Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Gary Gygax's original D&D world, where Dungeons & Dragons came to life in the greatest show on Oerth!
The Book-House: Find Greyhawk products.

Moderators: Cthulhudrew, OldDawg

Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby Angel Tarragon » Thu May 18, 2017 1:33 pm

A friend posted this on Facebook, so I thought I would re-share it here.

From Ernest Gary Gygax Jr., about the first D&D magic user: Tenser was the first magic user ever in Greyhawk. No books or previous experience existed. The first spell I took was a Read Magic and I used it to read the glyphs above a stairway leading down (level 1 to 2). It told us (Rob, Terry and I) that as you descend into the depths of the Dungeon the encounters will be more difficult but the rewards far grander. At 3rd level when facing off with an Evil 5th level mage I asked to join him and turn to Evil with him. He laughed stripped me naked and released me on the 3rd level to die. I made it to the surface. Took a rock in hand and set an ambush on another low level wandering mage. This stocked me with a new outfit, but I truly missed my now missing paralyzation wand. Well two levels later I ran into that fellow with my wand again (random wandering encounter table, then a 1 in 6 chance that it would be him andd not another adventurer). Now I had an Elf and a Dwarf and a fireball wand. He had 3 men at arms and 2 first level apprentices. A Mexican standoff occurred. I said and meant it that I would incinerate us all! My followers made the morale throws,his Evil dudes ran. I captured him and then thought of my situation and so I then killed him so that he could never get revenge as I had. I was always the mapper and would jump into hand to hand if I had no useful spell to throw (Tensers Transformation was created not by me but because of my actions). ALL my characters love magic items and will risk everything to gain them. I only much later turned to Goodness due to an Artifact that to wear and use one must be either Good or Evil (Magic Users Crown). I was the first to hire people to be permanent followers and later when I became 11th level and built a Castle Dad had my followers roll for like/antipathy with each other. So of my 8 level follows only 4 would leave Greyhawk to live with me. The others went off to join Rob and Terry (more of Dads cheating methods to keep game balance instead of allowing me the true dominance my character had so worked for. I was always a fair fellow to my other adventurers (although I would work hard to gain all great items if possible without duress or cheating) and my NPC's not only gained levels but many cool items and were truly treated as family.
User avatar
Angel Tarragon
Dawn Dragon
 
Posts: 7937
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:39 am
Location: Castrovel

Re: Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby Havard » Thu May 18, 2017 4:02 pm

Nice story. Tenser is a legendary character for sure. However, I think referring to him as the first D&D magic user is problematic at best. The Blackmoor campaign had several magic users before Greyhawk was created. The Wizard of the Woods, played by the late Pete Gaylord is probably the best candidate for that title.

It is fascinating to hear stories about the early Greyhawk campaign though. I know far less about that than about the Blackmoor campaign.

-Havard

The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 16902
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby Angel Tarragon » Thu May 18, 2017 4:36 pm

Havard wrote:However, I think referring to him as the first D&D magic user is problematic at best.
I think the implication is that Tenser was the first ever magic-user character in Greyhawk...not necessarily the first magic-user ever.
User avatar
Angel Tarragon
Dawn Dragon
 
Posts: 7937
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 2:39 am
Location: Castrovel

Re: Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby Havard » Thu May 18, 2017 4:53 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:
Havard wrote:However, I think referring to him as the first D&D magic user is problematic at best.
I think the implication is that Tenser was the first ever magic-user character in Greyhawk...not necessarily the first magic-user ever.



Yep. the story is fine. It was your title that confused me :)

-Havard

The Comeback Inn - My Blackmoor Forum
The Blackmoor Blog
My Articles at the Vaults of Pandius
Moderator of the Mystara, Blackmoor and Thunder Rift forums.
My moderator voice is
GREEN.
User avatar
Havard
Dragon Turtle
 
Posts: 16902
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 7:32 pm
Location: Norway

Re: Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby Hugin » Thu May 18, 2017 9:26 pm

Cool little story. I have known that the "Tenser's..." spells were based on a character from a game at some point but didn't know any more than that. I love reading these story's from the game's earliest eras.

Thanks for sharing, AT!
User avatar
Hugin
Green Dragon
 
Posts: 3865
Joined: Thu May 22, 2008 9:40 pm
Location: Fergus, Ontario

Re: Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby ripvanwormer » Thu May 18, 2017 9:50 pm

Havard wrote:The Blackmoor campaign had several magic users before Greyhawk was created. The Wizard of the Woods, played by the late Pete Gaylord is probably the best candidate for that title.

Of course, the game wasn't yet known as D&D then. The Wizard of the Woods might be thought of as a proto-D&D magic user.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2929
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby Big Mac » Fri May 19, 2017 12:18 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:
Havard wrote:However, I think referring to him as the first D&D magic user is problematic at best.
I think the implication is that Tenser was the first ever magic-user character in Greyhawk...not necessarily the first magic-user ever.


I wonder if anyone has a full list of player characters that were converted to D&D NPCs...along with the campaign settings they were played in (and made part of).
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
 
Posts: 21149
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Location: London UK

Re: Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby Big Mac » Fri May 19, 2017 12:25 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Havard wrote:The Blackmoor campaign had several magic users before Greyhawk was created. The Wizard of the Woods, played by the late Pete Gaylord is probably the best candidate for that title.

Of course, the game wasn't yet known as D&D then. The Wizard of the Woods might be thought of as a proto-D&D magic user.


That sounds like application of the "chicken and the egg" question to early D&D player characters. :)

Do we go on the date a character was created or the date it was given D&D stats?

And do we go with the date a campaign setting was created or the date it was first published as a D&D setting?

Maybe one of Ed Greenwood's pre-Forgotten Realms short stories contains a Forgotten Realms magic user that was created before both Greyhawk and Blackmoor. :twisted:
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
 
Posts: 21149
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Location: London UK

Re: Tenser: The first D&D magic-user

Postby willpell » Fri May 19, 2017 5:14 pm

I'd love to hear more of these kinds of stories about the iconics of Greyhawk, notably the wizards who have spells named after them. I'm particularly interested in hearing about how the spells themselves were first codified - when they were first inventing the very beginnings of a fantasy setting that included magic, how did Dave and Gary and other early GMs decide what would and wouldn't work for something that, by definition, had no restrictions other than the arbitrary limits that the GM placed on it?
User avatar
willpell
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2582
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm


Return to Greyhawk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests