Essay on New DMG 1st Print
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Post Posted: Wed Feb 02, 2005 8:05 am 
 

Howdy All,


Designating the 1st Printing of the Dungeon Masters Guide

The following is an argument put forward to refute the long held belief that the version of the DMG with 16 pages of the Monster Manual (MM) bound-in is the 1st printing of the Dungeon Masters Guide (DMG). The version of the DMG with 16 pages of the MM bound-in (hereafter referred to as 2nd Print, Alpha) has several characteristics that post date it to the DMG I have designated as the 1st print. Additionally, the logistics and relative dating of the troubled 2nd Print, Alpha make it very unlikely to have been released by the historically know 1st print release. Thus, there must be a print prior to the 2nd Print, Alpha. I suggest that it is the DMG I have designated as the 1st print.

The first landmark that helps date the DMG's in question, is the red and yellow striped fabric lining the spine. This lining last appears in the 4th print of the PH (May, 1979) and the DMG I designate as the 1st Print. All other versions of the DMG, and all subsequent versions of the other hardcovers, lack the fabric lining. The first AD&D hardcover to appear without the fabric lining is the 4th Print MM (August 1979)(1). Again, this post dates the 2nd Print, Alpha version of the DMG to the DMG I designate as the 1st Print.

The DMG I designate as the 1st Print is the only version of the DMG to have a 2" wide "Advanced" in the yellow banner on the cover. All other versions of the DMG have a 1 3/4" "Advanced". The height of the stacked, 2" "Advanced" over "D&D" is 5/8". In all other versions of the DMG the stacked height is 9/16". What this really means is that the font size was reduced by 1 or 2 points.

Also, the wizard colophon and TSR address on the DMG I designate as the 1st Print are ca. 3/16" from the bottom edge of the cover. All other copies have the logo and address raised to ca. 1/2" from the bottom edge.

According to TSR artist and art director, Dave Sutherland III, the cover was made by creating a reflective plate with a reverse image of the DMG artwork and then "punching out" by hand the areas where text and images were to be placed. The text and images were then hand placed back into the "holes" and a new 4-color process film plate could be produced. Dave said this process was expensive for the amount of set up time, machines, processing, and labor, costing about $5,000 for the process. (Dave was very close to the whole printing process. He even remembered the type press they used to print the DMG, a Holdenburg, German press. Dave said, "Man that was a fast machine! Scary too! Very dangerous.")

It seems no small feat to change the font size of the banner text and reposition the colophon and TSR address. It is both time consuming and costly. For this reason, it is highly unlikely that the change was made for any print run other than one following the initial print run.

Yet another characteristic, the stitching of the DMG I designate as the 1st Print is 5/8", a standard stitch spacing for the PH and MM up until August of 1979(2). The 2nd Print, Alpha DMG's and all(3) later versions of the DMG, PH, and MM use 1" stitch spacing or switch to adhesive binding. Again, post dating the 2nd Print, Alpha version of the DMG to the DMG I designate as the 1st Print.

The last two bits of evidence are from Dave Sutherland III, who claimed his proof-copy was from the first print run, and Steve Marsh who got first print contributor copies of all three AD&D hardcovers. Both have MM's and PH's that are 1st prints, so it seems very likely that they would have a 1st print of the DMG as well. The DMG's they have match the DMG I designate as the 1st Print. Steve further mentions that his was mailed to him directly from Gary with an inscription dated "August 1979"(4).

As for identifying the actual date of the 1st printing there are several sources. From my research of Dragon magazine(5) and TSR catalogs(6), it is known that the DMG was first printed just in time for GenCon XII (August 16-19, 1979). Thus, late July to very early August is a logical choice for the print date. However, given the context of statements made in the August issue of Dragon magazine(4) the 1st printing of the DMG would certainly have to be July. That brings us to the issue of when the 2nd Print, Alpha was actually published.

A recent discovery indicates the pages of the MM bound-into the 2nd Print, Alpha are from the 4th Print (August 1979) of the MM. The identification was accomplished by comparing the errata for the vampire entry. In the seventh paragraph describing how a vampire may be slain, the third sentence reads, "The vampire loses oneï·“third of its hit points per round of immersion." The word, "turn" was corrected to "round" in the 4th Print of the MM. Which means the 2nd Print, Alpha post dates the 4th Print (August 1979) of the MM. This makes it highly unlikely that the 2nd Print Alpha would be ready for the know historical first release of the DMG, on or before GenCon XII (August 19-20, 1979). Given that the Dragon magazine articles indicate completion of printing in July, it makes it impossible.

