Evidence Chainmail Had Material from Dave Arneson

zenopus

Explorer
One thing that the analysis doesn't appear to address is that Arneson in FFC actually says that his first "Magic Swords" matrix used powers "taken right from" Chainmail:

Prior to setting up Blackmoor I spent a considerable effort in setting up an entire family of Magical swords. The swords, indeed comprise most of the early magical artifacts. A small table was prepared and the Swords' characteristics set up on cards.
Later on a new Table was formulated and used for generating Swords in other Castles. After the 3rd year there were four other Castles in the Blackmoor campaign and I had at least three myself, so more uniform rules were needed. The magical items at the end of Chapter II was, again, the first attempt to set up such a matrix. The nature and the powers of the Spells and Swords were taken right from the available copies of Chainmail, which served as the basis for all our combat.
(emphasis added)

So right here we have Arneson saying he set up his first Swords matrix "prior to setting up Blackmoor", and that he was using Chainmail while working on it.
 
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mwittig

Explorer
So right here we have Arneson saying he set up his first Swords matrix "prior to setting up Blackmoor", and that was using Chainmail while working on it.
I have had this discussion before with other researchers. Note that there are actually two paragraphs; in the first paragraph, Arneson tells us about the original table of the Magic Swords material. The second paragraph talks about the "new Table" that he did later in implementing "more uniform rules" suitable for other campaigns run by other people (who could then buy Chainmail and refer to it).

Prior to setting up Blackmoor I spent a considerable effort in setting up an entire family of Magical swords. The swords, indeed comprise most of the early magical artifacts. A small table was prepared and the Swords' characteristics set up on cards.

Later on a new Table was formulated and used for generating Swords in other Castles. After the 3rd year there were four other Castles in the Blackmoor campaign and I had at least three myself, so more uniform rules were needed. The magical items at the end of Chapter II was, again, the first attempt to set up such a matrix. The nature and the powers of the Spells and Swords were taken right from the available copies of Chainmail, which served as the basis for all our combat.
 

Bardic Dave

Explorer
Lowkey, is this true? It would certainly seem to defy logic.
I guess you didn't read lowkey's explanation that closely, because this was explained. The incentive for choosing a later date is that your copyright expires later, which was particularly relevant back then when copyrights only lasted a maximum of 56 years. Read lowkey's post again.
 
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mwittig

Explorer
I guess you didn't read lowkey's explanation that closely, because this was explained. The incentive for choosing a later date is that your copyright expires later, which was particularly relevant back then when copyrights only lasted a maximum of 56 years. Read lowkey's post again.
I find it difficult to believe that Lowry wrote May instead of March to extend the 56 year copyright term of a game booklet by 2 months--that's far from a certainty.
5. There is a mountain of anecdotal evidence from contemporaneous sources that puts the publication date at March 1971. That's a bunch of evidence against your assertion.
The only "evidence" that I have seen is that everyone seems to use the same March 1971 date without explanation or citation. As I stated above, I believe that dating stems from a 2006 forum post that also offers no explanation or citation. I have yet to see a post in this thread that offers any evidence substantiating that date, despite the so-called "mountain" of evidence.
 

Mistwell

Hero
Those scans don't look made up to me.
You're being a jerk. That was not the sum of what he said, and you're taking it out of context like if you feel you "win" an argument here that somehow is "evidence" of your point. It's not. Stop being a jerk to your peers. Have a conversation and listen to what they're saying. Talk less, and listen more. Or don't, and have your work mocked and ridiculed and then ignored by your peers. Which does not accomplish your goal.
 

Bardic Dave

Explorer
I find it difficult to believe that Lowry wrote May instead of March to extend the 56 year copyright term of a game booklet by 2 months--that's far from a certainty.

The only "evidence" that I have seen is that everyone seems to use the same March 1971 date without explanation or citation. As I stated above, I believe that dating stems from a 2006 forum post that also offers no explanation or citation. I have yet to see a post in this thread that offers any evidence substantiating that date, despite the so-called "mountain" of evidence.
You misunderstand. I'm not arguing in favour of a particular date. I don't need to do that. I'm merely trying to show you that your date is "far from a certainty" and doesn't deserve the degree of confidence you've placed in it.

You seem to understand that even though it's common practice to stretch the truth in your client's favour on a copyright application, that doesn't provide sufficient basis for me to assert that March 1971 is the correct date (which—in case it isn't clear—I did not do, because it wasn't relevant to my point). So how about you apply a little bit of that healthy scepticism to your own position?

I think you misinterpret this argument as an ideological struggle about the true history of D&D. It's not. It's a conversation about whether or not your research is good enough to make the claims you're making.
 
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zenopus

Explorer
I have had this discussion before with other researchers. Note that there are actually two paragraphs; in the first paragraph, Arneson tells us about the original table of the Magic Swords material. The second paragraph talks about the "new Table" that he did later in implementing "more uniform rules" suitable for other campaigns run by other people (who could then buy Chainmail and refer to it).

