The GROGNARD Files

Table-top RPGs from back in the day and today.

This is the second part of the Dungeons and Dragons Episode. Lew Pulsipher returns to talk more about his contributions to White Dwarf, his strategy game Britannia and his contributions to EN World.

Daily Dwarf revisits Holmes Basic D&D and tries to revive the magic.

Cris Watkins from Bonhomie Games shares his First, Last and Everything.

Blythy and Dirk have a ‘cover off’ looking at some of the art that defined Dungeons and Dragons.

Covers under discussion: Errol Otis , Larry Elmore , Dungeon Master’s Guide David C Sutherland, and Jeff Easley, Monster Manual David C Sutherland, and the Fiend Folio is wrongly attributed to Russ Nicolson, it was actually painted by Emanuel, sorry about that.

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7 thoughts on “Episode 43 (Part 2) Dungeons and Dragons (with Lew Pulsipher)

  1. jemgilbert says:

    This had me reminiscing ruefully about finally throwing my box full of classic 80s rpg material – including all those first edition AD&D books with the memorable covers – in the recycling bin, when moving house some time towards the end of the 90s. I’d kept a huge collection of varied rpg hobby material for years after I stopped playing, on the assumption that it would all at least one day acquire collectors value. But I guess a the end of the 90s, there was very little interests in games from the early 80s, even among hobbyists: a very early-era eBay suggested to me that the material had no value. I tried using the new-fangled inter web search engines to track down people who might be interested in giving the stuff a home for free, but to no avail.

    Now, prompted by the show, I idly glance at eBay and note that, yes indeed, if I’d held onto it, that box of games and White Dwarfs would probably fetch a cool grand today. More importantly, it would be child’s play to track down folk who’d be delighted to give it a home.

    What adds an extra twist to this story is that it’s only through social media revealing to me that we were both listening to grogpod that I learned that an old friend and colleague of mine is a lifelong gamer, who at that very time when I was putting the box in the bin, was immersed in a series of campaigns with some of the people who’d been my heroes on the fanzine scene in the mid 80s. He could certainly of told me where to dispose of the horde, if I’d known, and I’d probably have been keen to join his games. But we’d never discussed the matter. At that time, I hadn’t knowingly spoken to another human with any interest in rpgs for the previous 12 years.

    Why am I going on about all this rubbish? Because for me it’s a snapshot of what makes this show so fascinating. The podcast is basically an oral history of how a hobby that started out almost completely dependent on a single communications vehicle (White Dwarf), first became almost impossible to maintain for many people (especially outside large urban centres) once that vehicle had been repurposed as a pure advert for lead miniatures; and of how that hobby then became gradually easier and easier for people to pursue and develop once the internet opened up so many new possibilities for peer-to-peer communication (from forums to podcasts to social media). The internet has done a lot of bad things, but it’s also made possible things that some of us always wanted to do (like meet other people and play games with them…or just give them a load of old games) but were physically unable to do before. For me, the pod is a fascinating and lively document of that history that we’re all still living through.

    1. Dirk says:

      Thanks for this review – I’m going to feature it in the next episode if that’s ok. Much appreciated. Dirk

  2. Daily Dwarf says:

    Really enjoyable episode: excellent First, Last and Everything from Cris, and another great slice of the Lew Pulsipher interview.

    The D&D art discussion was good fun too – I agreed with many of the comments. Now, I do hate to be the “Actually, I think you’ll find…” guy, but: while Russ Nicholson is (rightly) forever associated with the githyanki, and is responsible for much of the excellent art in the Fiend Folio, the cover is by… umm…
    Emmanuel.

    Sorry.

    1. Dirk says:

      Dratt! – a note added. Thanks.

  3. Michael Cule says:

    You really don’t believe in show notes do you?

    If ever an episode needed them, it’s the one referring to lots and lots of artwork.

    As I rode home on the bus I resolved to go to the URLs you lads undoubtedly put on the website.

    But no.

    And I pronounce it eff-reet. Reet?

    1. Dirk says:

      Your wish is my command (albeit a bit late) – Dirk

  4. Paragon Lost says:

    As usual a your podcasts are a must listen to Dirk. I love learning how different the experiences of gamers across the pond were from my own west coast of the US. I started tabletop gaming in March of 1978 and was immediately hooked as they say. Translating my love of the previous decade of fantasy and science fiction onto the tabletop was just a natural progression. There were a handful of gaming shops in Southern and Central California at the time which made it easier to find players and group, which a much different experience than you had in the UK.

    Oh, I did ponder why you all weren’t playing AD&D 1st edition by 1981 since all the core books were by that time out. When I started DnD was in the transition into AD&D, only the Monster Manual had been released and Player’s Handbook was a few months away. So as I got into the hobby we were mostly playing much varied rules based on the small original DnD books.

    Not long after that of course most of us tranistioned to AD&D and never looked back really. When the Basic and Expert sets came out we looked them over but kept to AD&D. Or in the case of some of us we expanded into Traveller and Runequest 1st/2nd editions and other rpgs that came out in the early to mid 1980s. GURPS became my mainstay upon it’s release until the turn of the century before I decided to go into semi-freeze myself. I’d mistakenly assumed that tabletop gaming was dying and that the future was mmorpgs, which was an error in thought on my part. Ah well, live and learn. 🙂

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