This is the blog. Click here to go to the Zenopus Archives website.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

35 years of D&D Basic Sets

1996 - The Classic D&D Game (different cover)

1999 - Holmes Basic rulebook and B2 reprints included in Silver Anniversary Box

1999 - D&D Adventure Game (2nd edition AD&D)

2000 - D&D Adventure Game (3rd edition AD&D)

2004 - D&D Basic Game (3rd)

2006 - D&D Basic Game (revised; 3rd)

2008 - D&D Roleplaying Game Starter Set (4th edition AD&D)

2011 -  Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Beginner Box

(with thanks to the Acaeum, as always).

We still await a beginner's set for the OSR, either for an existing retroclone or a "community starter" as discussed at the OD&D Discussion Forums. (Let me know if I have forgotten something; I refer here to a physical boxed set, not just a pdf of starter rules, etc).  

Addendum: Yesterday, James on the Underdark Gazette posted An Introduction to Game-Mastering an Old School FRPG, a revision of a piece previously intended for either a Brave Halfling intro set (which changed to a different project) or the OD&D community starter linked above (which petered out).


  1. Z, Lamentations of the Flame Princess was sold as an actual boxed set, complete with tiny dice and even a pencil.

  2. The purpose of the list should be gathering Starter Sets (with limited character advancement), not Boxed Sets. ;)

  3. Anyway, D&D Adventure Game (2000) is missing:

  4. Desert Scribe: Do you refer to the Grindhouse edition of LoFP? As far as I can tell, it did have a "Tutorial" book in it, but also had two other rulebooks covering the complete game. (Sort of like Star Frontiers, with Basic and Advanced rulebooks in one box). As Hamel noted, I focused here on sets only having introductory material.

  5. Hamel, thank you for that tip. (I did wonder if I was missing something since I didn't have a 3rd edition intro set listed until 2004). I added an entry to the list, and a few notes to distinguish what editions the later sets are for, since they used "Adventure Game" for both 2nd and 3rd edition intros.

  6. I am glad to have been helpful.

    As a side note, 1999 D&D Adventure Game (the very last TSR's Basic Set) has a funky feature: it employs a single Saving Throw, very similar to Swords & Wizardry's one.