• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.


The Grey Elf

is the Master!
Validated User
[EDIT] it has been brought to my attention that this OP might come off as unnecessarily adversarial. That's not the intent. It is a pet peeve, and I did want to get it off my chest, but that wasn't meant as an insult or affront, so I apologize if it came off as such. The post is meant to educate regarding general common usage amongst the greater old-school D&D community, nothing more. Thanks.[/EDIT]

Sorry, this is quickly becoming a pet peeve of mine, only because it muddies the waters a great deal, and isn't even proper common usage anymore.

OD&D does not stand for "Old" D&D. It stands for "ORIGINAL" D&D.

Amongst the old school community there is a distinctive line between the various versions of D&D. That line is as follows:

OD&D: woodgrain or white box with three little brown books (Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure, Underworld & Wilderness Adventures) followed by 4 supplements.

Holmes: The first effort at a basic set--pares OD&D down to a single 40-odd page book with a blue cover dominated by a dragon looming over its horde. Covers only levels 1-3 and is pretty much OD&D with a few token AD&D references thrown in.

B/X D&D: The Moldvay/Cook/Marsh rules. Second effort at a basic set and the point at which the basic game came into its own as a version of the game. These are the two boxed sets with Erol Otis covers.

AD&D: Self explanatory, followed by 1e or 2e to differentiate

BECMI or RC: Stands for "Basic/Expert/Companion/Masters/Immortals" or "Rules Cyclopedia." Though not 100% identical, these two versions of BD&D are 99% the same (though RC does not include the full Immortals Rules). BECMI is the popular "Red Box" version (at least, the basic set is) with Elmore cover art. As an interesting side note, Dave Arneson once said over on the ODD74 forums that RC was his favorite version of D&D.

BD&D: a collective term used to lump together B/X and BECMI (and sometimes Holmes), but often then requiring further explanation (resulting in B/X or BECMI, anyway). Also sometimes called "Classic D&D" (though I've never seen CD&D used as an acronym for some reason).

Now, why is all this irksome? Because there is a broad and growing classic D&D community out there, and when we look for resources to support OD&D, and then find resources CLAIMING to be OD&D ones but are actually BD&D, it becomes wildly frustrating. ODDITIES is a prime example, though it has enough history behind it that few people make a stink about that one. It becomes VERY confusing for newcomers who want to explore OD&D, then find themselves confused because they're playing B/X and the rules references OD&D fans are throwing out are nowhere to be found...then they realize that "Oh, crap, you mean I haven't actually been playing OD&D all this time? Now I'm confused."

And yes, I'm aware that likely people are going to ignore, flame, or otherwise attempt to invalidate this breakdown. I just needed to get it off my chest, and if even a couple people adopt the proper terminology, I'll have accomplished my greater purpose.
Last edited:

Captain Deadpool

I'm an assassi... Horse Trainer
Validated User
Been bugging the piss out of me for years.

I can't tell you how many times I've told people that AD&D1E was not D&D1E. It's D&D 4th/5th (along with BECMI, which was published at the same time)


Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
I find it more useful to explain the difference when it comes up. Posting adversarial rants usually just polarizes the issue.

(And I don't consider OD&Dities to be exempt.)


also, the game
Serious question -

How much difference in the rules set is there between OD&D, Holmes, B/X D&D and BECMI?

The Grey Elf

is the Master!
Validated User
Serious question -

How much difference in the rules set is there between OD&D, Holmes, B/X D&D and BECMI?
There's not a lot between OD&D and Holmes. Alignments, a few bits and bobs, and references to AD&D.

B/X and BECMI are very much new editions of the game. They're as compatible with OD&D as they are with AD&D, which is to say you could use supplements with some tweaking and work, but they're definitely their own games.


Validated User
I use D&D0 for the original Chainmail expansions.

D&D1 for AD&D, D&D2 for AD&D2, D&D3 for third edition and D&D4 for...well, you get it.

And Red Box for...the red box.


Registered User
Validated User
Eh? It's all just D&D to me. Yes, even D&D 4e. :p
Same here. I may not like 1e much, shun the 2e expansions, and actively dislike 3e/4e, but I recognize all the later stuff, as well as retroclones and some exotic house rule versions, as being D&D.

Of course, Jason's point is more that if you're trying to ask questions about rules or search for adventures or supplemental material, then it's helpful if people identify which rules variant they are talking about.
Top Bottom