Beaglebone Original - is it possible to connect a display without cape?

I apologize if this is known to everyone else; I just bought the Beaglebone yesterday.

I also purchased a prototyping cape and I was wondering if I could build a custom DVI-D cape if the Beaglebone cannot connect to any display without it

You can build a custom cape. Or you can just buy buy a cape already made to provide DVID or HDMI if you like. One note, each cape would cost more than the BeagleBone Black which has HDMI built in.