Friday, May 31, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 14: The Strategic Review #3

Issue #3 of The Strategic Review was cover-dated Autumn 1975. It kicks off with a bit of the old Gary Gygax invective, as he lets rip on a bad review of D&D that appeared in a rival publication. There is also some news at TSR, as Gygax becomes a full-time employee (which I'm surprised he wasn't already), and the manuscript for M.A.R. Barker's RPG Empire of the Petal Throne nears completion. Mention is also made of the upcoming D&D tournament at Origins I, and the horrible place in which participants will be adventuring. I believe this is the first oblique reference to the Tomb of Horrors.

Also included is a "comedy" article giving stats to various types of gamers, another detailing the Battle of the Ebro River for Napoleonic wargaming, and a parody song about a unicorn.

As for the D&D-relevant articles, here they are:

Creature Features: A sizable number of new monsters are introduced for the first time here, most of which are staples of the game.

  • Yetis
  • Shambling Mounds (aka Shamblers)
  • Leprechauns
  • Shriekers
  • Ghosts
  • Guardian Nagas
  • Water Nagas
  • Spirit Nagas
  • Wind Walkers
  • Piercers
  • Lurkers Above
It's noted that Shriekers are a favourite food of Shambling Mounds and Purple Worms. Of more interest is the curious note that Ghosts are not true undead. They are said to be the spirits of humans who were totally evil, but I'm still puzzling out how they're different from other undead creatures. I wonder if they are perhaps just a naturally-occurring phenomenon, rather than the result of evil magic, or a curse? A look at the AD&D Monster Manual shows that Ghosts are considered undead by that point, so I might just ignore this reference. Perhaps its just that they can't be turned at this point, leading scholars to misinterpret their nature.

Gallery of Gunfighters part 1: This is a short art that gives some history and context regarding the art of gun-fighting in the Old West. This is intended for TSR's Boot Hill game, but given that there are rules in the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide for converting from Boot Hill to D&D, I will probably make it possible to access the Old West somehow.

Mapping the Dungeons: This article gives a round-up of what's going on with various campaigns around the country. The most interesting note here is a report from Dave Arneson about some of his Blackmoor adventurers travelling through a teleporter into Nazi Germany, and having a skirmish with the locals. These adventurers included The Great Svenny, Marty the Elf (who died), Richard the Hairy, and five berserkers (2 of whom died). They drive off the Nazis, just as their reinforcements arrived (3 magical-types and another 12 berserkers). A rematch was apparently set to happen soon after. I'll definitely include The Great Svenny and Richard the Hairy as NPCs in the Blackmoor area of my campaign.
  Gary Gygax notes that there was a similar battle in his Greyhawk campaign, but I won't get into that here because it gets reported on in greater detail in a later magazine.

Deserted Cities of Mars: This article discusses the nature of the many uninhabited cities on Mars, the setting of Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter novels. It ends with some random tables for determining some of the features of these cities. This setting has already been mentioned in some earlier D&D books, and I know that Gary had some of his players travel there, so I will include it as a possible destination as well.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 13: Wargamer's Digest vol. 2 #8

This issue of Wargamer's Digest, published with a cover date of June 1975, features another D&D article by Gary Gygax. Anyone who wants to read the article can find it here, but I'll detail the most interesting parts of it below.

The Magician's Ring by Gary Gygax: The article is an account of a D&D adventure undertaken by Lessnard the Magician (6th level) and three hirelings (a veteran (1st level) fighter, an acolyte (1st level) cleric, and a medium (1st level) magic-user named - sigh - Floppspel. The quartet venture into the Greyhawk dungeons, battling some wights and a giant scorpion (which kills the cleric). Floppspel finds a ring of invisibility on the scorpion's tail, and there's some dispute as to who should claim it. On the way out, while navigating past a pool filled with giant crocodiles (which killed the fighter) via some boots of levitation, Lessnard is almost killed when Floppspel tries to extort him for the ring. The two escape after their altercation almost drops both of them in with the crocodiles.

This story isn't much to write home about, and the quality of the prose is bad even by Gygax's standards. Perhaps more interesting than the story is the bit at the end where Gygax details how the rules played into the various actions of Floppspel. Nevertheless, it does feature some interesting tidbits about the Castle Greyhawk dungeons.

