Greyhawk (supplement)

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Dungeons & Dragons Supplement I: Greyhawk
Greyhawk Supplement 1975.jpg
The original Greyhawk booklet by Gygax and Kuntz
AuthorsGary Gygax
Robert J. Kuntz
GenreRole-playing game
PublisherTSR, Inc.
Publication date

Greyhawk is a supplementary rulebook written by Gary Gygax and Robert J. Kuntz for the original edition of the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) fantasy role-playing game. It has been called "the first and most important supplement" to the original D&D rules. Although the name of the book was taken from the home campaign supervised by Gygax and Kuntz based on Gygax's imagined Castle Greyhawk and the lands surrounding it, Greyhawk did not give any details of the castle or the campaign world; instead, it explained the rules that Gygax and Kuntz used in their home campaign, and introduced a number of character classes, spells, concepts and monsters used in all subsequent editions of D&D.


The original rules for Dungeons & Dragons were published by TSR in 1974, but were limited in scope: the character classes and monsters listed were small in number; and for combat rules, players needed to have a copy of Chainmail, a rulebook for miniatures wargames published by Guidon Games in 1971. Over the next two years, TSR bolstered the original rules with five supplemental books. Greyhawk was the first of these supplements, named after Gary Gygax's home campaign.

The 2004 publication 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons suggested that details of Gygax's Greyhawk campaign were published in this booklet.[1] However Gygax had no plans in 1975 to publish details of the Greyhawk world, since he believed that new players of Dungeons & Dragons would rather create their own worlds than use someone else's.[2] In addition, he did not want to publish all the material he had created for his players; he thought he would be unlikely to recoup a fair investment for the thousands of hours he had spent on it, and since his secrets would be revealed to his players, he would be forced to recreate a new world for them afterward.[3] In fact the only two references to the Greyhawk campaign were an illustration of a large stone head in a dungeon corridor titled The Great Stone Face, Enigma of Greyhawk and mention of a fountain on the second level of the dungeons that continuously issued an endless number of snakes.

Greyhawk instead focused on new game rules that had been developed by Gygax and Kuntz during long hours of home play. The 68-page supplement also introduced new character classes (thief and paladin),[4][5] as well as new combat rules, spells, monsters, and treasures.[4] Greyhawk included new rules on weapon damage varying by weapon. The supplement added new treasure and magic items, and new spells, including 7th, 8th, and 9th level spells. The supplement also included a section on monsters, introducing the lizard men, beholders, displacer beasts, blink dogs, carrion crawlers, and many others.[4]

Publication history[edit]

Greyhawk was already in process at the time of TSR co-founder Don Kaye's death in January 1975, and was published in early March.[6]: 7  [7]: 502  It was designated Supplement I and given a product designation of TSR 2003.[8] Many of the new rules presented in the supplement eventually became standard parts of the AD&D game. A second supplement, Blackmoor, followed later the same year.

Illustrations for the supplement were provided by Greg Bell,[9]: 39  who had previously met Gygax while playing wargames, and had already provided some illustrations for the original Dungeons & Dragons boxed set. Gygax often contacted Bell at the last minute for artwork; as a result, Bell sometimes responded by copying figures from the pages of comic books. His illustration of a sword-wielding warrior on the cover of the Greyhawk supplement is a copy of "Dax the Damned" by Esteban Maroto from a 1974 issue of Eerie.[9]

Judges Guild's Ready Ref Sheets (1977) collected together 20 pages of charts from the original D&D box, Chainmail, and Greyhawk.[6]: 66  Material from Greyhawk, along with the original D&D and the Blackmoor and Eldritch Wizardry supplements, was revised for J. Eric Holmes' Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977).[6]: 10 

In 2013, the Greyhawk supplement was reproduced as a premium reprint of the original "White Box" D&D rules. Each booklet features new cover art but otherwise is a faithful reproduction of the original.[10]


Lawrence Schick, in his 1991 book Heroic Worlds, calls Greyhawk "The first and most important supplement to Original D&D".[4]

Shannon Appelcline, in his 2011 book Designers & Dragons, considers Greyhawk an "innovation" because at the time "supplements were largely unheard of in the wargaming industry. Though games were frequently revised and reprinted, continually expanding a game was something new."[6]: 7 

Journalist David M. Ewalt wrote that the supplement helped dungeon masters to learn how to create adventures through examples, bridging "the gap between players who leared the game at Gary's table and those who picked it up in a hobby store." Ewalt valued that Greyhawk showed that Dungeons & Dragons was meant to be adapted and evolved by the players beyond the original rules to make it most suitable for each individual gaming group.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 30 Years of Adventure: A Celebration of Dungeons & Dragons. Renton, Washington: Wizards of the Coast. 2004. p. 55. ISBN 0-7869-3498-0.
  2. ^ Gygax: "When I initially began creating adventure material I assumed that the GMs utilizing the work would prefer substance without window dressing, the latter being properly the realm of the GM so as to suit the campaign world and player group." "Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part XII, Page 40)". EN World. 2007-03-28. Archived from the original on 2012-10-04. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  3. ^ Gygax: "As I was running a game with a large number of players involved, I really didn't want to supply them with the whole world on a platter." "Gary Gygax: Q & A (Part IV, Page 11)". EN World. 2003-11-05. Archived from the original on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  4. ^ a b c d Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Prometheus Books. p. 143. ISBN 0-87975-653-5.
  5. ^ "Original D&D Supplements". The Acaeum. Retrieved 2009-01-17.
  6. ^ a b c d Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  7. ^ Peterson, Jon (2012). Playing at the World: A History of Simulating Wars, People and Fantastic Adventures, from Chess to Role-playing Games. San Diego, CA: Unreason Press. ISBN 978-0615642048.
  8. ^ "The History of TSR". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2005-08-20.
  9. ^ a b Witwer, Michael; Newman, Kyle; Witwer, Sam (2018). Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History. Ten Speed Press. ISBN 9780399580949.
  10. ^ "Original Dungeons & Dragons RPG". Wizards of the Coast. Archived from the original on February 22, 2013. Retrieved June 24, 2013.
  11. ^ Ewalt, David M. (2013). Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It. Scribner. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-4516-4052-6.

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