02 April 2014

B is for Bob


. . . .and not just any Bob but Bob Bledsaw!

One of the most heated debates in the OSR is who the true Father of Dungeons and Dragons truly is. Is it Gygax or Arneson? The thing that always disturbs me about this is that Bledsaw gets ignored quite a bit it seems. I realize, of course, that he's not in the running for Father, but (no offense to Rob or Ernie or Luke) I feel he deserves the title  First Son of Role-playing. Why, you ask?

1975, not long after D&D was released, Bledsaw created the Judges Guild. Now, that doesn't seem like a lot today with all the gaming companies out there in the wake of the OGL, but at the time, it was revolutionary. He was a man of vision. Judges Guild received permission from TSR to put out adventures and other supplements for D&D. TSR would not put out an adventure module until 1978! Even then, if reports are to be believed from those in the know, Gary was somewhat bewildered as to why people would want to use prepared adventures rather than create their own.

Another good thing was that JG added some organization to the mess. If one plays 0E today, there is no resource more valuable than JG's Ready Ref Sheets. Some collected charts, sure, but the majority was new material for the Judge to use in making his campaign come to life. And the adventures, maps, and settings! Wilderlands, the City-State, Thracia, Duck Tower! Both Kevin Siembieda and Jennell Jacquays started out with JG as well. Imagine what we would have lost without Bledsaw. Don't get me wrong; I love me some Hommlett and some B2. But JG's adventures are somehow better. Much as I love Gary, part of the creativity was channeled into balance and polish leading to what WOTC and Hasbro have become--souless.

And, as an aside, CSIO is coming back. Please support the Kickstarter here.

Until tomorrow, gentle readers, dream of troublesome strumpets in the City-State!
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