Tolkien References in OD&D

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Havard
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Tolkien References in OD&D

Post by Havard » Mon Nov 23, 2015 3:09 pm

How many Middle Earth terms existed in OD&D before they had to be removed by after the lawsuit from the Tolkien estate?

I find it interesting that The First Fantasy Campaign (by Judges Guild) still used many of these terms in 1976...

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Re: Tolkien References in OD&D

Post by finarvyn » Tue Nov 24, 2015 6:54 pm

The thing is, the Tolkien references are greatly overblown. Folks who haven't seen the early printings often seem to think that the LBB were just chock full of Tolkien stuff, but they weren't. There was the balrog in the monster listing and one of the illustrations was listed as a nazgul, but overall things didn't change that much from the 4th to 5th printing. Ents became trents and hobbits became halflings. Most of the other stuff was "generic" enough that it didn't require any changes.

I think that the Tolkien influence comes from some of the big ideas, such as the way that elves weren't quite the fairies that they were back in the Chainmail days. Dwarves weren't quite Disney and weren't really Nordic, so I suppose they seemed Tolkien-like. Overall the boxed set has a generic fantasy feel and not a specific author, even before the Tolkien-isms were purged. And a lot of the Tolkien feel was really a matter of the game master running the campaign.
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Re: Tolkien References in OD&D

Post by Havard » Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:27 pm

Thanks!

I guess the discussion of Tolkien's influence on D&D is a pretty huge topic.

But right now I am mainly looking for specific names and terms lifted from Tolkien. To summarize, I can see the following:

ORIGINAL | NAME CHANGE Hobbit | Halfling Ent | Treant Balrog | Demon Type IV Nazgul (Illustration only) | Removed Wraith* | No change required Orc* | No change required Wight* | No change required


*=The following were not copyrighted by Tolkien, but it seems pretty likely this is where the designers got them from.

Does this look right?

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Re: Tolkien References in OD&D

Post by Falconer » Fri Jan 01, 2016 10:07 pm

Balrogs were in OD&D. Then Eldritch Wizardry added Type I through V demons, it also included a new writeup for the Balrog and called it a Type VI Demon (but also called it a Balrog in the illustration on page 3). As part of the whole de-Tolkienizing process, Balrogs were dropped completely from OD&D, and EW was kept as-is except the word Balrog was removed.

In Chainmail, wraiths were identified as Nazgûl. OD&D added spectres, and Nazgûl were now identified with them. I.e., they are present in more than just in the illustration.

Also, rocs are identified as the Eagles of Tolkein [sic.].

Also, D&D Ogres = Tolkien Trolls, but I don’t remember if this is stated in OD&D or only in Chainmail.
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