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Rob Kuntz Recounts The Origins Of D&D

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In this interesting article from Kotaku, Rob Kuntz relates a history of early TSR that differs somewhat from the narrative we usually hear. It delves into the relationship between Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson (D&D's co-creators) and the actual development of the game, which dates back to Arneson in 1971.

 
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Comments

Parmandur

Legend
Huh, when I click the link, nothing happens.
Here's the original story, some interesting tidbits from Kuntz I hadn't heard before, though it seems to match my impression of early D&D days:

 
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Hussar

Legend
I kinda don’t get it. I mean this is the story as I understood from recent times. And I don’t think it’s really that disputed except in minor details.... maybe?
I think that those of us who are deep into the weeds like we are, probably have gleaned a fair bit of the details over the years. OTOH, outside of us, I think that it's Gary Gygax=D&D. I mean, you have Gygax in all sorts of pop culture references, but, I can't recall ever seeing a single reference to Arneson.
 
I think that those of us who are deep into the weeds like we are, probably have gleaned a fair bit of the details over the years. OTOH, outside of us, I think that it's Gary Gygax=D&D. I mean, you have Gygax in all sorts of pop culture references, but, I can't recall ever seeing a single reference to Arneson.
Gary really was the Stan Lee of D&D, with all the good and bad that comes with that compairison.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Not a lot I didn't know, Gary was good at burning bridges.
For me, the new and really interesting information is Kuntz being the first to give specifics on the exact cause of falling out: Arneson suggesting that the company would do better by moving to a major city, namely St. Paul, than staying in Lake Geneva. That would have been legitimately a better business decision, and it is fascinating to consider the alternative reality possiblities of a big city Minnesota TSR.
 
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Parmandur

Legend
Yea, that’s true. I never heard about the moving idea. Huh? The ironic thing is it might have left Gary with a stronger position years later, if the move had made many more smaller investors available instead of one large one in the name of Blume.
Not to mention that it would have tremendously increased the talent pool for various positions: more talented accountants and other folks in the Twin Cities than the middle of rural Wisconsin. The whole history of the company would have been fundamentally different.

Unfortunately, it seems Gygax interpreted it as a power move, and a threat, and liked being a big fish in a small pond...
 

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