Some guy recently took the time to map out in a chart the history of Dungeons & Dragons from the 70s to the 90s, spelling out the evolution from Chainmail to D&D, then Advanced D&D and Basic D&D, and eventually AD&D Second Edition. If the chart looks like gibberish to you, it probably means you were dating or something during your early teen years, unlike me, who spent 90% of my time memorizing the contents of the books/maps pictured below, in preparation for the next big dungeon meet.
To give you a sense of what a “dungeon meet” was like for my friends and I back in the day, I’ve taken the liberty of (greatly) fictionalizing one of the more memorable moments for you …
Dungeon Master: Your party enters a large dark chamber that is completely empty except for a huge chest sitting all by itself along the back wall.
Thief: I rush forward, open the chest, and take whatever’s in it!
Fighter: Wait, what? I was updating my character sheet. What just happened?
Wizard: Douchebag is hogging all the treasure.
Thief: You guys hog the treasure ALL THE TIME, and I never end up with anything.
Dungeon Master: Thief, are you sure that’s what you want to do?
Thief: Yes, I open the chest, and I take whatever’s in it!
Dungeon Master: (Rolls some dice.) Okay. Well it’s a manticore.
Thief: A what???
Wizard: It’s like a lion with wings and a spiked —
Thief: I know what a manticore is! What’s it doing in a chest?
Dungeon Master: The chest was an illusion. Anyway, it catches you by surprise, and does … 12 points of claw damage … 7 points of biting damage and … 9 points of spike damage. Wait, how many hit points did you have when you walked into the room?
Thief: Um. Seventeen.
Dungeon Master: Yeah so … you’re pretty much dead.
Fighter: Dude, it was a huge chest in the middle of an empty room. And you’re a thief. How did you not figure out it was a trap?
Thief: Shut up.
Wizard: The look on your face just now was awesome.
Thief: I said shut up.
Wizard: Or what? You’ll trip me with your bloody corpse?
Thief: This sucks. Now what am I gonna do?
Fighter: Probably watch us get killed by a manticore. I only have like 5 hit points right now.
Wizard: And I used up all my spells against the beholder in the other room.
Dungeon Master: Yeah. You’re probably going to die then.
Thief: Why don’t we just go play video games instead?
Dungeon Master: No, you can’t! There’s a cool room later with three different kinds of dragons in it.
Fighter: Dude, we’re only fifth level characters! We couldn’t beat one dragon, much less three.
Wizard: Seriously man. You might be the worst DM ever.
Dungeon Master: (Rolls some dice.) Hey look, the chest is full of healing potions.
Wizard: Oh, that’s convenient.
Thief: Any resurrection scrolls in there?
Fighter: Or a special sword for killing manticores?
Wizard: Wait, didn’t you say the chest was just an illusion?
Dungeon Master: It’s a different chest. Behind the manticore. If you roll higher than a 12, you can reach it before the manticore is finished chewing the thief’s head off.
Thief: What the–??? No way! I can’t be resurrected without a head!
Fighter: Dude, I’m pretty sure you just made all that up —
Wizard: You think?
Fighter: — but I’m pretty close to leveling up right now, so I’ll let it slide. (Rolls the 20-sided die.) There, it’s a 15 … I make my way to the chest and grab as many healing potions as I can.
Dungeon Master: (Rolls some dice.) Okay. Well it’s another manticore.
Wizard: Seriously. THE WORST dungeon master of all time. I swear.
Thief: (from the other room) What channel does the TV need to be on to play video games?
* * *
Which is, of course, nowhere near as funny as this timeless masterpiece …