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Default Gamasutra - Lost Dave Arneson Interview

April 11th, 2009, 06:23
They don't explain the context as far as I can see but Gamasutra has a "lost" interview with Dave Arneson. Apparently written in 2004, it hasn't previously been published:
How did you decide on probabilities and percentage chances of the various things you could do? How did you translate real world probabilities into dice rolls?

Well, I could tell you I had it all planned out, but that wouldn't be true. And I could tell you I faked it all, and that wouldn't be true either. We adapted.

We started out using the Chainmail combat system. They had a fantasy supplement for Chainmail. I think we used that for two games. We quickly discovered it didn't work for what we were doing since they were mass-combat rules, not individual rules.

We were doing role-playing and they weren't role-playing. We started off our monster list, and I think Chainmail had only seven or eight monsters. So we quickly came up with twenty or thirty.

We tried setting them up in a matrix, but that didn't work because it was quickly taking up an entire wall. So, I adopted a combat system I used for Civil War Ironclads because they had armor class, hit points, all that stuff.

And we did that for the monsters, we assigned values to them: giants are big, orcs are little. We tried to make the creature's power similar to what its size was.

We tried to give each monster a special power that wasn't overwhelming, which was harder than I thought. It's easy to come up with incredibly powerful abilities, not so simple to make small ones.
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April 11th, 2009, 06:23
I don't know why they never published that interview before - it was pretty good. Maybe not earth-shattering in its revelations, but very interesting.
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April 11th, 2009, 11:50
Sad, that fame goes often up only after the death of a person. Really sad.

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April 11th, 2009, 17:02
I didnt even know who he was. It's like the "other guy" from the band Wham, wont really know until he makes his final headline. Cant really blame me, Gyax is the only one ever spoken of, his name is synonamous w/ D&D.

Oh well, at least now I can say "RIP n stuff, Geek Lord".
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April 11th, 2009, 17:52
One of the reason Gygax was only spoken of is because GG deliberately left Dave's name off in the credits after he left the company.

The true reason for an "Advanced" Dungeons & Dragons was for the purpose of not paying DA the royalties he was due. AD&D was a deliberate name change to this end. Dave sued and TSR ended up settling for close to a million dollars. (DA ended up stretching the the definition of RPG during this as part of his defense, going as far as to say it started as rewriting history in High School re-enactments of famous events. He would continue to hand out his card with the message "

That said, by the time GG wrested control of TSR back in the mid-80's the two men settled their differences and GG contracted him to finish (what eventually be called) his Blackmoor series with Master and Immortal variations, etc.

Although GG remained cynical after his ouster from TSR a second time; DA seemed to take it all and stride and maintained a positive attitude, comforting himself in his legacy although feeling the constant need to continue to promote that fact. His business card I believe read "grandfather of role play gaming".

What he thought of 4th Edition I'm not sure - though I think the prototypes were similar to the philosophy of the generic classes of the original D&D: Fighting Man, Cleric, Majic User, and Thief. GG wavered on his opinion of 2nd Ed (which took his name off the credits, ironically) and seemed to have no love for D20, or 3.5 anticipating an eventual removal of the Alignment system altogether. DA, on the other hand, published a Blackmoor edition for D20.

It was discovered in an interview that DA also enjoyed playing NWN.

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Last edited by Lucky Day; April 11th, 2009 at 18:02.
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