  • The ruins of Castle Greyhawk lie on a hill about a league to the east of the bustling City of Greyhawk.
  • The countryside between the two has numerous strange tunnels and wells, which are entrances to the "fiendish maze of dungeons, pits, labyrinths, crypts, catacombs and caverns which honeycomb the hill and the rock far beneath it".
  • Lessnard enters an outside entrance into a lower dungeon level, but finds the labyrinth beyond has been recently looted. Some stairs leading up a level bring him to a crypt and a trio of wights.
  • From a four-way junction near the crypt, Lessnard heads 100 paces north and enters a large chamber where he is surprised by a giant scorpion.
  • Somewhere between the stairs and the scorpion room, Lessnard had passed through a one-way door.
  • Somewhere not far from the crypt, a narrow crack in the wall leads to a hexagonal chamber. A deep well filled with dark water and hungry crocodiles took up most of the chamber, with only a narrow ledge providing a way around.
  • Lessnard, a 6th-level magic-user, and Floppspel, a 1st-level magic-user, will be included as NPCs in the city of Greyhawk. The cleric and the fighter seen in this story both died, and were eaten by crocodiles.
  • At one point Lessnard swears an oath to "Crum and St. Cuthbert". I'm going to assume that the former is supposed to be Crom, and that Gary changed the name to avoid any legal troubles. Both Crom and St. Cuthbert will be deities in my campaign. Lessnard, if he's ever encountered, will inexplicably pronounce the former as Crum. (I'm not entirely sure, but this might be the earliest mention of St. Cuthbert that we've had.)

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 12: The Strategic Review #2

The second issue of The Strategic Review features several D&D articles, as well as some additions to Cavaliers & Roundheads, Panzer Warfare, and - most notably - an in memoriam for TSR co-founder Don Kaye. Kaye was a close childhood friend to Gary Gygax, and he died of a heart attack in January 1975, just 36 years old. It's impossible to know what influence he might have had on D&D had he lived, but his death started a long chain of events that had huge implications for TSR. His one-third share in TSR passed to his wife, and was eventually bought out by Melvin Blume, father of TSR's other co-owner, Brian Blume. This gave the Blume family a controlling interest in the company, which was one of several factors that led to Gygax's ouster a decade down the line.

The following D&D articles are also featured in this issue:

Questions Most Frequently Asked About D&D: This is one of the most important early articles for clarifying and expanding the original D&D rules. It deals with the following:

  • It's recommended that the "alternate system" of combat in OD&D be used for combat with "principal figures" and stronger monsters.
  • It's clarified that normally creatures get one attack per round, and deal 1d6 damage per attack. This has already been superseded by the rules in Supplement I: Greyhawk.
  • An example is given where an 8th level fighter gets 8 attacks per round (1 per HD) against normal men or creatures of similar strength (kobolds, goblins, gnomes, dwarves, etc.). Whether this bonus applies to anyone other than fighters isn't said, but given later rules in AD&D I would think not.
  • Initiative is said to be a simple d6 roll for each side, rolled every round, with the higher number acting first. In the combat example, this roll is modified by the lone PC's Dexterity.
  • The combat example provides grappling rules, with both sides rolling 1d6 for every Hit Die involved.
  • Monsters roll saving throws as fighters of equivalent Hit Dice. Those with magic resistance may save as magic-users.
  • Morale is said to be up to the referee, although the 2d6 system from Chainmail is suggested.
  • XP rewards for finding magic items are introduced.
  • The "Vancian" spell-casting system is explained and clarified.

Creature Features: The Roper: The Roper is introduced for the first time.

Rangers: The ranger class is introduced as a sub-class of the fighter. They are heavily based on Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, and I plan to introduce them in a similar fashion: as the descendents of ancient kings that lurk on the fringes of society and protect it from evil.

