Tag Archives: Gary Gygax

XP Started as One of D&D’s Breakthrough Ideas. Now the Designers Don’t See the Point

When Dave Arneson ran a session of his Blackmoor dungeon for his Dungeons & Dragons co-creator, Gary Gygax’s biggest impression came from two innovations: (1) the dungeon expedition and (2) how characters improved with experience. In Playing at the World, … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Demi-Human Level Limits, D&D Adventurers League, Open Rolls, and More From the Comment Section

Time for another visit to the comment section, starting with a request. DM Bill writes, “Could you do an article about humans versus non-humans, and the importance of the First Edition level cap, please!” Until third edition, Dungeons & Dragons … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Turning Character Deaths in D&D Into Deals that Benefit Game and Story

A few years ago, I heard someone suggest what I then considered the worst bit of roleplaying game advice ever: Let players choose whether to allow their characters to die. Except, hear me out, maybe something like that could work. … Continue reading

Posted in Advice, Role-playing game design | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

How Character Death Lands D&D in a Tug-of-War Between Game and Story

Character death has always torn Dungeons & Dragons between game and story. The threat of death makes the game exciting, but actual death brings a character’s story to an unsatisfying end that can disrupt a campaign. Without characters facing the … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game design, Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

8 Fast Facts About D&D’s Magic Missile Spell

1. Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax introduced the Magic Missile spell in the original game’s first supplement, Greyhawk (1975). “This is a conjured missile equivalent to a magic arrow, and it does full damage (2-7 points) to any creature … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game history, Rules | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

How Dungeons & Dragons Got Its Ability Scores

The earliest character sheet for the game that inspired Dungeons & Dragons includes 8 character traits: Brains, Looks, Credibility, Sex, Health, Strength, Courage, and Cunning. The character comes from Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor campaign, which launched in 1971. See A History … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Secret D&D Games, Sharpshooters, Baby Orcs, and More From the DM David’s Comment Section

Time for another visit to the comment section. At the end, one reader tells a true story of how the Satanic panic drove a group’s Dungeons & Dragons games into secret, and what happened when concerned citizens learned of the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Butcher, a Baker, and Naughty Nannies in D&D’s First Setting Book: City State of the Invincible Overlord

In December of 1975, TSR had yet to publish any Dungeons & Dragons setting information other than the hints published in the Grayhawk and Blackmoor supplements. Blackmoor’s Temple of the Frog qualified as the only published adventure, although the armies … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Queen of the Demonweb Pits Opened Dungeons & Dragons to the Planes

In Dragon magazine issue 8, published July 1977, Gary Gygax proposed the Dungeons & Dragons cosmology, a great wheel of planes surrounding the prime material. The existence of infinite planes “will vastly expand the potential of all campaigns which adopt … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

19 Adventures in the Running for 10 Greatest Adventures Since 1985

For my list of the 10 greatest adventures since 1985, nominations, reviews, and reputation led me to consider many more excellent adventures than fit a list of 10. Today’s post reveals the adventures that fell short of my 10 greatest, … Continue reading

Posted in Role-playing game history | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments