Evidence Chainmail Had Material from Dave Arneson

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mwittig

Explorer
My date was, following Zenopus's lead above, based in no small part on the earliest advertisements for Guidon Games, which appeared in the April International Wargamer and a few other contemporary places. […] There are good data points to suggest that the March and April IWs were jointly in subscribers' hand by the third or so week of April. Note that the April IW ad lists Chainmail as available, but suggests that Alex and Dunkirk were scheduled for an April 30 release - something you would not bother to mention if you expected your mail-order ad to be seen like April 18th. But these are ultimately indirect data points, and to be absolutely clear, they don't rule out an April "release" date for Chainmail - if you're counting from when just anyone could have ordered it, it wouldn't be until after they saw an ad.
That was my reasoning ten years ago when I was writing that part of PatW, anyway.
I’ve been pondering this Jon, but I am having trouble making sense of this in the context of what you wrote in Playing at the World. On page 65 you wrote:
Arneson chose to design his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail […] By blending this fantasy setting with the "Braunstein" stylings pioneered by Dave Wesely, Arneson conjured up the following:
There will be a medieval "Braunstein" April 17, 1971 at the home of David Arneson from 1300 hrs to 2400 hrs with refreshments being available on the usual basis .... It will feature mythical creatures and a Poker game under the Troll's bridge between sunup and sundown. [COTT:71:v3n4]
But, Arneson typed up the volume 3, number 4 issue of Corner of the Table that contained the first published announcement of the April 17th Blackmoor game in March of 1971:

COTT1.jpg


The ad in the April issue of International Wargamer that @zenopus found indicates that Chainmail first went on sale in April of 1971, so how could Arneson have “design[ed] his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail” in March?
 

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Explorer
The ad in the April issue of International Wargamer that @zenopus found indicates that Chainmail first went on sale in April of 1971, so how could Arneson have “design[ed] his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail” in March?
Rather then establishing when Chainmail went on sale, I'd say that the April IW establishes when you could have ordered Chainmail if your only way of learning about it was through the IW - there was no IW sent in March. But as I said above, Dave Arneson was not "just anybody," and he had other ways of learning about it.
 

mwittig

Explorer
Rather then establishing when Chainmail went on sale, I'd say that the April IW establishes when you could have ordered Chainmail if your only way of learning about it was through the IW - there was no IW sent in March. But as I said above, Dave Arneson was not "just anybody," and he had other ways of learning about it.
You seem to be implying that Arneson was able to get the Chainmail booklet before the general public, for that seems to be what it would take for the statement that Arneson “design[ed] his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail” [PatW 65] to be true. That doesn’t seem to be supported by the documentary evidence that I know of. You may recall this map and the accompanying letter:

1574118010024.png

1574118036227.png


The SoB folks posted it to Facebook back in 2016. I started helping with their research in 2017, and in 2018 when the letter and map came up in an email thread, I identified it as being very old (due to the mention that “Bill Hoyt rules Willamfort,” as Hoyt moved away before Blackmoor took off), and that Blackmoor was already a fantasy campaign (note that Arneson said that “it is partially fiction,” and referenced a “red wizards coven”). Since then, they’ve stated publicly that the letter dates to March 1971 (though I see some evidence that some of the material dates still earlier, so I believe that their March 1971 dating is a conservative one).
This letter and the accompanying map causes more problems with the thesis that Arneson had “design[ed] his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail,” as even if we assume that the letter and map (and Arneson’s fantasy campaign) dates to March 1971, this would mean that Chainmail had to have been published still earlier (note that the earliest ad for Chainmail that @zenopus found dates to April of 1971)

More importantly, there are absolutely no signs of influence from Chainmail in the letter. Note that none of the unit names mentioned in the letter are unique to Chainmail, and while Chainmail has Wizards (as did many fantasy books at the time), Chainmail makes no mention of “Red Wizards.” Additionally, although the letter was “submitted for his majesty’s approval,” a likely reference to the “King” of the Castle & Crusade Society Rob Kuntz, it was almost certainly sent to Gygax instead--this is because 1) Kuntz was 15 years old at the time, 2) Gygax and Kuntz had been playing together in Arneson’s Napoleonic simulation campaign for months by this point, with Gygax being the point of contact for their team, and 3) Arneson and Gygax had already been corresponding with each other due to their collaboration on Don’t Give Up the Ship! If Arneson had “design[ed] his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail” and sent a letter to the author of the Fantasy Supplement about it, he almost certainly would have at least mentioned Chainmail or the Fantasy Supplement in the letter—yet he makes no such mention.

