Friday, May 4, 2012

BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS: Looking Closer, Part 3

QUESTION 2: ESTABLISHING DATING


To narrow down the date we will need to look more closely at what is, and is not in the text.

The organization of BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS is entirely different from the 1st print of D&D.   Remarkably, BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS is unquestionably better organized than the 1st print 3LBBs.  Each topic has a separate chapter; all tables are in one section at the very beginning of the manuscript, all terms in another, all playing rules in another and so forth, easy to find and reference, unlike the 1st print which is well known for having a convoluted layout.  For our purposes, we only need look at the first section, the Tables, to establish the likely date of BTPBD.
Role Playing Games can be compared to a song with ever changing lyric set to a constant melody of tables and charts.  As mentioned, BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS begins with a list of all tables used for the game.  As the heart of the rules, it will be useful to look through each of the tables in BTPBD and identify any differences from the first print D&D:
TABLE 1: THE OPPOSING FORCES

Content identical to 1st print but ordered differently and phrased as OPPOSING FORCES instead of Alignments
TABLE 2: TYPES OF ADVENTURERS

Fighter – identical except myrmidon consistently spelled myrmiden.  EXP required less per level
MU – conjuror and seer reversed.  EXP less by half
Cleric – EXP much less, Acolyte consistently spelled Acelyte.
TABLE 3: BONUSES AND PENALTIES TO ADVANCEMENT

Prime requisite – Experience table – similar to printed work except the percentage is different in one case - 25% instead of 20%.  Significantly, these percentages have reversed "polarity" from the first print - meaning BTPBD gives - 5% where first print gives +5%.  Clues in other parts - the dwarf entry in particular, make it clear that the adjustment in BTPBD is made to the total XP needed per level, not to the amount a player has earned in an adventure. 
Health – Hit dice – Expanded in BTPBD as a table.  In printed work, the constitution bonus to Hit dice is only a +1 or -1 and not present as a table, only as a line of text.
TABLE 4: STATISTICS REGARDING TYPES/CLASSES
Dice for Fighting Spells & Levels 

MU – Spells only to level 5; level 4 and 5 spell progression different. HD tops out at 3+1; FC much less – tops out at 4 men.

FM – Identical except FC tops out at 6 men.

C – Spells, less for curate and Lama; HD tops out at 3; FC at 3.

TABLE 5: SPELL LISTS

Clerics
LVL1) BTPBD has Remove Curses here 
LVL2) Protection From Evil listed here.  New Spell – Tranquilize, No Speak with Animals
LVL 3) New Spell – Curse
LVL 4)  Dispell Majic found here, No Speak with Plants or Turn Sticks to Snakes
LVL 5) No Insect Plague or Quest

Magic User
            MU spells end at level 5.  No level 6 spells. 
LVL1) No sleep spell, Read languages or magic is one spell;
LVL2) No knock spell
LVL 3) No Protection from Normal Missles, Water Breathing, Infravision or Slow
LVL 4)  New Spell – Redirect Edged Weapons, No Dimension Door, Growth of Plants,
Hallucinatory Terrain, Massmorph, Wizard Eye or Remove Curse
LVL 5) New Spell – Glittering Eye; No Telekinesis, Cloudkill, Feeblemind, or Pass Wall; 1st print
         6th  level spell Move Earth listed here instead.



TABLE 6: BASIC EQUIPMENT COSTS

A few minor difference in labels like Ritidar instead of Heavy Horse.  BTPBD is far better organized; 1st print simply lists ITEMs, BTPBD divides into categories of Weapons, Transportation, Armor and Other Equipment and Mounts and Trappings.  1st print has a few more items (silver arrows, wooden cross, wolvesbane, garlic buds etc.), but BTPBD has prices for additional mounts and tack for Pegasus, hippogriff, roc, griffon, and small and large thoat.

TABLE 7: ENCUMBERANCE

            Almost identical except BTPBD values are less by as much as ½ those of 1st print.

TABLE 8: WEIGHTS AND EQUIVALENTS

Small differences in text but most values are again less.  Backpack (no large or small) holds 250, wand is only 25, staff 40.  These values seem much more reasonable than the 100 and 300 of 1st print.

TABLE 9: SUPPORT AND UPKEEP OF NON-REAL PLAYERS

Some minor price differences (lesser values) from 1st print.  BTPBD has Hobbit instead of Orc.  Unique to BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS is a list of prices for hiring higher level persons such as warrior, Hero, etc., as well as what percentage of treasure they will demand as their share.  

