Tag Archives: Dave Arneson

When megadungeons ruled Dungeons & Dragons

In the early 70s, as Gary Gygax developed Dungeons & Dragons, he played the game seven times a week. He wrote, “As I worked at home, I did not schedule play sessions, but when a gamer or two dropped in … Continue reading

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In fifth-edition D&D, what is gold for? The game within a game

The baseline Dungeons & Dragons game offers player characters plenty of chances to gain treasure and few chances to spend it. When Dave Arneson opened the dungeons beneath Castle Blackmoor, Chainmail miniature battles served as a game within his game … Continue reading

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Why D&D characters get tons of gold and nowhere to spend it

The original Dungeons & Dragons game awarded characters an experience point for each gold piece they claimed from the dungeon. See “The fun and realism of unrealistically awarding experience points for gold.” This provided a simple method of awarding non-combat … Continue reading

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The fun and realism of unrealistically awarding experience points for gold

When Dave Arneson ran a session of his Blackmoor dungeon for Gary Gygax, two innovations impressed Gary the most: “The idea of measured progression (experience points) and the addition of games taking place in a dungeon maze.” (See The Dragon … Continue reading

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Two weird D&D questions no one asks anymore, answered by the City State of the Invincible Overlord

In my last look back at Judges Guild’s 1977 City State of the Invincible Overlord, I avoided mentioning the product’s oddest quirk: Every non-player character has an adventuring class and almost anyone worthy of a name has 4 or more … Continue reading

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Dungeons & Dragons fifth-edition Basic Rules, an annotated page 1

Wizards of the Coast has released the Dungeons & Dragons basic rules as a free download. I have yet to read past the first page, but even that invites comments. The July 3 basic rules are labeled, version 0.1, but … Continue reading

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How Dungeons & Dragons gained its ability scores

In History of D&D in 12 Treasures, Jon Peterson shows a character sheet from Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor campaign, the game which inspired Dungeons & Dragons. The sheet includes 8 personality traits: Brains, Looks, Credibility, Sex, Health, Strength, Courage, and Cunning. … Continue reading

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From the brown books to next, D&D tries for elegance

An elegant role-playing game gains maximum play value out of a concise set of simple rules. Elegant rules… apply broadly so fewer rules can cover whatever happens in the game. play quickly with minimal math and little need to reference … Continue reading

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Top 4 rules questions from new Dungeons & Dragons Next players

Update: I’ve posted an updated version using the final, fifth-edition rules. I’ve played Dungeons & Dragons Next before, but Gen Con 2013 gave my first chance to run it. I served as dungeon master for five tables. Virtually all my … Continue reading

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From Blackmoor to Dungeons & Dragons: the invention of the dungeon crawl

In my post, “How the dungeon crawl’s advantages propelled Dungeons & Dragons to success,” I argued that the invention of the dungeon crawl contributed as much to the initial popularity of Dungeons & Dragons as the invention of the role-playing … Continue reading

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