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OD&D Intrinsic Evidence that Chainmail’s Fantasy Supplement Contains Material from Dave Arneson

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mwittig

Explorer
What follows is a rewrite of an article posted previously to make it easier to follow, with additional explanations, shading in the tables, etc.

Intrinsic Evidence that Chainmail’s Fantasy Supplement Contains Material from Dave Arneson

1 Abstract
An analysis of three lists of creature names, one from the Fantasy Supplement of Chainmail and two from The First Fantasy Campaign, provides intrinsic evidence that Chainmail includes fantasy material from Dave Arneson.

2 The Three Lists of Creature Names
The first list of creature names comes from the Fantasy Supplement of the first edition of Chainmail, which was authored by Gygax without his Chainmail coauthor Jeff Perren (according to both Gygax and Perren).

The second list of creature names comes from the “Magic Swords Personality Matrix” on page 64 of Arneson’s The First Fantasy Campaign, which Arneson said that he prepared “prior to setting up Blackmoor.”

The third list of creature names comes from the “Magic Protection Points” section on page 44 of Arneson’s The First Fantasy Campaign, which Arneson claimed that he created using the first edition of Chainmail.

3 Defining Obscure Creature Names
An obscure creature name is a word or phrase that is highly unusual in the context of being the name of a creature. For example, “Tree” is not an obscure word, but in the context of being a creature name, it qualifies as being an obscure creature name. Obscure creature names will serve as markers that indicate that one list of creature names is definitely related to another, as the chance of two lists of creature names sharing the same obscure creature name by coincidence is, by this definition, negligible.

4 Creature Names from Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth”
A fourth list of creature names from Leonard Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth” is shown in the tables that follow for reference. Patt’s rules were published in approximately November of 1970 in The Courier.

5 Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth” Predates Both Arneson’s and Gygax’s Material
Patt’s rules clearly predate Chainmail’s Fantasy Supplement, as they appeared in print about six months prior to the publication of Chainmail. Patt’s rules also predate Arneson’s material, as Arneson’s material was not published until 1977; given that the two men were separated by roughly a thousand miles and were not known to have been acquainted, only Arneson drawing from Patt seems possible (additional evidence that Arneson drew from Patt is presented in section 13).

6 Chainmail is Assumed to Predate Arneson’s “Magic Protection Points” Material

An assumption will be made to reduce the number of possible chronological orders of the three lists that need to be analyzed: that Arneson created his “Magic Protection Points” material after Chainmail was published. Since this assumption conflicts with neither the accepted history of D&D (in which Chainmail predates Arneson’s Blackmoor campaign notes as published in The First Fantasy Campaign), nor Arneson’s own testimony (he stated on page 44 of The First Fantasy Campaign that he created the “Magic Protection Points” material using the first edition of Chainmail), this assumption is entirely without controversy. The assumption that Chainmail predates the “Magic Protection Points” list reduces the number of possible chronological orders for the four lists of creature names (including a list of creature names from Patt) to just three possibilities:

1) Patt’s, 2) Chainmail, 3) “Magic Swords,” 4) “Magic Protection Points”

1) Patt’s, 2) Chainmail, 3) “Magic Protection Points,” 4) “Magic Swords”

1) Patt’s, 2) “Magic Swords,” 3) Chainmail, 4) “Magic Protection Points”

7 Patt’s, Gygax’s, and Arneson’s Creature Names Are All Clearly Related
The relationships between the creature lists of Patt’s rules, Gygax’s Fantasy Supplement, and Arneson’s “Magic Swords” material is shown in Figure 1. Arneson’s “Magic Protection Points” creature names are not included in Figure 1, as they are assumed to postdate Chainmail per section 6. Arneson’s “Magic Swords” creature names, on the other hand, may predate Chainmail.

Because Patt’s and Gygax’s lists of creature names share the obscure creature name “Tree” (see the left side of Figure 1) while Arneson’s does not, and because Patt’s names predate Gygax’s names, Gygax drew names for the Fantasy Supplement directly from the creature’s names Patt provided in “Rules for Middle Earth.”

Because Patt’s and Arneson’s lists of names share the obscure creature name “Anti-Hero” (see the left side of Figure 1), and because Patt’s names predate Arneson’s names, Arneson also drew names from the creature names provided by Patt—although it isn’t immediately clear whether Arneson drew from Patt’s names directly or indirectly via Gygax’s creature names (this is a possibility because Patt’s creature names are a subset of Gygax’s creature names, as shown in Figure 1, so Arneson could have gotten Patt’s creature names by drawing from the Fantasy Supplement).

