Thursday, April 25, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 8: Early D&D Articles by Gary Gygax

In addition to recapping the various D&D products that I've covered so far, I wanted to use this series to slot in some other products and related articles in their proper chronological place. Well, I was bound to miss something. Early D&D is nothing if not disparate, and Gary Gygax's writings about it were printed in a lot of different sources. I'll try here to cover all of the articles that would have seen publication before Supplement I: Greyhawk.

"Battle for the Brown Hills", from Wargamer's Newsletter (March 1971, just as Chainmail was being first published)

This article is a play report from an early Chainmail scenario that Gary moderated. The forces of Chaos have invaded the Meadowlands of the Great Kingdom, and the forces of Law have rode out from Great Keep to meet them in the field. The battle was won by the forces of Chaos, but not decisively enough for them to take the field; the end result was that both forces retreated to lick their wounds and gather reinforcements, with another battle soon to come. The whole account can be read here.

This article is perhaps one of the most detailed descriptions we have of Gygax's original campaign setting. I'm just going to reproduce the opening here in full:

"East of the Desert of Sorrow stretches the nearly unbroken barrier of forbidding mountains. Furthest south, dipping into the place where the Gnyxyg Sea meets The Ocean, they are called Mountains of Bitter Cold. At the place where the Broken Land joins them they become known as the Home of Dragons, and it is somewhere within their vast area that is hidden the Cave of Shifting Runes. Furthest north they are known as the Giant Mountains, due not to the stature of their peaks - albeit this is undiminished, but rather for the creatures who inhabit the labyrinthine caverns therein. A spur of the chain first turns eastward, then circles north again, to enclose the hidden and unwholesome valley of Lake Iuz. The lesser peaks of the spur are the Dwarfrealm.

On the coast north of the Giant Mountains are the lands called Drearshore, and the peninsula of Lands End. It was from here that Chaos armed its host, swarmed into the Valley of Iuz, and began to harry the Dwarves, causing them to flee southwards into the Brown Hills and bringing news of the massing evil to the men of the Old Kingdom. From the town of Yon to the city of Hither the news travelled, and the paladins at Great Keep were called forth by the Count of Aerll. All of Law was to meet in solemn council at the hamlet of Lea. In a short time the men of the Meadowlands were joined by a band of the warlike elves from the wood near the Cairnstones, as well as a large band of horsemen from beyond the Silent Forest, the eastern border of all the land.

The encampment of the Count was made in the Cloverfields, between Lea and the Brown Hills. It was here that intelligence reached them that the Horde of Chaos had debouched from the pass at the headwaters of the Darkling River, skirted the Marshes of Oozing Slime, and now were only a few days from him. Despite the fact that only three-quarters of his forces had been marshalled, the Count marched at once due west across the narrow waist of hills, and took up strong position to await the enemy."

That is a lot to take in, and as with much of Gygax's writing it's not the most straightforward. Looking ahead somewhat, I can see that it doesn't match up with the published World of Greyhawk maps, although there are some familiar names in there. Dave Megarry, inventor of the boardgame Dungeon!, has made available a map of Gary's original world from circa 1971. It's hard to say if it matches that either, because we don't have a lot of geographical detail to go on.

For the moment, I'm content to say that the above map represents the World of Greyhawk as it was, and that some cataclysm or event will reshape the land into its configuration as seen in official TSR products. As such, it looks like the Battle of the Brown Hills will be one that was fought in the ancient past. The article mentions the forces of Chaos invading the "remains of the Old Kingdom", so it's possible this might be set after the fall of the Great Kingdom.

The forces of Chaos were led by the Warlock Huldor ap Kree, and the Giant King Verdurmir. They were also comprised of Ogres of Iuz, human troops from Lands End and Drearshore, and a number of Orc tribes. The tribes given are the Orcs of the Mountain, Orcs of the Vile Rune, and Orcs of the Longspear. The first was one of the example tribes given in Chainmail,

The forces of Law were led by Count Aerll (a super-hero), and the Magician of the Cairn. In addition there were knights and other men from the Meadowlands, horsemen from the lands to the east, and elves. Both Count Aerll and the Magician of the Cairn were slain in battle, the latter by a randomly passing dragon. The count's magic sword was lost on the field of battle, and it's fate is unrevealed.

A map of the battlefield is below:

"The Giant's Bag", from Great Plains Game Players Newsletter #7 (April 1974, a few months after D&D is first published)

This article relates a wilderness adventure that was being DMed by Rob Kuntz, with Ernie and Gary Gygax as players. In this adventure, the sorcerer Nestre (played by Ernie, I assume, given the anagrammatical name) and some fighter henchmen were following a map to some treasure hidden in the wilderness southeast of the walled city of Greyhawk. They encountered a giant, who accompanied them through the greenwood and along a turgid river, to a bank infested with giant crabs. The giant helped them smash the crabs, and retrieve a treasure chest from the river bed.

Following that there are some hi-jinks where the giant inadvertently tricks the players into diving into the river to retrieve some "round things" (actually worthless rocks), and claims most of the treasure himself. The greedy Nestre tries to get a look inside the giant's bag, and in doing so loses a crystal ball and two valuable gems, only to find that the bag is full of worthless junk.

It's a mildly amusing tale, with perhaps a few anachronisms too many for my taste. It's greatest value is the insight that it gives into the tone of the original Greyhawk campaign. I'll keep this giant around as an NPC perhaps, and have Nestre as one of the previous generation of adventurers in and around Greyhawk, with these events as just one of the tales about him.

Addendum: I see that Gary asked Jeff Talanian to include a Hill Giant of similar temperament to this in Castle Zagyg: The Upper Works. I might make it the same giant.

"Swords & Sorcery in Wargaming" from Wargamer's Digest #7 (May 1974, a few months after D&D is first published)

This article begins (which can be read here) with a very brief over-view of fantasy wargaming, before launching into an account of a D&D session played by Gygax (and presumably run by Rob Kuntz). It follows Mordenkainen (said to be a 13th level wizard) and his one-time apprentice Bigby (11th level), as they explore the 4th level of a dungeon. In a previous adventure they had descended some dozen levels, and found a key and some lines of verse; after some research and divination, they were now searching level 4 for the door that the key would unlock.

Somewhere north and east of the entrance to the level, past a portcullis that crashed behind them, they found a room with four chests and a disembodied voice telling them to "choose from the four chests before you". One chest held a hydra (which they polymorphed into a slug), and the other granted them a wish of limited power. They used the wish to get directions to the door, which was past some iron portals to the east, and then north to the gates to the Great Hall.

There they found three granite thrones, upon which were seated three iron statues. One held a dagger, and one held a broadsword, but the central one was an iron golem wielding a poisonous sword and a whip of cockatrice feathers, and possessed of a fiery breath. It defeated an efreeti that the wizards summoned, and turned Mordenkainen to stone with its whip, forcing Bigby to retreat to Mordenkainen's stronghold.

Bigby quickly returned with Lords Yrag and Felnorith, as well as the Bishop Raunalf. After restoring Mordenkainen to flesh, they looted the weapons from the two statues and used them to destroy the golem. Unfortunately, Bigby was now turned to stone, and Yrag was killed by its poisoned sword, but the others were able to loot the statues, which were hollow and full of gems, and also to find a tiny coral miniature of the surrounding dungeon. Presumably the two felled characters were later restored.

This golem was mentioned in D&D Vol. 3: The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, and the adventure recounted above was from Kuntz's El Raja Key dungeon. It appears in altered form in dungeon WG5 Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure, in what is now Castle Maure. In order to make both adventures viable, I might have it that Castle Maure is one of those dungeon that periodically changes its layout, much like Castle Greyhawk.


That brings me up to date with roughly March of 1975, which sees the approximate publication dates of Supplement I: Greyhawk and Chainmail 3rd edition. I have a number of other early D&D articles by Gygax, and I'll intersperse them with the regular posts in the series

Friday, April 19, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 7: The Strategic Review #1

In early 1975, TSR launched its first magazine, The Strategic Review. It was intended not only to support Dungeons & Dragons and TSR's other game lines, but also to cover the wargaming hobby in general. The first issue is only six pages in length, so it shouldn't take too long to cover. I'll tackle it article by article, ignoring those that have no relevance to D&D.

TSR News: It's noted that TSR has just acquired the rights to Don't Give Up the Ship, Tractics and (most importantly to this blog) Chainmail. A third edition of Chainmail is said to be arriving soon.

Supplements for D&D are also said to be a high priority, and the first will be arriving some time before GenCon (held in August). Supplement I: Greyhawk is believed to have been first printed in March, so they made the date handily.

Creature Feature: The Mind Flayer makes its first appearance.

Castle & Crusade by Gary Gygax: Gary defends to ineffectiveness of the spear in Chainmail with some historical context. He also promises a more detailed breakdown of polearms.

Solo Dungeon Adventures by Gary Gygax (with special thanks to George Lord): This is a series of random tables for creating solo dungeon adventures. I may use this in the Ultimate Sandbox as a dungeon that is always random, or perhaps a cursed demi-plane that is one huge, ever-shifting labyrinth.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 6: D&D Correction Sheet

The second printing of the original Dungeons & Dragons set - released in January of 1975 - included a sheet with some corrections to the rules. It was also present in the third printing, released in April 1975. Mostly it clears up some typos, but it also makes some rules changes and clarifications that I thought I'd note.

  • In the first printing, the sleep spell affected 1d6 creatures of 4 Hit Dice. It's changed here so that it now only affects a single 4 HD creature.
  • The Hit Dice for skeletons and zombies were unclear in the first printing. They were shown as having HD 1/2, which could have meant two things: either both creatures had half a Hit Die, or skeletons had 1 and zombies had 2. It's changed here so that skeletons get half a Hit Die and zombies get 1.
  • Balrogs in the first printing did just 2d6 damage with their flaming bodies. It's corrected here so that they can now do 3d6 or 4d6 depending on size.
  • It wasn't mentioned in the first printing that gargoyles can only be damaged by magic weapons, but that rule is added here.
  • Similarly, a rule is added here so that lycanthropes can only be damaged by silver or magic weapons.
  • Elementals are changed here so that only magic weapons can damage them as well.
  • In the first printing, all spell scrolls are for magic-users. This sheet changes the rule so that a quarter of scrolls will feature clerical spells.
  • In the first edition, the potion of heroism was quite literal, in that it transformed a normal man into a Hero (a 4th level fighter). This sheet adds some lines so that the potion is useful for characters of levels 5+.
  • This sheet clarifies that a spell written on a scroll can only be used once before it disappears, something that wasn't mentioned in the first printing.

I usually try to rationalise these kinds of rule changes for this project, but in this case I'm going to treat them as exactly what they are: errata. These are all things that should have been in the rules in the first place, so I feel no need to explain them.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 5: D&D Vol. III - The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures

Another entry in my recaps of the D&D products I've covered thus far. For this post it's the third booklet of the original Dungeons & Dragons boxed set, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. In the most basic terms, this book is the equivalent of what would eventually become the Dungeon Master's Guide.

New Rules Introduced
  • Random determination of dungeon room contents (monsters, traps, treasure)
  • Movement in the underworld
  • Detection of secret passages
  • Forcing doors
  • Listening at doors
  • Surprise
  • Wandering monsters
  • Avoiding monsters in the underworld
  • Monster reactions
  • Random determination of castle inhabitants
  • Wilderness movement
  • Encounters and pursuit in the wilderness
  • Getting lost in the wilderness
  • Wilderness wandering monsters
  • Construction of castles and strongholds
  • Hiring of specialists and men-at-arms
  • PC upkeep and support
  • Baronies
  • Aerial combat
  • Naval combat
  • Swimming
  • Healing

Monsters that get stats for the first time
  • Dragon Turtles
  • Giant Leeches
  • Crocodiles and Giant Crocodiles
  • Giant Snakes (aquatic variety)
  • Giant Octopi
  • Giant Squids
  • Giant Crabs
  • Giant Fish

Monsters mentioned that didn't get stats in Vol. II or III
  • Giant rats
  • Giant Centipedes
  • Giant Spiders
  • Giant Lizards
  • Giant Toads
  • Giant Hogs
  • Giant Ants
  • Giant Weasels
  • Giant Beetles
  • Giant Scorpions
  • White Apes (from Barsoom)
  • Pterodactyls
  • Cyborgs
  • Robots
  • Androids
  • Shadows
  • Dopplegangers
  • Red Martians (from Barsoom)
  • Tharks (from Barsoom)
  • Black Martians (from Barsoom)
  • Yellow Martians (from Barsoom)
  • White Martians (from Barsoom)
  • Lions
  • Bears
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Triceratops
  • Brontosaurus
  • Stegosaurus
  • Apts (from Barsoom)
  • Banths (from Barsoom)
  • Thoats (from Barsoom)
  • Calots (from Barsoom)
  • Orluks (from Barsoom)
  • Sith (from Barsoom)
  • Darseen (from Barsoom)
  • Cave Bears
  • Dire Wolves
  • Sabretooth Tigers
  • Mastodons
  • Spotted Lions
  • Wooly Rhinos
  • Titanotheres

NPC Specialists introduced
  • Alchemists
  • Armorers
  • Assassins
  • Animal Trainers
  • Engineers
  • Sages
  • Seamen
  • Ship Captains
  • Smiths
  • Spies

Details and conjecture relevant to the Ultimate Sandbox
  • The book begins with a sample cross-section of a dungeon, as shown below. I plan on placing this dungeon somewhere not far from the City of Greyhawk.

  • Later on a sample level is included. It's more of a way to demonstrate various tricks and traps than a genuine level, but I'm going to include it as part of one of the dungeon above. The level in question needs a chute and a slanting passage, which doesn't match anything in the sample, so it'll have to be one of the levels below 6th (the cavern). The map for this area is below:

  • There's a sample of play that features some adventurers (including an elf and a magic-user who can cast hold portal) exploring a dungeon and fighting some gnolls. I've mapped out the dungeon described as shown below. These adventurers will be dead bodies deeper into the dungeon, and found with them will be their gnoll treasure: 2,000 copper pieces, an onyx case worth 1,000 gp, a jeweled necklace worth 5,000 gp, and a pair of elven boots.

  • It's noted that Greyhawk Castle has "over a dozen levels in succession downwards, and more than that branching from these, and not less than two new levels under construction at any given time. These levels contain such things as a museum from another age, an underground lake, a series of caverns filled with giant fungi, a bowling alley for 20' high giants, an arena of evil, crypts, and so on".
  • There are some rules that I plan to apply only as special circumstances for "megadungeons": doors are usually stuck for PCs, but will always open for monsters; the dungeon layout may change between visits; monsters all have infravision, but will not benefit from it if serving a PC. Mythic megadungeons such as Blackmoor or Castle Greyhawk are actively hostile towards the PCs.
  • Blackmoor is described as "a village of small size (a one-horse town)".
  • The City of Greyhawk (written as "Grayhawk" here, but we all know better) is a large city. It's said to have bazaars, inns, taverns, shops, temples, and a risky Thieves' Quarter.
  • The board from Outdoor Survival was used in the original Greyhawk campaign for wilderness exploration.  I'll be using it in the Ultimate Sandbox as a nearby wilderness area. Here it is below:

  • There must be a lot of unclaimed wilderness around Greyhawk, as PCs are free to clear areas out and build their own strongholds. The region is also dotted with small castles ruled by fickle NPCs. The Outdoor Survival map is about 215 miles (43 hexes) x 210 miles (42 hexes), and it contains (I think) 18 different castles. Anyone in charge of a castle is considered to have their own barony, and can start collecting taxes, but they also seem to be pretty autonomous. I guess that there is a ruling authority around Greyhawk that governs these things and hands out baronies, but that they're fairly hands off unless someone starts causing them too much trouble.
  • Based on the wilderness wandering monster tables, there must be somewhere in the campaign setting a "lost world" swamp or jungle that's full of dinosaurs, and a mountain range inhabited by prehistoric mammals.
  • There are many references to Barsoom, the setting of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter novels, so there should be some way of getting there in the campaign.
  • Sages won't work for clerics or magic-users, which I'm going to chalk up to some sort of guild rivalry or professional jealousy.
  • Vikings are mentioned. I won't have actual Vikings in the campaign, but there should be some sort of equivalent.
  • Apparently orcs are readily available to be hired as men-at-arms by chaotic character.
  • It's noted that ships might sail off the edge of the world. Is the World of Greyhawk flat? I'm not altogether opposed to the idea.

Saturday, April 06, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 4: D&D Vol. II - Monsters & Treasure

This post continues my quick round-up of what's in every Dungeons & Dragons product I've covered so far, and my ideas for incorporating it all into a single campaign.  Today I'm covering the second booklet of the original D&D boxed set, Monsters & Treasure.

This book lists all of the monsters and magic items in the original game. Obviously, everything listed here is appearing in D&D for the first time. I'll make a note of the things that were already included in Chainmail.

Monsters That Get Stats For the First Time
  • Man, Bandit
  • Man, Berserker
  • Man, Brigand
  • Man, Dervish
  • Man, Nomad
  • Man, Buccaneer
  • Man, Pirate
  • Man, Caveman
  • Man, Merman
  • Goblin (in Chainmail)
  • Kobold (in Chainmail)
  • Orc (in Chainmail)
  • Hobgoblin
  • Gnoll
  • Ogre (in Chainmail)
  • Troll (in Chainmail)
  • Hill Giant
  • Stone Giant (There is a giant in Chainmail, and it fits the Stone Giant better than the others)
  • Frost Giant
  • Fire Giant
  • Cloud Giant
  • Skeleton
  • Zombie
  • Ghoul (in Chainmail)
  • Wight (in Chainmail)
  • Wraith (in Chainmail)
  • Mummy
  • Spectre
  • Vampire
  • Cockatrice (in Chainmail)
  • Basilisk (in Chainmail)
  • Medusa
  • Gorgon
  • Manticora
  • Hydra
  • Chimera (in Chainmail as a general category rather than a specific monster)
  • Wyvern (in Chainmail)
  • White Dragon (in Chainmail)
  • Black Dragon (in Chainmail)
  • Green Dragon (in Chainmail)
  • Blue Dragon (in Chainmail)
  • Red Dragon (in Chainmail)
  • Golden Dragon
  • Balrog (in Chainmail)
  • Gargoyle
  • Lycanthrope, Werewolf (in Chainmail)
  • Lycanthrope, Wereboar
  • Lycanthrope, Weretiger
  • Lycanthrope, Werebear (in Chainmail)
  • Purple Worm (in Chainmail)
  • Sea Monster (doesn't really get stats, but does get its own description)
  • Minotaur
  • Centaur
  • Unicorn
  • Nixie
  • Pixie (in Chainmail)
  • Dryad
  • Gnome (in Chainmail)
  • Dwarf (in Chainmail)
  • Elf (in Chainmail)
  • Ent (in Chainmail)
  • Pegasus
  • Hippogriff (in Chainmail)
  • Roc (in Chainmail)
  • Griffon (in Chainmail)
  • Invisible Stalker
  • Air Elemental (in Chainmail)
  • Earth Elemental (in Chainmail)
  • Fire Elemental (in Chainmail)
  • Water Elemental (in Chainmail)
  • Djinn (in Chainmail)
  • Efreet (in Chainmail)
  • Ochre Jelly
  • Black (or Grey) Pudding
  • Green Slime
  • Grey Ooze
  • Yellow Mold
  • Light Horse
  • Medium Horse
  • Heavy Horse
  • Draft Horse
  • Mule
  • Insects or Small Animals (a general category)
  • Large Insects or Animals (another general category)

Monsters That Get Mentioned But Don't Get Stats
  • Wolf
  • Centipede
  • Snake
  • Spider
  • Giant Ant
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex
  • Apt (from Barsoom, setting of the John Carter novels)
  • Banth (from Barsoom)
  • Thoat (from Barsoom)
  • Titan
  • Cyclops
  • Juggernaut
  • Living Statue
  • Salamander
  • Gelatinous Cube
  • Robot
  • Golem
  • Android
  • Dragon Turtle (shown in an illustration)

Magic Swords
Magic swords were in Chainmail, with bonuses ranging from +1 to +3.
  • Swords +1 to +3
  • Sword +1, +2 vs. Lycanthropes
  • Sword +1, +2 vs. Magic-Users and Enchanted Monsters
  • Sword +1, Locating Objects Ability
  • Sword +1, +3 vs. Trolls
  • Sword +1, +3 vs. Clerics
  • Sword, Flaming
  • Sword +1, Wishes Included
  • Sword +1, +3 vs. Dragons
  • Sword +2, Charm Person Ability
  • Sword, One Life Energy Draining Ability (catchy name)
  • Cursed Sword -2

Magic Armor
  • Shields +1 to +3
  • Armor +1 to +3 (+1 armor was in Chainmail)

Miscellaneous Magic Weapons
  • Magic Arrows (in Chainmail)
  • Dagger +1 vs. Man-Sized Opponents, +2 vs. Goblins and Kobolds
  • Dagger +2 vs. Man-Sized Opponents, +3 vs. Orcs, Goblins and Kobolds
  • Magic Bow
  • Axe +1
  • Mace +2
  • War Hammer +1 to +3 (+3 will return if thrown)
  • Spear +1 to +3

  • Growth
  • Dimenuation (eventually becomes Diminution)
  • Giant Strength
  • Invisibility
  • Gaseous Form
  • Polymorph Self
  • Speed
  • Levitation
  • Flying
  • ESP
  • Delusion
  • Healing
  • Longevity
  • Clairvoyance
  • Clairaudience
  • Animal Control
  • Undead Control
  • Plant Control
  • Human Control
  • Giant Control
  • Dragon Control
  • Poison
  • Invulnerability
  • Fire Resistance
  • Treasure Finding
  • Heroism

  • Scrolls with 1-3 spells, or with 7
  • Cursed Scroll
  • Protection from Lycanthropes
  • Protection from Undead
  • Protection from Elementals
  • Protection from Magic

  • Invisibility
  • Mammal Control
  • Human Control
  • Weakness
  • Protection
  • Three Wishes
  • Delusion
  • Water Walking
  • Fire Resistance
  • Protection, 5' radius
  • Regeneration
  • Djinn Summoning
  • Telekinesis
  • X-Ray Vision
  • Spell Turning
  • Spell Storing
  • Many Wishes (4-24)

  • Metal Detection
  • Enemy Detection
  • Magic Detection
  • Secret Door and Trap Detection
  • Illusion
  • Fear
  • Cold
  • Paralyzation
  • Fire Balls
  • Lightning Bolts
  • Polymorph
  • Negation

  • Healing
  • Commanding
  • Snake Staff
  • Striking
  • Withering
  • Power
  • Wizardry

Miscellaneous Magic
  • Crystal Ball
  • Crystal Ball with Clairaudience
  • Crystal Ball with ESP
  • Amulet vs. Crystal Balls and ESP
  • Scarab of Protection from Evil High Priests
  • Bag of Holding
  • Censor of Controlling Air Elementals
  • Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals
  • Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals
  • Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals
  • Efreet Bottle
  • Displacer Cloak
  • Elven Cloak and Boots
  • Boots of Speed
  • Boots of Levitation
  • Boots of Traveling and Leaping
  • Broom of Flying
  • Helm of Reading Magic and Languages
  • Helm of Telepathy
  • Helm of Teleportation
  • Helm of Chaos (or Helm of Law)
  • Flying Carpet
  • Drums of Panic
  • Horn of Blasting
  • Gauntlets of Ogre Power
  • Girdle of Giant Strength
  • Mirror of Life Trapping

  • Teleportation Machine
  • Fighter's Crown, Orb and Sceptre
  • Magic-User's Crown, Orb and Sceptre
  • Cleric's Crown, Orb and Sceptre
  • Stone Crystalization Projector

Rules Introduced
  • Saving throws for the destruction of magic items

Details and conjecture relevant to the Ultimate Sandbox
  • The rules state that all men and monsters in the dungeon can see in the dark, except for the PCs. This makes little sense as a general rule, so I'm narrowing it down to mythic "megadungeons" such as Castles Greyhawk and Blackmoor. It's possible those dungeons have sentience or magic working against the PCs.
  • If the monster lineup is anything to go by, there are a lot of lawless bands roaming around the default D&D campaign setting: bandits, brigands, pirates, etc.
  • Berserkers roam around in bands up to 300 strong, and so are probably a people or a culture rather than a "character class".
  • Dervishes are nomadic residents of the desert or steppes, and a are fanatical religious zealots.
  • Nomads are raiders that also hail from the desert or the steppes.
  • The presence of cavemen implies that evolution has worked similarly in the D&D world to the way it did in our world (although there are other possible explanations, of course).
  • Goblins hate dwarves, as noted in Chainmail.
  • Orcs are split into tribes that all hate each other, although no specific tribes are given. I'll be using those from Chainmail.
  • Goblins, kobolds, hobgoblins, and gnolls when in their lairs are ruled over by a "king". Pretty much every leader of a goblinoid tribe, no matter how minor, considers itself a king.
  • Gnolls are said to be a hybrid of gnomes and trolls. This is a strange fit with the hyena-headed gnolls of later editions.
  • Ghouls are subject to damage from normal missiles, whereas they were immune in Chainmail. Perhaps those in Chainmail are deliberately created by dark magic, rather than whatever creates the ghouls that roam dungeons, and are thus a little stronger.
  • The existence of mummies as a widespread monster implies the existence of an ancient, widespread civilisation that practiced embalming.
  • Crosses affect Vampires, and are thus a powerful symbol of Law. They might even represent a specific god.
  • The Nazgul are now said to be spectres, whereas in Chainmail they were said to be wraiths.
  • The chimera is now a specific monster, rather than a category including a whole range of monsters as it was in Chainmail. In the game world I'll say that scholars used the term as a category, but the name eventually stuck to the specific monster until the former meaning fell out of use.
  • Dragon's age really quickly in this version of D&D compared to later editions. This suggests that dragons have waned in recent years. But perhaps the greater dragons still slumber, and will eventually reawaken...
  • It's specifically said that purple worms lurk everywhere, just beneath the surface. It's a sobering thought.
  • Lycanthropy can be passed on via being clawed or bitten, but lycanthropes also travel around in family packs with two adults and a number of children. I figure the "disease" is also passed on to offspring, which has resulted in these lycanthropes becoming distinct species.
  • Elves are said to have the ability to move silently, and are also "nearly invisible in their grey-green cloaks". This suggests to me that pretty much all elves are equipped with elven boots and cloaks. I'm fine with this, though I'm reluctant to let PC elves begin with them at 1st level - I figure that these cloaks and boots are for those elves operating out of the elven homeland, and that wandering adventurer types generally don't get issued them. Could they possibly be part of a military uniform?
  • Elves are split into two types, those that live in the woods and those that live in remote meadows. There are also the "fairies" of Chainmail, which were lumped into the elf category.
  • Elves get a bonus when using magic weapons, which to me suggests that the making of magic weapons was originally an elvish craft.
  • Hippogriffs hate pegasi.
  • The City of Brass is the fabled home of the efreet.
  • Barsoom is referenced, the setting of the John Carter novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The original Greyhawk campaign featured adventures in this setting, so I should make it somehow accessible.
  • Mention is made of a living statue that was made of iron, impervious to all weapons save two special ones he guarded, had a fiery breath, a poison sword, and a whip of cockatrice feathers that turned victims to stone. This is a reference to the iron golem of Castle Maure, which I believe is a part of the module Mordenkainen's Fantastic Adventure.
  • The majority of the human-types encountered will have slaves, so there should be a roaring slave trade going.
  • All magic swords are intelligent. Eventually this will become a rarity, which needs an explanation. I'm going with the idea that these swords were forged in antiquity, and are losing their sentience and power over time.
  • The artifacts named are given no abilities, and no background. I'll have to keep an eye out to see if they pop up again, otherwise I'll need to make some things up.
  • Electrum is said to be optionally either half or double the value of gold. I'll go with it being a rarer coin, with there being some dispute as to its actual value.