Quote Originally Posted by BIGMamaSloth View Post
I'm one of them young'uns who wasn't really old enough to understand D&D until Revised 3rd edition. so I've got a few questions...

1. Are AD&D and 2nd edition the same thing? What are the core book(s) to play called?

2. Are OD&D and 1st the same thing? What are the core book(s) to play called?

3. which one of these two had non-human races as classes? both?

4. Are 1st and second edition very dramatically different? like 3rd and 4th were?

5. Can anyone give me a general feel or idea about these systems to help me decide if I'd like them?
TSR came out with Dungeons and Dragons in 1974. It was three pamphlets in a small white box. The PC classes were Fighter, Magic-User, and Cleric. The races were Human, Elf, Dwarf, and Hobbit. There was a paragraph about playing other races, and the example they used was a Balrog. It wasn't a complete game; the DM had to create the rules for many situations.

In 1975, the first expansion came out - a pamphlet called Greyhawk. It added Half-Elves as PCs, and added the Thief class and Paladin subclass. It also cleaned up the combat system.

Several more expansions came out, adding Monks, Assassins, Druids, Psionics, Artifacts, etc. Meanwhile, articles in The Strategic Review and The Dragon added Rangers, Bards, Illusionists, etc.

This system was named Dungeons and Dragons, and called D&D. It's often called OD&D now, to distinguish it from D&D. Dave Arneson was owed royalties on all D&D revenue.

Then TSR came out with Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, claiming it was an entirely different game, and Arneson wasn't owed any royalties on it. (The court eventually disagreed.) It was called AD&D until AD&D 2nd Edition came out. After that, the first AD&D came to be called 1E.

I don't remember races as classes in either, although there was an article in The Dragon #3 about a dwarf class that my group used immediately for dwarves. It was basically a specific Fighter class for dwarves.

(Basic, Advanced, and Expert D&D came out as new editions of original D&D, but I never played them.)

Playing the original version was about exploring the ideas of role-playing, which was a new idea. The entire game fit on about 60 sheets of paper, folded over into pamphlets. The DM ruled on anything not covered, so you had to trust the DM. What is now called "homebrew" was simply the way the game was played then. The biggest difference in feel is that it was played primarily by wargamers - people who played strategy games. We expected that losing was always a very real option, since we were already playing games that all of us but one would lose.

(It was nowhere near as lethal as anecdotal evidence implies. I lost one of my first nine characters.)

OD&D was very different from 1e. 2E is basically just 1E made complete, and I'm not very knowledgeable on anything after that.