To those of us old enough to remember, there is little doubt the king of home video game consoles in the early 1980s was the Atari 2600. However, Atari had stiff competition from Mattel Electronics in the form of the Intellivision. First released to the public in 1979, the Intellivison console was perhaps ahead of its time. The Intellivision didn’t even have a proper joystick, something almost unheard of at the time, but came with controllers that used a directional pad and a numeral keyboard. Also, the Intellivision had far superior graphics to any other consoles available when it first hit stores, and it was the first home system to utilize a 16-bit processor.
More importantly, however, was the fact the Intellivision had some darn good games. One of those games was titled Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Mattel had received a license to make AD&D video games from TSR Inc., then the owners of all things D&D, and Mattel wasted little time in bringing such games to the public. The first console game, of course, was titled Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, which would be renamed a year later to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain when a sequel game was released.
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Lenard Lakofka has passed away. Lakofka was one of the early figures in the history of Dungeons and Dragons. He was President of the International Federation of Wargamers when it worked with Gary Gygax to host the very first GenCon.
He began play testing the developing Dungeons and Dragons, providing input to Gygax. He created his home campaign, set in the Lendore Isles. His character, Leomund, is a well-known name in D&D history.
He wrote articles on D&D for his own magazine; many of which were reprinted in the new Dragon magazine. He edited, and contributed to, the core Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D) books. Then things really began to pick up. In 1979, at the first official AD&D tournament, he finished second and TSR paid him $10,000 to write three modules. He was also given a regular column in Dragon – Leomund’s Tiny Hut.
Those modules had an interesting history. L1 – The Secret of Bone Hill, was the first official module written by a non-TSR employee. And it was based on his own Lendore setting. It was included in the World of Greyhawk, but it was the first setting not developed by Gygax. At the time, Lendore Isle, and the village of Restenford, was the only official campaign setting other than Gygax’ famous village of Hommlet.
Bone Hill is second-level, which meant the Dungeon Master had to come up with something for a first-level party, consistent with this new non-Greyhawk environ. It has some relatively tough monsters, with more maps than was standard in the day. Bone Hill leaves a lot of room for the DM to create motivations and adventure lines. I was 14 back when it came out, and I would have been overwhelmed as a novice DM.
TSR employee Kevin Hendryx was editing Bone Hill, and he created a lizard-man encounter. Lakofka asked that it be removed, and Hendryx began developing it into a full-blown adventure. There was even a cover developed. But Hendryx was sacked during the famous 1981 TSR purge. Douglas Niles took the existing material and turned into N1 – Against the Cult of the Reptile God, which is one of the most popular modules of all time.
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I was introduced to roleplaying in as a teenager in the early 90’s, and the game that did it was 2nd edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D). However, I’ve never had a real strong sense of nostalgia, so years ago – when I switched over to D&D 3rd edition – I got rid of my old 2nd edition books.
Since then, I’ve occasionally missed the streamlined simplicity of 2nd edition and lamented the loss of these books.
So imagine my pleasure when I received a package yesterday from Wizards of the Coast containing review copies of the three core 2nd edition rulebooks, repackaged and re-released for a new generation:
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