role-playing games – First description or explanation of the role play in OD & D?

The first allusion to role play is in Men and Magic (OD & D Vol 1)

I found that the first published description of "role play" was what D & D was on the back of Greyhawk (p.69, Supp I, 1975, TSR) in TSR merchandise ads.

Collector's Edition of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS – The original game of swords and sorcery role playing game With paper and pencil, in its formal original. This is the game that started it all! Three brochures, in a box

The references in "how to play role-playing games" (speak in the voice of NPC!) Do not conform to the style of the original D & D rule books (TSR, three books in a box, 1974).

Most of what was published in OD & D was "descriptive" rather than "prescriptive", but roles Y role playing game got an early mention The first allusion to interpreting papers It is in Vol. 1 (Men and Magic, pp. 5, 6). The "talk in character as NPC" was not a rule: it is something that grew and grew among the community of players who started the hobby.

  • It may have been present at stake in the Blackmoor campaign for a long time.
    time, but as EGG pointed out in Dragon Magazine, Issue 7, in an editorial,
    Dave Arneson was disappointed with what was finally published. the
    The published game was different from Blackmoor, which was also different
    of Chainmail … (separate topic, actually).

    As an old school player could say: "We did not need a rule to do it, we just did it". (At this point I throw the Summon Mike Mornard spell out).

    Look at the title of the three original books and the subtitle:

    Dungeons and Dragons
    "Rules for fantastic medieval war games campaigns playable with paper and pencil and miniature figures"
    Gygax and Arneson

    There were no references to "role plays" in the original text. The description of the game as a role play seems to have grown in the surrounding material, during the game, during the conventions and through the experience of the community.

First, the referee must draw
a minimum of half a dozen maps … When this task is completed, the participants will be allowed to make their first descent into the dungeons below the "huge pile in ruins, a vast castle built by generations of crazy magicians and mad geniuses " Before they start, the players. You must decide what role you will play in the campaign., human or not, wrestler, cleric or user of magic.
Thereafter, they will work upward, if they survive, as they gain "experience." First, however, it is necessary to completely describe the roles possible. (Men and Magic, p.5, 6)

On page 12 of the original book, we find the first treatment of NPCs.

Non-playable characters:
{snip} Non-player characters can be hired as follows:
{snip} The player who wishes to hire a character who is not a player "announces" by posting notices in inns and taverns, frequents public places that seek the desired recruitment, or sends messengers to any place where the desired type of character is found (elf -land, land of dwarves, etc). This costs money and takes time, and the referee must determine the expenses. Once an answer has been obtained, the player must make an offer to tempt the type of character desired at his service. As a general rule, a minimum bid of 100 Pieces of gold would be required to entice a human to serve, dwarves are more interested in gold, Magic Users and elves desire magical items, and Clerics want some security to have a place of worship in which to lodge themselves.
Monsters can be attracted to the service if they have the same basic alignment as the player's character, or they can be Haunted and, therefore, ordered to serve. Keep in mind, however, that the term "monster" includes the men who are in the dungeons, so that in this way some high-level characters can be brought to the service of a character, allowing the charisma or through a spell of Spell. {my emphasis} Some reward must be offered to a monster to enter service (not just to save his life, for example). The monster will react, with the appropriate advantages or disadvantages, according to the offer, the referee will roll two six-sided dice and adjust the charisma:
Say Reaction Score
2 attack attempts
3-5 Hostile reaction
6-8 uncertain
9-11 Accept offer
12 Enthusiast, Loyalty +3 A
The "uncertain" reaction leaves the door open to offers of additional rewards, but scores of less than 6 do not.

You have the core of interactions, negotiations, etc. of PC / NPC framed there, but you do not get many details.

On page 13 (Men and Magic), the loyalty of NPCs is checked again and again by the release of 3d6, modified by the charisma effects presented in another table: to summarize, a score of 3 or less indicates that the desert of the NPC is an opportunity; a score of 19 or more (the High PC charisma earned the advantages) was "you never need to check the morale" with several other intermediate reactions. Keep in mind that the charisma was do not A spell casting skill score in the original game. (That was not until 3e).

Both for the first references in the published material; perhaps disappointing, but the intention was not to publish a set of "how to do a role play" rules. A lot was left to the players to complete. (More on that later).

With the passage of time, articles in Strategic review, Dragon Magazine, Starters, etc., and several supplements were printed and more discussion about the role play began to emerge. First, I find a reference to the "role" in Volume 6 of the Strategic Review (1976, TSR), in a discussion of alignment.

This brings us to the subject of those characters. roles that are not
Subject to as much latitude of action as the others. The neutral
the alignment is self-explanatory, and the area of ​​true neutrality is
shown in Illustration I. Note that the paladins, the patriarchs and the evil high
The priests, however, have positive limits. (P. 13, SR, Vol. 6)

The second mention of role play in the SR is found in the last issue.

We decided to leave the organ field of the house for the rest of the package, and
satisfy the need for hobby crying: a good goal and well produced.
Visually stimulating magazine dedicated to the game in Fantasy, Swords.
& Sorcery, science fiction and role-playing games (p.2, Vol. 7, SR)

"How to play a monster / NPC" was not in Vol II

Volume 2, Monsters and Treasures, was mostly graphics and descriptions. Nothing in the role play as such, although there is an interesting piece about the egos of the magic swords versus the character that could lead to an interesting RPG. A warning, more than a manual..

Interpretation of roles in volume III

Volume 3 (Wilderness and Underworld Adventures): There is a discussion about that there. The subtitle on the cover of the three books on "Rules for the fantastic campaigns of medieval war games playable with paper and pencil and miniature figures" was still the initial model.

There were some indications to start the role play.

Page 15, Vol. III

Fighting men Within the castles will demand a fair match with everyone.
passers-by of the same class. Otherwise they will demand a toll of 100.
A 600 gold pieces of the party. If a fair takes place (use rules
of CHAINMAIL) the occupant of the castle will take the armor of the loser
If he wins, but if the character wins, the owner of the castle will hold everyone.
At the party for up to a month, provide them with two weeks of
rations, and provide horses of war (Heavy) if the party so requires.

I'll jump to Magic users and I'll go to …

Clerics will require that passers-by give a tithe (10%) of all their
Money and jewelry If there is no possible payment the cleric will send
The adventurers in some form of lawful or chaotic task, under the mission.
In general, the evil high priests will simply try to kill
Neutral passersby who do not pay their tithes. (Pages 15, 16)

These are examples of indications to represent this situation, instead of any description of "how to play a role" … descriptive, non-prescriptive.

On page 24 of Vol. III – the "Rule of the angry villager"

Anyone who has seen a horror movie is aware of
How dangerous are the angry villagers. Whenever the referee finds that
Some player has committed an unforgivable indignation that this rule can be
invoked to harass the offender online
. Within the realm of anger
The villagers are thieves from the "neighborhood of thieves", watches from the city and
militia, etc. It is also possible the insertion of some character as
Conan to put matters online.

A warning for the world to react to the actions of the players (in this case, disastrous). (And yes, once I was at a party that had to deal with a town full of angry villagers … when we came out of a dungeon … we ended up running away).

Subsequent to Volume III underlines the point of "descriptive rather than prescriptive" as a tone throughout the original game. (Emphasis mine)


No doubt there are areas that have been overlooked. While we
I deeply regret the need, the space requires that we put in the
only the essential
, and the cut will have to be added by
The referee and his players. We have tried to furnish a large
, and the construction should be easy and fun. In this light,
We urge you to refrain from writing for interpretations of rules or
I like it unless it is absolutely lost, because everything that is included here is
fantastic, and the best way is to decide how you would like it to be,
and then do it that way! On the other hand, we are not detested.
to answer your questions, but why do we make more of your
imagining for you? Write to us and tell us your additions, ideas,
And what do you have? We could always do it with a little improvement in our.
arbitration (Vol. III, p.36)

A note on Dave Arneson and Role Playing
I accept the general point of Rob Kuntz (as did a judge in an infamous court case) about the genius of Arneson, which is the trigger for role-playing games as a form of play. Gygax said it in Dragon Magazine # 7, page 7, editorial article "Origins of the Game". He also noted that his (Greyhawk) was different from Dave's (Blackmoor) which was different from Chainmail. (What was a starting point, but as Arneson pointed out later, was left behind, since his Blackmoor campaign and his role-playing games took on a life of their own).

How all this refers to your question

Much of what the players and referees "did" in Blackmoor did not reach the first published books, OD & D, even though the new thing they were doing grew and grew, so more people wanted to do it.