Prior to setting up Blackmoor I spent a considerable effort in setting up an entire family of Magical swords. The swords, indeed comprise most of the early magical artifacts. A small table was prepared and the Swords' characteristics set up on cards.

Later on a new Table was formulated and used for generating Swords in other Castles. After the 3rd year there were four other Castles in the Blackmoor campaign and I had at least three myself, so more uniform rules were needed. The magical items at the end of Chapter II was, again, the first attempt to set up such a matrix. The nature and the powers of the Spells and Swords were taken right from the available copies of Chainmail, which served as the basis for all our combat.
In my opinion he's switched back to talking about the first matrix in the last two sentences of the second paragraph. Why else would he say "was, again, the first attempt"? He's referring back to the first attempt he described in the first paragraph. Furthermore, the second matrix presented in FFC is clearly much more complicated and includes stuff from D&D like X-Ray Vision and Polymorph. How could this more complicated table be his "first attempt" to set up such a matrix?

Even if was he referring to the second matrix at the end of paragraph two, it would just mean that one was his "first attempt" (thus predating the first matrix) and yet still includes material taken from Chainmail. In either case, he says his "first attempt" included material drawn from Chainmail.
 
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mwittig

Explorer
Lets try to get the thread back on topic. On page 2, I presented a second analysis that the March, 1971 publication date is likely incorrect, because it would require the following:

1) Arneson got Chainmail within days of it being published (in 1971, when it was published in Indiana and Arneson lived in Minnesota)
2) Arneson created Blackmoor using the Fantasy Supplement and came up the "Troll Bridge" scenario within days as well
3) Arneson typed up the announcement of the "Troll Bridge" game in his newsletter before March ended, which must then have been his first Blackmoor game (even though he gave no indication that it was)
4) The multiple players that assert that they played a game during the Christmas break of 1970-71 are all wrong

To me, this seems unrealistic, which was the point of my second analysis, which (I had hoped) would have led folks that have rejected the first analysis to reconsider it. Does anyone else see a problem with the above series of events, which must have happened according to the commonly accepted history of Dungeons & Dragons?
 

Bardic Dave

Explorer
Lets try to get the thread back on topic. On page 2, I presented a second analysis that the March, 1971 publication date is likely incorrect, because it would require the following:

1) Arneson got Chainmail within days of it being published (in 1971, when it was published in Indiana and Arneson lived in Minnesota)
2) Arneson created Blackmoor using the Fantasy Supplement and came up the "Troll Bridge" scenario within days as well
3) Arneson typed up the announcement of the "Troll Bridge" game in his newsletter before March ended, which must then have been his first Blackmoor game (even though he gave no indication that it was)
4) The multiple players that assert that they played a game during the Christmas break of 1970-71 are all wrong

To me, this seems unrealistic, which was the point of my second analysis, which (I had hoped) would have led folks that have rejected the first analysis to reconsider it. Does anyone else see a problem with the above series of events, which must have happened according to the commonly accepted history of Dungeons & Dragons?
The problem with your analysis is that it's all conjecture and you draw conclusions that are outside the scope of what's reasonable.

1. It's possible that Arneson did get his hands on Chainmail right away. It might seem unlikely to you, but it's possible.
2. It's also possible that Arneson initially ran his home games without using Chainmail. So what does that prove? Not a whole lot. My understanding from reading Kuntz is that Arneson played pre-proto-D&D prior to using Chainmail, and then things really started to come together once he incorporated Chainmail into his games. How does that advance your position at all? How does that make the publication date of March 1971 for Chainmail somehow less credible?

And I think it's telling that you believe criticism of your research to be off-topic.
 

mwittig

Explorer
In my opinion he's switched back to talking about the first matrix in the last two sentences of the second paragraph. Why else would he say "was, again, the first attempt"?
He said, "The magical items at the end of Chapter II was, again, the first attempt to set up such a matrix." It appears that he is referring to the magical items table on page 88 being the first attempt at a magical items "matrix" similar to the Swords "Personality matrix" he had done earlier:
1573175161808.png

Note that the above list appears to date significantly later than the "MAGIC SWORDS PERSONALITY MATRIX 'BLACKMOOR'" at the top of page 64; there are items clearly related to D&D shown in it (Potion of Animal Obedience, Heroism, etc.), though the inclusion of non-D&D material suggests that this list was likely source material that Gygax drew from when assembling D&D. Note that the Potion of Animal Obedience appears to have become the Potion of Animal Control in OD&D.

Note what he says on page 64:
Prior to setting up Blackmoor I spent a considerable effort in setting up an entire family of Magical swords. The swords, indeed comprise most of the early magical artifacts. A small table was prepared and the Swords' characteristics set up on cards.

Later on a new Table was formulated and used for generating Swords in other Castles. After the 3rd year there were four other Castles in the Blackmoor campaign and I had at least three myself, so more uniform rules were needed. The magical items at the end of Chapter II [see above picture] was, again, the first attempt to set up such a matrix [as the "MAGIC SWORDS PERSONALITY MATRIX" shown on that page, page 64]. The nature and the powers of the Spells and Swords [for this new Table] were taken right from the available copies of Chainmail, which served as the basis for all our combat.

Note that he clearly says there are two sword tables and also a set of magical items "at the end of Chapter II". That is what he appears to have given us: the first swords "Personality Matrix" at the top of page 64, the second swords "matrix" on page 67, and the magical items "matrix" on page 88.

Furthermore, the second matrix presented in FFC is clearly much more complicated and includes stuff from D&D like X-Ray Vision and Polymorph. How could this more complicated table be his "first attempt" to set up such a matrix?
In the second paragraph he talks about 1) a new Swords "matrix", 2) a magical items "matrix". Compare the second swords matrix to the magical items "matrix" above-- these two appear much closer in dating than the "MAGIC SWORDS PERSONALITY MATRIX" at the top of page 64 and the magical items "matrix" above-- both are clearly related to OD&D, while the first Swords matrix, the "MAGIC SWORDS PERSONALITY MATRIX" at the top of page 64, appears to be from a totally different era. That is because it is his original magic swords material.
 

zenopus

Explorer
the "MAGIC SWORDS PERSONALITY MATRIX" at the top of page 64, appears to be from a totally different era. That is because it is his original magic swords material.
Yes, because it is the material where "the powers of the Spells and Swords were taken right from the available copies of Chainmail". The "Magical Items Summary" later in the book has no "Spells", whereas the Swords in the "Magic Swords Personality Matrix" material have a number of otherwise unexplained Spells (for example, the Red Sword has "Magic Ability - 3 Spells") - he's telling us that they used the spells listed in Chainmail for these. The swords in "Magical Items Summary" have no powers or spells. Whereas the "Magic Sword Personality Matrix" includes a list of powers, many of which (e.g. See in Darkness, Raise Morale, Cause Morale Check, Paralize) are taken right from the Fantasy Reference Table in Chainmail - just as Arneson states.
 
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mwittig

Explorer
Yes, because it is the material where "the powers of the Spells and Swords were taken right from the available copies of Chainmail". The "Magical Items Summary" later in the book has no "Spells" [...]
Arneson spoke specifically about "The magical items at the end of Chapter II [...]" just prior to making the statement about spells and swords. He could have been talking about the "Formula Scrolls" under Books, Manuscripts, and Maps. He stated on page 74:
BLACKMOOR magic followed the "Formula" pattern for most magic. The reasoning behind limiting the number of Spells that a MU could take down into the Dungeon was simply that many of the ingredients had to be prepared ahead of time, and of course once used were then powerless.

In Blackmoor, it seems that spells were more of a physical item than mentally-stored material, which may explain why he talked about spells and swords together.

He may also have been talking about the Lightning Bolt thrower (a spell from Chainmail), the Fire Ball thrower (a spell from from Chainmail), the Illusion Projector and potion of illusion (the Phantasmal forces spell in Chainmail), the invisibility potion (the concealment spell in Chainmail), and the screener (the Detection spell in Chainmail).
 
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mwittig

Explorer
My understanding from reading Kuntz is that Arneson played pre-proto-D&D prior to using Chainmail, and then things really started to come together once he incorporated Chainmail into his games. How does that advance your position at all?
It would refute Gygax's statement that "From the Chainmail fantasy rules [Arneson] drew ideas for a far more complex and exciting game, and thus began a campaign [...]," which is at odds with this analysis. It would also be consistent with the analysis. If the analysis is correct, Arneson must have generated the creature names in the "Magic Swords" material prior to Chainmail being published, and Arneson must have sent some material with those creature names to Gygax, which Gygax then expanded into the Fantasy Supplement. If Arneson did not run any games prior to encountering Chainmail, then this could not have happened.
 

Bardic Dave

Explorer
It would also be consistent with the analysis.
Would it be consistent with your assertions? Sure. Would it corroborate your assertions? No. That's what you seem to be confused about. If you can't be honest with yourself about that distinction, then you won't be able to produce research of any significant value.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Well, I have to say that I agree completely with Lowkey13, Bardic Dave and the others. Just tossing in my 2 cents.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
You're being a jerk.
Mod Note:

Given how much of a jerk you are being in this post, you should practice more of what you preach.

Everyone here - you don't have to agree with his findings. You can give POLITE critique to his methods and logic. Make it personal like that again, and you will be seen to the door. I hope that's clear. If it is not, please take it to PM with one of the moderators. From this point on, everyone should be polite in this thread.
 

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