Baskets of Notes

Author: DHBoggs / Labels: ,

Was just looking at some old post and thinking about how far we've come in getting a better handle on those early days of D&D. 

For a very long time, just about everyone, myself included, bought into the message to varying degrees that Arneson was a hack who got more than he deserved.   Twas said he couldn’t write, didn’t write and was just some sloppy idea guy guilty of sour grapes.

Of course, old Dave really was a decent and kind gentleman and actually a pretty good writer, and his writings, if somewhat obscure, are clear and cogent.  Check out Trapman, DNA/DOA or Longtooth Lounge, for examples.

A lot of hay has been made over Tim Kask talking about the difficult task he faced when handed a “basketful of notes” that contained an apparently haphazard collection of materials for Supplement II.

Dave likely was a bit haphazard with his notes but the whole thing with Supplement II "basket of notes" is misleading.

Baskets holding project materials were standard operating proceedure at TSR in the early days, so the Supplement II notes were no different from any other project in that regard.  Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, the basket in question had been collected and futzed over for some time by Brian Blume as the original editor on the project.  Indeed, it was Blume who tossed in the monk character.  Its likely that the material Arneson had mailed in contained a manuscript and table of monsters (the Giant creatures), the Hit location section, the TotF, The disease section, and a character class manuscript with Assasin and Sage, and a few things Kask cut out.  Among the cut material was probably the "Special Interests" and "Investments" sections Arneson included in The First Fantasy Campaign.  The rest of the material likely was a jumble of notes from Brian Blum and disparate materials written by Steve Marsh.  Its not fair to blame Arneson for that.  Tim Kask has made no secret of his feelings towards Arneson, so it is not surprising that his readers infer the basket of notes to be a defect peculiar to DA.  In any case it is to Tims credit that he pulled it all together into a fascinating little book.

For anyone interested in exploring the make -up of SII further, I have a post on the authorship of various sections HERE. 


AndreasDavour said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AndreasDavour said...

Rephrased for clarity.

I have never thought much of that remark. Especially after Tim Kask opened his mouth regarding Jim Raggi, and managed to really come across as full of shit.

Also, considering how messy Supplement III is, having him open his mouth about somebody else's disorganized notes seems like a load of bollocks. He, if anybody, comes across as a terrible editor!

anarchist said...


Apologies for the off-topic comment, but I couldn't find a contact email for you.

I've recently put out an ebook of my writing, called The New Death and others. It's mostly short stories, with some obvious gamer-interest material. For example I have a story inspired by OD&D elves, as well as poems which retell Robert E Howard's King Kull story The Mirrors of Tuzun Thune and HP Lovecraft's Under the Pyramids.

I was wondering if you'd be interested in doing a review on your blog.

If so, please let me know your email, and what file format is easiest for you, and I'll send you a free copy. You can email me ( or reply to this thread.

You can download a sample from Smashwords:

I'll also link to your review from my blog.


DHBoggs said...

> Andreas
Tim's always made an apparently sincere effort to answer any questions I put to him and I respect his efforts as a gamer. But I definetly get why you feel the way you do. Lets just say I have noticed he does not hesitate to express opinions from a certain perspective, that may not be the most well informed.

> James, thanks for asking. I'll take a look. Reviews, particularly of a large work will take some time to do properly. It will depend on whether I think I can devote the time. :)

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