Friday, March 29, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 3: D&D Vol. I - Men & Magic

Chainmail may not have set the world alight (although it did perform respectably for Guidon Games), but it did well enough to reach Minneapolis, and the hands of a gamer named Dave Arneson.  Arneson was inspired by Chainmail's Fantasy Supplement to create a game where players would each control a single adventurer, braving the dangers of an underground labyrinth beneath Castle Blackmoor.  (Actually, it's not clear whether the supplement inspired Arneson's game, or if he was playing the game already and just adapted some rules; I'm pretty sure I've seen both accounts.)

In the fall of 1972, Arneson showed his Blackmoor game to Gary Gygax, who was enamored with it and asked to see Arneson's notes.  He was soon running his own version, set in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk.  The two collaborated on the game, with Gygax writing the final version of the rules and manuscript.  The name Dungeons & Dragons was coined, apparently chosen from a number of alternatives by Gygax's two-year-old daughter Cindy.

Gygax and Arneson were unable to find a publisher for D&D, so in October 1973 Gygax decided to form a company with friend Don Kaye, which they called Tactical Studies Rules.  Brian Blume, a fellow gamer whose father was willing to finance the company, was brought in as an equal partner in December.  In January 1974, the first Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets were published.

The original set was contained in a woodgrain box, with the cover art pasted on the front.  The rules were contained in three booklets: Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure and The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures.  It also included a booklet of reference sheets, and the 2nd and 3rd prints (available in January and April 1975, respectively) had a corrections sheet.

Today I'll be covering D&D Vol I: Men & Magic, which mostly covers everything relevant to player characters.

New Character Types

  • Fighting-Men, or Fighters (previously included in Chainmail as Heroes, Super-heroes and Anti-heroes).
  • Magic-Users (previously included in Chainmail as Wizards, Sorcerers, Warlocks and Magicians).
  • Clerics and Anti-Clerics
  • Dwarves (included in Chainmail)
  • Elves (included in Chainmail)
  • Hobbits (included in Chainmail)

Monsters Mentioned

Those previously included in the Chainmail 1st or 2nd edition rules marked with an asterisk
  • Man*
  • Hobbit*
  • Ent*
  • Unicorn
  • Pegasus
  • Hippogriff*
  • Elf*
  • Lycanthrope*
  • Roc*
  • Dwarf*
  • Gnome*
  • Centaur
  • Nixie
  • Pixie*
  • Dryad
  • Orc*
  • Ogre*
  • Dragon*
  • Wyvern*
  • Hydra
  • Purple Worm* (called purple or mottled dragon in Chainmail)
  • Sea Monster
  • Chimera* (not a specific monster in Chainmail, but a category)
  • Minotaur
  • Giant*
  • Balrog*
  • Goblin*
  • Kobold*
  • Hobgoblin
  • Gnoll
  • Troll*
  • Wight*
  • Wraith*
  • Mummy
  • Spectre
  • Vampire
  • Medusa
  • Manticore
  • Gargoyle
  • Gorgon
  • Witch
  • Mule
  • Draft Horse
  • Light Horse*
  • Medium Warhorse*
  • Heavy Warhorse*
  • Invisible Stalker
  • Air Elemental*
  • Earth Elemental*
  • Fire Elemental*
  • Water Elemental*

Weapons and Armor Introduced

All of these can be assumed to have shown up in Chainmail, but here they're appearing in D&D proper for the first time.  These are the arms and armor most commonly available in and around the City of Greyhawk.

