Monday, April 28, 2008

How Gary Rolled

Old Geezer has once again been holding forth with the Gygaxian lore at

Gary ran a weekly game. His total player pool was about 12 to 15.

Usually, only about 2 to 5 of us could make it any given game day.

So, everybody acquired henchmen to "fill out the group" if somebody wasn't going to be there.

And it didn't take long for players to start arranging other times and playing alone or with henchmen.

Heck, it even reached the point where from time to time we'd just play our henchmen to level them up.

And yes, the original D&D assumed an endgame where you would build your stronghold, acquire vassals and tenants, and become A Major Player In The World's Politics.

That endgame seems to have virtually disappeared.

And in his next post on odd armour types in AD&D:

I don't remember if Gary CITED Ffoulkes or not, but he DEFINITELY used Ffoulkes... I know this for a fact; I perused his copy.

And Ffoulkes, as T. Foster has hinted, is the bloke responsible for the whole "chain mail" "splint mail" "ring mail" "banded mail" bullshit. It has nothing to do with Lorcia Segmentatae.

Basically, Ffoulkes decided that each different representation of mail in medieval illustrations represented a DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT TYPE OF ARMOR. Some of his analysis of the Bayeaux Tapestry is downright laughable.

For a more complete discussion, see Claude Blair's "European Armor" circa 1957 or so, I believe. This is the book I lent Dave Sutherland for Dave's illustrations, including "A Paladin in Hell". I love that because the paladin is wearing almost 100% accurate armor...


Jeff Rients said...

Regarding the first quote: it's nice to see Mike's memory and my understanding based upon later writings match up!

Gary does cite Ffoulkes in the DMG.

trollsmyth said...

Yeah, do you think the lack of henchmen in some games was generational or what?

We never used them in our games, though we did play with multiple characters per player. But these were all PCs. I remember some games where one player would run an entire party of four to six PCs.

- Brian

James Maliszewski said...

I've remarked recently that post-1e D&D lacked an endgame to its detriment. I see the rise of ever-greater demands for character power to be a consequence of the falling away of henchmen, hirelings, domain management, and politicking as legitimate capstones to an adventurer's career.