Monday, July 18, 2011

Ryth Chronicle Cover-to-Cover #2

Player Activity Record

                                            Player Activity Record

The topic for this post is the initial Player Activity Record, compiled from the "archives" of the first nine months of the campaign. At this point, participants are identified by player name, not character name (this changes later on.)

The first thing to notice, of course, is that 23 players are listed! This includes John and Len---since both were DMing, both also got to play. The top paragraph gives a peek at what the tone of the whole campaign will be like:

This is the first report of the D&D campaign along the Ryth, published as a public service by the Yggdrasill papermill, and compiled by John Van De Graaf from the recent archives of Rythlondar. Please report any inaccuracies to your friendly referee so that he can feed you to a ravenous purple worm, thereby cleansing his records.

I doubt anyone in the hobby at this time was taking themselves too seriously...though they were very obviously having fun!

Even though nine sessions are notated (third week in Nov. of '74 - the third week of March '75), November has no details (I'm assuming that covered expedition A), so it really starts with Session 2 (game week 3). It looks like the "campaign time scale" mentioned on the first page was decided upon: one actual week = one game week.

Some quick math yields the following tally:

  • Eight expeditions over 17 weeks of real/game time
  • Several weeks had two adventures going on
  • Total fatalities: 21
  • Highest XP total: Two characters in Expedition B received 4999 XP!
  • Lowest XP total: One character in Expedition M received only 115 XP (though it looks like he collected 360 GP, so I'm not sure what happened there...)
  • Highest GP total: 1462, in Expedition E
  • Lowest GP total: Three characters in Expedition C walked out with only 26 GP.
Interesting here is the overall low GP totals. I'm assuming it's for total treasure gained, though I guess that could be  wrong. It looks to me like the vast majority of XP in these first expeditions were gained by killing ye olde monsters, especially given some further rules clarifications on the next page (covered in the next installment!)

Current Questions for John and Len

  1. How were you determining treasure amounts?
  2. How much experience were you giving for monsters killed?
  3. Do you remember what date you bought the White Box?
I ask the last question in particular, because the closest to exact publishing date I can find for the White Box is Gen Con, 1974. Assuming Gen Con has always been in the summer (which may not be the case), that means the Ryth Chronicle began only (approx.) three months after the game was published...


  1. White Box? Aaron that's impossible. The White Box wasn't available until mid to late 1975. (The Aceaum info is not clear on when) Ryth Chronical had to be run on a Woodgrain set, prolly first or second print. First print was Jan of '74 (again according to the Aceaum but has to be about right).

  2. Okay, sorry, misspoke. I meant first printing, which is of course woodgrain. I sometimes forget about that... :) Thank you for the correction!

    SO, assuming they were using a first printing or second printing (which they must have had, to begin playing in '74), the Ryth Chronicle was more likely to have begun somewhere around 10 months in--still within the first year of the game's existence. Hopefully Len or John will straighten me out here...

  3. The answer to #3 is sort of implied in

    We started our D&D campaign from the first 3 thin rule booklets of the original D&D that Gary and his wife brought to sell at one of our Michicon conventions. The first edition was hot off the presses and the Gygax’s were going around to all the local gaming conventions in the Midwest to sell their new game system.

    Nailing it down more precisely that that requires John and Len's input. I did give them a heads up that that you had another post waiting for them. :)

  4. Ah, yes, I had forgotten that, too (maybe I should get some more sleep...) Thanks!

  5. You fiend! You're doing what I had been intending on doing last year, before Real Life took over. Aarrrgh!

    (um, keep doing it - this is cool)

  6. What can I say, but the dream-surveillance I've been doing of your somnolent imaginarium finally paid off!

    Victor, my friend, I'd like your insights, too, so don't be shy...

  7. Len's answers posted here:

    (He still seems to be having difficulty commenting at this site)

  8. Hm, I wonder what's with the difficulties. Grognard also seemed to have some difficulties on others. Cheers!

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