Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Dungeons of Pasha Cada

Front cover of a prototype rulebook for Dungeon!

In 2011, pictures of a hand-made prototype of Dungeon from 1973 surfaced on the Acaeum, posted by an old friend of Dave Megarry, the game's designer. The cover of the prototype's rulebook is shown above. Megarry himself later posted that this was the "2nd version" of the game, and indicated that he had a copy of the original board but not rulebook, having been lost by TSR during production. You can see a portion of his original board here on the Mule Abides blog.

Board for Dungeon, prototype, 2nd version (click for larger view)

The prototype of the 2nd version is similar to the published version, but is named "The Dungeons of Pasha Cada" according to both the rulebook cover and the board itself (see detail above). The full set of rules was not posted, but we get a glimpse on the back cover:

Front cover of a prototype rulebook for Dungeon!

We see here that the amount of treasures required was different for some characters: Elf was 10,000 gp, but Hero was 12,000 gp, Superhero 15,000 gp and Wizard 25,000 gp. Just below this there is a warning: "If no one gets out alive, the Dungeons have won", implying that players couldn't start again if killed. Next there is an optional rule for safekeeping "prizes" (as they were originally called in the 1975 version), which was included in the "advanced rules" of the 1975 version but then dropped from the 1981 version. Then we have "Byword: The deeper you go, the better they are but the worse it gets". Finally, there is a list of "Rumors of Monsters that Inhabit the Dungeons", with exactly 30 monsters:

Goblins *
Kobolds *
Orcs *
Wights *
Lycanthropes * (presumably WereWolves)
Balrogs *
Giant Snakes
Red Dragons *
Giant Spiders *
WereBears *
Green Slimes
Grey Puddings (OD&D, Vol 2, refers to "Black (or Gray) Puddings")
Anti Heroes *
Anti SuperHeroes *
Evil Sorceresses *
Black Dragons *
Wraiths *
Brown Dragons
Fire Elemental *
Earth Elemental *
True Trolls * (The True Troll of Chainmail is the same as the D&D Troll)
Ogres *
Giants *
Evil Wizards *
Giant Worms
Blue Dragons *
Purple Dragons * (The Purple Dragon of Chainmail is the same as the D&D Purple Worm) 

This monster list is closer to the monsters of Chainmail than the published game. I put an asterisk by each that appears Chainmail (or implied evil version), 21 of 30. The influence of Chainmail on Dungeon was previously discussed in the Blackmoor forums here. 

The board and list of monsters were modified during production of the 1975 game by TSR. In a letter to Megarry in April 1975, Gygax wrote:

"Basically the board is that you designed, with a few additional rooms, passages, and stairs/chambers. The number of different monsters has been cut to 24, and the same for the treasures. Rules will be very simple with an advanced play manual and monster description folder. All the monster cards will bear illustrations of the beasties. The map will be 22” x 28”, in multiple colors, with many wee spiders, bugs, rats, bones, and so forth shown in the blank areas. The cover will be mostly black and white with DUNGEONS! Dripping across the cover in blood red. Comments?" (See a scan of the original letter here on the Mule Abides).

Apparently at this point they had shortened the name from “Dungeons of Pasha Cada” to “DUNGEONS!” which would later be changed to the singular “DUNGEON!”.
Board from the 1975 version of DUNGEON! (click for larger view)

(This post is a revised version of one originally posted here on OD&D Discussion.)

1 comment:

  1. Many years of fun with this one . .
    the new versions didnt have the same charm . ..