Sunday 26 June 2022

Original Scenarios Resurrected II: The Complete Barbarian (1977-79, Brian K. Asbury)

Welcome to the second in the series Original Scenarios Resurrected, wherein D&D scenarios from the 70s are republished with the permission of the authors, usually together with extra contemporaneous material. Today we look to The Barbarian by Brian K. Asbury. For part I see here.

Brian K. Asbury was a prolific writer in the early days of the UK D&D scene. He wrote numerous articles for White Dwarf and other early fanzines and magazines. He devised the Xill (from the Fiend Folio) but is probably best known as the author of "The Asbury System" for awarding XP based upon succesfully using thief skills or casting spells etc (from White Dwarf #5-9) and  - the focus of today's post - the first Barbarian character class.

The Barbarian, which appeared in White Dwarf issue 4 December 1977, was written for OD&D. It was many years before the "official" AD&D Barbarian was published, and Brian's class was very popular (being reprinted in The Best of White Dwarf Articles Volume 1, and even translated into Italian as part  of "The Blue Book"). It is a very atmospheric class, with great abilities including Fearlessness (Fear instead makes them go beserk) and Sensing Danger, whereas the Unearthed Arcana version is rather bland.

But furthermore Brian's Barbarian also had something which the official AD&D version never had - it's own dedicated scenario.

Tuesday 21 June 2022

Original Scenarios Resurrected I: The Solo Dungeon (1977, Richard Bartle)

Welcome to a new series where out of print D&D scenarios from the 70s are resurrected (and often expanded with contemporary material by the original author). These Original Scenarios are resurrected as opposed to being reincarnated, since (as everyone knows) in D&D when you're reincarnated you have only a slim chance of coming back in the same form and are of a lower level - an OD&D adventure would be in danger of being reincarnated as a 5th edition adventure...

To start with, we present The Solo Dungeon by Richard Bartle from 1977, wherein you can get a truly authentic 1970s dungeon crawling experince. Richard wrote this adventure shortly before he co-created the world's first MUD - MUD1 - in 1978. Along with a scan of the adventure, we present a scan of the original manuscript along with the original introduction. 

Copies of this do come up on ebay from time to time, but not often, and they're not cheap. Last Saturday a copy sold for rather a tidy sum:

That's a health rate of return on your investment. I wonder how much the original '77 version would fetch?

Sunday 12 June 2022

1975.7: The Inner Temple of the Golden Skeleton (Ian Livingstone)

Today's dungeon was never published at the time, nor did it have a widespread audience, so that means it doesn't truly belong in my list - but it does deserve highlighting for it is pivotal in the history of D&D. Thanks go to Kelvin Green for drawing my attention to it! The Inner Temple of the Golden Skeleton is a dungeon from 1975 by Sir Ian Livingstone. At this point no dungeons had ever been published (only sample extracts) - so the blue colouring is just a co-incidence - and the map+key was only written for Ian's own usage (so don't read too much into the lack of detail or roughly drawn map). It's importance is that it was one of the very first dungeons developed outside of the USA, with very little opportunity for it to be influenced by American dungeons, and it has a distinctly different feel to its state-side contemparies, though much about it remains a mystery: