GaryCon 2014
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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:52 pm 
 

Hey Zenopus,


Zenopus wrote in GaryCon 2014:A recent discovery by The Collector's Trove has found TSR's first published adventure by Gary Gygax, of which, only a score or so were printed and handed-out at GenCon VIII in 1975! Used to demonstrate TSR's new game, Dungeons & Dragons, the adventure is the fully fleshed-out first-level of Greyhawk Castle!


It is titled, "If You Are Wondering What Dungeons & Dragons Is All About..." Initially, I thought it was from 1974 Gen Con VII as only fighters, magic-users, and clerics are mentioned as classes in the introductory text but later thieves are mentioned as characters and monsters.  However, Gary's material on the thief class initially appeared in Great Plains Game Players Newsletter with a letter dated May 10, 1974, so maybe...

Then again, the word "monk" (first published in Blackmoor September 1975) appears in the text describing an NPC, a "conjurer/monk (5th level)", a gelatinous cube and several magic items from Greyhawk Supplement are mentioned, and the document specifically mentions the "TSR Hobbies, Inc. booth". That would date it to 7/75 or later and definitely put it at a convention.

"Yeenoghu, Demon Lord of Orcs" is used ala The Strategic Preview #5, which might date it post GenCon VIII and push it into mid-1976.

All things considered, I'd give it a date range of 7/75 to 8/76. That means  possibly Origins I, Gen Con VIII, Winter Con IV, Origins II, or Gen Con IX.

I chose GenCon VIII due to the provenance of the document being associated with a GenCon VIII program. Also it features a great number of Greyhawk Supplement references and only two tenuous mentions of anything from Blackmoor and The Strategic Preview #5. Given Gary's modus operandi of pushing new material by including it in adventures it seems likely this demo-version of Greyhawk Castle was written shortly after Greyhawk's publication.

In any case, my initial thought of first published adventure might still hold. Was Tomb of Horrors as run as a tournament by Gary and Ernie at Origins I meant to be given out to the public? "If You Are Wondering What Dungeons & Dragons Is All About..." was certainly printed as a free handout that was intended for distribution by TSR.

Zenopus wrote in GaryCon 2014:I'm hoping to hear more about the published item. As a publication, how does it compare to the TSR tournament modules from the '70s?


It is more like the Understanding D&D documents and is five, typed, single-spaced, single-sided pages, and a map page, stapled together at the top left corner, with a 1.5 page description of what D&D is and how it is played, 3.25 pages of encounter keys, and a 1 page dungeon map.


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:24 pm 
 

Paul, thanks for the additional info. Sounds fantastic! Truly a lost sample dungeon.

I was wondering if there was any connection to Gygax's D&D demo game from Origins II (1976). Here's a pic and blurb from The General:

Image
Image

Furthermore, the program guide for Origins II states:
"Dungeons and Dragons Demonstration - D&D Designer Gary Gygax will host a special introductory trip through the original dungeon for fantasy novices" [bolding for emphasis]

A proto-S3 was the D&D tournament for Origins II, but from the event description it sounds like Gygax may have used part of the original Greyhawk Dungeons for this demo. And the dungeon on the poster maps behind Gygax looks to be of the similar style to the Greyhawk levels I've seen before (or his Geomorphs). Any resemblance to the dungeon map in what you've found?


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Post Posted: Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:43 pm 
 

Hey Zenopus,


Yes, that's the one! I didn't have a copy of the Origins II program, nice job Kynan on Tome of Treasures and I didn't think to check the General, that picture is brilliant, nice work! Now I understand why the key refers to color coding and the map. The small map I have doesn't have color coding. The big blown up map was probably colored-in for easier visuals.

Observers must have had the introduction, key, and small map to follow along while novice players "carefully selected" by Gary play in the live event.

It looks like there are multiple maps up on the board in the picture or is it one huge map turned on edge? They are certainly in the same style of the map I have.

So July of 1976 its is and standing room only - how many copies is that?


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:03 pm 
 

The Collector's Trove wrote in GaryCon 2014:All things considered, I'd give it a date range of 7/75 to 8/76. That means  possibly Origins I, Gen Con VIII, Winter Con IV, Origins II, or Gen Con IX.

I chose GenCon VIII due to the provenance of the document being associated with a GenCon VIII program. Also it features a great number of Greyhawk Supplement references and only two tenuous mentions of anything from Blackmoor and The Strategic Preview #5. Given Gary's modus operandi of pushing new material by including it in adventures it seems likely this demo-version of Greyhawk Castle was written shortly after Greyhawk's publication.

In any case, my initial thought of first published adventure might still hold. Was Tomb of Horrors as run as a tournament by Gary and Ernie at Origins I meant to be given out to the public? "If You Are Wondering What Dungeons & Dragons Is All About..." was certainly printed as a free handout that was intended for distribution by TSR.


The Origins I "Tomb of Horrors" is prepared in the similar manner to the other GenCon tourneys:  it's format matches the Bob Blake "Temple of Nan" GenCon events, etc., in that it's typed, has maps, and (in this case) illustrations too.  

The Collector's Trove wrote in GaryCon 2014:
Zenopus wrote in GaryCon 2014:I'm hoping to hear more about the published item. As a publication, how does it compare to the TSR tournament modules from the '70s?


It is more like the Understanding D&D documents and is five, typed, single-spaced, single-sided pages, and a map page, stapled together at the top left corner, with a 1.5 page description of what D&D is and how it is played, 3.25 pages of encounter keys, and a 1 page dungeon map.


Very exciting! :D  3 1/4 pages of encounters certainly details the key much more than the others we've seen to date!  

