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    Canonfire :: View topic - 10 things great about the 1E DMG
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    10 things great about the 1E DMG
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    Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:37 am  
    10 things great about the 1E DMG

    I decided to write this just for fun. Besides being an essential tool of Greyhawk campaigns for years with many GH name references, I have often turned back to it when other edition's DMGs have failed me. Here is just 10 of it's many features:

    1. Three pages of Henchmen design. Much more detail on their loyalty and process of being hired than later editions.

    2. Sailing and Ship combat rules. This was always plenty to get a waterborn adventure going. It even came with a list of naval terminology.

    3. Intoxication table. Nuff said!

    4. Insanity table. 20 flavors. Awesome.

    5. Construction and Siege rules. Concise but with highly detailed lists. The best part is the "Mining Rules-Cubic voulme of rock per 8 hr labor per miner" chart. Yes goblins can out-mine humans!

    6. Potion Miscibility. Awesome chart. What happens if you combine those two healing potions into one big gulp? Ka-boom? 3e was too chicken to keep it.

    7. Random Lower Planar Creature design lists. I remember having alot of fun with this and trying to draw the resulting monster I rolled up.

    8. Dungeon dressing lists. Gygax was a list-maniac but we loved him for it. This gets the most use from me when designing my own dungeons. It has EVERYTHING imaginable.

    9. Random Harlot chart. Oh come on DMs. If you say you never used this chart you're a liar!

    10. Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Vegetables. Did I mention Gygax was a list fiend? This is a list so indepth my MOM could reference it.
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    Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:57 am  

    One thing that everyone remembers is the picture of the wizard riding through town igniting city guardsmen who are unlucky enough to have to challenge him. I cannot remember the name of picture, it was " X the Chaotic" or something like that. I do not have a 1e DMG anymore, but I am sure someone outr there can fill in the X.

    Something I liked about 1e that added quite a bit of game balance was that certain magic items could only be used by certain classes.

    The ship rules mentioned above were great. We had a whole campaign based about 50% on the seas where we eventually discovered three lost islands in the Azure Sea, founded a small nation with a Democratic Oligarchy government (the PCs had permanent seats on the council, while the NPCs were voted in through an election process) and ended up making enemies of the Hold of the Sea Princes and other nations that supported the slave trade (The party for the most part followed Trithereon, which explains the enmity with slavers).
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    Tue Jun 03, 2008 8:43 am  

    Emirikol the Chaotic. Yeah that was a strangely iconic illustration. To get a full page spread in the DMG with his name emblazoned at the bottom, you'd think that NPC was important or something. I have no recollection who he is or what!?

    Other than that the DMG is a great source for iconic imagery and some comic moments too. The weeping succubus at the end (by mapmaker Darlene) is a good touch. There is also a small pic in the early part subtitled "There is no honor among thieves". That one always stuck in my head too.
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    Tue Jun 03, 2008 11:28 am  

    The illustration was one of the things that I loved too. Often had nothing to do with the hearby text. Who would have ever thought about kobolds fighting a green dragon?
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    Tue Jun 03, 2008 1:43 pm  

    The random artifact powers and side-effects tables rock, too :D
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    Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:39 am  

    Of course the comical cartoons were great. One in particular I remember was a group of adventurers sitting around a table playing a game called "Papers and Paychecks".
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    Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:06 pm  

    Quote:
    Emirikol the Chaotic. Yeah that was a strangely iconic illustration. To get a full page spread in the DMG with his name emblazoned at the bottom, you'd think that NPC was important or something. I have no recollection who he is or what!?
    He actually ended up having something to do with the later 2e adventure "A Paladin in Hell" (I guess the designers had the same feeling as you... he is illustrated and named in the 1e DMG, he better be important, of course the whole module is named after another piece of 1e art, so there is another connection there as well)...
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    Sat Jul 05, 2008 5:40 pm  

    Even though I have switched to C&C I find myself using this book along with my C&C books. It is still useful after all these years. That book should be considered a classic work of art and required reading for serious gamers.
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    Thu Jul 10, 2008 8:15 am  

    I agree; the DMG for AD&D 1e was a masterpiece on running a roleplaying game. I do not think there has ever been a game system that has come close to matching this book as a reference. It is easy to tell a DM who has read this book (no matter the D&D edition he or she is presently running) versus the ones that have not had the opportunity.