The letter has other inconsistencies with the narrative laid out in Playing at the World that appears to have been based on the thesis that Arneson “design[ed] his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail”. For example, Arneson states “the area known as Jenkin’s Land is ruled by Sir Jenkins […],” indicating that by March of 1971 Sir Jenkins had already gained his honorific “Sir” title. Yet, Playing at the World indicates that Sir Jenkins didn’t gain his title until, at the earliest, sometime between May and July:
The next issue of COTT appeared in May, the month that Arneson graduated from college, and promised "the start of the 'Black Moors' battle reports, a series dealing with the perils of living in Medieval Europe (or at least as much as is possible when a wargamer cum fantasy nut creates a parallel world that includes perils from a dozen Fantasy plots plus a few of his own). Immediately afterwards, however, Arneson left for a post-collegiate jaunt in Sweden through July of that year, so it would be some months before the Twin Cities gamers would return to those "Black Moors," or, as the setting came to be known, Blackmoor. […] Once transplanted to the town of Blackmoor, the players led a defense of local soldiers against the invading forces of the vile Egg of Coot, a power that resided to the north of Blackmoor, after the current Baron of Blackmoor, aptly named "The Weasel," defected to the forces of the Egg. Thus, for example, the aforementioned Dave Fant (in the Napoleonic Simulation Campaign, Emperor of Denmark and subsequently Austria), who proved instrumental in the repulsion of the first Coot invasion, became styled as Baron Fant, and assumed control of Blackmoor Castle. Duane Jenkins was styled Sir Jenkins as a result the same action […] [PatW 65-67]
(as a side note, from talking with Arneson’s players, Arneson’s destination was Norway, not Sweden)

Playing at the World also suggests that Gygax’s Great Kingdom was the starting point for Arneson’s Blackmoor:
The leadership of the C&CS began to grant to the nobility certain holdings in the Great Kingdom, all for the purpose of eventually starting a large-scale game of feudal conflict within the Kingdom. […] Though the grand diplomatic game of the Great Kingdom was never fully realized, some members, like Dave Arneson, elaborated their holdings into rich scenarios. [PatW 32-33]
Yet, there are no geographical features in the map that Arneson included with his letter indicating that it was meant to fit into the Great Kingdom map first published in Domesday Book #9. Keep in mind that it was Arneson that created the stencil for the map of the Great Kingdom that appeared in Domesday Book #9, though he purportedly based it on a map drawn by Gygax.
1574118070992.png

If Arneson had drawn the map of Blackmoor included with the letter after he had drawn the Domesday Book #9 map, then he likely would have made sure that it fit properly into the Domesday Book #9 map, but it does not—again suggesting that Arneson’s map of Blackmoor predates the Great Kingdom map. Similarly, if the Great Kingdom’s description and map was published in Domesday Book #9 prior to Arneson writing the letter, he almost certainly would have referred to the “Great Kingdom” rather than the “Empire of Geneva,” which appears to have been a placeholder name conceived by Arneson for what would eventually be called the Great Kingdom. Note that in addition to the Great Kingdom map, Domesday Book #9 also included an ad “announcing” Chainmail (see Rob Kuntz's post earlier)—suggesting that Chainmail hadn’t been published yet. All this is consistent with the analysis at the top of this thread (since it requires that Blackmoor predated Chainmail), but poses difficulties for the thesis that Arneson “design[ed] his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail

(Disclaimer: Although I have contributed research to SoB, I am not under contract, haven’t been compensated in any way, and haven’t seen the final cut of the movie. My opinions are my own.)
 

