Talk:Sources and influences on the development of Dungeons & Dragons

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Citations badly needed! (original research / unattributed claims)[edit]

This is the basis for a good article, but it needs citations badly. In particular, it needs citations of people involved in the development in D&D confirming these things. Failing that, third parties making the claim would be okay. Citations showing parallels are an okay start, but they don't really show inspiration; it's possible that they were independent redevelopments. Furthermore, simply showing the parallels is borderline original research, which a strict no-no. It seems highly likely that these citations exist; much of D&D is pretty obviously drawn from fiction. We just need to find it and cite it. — Alan De Smet | Talk 21:06, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

A possible source for a few citations: [1]. "Col_Pladoh" is in fact Gary Gygax himself. — Alan De Smet | Talk 02:49, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
"Showing parallels" would indeed be original research, but indicating the source for many of these items (Greek myths etc) is a case of something being "easily verifiable." The way the list of creatures was designed, each creature name links to the general, non-D&D creature. Thus, every name links to the appropriate encyclopedic material. The reader can simply observe that "chimera" links to the chimera, which is a chimera, and read about the origin of the chimera myth, and observe that the D&D creature is the same. It's not as if you have to provide citations every time you quite Al Gore to show that it is, in fact, the same Al Gore. If any creature or other item needs a connection DEMONSTRATED, then yes, we need a cite. But I think it's enough to show in each case that the D&D creature comes from a non D&D source.Pawsplay 21:45, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Following his recent death, Gamasutra has published a previously unpublished interview with Dave Arneson. There are some useful facts in the article including:
  • Dave Arneson first came across the the 20 sided die (d20) on a trip to a historical miniatures store in London,
  • Dave Arneson tried to get the Chainmail combat system to work, but couldn't and
  • Armor class and hit points (and possibly other parts of the combat system) come from the Civil War Ironclads combat system.
The rest of the article is about other stuff, but I think those three facts could help improve this article. Big Mac (talk) 02:24, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
The problem is that there is a shortage of good sources. It is problematic to rely on the comments of Gygax and other creators. They are basically primary sources. They are not unbiased, particularly in the case of Tolkien. There was a threatened copyright lawsuit from Tolkien Enterprises, so clearly they had an interest in playing down the influence of Tolkien. Also, I accept that Gygax didn't like Lord of the Rings that much, but that's not the same as saying the game wasn't influenced by it. At the same time as playing down Tolkien, Gygax seems to have been playing up other sources, such as Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions. I think you would be more likely to come across an orc in a game than a swanmay. In any case, Anderson seems to have been influenced by The Hobbit. It's unlikely, anyway, that Gygax and co would have accurately ennumerated all their sources and influences. Notably, Gygax changes his list of key sources in the cited passages.
The other main set of sources are blogs or something similar. It's hard to see how these are more reliable than a Wikipedia page collaboratively created by several authors.
I don't believe there will be many reliable secondary sources delving into this issue. That being the case, I agree with the comment above. If something is easily verifiable, it shouldn't need a citation (other than a link to relevant Wikipedia page if possible). A reference to a work of fiction is in itself a citation, and is really no more "original research" than digging up a quote from Gygax. I think this would only be a problem if there was some analysis of the source, or synthesis of several sources. For example, saying "mithral" comes from "mithril" in Lord of the Rings hardly needs a citation.--Jack Upland (talk) 08:06, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
More recent books like "Playing at the World" and "Designers & Dragons" might go into that level of detail. 2601:D:B480:ED2:4990:49BE:6CC1:DDBE (talk) 12:26, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
To explain why I mention Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, the "Aardy R. DeVarque" source cites it 31 times. Whoever this person is (the name is obviously a pseudonym based on aardvark), he or she seems to have taken up cudgels to support Gygax in downplaying Tolkien's influence. However, the evidence of the source itself indicates that Tolkien was important (39 mentions). I agree that Tolkien did not singlehandedly create the fantasy genre, as DeVarque points out, and in fact borrowed much from Nordic mythology, etc. However, Three Hearts and Three Lions is not a particularly good example, because it obviously was influenced by The Hobbit, if not Lord of the Rings, with references to Mirkwood, wargs etc. In addition, the novel's connection to D&D is tenuous in many instances, notably with regard to "treasure hunting/tomb raiding" in DeVarque's words (the dungeon crawl). This hardly occurs in Anderson's novel, but is a central theme in The Hobbit ("Far over the misty mountains cold/To dungeons deep and caverns old/We must away ere break of day/To seek the pale enchanted gold"). "Dungeons" of course are important to D&D, as shown in the name, and in modules such as The Keep on the Borderlands. I wonder if there is another fantasy source that uses "dungeons" like this. In LOTR we can see this in the Barrow Downs, Moria, Shelob's Lair etc.
I would say that D&D took Tolkien's world, and injected the attitude of Howard, Lieber, Moorcock etc. The elements of D&D that are associated with Tolkien's world seem to outweigh other things, and there doesn't seem to be any evidence to the contrary.
Of course, you could say this is "original research", but so is digging up quotes from Gygax, and so is DeVarque's webpage. If you want a secondary source, how about Brian Aldiss's Trillion Year Spree, which says D&D "owed much" to Tolkien (pp 275-276)? But this is superficial...--Jack Upland (talk) 10:49, 1 October 2014 (UTC)

Article needs a new name[edit]

This is a valuable article, as tracking the sources for D&D is of great value to anyone tracking historical development of fantasy or role-playing games. As such it deserves a better title. It should more than just a simple list. The corresponding section of Dungeons & Dragons would suggest "Sources and Influences on the Development of Dungeons & Dragons," but that's quite a mouthful. Perhaps "Influences on the Development of Dungeons & Dragons," on the theory that sources are obviously influences? To minimize having a pile of redirects, I suggest we hash this out here before anyone boldly renames the article. — Alan De Smet | Talk 21:16, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

After further consideration (and since apparently no one else cares), I'm going to rename this article to match the corresponding section of Dungeons & Dragons "soonish". Currently that would be "Sources and Influences on the Development of Dungeons & Dragons." Before I rename it, it seems prudent to do a quick check to confirm that that name is reasonably stable in that article. See that article's talk page if you're interested. — Alan De Smet | Talk 23:23, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Are the Ioun stones really from Vance?[edit]

I fear I'm facing a longstanding myth here... can somebody provide sources? Ioun stones are supposed to be borrowed from the works of Jack Vance. Given how much D&D borrowed from Vance, this looks reasonable, however, I have come to an apparent contradiction.

a) The AD&D magic item appears at least as early as the Dungeon Master's guide, in 1979. It may possibly even be from earlier editions of D&D which I have not checked.

b) The only mention of IOUN stones, or any object resembling them, I've ever seen in the works of Jack Vance is in the story Fader's Waft, from the collection Rhialto the Marvellous, first published in 1984, so at least four years after they became an AD&D classic. By contrast, the story Morreion, which is the only one in that collection to have been published earlier (1973), does not mention them.

So what did I miss? --Svartalf (talk) 20:03, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't really know what to tell you... a reliable sources said that they came from Vance so that's what the article said. It's certainly possible that the source was in error. –Drilnoth (T • C • L) 20:10, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
If you call a Dragon article whose main import was to introduce even more Ioun Stone varieties in the games of those who had exhausted the charms of the classic kinds (since that's the only source quoted on the matter) a "reliable source" , I'll have to disagree. Plus I don't have that issue of Dragon handy... and the article isn't exactly available online either, which makes the source unverifiable, if it was not erroneous to start with. --Svartalf (talk) 20:42, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
Not being available online doesn't make a source unverifiable, just makes it a bit harder to get a look at. If I'd ever get my act in gear and reload my Dragon Archives CD-Rom on my newly repaired computer, I could take a look at the article in question and see what it actually says. BOZ (talk) 22:10, 6 May 2009 (UTC)
  • So I can't verify it myself, which is why I asked the question in the first place. But if I'm interested enough in that bit of trivia, I'm going to ask for more detailed answers than just "there's a reliable source that said so". I'm going to ask for details, and would definitely enjoy getting a copy-paste of it for my own information too. :) --Svartalf (talk) 18:52, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
If I can keep myself awake long enough to get it reinstalled tonight, I'll be glad to share; no promises though. :) BOZ (talk) 19:28, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
    • My profuse apologies to everyone. I did a countercheck, and noticed that during my recent rereading of Rhialto the Marvellous, I had somehow inverted the stories Fader's Waft and Morreion, thus inducing myself into mistake and perceiving a contradictioàn that does not in fact exist. Morreion is the story that speaks of IOUN stones, not the others, and is attested in 1973... so it is indeed the source of the magic item.

Please archive or delete this matter, and sorry for hogging attention through my own silliness. --Svartalf (talk) 22:23, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Happens to the best and the worst of us. ;) BOZ (talk) 23:05, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

Guess who actually went and installed the Dragon Archives CD-Rom finally! :) Here is the full passage from Dragon #174 (Oct 1991), page 90:

  • The idea and name for the ioun stone originally appeared in a series of books written by Jack Vance. Collectively, these works are referred to as the Dying Earth novels. They include: The Dying Earth, Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel’s Saga, and Rhialto the Marvelous. A related novel using the same setting and characters was written by Michael Shea, titled A Quest for Simbilis. I highly recommend these books as inspirational sources.
  • All of these works contain ideas that have been incorporated into the AD&D books, such as the wizard’s spell memorization system. In one of the newest novels, Rhialto the Marvelous, can be found a detailed description of where ioun stones originate, including the method in which they can be collected. All of this information is contained within the short story, “Morreion.”

BOZ (talk) 04:17, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Sources and influences on the development of Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Sources and influences on the development of Dungeons & Dragons's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "D&Dfaq":

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 17:33, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

I think I fixed that. 204.153.84.10 (talk) 22:40, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Barbarian Character Class[edit]

I believe the first sentence of this section, "The barbarian appeared as a class in AD&D's Unearthed Arcana" may be incorrect. The first time this class appeared was in a White Dwarf magazine. I forget the number, but it was back in the early 80's. Is anyone here, other than me, old enough to remember? Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 08:06, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

Per the Barbarian (Dungeons & Dragons) article, the official AD&D class first appeared in a Dragon article - although I couldn't tell you if an unofficial one appeared elsewhere, or if a barbarian class for a different game was introduced first. 24.148.0.83 (talk) 11:29, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I think you're right. Perhaps, however, the first line can be rephrased like this:
'The first official Barbarian character class appeared in AD&D's Unearthed Arcana.
What do you think? In any case, it is unlikely that I'll be able to dig up which issue of White Dwarf the unofficial version appeared in, unless one of my friends still has that issue locked up in the attic somewhere. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 18:35, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
Aha!! I just found confirmation that my memory is not so bad after all. Here is a link to a "Best of White Dwarf" (which is out of print) that mentions the Barbarian character class (as well as the somewhat slutty Houri character class). And I also found this, which is a "best of" WD from the first three years.
A second "Aha!!". Here is the link to issue #4 of WD. It contains a Barbarian character class for D&D (not AD&D). And it came out Dec./Jan., 1977. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 19:24, 27 July 2010 (UTC)
I modified the barbarian character class per above information. Please check it out and tell me what you all think. Thanks. Bill the Cat 7 (talk) 01:49, 28 July 2010 (UTC)