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1981 Dungeons And Dragons Basic and Expert Set
1981 Dungeons & Dragons Basic / Expert Sets
The Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set is a set of rulebooks for the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. First published in 1977, it saw a handful of revisions and reprintings. The first edition was written by J. Eric Holmes based on Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s original work. Later editions were edited by Tom Moldvay, Dave Cook, and Frank Mentzer.
The Basic Set details the essential concepts of the D&D game. It gives rules for character creation and level-advancement for player characters of levels 1–3. It also includes information on how to play adventures inside dungeons for both players and the Dungeon Master.
After the release of the AD&D game, the Basic Set saw a major revision in 1981 by editor Tom Moldvay. This edition drew solely on the original D&D boxed set for inspiration, rather than including material from its supplements. The game was not brought in line with AD&D but instead further away from that ruleset, and thus the basic D&D game became a separate and distinct product from TSR’s flagship game AD&D. The former was promoted as a continuation of the tone of original D&D, while AD&D was an advancement of the mechanics.
The revised version of the set included a larger, sixty-four page rule book with a red border and a color cover by Erol Otus, the module B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, six polyhedral dice, and a marking crayon. The book was predrilled for use in a three-ringed binder, and the complete set of miniature polyhedral dice came in a heat-sealed bag with a small black wax crayon to use in marking the dice. Cardboard chits were briefly included in place of dice when TSR’s source dried up.
With the revision of the Basic Set, discrete rulesets for higher character levels were introduced as expansions for the basic game.The Moldvay Basic Set was immediately followed by the accompanying release of an Expert Set edited by Dave Cook that supported character levels four through fourteen, with the intent that players would continue with the Expert Set. The revised rulebooks were visually distinct from the original rules: the Holmes booklet had a blueprint-style pale blue cover, while the Moldvay Basic Set and Cook Expert Set booklets had bright red and blue covers, respectively.
The Expert Set is an expansion boxed set for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. It was first published in 1981 as an expansion to the Basic Set.
The Basic Set saw a major revision in 1981 by Tom Moldvay. The overarching goal of the revision was to provide subsequent expansions to the game, each describing a specific set of levels of character development. The Basic Set described character levels 1 through 3, as had its immediate predecessor, the Basic Set edited by J. Eric Holmes in 1977.
The Moldvay Basic Set was immediately followed by the release of the Expert Set edited by Dave Cook, supporting character levels 4 through 14. The revised Basic (Moldvay) rules can be distinguished from the original (Holmes) ones by the color of the covers: the Holmes Basic booklet had a pale blue cover, while the Moldvay Basic and Cook Expert booklets had bright red and blue covers, respectively. The Isle of Dread was included in the set as an example of an outdoor adventure and setting. The set included dice, and featured cover art by Erol Otus.