Dungeons & Dragons in Games Workshop’s Owl and Weasel (1975)

Owl & Weasel #5 June 1975-1

Owl and Weasel (February 1975 to April 1977) was the first Games Workshop newsletter, eventually becoming White Dwarf in 1977. The snippet above, from Owl and Weasel #5 (June, 1975), is probably the first time GW co-founder Steve Jackson mentions D&D in print. He hasn’t even played the game yet, but “watched one in progress the other week at the City University Games Club…”

The very next issue, Owl and Weasel #6 (July, 1975), is a “Special Issue” dedicated to Dungeons & Dragons, described as “a sort of free-form fantasy game.” Jackson delves into the game mechanics as he outlines his party’s adventure, and touches on the novelties of the game: “It is non-competitive in that each player is simply trying to further the development of his own character…”; “The beauty of the game is that any decisions made by any of the players can be incorporated…”

Owl & Weasel #6 July 1975-1

Owl & Weasel #6 July 1975-2

Owl & Weasel #6 July 1975-3

The last page advertises TSR products that GW hasn’t even received yet. The board game Dungeon! hasn’t been released, and it costs more than the D&D set. $10.00 in 1974/1975 is the equivalent of $50.00 today—a lot of money, as Jackson notes in the article. And that’s not including shipping and handling. After meeting Jackson and Ian Livingstone at Gen Con IX (1976), Gary Gygax granted Games Workshop exclusive rights to distribute D&D products in the UK. (Jackson talks about the early days of GW at a 2013 interview at The Register.)

We have Timothy Brannan at The Other Side to thank for the scans, and he has lots more selections from Owl and Weasel to peruse. Brannan is a RPG writer who specializes in the horror genre. Check out his books here.

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