Thursday, March 15, 2012

Request for Help

Here's the deal -- As is pretty well-known, the earliest versions of Chainmail and Original D&D were littered with explicitly called-out connections to the works of Tolkien. In later editions, those were removed (mostly) after the Tolkien estate made noises about intellectual property problems.

But I think that most of us (most importantly: me!) don't have access to those earliest editions, so exactly what is said there is unavailable to us. Some have compiled helpful annotations about where things changed (such as here and here; thanks for the links Zenopus!), but to date I haven't found exact quotes about what was said at the time (e.g., someone had to tell me last week that the Holmes "Nazgul now count as Spectres" text was initially in OD&D).

So here's the request: Could someone with early editions of OD&D actually write out in full the text passages referring to works of Tolkien? (Entries in random tables aren't needed so much; I'm thinking actual sentences or parenthetical passages that mention Tolkien creatures. Surely that would count as fair-use.) Or point us all to a link where someone's already down that? I think it would be a great help to many of us.


  1. The White Box set I found in my ex-wife's family toy chest is a Tolkien printing, if you'll be at the Brooklyn Strategist Dwimmermount this weekend (games both Sat and Sun!) I'll bring it along.

  2. John Rateliff has also compiled Tolkien references: check his blog @ John's also very approachable, and may have/know of other such compliations too.

    There may also be something over on the Knights & Knaves or ODD74 boards, IIRC.


  3. No access to the unedited Chainmail (where they're immune to normal attacks & missiles, do damage as 2 heavy cavalry, and some other stuff I know I'm forgetting), but here's OD&D:

    Chaos, 1-6 Appearing, AC2, Move: 6/15 flying, HD 10, 25% in lair, Treeasure Type F

    BALROGS: Balrogs are highly–intelligent monsters with a magical nature. There is a high probability that spells will not worfk against them. To determine success of spells use a base of 75% resistance at the 11th level and adjust upwards or downwards in 5% increments, ie a 12th level Magic–User would have a 70% chance of resistance. Balrogs cannot be subdued, but they can be enlisted in the service of a strong chaotic character. There is, of course, always the possibility that the Balrog will attempt to assume command himself, for Chaotic creatures will generally obey a Balrog before a human (except for an EHP who is slightly more influential). Balrogs have those characteristics indicated in CHAINMAIL, but when fighting fantastic opponents they attack in two ways each turn: The normal attack is with a magical sword of +1 value, and if the Balrog immolates (any score of 7 or better on two six–sided dice, check each turn of melee) it also attacks with its whip. If the whip hits the Balrog drags the opponent against its flaming body, doing two, three or four dice of damage (depending on size)! In this manner a Balrog can fight one or two opponents at the same time.

  4. Tavis -- Missed you this weekend, but that's a very kind offer. I'll have to check that out when I get a chance!

    Grodog -- And that's a very nice article, need to remember that link for future discussions.

    Dangersaurus -- Thanks! That I actually already have (keep a paper slip of that tucked in my White Box), but I always find it fascinating, esp. with the first reference to Magic Resistance that got wiped totally from OD&D when the monster was taken out.