  • Dagger
  • Hand Axe
  • Mace
  • Sword
  • Battle Axe
  • Morning Star
  • Flail
  • Spear
  • Pole Arm
  • Halberd
  • Two-Handed Sword
  • Lance
  • Pike
  • Short Bow
  • Long Bow
  • Composite Bow
  • Light Crossbow
  • Heavy Crossbow
  • Arrows
  • Quarrels
  • Silver Arrow
  • Leather Armor
  • Chain-type Mail
  • Plate Mail
  • Helmet
  • Shield
  • Barding

Other Equipment Introduced

  • Saddle
  • Saddle Bags
  • Cart
  • Wagon
  • Raft
  • Small Boat
  • Small Merchant Ship
  • Large Merchant Ship
  • Small Galley
  • Large Galley
  • Rope
  • 10' Pole
  • Iron Spikes
  • Small Sack
  • Large Sack
  • Backpack
  • Waterskin/wineskin
  • Torch
  • Lantern
  • Flask of Oil
  • Mallet and Stakes
  • Steel Mirror
  • Silver Mirror
  • Wooden Cross
  • Silver Cross
  • Holy Water
  • Wolvesbane
  • Belladonna
  • Garlic
  • Wine
  • Iron Rations
  • Standard Rations

Rules Introduced

  • Race and class
  • Alignment (Law, Neutrality and Chaos)
  • Forms of multi-classing and dual-classing are present
  • Ability scores (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma), ranging from 3 to 18.
  • Languages
  • NPCs, and the influencing and hiring thereof
  • The ability to bequeath wealth and items to a relative
  • Buying equipment
  • Encumbrance
  • Experience points, and levels
  • Hit Dice and hit points
  • Armor Class
  • The attack roll (using 1d20 and a chart)
  • Saving Throws
  • Magic and spellcasting for magic-users and clerics
  • Turning Undead

Spells Introduced

Magic-User level 1
  • Detect Magic (included in Chainmail as part of the Detection spell)
  • Hold Portal
  • Read Magic
  • Read Languages
  • Protection from Evil (included in Chainmail 2nd edition)
  • Light (included in Chainmail as Wizard Light)
  • Charm Person
  • Sleep
Magic-User level 2
  • Detect Invisible (included in Chainmail as part of the Detection spell)
  • Levitate
  • Phantasmal Forces (included in Chainmail)
  • Locate Object
  • Invisibility (included in Chainmail as an innate Wizard ability)
  • Wizard Lock
  • Detect Evil
  • ESP
  • Continual Light
  • Knock
Magic-User level 3
  • Fly
  • Hold Person
  • Dispell Magic (possibly used in Chainmail as the Wizard's counter-spell ability)
  • Clairvoyance
  • Clairaudience
  • Fire Ball (included in Chainmail)
  • Lightning Bolt (included in Chainmail)
  • Protection from Evil, 10' Radius
  • Invisibility, 10' Radius (possibly represented in Chainmail as the Concealment spell)
  • Infravision (included in Chainmail as an innate Wizard ability)
  • Slow Spell
  • Haste Spell
  • Protection from Normal Missiles (included in Chainmail as an innate Wizard ability)
  • Water Breathing
Magic-User level 4
  • Polymorph Self
  • Polymorph Others
  • Remove Curse
  • Wall of Fire
  • Wall of Ice
  • Confusion
  • Charm Monster
  • Growth of Plants
  • Dimension Door
  • Wizard Eye
  • Massmorph
  • Hallucinatory Terrain
Magic-User level 5
  • Teleport
  • Hold Monster
  • Conjure Elemental (included in Chainmail)
  • Telekenesis
  • Transmute Rock to Mud
  • Wall of Stone
  • Wall of Iron
  • Animate Dead
  • Magic Jar
  • Contact Higher Plane
  • Pass-Wall
  • Cloudkill
  • Feeblemind
  • Growth of Animals
Magic-User level 6
  • Stone to Flesh
  • Reincarnation
  • Invisible Stalker
  • Lower Water
  • Part Water
  • Projected Image
  • Anti-Magic Shell
  • Death Spell
  • Geas
  • Disintegrate
  • Move Earth (included in Chainmail 2nd edition as Moving Terrain)
  • Control Weather
Cleric level 1
  • Cure Light Wounds/Cause Light Wounds
  • Purify Food & Water/Putrefy Food & Water
  • Detect Magic
  • Detect Evil/Detect Good
  • Protection from Evil/Protection from Good
  • Light/Darkness
Cleric level 2
  • Find Traps
  • Hold Person
  • Bless/Curse
  • Speak with Animals
Cleric level 3
  • Remove Curse
  • Cure Disease/Cause Disease
  • Locate Object
  • Continual Light/Continual Darkness
Cleric level 4
  • Neutralize Poison
  • Cure Serious Wounds/Cause Serious Wounds
  • Protection from Evil, 10' Radius/Protection from Good, 10' Radius
  • Turn Sticks to Snakes
  • Speak with Plants
  • Create Water
Cleric level 5
  • Dispell Evil/Dispell Good
  • Raise Dead/Finger of Death
  • Commune
  • Quest
  • Insect Plague
  • Create Food
Cleric spells after the / are for Chaotic clerics only, but aren't specifically named in this product, except for the Finger of Death.

