Friday, April 26, 2013

Playing at the World Is a Must Read for Gaming Geeks - Ethan Gilsdorf

"Gilsdorf: What were some of the secrets about D&D‘s past that most surprised you — or you think will most surprise readers? Peterson: Personally, I was most surprised by how many of the system ideas that we consider central to D&D derived from the earlier war-game Chainmail. Armor class, saving throws, class, level, hit points, all are half-baked in Chainmail. Honestly, they were only about three-quarters baked in the first edition of D&D, so the changes aren’t even as radical as one might suppose. I’d never read or played Chainmail before I began this project; in fact, my first Chainmail game was at the Lake Geneva Games Convention in 2008, where you and I met briefly while you were conducting interviews for your book. Readers so far seem to be most surprised by the arcane ephemera I’ve unearthed. When I talk about rare resources like the Blackmoor Gazette and Rumormonger, which give us new insights into the earliest phases of Arneson’s Blackmoor campaign, or like the Rules to the Game of Dungeon, an important early Minneapolis D&D variant, it’s clear that these were virtually unknown in the community up until now. What most surprises readers is just how many primary sources are out there that no one even knew survived, and what they can tell us about how D&D evolved." 4 out of 5