Monday, October 24, 2016

The First D&D Hack Was By A Woman Named Cookie

Clicking enlarges it
The DIY D&D community spends a lot of time hacking D&D. One might well ask how this all started--who was the first person to both love this game and be disappointed in it? And what were they disappointed with? What did they add?

You might be forgiven for assuming the dissatisfaction came a month or two after the publication of the original D&D books, in some fanzine or other, or--more likely--at one of the tables of one of the first DMs to play. But no--Gary's published vision of D&D was actually hacked the moment it was published:

On page 27 of the first D&D book's first volume there appears an illustration of two creatures--"Beautiful Witch" (left) and "Amazon" (right)--drawn by one Cookie Corey.

They, are, true to that volume's subtitle ("Men & Magic") not described anywhere in the text. The image therefore represents not only the first work done by a woman in RPGs and the first female characters published in an RPG but also the first hack of an RPG. And a pretty good hack, too
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Matt said...

As I recall, TSR's first official mention of female PCs was Len Lakofka's "female" class in an early Dragon. It was as terrible as you'd expect, with females having Beauty instead of Charisma and all sorts of other nonsense.

But Cookie's contribution wasn't unusual. Darlene Pekul -- who drew the infamous cowering succubus in the 1st edition DMG -- was also involved with gaming from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Few players invest in "Detect subtlety".

I prefer player skill on this one.

James Mishler said...

If there had been a third female art piece, "Warrior Nun," perhaps, the three together would have provided an entire alt-class spectrum for the human male-oriented assumptions then extant... or simply shown what female characters would look like, depending on your point of view.

Would it be necessary that "Amazon," "Witch," and "Nun" be alternate character classes from "Fighting-Man," "Magic-user," and "Cleric"? Back in the day... hmmm... as was mentioned, Lakofka did the "Notes on Women and Magic" article not that long after (Oct '76). And not too long after the "Thief" class appeared, so too appeared the "Houri" class in White Dwarf (#13, June/July 1979, the same issue that the "Catatonic Control" spell appeared).

BTW, the "Catatonic Control" spell you posted about back in 2011 is based on the death of Bunda Chan the King of Vendhya, in "The People of the Black Circle," a Conan story by REH.

s7610ra said...

Why are we still assuming that females need separate classes? Surely Cookie simply assumed, like any sensible women's libber of the 70s that a woman can be a fighting-man, and they'd call themselves an Amazon or somesuch, ditto Witch..

Zak Sabbath said...

"Fighter" casts no such shadow, but "Fighting man" could suggest to a reasonable person in any era, that a man is meant.
And "Men and Magic" definitely does.
When dealing with an audience that could extend to 10-year olds, I think there is a very good case that clear language matters and affects peoples' choices.

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