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Explorer
I am familiar with that general line of reasoning, sure, but I see it as poking at the timeline over when work towards the "Great Kingdom" blossomed into the thing that we call the "Blackmoor Campaign." There's no doubt there was work towards the "Great Kingdom" before Chainmail came out, and that members of the C&CS had access to some bits of the Chainmail system beforehand, and that Gygax and Arneson had an ongoing correspondence prior to the publication of Chainmail. But PatW made the judgment call that it was the "medieval Braunstein" and "the Black Moors" in that April-May 1971 period that marked the transition to Blackmoor, and that these followed hard upon the publication of Chainmail. If instead you want to deem various pre-Chainmail activities "Blackmoor," well then by definition they couldn't have been based on the published Chainmail, but that is just a matter of how one casts the definition.

I will add that I too found the mention of the "Red Wizards" faction in the "Northern Marches" description intriguing when I first saw it (which was of course after PatW came out, or it would surely have been in the book). While it's cool to see details about Arneson's vision, I'm ultimately not sure it moves my thinking much about the dates and causal sequences here. Even if we suppose that Arneson was entirely ignorant of the Fantasy Supplement when he wrote the "Northern Marches" piece, that does not entail that there was anything more to the "Red Wizards" than a name, nor that when he started running his "medieval Braunstein" events, the Fantasy Supplement remained unknown to him. If you date the "Northern Marches" to 1970, it would suggest the tantalizing possibility that Arneson could have invented a system for the "Red Wizards" and sent this along with other material to Gygax, who had not yet completed Chainmail. But that's just one of numerous possibilities, and it would take more evidence than the "Northern Marches" gives us to provide a compelling reason to think it played out that way.
 
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mwittig

Explorer
But PatW made the judgment call that it was the "medieval Braunstein" and "the Black Moors" in that April-May 1971 period that marked the transition to Blackmoor, and that these followed hard upon the publication of Chainmail. If instead you want to deem various pre-Chainmail activities "Blackmoor," well then by definition they couldn't have been based on the published Chainmail, but that is just a matter of how one casts the definition. I will add that I too found the mention of the "Red Wizards" faction in the "Northern Marches" description intriguing when I first saw it (which was of course after PatW came out, or it would surely have been in the book).
You’re talking about the Northern Marches and Blackmoor as if they are two separate entities, with the Northern Marches preceding Blackmoor, and a “transition to Blackmoor” occurring. However, the letter describes Blackmoor and the map shows Blackmoor. Consider:

1) The map is clearly a map of Blackmoor, as a comparison to the map of Blackmoor included in The First Fantasy Campaign will confirm.

2) The black castle at the center of the map matches the location of Blackmoor castle on The First Fantasy Campaign map.

3) Arneson plainly states that it’s a “campaign.”

4) The campaign is a clearly fantasy campaign; not only does Arneson state it is “partially fiction,” but he mentions a “red wizards coven.”

5) Arneson states that it “has to run itself on the basis of player availability,” indicating multiple players are playing in the fantasy campaign. Arneson mentions a few of their names.

It would be difficult to argue against the above points that the letter and map are not describing Blackmoor, since everything above matches Blackmoor. Additionally, note the mention that:

“The area known as JENKIN’S LAND is ruled by Sir Jenkins.”

Per Playing at the World:

[…] the aforementioned Dave Fant (in the Napoleonic Simulation Campaign, Emperor of Denmark and subsequently Austria), who proved instrumental in the repulsion of the first Coot invasion, became styled as Baron Fant, and assumed control of Blackmoor Castle. Duane Jenkins was styled Sir Jenkins as a result the same action […] [PatW 67]

So the “northern marches” letter is describing a fantasy campaign run on a map matching Blackmoor with a principle character from Blackmoor, Sir Jenkins, complete with the honorific title of “Sir” that was given to him as part of the First Coot Invasion in Blackmoor. Arneson may have later decided to rename the region Blackmoor instead of the “Northern Marches,” but what is described in the letter and shown on the map is clearly Blackmoor.

Returning to the point of the thread: the letter shows and describes the Blackmoor fantasy campaign already fully underway prior to the publication of Chainmail. While this is at odds with the thesis in Playing at the World that “Arneson “design[ed] his new game around the fantasy elements of the just-released Chainmail,” it is consistent with the analysis at the top of this thread requiring that Blackmoor predated Chainmail.

Jon, you haven't weighed in yet on the point of this thread: do you believe that Arneson sent material to Gygax that he then used as the basis for the Fantasy Supplement?
 

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I did not enter this thread to opine on your thesis, but just to explain why PatW said what it did (though I have apparently broadened that to include whether the "Northern Marches" piece changed my thinking).

Regarding Sir Jenkins and when he gained his honorifics, PatW here followed FFC pg25 (i.e. DB#13). I do agree that the "Northern Marches" description of "Sir Jenkins" leaves us with a question there, especially because, as you rightly point out, the map of the "Northern Marches" is obviously a direct precursor to the later Blackmoor map. But at the same time... I'm not sure the rest of the description of the Northern Marches seems to match up with the Blackmoor story we find in DB#13. It seems to me like it's no accident that all of the individuals mentioned in the Northern Marches description happen to be C&CS members. But Dave Fant, who gets a lot airtime in DB#13 but was not a C&CS member, isn't mentioned in the Northern Marches. And although DB#13 mentions Jenkins in connection with the "Northern most march," it sounds like it's talking about a place separate from Blackmoor. And well, the name "Blackmoor" is conspicuously missing from the "Northern Marches" description. Maybe what we're looking at here is a continuity shift: there was some vision of the Northern Marches campaign before they played the thing DB#13 calls the "First Coot invasion", something specific to C&CS membership, and then there was some kind of reset, which apparently involved a broader cast of characters and a slightly shifted setting. But, you know, they kept the map.

And that is kind of my point about the shift from the "Great Kingdom" to "Blackmoor." When I wrote PatW I had the sense that there was some kind of C&CS "Great Kingdom" campaign plan, and that when the "medieval Braunstein" stuff started, things got a little different, and that was what we saw reflected in DB#13. I'm not sure the "Northern Marches" piece alone convinces me otherwise.
 

zenopus

Explorer
I'm reading Arneson's "Northern Marches" letter for the first time. The Picts are obviously straight out of Conan, in both their description and in occupying territories to the west. It's interesting to speculate that the other regions might also be influenced by the Hyborian Age, with the Skandanarians being a Norsemen stand-in like Howard's Aesir/Vanar (although those groups are not sea raiders like Arneson's) and the Red Wizards Coven being something like the wizards of the Black Ring in The Hour of the Dragon ("The Black Ring was a fable and a lie to most folk of the western world, but Conan knew of its ghastly reality, and its grim votaries who practise their abominable sorceries amid the black vaults of Stygia and the nighted domes of accursed Sabatea"). And could the name Erak contain an echo of the eastern Hyboria land of Hyrkania? Even having the civilized lands to the south fits with the general outlines of Hyboria. Of course, it could all be a coincidence other than the Picts.

The Conan stories were all reprinted just before this time in the famous Lancer editions of the late '60s. Would Arneson have been aware of Tony Bath's Hyborian games at this point?

There's also Gygax's "Wargaming and the Hyborian Age" query from May 1969, which can be read here on Tome of Treasures.
 
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Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
I'm reading Arneson's "Northern Marches" letter for the first time. The Picts are obviously straight out of Conan, in both their description and in occupying territories to the west. It's interesting to speculate that the other regions might also be influenced by the Hyborian Age, with the Skandanarians being a Norsemen stand-in like Howard's Aesir/Vanar (although those groups are not sea raiders like Arneson's) and the Red Wizards Coven being something like the wizards of the Black Ring in The Hour of the Dragon ("The Black Ring was a fable and a lie to most folk of the western world, but Conan knew of its ghastly reality, and its grim votaries who practise their abominable sorceries amid the black vaults of Stygia and the nighted domes of accursed Sabatea"). And could the name Erak contain an echo of the eastern Hyboria land of Hyrkania? Even having the civilized lands to the south fits with the general outlines of Hyboria. Of course, it could all be a coincidence other than the Picts.

The Conan stories were all reprinted just before this time in the famous Lancer editions of the late '60s. Would Arneson have been aware of Tony Bath's Hyborian games at this point?

There's also Gygax's "Wargaming and the Hyborian Age" query from May 1969, which can be read here on Tome of Treasures.
It's too bad Dave was never fully queried over what inspired him. Always a lot of endless Q's on Chainmail, though:

From Benjamin E. Sones' interview of Dave, "Dungeon Crawl" Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson takes role-playing off the table 5/8/2001


Around that time you were running a "dungeon crawl" war-game using a variation of the Chainmail rules—how did that turn into Dungeons & Dragons?


I used Chainmail for about a month before switching its Matrix based combat system of 'winner take all' to the AC, Hit Points, and Hit Dice system that is still used today. After the first game it was obvious that none of the players liked the sudden death of the matrix. The reason was simple—it existed, and I had no idea that this might catch on. And I had the only three sets of d20 known to exist, at that time, in the USA. With the rapid addition of my favorite monsters from fiction, and the vivid imagination of the players, a matrix could not maintain the variety. All this stuff went into my big notebook [and was later published as the First Fantasy Campaign by the Judges Guild].

Chainmail had a 'fantasy section;' otherwise it was strictly a set of miniatures wargame rules with no role-playing. Certainly the Spell section proved to be inadequate even by the end of the first dungeon crawl. Being an avid fantasy and science fiction reader, the addition of role-playing was natural. My club had been dabbling in role-playing for miniatures games for several years. We had done games ranging from South American Revolutions to modern day cloak and dagger. That was all pretty much non-formalized and just an extension of our tabletop wargames.

Blackmoor quickly took the game off the table and onto graph paper. This all began in about 1971. The next step was going into the great outdoors, beyond the tabletop. As a point of interest, the original group still gets together once a year to play the 'old' campaign that started in 1971—usually around Christmas. This year we will be doing it in May, when I am doing a local convention called MarsCon. And I got to use those d20 for something!
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
@Rob Kuntz

So, the Arneson group only used Chainmail for a single month?

It seems, then, Gygax exaggerated the significance of Chainmail, in order to exaggerate his own role in the formative phase of D&D.

The evidence shows the Arneson group is who decides what D&D is or isnt.



In any case, the question I find most interesting is what did the ‘fantasy’ ‘wargaming’ of the Arneson group look like before Chainmail.
 

Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
@Rob Kuntz

So, the Arneson group only used Chainmail for a single month?

It seems, then, Gygax exaggerated the significance of Chainmail, in order to exaggerate his own role in the formative phase of D&D.

The evidence shows the Arneson group is who decides what D&D is or isnt.



In any case, the question I find most interesting is what did the ‘fantasy’ ‘wargaming’ of the Arneson group look like before Chainmail.
Well, the combat matrix was discarded for hp and such; and the monsters were expanded as Dave notes; and as the OP has pointed out the magic swords were introduced, of which we found one in that showcase adventure by the two Daves in November of 1972. It had wishes on it and we used one in the outdoor segment of that showcase game to make a group of ogres fight themselves.

There are a lot of influences going on, of course, but as I maintain, no direct lineage. There is no historical antecedent to what we now call a RPG (though we first termed it FRP for Fantasy Role Playing) and Dave's group never typed it at all--just called it Dave's Blackmoor (county-wide) game. Even calling it a Braunstein-type game is misleading, for by the time Arneson moves to full fledged RP and Dungeon Crawls, hit points and such he's created game design gulfs the size of the Grand Canyon when compared to either Braunstein or Chainmail.
 

mwittig

Explorer
I did not enter this thread to opine on your thesis, but just to explain why PatW said what it did (though I have apparently broadened that to include whether the "Northern Marches" piece changed my thinking).
I’m a little surprised--I thought you’d be very interested in the analysis. Based on it, I suspect Arneson sent a letter to Gygax that included earlier versions of Chainmail’s creature descriptions, Fantasy Reference Table, and Fantasy Combat table, (all taken from Arneson's Blackmoor campaign), likely along with a copy of Leonard Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth” (as both Arneson and Gygax clearly drew from it according to the analysis above). I remember you mentioning that you had gotten hold of 90 letters between Arneson and Gygax since writing Playing at the World, too bad it wasn’t in there with the other letters.

