First Edition Players Handbook (1e) – Sean’s Pick, 070715

Hungry for something more beyond a small handful of possible character types and only three levels of experience, we of the first wave of D&D fans eagerly grabbed copies of the first Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook off of whatever shelves we could find them on. What is now called First Edition (or 1e) changed everything about gaming, taking it from a very minor blip in the hobby game culture to a phenomenon that continues to grow decades later.

You can now grab a PDF of this historic and still-entertaining set of rules. Just take a look at all the tables!

The 1st Edition Player’s Handbook is back!

No more searching through stacks of books and magazines to find out what you need to know. The Player’s Handbook puts it all at your fingertips, including: All recommended character classes: Fighters, Paladins, Rangers, Magic-Users, and more.

  • Character Races: Dwarves, Elves, Gnomes, Half-Orcs, Humans, and more.
  • Character Level Statistics.
  • Equipment lists with costs.
  • Spell listings by level and descriptions of effects (including many new spells!).

As a dungeon adventurer or Dungeon Master, you will find the contents of this book to be what you have been waiting for. All useful material is now compiled under one cover, especially for players!

Product History

Players Handbook (1978), by Gary Gygax, was the first book of rules for the AD&D game. It was published in June 1978 and seen by many for the first time at Gen Con XI (August 1978).

Moving Toward AD&D. The D&D game began with the OD&D box (1974), which was expanded with four supplements (1975-1976) and additional articles in The Strategic Review (1975-1976). However, by the time that Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry(1976) was published, TSR had already decided that the system — which now spanned a half dozen books and several newsletters — needed to be unified and cleaned up.

A new Basic D&D (1977) came out first, thanks to the singular efforts of J. Eric Holmes, but it was just an introductory book, intended to shepherd new players through the first three levels of play. What D&D really needed was a revamped game for the more advanced players: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

The AD&D system technically began with Monster Manual (1977) in December 1977. This compendium of monsters showed off the increased detail that would be present in the new AD&D game, but it didn’t give much hint at the game mechanics. That would await the publication of the AD&D Players Handbook (1978) six months later.

Despite the publication of AD&D, Gygax claimed that the original “D&D will always be with us”. He thought that OD&D and AD&D served different audiences, and that there was no reason to retire the original. OD&D did indeed remain available into the ’80s. Afterward, later editions of Basic D&D (1981, 1983) picked up the mantle of OD&D as the simpler and looser D&D game.

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