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

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If we want to pick a whole bunch of nits... Arneson didn't invent "D&D" per se, because his game wasn't called "D&D". That was a name that Gygax came up with I believe. So rather Arneson invented a whole bunch of rules that would eventually get codified as a "roleplaying game" and then be called "D&D". :)

Yes, I realize this is all semantics, LOL.
 

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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Consider PDF 15.

"Introduction: This is where Gary [Gygax] editorializes and tells neat stories as much as his little heart desires and if he wants to uses extra pages. A rule book is a rule book, not a novel."

This is a reminder by Arneson, for Gygax to keep the rule book terse, tight, and clear.
I read that as Gary poking fun at himself while writing that outline, either because he was aware of his own tendency to use purple prose or because he'd gotten some feedback from someone that he needed to rein things in. I'm not saying I'm right about that, just that it's what it looked like to me.
The fact that the draft of D&D is so similar to the outline notes by Arneson is why Arneson won the legal case.
That's not what I took away from reading the attached judicial order.
 

Attachments

  • Arneson v. Gygax, 473 F. Supp. 759.pdf
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Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
I read that as Gary poking fun at himself while writing that outline, either because he was aware of his own tendency to use purple prose or because he'd gotten some feedback from someone that he needed to rein things in. I'm not saying I'm right about that, just that it's what it looked like to me.

PDF 121.

"Dear Dave".

We see a clear example of what the handwriting of Gygax looks like.

It differs from the outline notes of Arneson.


[Edit. @Alzrius.]
 
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zenopus

Doomed Wizard
FWIW, page 13 is labeled Deft's Exh 8) which I believe means Defendent's Exhibit 8, and Page 15 is labeled Deft's Exh 9, indicating these pages were submitted by Gygax (the defendent in this case).
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
FWIW, page 13 is labeled Deft's Exh 8) which I believe means Defendent's Exhibit 8, and Page 15 is labeled Deft's Exh 9, indicating these pages were submitted by Gygax (the defendent in this case).
Gygax would have the outlline notes that Arneson sent to him.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
We also know from other documents and histories that Arneson was the idea guy while Gygax was pushing to get it done. Dave gave Gary a bunch of loose, hand-written Blackmoor notes. Gary edited them and had them typed up. So it would go against everything we know about how they worked together for Dave to suddenly be the one providing Gary with typed drafts for notation.
Drafts went back and forth, from what I remember Jason Tondro talking about in last week's video.

EDIT: And apparently balrogs are a kind of dragon? Or at least, that's where they're listed in the scan of the published OD&D booklets. See page 912 (the very last page of the entire thing) in the upper-right corner; they're listed as entry #10 under the "Dragon Types" category of monsters that players can randomly encounter in the wilderness.
A few non-dragon monsters are broadly categorized as "dragon types" for the purpose of random wilderness encounters in OD&D, including hydras, cockatrices, basilisks, and chimera. I don't think the intent is to say that they're related to dragons, but that they fill a similar role in how they act and are encountered, and to fill out those tables.

And would go with how the suffix "-man" was used up until about 20 years ago as nonspecific...how "fireman" "postman" were not necessarily meaning "men"...and "mankind" etc. Hence I agree that "fighting man" (which I do remember being used in the late 1970s) was not implicitly gender-specific at the time (or at least that's how we viewed it)
It was a standard term from military history and wargaming. Like "men and materiel" when referring to military resources. It was gender specific in that older such books do tend to assume that all soldiers are men. Edgar Rice Burroughs used it regularly in his fiction, including one of the Barsoom novels being titled "A Fighting Man of Mars".

The writers were certainly aware of female warriors in pulp fiction, like Red Sonja and Jirel of Joiry, but I'm thinking they assumed that their audience would recognize them as exceptional. I highly doubt they intended the name of the class to rule out such characters, though.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
PDF 121.

"Dear Dave".

We see a clear example of what the handwriting of Gygax looks like.

It differs from the outline notes of Arneson.


[Edit. @Alzrius.]
Hm, that's a very good point. Comparing the two, they do seem different.

One of the major issues here is that we don't seem to have an example of handwriting from a letter that's unambiguously Arneson's, at least that I can find on a quick search. The closest we have is a few instances of his signature, e.g. page 561, which admittedly does look very similar.

However, checking some other resources I've collected over the years, I realized that I do have a copy of Arneson's handwriting, as there's a scanned copy of the handwritten notes he made regarding Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz's playing through the original City of the Gods in Kuntz's El Raja Key Archive. Looking over those and comparing them to page 15 of this PDF...yeah, it does look almost identical.

I'm convinced; those notes at the beginning are Arneson's.
 

Yaarel

🇮🇱He-Mage
I'm convinced; those notes at the beginning are Arneson's.

Arneson invented D&D.

Gygax agrees that Arneson is, at least, significantly responsible for the publication of Dungeons & Dragons.

The court case of Arneson versus Gygax is about how much the new books also derive from Arneson, namely Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which fail to credit or compensate Arneson.

The argument by Arneson includes that Advanced Dungeons & Dragons constitutes a "derivative work" of Dungeons & Dragons. (PDF 171).

The court decision is in Arnesons favor.
 

I've heard people talk about the dungeon as a "mythic underworld" in Original D&D, with doors that shut themselves and subdued monsters spontaneously losing their ability to see in the dark, but some of the stuff in this draft makes that sound tame compared to how crazy the rest of the world can be! Gary writes:

"Fluxes in the reality of the world will make many things uncertain. Riding over the terrain of the world surrounding the underground labyrinth will always be different. For example, there can be "gates" through which players will enter the primordial past, the world of Barsoom, Lankhmar, or a fantastical moon peopled by whatever creatures you desire. How about Pelucidar? Again, once in such places, how are the players to return? There must be a way somehow, but that is up to the referee to determine and the players to discover. (And who says space is airless in this world?)"

So the terrain around the dungeon will "always" be different? Random gates to far-flung worlds in the middle of the countryside? Man alive, talk about the "wild and woolly" days of gaming! :eek:
Very Elden Ring
 

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