Regarding Sir Jenkins and when he gained his honorifics, PatW here followed FFC pg25 (i.e. DB#13). I do agree that the "Northern Marches" description of "Sir Jenkins" leaves us with a question there, especially because, as you rightly point out, the map of the "Northern Marches" is obviously a direct precursor to the later Blackmoor map.
Precursor? The map included with the letter and the map of Blackmoor in The First Fantasy Campaign look nearly identical to me:
1574296928663.jpeg


But at the same time... I'm not sure the rest of the description of the Northern Marches seems to match up with the Blackmoor story we find in DB#13. It seems to me like it's no accident that all of the individuals mentioned in the Northern Marches description happen to be C&CS members. But Dave Fant, who gets a lot airtime in DB#13 but was not a C&CS member, isn't mentioned in the Northern Marches. And although DB#13 mentions Jenkins in connection with the "Northern most march," it sounds like it's talking about a place separate from Blackmoor. And well, the name "Blackmoor" is conspicuously missing from the "Northern Marches" description.
Note that the “Northern most march” is listed as being part of Blackmoor in The First Fantasy Campaign/Domesday Book #13, “on the actual frontier with the Egg of Coot” (which has a location marked on the map of Blackmoor included with the FFC).
1574296946959.jpeg


Maybe what we're looking at here is a continuity shift: there was some vision of the Northern Marches campaign before they played the thing DB#13 calls the "First Coot invasion", something specific to C&CS membership, and then there was some kind of reset, which apparently involved a broader cast of characters and a slightly shifted setting. But, you know, they kept the map.
Sir Jenkins, a well-known Blackmoor character, complete with his honorific "Sir" title gained during the first Coot invasion in Blackmoor, is mentioned in the letter as ruling a portion of the map of Blackmoor included with the letter. Its hard to see the letter as describing something other than Blackmoor. Additionally, Arneson said that “Blackmoor has always been my only setting," so it is of no surprise that what we read about in the letter and what we see on the map matches Blackmoor.
And that is kind of my point about the shift from the "Great Kingdom" to "Blackmoor." When I wrote PatW I had the sense that there was some kind of C&CS "Great Kingdom" campaign plan, and that when the "medieval Braunstein" stuff started, things got a little different, and that was what we saw reflected in DB#13. I'm not sure the "Northern Marches" piece alone convinces me otherwise.
Gygax, Kuntz, and Arneson have all given no indication that the Great Kingdom was ever viable as a game campaign:
Gygax (in 1977): “we planned to sponsor campaign-type gaming at some point.”
Kuntz: “It was not considered a setting, but a realm that was expanding for societal purposes and thereby had no strict gaming potential.”
Arneson: “The Society set up a mythical map where ‘kingdoms’ were assigned to the ‘lords’ of the Society and a society-wide campaign, using medievals was proposed, which never got anywhere.”

What preceded the so-called “’medieval Braunstein’ and ‘the Black Moors’ in that April-May 1971 period” was not a Great Kingdom campaign. Rather, the games in April and May were simply the first Blackmoor games that were announced in Corner of the Table—but there were many other games that preceded them. Svenson’s “First Dungeon Adventure” describes one game that took place during the Christmas 1970-71 holiday, but as Svenson noted in his story, even that game was not the first Blackmoor game. Blackmoor seems to have started in 1970, months prior to the publication of Chainmail and the Fantasy Supplement—so the result of the analysis that Arneson must have sent material from Blackmoor to Gygax and that it ended up in the Fantasy Supplement seems to make sense from a timeline standpoint.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
The Foreward by Gygax, in Original D&D Men & Magic, corroborates the following timeline.

1. The Castle & Crusade Society published rules for ‘fantasy wargaming’.
2. Dave Arneson used a version of these rules for his new ‘medieval fantasy campaign’, set in Blackmoor.
3. LATER, Arneson playtested the Chainmail game (for 1 month), designed by Gygax.
4. Arneson and his group (not Gygax) developed a ‘far more complex game’ for medieval fantasy.
5. MUCH LATER, ‘in due course’, Gygax becomes aware of Arneson and his Blackmoor campaign group.
6. Gygax and Arneson meet for the first time.
7. Original D&D is the ‘result’ of the Blackmoor campaign of the Arneson group.
7a. (The Arneson group decides what they like and what they dont like − what will become OD&D.)
7b. (OD&D publishes the stuff the Arneson group likes.)

