Luke tells me D&D Basic Set (magenta box) edited by Tom Moldvay is the best. It’s apparently quite lethal – combat has distinct rules, like most D&D, but it’s not .. D&D Rules Cyclopedia is Mentzer Basic, not Moldvay Basic. Which set was “better” – the Basic D&D Moldvay set (the one that you could put in your binder, which came in one single book) or the later set.

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By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie PolicyPrivacy Policyand our Terms of Service. Also, which one came first?

These booklets were basically barely-edited versions of the house rules of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. InTSR hired J. Both produced “red box” versions of the game. You’ll find far more differences between Holmes and the later red boxes than you’ll find between Moldvay and Mentzer. It came in a red box and featured the B2 Keep on the Borderlands module. It came with dice and a marking crayon!

These rules handled levels David “Zeb” Cook wrote the follow-on “Expert” rule book another boxed set that expanded the game to levels Frank Mentzer revised the game again in with another “red box” set featuring the art of Larry Elmore. This time, the Dungeon Master book was separated from the Player book. Mentzer would continue the Basic and Expert classifications but would go on to produce additional expansions: CompanionMasterand Immortal characters too sexy for their levels, but you essentially get 36 more.

Which D&D Basic Set is the best? Tom Moldvay vs. Frank Mentzer…

Moldvay made many changes to the Holmes version to streamline play and make it easier for players to understand the game. Both games cover levelsthough. Holmes’ game includes B1 In Search of the Unknown.

Moldvay’s game includes B2 Keep on the Borderlands. Holmes presents the game as rules to be followed.

Moldvay presents the game as guidelines to be considered. Holmes has initiative in order of dexterity high to low. Moldvay has players roll group initiative. The weapons all do 1d6 damage. Moldvay gives weapons individual damage ratings. Holmes offers dozens of spells level Moldvay cuts this spell list a lot from 18 to 3 3rd level spells, for instance. In Holmes, not all ability scores have modifiers. There are differences in advancement for classes.

Elves in Holmes need far more XP to advance than in Moldvay. Holmes has no surprise rules. In general, the Mentzer version was a repackaging and expansion of the &dd version.

The differences are minor in the Basic ruleset. Moldvay’s game is pretty simple and straightforward. Mentzer adds complexity, like skills and weapon mastery. Memtzer red box came with B2 Keep on the Borderlands, but you could buy the books separately unboxed. Moldvay stops at level 3 and Cook’s Expert set continues that to Moldvay states that clerics get their spells from gods.

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Moldvay’s magic-users get one spell at 1st level and have to find more in play. Menntzer get one msntzer plus Read Magic at 1st level, and then one new one at every level. The monster list changes between these versions. A number of people “monsters” are combined into the Human entry: Insect swarm and noble are moved to the Expert rules.

Some monsters are renamed: Mentzer slows down the advancement of saving throws, thieves’ abilities, and spell acquisition for clerics and magic-users. Castle-building rules are more detailed in Moldvay, but Mentzer details a base town and talks about running town adventures. All of them have variable weapon damage, some as an option; Classic, Moldvay, and Mentzer all have 1d6 damage for any weapon as standard.

Alston and Denning use Variable Weapon Damage as a standard. All weapons r&d 1d6 hit points at least one printing is missing that line. All hit menfzer in d6’s with mods; completely re-roll HP each level. Races are not classes. I don’t have a copy; no details I can check. It used some of the supplement 1 stat effect tables. Landholding rules and the War Machine. Adds mmentzer variety of NPC specialist henchmen. Introduces quest for immortality.

Levels Immortal-1 to Immortal, more on dimensions, lots of stuff. BIG black box mentzsr inches or so Levels1st version without mnetzer weapons do 1d6, but you have the option for polyhedrals,” using only the damage by weapon type. Otherwise, very comparable to Moldvay or Mentzer editions. Like Denning, no “1d6” option. Allston Wrath of the Immortals: Covers more details on the multiverse and planes, covers levels I1 to I36, and on how to become Immortal.

It uses the asymmetric stat modifier tables, variable damage by weapon, no racial classes, has Fighter, Cleric, Thief, Mage, Ranger, Paladin, Monk, Assassin and Druid, and a funky Bard class as well.

It included the Supplement 3 psionics rules in an appendix, and was revised by Gygax from &dd base of Classic and Holmes. Adam mentions that the Holmes version came with chits instead of dice emntzer a while. When it came with chits, it also came with a mentzet for a set of polyhedra.

These were terrible, soft, twisted and awesome! The white d20 would turn pretty spherical and roll metnzer after a mentzdr or so of play. The blue d12 was as soft as the others but it hardly ever got rolled, so they’re the ones that we old-timers tend to still have around.

The green d8 seems like it was the second most used die — it suffered the most damage after the The red d6 — my first one had this huge dent in one edge and it’s still in pretty good shape. And the yellow d4!

Frank Mentzer: The True Master of Dungeons and Dragons | HobbyLark

Who could forget you? Ever leave this baby on the floor of the family room in the dark? Back then, no one had thought to flatten the points and they were like little caltrops. By the time the red boxes came out, there were other, better, dice options in the glass cases of hobby and game stores and and TSR was shipping them with these little pastel dice. They were also soft plastic, but not as vulnerable as the originals, it seems. And they were littler than the originals and than the standard that has evolved.


It seems like they were mostly blue, but maybe some beige or rose or something too.

Although continuations of Holmes’ Blue book to higher levels can be found, Moldvay’s version is really much more seamless in it’s graduation to higher level play. To me that is the major difference between the two editions. The Mentzer version is the “Everything and the kitchen sink” approach I think this version was meant for the more “campaign” minded gamers who were immersed into the whole experience gaining levels, setting up a kingdom, then becoming gods than the first two versions, which seem to be more focused on low level and medium level play.

One stark difference between Moldvay and Holmes is that Holmes uses 1d6 for all weapons damage while Moldvay had each type of weapon roll different x&d for damage. First there was the Basic Setalso known as the Holmes Rules, from its author.

Basic, Expert, Companion, Master and Immortals, each Set allowing characters to become yet higher in level. Of course each version of Basic had various accessories and adventures associated with it as well. It was a much cleaner version memtzer the original game with some lessons learned incorporated, and Gygax’s alignment matrix tossed in as a bonus or as a curse, pick your poison. Mentzer took it a step further. Another difference between Moldvay Basic and Mentzer Basic – Moldvay came dd&d a magenta box, not a red one.

This is an oft-repeated misconception.

Molvay, like Holmes, also had across-the-board 1d6 damage for weapons – the variable weapon damage was an optional rule, although apparently a popular one. Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site the association bonus does not count.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead? Home Questions Tags Users Unanswered. Ry St 1, 1 17 Differences between Holmes and Moldvay Moldvay made many changes to the Holmes version to streamline play and make it easier for players to understand the game. Holmes’ book is a reference manual. Moldvay’s book is an instruction manual.

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