[MUD-Dev] MUD timeline

Travis Casey efindel at io.com
Sat Mar 4 11:55:59 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000

On Saturday, March 04, 2000, Jon A. Lambert wrote:

> Travis Casey wrote:
>>1972            Second edition of Chainmail published, with the
>>                "Fantasy Supplement" -- the predecessor of D&D.

> Travis is correct on this.  My '73 date is a later printing.

Yep... that would be the third.  The first was in '70 or '71, but
didn't have the fantasy supplement -- which is why I didn't mention

>>1977            First known use of the term "role-playing game".  (In
>>                the "blue book" version of Basic D&D.)

> This the first boxed edition with the 5 die and dungeon geomorphs?  

It was the first version of Basic D&D -- Original D&D (the 1974
version) was boxed as well.  It was the version with the dungeon
geomorphs; the first sets didn't have dice (see below about dice), but
later ones did.

>> If there's
>>any other paper RPG dates you'd like, just let me know.

> When did the Wizard minigame come out?

Melee and Wizard both came out in 1977; Melee first, Wizard second.
Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard came out in 1980, along with In the
Labyrinth, which turned them into a role-playing system.  Author, of
course, was Steve Jackson.

> High Fantasy?

It came out in 1978.  The second edition came out in 1981, and the
boxed set was introduced then as well.  Jeffrey C. Dillow was the

> Do you have anything on the history of the multi-side dice?

Here's what I know from memory:

TSR got their original dice from a company that made them as
demonstration pieces for math classes.  After D&D started to take off,
that company couldn't keep up with the demand, so TSR bought or made
their own molds and starting making dice themselves (in the back room
of the Dungeon Hobby Shop, which is where they were located at the
time).  Those dice weren't very good, though -- the edges didn't
always meet well due to poor quality of some of the molds, and the
plastic they used wasn't very good.  If you have some of the old dice,
you know what I mean -- they start to pit and chip after a while.

(Actually, TSR experimented with other randomizers -- some early
copies of Basic D&D came not with dice, but with cardboard chits to
cut out, mix up, put in cups, and use to randomly pick a number.)

Other companies, Gamescience among them, saw an opportunity to step in
and started making better-quality dice and selling them.  TSR
continued to make their own dice into the mid-80's or so, but
eventually gave it up and started buying dice from the specialized

Oh -- and four-sided dice existed as far back as Roman times, although
they weren't pyramids -- they were rectangular solids, made from
sheep's knucklebones.

I don't have any dates for anything concerning dice, though (except
TSR's experiment with chits, which would be 1977).

       |\      _,,,---,,_        Travis S. Casey  <efindel at io.com>
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