    If anyone is going to GM/DM a role playing game in any genre, I highly recommend the reading of this book. It's practicality goes beyond the genre of FRPG.
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    Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:13 pm  

    mortellan wrote:
    I decided to write this just for fun. Besides being an essential tool of Greyhawk campaigns for years with many GH name references, I have often turned back to it when other edition's DMGs have failed me. Here is just 10 of it's many features:

    1. Three pages of Henchmen design. Much more detail on their loyalty and process of being hired than later editions.


    Still use it! Second Ed. Henchmen rules were added more as an after thought and were so sparse as to not make any sense and third Ed rules are not much better.


    mortellan wrote:
    6. Potion Miscibility. Awesome chart. What happens if you combine those two healing potions into one big gulp? Ka-boom? 3e was too chicken to keep it.


    Still use it, although the Potion Miscibility table was put up on the WoTC website. Here's the link.

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dnd/20060401b

    mortellan wrote:
    7. Random Lower Planar Creature design lists. I remember having alot of fun with this and trying to draw the resulting monster I rolled up.


    8. Dungeon dressing lists. Gygax was a list-maniac but we loved him for it. This gets the most use from me when designing my own dungeons. It has EVERYTHING imaginable.


    I remember fumbling around with the random monster generator a few times and could never get the hang of it but what I did have a lot of fun with was the random dungeon design section. I probably learned more about snap decision making and quick thinking using that stupid design chart then anything else I've even had to do.

    mortellan wrote:
    9. Random Harlot chart. Oh come on DMs. If you say you never used this chart you're a liar!


    You know the first time I ever came across this was a few days ago when I was reading an article someone wrote about D&D. I didn't believe it and so I went and looked it up. I had to have used it, it just seems like the thing that a horny teenager would do but for the life of me I don't remember it.

    Telemachus wrote:
    Of course the comical cartoons were great. One in particular I remember was a group of adventurers sitting around a table playing a game called "Papers and Paychecks".


    Or what about the one with the fighter in all of his metal armor being held in the arms of the thin, malnourished old mage who is protecting him form the big, bad, ever so cute looking rust monster…

    I figure just about everyone who had that book remembers the comics and the drawing in there. Some of them, were downright disturbing, like the one with the thief trying to climb out of a pit filling with water and the skeleton with the knife in its mouth swimming after him. Like most everyone else here, Emorikal the Chaotic spawned a host of ideas and in even a recurring antagonist I would use over and over again. It was the illustrations of the first and second editions that made the games so great. Remember the picture of the Intellect Devourer in the first Monster Manual? I don’t think that any illustration of the beast has come as close to creepy as that one. Or, as cwsyclgh brought up, A Paladin In Hell in the original Monster Manual. When they reprised the painting for the second edition module of the same name (which also contained the aforementioned chaotic mage) it didn’t have the same feel. All the same elements were there but the image was flat and emotionless.

    I think that all of those charts really simplified things a great deal. It made an otherwise complicated subject much easier to digest. Reading through a 300 page book of rules were a third of the pages are charts is actually kind of fun. I think that was one of the other things that made 1st ed so different. Not only did it have a very clearly defined good VS. evil motif, it had art that set your imagination on fire and the books were fun to read. I spent, still spend actually, more time reading books and fantasizing about different ways to torture my players then actually running games.

    Telemachus wrote:
    It is easy to tell a DM who has read this book (no matter the D&D edition he or she is presently running) versus the ones that have not had the opportunity


    And here I am going to end my diatribe. I agree with Telemachus on this. I have a friend of mine that ran a two year long campaign in which he lost control of the game and his players essentially wrested control from him. I sat down and talked to him about it. He seemed like he wasn’t having any fun. I asked him why he allowed them to do some of the things that they did. Not rules calls but more a matter of allowing them to act foolishly in a vacuum with no consequences and he said that there wasn’t anything he could do, they were to powerful. I think that was one of the biggest contributors to my development as a DM. That book prepares you for anything. There isn’t anything like it. I wish WotC would reexamine this book because it was the 1st ed. AD&D that roped a lot of people into gaming that are the biggest evangelizers of the hobby today.
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    Wed Sep 03, 2008 4:23 pm  

    The 1E DMG was about empowering the DM. Most of the later rulebooks were about constraining the DM. Different goals.
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    Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:03 am  

    cwslyclgh wrote:
    Quote:
    Emirikol the Chaotic. Yeah that was a strangely iconic illustration. To get a full page spread in the DMG with his name emblazoned at the bottom, you'd think that NPC was important or something. I have no recollection who he is or what!?
    He actually ended up having something to do with the later 2e adventure "A Paladin in Hell" (I guess the designers had the same feeling as you... he is illustrated and named in the 1e DMG, he better be important, of course the whole module is named after another piece of 1e art, so there is another connection there as well)...


