OD&D Thoughts and Dungeonsynth music

Art by Stas Sujov on Artstation.com.

Maybe it me listening to Dungeonsynth and reading the freaking acid trip that is the OD&D’s booklets, but OD&D as a whole has wormed its way into the back of my mind and has been laying little Easter eggs to nimble on while listening to the drone of CNC machines. Yes, I’m half serious with that statement.

When reading the little brown booklets, skimming through the supplements and looking at Chainmail; I get the impression that kind like today’s rules, there is a very strong oral tradition present in that even though everyone at the table can get the first booklet and read it, it takes everyone to try and decipher what the rules mean and how to apply them.

What I mean by this is that even though the rules provide a very basic outline and structure to the game, its gonna take everyone at the table to submit their brainpower to come to an agreement on how everything is gonna be handled and adjudicated. Like, the booklets are laid out in such a way that it’s requires players and DMs to study the booklets to really begin wrapping their heads around (at least for me).

Another thing I noticed (thanks to @chiquitafajita for their most recent post) but there is a heavier focus on Martial and Cleric types more than Magic Users/Wizards in this edition/version of D&D than any other ruleset. Due to the direct references to Chainmail, the game seems to be more centered on a more Martial type fantasy where characters are leading men-at-arms and similar forces into battle when not dungeon delving or engaging in more social events.

How Dungeonsynth music fits into this is that while I listen to this style of music (which kind of sounds like an old school CRPG), it kind of captures some of the style that OD&D and some of the old Pulp stories would have. I know it sounds weird, but the airiness and general sound these albums just capture a feeling that I don’t get with soundtracks in more modern fantasy with only the Lord of the Rings only coming close to scratch the itch.

This feeling being the one you get as a child for undiscovered worlds and times that had a level of romantic feelings for. An album I’ve found that I’ve listened to a little bit can be found here; Depressive Silence - Depressive Silence II (1996) (Dungeon Synth, Black Ambient) - YouTube

These are only a few thoughts I’ve had so far in regards to OD&D. Might have more in the future, hope you enjoyed my thoughts/ramblings.


Was able to read the actual text of the LBBs a couple of days ago–such a cool read! There’s no way you can get around interpreting it; it almost refuses to be intuitive but in (it seems) a productive way.

Also thanks for the music recommendation! It almost reminds me of higher resolution Minecraft music, the sort of breezy quality it has.

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Indeed, it is interesting that the formatting is in such a way to cause a need to interpret everything in the rules and for the larger group to come think alongside the DM.

I hope you enjoy the music, I listen to dungeon synth only on occasion, but it’s airness just seems to coach a fire of creativeness in my mind. I recommend Lofi hip-hop also, but that has a more upbeat and city sounding tone than then seeming mountain breezes the album I shared has.

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That’s the toolkit approach, but keep in mind that OD&D was heavily biased from the culture from which emerged: the wargaming groups of the late 60’s.
We can easily interpret the whole thing from 40 years of game culture, but at the time someone who picked up the booklet without precedent knowledge of wargaming surely would have a headache to read through it.

For me Dungeonsynth is intrinsically linked to the 80’s gaming culture (also the first fantasy videogames). In my mind is B/X or BECMI more than OD&D.
Yes, you can argue that they have a common basis, but the art and presentation of 80’s D&D is different from the 70’s.

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That’s fair, for me Dungeonsynth is kind of a blurry bridge for the two eras (OD&D on one end with the B/X and BECMI on the other end). It might be the cover art for some of the albums I encounter on youtube, but I kind of associate the genre/style with both eras at once.

I wholehearted agree that the art styles between the two decades is extremely different, though they feel very complementary to the stylings each era is more inclined towards/reflected. Like OD&D certainly has the Basement Gaming feel to it with its simple art while the B/X rules has a slightly more refined feel to it.

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