Medieval Pole Arms: This isn't strictly a D&D article, but Gary Gygax has a long history of being obsessed with pole arms, and this will bleed through to the game eventually. This is his first stab at classifying and explaining the various kinds. Introduced to Chainmail here are the following:
  • Voulge
  • Bardiche
  • Guisarme
  • Glaive
  • Fauchard
  • Guisarme-Voulge
  • Glaive-Guisarme
  • Bill-Guisarme
  • Partisan
  • Spetum
  • Ranseur
  • Lucern Hammer
  • Pole Axe
  • Lochaber Axe

Friday, May 17, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 11: Europa 6-8

I had promised earlier to intersperse Gary Gygax's earlier D&D articles into this series where appropriate. This time around it's an article from Europa, a war-gaming fanzine created by Walter Luc Haas of Switzerland. This issue is cover-dated April 1975, so I've placed it after Supplement I: Greyhawk. This may not be strictly accurate. The article indicates that Greyhawk is upcoming, so at the very least the article was written before Greyhawk was published. Whether it was published before or after is a mystery. Any comic fan can tell you that cover dates and publication dates rarely match up, and I doubt that fanzines are any different. Anyway, it says April on the cover, so that's where I'm slotting it in lieu of more accurate information.

For those who want to check out this article (and the complete fanzine in which it saw publication) the link is here.

How to Set Up Your Dungeons & Dragons Campaign - And be Stuck Referring it Seven Days Per Week Until the Wee Hours of the Morning! by Gary Gygax

The first thing that should be noted is that this is part II of a series. According to Falconer in this thread, the other two parts are shorter and less interesting. The first covers the origins of the game, and the third covers the game's future, with the release of various supplements. I'd still like to see them, but it's nice to know that I'm not missing a great deal.

Gygax sets out everything that the referee should so to set up a D&D campaign. It's info that should have been included in the original rules, let's be honest.  He outlines five broad steps that must be taken:
  1. Deciding on the overall setting of the campaign
  2. Mapping the countryside of the immediate area
  3. Mapping the dungeon where most adventures will take place
  4. Mapping the nearest large town
  5. Outlining the entire world, including other times and dimensions if required
Step 1 is simply figuring out what type of world the adventures will take place in. Gary gives a few examples, including Teutonic/Norse mythology, medieval European folklore (including King Arther and Holger the Dane), the Hyborian Age, Fritz Leiber's Nehwon, Indian mythology, and the lost continents of Mu or Atlantis.

For step 2, Gary recommends mapping the wildernes on hex paper, with a scale of 1 mile per hex.

Step 3 requires mapping the dungeon, and Gary recommends having a theme for each level. Some sample themes given are: a level with large open areas swarming with goblins; a level where the basic pattern of corridors seems to repeat endlessly; and one inhabited by nothing but fire-dwelling or fire-using monsters.

At this point, we get what is probably the most detailed description of "Old Greyhawk Castle" yet to see print. It's said to be 13 levels deep, and goes as follows:
  • Level 1 was a simple maze of rooms and corridors (which Gary deemed to be interesting enough for those who had never played such a game before).
  • Level 2 had two unusual features: a Nixie pool and a fountain of snakes.
  • Level 3 features a torture chamber and many small cells and prison rooms.
  • Level 4 was a level of crypts filled with undead.
  • Level 5 was centered around a strange font of black fire, and was inhabited by gargoyles.
  • Level 6 was a repeating maze with dozens of wild hogs in inconvenient spots, backed up by appropriate numbers of wereboars
  • Level 7 was centered around a circular labyrinth and a street with masses of ogres.
  • Levels 8 through 10 were caves and caverns, inhabited by trolls and giant insects. They also had a transporter nexus, guarded by an evil wizard with a number of tough associates.
  • Level 11 was the home of the most powerful wizard in the dungeon, and his balrog servants. Martian White Apes populated the rest of the level. There was also a system of sub-passages underneath the corridors, which was filled with poisonous creatures with no treasure.
  • Level 12 was filled with dragons.
  • Level 13 (the bottom level) contained an inescapable slide which took the players "clear through to China", from which they would have to return via the wilderness.
  • A series of slanting passages began on level 2 and led to the bottom level, but apparently the chance of stumbling downwards was greater starting from levels 7-8.
  • Side levels include a barracks with warring clans of orcs, hobgoblins, and gnolls; a museum; a huge arena; a giant's home; and a garden of fungi.
Gygax has given some contradictory information about Castle Greyhawk over the years. No doubt some of that is due to the ever-evolving nature of the dungeon, but I'd chalk some of it up to memory and the passage of time. Given the vintage of this article, I'd expect everything here to be fresh in Gary's mind, and quite accurate.