    Indeed. He is an 24th level wild mage in that adventure. There also a 3e nod to him with the Fist of Emirikol lesser artifact:
    Virtual Fist of Emirikol
    Paper Fist of Emirikol
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    Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:16 am  

    Thanael wrote:

    Indeed. He is an 24th level wild mage in that adventure. There also a 3e nod to him with the Fist of Emirikol lesser artifact:
    Virtual Fist of Emirikol
    Paper Fist of Emirikol


    I ended up with the Fist of Emirikol in the form of an actual die. It's a huge thing a little smaller than a baseball.
    Thanks for posting those links, now I know what the symbols do!

    Someone named Jay Hafner (sp?) had an excellent GH website years ago and used Emirikol as his handle. Was Hafner a fan or was he actually Emirikol's player?
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    Fri Sep 05, 2008 10:18 am  

    Does anyone know of any official stats online for Emirikol the Chaotic?
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    Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:24 am  

    nope.
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    Sat Sep 06, 2008 3:16 pm  

    Telemachus wrote:
    Does anyone know of any official stats online for Emirikol the Chaotic?


    Nothing official. Someone did a 3e conversion here: http://forums.gleemax.com/archive/index.php/t-142994-p-5.html

    It's a long thread, scroll down halfway or do a word search for Emirikol.
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    Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:41 am  

    vestcoat wrote:
    Someone named Jay Hafner (sp?) had an excellent GH website years ago and used Emirikol as his handle. Was Hafner a fan or was he actually Emirikol's player?


    Jay was the lead triad guy for the County of Urnst LG group a few years ago. Any more info you'll have to ask him yourself.
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    Sun Apr 12, 2009 8:00 am  
    An art homage in the DMG

    Speaking of the art:

    The weeping succubus picture by Darlene is actually a historical art homage to Gustave Dore.

    Check out an illustrated version of Dante's Inferno with Dore's original illustrations. You will find a sinner in Inferno with the exact pose as the succubus, minus the wings and horns.

    In Inferno, Canto XXX, lines 37-39 - "That is the ancient ghost/Of the nefarious Myrrha, who became/Beyond all rightful love her father's lover."
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    Tue Apr 14, 2009 7:09 am  

    vestcoat wrote:
    I ended up with the Fist of Emirikol in the form of an actual die. It's a huge thing a little smaller than a baseball.
    Thanks for posting those links, now I know what the symbols do!


    The physical die should have come with a sheet that details the symbols, FWIW, vestcoat. The die is also relatively rare/valuable: they go for $25-75 on eBay when they appear.

    vestcoat wrote:
    Someone named Jay Hafner (sp?) had an excellent GH website years ago and used Emirikol as his handle. Was Hafner a fan or was he actually Emirikol's player?


    So far as I know, Emirikol was the artistic creation of Dave Trampier, and I've never heard of anyone stating that it was based on an actual PC or NPC, which doesn't mean that it wasn't based on an actual character. See http://www.enworld.org/forum/archive-threads/171753-gary-gygax-q-part-xii-2.html#post3017530 for Gary's comment about it being Tramp's creation.
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    Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:53 am  

    1. Gygax wrote it.

    Do I really need to list nine more reasons?

    The reason the 1e DMG will always be the best is just that: Grubb, Cook et. al., Collins et. al., none of them "got" it, frankly.
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    Sun May 03, 2009 1:01 pm  

    I love the 1e DMG, and for all the reasons given - the Harlot Chart went down a storm from the moment I first used it, but we were teenagers back then! Laughing

    But I also liked these items:-

    Gems and Gemstones
    Even years later I could look at random chippings of stones and say, "Ah, that's carnelian!", to the astonished look from wife/friends/relations/etc.

