Friday, November 14, 2008

D&D Cover to Cover, part 4

Being a series of articles in which the author reads the indelible words of Gygax and Arneson as presented the Original Collector's Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, published by Tactical Studies Rules. Beginning with Men & Magic, and concluding with The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures, the author will consider those earliest passages, adding elucidations and interpretations along the way for your consideration.

Men & Magic

"Outdoor Survival"
An old board game from Avalon Hill. I never owned it nor saw it used with D&D. Per “Lost and alone you must survive and escape the woods. There are 5 different scenarios from inexperienced hikers lost in the woods to a rescue party trying to find a lost person. You will have to deal with animals, finding food and water, mother nature and sickness without dying to win.” So, we can see it has use for the referee in handling…Outdoor Survival. Or, one could simply house rule these situations. I assume most referees did that very thing on those rare occasions that the player characters were not in a dungeon.

This one I do own, but honestly I haven’t found a great need for it. Like the above recommended work, I believe that a referee can house rule most of the details which might need to be gleaned from D&D’s predecessor, CHAINMAIL.
Again, one of D&D’s characterizing terms. I doubt many early readers understood exactly what was inferred by this item listed as ‘Recommended Equipment’ at this point in an initial read of the rules.

"1 Patient Referee"
I find the choice of Patient as an adjective here to be somewhat noteworthy. Patient due to long lulls in activity while you watch the players? Patient because game sessions require a referee to maintain his composure? Patient when reading and learning these rules? Patient because the time investment is highly demanding? Perhaps it’s a bit of all of the above. Open-minded, creative, thoughtful, inspired, dedicated and organized are just some of the adjectives I might consider before Patient!

~Sham, Quixotic Referee


KenHR said...

I thought Outdoor Survival was recommended for the map alone, not the rules?

Great series of posts, btw. I'm reading along with my beat up white box.

Sham aka Dave said...

Thanks, Ken! You might be right. In Men & Magic it just lists the game and Avalon Hill's address. There might be more info in Volume 3, but I haven't gotten that far along in my re-read and can't remember. That would make more sense imo.

Will Douglas said...

Actually, it uses the movement rates as well as the map. But these are reprinted in V. III, so you needn't bother.

I think the main reason the referee needs to be patient is because he's dealing with a table full of wargamers, a situation which makes herding cats look easy.

Michael Curtis said...

I think Dave Arneson chimed in on the OD&D Discussion Board about OS and said that they just used the map. There's mention of using the map in First Fantasy Campaign for when the players wandered off the map of lands surrounding Blackmoor.

I've actually played Outdoor Survival. I got my first taste of D&D through my cousin's Holmes Edition and was later given a stack of old chip & hex wargames that he and his older brothers had collected. I don't remember most of the titles but I know Smiper! and OS were in that bunch. OS is pretty depressing to play as intended, but I thought that wilderness survival stuff was pretty cool at the time, so I didn't mind dying a lot while playing the game.

Sham aka Dave said...

@Will: Funny but true. Can you imagine explaining the concept of D&D to a bunch of guys who just wanted to play Diplomacy or Kingmaker? Talk about passing notes to the referee.

@Mike: I had forgotten about that. You're right, Mr. Arneson did post that on the forum.Pretty cool that you've played OS. If I were a collector (which I am not), I'd have snapped up a copy. In my brief search for that quote, I saw a few available for cheap.