Step 4 involves mapping the town and Gary says that the place should resemble something from the Conan or Fafhrd & Gray Mouser stories. Strange towers, a thieves' quarter, and temples to horrible deities are given as features to include, as are factions such as the thieves' guild, a society of evil clerics, and a brotherhood of lawful men.

Step 5, outlining the world, is said to be something the referee doesn't need to tackle right away. Visiting other worlds is mentioned as a possibility, with the option of flying a magic carpet to the moon given as an example.

The rest of the article is given over to some brief tips on creating PCs, and a bit about how someone wanting to play a Gold Dragon should be handled. None of it's concrete enough to be of much interest to this project. Certainly it's not a patch on the solid gold Castle Greyhawk details given above.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 10: Supplement 1 - Greyhawk

In The Strategic Review #1, it was noted that the first of a series of D&D supplements was on the way. Supplement I - Greyhawk would be published in March of 1975. Written by Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz, it was heavily drawn from material used in their home campaign. In many ways, it's probably the most historically important D&D product outside of the original boxed set; so many of the new rules and game elements introduced here become integrated into the core game that it's almost unrecognisable without them. Dungeons & Dragons, as the vast majority of its players would recognise it, is born here.

New Rules Introduced
  • Strength now provides bonuses to attack and damage for Fighting-Men only.
  • Strength now affects encumbrance, and a character's chance to open doors.
  • Exceptional Strength for Fighting-Men.
  • Intelligence now affects a Magic-User's chance to learn a spell, how many spells they can learn, and the highest spell level they can learn.
  • Dexterity now provides an AC bonus for Fighting-Men only.
  • Constitution now grants higher hit point bonuses.
  • A limit is imposed on the number of times a PC can be resurrected, based on Constitution.
  • Character classes now have differing Hit Dice, and monsters roll 1d8 per HD.
  • NPCs now suffer a loyalty penalty when working for Chaotic characters.
  • A different method of calculating XP is introduced.
  • NPCs working for PCs now earn 50% XP.
  • Weapon Type vs. AC
  • Ranges and range penalties for missile weapons.
  • Attack bonuses for whacking someone who is lying prone.
  • Varying damage by weapon type, and varying monster attack damage
  • Magic armor and shields now stack all their bonuses
  • Rear and right flank attacks now ignore shields
  • Cleric spells of 6th and 7th level, and Magic-User spells of 7th to 9th level.
  • New Monster Level Tables replace those in D&D Vol. 3.

New Classes Introduced
  • Thief
  • Paladin

New Races Introduced
  • Half-Elves
  • Dwarves are split into Hill Dwarves, Mountain Dwarves, and "Burrowers". "Burrowers" seems to be another term for Gnomes, which suggests a relationship between these two races.
  • Elves are split into Wood Elves, High Elves, and Meadow Elves (otherwise known as Fairies).

New Spells Introduced

Magic-User Level 1
  • Shield
  • Magic Missile
  • Ventriliquism (sic)

Magic-User Level 2
  • Darkness, 5' radius
  • Strength
  • Web (previously seen as an ability of the staff of power, in D&D Vol. 2)
  • Mirror Image
  • Magic Mouth
  • Pyrotechnics

Magic-User Level 3
  • Explosive Runes
  • Rope Trick
  • Suggestion
  • Monster Summoning I

Magic-User Level 4
  • Ice Storm
  • Fear
  • Monster Summoning II
  • Extension I

Magic-User Level 5
  • Monster Summoning III
  • Extension II

Magic-User Level 6
  • Legend Lore
  • Repulsion
  • Monster Summoning IV
  • Extension III

Magic-User Level 7
  • Delayed Blast Fire Ball
  • Reverse Gravity
  • Limited Wish
  • Power Word - Stun
  • Phase Door
  • Charm Plants
  • Mass Invisibility
  • Simulacrum
  • Monster Summoning V

