Saturday, September 4, 2010

The birth of roleplaying

I guess everyone have listened to Clyde talking to David Wesely by now?If you haven't you should. Dave was the guy who together with Dave Arneson invented roleplaying, if you didn't know that.

One thing I found interesting was how Maj. Wesely told Clyde and us about how they played wargames back in the sixties. It wasn't unheard of for them to have players do things like scout ahead of a battle and talk to peasants about enemy troop movements. The fact that miniature games back then had such sketchy and crappy rules made in necessary to fudge things and make rulings on the fly, which made it very easy to "step outside the rules" and do things not immediately related to the lead figure battle.

Everyone have heard about how D&D grew out of wargaming culture, and sometimes that's taken as an excuse for us johnny-come-latelies who don't always "get" the old style of play. Wesely shows us how that probably don't always mean what we think it does. Diplomacy is probably worth studying if you want to know how the early Blackmoor games were run. Dave Arneson was a Diplomacy fan, and listening to this interview I can see how that must have influenced the early roleplaying. Go listen to that podcast!


  1. Some of the earliest D&D variant rules were published in Diplomacy fanzines, so the connection is an important one.

  2. I almost forgot that interesting connection. Good catch James!

  3. This would also further illustrate the conditions from which lately-called "Old School Zen" style play originated - "rulings over rules", etc. Neat!


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