Because Arneson’s and Gygax’s creature names share the obscure creature names “Elemental” and “Werebear,” neither of which were in Patt’s material, one of those lists drew directly from the other, although it is unclear whether Arneson’s creature names or Gygax’s creature names came first (this will be determined in section 10).

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Figure 1: A Venn diagram of creature names appearing in Chainmail’s Fantasy Supplement, "Rules for Middle Earth," and Arneson's "Magic Swords" material

8 Defining Creatures Unique to Chainmail

The creatures unique to Chainmail are listed on the far right of Figure 1; they appear in neither Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth” nor Arneson’s “Magic Swords” material.

9 Methodology for Verifying the Authenticity of the Lists and Determining Their Correct Chronological Order
As stated in section 6, there are three possible chronological orders for the four lists of creature names if the list of creature names from Patt is assumed to predate the other three lists and Chainmail is assumed to predate Arneson’s “Magic Protection Points” creature list. The three possible chronological orders are:

1) Patt’s, 2) Chainmail, 3) “Magic Swords,” 4) “Magic Protection Points”

1) Patt’s, 2) Chainmail, 3) “Magic Protection Points,” 4) “Magic Swords”

1) Patt’s, 2) “Magic Swords,” 3) Chainmail, 4) “Magic Protection Points”

During the analysis, each of the three possible chronological orders above will be assumed to be correct and the question asked: “For this chronological order, do the changes made from list 2) to 3) and from list 3) to 4) indicate rational behavior or irrational behavior?”

A typical example of irrational behavior would be for the same person to add eight creature names when going from list 2) to 3), and then remove the same eight creature names when going from list 3) to 4). This kind of flip-flopping typically indicates that the order of lists 2) and 3), or 3) and 4), should be reversed.

Note that Patt’s list will always be ordered first, as it predates both Arneson’s and Gygax’s lists; it is included because it allows the changes made from list 1) to 2) and from list 2) to 3) to be similarly analyzed for rational or irrational behavior; it also allows list 2) to be evaluated for continuity between lists 1) and 3).

If the creature names actually date to around the same time and they are all genuine (i.e., Arneson’s creature names were part of his original Blackmoor campaign notes and date to 1970-1971, rather than when The First Fantasy Campaign was published in 1977), then only the one correct chronological order of the lists should indicate that the author(s) of the third and fourth lists acted rationally when creating the third and fourth lists based on the second and third lists; the two incorrect chronological orders should indicate that the author(s) of the third and fourth lists acted irrationally when creating the third and fourth lists based on the second and third lists.

While the determination of whether an author acted rationally or irrationally is a judgement call, since only the correct chronological order should indicate rational behavior while the other two incorrect chronological orders should indicate irrational behavior, the correct chronological order should be reasonably obvious. The four lists of creature names will be placed side-by-side in a table and ordered according to the currently assumed chronological order, allowing the reader to verify whether an author acted rationally or irrationally when making the changes indicated from one column to the next. Multiple cases of rational (or irrational) behavior for each possible chronological order lends certainty to the result of the analysis.

In the tables that follow, obscure creature names are shown in bold italics, while creature names unique to Chainmail are shown with a gray background. Note that only those creature names unique to Chainmail that also appear in either Arneson’s or Patt’s lists are shown on the tables (the others are extraneous, as they contribute nothing to the analysis). Additionally, Arneson’s “Magic Swords” creature list contains no Dwarf, Elf, or Hobbit, but does include the “Mortal”, which appears to have been Arneson’s grouping term for the Dwarf, Elf, and Hobbit (and Human). Therefore, the corresponding cells for the Dwarf, Elf, and Hobbit in the “Magic Swords” columns list [Mortal]. Similarly, Arneson’s “Magic Swords” creature list includes Anti-Hero but not Hero, while his “Magic Protection Points” creature list includes Hero but no Anti-Hero. Since the addition of “Anti-,“ or the lack of it, only indicates the creature’s tendency toward good or evil (in accordance with Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth”), the corresponding cell for Hero in the “Magic Swords” creature list is marked “[Anti-Hero]” (since that list includes Anti-Hero but not Hero) and the corresponding cell for Anti-Hero in the “Magic Protection Points” creature list is marked “[Hero]” (since that list includes Hero but not Anti-Hero).

