Friday, April 13, 2012

Annotated OD&D

I've started annotating the original D&D booklets, adding notes as I find interesting factoids on internet forums or have a spare moment for my own research.

As a page or section accumulates a goodly heft of footnotes, I'll post them here.

These notes apply to the dedication on the title page of Men & Magic. I welcome comments, corrections, and additional insights, which I shall jealously rake into my private hoard.

  1. Gygax and Jeff Perren published the Chainmail wargame rules in 1971.
  2. The fantasy rules were included as a supplement to the non-fantasy wargame rules in Chainmail. Most of the monsters and spells from Chainmail reappear in Dungeons & Dragons.
  3. The MMSA wargammers lived in Minneapolis-St. Paul in the mid 1960–70’s. Dave Arneson joined the MMSA in high school.
  4. The LGTSA wargammers met weekly in Gygax’s basement during the 1960’s and 70’s. Gygax named his company Tastical Studies Rules (TSR, Inc.) as a reference to its roots in the LGTSA.
  5. Rob Kuntz played the character Robilar in Gygax’s game, and eventually became co-referee of Greyhawk. Kuntz was the sixth employee hired by TSR, where he held numerous positions over the years.
  6. Gygax’s childhood friend Tom Keogh died in 1968. On the forum, Gygax shares this memory: “When I was a teen my dear friend Tom Keogh would sometimes make-up to look like Lugosi as a vampire—a pretty faur imitation too, and tom had made a costume similar to Lugosi’s with a high-collared cape too.” The magic item name “Keoghtom’s Ointment”, which first appears in the 1979 Dungeon Master’s Guide (p. 149), plays on Tom Keogh’s name. Dragon Magazine 71 (p. 20) details Keoghtom as a Greyhawk quasi-deity.
  7. Greg Bell supplies most of the illustrations, which bare a striking similarity to comic book panels from Strange Tales #167 (April 1968)
  8. David Sutherland would become one of the most important illustrators of AD&D.

Can anyone identify which illustrations in the LBB's were created by Sutherland?


  1. This is an excellent idea Paul.

  2. No Sutherland in the original LBBs as I recall, but the revised cover art for Men & Magic is by Sutherland. It replaces the original by Bell. A piece by Tom Wham was also added to Vol 2 to replace the Balrog entry.

    While Bell's art mimics comic book art in some cases, I don't think the source for all of them is Strange Tales. For instance, the Balrog art on page 13 of Vol 2 may be inspired by a Black Panther comic.

  3. Cool idea. Like the Annotated Hobbit. I wonder if Wotc would allow its publication?

  4. I wonder if Wotc would allow its publication?

    I doubt it, although I'd be overjoyed to gift it to them to publish. It's a shame. The thing is (or will be when it's done) print ready, and it would cost them nothing to stick it on Lulu or RPGNow.

    But then, I still don't understand WotC ending sale of their PDF's. The only reasonable explanation I can think of is that they discovered they don't clearly own the rights to some of the material. That's just speculation on my part.

    I may in the end publish the notes in such a way that an owner of the LBB PDF could usefully interleaved the two documents, so as to have the notes and text on facing pages. That's the best legit publication method I can think of.


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