TABLE 10: ANIMAL LOADS
           
            Unique to BTPBD

TABLE 11: MONSTER DETERMINATION & LEVEL MATRIX – UNDERWORLD

            Minor differences in column 5 and 6.

TABLE 12: SPECIFIC MONSTER – UNDERWORLD

Some differences in Monsters.  1st print table is set up for use with d10, BTPBD for use with d6.  Arnesons’ Giant Crabs, Giant Toads and Giant ferrets show up in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS list.  Some monsters – Ochre Jelly, Black Pudding  - show up in this list but no where else in the manuscript.

1st print seems to be a reordering of this list, with some of the unexplained monsters left off the 1st print list but put into a note at the bottom saying “Other monsters to consider, depending upon the level and the surroundings…”

TABLE 13: MONSTERS - HOSTILE AND BENIGN

Very similar to pages 3-4 of Monsters and Treasure14.  A few of the treasure types listed are different in BTPBD and the order of the list is somewhat rearranged.  Also, the monsters listed from Elementals to Mule on page 4 of the 1st print, are nowhere found in the BTPBD list.  In fact, the following monsters are nowhere mentioned in BTPBD: Grey Ooze, Green Slime, Yellow Mold, Gelatenous Cube, Cyclops, and Mule.

TABLE 14: MONSTER ATTACK – “CHOPS" BY PLAYER

One immediately noticeable and Unique difference between the standard D&D attack matrix and the matrix in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS is the use of percentages instead of the familiar d20 target numbers.  Arneson is well known for his use of percentile dice in later gaming including his 1978 Adventures in Fantasy, which is entirely percentile based.

Several more differences from the 1st print may be noted here.  First the table is only detailed for fighters, but presumably all players use the same to hit matrix regardless of character class.  Second, a separate “to hit” chance is given for each level.  In the printed work, several levels are conflated (1-3, 3-6 etc.).  The percentile chances do not precisely match when converted to d20.  1st print level 1-3 matches BTPBD LVL 3, but 1st print 4-6, then matches BTPBD LVL 4, 1st print 7-9 matches BTPBD level 7.  This pattern would seem to be deliberate but it is hard to tell.  If so, presumably the more granular percentile table in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS came first and the 1st print levels were copied from it and collapsed.   A more granular combat table presented by Gary Gygax, in Liaisons Dangereuses #73, August 16, 1976, is a much closer match except that he still combines LVL 1-2 (matches BTPBD level 2) and levels 7-8 for unknown reasons (matches level 7 BTPBD) making level 9 mismatched between the two.  

TABLE 15: MONSTER ATTACK - "CHOPS" BY MONSTER

           
The Hit Dice range is almost the same up to 4 except that 1+1 in the 1st print is simply given as 2 in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS.  At 4 BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS is again more granular going up by whole numbers until a column marked 9+ whereas the 1st print combines dice as 3-4, 4-6 etc.  The percentiles however do not match the 1st print d20.  The 1st print charts give monsters a 10% chance better to hit up to 4 HD and thereafter, because the columns are less granular, the chance for monsters to hit actually becomes 5% worse at level 9.  Thus the relationship between the numbers of the Monster Attacks table between the 1st print and BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS table is less clear than the “Player Attacks” table, but it may be best explained by the 1st print table being reworked with collapsed HD columns and new numbers to hit numbers to account for more granularity with monsters above 9 HD.


TABLE 16: SAVING THROWS
           
            BTPBD uses 3d6.  Unique to BTPBD, Death Ray and Poison are separate categories, thus making 6 save categories.  The categories also have two differences in names.  These are; Spells (not Spells and Staves) and Stone (not paralyzation).  Many, but not all, of the numbers are the same.

TABLE 17: CLERICS VS. THE UNDEAD
           
            Identical (patriarchs automatically turn vampires, as in 1st print “error”)

TABLE 18: CHANCE FOR AND TYPE OF ENCOUNTER - UPPER WORLD

            Lost and chance of encounter (adventure) tables identical to 1st print.  Encounter type table set for        d6, 1st print is expanded to d8, adding the categories of Men and Animals.

TABLE 19: SPECIFIC ENCOUNTER - UPPER WORLD

            1st print is expanded to d8, adding the categories of Men and Animals.  These Categories are listed as separate tables in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS.  There are some differences in    the monster listings.  The 1st print contains a few more monsters.
           
TABLE 20: EVADING MONSTERS – UPPERWORLD

            Very similar to 1st print but some percentages are less in BTPBD.

           
TABLE 21:MOVEMENT-UPPER WORLD

            Identical to 1st print except 1st print adds boats, brooms, etc. to the list.