Magic-User Level 8
  • Mass Charm
  • Clone
  • Power Word - Blind
  • Symbol
  • Permanent Spell
  • Mind Blank
  • Polymorph Any Object
  • Monster Summoning VI

Magic-User Level 9
  • Meteor Swarm
  • Shape Change
  • Time Stop
  • Power Word - Kill
  • Gate
  • Wish
  • Astral Spell
  • Prismatic Wall
  • Maze
  • Monster Summoning VII

Cleric Level 2
  • Silence, 15' r.
  • Snake Charm

Cleric Level 3
  • Prayer
  • Speak With Dead

Cleric Level 6
  • Animate Objects
  • Find the Path
  • Blade Barrier
  • Word of Recall
  • Speak With Monsters
  • Conjure Animals

Cleric Level 7
  • Earthquake
  • Aerial Servant
  • Wind Walk
  • Holy Word
  • Astral Spell
  • Symbol
  • Part Water
  • Control Weather
  • Raise Dead Fully
  • Restoration

New Monsters
  • Druids
  • Tritons
  • Bugbears
  • Ogre Magi
  • Storm Giants
  • Shadows (previously mentioned in D&D Vol. 3)
  • Titans (previously mentioned in D&D Vol. 2)
  • Will o' Wisps
  • Liches
  • Harpies
  • Brass Dragons
  • Copper Dragons
  • Bronze Dragons
  • Silver Dragons
  • The Platinum Dragon
  • The Chromatic Dragon
  • Lizard Men
  • Dopplegangers (previously mentioned in D&D Vol. 3)
  • Wererats
  • Lammasu
  • Salamanders (previously mentioned in D&D Vol. 2)
  • Beholders
  • Umber Hulks
  • Displacer Beasts
  • Blink Dogs
  • Hell Hounds
  • Phase Spiders
  • Rust Monsters
  • Stirges
  • Giant Ticks
  • Owl Bears
  • Carrion Crawlers
  • Gelatinous Cubes (previously mentioned in D&D Vol. 2)
  • Giant Slugs
  • Homonculous
  • Flesh Golems
  • Stone Golems
  • Iron Golems (previously mentioned in OD&D Vol. 2)
  • Rot Grubs (alluded to only, not given stats or named)
  • Ettins (alluded to only, not given stats or named)
  • Carnivorous Apes (mentioned in the Monster Level Tables, possibly as a replacement for Martian White Apes)
  • Fire-Breathing Hydras (mentioned in the Monster Level Tables)

Magic Swords Introduced
  • Swords +4 and +5
  • Sword +2, Nine Steps Draining Ability
  • Holy Sword +5
  • Sword of Cold
  • Dragon Slaying Sword +2
  • Sword +1, Cursed
  • Dancing Sword
  • Sword of Sharpness
  • Vorpal Blade

Miscellaneous Weapons Introduced
  • Magic Arrows +2 and +3
  • Arrow of Slaying
  • Magic Crossbow Bolts +2
  • Crossbow of Accuracy
  • Crossbow of Speed
  • Crossbow of Distance
  • Axe +2 and +3
  • Mace of Disruption
  • Cursed Spear of Backbiting

Armor Introduced
  • Shields +4 and +5
  • Armor +4 and +5
  • Shield of Missile Attraction
  • Armor of Vulnerability
  • Armor of Etherealness

Potions Introduced
  • Extra-Healing
  • Oil of Slipperiness
  • Super-Heroism
  • Oil of Etherealness

Rings Introduced
  • Protection +3
  • Shooting Stars
  • Contrariness

Rods Introduced
  • Rod of Cancellation
  • Rod of Beguiling
  • Rod of Absorption
  • Rod of Lordly Might
  • Rod of Rulership
  • Rod of Resurrection

