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I have just had the pleasure of reading Part II of your brief history of the early days of RPG. I thought I would fill in a little detail for you on the background of C&S to help you flesh out the account:

You are quite correct about C&S filling the detail of D&D. That was a deliberate intent on our part. The inspiration of the whole project was EPT. I had been playing D&D for about 9 months in 1975 when I got my hands on a copy of EPT. It proved to me what I had always suspected, that it was possible to set out an entire world. I also concluded that unless you had a fine ear for language and a great memory for detail that it would be very difficulty to GM a session of EPT.(This situation is now much improved with the two novels Barker wrote) The same serious treatment, however, I determined, could be achieved with the well known legends of Robin Hood and King Arthur. Everyone knows those stories so that GMing them would be a lot easier. The other game which influenced me personally was En Garde - where you actually had to play the social structure.

I had a long discussion with Ed Simbalist, who I had been playing D&D with for about 8 months, one May evening in 1976 and we decided that we would do a Medieval EPT/En Garde. While we conceptualized a theoretical kingdom we settled instead on Medieval France/England as our rule of thumb for the purpose of speeding up the design process.

We wrote an MSS in 6 week which was about 360 pages long.We self-published 40 copies of it under the title of Chevalier. It was our intent and our hope to sell our material to TSR as a sort of "Advanced" D&D. We traveled to GENCON for that purpose in August ''76. We never did show it to TSR because we took an instant dislike to Gygax and so sought out another publisher. It required us about 4 months to completely de-D&D our manuscript - it was during part of that process that we decided on the term "Game Master". The C&S 1st was published in the summer of 1977.

Your point about the sheer complexity of C&S 1st is well taken but it is not as complex as Ed's subsequent Space Opera- I, on the other hand, have ever since been an advocate for simpler systems. I developed my ideas in that direction with Mage (1980) and Warrior (1981) and most recently with the KISS D2 e-Book RPG a free PDF available at

C&S 3rd was an attempt to simplify which I carried further with my most recent contribution C&S Light.

Thank you for you kind remarks about what we did and did not achieve with our efforts in 1976 - I was asked one time about all of the innovations which could be traced to C&S and I completely forgot your point about "Game Master"

BTW I can tell you that e-book version C&S1, which will be called C&S Red Book, is already in the can and will be marketed by Gamestuff Inc in the near future. I have also just finished an e-book version of Mage and Warrior combined into one edition.

Wilf K. Backhaus

It's immensely flattering when those who made history tell you that you've got your history right. Wilf went on to tell us more about the origins of roleplaying - which we've included in our Once Upon A Time column this issue. And we will be incorporating both into the revised version of the history of roleplaying that we are working on.

I am an avid roleplayer from Brisbane, and I agree with what you are trying to do. I am sick to death of all this crap on the net about roleplaying, I am trying to stop the mindless destruction of simple gaming techniques and roleplaying. this is why I have created my own gaming system, with the hope of breaking away from these stagnant games that seem to be published every year with the intent of taking our money just to drown us in a deluge of crappy rules that promote power gaming and trashy adventures filled with stupid complex adventures bent on destroying the heart of all gamers.

Andrew Mischewski

Well, I'm not entirely sure we share exactly the same vision, Andrew, but we applaud your passion.

In the following article: The Search for a Definition By Gary Pellino (might be copyright 1998), a quote is mentioned:

A wise man once said: "Why is it, when we say a man has the mind of a child, we lock him up, yet children are allowed to roam free in the streets?".

Do you have a way to contact the author to learn the source of this quote? Thank you.
Jon Houge, California

Good question, and one I can't answer despite checking various quote sources. Can anyone help clear this up for us?

Hi. I really enjoy PTG, PTB, but I find plowing through all that HTML to be a pain. Have you ever considered releasing your publication in a easy-to-download .pdf version as well? Just a thought. Keep up the good work!

Bill Coffin, Palladium Books

Like so many other things, Bill, we've considered the idea and have plans to set it up one day. We'll let you know as soon as we get it done.

Dear Mr. Hately,
I read your article about Dallas Egbert, whom I knew when he was at Michigan State. I enjoyed it, and much appreciated the main point of the article, but unfortunately there are some inaccuracies in it, which I'm writing to correct. I'm only going to address the issues of which I have personal knowledge.

Dallas played D&D only rarely, by which I mean on the order of once or twice. He certainly never was a DM, despite the absurd title of Dear's ridiculous book. I and my friends were serious addicts of the game, and even went to play-sessions we had no character in...Dallas never developed that level of interest. (BTW I am now an enthusiastic GURPS player and GM, with a campaign that has been running since 1985 or so.)

LARPs, as far as I know, hadn't been invented in 1979 (unless you count the SCA and various war-reenactments).

"Steam Tunneling," which several of my friends engaged in, had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with D&D or any roleplaying game (not that there were many others then). It was just the thrill of sneaking around where they didn't belong, getting into buildings that were otherwise locked, and risking arrest (for trespassing). There may have been people who used it for burglary, but none of the Steam Tunnelers I knew ever did or advocated anything dishonest (e.g. stealing, changing grades etc.) or destructive. Dallas may have had strange delusions about it, but I can't speak to that.

"Tresling" wasn't so much a game of "chicken" as you suggest. The train trestle in East Lansing had a space under it where people could sit, and be terrified, but not particularly endangered, by passing trains. Back then people would do this while tripping their brains out on acid. The fact that they thought this was fun amazed me then, and amazes me now, but they weren't really in physical danger. (They could have had a mental breakdown, but that's a risk acid-heads seem willing to take, odd as it may seem to the rest of us.)

In my opinion, Dallas was unable to deal with a) being expected to suddenly be an adult, for which he was completely unprepared; b) the sudden availability of sex (and he did NOT inform the men he slept with of his age until after -- so one of them informed me later; keep in mind also that 18 is considered adulthood in most of the US, at least as regards sex, and Dallas could certainly pass for an 18-year-old college freshman); c) the sudden availability of drugs, which he indulged in heavily; and most especially d) the pressure from his parents to be perfect.

After Dallas was found, his parents kept him at home. I can imagine what their attitude toward their all-too-imperfect son must have been (I don't think they'd known he was gay, for example). It horrified, but did not surprise me, that he escaped this hell the only way he could think of.

You cover some of these points in your rather well-written article. I am concerned only to correct the small errors of fact, and to give a personal perspective. Those of us who knew Dallas were saddened by his disappearance, and even more saddened by his death, but as you say, D&D was not at fault.

PS. As a gay man I did not find anything you said about gay men, chickenhawks, or child molesters in any way offensive, or even inaccurate, except that chickenhawks, unlike child molesters, a) confine their attentions to boys (CMs often don't care) and b) like boys who are sexually mature but underage (CMs like preadolescents); they are legally similar but psychologically quite distinct. Your disclaimer was well-placed, but your apology was unneccessary, at least in my view.
Christopher Hatton, in Hoboken, NJ, USA

We'd like to express great thanks to Christopher for filling in the more precise details of this most important event in gaming history. Once again, it's great to get the history from those who were actually there.

I stumbled across PTG, PTB the other day looking for information on the whole Pat Pulling affair and was pleasantly surprised. Your history of role-playing was really superb, and having the link the Pulling Report gave me exactly what I was looking for (which so rarely happens...).

Anyway, I own a website that's in some ways similar (in that it has essays on gaming in general and how to do it well). The URL is, and if you'd like to take a look and consider mentioning the site in your Links section, I'd be greatly appreciative.

Thanks and keep up the great work!
"BlackHat" Matt McFarland

Glad we could point you to what you needed. Check the links page for more on Matt's site.


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