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The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Chance & Circumstance blog:

On locating a copy of the 1973 Draft of D&D

Cover of the 1973 draft shared previously on Playing at the World

As posted here previously, the forthcoming book The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons (which can be pre-ordered here) is set to include a copy of the 1973 draft of original D&D, also known informally as Guidon D&D. 

However, in the meantime researcher Michael Calleia has independently discovered a copy of this draft among the court records of the 1979 Arneson vs. Gygax lawsuit. Head over to his blog, Chance & Circumstance, to read more about this find:

Unveiling the Past: A Journey Through the July 1973 Draft and D&D’s Foundational Saga

Stay tuned for more from Michael, as he promises a series looking at the draft.

See also:

A Draft of OD&D (earlier post here)

For discussion of the draft see:

OD&D Discussion thread (requires membership to view)

EnWorld Discussion thread

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Scrum Con 2024 (March 29-30)

Badge Registration now open!


Attention DC metro area gamers:

Scrum Con is back for another year of games!

This year, for the first time, it will take place over two days, Friday March 29th and Saturday March 30th. The location is the same as last year (and 2020), in the Civic Building in Silver Spring, Maryland.

General registration opens today, Monday February 20th, at Tabletop Events:

Get your Scrum Con 2024 Badge Here

The standard price this year is $55 for a regular two-day pass, $25 for a Friday-only pass or $35 for a Saturday-only pass. But register right now (until this Thursday, Feb 22nd) and there is an early bird discount of $5 off per day. There is also an $80 VIP option that includes a two-day pass, a t-shirt and swag bag.

As in previous years, Scrum Con strives to offer an even mix of tabletop RPGs and miniatures wargaming. The schedule of games can be perused here:

Scrum Con 2024 schedule of games

In general, there are two slots of games each day, running from 10 AM - 2 PM and 3:30 - 7:30 PM, although there are few games at other times. So you should easily be able to play in two games per day.

And as always, sign up with an email address on the mailing list at to stay on top of the latest announcements and updates.

For an idea of what the games are like, see this post on the Scrum in Miniature blog with over 400 photos from the 2023 event

Hope to see you there!

And please help us get the word out by sharing this with anyone who may be interested.

Friday, February 16, 2024

"How Dungeons & Dragons Started" Video

The day after I made my previous post rounding up everything we know about The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1970-1977, the forthcoming book describing the creation of the original D&D rules, the Dungeons & Dragons channel on YouTube posted an interview with Jason Tondro, a senior designer at WOTC, further detailing the contents. It's a long interview (38+ minutes) but well worth the time spent watching it, and Tondro's enthusiasm for the material covered in the book is evident. 

From this interview, it's clear that the book will include the entirety of 2nd Edition Chainmail, the map from Outdoor Survival, the "Guidon D&D" draft from 1973, the first printing of the LBBs (complete with the Tolkien references) from early 1974, and the first three supplements, among much correspondence and magazine articles.

The book can be pre-ordered here at Amazon, with a release date of June 18th:

The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1970-1977

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

"The Making of Original D&D: 1970-1977"

Everything we know about this upcoming WOTC book

"The Making of OD&D 1970-1977" promotional book image,
showing four ribbon bookmarks!

Last December, at a panel at PAX Unplugged called "50 Years of D&D Adventures", Wizards of the Coast announced their new books for 2024, which included a surprising release tied to the 50th anniversary of D&D: The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1970-1976  (The panel was recorded & is available here; see the 57:20 mark).

"Sneak Peak" image shown during the panel presentation

The panel members indicated that the book will be over 500 pages (!), will "a replica of the original Dungeons & Dragons game, page for page", "never-before seen correspondence" between Gygax and Arneson, and historical context by Jon Peterson (of Playing at the World). The "Sneak Peek" image appearing on the screen during the presentation shows two page spreads from the book, the one to the left showing the first page of the Fantasy Supplement of Chainmail, and the one to the right showing the title page of OD&D Volume 3, The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures. And the background shows a version of the Great Kingdom map, suggesting this may appear in the book as well.

Just after this I saw Jason Tondro, a WOTC Senior Designer who started playing with Holmes Basic, and previously worked on the Deck of Many Things (which looks interesting), post on FB that he had spent "most of the last six months on it and y’all are in for some surprises". 

Then, a few days ago, WOTC provided an updated release schedule that says that the book will come out on June 18th. Interestingly, the title has now been updated to "1970-1977" in this press release and also the mock-up promotional image shown at the top of this page. Does this change mean that it will discuss Holmes Basic, released in 1977, and edited by J. Eric Holmes from the OD&D booklets?

The full description from the press release reads:

"The ultimate book showcasing D&D's inception, including Gary Gygax's never-before-seen first draft of D&D written in 1973, a curated collection of published fanzine and magazine articles contribute to D&D's origin story. Each document is introduced, described, and woven into the story by one of the game's foremost historians, Jon Peterson."

The "new news" here is that the book will also include a "draft of D&D", which is most likely the draft termed "Guidon D&D" by Peterson, and also contemporary articles. The inclusion of the draft is particularly noteworthy and exciting as this is a document that has never before been shared with the public in its entirety.

The promo image of the cover shows four ribbon bookmarks in different colors that appear to correspond to sections of the book, which are colored along the bottom of the page in the "Sneak Peek" images, with red corresponding to Chainmail and yellow corresponding to the original D&D volumes.

I saw a post on Twitter that unlike the other forthcoming WOTC books, which will be released in both physical and digital formats, this one will only have a physical release. So unfortunately no pdf option. 

So, in summary, we now know the 500 pages of this tome will cover the years 1970-1977, and include at least:
  • "Gary Gygax's never-before-seen first draft of D&D written in 1973"
  • "a replica of the original Dungeons & Dragons game, page for page"
  • "never-before seen correspondence" between Gygax and Arneson
  • "a curated collection of published fanzine and magazine articles"
  • historical context by Jon Peterson

The book is already available for pre-order at Amazon for $99, but also with a price-drop guarantee:

The Making of Original Dungeons & Dragons: 1970-1977

I've already pre-ordered it myself!

Note that while The Art & Arcana Deluxe, which is the previous WOTC publication most similar in nature to this one, still has a list price of $125 on Amazon, it is currently for sale for $66. Looking at my records, the price when I pre-ordered it was $100, but with the pre-order price guarantee I got it for $63.50.


Just out today (2/15/24) is a fascinating interview with Jason Tondro, who I quoted above, further detailing the contents of this book. From this it's clear it will include the entirety of 2nd Edition Chainmail, the "Guidon D&D" draft, the first printing of the LBBs (complete with the Tolkien references) and the first three supplements, among much other correspondence and magazine articles. It's a long interview (38+ minutes) but well worth the time spent watching it.

See also:

OD&D Discussion thread

Dragonsfoot discussion thread

EnWorld discussion thread

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Sutherland Dragon mini from Wizkids


As part of the 50th anniversary of the publication of D&D occurring this month*, WizKids has announced a Red Dragon mini based on David Sutherland's cover for the Holmes Basic Set, which is available for pre-order now and will be released later this year.

Pre-order it here:

WizKids Classic Red Dragon

The full text from the product page reads:

"A fiery peril to adventurers of editions, new and old, the red dragon has remained a mainstay of fantasy villainy. Celebrate this classic D&D threat with our new D&D Icons of the Realms: 50th Anniversary - Classic Red Dragon Boxed Miniature (Set 31)! 

This set includes the red dragon as depicted on the cover of the 1977 Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set. The beast among monsters. The tyrant among kings. The dragon among dragons."

Thanks to Josh and Leroyd20 on Twitter for a heads up on this release.

*Specifically, this upcoming weekend per the Playing at the World blog.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Dice Dragon: Breath Weapon further research

Based on further reports from adventurers collected by the Portown Sage, it is apparent that the Dice Dragon does not only breath faerie fire; rather, that is just one possible effect. The revised bestiary shall now read:

Dice dragons defend themselves with a sharp bite or, three times a day, a small puff of weird fire at a single target, which does no damage but causes a random effect (unless a save versus breath weapon is made) that lasts for 3d4 turns, as determined by rolling a d12:

  1. Aged Equipment. All of the target’s non-magical equipment ages such that the next use causes it to break.

  2. Berserk Grappler. The target immediately attempts to grapple the nearest creature other than the dragon, and continues to do so for the duration. 

  3. Cloud of Darkness. Emanates from the target in a 30 foot radius, and moves with them.

  4. Contagious De-evolution. The target, but not their equipment, polymorphs into a small lemur, and anyone who touches the lemur must save or suffer the same.

  5. Enforced Pacifism. Any attack made by the target is followed by a round of incapacitating pain and suffering of 1d4 points of damage.

  6. Faerie Fire. Outlines the target (+2 to be hit), and then in the next round spreads to all in a 30 foot radius.

  7. Intermittent Beacon. Target emits a flash of light that blinds all in a 30 foot radius for 1 turn unless a save is made. This repeats once per turn for the duration.

  8. Magic Absorption. The power of one spell or magic item, determined randomly, possessed by the target is transferred to the dragon to use. A spell or charged item so affected is lost, but a permanent item will be restored after the duration.

  9. Noxious Stench. Emits from the target and is so strong that all within 60 feet must save each round to take any action.

  10. Ravenous Hunger. For the duration, the target can do nothing but eat; after eating all their own rations, they will go after that of any others within sight.

  11. Screaming Fear. Target flees, screaming maniacally, until at least 1000 feet from the dragon, and then screams again for one entire round each turn thereafter.

  12. Visible Gaseous Form. Target assumes the form of a highly visible purple gas; all items drop to the ground.

Note: This is a revision of a new monster published previously on this blog. I decided that a monster with "Dice" in the title should produce a dice-based random effect. Also, the revised dragon employs all of the polyhedrals of the TSR Dragon Dice Set: d4 for breath weapon duration, d6 for bite damage; d8 for hit dice; d10 for percentile-based alignment; d12 for breath weapon effect; and d20 for attacks/saves.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Furiosa (2024): New Trailer

It's a lovely day for a new Furiosa trailer!

The eternal George Miller is back with a prequel to 2015's unexpectedly amazing Fury Road. I'm not generally a huge fan of "just-so story" prequels, but I loved Fury Road and have been eagerly anticipating another look at the rebooted, Dark Sun-paletted Mad Maxiverse. And Anna Taylor-Joy, who plays Furiosa this time around, was marvelous in the Queen's Gambit. 

I'm also primed for this, having just recently played in a Scrum Club game based on Fury Road and then re-watched the movie with my son - his first Mad Max!

The two photos above are from the game, run by Peter Megginson using his What a Lovely Day! miniatures rules, and run previously at Scrum Con (here's the 2020 program listing) and many other cons.

Ride eternal, shiny and chrome!