At stage 2 in the timeline, some formative version of the Blackmoor campaign is already in play before Arneson playtested Chainmail



"
ONCE UPON A TIME, long, long ago
there was a little group known as the Castle and Crusade Society.
Their fantasy rules were published,
and to this writer's knowledge,
brought about much of the current interest in fantasy wargaming.

For a time the group grew and prospered,
and Dave Arneson decided to begin a medieval fantasy campaign game for his active Twin Cities club.

From the map of the "land" of the "Great Kingdom" and environs — the territory of the C & C Society —
Dave located a nice bog wherein to nest the weird enclave of "Blackmoor",
a spot between the "Great Kingdom" and the fearsome "Egg of Coot".

From the CHAINMAIL fantasy rules he drew ideas for a far more complex and exciting game,

and thus began a campaign which still thrives as of this writing!

In due course the news reached my ears,

and the result is what you have in your hands at this moment.

"
 
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Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
1. The Castle & Crusade Society published rules for ‘fantasy wargaming’.

Not what he stated. Lowry published these. His was a stand-alone sentence.

2. Dave Arneson used a version of these rules for his new ‘medieval fantasy campaign’, set in Blackmoor.

3. LATER, Arneson playtested the Chainmail game (for 1 month), designed by Gygax

Hmm. Versions of these for the Medieval part of Chainmail were already in circulation prior to Lowry's first printing, so Arneson may have been using the Medieval rules only prior to the Fantasy rules addition.

4. Arneson and his group (not Gygax) developed a ‘far more complex game’ for medieval fantasy.

5. MUCH LATER, ‘in due course’, Gygax becomes aware of Arneson and his Blackmoor campaign group.

Gary was aware from the onset of the GK map that Arneson had a campaign set in a swamp as part of the CS&C Society. This does not mean that it started with that intention and did not exist in some form prior to that.

6. Gygax and Arneson meet for the first time.

Gary meets Arneson 1989 Gencon II; Arneson "recalls" Gencon 3 as that meeting (1970). I recall meeting Arneson at Gencon ii (my first Gencon),

I publish Dave's FaB in DB#13 June 1972; Arneson showcases our first experience in the BM environs (Village adventure, Castle Adventure and Outdoor Adventure, al in one sitting) November 1972

7. Original D&D is the ‘result’ of the Blackmoor campaign of the Arneson group.

Gary referred to it as a prototype, but D&D is actually the 1st iteration of Blackmoor.

7a. (The Arneson group decides what they like and what they dont like − what will become OD&D.)

Not true. Gary added his preferred mechanics though the conflict at sea and air combat rules by Dave were sent to Gary and used in part; there are other parts that Dave submitted that were changed or inverted as well and of which the OP has more knowledge of than myself. What remains unchanged is Arneson's systems architecture, as it must, or else it would NOT function as he had designed it to function.

7b. (OD&D publishes the stuff the Arneson group likes.)

(see above)
 
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lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
It's too bad Dave was never fully queried over what inspired him. Always a lot of endless Q's on Chainmail, though:
Yes, Dave was endlessly queried about Chainmail. There are numerous, numerous, almost innumerable sources that document Dave being asked about Chainmail.

And Dave had consistent answers about Chainmail. Answers that didn't vary from the 70s until his death. Answers that preclude the thesis of the OP. And Dave's answers, while they obviously disagreed with Gary on the importance of Chainmail, did not disagree with Gary on the use of Chainmail.

Moreover, we now have very good evidence that Gary likely appropriated elements of Chainmail (the fantasy elements) from an article in the Courier by Patt. Not only can we see the similarities, we also know for a fact that Perren read that particular article. In addition, this happens to be perfectly in keeping with how Gary was expanding Chainmail; adding missile file from Charles Sweet's rules, for example.

