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D&D General Extra Credits: The History of D&D Hasbro Refused to Learn

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
Gary had no problem stealing anything that worked . His willingness to sacrifice ethics for success arguably are what eventually brought TSR down at the end. He had almost no friends at the company left when his wife joined forces with his enemies and ousted him.

So just stopping by the thread and completely making stuff up?
Yeah, I have no idea what this business about Gary's wife is. That seems like pure invention.

As does the bit about Gary's ethics, really. Neither Gary nor Dave nor the Blumes come off as really nice folks in their correspondence and infighting from the 70s, or in Gary's semi-infamous editorials from the 70s and early 80s, but they were multifacted people, muddling along and making mistakes. They had some brilliant ideas and struggled with capitalizing on their success.

As Game Wizards and Slaying the Dragon amply document, TSR was driven into financial insolvency by poor management all around, by Gary and the Blumes. Rescued by Lorraine Williams and then she kept it alive for another 11 years after their 9 years before she got there, then again running it aground and having to sell out to WotC.
 
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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Kind of a weird thesis considering the push to create a more standardized experience was a major reason for 1e (cutting out Dave Arneson being another major one).
I agree that this was a driving reason, but I think that there's a great irony here. AD&D 1e has alway been played with a huge variance of styles and rules.
 


Vaalingrade

Legend
Kind of a weird thesis considering the push to create a more standardized experience was a major reason for 1e (cutting out Dave Arneson being another major one).
And for 3e as well.

Honestly, creating a "more standardized experience" is probably a bad thesis to land on to try to explain underperformance of 2e or 4e.
It makes a lot more since if you consider it a standardized experience for TSR/WotC where no one else is making product.
 

darjr

I crit!
Not saying this video does this, (and I am not interested in watching to see if they do), but getting small parts of the history/lore wrong that you know is going to irk fans is a long standing tactic to get better engagement. The hardcore fan can hardly resist commenting to correct the errors and they will do it over and over again. The result is the video gets lots of comments and does better on YouTube's algorithm.

Add a little clickbait title and you have a winning video with clicks and engagement.
Well that’s diabolical.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Well that’s diabolical.
A few months ago, someone realized that the social media manager of a major Italian newspaper was posting trolling extremist comments on the newspaper's Twitter feed in order to drive traffic and engagement. Unfortunately, for a short while - they forgot to switch accounts and posted the comments using the account of the newspaper...
 
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nevin

Hero
Yeah, I have no idea what this business about Gary's wife is. That seems like pure invention.

As does the bit about Gary's ethics, really. Neither Gary nor Dave nor the Blumes come off as really nice folks in their correspondence and infighting from the 70s, or in Gary's semi-infamous editorials from the 70s and early 80s, but they were multifacted people, muddling along and making mistakes. They had some brilliant ideas and struggled with capitalizing on their success.

As Game Wizards and Slaying the Dragon amply document, TSR was driven into financial insolvency by poor management all around, by Gary and the Blumes. Rescued by Lorraine Williams and then she kept it alive for 12-13 years compared to their 10-11 before again running it aground and having to sell out to WotC.
Gary Gygax's wife took his stock in the divorce and then joined up with other executives to kick him out of the company. It's court documented fact. It's also a fact that by the time he got kicked out of his own company he had almost no allies there. There are books on the issue.

Chainmail an integral part of early DND was simply a modified version of a game invented by Pratt. The rule's of the modified version even had leftover language from Pratt's game. DND took stuff from White Wolf Magazine and there were several fights over that. His lack of ethic's and willingness to steal intellectual copyright from others is easy enough to verify dont' take my word for it.

That being said things were a lot looser in those days in the gaming community and pretty much every company that existed stole someone's ideas at some point to fix some part of thier game. But the everyone else does it doesn't change the ethic's of it.
 


Alby87

Adventurer
A few months ago, someone realized that the social media manager of a major Italian newspaper was posting trolling extremist comments on the newspapaper's Twitter feed in order to drive traffic and engagement. Unfortunately, for a short while - they forgot to switch accounts and posted the comments using the account of the newspaper...
I remember that "scandal", so much true XD
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I have never heard of David Wesley, and I though Dave Arneson was like some side player in Gary's game?!? I have always heard Gygax created the game. In fact my brother played before me and so when I first tried D&D a few years ago I already knew the name Gary Gygax in passing. Is there somewhere I can get all of this lore and back story?

@Mannahnin provided a comprehensive reply to this answer, which I agree with, ands others have provided some great resources.

That said, some of these books are great but are going to be a LOT for someone looking for an introduction to the topic (Playing at the World).

If you want a single, easily readable yet impeccably researched book that details both the creation of D&D and TSR and also details the relationship between Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, I highly recommend starting with Game Wizards. While it might go a little heavy into the early business history of TSR, it is still the most readable AND ACCURATE recounting you will fine.

Some of the other sources, especially those that primarily rely on oral histories, are not ... quite as accurate.

This is a review of the book I wrote for the forum earlier-

 

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