Previously in this character creation challenge I explored 1977 Basic D&D via Blueholme, and 1981 Basic D&D via Labyrinth Lord. I now chose to make a character using the 1983 Basic D&D via the Rules Cyclopedia (a 1991 consolidation and revision of the Basic, Expert, Companion, and Master box sets that were released from 1983-1985). The 1983 Basic red box set was my very first D&D game product, so these rules are quite special for me, since those rules along with the art by Larry Elmore and Jeff Easley defined D&D for me and set me off on my RPG journey. By the time the Rules Cyclopedia came out in 1991 I had already switched to AD&D 1st edition and it was in 1992 that I began AD&D 2nd edition and a Forgotten Realms campaign that would last until 2018 (when I left behind the Forgotten Realms and D&D for my homebrew world using Castles & Crusades), so except for admiring the incredible Jeff Easley cover, I never used the the Rules Cyclopedia.
Character creation is pretty simple. I rolled 3d6 six times and distributed them the way I wanted. Unlike my Labyrinth Lord character, who had attributes that were 10, 15, 11, 5, 7, and 8, I rolled much better for this character: 14, 12, 13, 12, 13, 9. Since I chose to make a dwarf, I put my best numbers in Strength and Constitution. The high numbers ensured that Thrafith would get a +5% experience point bonus. I rolled for starting gold (3d6 x 10) and only got 70gp, so he was not going to be purchasing a lot! After buying basic adventuring materials such as rations, hammer, iron spikes, rope, tinderbox, and some clothes, I decided he would be happy with just a battle axe, shield and leather armor. He had 14gp left over. This rules set only has three alignments – lawful, chaotic, and neutral – and I made him lawful. Thrafith’s dwarven abilities are as you would expect: infravision, detection of stone traps, sliding walls, sloping corridors, and new construction. Finally, I filled in the “To Hit” chart and my Saving Throws (both could be found in tables found much later in the Rules Cyclopedia, however, the page numbers are conveniently listed in the character creation chapter at the beginning of the book).
If you want to run a Basic D&D campaign from 1st until 36th levels, this is the book. It has everything for players, and with a monster manual and rules advice, it has everything a Dungeon Master needs as well (the book is 304 pages, but keep in mind the format is three columns, with a small font and narrow spacing, so it is quite packed with information). Well, that is it for this character creation post, coming up I will cover Basic Fantasy, Old School Essentials, Adventures Dark and Deep, Swords & Wizardry, and Low Fantasy Gaming.