Last night at a local used bookstore, I scored a copy of Dicing With Dragons: An Introduction to Role-Playing Games, Ian Livingstone’s 1982 book about RPGs (well, actually the 1983 US version).
For $7, I was stoked. It’s full of 1980s gaming advice goodness, and it’s even got a section on GMing: Chapter 6, “Playing God.”
I’d like to tackle Dicing With Dragons here — it’s just too good to pass up. Bearing in mind TT’s focus on GMing, here’s my question to you: What should I do with it?
Why not compare the information and advice it gives to some of the more modern sources, including your own past posts, Robin’s Laws, etc?
Classic book! I found my copy in an old box of books at my parents’ house. I like the idea of applying the book’s advice to modern games. Another idea might be to look at the forgotten games it talks about, those classic games lost in the sands of time..
This was the book that started me on my road to RPGs. I ate that book up. Ah, memories.
I think DNAphil is right on. You may remember the “Dragon Magazine CD Archive” they sold a few years back? I scrimped and saved to get my hands on that puppy (at the time I was a college student) and then started reading from issue #1 on. I bookmarked insteresting articles on magic items, spells, discussions, etc… Including an article I bookmarked under “Gary Gygax sounding like a complete ass.” The gist of this article was Gary spouting off about how he kept reading letters or getting feedback at conventions, etc… questioning why he put certain rules in place and if they were balanced, etc… (one rule in particular he notes is the rule that rangers get a +10% xp bonus to all xp earned as a class feature) He goes on to say “Anyone who plays an altered version of MY game isn’t playing MY game, but some illegitimate game of their own design and as such isn’t welcome at any events or conventions featuring MY game and their falsely gained characters aren’t recognized.” (paraphrased)
One can find similar sentiments sprinkled liberally through all the 1st edition books (such as a section in the 1st edition DMG which recomends “Etherial mummies” and “blue bolts of lightning from heaven” to deal with players that question the DMs athority or read books other than the player’s handbook.) and even a few ghosts in the second edition material.
Looking through old material always brings thoughts of “My God, look how much the hobby’s changed”.
So far, the general theme I’m pulling from your comments is: See what’s changed, both in gaming and specifically in terms of GMing advice.
This sounds pretty workable, although I can’t contrast DWD with Robin’s Laws simce (appallingly, I know) I don’t own a copy. 😉
And while my first reaction after skimming through the book was along the lines of, “Sweet Jesus, this is dry stuff, and the GMing advice is a major turn-off,” having spent some more time with it I think that’s a bit off-base. There’s some decent advice in them thar hills, although obviously framed against the RPG industry of 1982.
Any other suggestions?
Dicing with Dragons- Make all your new players read it… test them afterwards.
Explain that you will be using a Bell curve for Grading, and expect the essay to be be written with an old TSR “TOP SECRET” pencil.
Do not supply the pencil.
As I donÂ´t have this book you talk about, IÂ´m only gonna say that RobinÂ´s Law is a grrrreat book for DMs, because even if you donÂ´t like ou donÂ´t use his hints and tips, it makes you think about or find a different perspective of the game. For me, that is worth the money!!!
(and I was lucky to find this behind some other bigger books, hardcover ones, in the imported material here in Brazil… was that a coincidence??? Is there such a thing? Or was it a DM rolling my Spot roll behind the screen???)
I’ve got a small selection of books *on* roleplaying, including “Role-playing Mastery” by Gygax (circa 1982) and “Game Design: Thoery and Practice” by Steve Jackson (circa 1982). I’m not in front of my bookshelf right now, so I can’t tell you more.
These games of ours have come a long long way.
Mischa: I’ve actually got a copy of Role-Playing Mastery myself — I’ll have to take a peek at it and see what it has to offer in terms of post potential. Thanks for the reminder!