Excerpts Archive | 10/31/2013
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OD&D Excerpts
Book VI: Eldritch Wizardry

T he original Dungeons & Dragons game, published in 1974 and aimed at wargamers and medieval fantasy enthusiasts, created an entire industry of roleplaying games, as well as legions of D&D fans worldwide. It included three small rules booklets in a white box.

On November 19th, the deluxe reprint version of Original Dungeons & Dragons releases, which includes seven booklets (the first three rules booklets and four supplements) and dice within an engraved and illustrated wooden storage case.


The Supplements

Following the publication of OD&D's first three booklets, a number of supplements were to follow. The third of which, Eldritch Wizardry, began with the following:

"This book also represents a new trend in the fine art of Dungeon Mastering. As originally conceived, D&D was limited in scope only by the imagination and devotion of Dungeon Masters everywhere. The supplements have fulfilled the need for fresh ideas and additional stimulation. But somewhere along the line, D&D lost some of its flavor, and began to become predictable. This came about as a result of the proliferation of rule sets; while this was great for us as a company, it was tough on the DM. When all the players had all of the rules in front of them, it became next to impossible to beguile them into danger or mischief."

In today's preview, we consider just a few of the details that stood out within Book VI: Eldritch Wizardry, as well as preview the new cover art. However, let's first look at the foreword to the book, as written by Timothy Kask.

Eldritch Wizardry Foreword (24 Kbs PDF)

Book VI: Eldritch Wizardry

As far as the supplements go, this was certainly a powerhouse. Not only did it introduce the entire system of psionics ("and in so doing recognizes one of the favorite topics of science fiction and fantasy writers: the unknown powers of the mind"), but also such new monsters as demons and devils, as well as artifacts and relics.

Among these new treasures, we find the Mighty Servant of Leuk-O—with a description that differed ever slightly with its Dungeon Masters Guide version:

This relic of a visiting race of space travelers is a towering automaton of metal, crystal and some fibrous material of unknown origins. Given the proper commands it can perform as a fighting machine, mode of transportation or method of magical attack. It is nine feet tall, six feet wide and four feet thick, which makes it readily apparent to any viewer and causes intel¬ligent creatures to make a saving throw for fear (the viewer gets a +2 on his die roll however). It is reportedly armor class –5 and can repair itself at 2 points per turn even while otherwise occupied. It can withstand up to 50 hit points and is totally magic resistant. Heat, cold, acid and various other conditions have no effect on it, but lightning will do one point of damage per die that the bolt is worth. Weapons (even of magical nature) will only do one half of their normal damage to the servant. It is very slow and moves only 3” per turn and strikes but once per turn. It has only a 15% chance to hit an opponent (only 5% if the opponent has a dexterity of 15 or more), but if it hits, the opponent will suffer 10–100 points of damage.

Artifacts and relics also conveyed suggested powers; for the Might Servant, these would be:

Table I: Levitation, Light.
Table II: Sleep (also affects up to one creature of any level) three times per day.
Table III: This artifact compels the user to go on a holy quest. As soon as the user fulfills a quest, he is immediately sent on yet another quest.
Table IV: User becomes permanently chaotic.

For today, let's end with a look at how the cover art for the book has been reimagined (the original cover art being slightly risqué).

Bart Carroll
Bart Carroll has been a part of Wizards of the Coast since 2004, and a D&D player since 1980 (and has fond memories of coloring the illustrations in his 1st Edition Monster Manual). He currently works as producer for the D&D website. You can find him on Twitter (@bart_carroll) and at bartjcarroll.com.

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