Nice writeup- Dr. Holmes sure went all in when he decided to try out D&D.
Maybe better for another topic, but has Chris indicated whether his Dad adopted any/much of the Warlock rules to his games as they were starting out?
Delayed reply, but I believe they used much of the Warlock rules when they started. Holmes mentions using the combat system in his book, and Chris has referenced the damage system (multiple d6s for variable damage). There are also references to specific spells from Warlock in Holmes' writing, and in some artifacts that have been preserved, like Murray the Magic-User's character sheet. Eric Frasier, who played Murray, still has his original Warlock rules (the Spartan magazine version) and Manual of Aurania; you can see a picture here.
One tidbit I don't recall hearing before (or have forgotten) is that "an area of the "Great Kingdom" campaign world" contained Barsoomian creatures - the ones that appeared in the U&WA tables. increment : was this an area shown on one of the maps?
It survives in a piece of the 1973 correspondence between Gygax and Arneson - just a passing mention from Gygax that "Keoland has Martian beasts, so we'll ride thoats and fight banths + apts."
Thanks! That is intriguing. Previously, I had the impression that the OD&D Vol 3 table "Optional Arid Plains" - the one with the Barsoomian critters - was inspired primarily by running games in Barsoom itself (accesible via Castle Greyhawk) rather than in part of the lands of the Great Kingdom (which later developed into the World of Greyhawk). The idea of using Mars per se is reinforced in that booklet by the "Desert (Mars)" subtable for Men, and the mention of Mars in the section "Other Worlds" ("Some areas of land could be gates into other worlds, dimensions, times, or whatever. Mars is given in these rules, but...")
And I wouldn't have guessed Keoland as a home to Barsoomian fauna based on its later description in the World of Greyhawk folio, but it does fit better with the description in Quag Keep, where the "plains of Koeland" [sic, spelled Keoland elsewhere] are a largely empty and dry place, broken only by tributaries of a great river (geography which generally matches the "Megarry" version of the Great Kingdom map). The party in the story crosses "long dry patches" between the rivers, which causes problems for the lizardman in the party. "Arid Plains" certainly fits how Keoland is described there. On the Great Kingdom map, Keoland also runs up to the mountains bordering the Sea of Dust, another obviously dry area.
Last Edit: Oct 16, 2021 13:42:26 GMT -6 by Zenopus
I'm up to 1975 now! The first Origins approaches. I'm very much enjoying it.
The amount of correspondence that survived to enable the telling of this story is jaw-dropping.
One tidbit I don't recall hearing before (or have forgotten) is that "an area of the "Great Kingdom" campaign world" contained Barsoomian creatures - the ones that appeared in the U&WA tables. increment: was this an area shown on one of the maps?
Last Edit: Oct 15, 2021 17:21:09 GMT -6 by Zenopus
I had assumed that the dungeon was written by Arneson (and could even be derived from Blackmoor?), although looking back at the article now, it seems implied but never actually stated (perhaps not known?)
Douglas C. Kane, author of Arda Reconstructed and who runs the Hall of Fire forum, has written a 14-page review of the Nature of Middle-Earth for the Journal of Tolkien Research, which can be downloaded here for free:
FYI, Terry Amthor has passed away. He was one of the founders of ICE, and wrote Court of Ardor, and co-wrote Iron Wind, among many other later projects. I enjoyed A Spy In Isengard, his contribution to the Middle-Earth Quest Series, as a teen and still have a copy.
I've always understood Philotomy Jurament's article (the one jeffb linked above) to be a rationalization for the rules for dungeons in OD&D as written, not a separate setting from the rules. A mindset to help modern-era players appreciate the rules of OD&D.
I don't know of any published dungeons that lean into the "Mythic Underworld", but there aren't too many published OD&D dungeons in general. It does seem like an opportunity for someone.
The one thing I wrote that would expand the concept beyond the OD&D rules is my "Fearsome Monster" - monsters generated by the dungeon in response to the characters entering. This was inspired by Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood series (and named after some text by J. Eric Holmes), in which primordial forests recreate ancient, often-forgotten ancestral myths from the minds of intruders.
Last Edit: Sept 8, 2021 15:54:01 GMT -6 by Zenopus
The question is, why is it *more likely* that Gygax intended 6 second rounds in OD&D (10 rounds/per 1 minute "combat turn"), than one minute rounds, with 10 equaling a ten-minute turn?
*We've got Chainmail saying that "One turn of play is roughly equivalent to one minute of time in battle", and Gygax's 1975 letter upthread, indicating but a single melee round per turn in Chainmail.
*We've got OD&D adding "Two moves constitute a turn" and "There are ten rounds of combat per turn", with no other stated distinction between turns.
*We've got Gygax saying in 1978 that the 1 minute melee round in OD&D was what was intended:
...Movement was adjusted to a period ten times longer than a CHAINMAIL turn of 1 minute, as exploring and mapping in an underground dungeon is slow work. Combat, however, stayed at the CHAINMAIL norm and was renamed a melee round or simply round.
(Dragon #15, June 1978, "From the Sorcerer's Scroll: D&D GROUND AND SPELL AREA SCALE")
*We've got Gygax keeping the 1-minute round in AD&D, and defending it.
It's pretty easy from the above to draw a straight line from the Chainmail 1-minute turn through OD&D to the AD&D 1-minute round. It's possible to argue that shorter rounds were intended in OD&D Vol 3, but I think it requires a heavier burden to overcome the above than has been put forth so far. And it's harder now that there's evidence indicating that the Chainmail turn was not, by default, meant to include multiple rounds of combat.
Last Edit: Jul 25, 2021 16:13:16 GMT -6 by Zenopus
I was on the fence about it since I already have a nice copy of the hardcover 3rd edition, which includes the rulebook, 20s sourcebook and Companion all together. I mostly wanted the adventures, but wasn't sure about pdf or print. Then I read that the 2" size was chosen to replicate the size of the original 1981 box. Holmes reviewed the 1st edition back in 1983 for Gameplay magazine*, so the connection there was enough to put me over into the print column.
Thanks for your comment. Whether or not "Chainmail has an unlimited number of melee rounds in a 1-minute combat turn" is actually what this entire thread is about!
I replied to you on Grognardia. Here's part of what I wrote:
...In the modern internet era, [the "Chainmail has an unlimited number of melee rounds in a 1-minute combat turn"] has certainly been a popular interpretation of how Chainmail mass combat is conducted. But it is debatable whether the game was actually played that way in the 1970s. Earlier this year, a 1975 article by Gygax with an example of a Chainmail mass combat suggests that there is only one round of combat per Chainmail turn...
See the referenced article in my post upthread.
Last Edit: Jul 24, 2021 14:12:05 GMT -6 by Zenopus