The Arduin supplements began as supplements for D&D – OD&D that is. As they grew in popularity, and as TSR cracked down on unauthorized references to its own game within the pages of the Arduin booklets, Hargrave created his own competing RPG – his basic modifications to D&D, codified. The first appearance of this “new RPG” was called “The Arduin Adventure.” It came in a box with some supplemental material and its rule book was also sold separately. The simple, short rules were obviously based on the popular “Basic” D&D book complied by Dr. Holmes.
Geoffrey McKinney has described Hargrave’s production as:
“Imagine Holmes D&D, or B/X D&D, written by a hippy genius while well-supplied with strong red wine, and you’ll have a fair idea of this game.”
This is a shot of my main shelf of gaming books and materials. All the “collectors’ items” – mostly vintage Judges Guild products- are around on the other side of this shelf at the same level in archive boxes.
I always loved the demons described in OD&D. The Eldritch Wizardry supplement isn’t the strongest of the four. The psionic system there is notoriously for its poor construction and its ill effects on any game into which it is introduced. The revised wilderness encounter tables are, on the other hand, great – and the demons? Oh, the demons are terrific.
No one can deny the influence of fantasy literature on OD&D. But fantasy artists? That gets trickier.
Gor Vs…. Narnia?
The mysterious early D&D document known as “Beyond This Point Be Dragons” (or, alternatively, as “The Dalluh Manuscript”) contains many tantalizing statements and notes. The more it it is investigated and pondered over, the more it appears to reveal.
“I had spent the previous two days watching about five monster movies on channel 5’s ‘Creature Feature’ weekend, reading several Conan books (I cannot recall which ones, but I always thought they were all pretty much the same), and stuffing myself with popcorn, doodling on a piece of graph paper.”
– Dave Arneson
The Hammer horror films of the ’50s-’60s- and early ’70s were an essential part of the OD&D inspirational corpus. These films – their style, their motifs – had a profound effect on the game’s monsters and, as others have noted, even on some of the player’s roles. The righteous, undead hunting cleric could be based on many of the “vampire hunters” in these classic films. As we return to the original game and its original influences, revisiting these films, in all their glory, is vital.
Kickstarter & A Yellow Moped
Back when I was in college, and my brother was still in High School and living at home, a neighbor a few blocks away made an arrangement with him and a friend to do some yard work. In exchange for raking the leaves, mowing the lawn, and tackling some other routine chores, this neighbor agreed to give them a yellow Peugot moped.
The Underground City?
Where do the dungeons in D&D come from? Why are they there and who built them and why? This question haunts people playing D&D type games. But what if there really were ancient underground cities?
Beyond This Point …
See more illustrations here.
There’s been a lot of talk online among the OSR community – this year – about a mysterious early D&D document. Evidently discovered in a box of the late M.A.R. Barker’s papers, it’s referred to as either “Beyond This Point Be Dragons” or, even more intriguingly, as the “The Dalluh Manuscript” after its “discoverer.”
Traveller & Prophet
Writer Brandon Graham’s rebooting of Prophet has been one of the most heralded events in comics this year – and with good reason. The series is fascinating, challenging, and original. A blend of very extreme science fiction elements, its narrative flows through worlds and environments that are consistently otherworldly and authentically both bizarre and genuine.
I thought about how great it would be to adapt to, or merely inspire, a Traveller campaign.