    Random Language Table
    "Your new magic sword is intelligent, but it speaks only in minotaur - do you speak minotaur? No? Oh, well that's going to be tricky, eh...?"

    Magic Items Tables and Descriptions
    I cannot even begin to imagine how many hours/days/weeks/years I spent poring over those tables and descriptions, and finding things I'd overlooked, from items themselves to some of their powers which could brighten any campaign.

    Tremendous stuff!
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    Sun May 17, 2009 10:36 am  

    Don't forget the appendix with all the inspirational reading--perhaps one of the best lists of fantasy novels ever compiled.
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    Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:48 am  

    When I first started gaming, no store in my hometown carried roleplaying books. I would have to mail order them at a mom-and-pop bookstore. I had the Players Handbook and Monster Manual. A friend had the DMG, so I knew about all the goodness it contained.

    This was right when 2e was released, but I had no idea that a new edition was being released. Instead of getting Gygax's masterpiece from my order, I received the schlock that was the 2e DMG. That was the single biggest disappointment of all my roleplaying years.
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    Wed May 18, 2011 10:24 am  

    My favorite part was the random wilderness settlements table. Coming up from oe wilderness adventuring played a big part in our campaigns. The random castle encounters were great. When laying out a campaign map these tables were great for developing major NPCs and adventure ideas. I still use it for all the systems I run.
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    Thu May 19, 2011 8:50 am  

    On the subject of the Fist of Emirikol there is a virtual version of it on the web.
    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/iw/20030713b
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    Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:12 pm  
    Re: An art homage in the DMG

    Osmund-Davizid wrote:
    Speaking of the art:

    The weeping succubus picture by Darlene is actually a historical art homage to Gustave Dore.

    Check out an illustrated version of Dante's Inferno with Dore's original illustrations. You will find a sinner in Inferno with the exact pose as the succubus, minus the wings and horns.

    In Inferno, Canto XXX, lines 37-39 - "That is the ancient ghost/Of the nefarious Myrrha, who became/Beyond all rightful love her father's lover."


    Great catch!

    Gustav Doré is a personal favorite but I never knew this.

    Thanks for the heads-up.
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    Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:16 pm  
    Re: 10 things great about the 1E DMG

    mortellan wrote:
    I decided to write this just for fun. Besides being an essential tool of Greyhawk campaigns for years with many GH name references, I have often turned back to it when other edition's DMGs have failed me...


    An old friend of mine had a great statement regarding the original DMG:

    "It's as though the thing were written in code. I didn't truly realize how great it was until both it and I aged a couple decades."

    I've always felt that to be a dead-on summation of the work.
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    Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:19 pm  

    As many of you know about me by now, I am an avid 2e fan, BUT I will admit openly that I far prefer the 1e DMG over its 2e counterpart. Shocked Yes, you read correctly. Happy

    Not only do I like the charts and tables you all mentioned previously, but I must declare that I appreciate two of the MOST important aspects of the 1e DMG that the 2e book does NOT have:

    1) XP tables: fantastic...I also like the fact that there is an appendix in the back for all the Monster Manual entries, pre-tabulated for the DM. I far prefer the 1e way of calculating experience pts, but that is a personal choice. I don't much at all care for the 2e method.

    2) Wilderness tables: This is a boon. I love it. I just wish there was a book that included creatures from the Monster Manual, Fiend Folio, and Monster Manual II. Oh, well, I guess you cannot have it all. Sad

    -Lanthorn (back to my 2e site...by for now!) Smile
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    Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:04 pm  
    More two cents

    Hi yet again,

    I also love/loved using the insanity table and the dungeon dressing lists. I must add to the list costs for training -- a rule from the DMG I used for years and years! I also think it's worth pointing out that, without the age, height, and weight tables in the DMG, D&D might never have included such things.

    But also bear in mind that Gary Gygax did not write the entirety of the DMG. The story goes that the DMG came up being too short. Gary showed it to Bob Bledsaw of Judges Guild and he donated material (not necessarily written by Bob, but would have been published by Bob) to flesh it out.

    It's near impossible to say what in the DMG was or wasn't written by Gygax, but given JG's penchant for random lists, it's possible that many of the random lists in the DMG were actually from Bob.

    ~Scott "-enkainen" Casper

    Because Yak-Men just know about stuff like that...
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