The Collector's Trove wrote in GaryCon 2014:Yes, that's the one! I didn't have a copy of the Origins II program, nice job Kynan on Tome of Treasures and I didn't think to check the General, that picture is brilliant, nice work! Now I understand why the key refers to color coding and the map. The small map I have doesn't have color coding. The big blown up map was probably colored-in for easier visuals.

Observers must have had the introduction, key, and small map to follow along while novice players "carefully selected" by Gary play in the live event.
It looks like there are multiple maps up on the board in the picture or is it one huge map turned on edge? They are certainly in the same style of the map I have.


Does anyone have a better scan of that image?---that would certainly help with looking at the details of the map and comparing it to the level 1 maps of Castle Greyhawk we've already seen (Eric Shook's auction from years ago via Paul, as well as the one in Castle Zagyg).


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:07 pm 
 

grodog wrote in GaryCon 2014:
Does anyone have a better scan of that image?---that would certainly help with looking at the details of the map and comparing it to the level 1 maps of Castle Greyhawk we've already seen (Eric Shook's auction from years ago via Paul, as well as the one in Castle Zagyg).


The original in the General is a postage stamp. I doubt it will get much better than this.

Image


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:27 pm 
 

Thanks Jon, that helps quite a bit!  I don't recognize the triangular structure on the right end of the map from any of Gary's or Rob's levels that I've seen before.  

Paul:  does this level match up to one of the levels in the original or expanded Castle, or do you think that it's one that Gary created fresh for the event?


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Post Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 11:37 pm 
 

Here's my two feeble attempts to enhance the image.  As mentioned, from a small, grainy, halftone pic, this is probably as good as it gets.

Foul

Attachment:
test.jpg


Attachment:
test2.jpg

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Post Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:41 am 
 

if I didn't know that was a gaming convention, I'd have thought it was a Muttonchop & Van Dyke convention.


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:18 pm 
 

grodog wrote in GaryCon 2014:Thanks Jon, that helps quite a bit!  I don't recognize the triangular structure on the right end of the map from any of Gary's or Rob's levels that I've seen before.  


Did you map Rob's game (Ass Whooping in the Greyhawk Sewers) at NTRPG last year?  As best I remember, the room with the lightning elemental was triangular with a massive, crystalline, central column and a row of entry columns.  His maps are complex and I do better to listen than to try to figure out where we are/were, especially with the blob, Charlie, hot (or cold) on our trail. :)


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Post Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 1:12 pm 
 

I can't see any definite areas of similarity between what is shown in Jon's scan, and either the Castle Zagyg Store Rooms map or the photo of Gary's Level 1 from his Greyhawk binder (left photo in linked post). Each of those is purported to have been the level 1 of the dungeon at different times, although the history is obscure. The entire Knights and Knaves "Gygax Greyhawk Castle Map" thread is a good reference for discussion of those maps.

In general, those maps seem much smaller, a single sheet of graph paper (~38 x 51 squares for the one in Gary's binder), than the map shown on the poster. The poster behind Gary looks like it might have six different panels - to me they don't look like they are completely flat on the board. The right most panels look like they each have ~12 squares across, and ~42 vertically. A large portion of the poster map is obscured by Gygax himself, so it is possible that one of the other maps is a portion of the poster.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:06 am 
 

I am finally planning on attending my first convention at GaryCon this year. Look forward to meeting as many Acaeum members as possible. Any advice appreciated. Matthew

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 10:20 am 
 

stratochamp wrote in GaryCon 2014:if I didn't know that was a gaming convention, I'd have thought it was a Muttonchop & Van Dyke convention.


Actually in the reverse negative, Gary looks a bit like Sammy Hagar...   :D


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:23 am 
 

Degassy31 wrote in GaryCon 2014:I am finally planning on attending my first convention at GaryCon this year. Look forward to meeting as many Acaeum members as possible. Any advice appreciated. Matthew


You will have a great time! GaryCon is just big enough to have a huge range of game choices while not being so big you feel lost in the crowd. I will be there and easiest to find at the Lesser Gnome booth in the vendor room which is open Friday-Sunday.

If you like GaryCon I urge you to consider trying North Texas as well. Acaeum members abound at that one :)



  


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:13 pm 
 

Degassy31 wrote in GaryCon 2014:I am finally planning on attending my first convention at GaryCon this year. Look forward to meeting as many Acaeum members as possible. Any advice appreciated. Matthew


It'll be great to finally meet you, Matthew, six years late :)


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:24 pm 
 

Degassy31 wrote in GaryCon 2014:I am finally planning on attending my first convention at GaryCon this year. Look forward to meeting as many Acaeum members as possible. Any advice appreciated. Matthew


GaryCon to us is about gaming and seeing friends we only see once or twice a year. The convention itself is mainly gaming, with a small vending area with small press publishers. DieCastGames will be there with 2 tables of out-of-print items, Lesser Gnome, Black Blade and Eldritch Enterprises are just a few of the other vendors. There will probably be 15-20 Acaeum memebers. We always have fun.

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 4:27 pm 
 

Wow, GaryCon registration went crazy. Devon was able to get in Stormberg's Thursday night Greyhawk game and I got in the Friday night game. Glad we were able to get in but it would have been much better if we could have gotten the same game.


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:04 pm 
 

Event registration was crazy - my browser crashed a dozen times.   I feel lucky that I was able to get into Paul's "The Lost Crypts of the Fire Opal" game on Thursday morning (8am - featuring a never played module by Gary).  I'm also looking forward to playing Re-Amon's Tomb - Part II  - which is a continuation of a module I played last year - where I had the good fortune to meet Stratochamp, Bracton and Invincible Overlord.

Unfortunately I was not successful in securing a spot on Allen's Bottle City event.  (Allen - your events are just too popular!)

Look forward to seeing you all there!

  

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Post Posted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:20 pm 
 

I am in this year, just confirmed my flights!!  See you all there :)


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