10 The Analysis of the Three Possible Chronological Orders

Table 1: Assumed Chronological Order: 1) Patt 2) Chainmail 3) “Magic Swords” 4) “Magic Protection Points”
1575611024569.png


The chronological order of the lists of creature names assumed above would mean that, starting with the creature names in Chainmail’s Fantasy Supplement (the second column), Arneson then:
  1. added the Werebear and Werewolf sub-entries from Chainmail, but not the main Lycanthrope entry from Chainmail
  2. changed the spelling of the Werebear and Werewolf to the non-standard spellings “Were Bear” and “Were Wolf”
  3. added the Ghost, Mortal, and Pudding creatures
  4. didn’t add any creatures that are unique to Chainmail (i.e., the ones with the gray backgrounds)
The chronological order of the lists of creature names above would also mean that after having already created the “Magic Swords” material (the third column), Arneson then:
  1. replaced the “Were Bear” and “Were Wolf” sub-entries with the main Lycanthrope entry from Chainmail
  2. added the creatures unique to Chainmail
  3. deleted the Ghost, the Mortal, and the Pudding creatures
Item 2 of the first list (Arneson changing the correct spelling of “Werewolf” to the incorrect spelling “Were Wolf”) seems to be irrational behavior. Arneson often mentioned watching monster movies:

I had spent the previous day watching about five monster movies on Creature Feature weekend (Ch. 5) […] [1]

Arneson’s spelling of werewolf as “were wolf” in the “Magic Swords” creature names (column 3) suggests that he spelled it phonetically (e.g., from hearing it on a “creature feature” on Channel 5). Since Chainmail (column 2) was a booklet, if Arneson drew from Chainmail in creating his “Magic Swords” creature list, he likely would have copied the correct spelling directly from it; yet, werewolf is misspelled in column 3. Arneson changing the correct spelling of “Werewolf” to the incorrect spelling “Were Wolf” seems to be irrational behavior.

Item 4 from the first list (including creatures from Chainmail, but excluding all those that were unique to Chainmail) combined with item 2 from the second list (adding only creatures unique to Chainmail) also seems to indicate irrational behavior. Arneson would have had to have excluded those eight creatures when drawing from Chainmail and creating the “Magic Swords” creature names list, but then added all of them later when creating the “Magic Protection Points” list. A more rational behavior would have been for Arneson to have included some of them on both lists, rather than flip-flopping.

Item 1 from the first list (adding the Werebear and Werewolf sub-entries from Chainmail, but not the main Lycanthrope entry) but then switching to the reverse later under item 1 of the second list (adding the main Lycanthrope entry but not the sub-entries) also seems to indicate irrational behavior.

Similarly, item 3 from the first list (adding the Ghost, Mortal, and Pudding entries not in Chainmail) followed by item 3 from the second list (deleting the Ghost, Mortal, and Pudding entries) also seems to indicate irrational behavior.

Based on the above, the chronological order shown in Table 1 appears to be incorrect.

Table 2: Assumed Chronological Order: 1) Patt 2) Chainmail 3) “Magic Protection Points” 4) “Magic Swords”
1575611438957.png

The chronological order of the lists of creature names above would mean that, starting with the creatures in Chainmail’s Fantasy Supplement, Arneson then:
  1. added all the creatures unique to Chainmail
  2. included the main Lycanthrope entry from Chainmail, but not the Werebear and Werewolf sub-entries
This would also mean that after starting with Chainmail and creating the “Magic Protection Points” creature list, Arneson later created the “Magic Swords” creature list by:
  1. deleting all the creatures unique to Chainmail
  2. deleting the main Lycanthrope entry from Chainmail and adding the Werebear and Werewolf sub-entries
  3. changing the correct spelling of Werewolf to the incorrect spelling “Were Wolf”
  4. adding the Ghost, Mortal and Pudding
Item 1 from the first list (adding all the creatures unique to Chainmail) combined with item 1 from the second list (deleting all the creatures unique to Chainmail) seems to be irrational behavior. A more rational behavior would have been to have included at least some of the creatures on both lists.

Item 2 from the first list (including the main Lycanthrope entry from Chainmail, but not the Werebear and Werewolf sub-entries) and item 2 from the second list (deleting the main Lycanthrope entry from Chainmail and adding the Werebear and Werewolf sub-entries) seems to be irrational behavior.

Item 3 from the second list (changing the correct spelling of Werewolf to the incorrect spelling “Were Wolf”) seems to be irrational behavior, while the reverse would have been more rational behavior. The reasons for this are the same as in the analysis of previous chronological order.

Based on the above, the chronological order shown in Table 2 appears to be incorrect.

