D&D General Evidence from the Arneson vs Gygax court case, including early draft of D&D with notes

overgeeked

B/X Known World
I stumbled across this randomly on Facebook thanks to the Secrets of Blackmoor page and thought more people should see it.

Someone over on the Ruins of Murkhill forum filed a request for the complete documents related to the Arneson v Gygax case and it was granted.

That Murkhill link goes to the section of the forum discussing this case. People are finding all kinds of great nuggets already.

"Submitted for your consideration, a PDF copy of the complete court filings of civil case 4-79-109 David L. Arneson vs. Gary Gygax and TSR Hobbies, Inc including letters, testimony, and evidentiary documents obtained freely from the National Archives Office at Chicago. The linked PDF's contain over 900 pages, a portion of which can also be viewed by visiting their website at:

catalog.archives.gov/id/200185170

ws.onehub.com/folders/uh3vxwq1

The link will expire within 30 days of this posting after which time, anyone desiring access to these files should contact the National Archives"

In that second link are two PDFs with the same info, the larger file has sharper images.

As of today, the link will expire in 20 days. I'd suggest anyone who wants to look at this grab a copy soon.

It looks to have a complete early draft of D&D as part of the evidence included, along with various handwritten notes.

@Snarf Zagyg , @darjr , @Morrus
 
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Xiaochun

Explorer
So looking at page 10-12 with regards to the demon types and appearance, they seem to be very heavily used for eldritch wizardry, for example the type 1 demon is described as vulture, and the type 2 demon descrubed as toad. Even the separation of the succubus entry from type V is the same and certainly can't be a coincidence. So why wasn't Arneson (assuming these are his notes as they appear to be part of his submission regarding his contribution to the game) credited from work on Eldritch Wizardry when they clearly took his demon tables?

Edit: There is some juicy nuggets in some of the side notes presented in the evidence list, especially as pertains to the drafts of the brown box set. Like some side notes mentions that dwarves are good at detecting passage slants and traps. Too bad they didn't keep this ability to find traps more easily in the final release.
 
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Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Edit: There is some juicy nuggets in some of the side notes presented in the evidence list, especially as pertains to the drafts of the brown box set. Like some side notes mentions that dwarves are good at detecting passage slants and traps. Too bad they didn't keep this ability to find traps more easily in the final release.
They did. See page 7 of Men & Magic. Ability "3) they note slanting passages, traps, shifting walls and new construction in underground settings". It's just not given a clear mechanic.

AD&D retained it and fleshed it out more, clarifying that it's "Detect traps involving pits, falling blocks and other stonework", and gives it a 50% success rate. (PH page 16)

In 1981 Moldvay Basic they just say "traps", and assign it a 1/3 chance of success, but it's in the context of mining, so it being traps related to larger construction is implied. (Page B9). Contrast to the Thief ability which is explicitly for small traps. Some folks term these Room Traps vs Treasure Traps based on the organization of example types of traps into these two categories on page B52 in the dungeon stocking instructions. This makes for a nice clear division between who can find what. See also B8, the definitions of Thief abilities, which is a little muddier because Find/Remove Traps just says find "traps" with no distinction (IME folks usually allow that to apply to all traps), and B21 Traps, where it talks about how anyone can search for traps 1 in 6, Dwarves 2 in 6, but the traps being discussed SEEM to be generally "room traps".
 
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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Lots of great finds in here. There’s also a photocopy of the original three books in the back for a direct compare and contrast. I really do like the idea of the fighter gaining both to-hit and AC bonuses as they level up.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
So looking at page 10-12 with regards to the demon types and appearance, they seem to be very heavily used for eldritch wizardry, for example the type 1 demon is described as vulture, and the type 2 demon descrubed as toad. Even the separation of the succubus entry from type V is the same and certainly can't be a coincidence. So why wasn't Arneson (assuming these are his notes as they appear to be part of his submission regarding his contribution to the game) credited from work on Eldritch Wizardry when they clearly took his demon tables?
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that those are Gygax's notes, not Arneson's. Notice how, in the bottom left, they're all tagged as "DEFT'S EXH" and a number? That looks a lot like "defendant's exhibit." And the date for each is 7-18-79, which means they're part of the infamous Arneson v. Gygax case, where Gygax was the defendant.

Now, strictly speaking, that just establishes that these are exhibits put forward by Gygax in the case...but I find it hard to believe that he'd be putting forward exhibits that establish Arneson as having been the creative mind behind various aspects of the game. Hence my presumption that these are Gygax's notes.
 

Yaarel

He Mage
Love this quote from Arneson:

"
The present state of fantasy gaming [in 1978] is chaotic and pretty confused. Of the vast amount of fantasy products out today, more than a few are trash and not worth the paper theyre printed on. Yet, even within the most horrid product there can be found some useful facet that can be incorporated into an existing campaign. I am appalled at the overall flood of stuff and would have preferred a more orderly approach. But the nature of the beast prevents that. Fantasy is imagination and most, I hesitate to say all, peoples imaginations are different, just as each person is different. And, imaginations do tend to be unruly. So what is the point? Is all this activity good or bad? I believe that it is a good and healthy sign that bodes well for the future."

"

Today, same as it ever was.
 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
The sheer number of glimpses into the evolution of the game from this July 1st, 1973 draft copy that Gary wrote is incredible. I'm only a few pages in, and there are so many jumping out at me:
  • The foreword unambiguously says that the evolution of the game was as follows: The Castle & Crusade Society -> Chainmail -> Arneson's Blackmoor campaign (part of the C&C Great Kingdom) -> the D&D game.
  • The foreword directly cites Burrough's John Carter, Howard's Conan, the "de Camp & Pratt fantasies," and Leiber's Fafhrd and Gray Mouser as being the sort of stories whose fans the game will appeal to. No mention of Tolkien.
  • Only five ability scores: Intelligence, Cunning, Strength, Health, and Appearance. Notice the lack of any sort of Dexterity analogue.
  • The example NPC given is "Xylarthar," while in the published product it was changed to "Xylarthen."
  • "Fighter" is used interchangeably with "Fighting Men," (possibly?) disproving the idea that the class was ever supposed to be male-specific.
  • Apparently the only races available (besides humans) are dwarves and elves. No sign of hobbits/halflings.
  • It's easy to miss, but the level titles for the 2nd- and 3rd-level magic user are swapped from what the published version would be, i.e. in this draft "conjurer" is the 2nd-level title, and "seer" is the 3rd, whereas the opposite is true in the published version released in 1974.
  • Apparently, non-player characters were originally going to be called "non-real players" (or "non-real men").
And that's just in the first couple dozen pages. What a treasure trove!
 
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Only five ability scores: Intelligence, Cunning, Strength, Health, and Appearance. Notice the lack of any sort of Dexterity analogue.
Cunning looks like it would have been the Dex equivalent to me. Intelligence is its own thing, and terms like "cunning rogue" and "cunning mechanism" show up frequently as cognates of "thief" and "trap" in the specific fiction being cited as something the game hoped to emulate.

Also, one definition of cunning that still appears in modern dictionaries is "dexterous or crafty in the use of special resources (such as skill or knowledge) or in attaining an end" so there's that. Another is "adeptness in performance; dexterity" and that's even more clear a connection.
 

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