In light of these facts, the 2nd Print, Alpha DMG is indeed a 2nd Print. The DMG I designate as the 1st Print must be the TRUE 1st print.

This, of course, refutes Harold Johnson in Collectable Toys and Values (Meyer 1994) and "The Story of TSR" in the Silver Anniversary Collector's Set (Mohan 1999). In both articles they refer to the MM bound-in DMG as being the first print run. So how is it that they could both be wrong?

Alas, I can only suggest a blurred memory of something they tried to recollect after 15-20 years had passed. Both individuals had just begun their employment with TSR between July and August of 1979. Neither had a job that directly involved them with the printers. Certainly a print run that went off without a hitch would not be as memorable as one that suffered problems.

Paul J. Stormberg, 2005

FOOTNOTES

1        There is one exception to this standard: The TRUE 1st Print PH (August, 1978) does not have the red and yellow striped fabric lining. Additionally, the 1st Print (August, 1978) PH and the 2nd Print (September, 1978) PH have a brown and yellow striped fabric lining.

2        There are two exceptions to this standard: The 2nd Print MM (May, 1977) uses 3/16" stitch spacing and the TRUE 1st Print PH (August, 1978) uses an alternating 1 1/4" and 3/8" stitch spacing.

3        There is one exception to this standard: The 6th Print PH (June, 1980) uses 13/16" stitch spacing.

4        The inscription reads: "For Steve Marsh, a contributor to AD&D, from his friend, Gary Gygax -- August 1979" (Gary Gygax, Steve Marsh's Personal Copy of DMG, Aug. 1979)

5        The following are references to various Dragon magazine articles. It is assumed that articles for the August issue were ready to go to press in late July:

"Work on the third volume of the ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® series, the DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE, is now in progress. As much as we deal with and in fantasy, the real-world limitations of time and space place limitations on the speed of our endeavors. Thus, it now appears that the DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE will be released at GenCon XII [August 16-19,1979, at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Kenosha, Wisconsin]. The extra time is necessary if you, the gamers, wish a product that is comparable in quality to the PLAYERS HANDBOOK." (Gary Gygax, Dragon 22, Feb. 1979)

"As of this writing the manuscript for DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE has at long last been completed, save for a few pages of probable rewrites and transitional material which editing will uncover. This has been a long and lousy struggle for me, as there have been so many other things to do, and great numbers of interruptions in the work flow. It is fun to be … Now let's see what comes from my upcoming trip to CANGAMES in May [May 18-21, 1979]." (Gary Gygax, Dragon 25, May 1979)

"Q. With the completion of, printing of, and now, the final release of, the Dungeon Masters Guide…" (Dragon 28, August 1979)

"Our work on the DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE has been an undertaking of considerable magnitude, since it is the largest project ever published by TSR. Fortunately, our prior experience with other projects and the two preceding hardbound volumes (MONSTER MANUAL and PLAYERS HANDBOOK) stood us in good stead. Our energies over quite a number of months have been dedicated to bringing you, the AD&D enthusiasts of the world, a book you have been waiting for — and in time for GenCon XII [August 16-19,1979]." (Mike Carr, Dragon 28, Aug. 1979)

"[Report from GenCon XII, August 16-19,1979]…tucked in the corners hanging on every word of their new Dungeon Masters Guide." (Kim Mohan, Dragon 30, Oct. 1979)

6        "…available about August." (TSR Games Catalog, March 1979)


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 5:23 pm 
 

Sorry to mess with this historical but I have a DMG that might be between a first and a second alpha. Mine is identical in every respect to a first print except for the following:


The Wizard logo and TSR address appear on spine.

So what print is this one then?
Do you neeed any additional information?


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Post Posted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 11:16 pm 
 

Even the binding stitch is 5/8"


"Ah, you seek meaning? Then listen to the music, not the song."

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

  


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:31 am 
 

Howdy Kosh,


Did you look here:

New Print Chronolgy for DMG

If you find a match or a mismatch let me know.