Table 3: Assumed Chronological Order: 1) Patt 2) “Magic Swords” 3) Chainmail 4) “Magic Protection Points”
1575611539468.png

This would mean that Gygax:
  1. added the Balrog, Elemental, Ghoul, Giant, Goblin, Were Bear, Were Wolf, Ogre, and Wraith from material from Arneson
  2. corrected Arneson’s spellings of “Were Bear” and “Were Wolf” to Werebear and Werewolf
  3. added the grouping term “Lycanthrope” for Arneson’s Werebear and Werewolf
  4. dropped the Ghost, Mortal, and Pudding creatures that Arneson had created
This would also mean that following the publication of Chainmail, Arneson then incorporated the Chainmail material (as evidenced in the “magic protection points” material) by:
  1. replacing the Werebear and the Werewolf with Gygax’s term covering both, “Lycanthrope”
  2. stopping use of the Ghost, Mortal, and Pudding, which Gygax had not included in Chainmail
  3. starting to use creatures unique to Chainmail that Gygax had added (Gnome, Fairy, Kobold, Roc, Sprite, Pixie, True Troll)
As the above seems to indicate rational behavior, and even more so in comparison to the irrational behavior indicated by the previous two chronological orders, this chronological order appears to be the correct one.

11 Result of the Analysis
In section 7, it was established that either Arneson drew creature names from Gygax, or Gygax drew creature names from Arneson. In section 10, it was established that the correct chronological order was Arneson’s “Magic Swords” material followed by Gygax’s Fantasy Supplement. Therefore, the conclusion is that in creating the Fantasy Supplement of Chainmail, Gygax drew creature names from material provided by Arneson.

12 Implications of the Result of the Analysis
One implication of the result of the analysis is that Arneson likely provided Gygax with more than just a list of creature names prior to the publication of Chainmail. Additionally, Arneson sending Gygax his “Magic Swords” material by itself wouldn’t have been of much use to Gygax; what seems more likely to have happened is that Arneson sent Gygax material that contained the same or nearly the same creature names as the “Magic Swords” material.

Since the analysis indicated that Gygax’s creature names in the Fantasy Supplement drew from material from Arneson, other material that the Fantasy Supplement shares in common with the “Magic Swords” section was also likely drawn from Arneson. Several of the powers in Arneson’s “Magic Swords” material, for example, appeared in the creature descriptions of the Fantasy Supplement nearly verbatim.

13 How Arneson Was Able to Draw from Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth”
Per section 7, Arneson must have either drawn from Patt’s creature names or Gygax’s creature names in creating the list of creature names in his “Magic Swords” material. Based on the result of analysis that Arneson’s list of creature names preceded Gygax’s list of creature names, Arneson must have drawn directly from Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth.” At the time, Patt was living in New England while Arneson was living in Minnesota. Additionally, while Patt’s rules were demonstrated at the Miniature Figure Collectors of America convention in Philadelphia, the convention only lasted a day, and it therefore seems highly unlikely that Arneson traveled to Philadelphia from Minnesota to attend a one-day convention.

It turns out that one of Arneson’s friends, prominent wargamer and miniatures painter Duke Seifried, did attend the MFCA convention. Not only did Seifried attend the MFCA convention, but he actually played in the demonstration game of “Rules for Middle Earth” that Patt’s club, the New England Wargamers Association (NEWA), put on during the convention. Although Seifried passed away in 2018, one of Seifried’s friends recalls:

"I didn’t attend the MFCA convention that year, but I have a definite memory of Duke Seifried calling me afterwards and telling me he had just “played Lord of the Rings”! Even by Duke standards he was excited!"

Another of Seifried’s friends even recalled how Seifried had stated that Arneson had been influenced by Patt, and that Gygax had then been influenced by Patt via Arneson:

"Duke's absolute surety that that game [NEWA’s Middle Earth demonstration] put the bee in Arneson's—and through him, Gygax's—bonnet carries a lot of weight with me."

Seifried was the Executive Vice President of TSR from 1982 to 1983, and was said to have been one Gygax’s top supporters while he was there. [3] Yet, Seifried attended the Blackmoor Studios Dedication to Dave Arneson at Full Sail University in 2011, where he stated with apparent conviction that:

"While others played a part in the explosion of this idea, make no mistake—Dave Arneson was the creator of fantasy role-playing." [4]

While Seifried’s statement didn’t directly address Seifried’s apparent role in bringing NEWA’s “Rules for Middle Earth” to the attention of Arneson, it does support that Seifried purportedly told another friend that NEWA’s fantasy game “put the bee in Arneson's—and through him, Gygax's—bonnet.” Additionally, Seifried’s “absolute surety” of Arneson bringing NEWA’s fantasy game to Gygax’s attention strongly suggests that Seifried was directly involved in the matter, as it must be kept in mind that Seifried was physically separated from both Arneson and Gygax by hundreds of miles.