So in order to credit the OP's thesis, you'd have to believe, as he put it, that:
"Based on it, I suspect Arneson sent a letter to Gygax that included earlier versions of Chainmail’s creature descriptions, Fantasy Reference Table, and Fantasy Combat table, (all taken from Arneson's Blackmoor campaign), likely along with a copy of Leonard Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth”"

In effect:

There is no evidence that Dave read, or was aware or, the Courier.
There is evidence that Gary (via Perren) read that exact article.

There is no evidence that Dave sent the rules for Chainmail to Gary,
There is a massive amount of evidence, not limited to, but including, decades of statements by the individuals in question, that Gary provided the rules to Chainmail to Dave.

In order to believe the OP, and putting aside the "textual analysis" (which is not, in fact, a textual analysis), you have to make several unsupported logical leaps, and ignore mountains of extrinsic evidence.

To put it another way- you have to assume that Gary did not read an article we know he was aware of. Then you have to assume that Dave read an article that there is no evidence he is aware of. Then you have to believe that Dave wrote up his own rules based on that article, and sent those rules to Gary (along with the article). Then Gary wrote up Dave's rules into Chainmail. Then both Gary AND Dave completely forgot about all of this, forever, despite being asked about it for decades. Oh, and litigating it; I mean, it would certainly be odd for Dave to insist on rights to D&D, et al, but totally forget that he helped with Chainmail, right?

It was a pleasure to have @increment join us, but I can certainly sympathize when he wrote "I did not enter this thread to opine on your thesis{.}" It is not productive or enjoyable to either opine, or even offer help, when you understand what is going on.
 
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Rob Kuntz

Adventurer
[QUOTE="lowkey13, post: 7857906, member: 6799753"

It was a pleasure to have @increment join us, but I can certainly sympathize when he wrote "I did not enter this thread to opine on your thesis{.}" It is not productive or enjoyable to either opine, or even offer help, when you understand what is going on.
[/QUOTE]

As well I was referring to Zenopus in his note about Conan stories. I support all ongoing research no matter how it may end and have no dog in this race. In fact I find it somewhat, and in some ways, useless; and that is because of my own discoveries which make everything preceding Arneson's leap to a totally new system superfluous by comparison.
 

Hriston

Adventurer
I’m far from knowledgeable about these matters, but it seems to me that something that is being glossed over in this discussion (or perhaps I’ve missed it) is the distinction between Chainmail (1971) in its complete published form with the Fantasy Supplement and its many earlier iterations, including the “Geneva Medieval Rules” published in Panzerfaust (Vol. 5, No. 1), and the expanded version published simultaneously in the Spartan International Monthly (August, 1970) and DB #5 and subsequent issues. None of these had any content resembling the Fantasy Supplement, and considering that Gygax met Arneson at Gen Con II in August, 1969, it’s at least conceivable that his many mentions of using “Chainmail” for early sessions of Blackmoor were in reference to the pre-Fantasy Supplement versions of Chainmail.
 

lowkey13

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
it’s at least conceivable that his many mentions of using “Chainmail” for early sessions of Blackmoor were in reference to the pre-Fantasy Supplement versions of Chainmail.
Only if you ignore what he actually said.*

See, e.g., the quote above.

(If it's not clear, the above quote references the fantasy supplement, and talks about expanding past "the matrix;" this is the well-known example of how Arneson went past the fantasy combat table, aka the matrix, from Chainmail).
 
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Hriston

Adventurer
Only if you ignore what he actually said.*

See, e.g., the quote above.

(If it's not clear, the above quote references the fantasy supplement, and talks about expanding past "the matrix;" this is the well-known example of how Arneson went past the fantasy combat table, aka the matrix, from Chainmail).
This is the sort of glossing over I was talking about. At the top of that quote, Arneson seems to speak of Chainmail’s “Matrix based combat system” holistically. The Fantasy Combat Table is by no means the only combat matrix in Chainmail, and it’s quite possible he’s talking about the Man-to-Man tables or even the mass combat tables. They can all be characterized as “winner take all”. Speaking as if the Fantasy Combat Table is the only matrix in Chainmail assumes a lack of familiarity with the material in your audience.
 
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