Players Handbook (1978)

The classic 1978 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook. As old as I am. Just look at that cover painting by D. A. Trampier. It oozes mystery and danger. There’s a sense of the forbidden, too, that this isn’t for kids, that you have to be ready for it. No wonder kids ate it up.

No wonder parents were skittish about the game, too. The devilish idol is actually a bit of a red herring. This is maybe the first, but definitely the most famous image of a group of Murder Hoboes – eleven wanderers who burst into a temple and killed all they found in order to loot the place. Look how coolly they take stock of their spoils, and how rudely they heaped the

It is the perfect visual summary of a D&D game, too. For over forty years, thousands of folks have been reenacting that painting with glee. And a gateway to endless possibilities, where mouths sprout from pillars and clever trolls wait at the center of the labyrinth.

Troll and magic mouth illustrations also by the late, great Trampier.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *