Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dungeons and Dragons: Forbidden Lore

Earlier, I mentioned Philotomy's Musings, a pamphlet designed for original Dungeons and Dragons. In my search for a re-statement of Chainmail, I also came across Forbidden Lore. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and you will find a pdf copy.

Forbidden Lore is a free, 16-page booklet, authored by Jason Vey of Elf Lair Games, and designed to clarify and bridge the combat rules in Chainmail and original Dungeons and Dragons.

Even if you do not own Chainmail and original Dungeons and Dragons, this pamphlet is well-worth a look: it quotes from the original documents, and makes some compelling arguments about the relationship between those two early rule-sets.

Chainmail includes three competing and largely incompatible combat systems: one for mass-combat, another for man-to-man combat, and a third for fantastic combat. The author suggests (and quotes liberally from original D&D to evidence) that all three combat systems should be used, but that use of any particular combat sub-system depends on the situation. An attractive argument, for many old-schoolers, although the rpg game-design history of the last 30 years has been to replace sub-systems with unified systems.

While I have some minor quibbles regarding some of the extrapolations and interpretations Jason has made in Forbidden Lore, overall this is a very compelling analysis of Chainmail and oD&D. This is a valuable (and free!) resource, and should be read by anyone who is interested in the early design of original Dungeons and Dragons.


Atom Kid said...

Thanks for posting this! The one that really caught my eye was the Conan book! I can't wait to read through it!

ChrisDias said...

Hello, my name is Chris from Dias Ex Machina Games. I was wondering if you had the chance to look at Amethyst? Have you seen any of the previews? Email me at if you care to discuss it.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Hi Chris, actually I saw Amethyst at The Sentry Box in Calgary many months ago. I did a quick search, sounds like an interesting setting. Goodman games says the 4e implementation is coming out in April 2010?

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Atom Kid: I completely missed the Conan thing, I need to have a look at that as well ... thanks for the heads-up!