Friday, May 4, 2012


The question remaining is; is BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS part of the Arneson Correspondence material or was it Manuscript D, his final draft?  On the face of it, there are many clear instances of the 1st print having exactly the same or similar text as that of BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS, but the 1st print is presented in the more formal, technical, and somewhat obscure verbiage used by Gygax.  Thus there is an unmistakable relationship between each, leaving only two possibilities - either Gygax had the text of BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS or something nearly identical when writing his drafts, or Arneson had an earlier draft of Gygax’s when writing BTPBD.  In other words, based on the mix of 1st print and original text, BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS could be either a revision of earlier draft material by Gygax (manuscript B), a Later Draft by Gygax (Manuscript C or the 1st print) or could have been Correspondence material from which Gygax worked to produce the 1st print.  Three clues are very strong indicators here as to which:
1)      The spell list:  BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS contains several unique spells.  Tranquilize and Blade Barrier in particular are functional spells for which there is no clear reason for Gygax to have edited them out, had he known of them.  Likewise, the 1st print contains an additional 40 some spells not found in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS, and at least six new monsters.  There is no conceivable reason Arneson would have deliberately edited them out – had he known about them.
2)      The known correspondence material:  As has been discussed, we know the magic swords section and the castle construction sections of OD&D were prepared from material Arneson gave to Gygax.  We know this because the original material is printed in the First Fantasy Campaign, and careful comparison leaves little doubt that it must have been used by Gygax in preparing the 1st print (and presumably the supposedly very similar Manuscript C).  But, neither the magic swords or castle construction material are in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS.  Aside from the fact that Arneson tells us the Magic swords section predates D&D, we can be sure it does by the fact that the Magic swords text refers to “curates” (not yet the more Gygaxian “Clerics”) and these “curates” had a list of spells that was shorter than the 1st print list in some instances.   The FFC tells us there were less than 5, 4th level spells. (FFC80:44)2, but the 1st print clearly has 6, 4th level spells listed.   Beyond This Point be Dragons, on the other hand, has only 4, 4th level spells.  This suggests that Arneson’s list in BTPBD was the “Curate” list referred to in the FFC, but Arneson changed Curate to Cleric in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS to conform to Gygax’s usage.   That very strongly suggests that BTPBD is not a revision of Manuscript C, which likely had all the known Cleric spells, but a revision of an earlier Manuscript (B).
3)      There is also the Dervishes entry to consider.  The second paragraph of the dervishes entry in BTPBD is identical to the paragraph in the 1st print regarding orcs traveling with wagons – weird for orcs, but perfectly sensible for dervishes.  But it is clear that someone (Arneson) is copying this from an earlier text that is identical to that in the 1st print because he actually types “orcs” instead of dervishes in one sentence!  We can actually trace the chronology here in that Arneson gives a very early “monster manual” of sorts in the very last pages of the FFC.  We know it is early because of the complete lack of many familiar D&Disms.  The description for Orcs given in those pages includes the details of wagon trains and so forth that obviously formed the basis Gygax used when preparing the entry for the 1st print.
4)      Unique items – the 1st print of D&D has a noticeably larger page count, and there are many things that appear in the 1st print that have no corresponding section in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS.  That in itself would be consistent with BTPBD being an early draft.  However, as has been shown above in just the tables section, there is also a very significant amount of unique and expansionary material in BTPBD.  The value of some of the unique material is certainly debatable, and might reasonably be expected to have been edited out in subsequent drafts, yet there is also a great deal of clarified, expanded and organized material such as in the price lists, and original material such as in the spells, for which it is very difficult to see any reason for lack of inclusion in the 1st print of D&D had it been available at an early date. 
5)      The Art -  as has been mentioned, BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS is fairly lavishly illustrated, containing some 11 drawings, 4 of which are full page chapter markers with gothic letter stenciling of chapter tittles, and 1 more full page with the book title in a hand drawn font.  The remaining 6, plus the familiar sample dungeon plan and elevation, can be found in various places in the text.  These drawings took some effort to draw, place and stencil.  It hardly seems likely that such effort would be put into a working draft.
Taking in to consideration the points above and all the points previously discussed, the only reasonable explanation for the presence of the many pages of materials in the 1st print that are not found in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS, is that the draft Arneson was working from did not include such material.  Historically, this could only mean Manuscript B.  Likewise, the only reasonable explanation of why there are unique spells,  artwork, rule clarifications, and other items in BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS, and not in the 1st print. Is that Gygax did not have them when the 1st print was made.
The sequence is thus:
Arneson – Manuscript A
Gygax – Manuscript B
/                      I
/          Arneson – Correspondence
      /                                         \
  Arneson Manuscript D                Gygax – 1st printed D&D (from Manuscript C)

Given all the facts thus far, by far the most likely conclusion is that Dave Arneson began to prepare BEYOND THIS POINT BE DRAGONS based on Gygax Manuscript B.  Gygax, meanwhile, expanded Manuscript B to around 90 pages (manuscript C) by adding naval and aerial combat,  about 40 new spells, new monsters, additional magic items, and the correspondence notes from Arneson regarding castle construction and magic swords. 
Thus the two men, were separately expanding “Manuscript B”.  Gygax printed his expansion, read by millions and Arneson’s, forgotten and perhaps unfinished, nearly ended up in a Minnesota land fill.


(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            ubmit=Search 

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

(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   

(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 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

(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  

(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

(24) Sloan, Sam
2008    Interview with "Dungeons & Dragons" co-creator Dave Arneson (2008, March 8) Slice of SciFi      #151[Podcast].  Retrieved from

(25) Wiemholt, Michael
2001    Weem Interviews Gary Gygax (2001) Part 1 of 2. (reposted 2010, August 23).  The Weem        [Website]. Retrieved from          gygax-2001-part-1-of-2/

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