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Dungeons & Dragons – Stranger Things Style

Dungeons & Dragons Blackrazor

If you enjoyed this post make sure to check out our weekly podcast, Roll For Combat, where a group of old-school gamers play Paizo’s new Starfinder RPG.

Also, make sure to check out Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

After watching Stranger Things, I decided to dig into the attic to see if I could find some of my old books and Dungeons & Dragons characters when I was a kid playing back in the early 80s. Somehow, beyond all hope and logic, many of my original characters and play-aids were intact and in near mint condition. I share these with you for a look back to what D&D was like for a 11-year-old kid … way back in 1981!

AD&D Folder
Look at that custom-made folder of AD&D power! The sword is what makes it impressive!


AD&D Folder Spine
And the spine graphics don’t disappoint either!


D&D rules and The Rogues Gallery
My original 1st Edition Dungeons & Dragons rules! These rules still have the best subheading of all time, “Rules for Fantastic Medieval Role Playing Adventure Game Campaigns Playable with Paper and Pencil and Minature Figures.” Not sure why The Rogue Galley was in there as well but that book is a treat.


Trapper Keeper
How do you know that this is from the 80s? I have two words for you … TRAPPER KEEPER!


1st Edition AD&D character sheets and NPC character sheet
The original AD&D Player Character Records and a bonus NPC character sheet. As a kid, I had access to a Xerox at my dad’s office (which was fairly rare for the time) and I remember trying to copy these suckers with that colored paper was a total nightmare.


D&D Index
Look at that folder index! Characters! Graph Paper! Modules! Monster Cards! Books! What more could you want in your D&D binder?


Index card of Dungeons & Dragons
Why I decided to do this, I’m not exactly sure, but I congratulate you my 10-year-old self! Look at that penmanship! What a great start to anyone’s D&D collection back then. I even listed my dice collection as you can see (dice were rare back then, you kids nowadays don’t know how lucky you are!).


Old campaign notes
Adventure notes, a map of an adventure I was playing (my DM made some crazy dungeons), and an envelope my DM gave with … something inside. I’m not exactly sure what was in there, but I’m sure it wasn’t good.


Samson, the Cleric-Fighter
I actually remember this character. Back then it was nearly impossible to identify magic items, and I only discovered that ring was a Ring of Feather Falling after I fell off a cliff and lived. What a mess of a character sheet!


Little Pseudo-Dragon
My Little Pseudo-Dragon (red) pet! My DM gave him to him (hence the different handwriting). Nothing is more awesome than having a small Dragon as a pet!


AD&D Conan
Come on, who didn’t make a character sheet for Conan back then? Fun note, the barbarian class didn’t exist at the time (and was later introduced in Dragon Magazine), so I had to make my version of Conan a monk. For some reason, there was also an Eastern boarding pass next to the character sheet as well … not exactly sure why, but I thought that was a fun touch.


Wizardry the Wizard!
Look at that artwork! And my character name was … not exactly original. I believe I made this guy to run him through the Tomb of Horrors … of course, we didn’t make it. But we did make it all the way to the room of fire (and then promptly died). I still say to this day that my DM gypped us with that TPK and we totally could have made it out in time.


Other size of Wizardry
The other size of Wizardry the Wizard (the name that’s so bad it’s good).


Level 6 AD&D fighter
Another one of my characters. Look at that crazy block of numbers! And this is a fighter!


2nd page of level 6 AD&D fighter
I think Rhialle the Wanderer was initially named Elric after looking at this side of his character sheet. I like how “apparent age” was a category on the character sheet back then.


AD&D 7th level druid
This character wasn’t actually mine but it somehow ended up in my binder. I don’t remember whose character this was … but if you are reading this and played D&D with me back in 1981, come forward and claim this character!


The trifecta of AD&D goodness!
The trifecta of AD&D goodness! Of course, like everyone back then, I had a set of these classic books as well. They really made these things tough as nails, after 30+ years of wear and tear, they still look amazing.


AD&D Monster Cards Set 1 and Set 2
And what is this? I found this in the back of my folder! Mint condition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Cards! These were awesome as you could show your PCs a picture of a monster … in full-color!


AD&D Monster Cards Set 1
Look at that artwork! I still think the Red Dragon looks a bit wonky, but that Neo-Otyugh is sweet!


AD&D Monster Cards Set 2
Set 2 was even better. My all-time favorite Gelatinous Cube! That Roper looks nasty! And what the hell is a Land Urchin?!? I need to add that to my current campaign.


Druid vs Mind Flayer
Color artwork was very rare back then, so everything was illustrated in black and white. This picture is from The Rogue Galley and looks fantastic.


Bad AD&D art
Of course, not all of them were winners…


The Rogues Galley
What I really miss were the endless tables and their descriptions of everything under the sun. Sanity charts! General Tenacity charts! Everything had a chart back then, and awesome bonus artwork as well.

So there you go … a snapshot of D&D from 1981. Things haven’t really changed that much. Today we will make D&D characters of our favorite characters of literature and film (Conan and Elric in my case), we still spend too much time organizing our collections (I really need to get a Trapper Keeper for my Pathfinder Society characters), and we never stop playing.

I guess we’re all just big kids at heart when it comes to D&D.

If you enjoyed this post make sure to check out our weekly podcast, Roll For Combat, where a group of old-school gamers play Paizo’s new Starfinder RPG.

Also, make sure to check out Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.