Friday, March 17, 2023

Giving Original Dungeons & Dragons Supplement I It's Due

Last night it was time to journey down a well trodden road and it felt like coming home again. In this case 'home' is my copy of the 1974 original Dungeons & Dragons supplement I Greyhawk. Why is  Dungeons & Dragons supplement I Greyhawk important to me? Well besides it being one of the first supplements for original Dungeons & Dragons it's also one of the most important. 

Gary Gygax set's it down straight out of the gate within Dungeons & Dragons supplement I Greyhawk;"One cannot properly introduce a supplement to an existing body of rules which already contain both a foreword and an introduction; yet it is absolutely necessary to make certain that the prospective buyer understands that this volume cannot stand by itself. It is expressly written to augment the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS rules set. and if you do not possess the set there is no point in buying this supplemental booklet alone. However, it does no harm to read further — it is hoped that if you do skim through the pages which follow you will become so interested as to buy both "D & D" and this addition! If you enjoy fantasy you will never be sorry you were introduced to the swords and sorcery of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS games. If you already own a set of "D & D" then buy this booklet right now, for what is herein adds immeasurably to the existing game. There are new characters, new abilities, more spells to use, a horde of new monsters, heaps of new magical treasure, and various additions to the suggestions and rules tor adventuring above and below the ground." 
Gygax & Kuntz are not kidding as they add a ton of new material according to the OD&D SupplementI Greyhawk wiki entry; "Greyhawk instead focused on new game rules that had been developed by Gygax and Kuntz during long hours of home play. The 68-page supplement also introduced new character classes (thief and paladin),[4][5] as well as new combat rules, spells, monsters, and treasures.[4] Greyhawk included new rules on weapon damage varying by weapon. The supplement added new treasure and magic items, and new spells, including 7th, 8th, and 9th level spells. The supplement also included a section on monsters, introducing the lizard menbeholdersdisplacer beasts, blink dogs, carrion crawlers, and many others." So not only do we get an establishment of many of the most iconic Dungeons & Dragons monsters we get them in a very easy to digest format. The importance of this can't be understated. And critics of original Dungeons & Dragons have come to realize this. And these reviews & commentaries from the Greyhawk wiki entry sum this up; "Lawrence Schick, in his 1991 book Heroic Worlds, calls Greyhawk "The first and most important supplement to Original D&D".[4]"

"Shannon Appelcline, in his 2011 book Designers & Dragons, considers Greyhawk an "innovation" because at the time "supplements were largely unheard of in the wargaming industry. Though games were frequently revised and reprinted, continually expanding a game was something new."[6]: 7 "

"Journalist David M. Ewalt wrote that the supplement helped dungeon masters to learn how to create adventures through examples, bridging "the gap between players who leared the game at Gary's table and those who picked it up in a hobby store." Ewalt valued that Greyhawk showed that Dungeons & Dragons was meant to be adapted and evolved by the players beyond the original rules to make it most. suitable for each individual gaming group" 
Notice the consistency of opinion here the importance of the supplement to the evolution of original Dungeons & Dragons, the changing face of the marketing of original Dungeons & Dragons, and the movement toward far more player agency at the table top. Supplement I Greyhawk was the pivot point where the original Dungeons & Dragons rpg moves from simply another wargame  into the realm of wargame & role playing game as we recognize it. 
Is Original Dungeons & Dragons Supplement I Greyhawk still worth your time & energy? In a word, oh Hell yes! Why?! Because of the fact that E.Gary Gygax & Robert Kuntz did a bang up job pulling together the material into this seventy page book. A book that is primarily completely and utterly centered around campaign, adventure, & dungeon creation. 

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