TABLE 22: CASTLE INHABITANTS

            Last column slightly different in 1st print.  BTPBD uses d6 such that column 1 (roll of 1or 2) and 3             (roll of 4 or 5) are more likely to come up.


TABLE 23: CONSTRUCTION COSTS - UPPER WORLD(SPECIAL AGENTS, EQUIPMENT)
(See diagram of castle design: UPPER WORLD)

            No such diagram is present in my copy of BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS.  List is identical to          .  BTPBD then gives rates for skilled retainers listed as a separate “specialist list”
           
            Included in the costs list are costs for certain individuals.  The list contains the same indivduals as
            the "Specialist" list in U&WA page 22.  Unique, however, to BTPBD, are the following:
           Adminstrator, Slave Trainer, Hunter, Female Slave, Male Slave – while these do not appear in
           the 3Lbb's, EACH OF THESE UNIQUE BTPBD NPC's ARE SHOWN ON THE PERSONELL LIST
          ON PAGE 5 OF DAVE ARNESON'S FIRST FANTASY CAMPAIGN, as are all the usual 3lbb  
          specialis..  Also present in the BTPBD are Flying Animal Rider and Flying Animal Trainer, which are
          represented by the Tarn Trainer and Eagle Rider in the FFC list.  Since these elements appear in 
          only the FFC and BTPBD it is further proof that Dave Arneson must have been the author of BTPBD

 

TABLE24: CASTLE INHABITANTS – FURTHER RETAINERS & CHANCE FOR MAGIC
            BTPBD table expanded from 1st print in MU and Cleric catergories MU has Potion and Staff     
            added and Cleric has Potion instead of Staff and has an Other category.  Percentages are also            different.

TABLE25: PRIZE MATRIX

            Numerous differences from the 1st print Treasure Tables in values and percentages, but identical in overall structure.  Type A is especially interesting having a separate prisoners column.

TABLE26: SPECIAL ITEM DETERMINATION

            This is actually two tables, which are essentially the same as the Maps Table I and Magic Items table in the 1st print.  What is different is that a d6 determines which table (1 = Maps table)  to use instead of the % Magic/Maps table of the 1st print.  

TABLE27: SPECIFIC ITEM

These tables are generally similar to the various tables found in the 1st print - there is an Armor Table, a Miscellaneous Weapons Table, a Swords Table and so forth.  There are numerous small differences, but most items are similar or identical to those in 1st print tables found in Monsters and Treasures.  HoweverThe BTPBD has it's quirksshow the characteristic informal prose and some rules deletions.  For example, in the Magic Scrolls section, "dimension" is used instead of  "planet", "trick players" instead of "dupe" and "6th level" is added to the type of monster summoned.

TABLE 28: JOUSTING

 
            Unique to BTPBD, however jousting is referenced in 1st print and the BTPBD text is clearly copied          from CHAINMAIL.

TABLE 29: DRAGONS

            The table is identical to that found in the dragon description in the 1st print, except that BTPBD
        has neither the “Range and Shape” or the “Talking/Sleeping” column.
           
TABLE30: MISSLE FIRE

            Unique to BTPBD.  A 2d6 table is given for Short Bow, Light Crossbow, Longbow, Composite 
            Bow, and Heavy Crossbow against the standard Armor Clases.  (The basic table is that of CHAINMAIL, however) A separate target number is
            given for short medium and long range for hits and a second, higher target number for each    
            range indicates an instant kill. 

TABLE31: "INSTANT KILLS”

            Unique to BTPBD – the rule given in the combat section is that a roll of two dice should take place         after any hit is indicated in melee combat, to see if the hit could be an instant kill.  The instant kill  
        table is exactly identical to the Man to Man table given in CHAINMAIL, except that the armor           types of the CHAINMAIL table are replaced with the familiar Armor Classes of D&D and horse           armor, of course, is not included.

Citations

(1) Anonymous (staff)
1979    An Interview with Dave Arneson.  In The Space Gamer #21 (January/February) 1979:5-7.       Metagaming Concepts.

(2)  Arneson, Dave
1977    The First Fantasy Campaign. Judges Guild.

(3) Arneson, Dave
1979    My Life and Roleplaying 3. In Different Worlds 3 (June/July)  1979:6-10. Chaosium, Inc.

(4) Arneson, David
1999    Review of Reliving the Civil War: A Reenactor's Handbook. In Civil War Book Reviews
              [Website].  Louisiana State University.  Retrieved from           http://www.cwbr.com/index.phpq=2083&field=ID&browse=yes&record=full&searching=yes&S           ubmit=Search 

(5) Arneson, David
2008    Reply to Topic: Was Arneson's Blackmoor Classless? In OD&D Discussion [Website].        Retrieved

(6) Arneson, David L. and Richard Snider
1979    Adventures in Fantasy. Excalibre Games, Inc.

(7) Bub, Andrew
2002    Dave Arneson Interview. GameSpy [Website]. Retrieved from 
            http://archive.gamespy.com/articles/august02/gencon/arneson/

(8) De Bie, Tanja
1998    Gary Gygax: The Man in Legend.  The RPG Consortium [Website]. Retrieved from 

(9) Gyax, Gary
1975    WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?. In The Strategic Review, Vol 1, No. 3, 1975. TSR Inc.

(10) Gygax, Gary
1975    Letter to the Editor. In Alarums & Excursions #2, July.

(11) Gygax, Gary
1977    Origins of the Game. In Dragon 7:7-8, June 1977. TSR Inc.       

(12) Gyax, Gary
1979    Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide. TSR Inc.

(13) Gygax, Gary
1987    Role-Playing Mastery.  Perigee Book. published by The Putnam Publishing Group.

(14) Gygax, Gary
2002    Q&A with Gary Gygax. Enworld [website]. Posts #131,  5th September 2002, 11:23 AM.         Retrieved from http://www.enworld.org/forum/archive-threads/22566-q-gary-gygax-part-i- 9.html

(15) Gygax, Gary and Dave Arneson
1974    Dungeons and Dragons: Volume I Men and Magic. TSR Inc.

(16) Gygax, Gary and Dave Arneson
1974    Dungeons and Dragons: Volume lI Monsters and Treasure. TSR Inc.

(17) Gygax, Gary and Dave Arneson
1974    Dungeons and Dragons: Volume III Underworld and Wilderness Adventure. TSR Inc.


(18) Kuntz, Robert.
2009    Castle El Raja Key, Small Partial of the Introductory, Historical Essay. (2009, December 14). 
             Lord of the Green Dragons [Weblog]. Retrieved from        http://lordofthegreendragons.blogspot.com/2009/12/castle-el-raja-key-small-partial-of.html

(19) Kushner, David
2008    Dungeon Master: The Life and Legacy of Gary Gygax. In Wired Magazine(2008, March 10).  
             Retrieved from   

(20) Lynch, Scott
2001    Interview with Gary Gygax, part 1 of 3. (2001, May 1) RPGnet  [Website]. Retrieved 
             from  http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/lynch01may01.html


(21) Mornard, Michael
2012    How to Address this Slight. ODD74 [webforum].  Retrieved from            

(22)  Private Correspondence quoted with permission.

(23)  Sacco, Ciro Alessandro.
2002    The Ultimate Interview with Gary Gygax. (reposted 2005, August 11) The Kyngdoms
             [Website].   Retrieved from http://www.thekyngdoms.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=37

(24) Sloan, Sam
2008    Interview with "Dungeons & Dragons" co-creator Dave Arneson (2008, March 8) Slice of SciFi     
            #151[Podcast].  Retrieved from http://www.sliceofscifi.com/2008/03/08/slice-of-scifi-151/

(25) Wiemholt, Michael
2001    Weem Interviews Gary Gygax (2001) Part 1 of 2. (reposted 2010, August 23).  The Weem       

7 comments:

  1. Let me just apologize for the messy presentation. Blogger seems incapable of maintaining proper formating or of allowing all the text to be printed as white against a neutral background. I've been fighting with the thing for hours and decided a messy post is better than none!

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  2. Very interesting stuff. How come you are not posting it as usual, like part I? That one looked good to me.

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    1. The first post cut and pasted okay, and the few parts that didn't, blogger still allowed me to change the font color to white. I wish I knew why the rest is being so troublesome. Anyway, I'm going to make the whole thing available as a PDF download.

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    2. Ok, you wrote it all in another program and cut and pasted it into blogger? Yeah, that can cause all kind of problems. I write all my posts in the silly little textbox blogger provides me with, since nothing else is sure to work.

      You could try to paste it from the first program (MS Word?) into something simple that wouldn't preserve formatting, and cut from that into blogger. I don't run Windows, but maybe Notepad if that's still around?

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    3. Yeah. I've been preparing this as a journal article, but finding a journal that is interested in this kind of research proved difficult, so I just posted it.

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  3. I'm glad the autokill roll didn't make it. That would have limited monster design. So, how much treasure does a hireling require?

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    Replies
    1. Me too. I think that was not a good idea, but I guess that it hearkens back to CHAINMAIL's one hit one kill.

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