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:47 am 
 

Mine has:

Sports a 2" wide by 9/16" tall "ADVANCED D&D" in the angled yellow banner. The "ADVANCED D&D" text is large and the "D" of "ADVANCED" partially runs off the cover.

The wizard colophon, TSR address, and TSR product code on front are all  3/16" from the bottom edge.

Wizard colophon and TSR address appear on spine.

No ISBN on spine, back cover, or title page.

Text block is stitched 5/8" apart.

Spine IS lined by yellow and red striped fabric.

Flyleaves and endpapers are a yellow-orange color.

An abberation or what?


"Ah, you seek meaning? Then listen to the music, not the song."

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

  


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 12:48 am 
 

Howdy Folks,


I added a few new bits of research, notably the appearance of Arneson's name in the Credits and Acknowledgements, and they removed "potpourri" from the GenCon advertisment! Bastards!

Still no leads on the 3rd prints - we just need to find one rebound one! I doubt we will ever see a scarred one. I can't think of any situation where a store owner wouldn't return such an obviously damaged book or that any customer would buy such a book at full price. Clearly this will be the rarest of the prints.

Scott, sorry I didn't get this up in time for your update.


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:01 am 
 

Howdy Kosh,


Kosh Vorlontay wrote:An abberation or what?


Not an abberation. Everything you have exactly matches a 1st print. The Wizard colophon and TSR address appear on all prints up to the 5th. The fifth has the Wizard colophon but replaces the TSR address with "TSR Games" followed by the ISBN.


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:05 am 
 

What about the Wizard colophon and TSR address on the spine?
That is not consistant with your first print research.


"Ah, you seek meaning? Then listen to the music, not the song."

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

  


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:16 am 
 

Howdy Kosh,


Kosh Vorlontay wrote:What about the Wizard colophon and TSR address on the spine?
That is not consistant with your first print research.


It is actually.

You discovered an error in my chronology, I left off that the Wizard colophon and TSR address DO appear on the spine of the 1st Print. I've now updated the chronology. Thanks!


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:24 am 
 

Wow! I actually have a NM first print! Do you need a scan for the Acaeum?


"Ah, you seek meaning? Then listen to the music, not the song."

"I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."

  


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Post Posted: Sun Feb 13, 2005 1:41 am 
 

Howdy,


Kosh Vorlontay wrote:Wow! I actually have a NM first print! Do you need a scan for the Acaeum?


Sure, send it to Scott.


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Post Posted: Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:58 pm 
 

8) Very Cool.....
I also have a First Print, but it is not Mint.... closer Very Fine, or perhaps Near Mint. :D
The front and rear covers have scratches and shelf wear. It looks like the front cover stood in as a laptop desk for writing on paper with sharp pencils, or pens. I can just make out a name and other things scratched into the cover.... The inside is VERY mint though........ :) :wink:

What the heck was wrong with them anyway? Did they not know the value of this book!?

:oops: Oh! Yeah, that's right, we just learned ourselves.... :oops: :)

I can relate though as I did the same thing myself in the old days. I often joined in adventure sessions where the books we had with us were our playing tables… made it tough to keep track ot the dice... we kept having to chase them down, after they fell on the floor, or the dirt.

Very nice work stormber and thank you very much for all your efforts in updating the DM's Guide printing data....

Indeed; the future is quite bright.... 8)


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Post Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 9:35 am 
 

Hi Stormber, I have a DMG that is the revised Dec 1979 edition (6th print) but the wizard logo is absent and is replaced by the TSR in-a-box logo located near the right edge, lower cover like the logo in the ninth print picture.

pleveich

  


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Post Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 9:49 am 
 

pleveich wrote:Hi Stormber, I have a DMG that is the revised Dec 1979 edition (6th print) but the wizard logo is absent and is replaced by the TSR in-a-box logo located near the right edge, lower cover like the logo in the ninth print picture.

pleveich

Sure sounds like a 9th printing to me... everything 6th and later states 'Revised Edition -- December, 1979'.  What's different between your copy and the 6th/7th/8th/9th listed?

http://www.acaeum.com/ddindexes/setpages/dmg.html

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Post Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 1:47 pm 
 

deimos3428 wrote:
pleveich wrote:Hi Stormber, I have a DMG that is the revised Dec 1979 edition (6th print) but the wizard logo is absent and is replaced by the TSR in-a-box logo located near the right edge, lower cover like the logo in the ninth print picture.

pleveich

Sure sounds like a 9th printing to me... everything 6th and later states 'Revised Edition -- December, 1979'. What's different between your copy and the 6th/7th/8th/9th listed?

http://www.acaeum.com/DDIndexes/SetPages/DMG.html


Sigh, nothing I should never look at things like this while still half asleep. Sorry to bother everyone, I just had a brainfart and did not look further. I would have thought the printing history would be changed with each issue.  :oops:

  


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Post Posted: Sun May 22, 2005 3:16 pm 
 

pleveich wrote:
deimos3428 wrote:Sure sounds like a 9th printing to me... everything 6th and later states 'Revised Edition -- December, 1979'. What's different between your copy and the 6th/7th/8th/9th listed?

http://www.acaeum.com/DDIndexes/SetPages/DMG.html


Sigh, nothing I should never look at things like this while still half asleep. Sorry to bother everyone, I just had a brainfart and did not look further. I would have thought the printing history would be changed with each issue. :oops:

Hey, no worries.  I do it all the time.   :wink:

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Post Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:07 am 
 

I recall buying the DMG when it first came out, so I was not surprised to find that I also have a first printing.  However, I did want to bring up a related item.  I purchased a very early copy of the Dungeon Masters Screen several months *before* the first printing of the DMG.  In fact, the printing of the screen appears hurried.  That is, the front cover doesn't even have any art--just a large blank space where art was placed in subsequent printings I saw sometime later.

I don't know what subsequent printings/editions of the screen look like, so here's a quick description of mine:
- Two pieces.  Outer cover piece is 11" x 17" folded.  Inside piece is 11" x 34" folded with three folds (making 4 connected 8.5x11 "sheets").  The back side of the outer cover sports the PM image (thieves prying ruby eye from statue, etc.).  The middle two "sheets" also sport an image on the outside--a montage of a dragon, treasure-chest finders, ghosts holding globes, and themes borrowed from the PM image.

Anyway, what made the screen so valuable at the time is that it has the attack matrices for the classes found in the PM--it made integrating the Player's Manual into game play much easier given that the DMG wasn't available at the time.


Does anyone know the history of these attack matrices that appear in the DMG and why they were available prior to the release of the DMG?

The screen also includes a number of tables copied from the PM.  I can supply scans of the screen in its entirety if that's of use to anyone.

Thanks,
-TAG

  


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Post Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 2:20 am 
 

toddagibson wrote:The front cover doesn't even have any art--just a large blank space where art was placed in subsequent printings I saw sometime later.


Er, I guess I should have browsed the site longer before posting.  I see there is already similar documentation elsewhere regarding the DM screen.   The description of the first printing matches mine in all respects but I do have the artwork on the player side of the 11x34 piece which isn't mentioned.

Oh, and in my original post references to PM should read PH.  (i.e., handbook, not manual).
-TAG

  


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 2:43 pm 
 

Hi there,

I know this is a bit of a bump, but I just found what appears to be a 1st print DMG...it follows all the rules so I feel quite happy even though it has had the crap beaten out of it. It is fun to imagine all the adventures that this book was responsible for. Just a quick thing, though, that I can't find mentioned in any of the descriptions or threads, I see there is different artwork on pages 40 and 119, a picture of some kind of minotaur statue(instead of the later Erol Otus lich vs. wizard zap-off)  and a bunch of potions by DCSIII, respectively.



Anyway!



RRW

  


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:55 pm 
 

RWilson wrote:Hi there,

I know this is a bit of a bump, but I just found what appears to be a 1st print DMG...it follows all the rules so I feel quite happy even though it has had the crap beaten out of it. It is fun to imagine all the adventures that this book was responsible for. Just a quick thing, though, that I can't find mentioned in any of the descriptions or threads, I see there is different artwork on pages 40 and 119, a picture of some kind of minotaur statue(instead of the later Erol Otus lich vs. wizard zap-off) and a bunch of potions by DCSIII, respectively.



Anyway!



RRW


Good observations, there. The 1st has both of the illustrations you mentioned, but so does at least one other non-1st printing. I'm suspecting that all 232 page DMGs have the "1st" artwork, and all 240 page DMGs the 2nd. If someone can confirm that'd be great.



[edit]

My 4th printing has the first set of illos, so presumably all printings up until at least the 4th are the same.  If someone has a 5th chime in.  :wink:

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