14 Gygax’s Delay in Writing the Fantasy Supplement Based on Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth” is Consistent with Arneson Bringing Patt’s Rules to Gygax’s Attention
Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth” appeared in the vol. 2, no. 7 issue of The Courier, which seems to have been published in late October or early November of 1970 (the MFCA convention, which was reported on in the same issue, occurred on October 10, and there was an eighth issue of The Courier published before the end of 1970). Rob Kuntz, who cofounded Castle & Crusade Society, co-refereed during the playtesting of D&D, and coauthored Supplement I: Greyhawk with Gygax, recalled, “Gary subscribed to The Courier; I used to read them when they came in.” Yet, Gygax doesn’t seem to have started writing the Fantasy Supplement until approximately two months after he had received the issue of The Courier with Patt’s rules. In a letter to Wargamer’s Newsletter, Gygax wrote:

Recently I lost my job in an executive change - after 8 1/2 years. In order to get to the office in Chicago I had to spend 5 hours/day commuting, so I hope to be able to find some sort of work around Lake Geneva.

[…] Yesterday I mailed out 13 cards and letters […]

We are also planning to write up rules for Tolkien fantasy games, using LGTSA Medieval Miniatures rules as the basic starting point. Hobbits will be 20mm, dwarfs/ goblins 25mm, elves/orcs 30mm, men/Nalgul/Balrog 40mm, ents/trolls/dragons 54mm, and a few 70mm giants to top it off. [5]

Although Gygax’s letter was published in the July 1971 issue of Wargamer’s Newsletter, he clearly wrote it months earlier, since by July Chainmail (with the Fantasy Supplement) had already been published. Gygax’s mention of mailing out cards in his statement “yesterday I mailed our 13 cards and letters” suggests that he wrote the letter either before or after the Christmas holiday. In a letter to George Phillies dated “13 December 1970” Gygax wrote, “well, I lost my job in late October and have yet to find another, but I am squeaking by on unemployment comp.”[6] Therefore, Gygax’s mention that “recently I lost my job” in his letter to Wargamer’s Newsletter would be consistent with him having written to Wargamer’s Newsletter in December or January, and his letter to Phillies dated December 13 could well have been one of the “13 cards and letters” he had mentioned mailing out the previous day (suggesting that he may have written to Wargamer’s Newsletter on December 14). However, author Jon Peterson, who has collected letters from Gygax to both Phillies and Arneson, dated Gygax’s letter to “early 1971,”[7] though he didn’t explain how he arrived at that dating. Given the mention of cards in Gygax’s letter to Wargamer’s Newsletter and Peterson’s dating, perhaps the best estimate for when Gygax wrote the letter to Wargamer’s Newsletter is early January of 1971.

The approximately two-month delay between Gygax having received the issue of The Courier containing Patt’s rules and Gygax saying he was “planning to write up rules” based on them would be consistent with, as purportedly suggested by Seifried, Arneson first becoming interested in Patt’s fantasy rules and then getting Gygax interested enough in them that he planned to add fantasy rules to Chainmail. That Gygax did not become interested in adding fantasy rules until after Arneson had influenced him to do so would also be consistent with Gygax later calling the Fantasy Supplement “an afterthought,”[8] as per Kuntz’s statement, Patt’s rules had been in Gygax’s possession approximately six months prior to Chainmail’s publication.

Because Gygax listed creature names in his letter that were not in Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth” but were in Arneson’s “Magic Swords” material, specifically the Balrog, Goblin, Nazgûl (Wraith), and Giant (see Figure 1), Gygax seems to have already been in possession of material from Arneson when he wrote to Wargamer’s Newsletter. Therefore, Arneson probably sent Gygax his fantasy material around December or January.

15 What Arneson May Have Sent to Gygax
Based on the above analysis, Arneson appears to have sent Gygax material that included all the creature names from the “Magic Swords” material appearing in The First Fantasy Campaign. Note that this does not necessarily mean that Arneson actually sent Gygax the “Magic Swords” material; the creature names and powers from the “Magic Swords” material could have also been included in a list of creature descriptions or in table similar to the Fantasy Reference Table instead. However, since Gygax did include magic swords in Chainmail, whereas Patt had not included them in “Rules for Middle Earth,” Arneson almost certainly included some material at least referencing magic swords with the material that he sent to Gygax.

