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Dungeons & Dragons, 1981 Edition

Dungeons & Dragons, 1981 Edition

The game that got me started into this whole RPG thing was the 1981 Basic Dungeons & Dragons set (and the Expert rule book which I picked up three months later). This is the edition I still play to this day.

And in the interest of kicking it old-school, I’m going to roll up a quick character for the archives. I’ll probably throw together a character for each edition of the game over the next few weeks.

Since I have no clue where I’m going with this level 1 character yet, I’ll just roll the bones (3d6 in order) and see what I get.

  • Strength: 7
  • Intelligence: 9
  • Wisdom: 15
  • Dexterity: 17
  • Constitution: 17
  • Charisma: 8

I’m looking at a nice tough thief here… or maybe a cleric who will specialize in missile combat (but clerics only have slings for missile combat…) In the end, the thief wins out and we have the makings for Kerith the Black, scout of the fourth army. Kerith got his start as a military scout for the imperial army corps – he still works for them, but spends most of his time advancing his “civilian” career in the city where he is posted. The real advantage of the army posting is he occasionally has to skip town as the army changes garrisons, and he takes this as the opportunity to loot what he can before hitting the road. He seems quite Chaotic at first, but the reality of army life means that he probably wouldn’t have lasted even this long as such, so I settle on Neutral. His a gristly and tough little jerk, not well-liked and not very strong. A lucky roll of 4 (max) for hit points reinforces the “tough little jerk” stereotype.

As per the rules on page B6, he lowers his Wisdom by two points in order to increase his Dexterity to 18, and the rest remains as-is. Rolling an 11 on 3d6 gives Kerith 110 gold pieces to buy equipment with and we end up with:

Name: Kerith the Black, scout of the Fourth army
Class & Level: Thief 1
Experience Points: 0 (1,200 needed) (10% bonus)

Strength: 7 (-1 to hit, damage & opening doors)
Intelligence: 9 (reads and writes native languages)
Wisdom: 13 (+1 on magic-based saving throws)
Dexterity: 18 (+3 to hit, -3 AC, +2 Initiative)
Constitution: 17 (+2 hit points per die)
Charisma: 8 (-1 reactions, 3 retainers max with 6 morale)

Hit Points: 6
Armor Class: 4

Open Locks: 15%
Find / Remove Traps: 10%
Pick Pockets: 20%
Move Silently: 20%
Climb Sheer Surfaces: 87%
Hide In Shadows: 10%
Hear Noise: 1-2

Leather Armor
Short Bow
Quiver with 20 Arrows
6 Daggers
3 Flasks of Oil
50′ Rope
Thieves Tools
5 gp