campaign world. Rules to convert D&D games and characters into AD&D® 2nd Edition game statistics and back again.
* Provides all the original monsters from the earlier boxed sets.

1991 ... Aaron Allston ... 304 pages (hardcover) ... TSR 1071 ... ISBN 1560760850

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Noble Knight | DriveThruRPG (PDF / Reprint)

Wrath of the Immortals [BOX SET]
D&D Wrath of the Immortals: The Geography of Mystara’s Cataclysm

"Immortals. Warriors of the outer planes ...
Wrath of the Immortals unveils untold secrets of how to create and role-play Immortals in the World of Mystara and other dimensions. The frightening powers of the Immortals, their strange worlds, and their secret alliances are revealed at last, but is it in time?
And then, the final confrontation! In the name of the Immortals, the two greatest empires of the Known World clash in a brutal war. The world has gone mad... will both disappear from the face of the earth? Wrath of the Immortals' amazing saga takes heroes on a six-year quest, with adventures from the apprentice to the highest levels of the game.
• Create new worlds, wondrous artifacts, and entire new races!
• Complete rules to create and role-play PC and NPC Immortals
• Details a host of awe-inspiring Immortals in the Known World, the HOLLOW WORLD and the outer planes
• Reveals all on the mysterious Pandius, City of the Immortals
• Contains a 128-page referee's guide with Immortal-level spells, abilities, character classes, and monsters; a 96-page campaign saga covering the entire war; two new, updated poster-sized maps of the Known World and the empires.
The supra-natural beings march, and the world trembles before their colossal power.
The world will never be the same!
This product is for use with the D&D Rules Cyclopedia. Wrath of the Immortals replaces the D&D Immortals Set."

1992 ... Aaron Allston ... 128-page book, 96-page book, 2 fold-out maps ... TSR 1082 ... ISBN 1560764120

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Noble Knight | DriveThruRPG (PDF)

The NEW Easy to Master Dungeons & Dragons

1991 ... TSR 1070 ... ISBN 1560760826

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The Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game [BOX SET]
The 6 plastic miniature figures were first used in The New Dungeon board game (1989): Data on the BIG set


* A 128-page Rules and Adventures Book takes you adventuring while you learn the game!
* 6 molded plastic character figures.
* 24 standup counters featuring the awesome monsters you face.
* A 6 panel DUNGEON MASTER Screen puts important rules at your fingertips.
* A large, full-color Dungeon Poster Map ("Zanzer's Dungeon") and a complete set of Adventure Dice.

1994 ... TSR 1106 ... ISBN 1560768207

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Noble Knight Noble Knight

Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game [BOX SET]
See my deep-dive into this set over at my photoblog:
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS ADVENTURE GAME Begins Here & Now (1999-2000): What a Difference a Year Makes #2

"Play the world's greatest game!

The classic game of fantasy returns with a new look and approach for a new generation. You control the action. You create the story. You use your imagination to enter a world of mythological monsters, heroic knights, and magical spells. You take on the role of a brave warrior, sly thief, crusading priest, or powerful wizard. You become the Dungeon Master, making the adventure come alive!

Inside this box is everything you need to start playing now. The DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Adventure Game includes two books, a Dungeon Master screen, eight hero folders, and six dice.

There's no limit to the mysteries and magic with the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Adventure Game. Powered by imagination and more interactive than any computer or video game, the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Adventure Game is for two to nine players."

1999 ... TSR 11450 ... ISBN 0786914505

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Endless Quest books

Lately (early 2013), I've been revisiting my neglected set of Endless Quest books through my eldest son, a 2nd grader. Mostly written for Dungeons & Dragons, some Endless Quest books veered off into
TSR's other games, like Gamma World and Star Frontiers.

[Endless Quest books, for those who don't know, present the reader with decisions, and they choose the direction the characters take in the story. Fight? Run? Talk? Each decision leads to a different page, and the story has many possible endings.]

He's currently on #3 Pillars of Pentegarn, having bounced off to other books and then then back to the EQ series. He started with #1 Dungeon of Dread, which I was looking through today.

I'm impressed. Yes, Dungeon of Dread has the simple story line that I remembered. What I didn't remember was the copious art by Jim Holloway, whose work is often seen in early D&D products. There must be a couple dozen B&W sketches in Dungeons of Dread, which were comissioned specifically for the book. Despite TSR's notorious reputation for relentlessly recycling art throughout their product lines, I only recall seeing the cover art elsewhere; the interior sketches are unfamiliar.

The story makes for a fun flashback for us adults. But, wow, what a great way to introduce kids to classic D&D!

See also: The first four Endless Quest books (1980-82): Old School Gems

Wildspace: A Successor to Spelljammer?

Renegades of Luntar (Endless Quest Books: Crimson Crystal Adventure 3)

Revolt of the Dwarves: The Jim Holloway interior art in the 5th Endless Quest book


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