In my mind the trunk of the car is loaded with backpacks, torches, and battle-axes.
Jim Holloway, RIP
6 hours ago
Early D&D as hobby cultureLet's set aside for the moment the fact that D&D obviously had an origin point. On my umpteenth re-read of this passage it sunk in why I keep coming back to it: Edwards writes as if the Cargo Cult era of D&D ended. Did it?
I think that the available discussions, interesting as they are, about Arneson's and Gygax's relative contributions (a) to the hobby activity and (b) to the actual publication of Dungeons & Dragons is overlooking a crucial issue regarding late 1970s role-playing. Prior to AD&D2, the available texts were reflective, not prescriptive, of actual play. Their content was filtered through authors' priorities which were very diverse. Furthermore, any particular area or group had only piecemeal combinations of the texts. In 1978, one might find a group with Chainmail, ten issues of Dragon, and a copy of the Monster Manual; as well as a group with the 1977 boxed set and three or four volumes of Arduin's Grimoire. No one, or very few people, had all of it, and as I recall anyway, hardly anyone knew much about what books "went" when, or made much distinction between TSR products and anything else.
Rob MacDougall stated it best: we are talking about Cargo Cults. Everyone knew about "this new great game." Everyone had on hand a hodgepodge of several texts, which in retrospect seem to me to be almost archeological in their fragmentary, semi-compatible but not-quite, layered-in-time-of-publication nature. Also, although newly-available texts obviously modified local oral traditions, they also arose from them, generating a seething hotbed of how-to-play instructions in print in other locations. Everyone had to shape, socially and procedurally, just what the hell you did such that "role-playing" happened. How did you know it worked? What did you do it for? All of it, from Social Contract right down to Stance, had to be created in the faith that it worked "out there" somewhere, and somehow, some way, it was supposed to work here.
So everyone just did it locally. I consider role-playing to have been constructed independently in a vast number of instances across the landscape, sometimes in parallel, sometimes very differently. Over time, further unifications or contact-compromises occurred, whether through tournament standards, military bases, conventions, or APAs, or simply by people meeting when they converged on college campuses. Full unification never occurred. There never existed a single, original D&D.
In a hidden land on a distant plane dwelt three lords of incredible power. The wizard Aluap, an evil Arch-Mage, mastered the magics known to mortal men. He worshipped Death and kept his quota gleefully. Lord Eridor was a High Priest of Set. The third lord was Ida, an unusual elf of many talents. With his katana and wakishazi, as well as spells of various types, he defended the forests of the land in the name of the Druids' Council and the power they represented. Though the lords coexisted for many years, their conflicting goals eventually led to a showdown. In a battle which literally shook the earth beneath their feet, all three disappeared. Years later, while on a mission for his wizardly tutor Nimanril, the hobbit thief Tobelin Darver discovered some of Aluap's spell books among some abandoned ruins. Having an intense love of mysteries and ancient legends, Tobelin searched for many years before recovering the various religious scrolls and other writings which make up this text. He never told Nimanril of his find, for fear the most evil of the inscriptions would be destroyed. Instead, he gave them, along with a few scrolls he is beleived to have obtained from his tutor, to a temple of Thoth in return for enchanted scrolls with some of the spells. After many eons, we here at North Pole Publications, Inc., have obtained a copy of the text compiled by the scholarly priests, and the translation is as follows...Apart from the bit at the end about North Pole Publications, doesn't that sound like the exact sort of thing that could happen in a long campaign? A hobbit finds some spellbooks from the Monty Haul era of the campaign. He can't do anything with them, but trades them to the Thothians for some scrolls he can use.
All gamers should publish something in print form... Any decent print shop, Kinkos included, can make the booklets, so write something, print out 50, mark them up a bit and set yourself up a Paypal button, and spam away on the boards! We're creators and participants, not passive entertainment receivers...That's from Jim Raggi, at his always-intriguing blog Lamentations of the Flame Princess. I should point out that Jim is no hypocrite on this call to action. He's published the very cool Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and Their Modern Simulacra, which besides deserving some sort of award for longest title for a 28-page digest also happens to be a really cool random monster generator. And the designer's notes/manifesto/rantings are about worth the cover price alone. Goodman Games has picked it up for publication in the same "generic" line as Rob Conley's super-nifty Points of Light. The new version isn't out yet as far as I can tell and you can't have my copy! Jim is also working on a couple of modules that I can't wait to see.
Robots and other allies help a youth and a space jockey rescue a rebel princess and battle dark forces bent on intergalactic rule.I like how Artoo and Threepio get top billing.
Techno's are specialists that disbelieve 100% in magic, and work from a strictly scientific point of view. They can "figure out" nearly any mechanical or technological item, given enough time and resources. They are constantly dismembering dragons to see where the flame thrower was hidden! Or getting eaten! They dislike intensely all forms of mages but tend to grudging tolerate clerics. They never wear armor unless it's something like a flack jacket. They also never carry anything except technological weapons to fight with. They think warriors are "a bunch of neanderthals".It's a crazy fun concept. The mechanical execution involves lots of special abilities, many of which are percentage dice based but some are delightfully bare of hard rules. For example, a 15th level Techno gains the ability to construct things like flintlocks, clocks and deadbolts but no rules for how that happens are presented. I like that open-ended approach. Also, 100th level Technos can build spacecraft. What's not to love? You know, other than the fact that the concept of 100th level characters gives me hives.
|Techno level||Number to roll|
Every once in a while I get to feeling crazy, and I throw my dungeon open to a bunch of Traveller characters. Plasma guns against dragons makes for an amusing confrontation. So far the spacemen haven't won yet.
Morglum's Marauders are the Old World equivalent of the motorcycle gangs which, according to movie lore, terrorise much of the United States' West Coast. Ugly, foul-tempered, and even worse-smelling, they represent the pinnacle of Orcish civilization.The tension in the scenario centers around the simple fact that a party of average WFRP characters would get absolutely slaughtered in a stand-up fight against a hundred organized humanoids. Basically, imagine taking out these guys as the mission of a handful of first or second level D&D characters and you can see the scope of the problem. Because Morglum doesn't trust his officers and desertions are common he only occasionally let's part of his army out of his sight. And they only pick on defenseless villages. The players are going to have to be extremely clever to beat these orcs.
Based in an Orcish mountain-range (located conveniently near to your campaign area), from time to time the Marauders sally forth from their hidden stronghold to terrorise nearby Human villages. Though their exact numbers vary from excursion to excursion, the Marauders are composed of around eighty Orc foot soldiers, a dozen Gobbo Wolfriders and twenty or so Snotling slaves (and emergency food supply).