Details and conjecture relevant to the Ultimate Sandbox

  • The Great Kingdom is mentioned, as follows: 'From the map of the "land" of the "Great Kingdom" and environs - the territory of the C&C Society - Dave (Arneson) located a nice bog wherein to nest the weird enclave of "Blackmoor", a spot between the "Great Kingdom" and the fearsome "Egg of Coot".'
  • The following are mentioned as inspirations: Burroughs' Martian adventures, Howard's Conan saga, the de Camp and Pratt fantasies, and Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
  • An archetypal D&D dungeon is described in the introduction as follows: 'the dungeons beneath the "huge ruined pile, a vast castle built by generations of mad wizards and insane geniuses"'.  This could more or less describe Castle Greyhawk.
  • The possibility for PCs to claim land, build castles and become barons would indicate that there's a decent amount of unclaimed wilderness in the areas surrounding the campaign area (which will probably be the City of Greyhawk).
  • High-level clerics are dedicated to either Law or Chaos, indicating that this allegiance is at this point more important and common than the worship of singular deities, at least as far as clerics are concerned.
  • Demi-human level limits could indicate that demi-humans simply lack human potential, or that in the areas ruled over by humans there's a prejudice against them that stops higher-level NPCs from training them above a certain level.
  • Xylarthen the magic-user is given as a sample character, and will be present as an adventurer in Greyhawk when my campaign begins.
  • There is a "common" tongue spoken by most humans in the campaign world.  Each race has its own language, and about 20% can speak common as well.
  • Each of the alignments has its own special language, probably handed down from the gods or another powerful force at the dawn of time.
  • Based on languages known, dwarves would be friendly with gnomes and antagonistic towards goblins and kobolds.
  • Elves speak the orc, hobgoblin and gnoll languages, and so have probably been at war with those races.
  • Along humans, the places that dwarves and elves hail from are called 'Dwarf-land' and 'Elf-land'.
  • Every character class has a different title for each level; these titles are accepted ranks and marks of skill, and their use is widespread.
  • The spell Contact Higher Plane allows a magic-user to seek advice and knowledge from creatures inhabiting a higher plane of existence.  These planes are numbered 3rd through 12th, and contacting them brings a chance of being driven insane.  (I've pegged this as the Abyss, as it's the only one of the Outer Planes with enough levels, but it's not clear.  Even AD&D doesn't codify which planes are being contacted.)
  • The spell Invisible Stalker mentions that the creature is 'extra-dimensional', but doesn't specify what the dimension is like.
  • The Raise Dead spell specifically only works on men, elves and dwarves.  This creates two contradictions with later editions: it doesn't work on hobbits, but it does work on elves, and both of these are the opposite in AD&D.  My rationale for hobbits is that their souls go to a realm that is currently beyond arcane knowledge, and that by AD&D that's changed. With elves it's harder.  I'm tying it to the Tolkienian idea of elves as a race on the wane, and as they grow weaker in life, they are drawn more strongly to the realm they reside in after death.
  • Using the Commune spell, clerics can ask for help from some unspecified 'powers above'.
  • Based on the illustrations, somewhere in the world there are amazons who go into battle wearing very little.

  • Also based on the illustrations, elves can grow beards.  This fits with Tolkien, or at least his description of Cirdan the Shipwright, the most ancient elf to appear in The Lord of the Rings.

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