Miscellaneous Magic Introduced
  • Crystal Hypnosis Ball
  • Medallion of ESP (3" and 9" ranges)
  • Medallion of Thought Projection
  • Amulet of Inescapable Locating
  • Scarab of Enraging Enemies
  • Scarab of Insanity
  • Scarab of Death
  • Bag of Tricks
  • Bean Bag
  • Bag of Transmuting
  • Bag of Devouring
  • Censor of Summoning Hostile Air Elementals
  • Luckstone
  • Loadstone
  • Brazier of Sleep Smoke
  • Bowl of Watery Death
  • Boots of Dancing
  • Flask of Curses
  • Jug of Alchemy
  • Decanter of Endless Water
  • Beaker of Plentiful Potions
  • Animated Broom
  • Helm of Brilliance
  • Rug of Smothering
  • Drums of Deafness
  • Horn of Collapsing
  • Horn of Valhalla (Silver, Bronze and Iron)
  • Horn of Bubbles
  • Gauntlets of Swimming and Climbing
  • Gauntlets of Dexterity
  • Gauntlets of Fumbling
  • Girdle of Femininity/Masculinity
  • Necklace of Missiles
  • Necklace of Strangulation
  • Cloak of Protection +1 to +3
  • Poisonous Cloak
  • Mirror of Mental Prowess
  • Mirror of Opposition
  • Trident of Warning
  • Trident of Commanding Water Creatures
  • Trident of Submission
  • Trident of Yearning
  • Eyes of Charming
  • Eyes of Petrification
  • Gem of Brightness
  • Gem of Seeing
  • Jewel of Attacks Upon the Owner
  • Bracers of Defense AC 6, 4 & 2
  • Bracers of Defenselessness
  • Rope of Entanglement
  • Rope of Climbing
  • Rope of Constriction
  • Dust of Appearance
  • Disappearance Dust
  • Dust of Sneezing and Choking
  • Talisman of Lawfulness
  • Talisman of Chaos Supreme
  • Talisman of the Sphere
  • Javelins of Lightning
  • Arrow of Direction
  • Saw of Mighty Cutting
  • Mattock of the Titans
  • Spade of Colossal Excavation
  • Wings of Flying
  • Cube of Force
  • Portable Hole
  • Horseshoes of Speed
  • Sphere of Annihilation
  • Chime of Opening
  • Pipes of the Sewers
  • Lyre of Building
  • Figurines of Wondrous Power (Ebony Fly, Onyx Dog, Marble Elephant, Golden Lions, Ivory Goats)
  • Wizard's Robe
  • Robe of Blending
  • Robe of Eyes
  • Robe of Powerlessness
  • Manual of Puissant Skill at Arms
  • Manual of Gainful Exercise
  • Manual of Bodily Health
  • Manual of Stealthy Pilfering
  • Manual of Golems
  • Manual of Quickness of Action
  • Book of Exalted Deeds
  • Book of Vile Darkness
  • Book of Infinite Spells
  • Libram of Silver Magic
  • Libram of Gainful Conjurations
  • Libram of Ineffable Damnation
  • Tome of Understanding
  • Tome of Clear Thought
  • Tome of Leadership and Influence
  • Deck of Many Things

