The year is 1974 and the first box set of D&D has been published. To many modern players this box is barely the game they know and love. It only had a handful of recongnizable traits and only three character classes.
Players had to select from Fighting-Man, Magic-User, and Cleric for their class selection. Fighter could be built into ranger, rogue, or simple fighter if wanted but in its core it was all about combat. Races were similarly simple providing only Human, Dwarf, Elf, and Hobbit.
With only a few monsters and the core three alignments the game was refreshingly simple back then.
The game assumed that all players who bought a copy of D&D played the miniature wargame Chainmail. The game used the same measurements and combat systems of Chainmail and was easily converted into a fantasy world. Later a combat system was included in the rules and eventually this early system would evolve into the sole combat used in later versions of the game.
In addition, it was assumed players owned the boardgame Outdoor Survival from Avalon Hill. The game gave players an outdoor exploration board and helped faciliate adventure within the fantasy world of D&D.
One thing to remember is that D&D was a radical and contrversally new concept at the time. Players that did not have experience in the wargaming world would have found it hard to understand the vague rules.
Things got easier when the first supplement for the game was released. Greyhawk replaced the Chainmail rules and made the game much more approachable for new players. There were many other competeing game publishers at the time that took Greyhawk’s deisgn and made their own style of game..
Eventually more supplements were released including Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, and Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes. These expansions helped greatly expand the rules from adding more character classes to monsters, spells and much more.
Players were able to find more content int many published magazines including The Dragon. which eventually became the Dragon Magazine known today.
Althought the history of the original D&D was brief it still set the foundations for tons of content to be released in the future. Eventually this all evolved into the game fans know and love today.