Arneson having a list of creature names in the “Magic Swords” material implies that he also had some game-related information to go along with those creature names, such as stats and/or descriptions. Assuming that this is the case, Gygax likely incorporated much of that material into Chainmail after editing it (this is what Gygax appears to have done with material he incorporated into Chainmail from both Domesday Book and from Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth”). Therefore, Arneson’s material in Chainmail is likely to be largely intact, and this appears to be supported by the creature names from Arneson’s “Magic Swords” material appearing in Gygax’s Fantasy Supplement largely verbatim. Arneson also provided a list of abilities in the “Magic Swords” material:

Cause Morale Check
Combat Increase
Evil Detection
Intelligence Increase
Invisibility
Invisibility Detection
Magic Ability
Magic Detection
Paralize
Raise Morale
See in Darkness
Strength

Just as in the case of creature names, these appear verbatim or nearly verbatim in both the creature descriptions and in the Fantasy Reference Table. For example, the Wraith creature description reads:

WRAITHS (Nazgul etc.): Wraiths can see in darkness, raise the morale of friendly troops as if they were Heroes, cause the enemy to check morale as if they were Super Heroes, and paralize any enemy man […]

The Fantasy Supplement is comprised of three parts: 1) the Fantasy Reference Table, 2) the Fantasy Combat Table, 3) creature descriptions. It appears likely that Arneson sent Gygax earlier versions of all three of them.

15.1 Fantasy Reference Table
The Fantasy Reference Table (see Figure 2) bears a resemblance to the “Figure Characteristics” table from Arneson’s and Hoffa’s 1969 ruleset Strategos A (see Table 4); a reformatted version of the Strategos A table is shown as Table 5 (compare Table 5 to Figure 2). Arneson’s original reference table that he appears to have sent to Gygax likely didn’t include the last two columns of ATTACK and DEFEND stats for using the fantasy creatures with the mass-combat rules of Chainmail; Gygax appears to have added those. When Table 4 from Strategos A is reformatted slightly, it more closely resembles the Fantasy Reference Table (compare Figure 2 and Table 5 below).

Additional evidence that Arneson sent Gygax an earlier version of the Fantasy Reference Table is shown in Table 6. As shown in Table 6, the first six abilities on the Fantasy Reference Table appear to have a corresponding ability in the list of abilities included in the “Magic Swords” material of The First Fantasy Campaign. Since Arneson’s “Magic Swords” material appears to predate the Fantasy Supplement per the analysis above, Gygax appears to have drawn the first six abilities on the Fantasy Reference Table from material from Arneson. Given the resemblance of the Fantasy Reference Table to Arneson’s and Hoffa’s Strategos A table, it appears likely that Arneson provided an earlier version of the Fantasy Reference Table that Gygax then drew from.

Table 4: The top of the "Figure Characteristics" table from Arneson's and Hoffa’s Strategos A (1969)
TypeMelee ValueProtectionMovement (Basic)
Hastatii31/92” Regular, 6” Charge
Principes31/9same
Triarii41/9same

1575612038672.png

Figure 2: The top of the Fantasy Reference Table from Chainmail

Table 5: A Version of Reformatted to Look Like the Fantasy Reference Table in Figure 2

Type
Movement (Basic)
Melee Value
Protection
Charge
Hastatii
2”​
3​
1/9​
6”​
Principes
2”​
3​
1/9​
6”​
Triarii
2”​
4​
1/9​
6”​

Table 6: Abilities from Arneson's "Magic Swords" material vs. the Abilities Listed in the Fantasy Reference Table
Ability from Arneson’s “Magic Swords” materialAbilities from the Fantasy Reference Table of Chainmail
InvisibilityA- The ability to become invisible (Hobbits only in brush or woods)
See in DarknessB- The ability to see in normal darkness as if it were light
Raise MoraleD- The ability to raise morale of friendly troops
Cause Morale CheckE- The ability to cause the enemy to check morale
Invisibility DetectionF- The ability to detect hidden invisable enemies
ParalizeG- The ability to paralize by touch

15.2 Fantasy Combat Table

Arneson said:

"So we quickly came up with twenty or thirty [monsters]. We tried setting them up in a matrix, but that didn’t work because it was quickly taking up an entire wall." [9]

Although Arneson was likely speaking figuratively regarding “taking up an entire wall,” the problem he appears to have had was that if he included n creatures in his matrix, he’d need to fill out n2 entries in the table. For example, if he had 5 monsters, he’d need to fill out 25 entries; with 10 monsters, 100 entries; with 20 monsters, 400 entries; with 30 monsters, 900 entries. He explained the problem plainly: “The combat matrix became a thing of the past. There were over 30 critters, and the 30x30 matrix became unwieldy.”[10] Arneson’s description of his “combat matrix” clearly matches the format of the Fantasy Combat Table from Chainmail, as shown in Figure 3.

FCT.png

Figure 3: The Fantasy Combat Table from Chainmail

Most of the creatures on the Fantasy Combat Table were likely on Arneson’s original “combat matrix.” The creatures shown on the Fantasy Combat Table that are unique to Chainmail (Lycanthrope, Roc, and Wight), couldn’t have been on Arneson’s original table. Since Arneson didn’t include “Tree” in either the “Magic Swords” or “Magic Protection Points” material, he likely didn’t include it in the “combat matrix” either.

Gygax included ATTACK and DEFEND stats (see Figure 2) on the Fantasy Reference Table for resolving battles between men and fantasy creatures such as dragons using Chainmail’s mass-combat rules; this appears to be the reason that there is no Man entry in the Fantasy Combat Table, nor the humanoids Goblin and Orc. Arneson’s “Mortal” probably encompassed Men, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits (since Patt’s rules included these races, but no Mortal, while Arneson’s “Magic Swords” material included Mortal, but none of the others). Therefore, Arneson’s Fantasy Combat Table likely had a Mortal entry.

Gygax added every creature from Patt’s rules and all but the Ghost, Mortal, and Pudding from Arneson’s. The Mortal, per above, was apparently a grouping term for Men, Elves, Dwarves, and Hobbits, and since Gygax effectively included other rules applicable to humanoids in the other sections of Chainmail, he wouldn’t have needed the Mortal. Gygax may have eliminated Pudding for a variety of reasons (e.g., it wasn’t a creature typically associated with the Fantasy genre). It is more difficult to explain why he didn’t include the Ghost, as he had included the Ghoul. Perhaps the most likely explanation is that Gygax simply changed the name of the Ghost to Wight.

15.3 Creature Descriptions
There’s a small bit of evidence that Arneson sent Gygax creature descriptions: the “Giant” entry is missing from the creature descriptions of Chainmail, but included on both the Fantasy Reference Table and the Fantasy Combat Table. Since the ATTACK and DEFEND stats for using the Giant with the mass-combat rules of Chainmail were listed as “Special” (see Figure 4), Gygax would have needed to have specified them in the creature description for the Giant (just like the other creatures listed as “Special”). However, Arneson had no such need, and probably would not have bothered writing a creature description for the Giant (which appears to have been simply a large human). Supporting this is that the Giant is the only creature listed on the Fantasy Reference Table with no special ability. Therefore, Gygax may have prepared his creature descriptions from a set of creature descriptions that Arneson had provided and simply didn’t notice that Arneson had not provided a creature description for the Giant. If Gygax had written his creature descriptions based on the earlier version of the Fantasy Reference Table that Arneson appears to have sent him (see above), he likely wouldn’t have omitted the Giant, since it appears to have been listed there. Therefore, it appears that Arneson gave Gygax creature descriptions. Arneson’s creature descriptions almost certainly would have included ability names that he had also listed in his “Magic Swords” material (e.g., see the Wraith description above). Gygax likely then expanded them into the creature descriptions seen in the Fantasy Supplement.

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16 An Approximate Timeline of the Fantasy Supplement’s Development

Table 7: Approximate Timeline of the Fantasy Supplement’s Development

DateEvent
October 10, 1970​
NEWA’s display using Patt’s “Rules for Middle Earth.” Seifried tells Arneson about it.
~November 1970​
Arneson gets a copy “Rules for Middle Earth,” either via Seifried sending him that issue of The Courier or by picking it up on his own.
~November to January 1970​
Arneson draws material from “Rules for Middle Earth” for his Blackmoor campaign, adding the Balrog, Elemental, Ghoul, Giant, Goblin, Werebear, Werewolf, Ogre, and Wraith from watching Channel 5 and from reading Tolkien. Arneson creates his “Combat Matrix,” a reference table of creature stats, and descriptions for the creatures listing their powers.
~December to January 1970​
Arneson sends Gygax Blackmoor material that includes the monsters and powers listed in the “Magic Swords” section of The First Fantasy Campaign; Arneson either sends Gygax a copy of Patt’s article or simply tells Gygax about it and Gygax gets it from his own collection.
~January to February 1971​
Gygax writes the Fantasy Supplement, incorporating material from both Arneson and Patt.
~March 1971​
Chainmail is prepared for publication and typeset.
~April 1971​
Chainmail is published.

[1] Arneson, Dave. "My Life and Role-Playing." Different Worlds, no. 3, June/July 1979, pp. 6-8.
[2] Arneson, Dave. "The Roots of Dungeons & Dragons." Wargaming (of Fantasy Games Unlimited), no. 4, 1978, pp. 47-48.
[3] Appelcline, Shannon. Designers & Dragons: The 70’s. Evil Hat Productions, L.L.C., 2013, p. 57. Adobe PDF file.
[4] Seifried, Duke. “Blackmoor Studios Dedication to Dave Arneson at Full Sail University.” YouTube, uploaded by Full Sail University, 18 May 2012 (recorded 30 Oct. 2011), youtu.be/CB5bYAybrdU?t=37
[5] Gygax, Gary. “The American Scene.” Wargamer’s Newsletter, no. 112, July 1971, p. 17, 9.
[6] Peterson, Jon. Footnote #47, Playing at the World, Unreason Press, 2012, pp. 33-34.
[7] Peterson, Jon. Playing at the World, Unreason Press, 2012, p. 41.
[8] Peterson, Jon. Playing at the World, Unreason Press, 2012, p. 42. [The citation given by Peterson for the “an afterthought” quote (Wargamer’s Newsletter #110) is an error, as no such quote appears in that issue. It is assumed here that the quote is otherwise valid]
[9] Arneson, Dave. “Dave Arneson Interview” by Harold Foundary, Digital Entertainment News, 15 Mar. 2004, web.archive.org/web/20110710130445/http:/www.dignews.com/platforms/xbox/xbox-features/dave-arneson-interview-feature/
[10] Arneson, Dave. “BLACKMOOR.” circa 1998. Microsoft Word file.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Er...while this is a long and detailed article I don't think I'm catching its relevance to - well, anything; particularly as both of the key individuals involved have been dead these past ten years or more.

Is there a short version of the point you're trying to make?
 



What are you suspicious of?
I could see the OP reposting to distance his treatise from the drama that happened in the original thread, but that also distances it from the heartfelt effort of posters who discussed and criticized the original thread. There's nothing inherently wrong with making a new post, but it might be an intentional effort to drum up more interest or a power play against the people who initially debated with him. I have no real answer, but it's enough to make me go "Hrrm."
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
This still fails to address that Gary and Dave consistently told a different story than tge OP argues. The OP has yet to confront that Gary and Dave either conspired to lie or where unaware of the sharing, neither of which is remotely plausible.

This is the high hurdle the OP must clear, and he's done nothing to do so. Instead he offers cherry-picked data (where it isn't deliberately blurred) to argue for his pet theory. This isn't scholarship, it's advocacy.
 

mwittig

Explorer
Is there a short version of the point you're trying to make?
If you read just one section, read section 10. Personally, I think the evidence within the data itself indicating that the third table represents the correct chronological order is very strong. In some ways, this kind of evidence is superior to a document, as a document can be forged.

Regarding not addressing what Gary and Dave said, in order to do that convincingly, I'd likely need a recording of a phone call between them from the early 1970s. Instead, I'm analyzing the data that can definitely be attributed to each of them. From Figure 1, there can be no doubt that Arneson's "Magic Swords" material is related to the Fantasy Supplement, as is Patt's "Rules for Middle Earth." In the case of Patt's rules, we can establish that they were published in November of 1970, so it is easy for us to believe that Gygax drew from Patt's rules. However, Gygax never said that he drew from Patt's rules, nor did anyone else-- yet, I think its been pretty well accepted that Gygax did draw from Patt's rules. So, why is it so difficult to accept that Gygax drew from Arneson's material and again never said anything about it?
 


Aebir-Toril

J.C. Denton probably
What if Arneson just got an early copy of Chainmail or somesuch?

Judging by the previous thread, however, the OP will be unwilling to consider anyone else's opinions.

Well played, I suppose.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Mod Note:

I closed the first one of these threads less than a week ago. It is not appropriate to attempt to start up the same conversation again so soon after the old one degenerated into stubborn head-butting.

I don't see sufficient new information here to justify getting into a rehash of the same material and getting into the same head-butting arguments.

Thread closed.
 

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