Details and conjecture relevant to the Ultimate Sandbox
  • Dwarves are split into two sub-races: Mountain Dwarves and Hill Dwarves.
  • Gnomes are related to Dwarves, and sometimes referred to as "burrowers".
  • Elves are split into three sub-races: High Elves, Wood Elves and Meadow Elves (also known as Fairies).
  • There are Dwarven and Elven clerics that do not venture outside of their homelands.
  • Strictly by the book, it can be interpreted that demi-human PCs can all become paladins. In the interests of compatibility with AD&D, I'm going to interpret it so that only humans can become paladins.
  • Odin, Crom, Set, Cthulhu, the Shining One, and other unspecified demi-gods are mentioned as beings that might be summoned by a Gate spell. The Shining One might refer to the Greyhawk deity known as Pelor, but it's more likely to be a reference to the entity from A. Merritt's novel The Moon Pool.
  • Mars and Talos are also mentioned as a possible monster encounter.
  • The Astral Plane is specifically mentioned for the first time, as a place a spellcaster may travel in their astral form.
  • Hell is mentioned, both in the Astral Spell description, and the name of the Hell Hound.
  • Flubbit the Wizard is mentioned in the spell description for the magic mouth spell. Being a Wizard he (or she I suppose) should be at least 11th level. I'll add the character as an NPC somewhere around Greyhawk city, or in the dungeons.
  • Vampires from the "Middle East" are mentioned, as are"Japanese" Ogres and "Sumatran" Giant Rats. The last of those is no doubt a reference to Sherlock Holmes, but all of them point to Oerth having similarities to Earth, and having regions culturally similar to those listed.
  • Druids are a type of neutral priest, attuned to nature. Their followers are mostly barbaric fighters.
  • Bugbears are said to be "goblin-giants".
  • The Platinum Dragon is the King of Lawful Dragons. He lives in a palace behind the east wind, and is served by a host of seven gold dragons. His main goal is to oppose the Dragon Queen.
  • The Chromatic Dragon is the Queen of Chaotic Dragons. She lives in a stupendous cavern far beneath the earth, and is accompanied by one of each type of Chaotic dragon. Her main goal is to spread evil.
  • Displacer Beasts hate Blink Dogs, and vice versa.
  • A bunch of items can allow a PC to become ethereal, and Phase Spiders can do so as well. It's the first hint of the Ethereal Plane, though it's not specifically mentioned.
  • Armor with a +4 bonus is said to me made from "mithral", while +5 armor is made from a strange alloy known as "adamantite".
  • Valhalla is mentioned, as a place from which berserk warriors can be summoned.
  • All of the magical tomes appear to be identical, which indicates that they were all created by the same culture, or that something about the process of creating them makes this inevitable.
  • There's a long list of tricks and traps near the back of the book. Given the name of this supplement, I'll try to squeeze them all into Greyhawk Castle.
  • The "Living Room" is a specific room in Greyhawk Castle, where "furniture is animated to trip, confine, and smother (rugs and carpets) or move about and hug and kick (stools, chairs, divans) or blinds and throws down (tapestries and wall hangings)".
  • The 2nd level of Castle Greyhawk's dungeon had a fountain which issued an endless number of snakes.
  • As well as tricks and traps, there are a load of special monsters and monster combinations that should be found in Castle Greyhawk.
  • The Great Stone Face, also known as the Enigma of Greyhawk. This is a giant head, similar to the heads on Easter Island, that can be found in the dungeons of Castle Greyhawk.

  • The following image shows a weird pumpkin-headed Bugbear, which I attribute to them wearing carved pumpkins as ceremonial battle masks.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Recaps & Roundups part 9: Chainmail 3rd edition

After Guidon Games folded in 1973, TSR were able to acquire the rights to Chainmail. In early 1975 they republished the game, making some minor updates to the rules for its 3rd edition. There's not a lot to discuss, but I'll quickly go over the additions that were made.

  • Hobgoblins are added at the end of the Goblin entry, but nothing is said about them except that they are stronger in battle than regular goblins.
  • Rangers are mentioned for the first time in a D&D-related product, in a single sentence at the end of the entry for Heroes. They are simply Heroes with a +1 bonus. No other description is given, so one has to assume that the reference here is to Tolkien.
  • Seers are added as the lowest level of Wizard, below Sorcerers, Warlocks and Magicians.
  • Eight new spells are added: Levitate, Slowness, Haste, Polymorph, Confusion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Cloudkill, and Anti-Magic Shell. All of these are based on spells in the D&D boxed set, and any differences in implementation can be chalked up to specialist battle magic.
  • An optional rule is added for spell complexity. Spells are given a complexity between 1 and 6, which corresponds to the spell's level in D&D. Now when a spell is cast, 2d6 must be rolled to determine if the spell will be cast immediately, delayed, or ineffective. The introduction of this rule will be explained by the destructive nature of battle magic; with it being used frequently, reality has become strained and the spells are harder to cast.
  • An entry is added for Giant Wolves, which includes Wargs and Dire Wolves. They are said to be able to carry Goblins into combat.
  • Zombies are added at the end of the Wight entry.

I'm not sure if that's comprehensive, but it should cover most of the changes to the Fantasy Supplement. I didn't go through the medieval rules, but they're of less relevance to this project. Most of these additions I will introduce to any mass battles at around the same time as I bring in the material from Supplement I: Greyhawk (which is the next post.)