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The Collector's Trove Presents: Michael Mornard Collection

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The Collector's Trove

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:15 pm    Post subject: The Collector's Trove Presents: Michael Mornard Collection Reply with quote

The Collector's Trove Presents: Michael Mornard Collection

Howdy Folks,

The Collector's Trove Presents: The Michael Mornard Collection! Another fine auction from The Collector's Trove, featuring the collections of past TSR employees, creators of Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

The Collector's Trove has been authorized to auction this and several other items from the collection of Michael Mornard. These items were acquired during the last 37 years of Michael's involvement with miniature wargames, roleplaying games, strategy games, and board games, several years of that time spent gaming with Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the co-creators of Dungeons and Dragons, and M.A.R. Barker, the creator of Tekumel.

Each numbered lot comes with its own unique Letter of Authentication personally signed by Michael Mornard.

Michael first became involved in wargaming back in early 1972. While in boy scouts a friend of his invited him to join a tabletop battle game at Don Kaye's house. That Saturday they played Chainmail on Gary Gygax's original sand table that had been moved from 330 Center St. into Don's garage. Michael recalls having his heavy foot charge a line of arquebusiers, taking heavy casualties but making all of his morale checks, and smashing the enemy formation. He was hooked!

By the time GenCon IV rolled around in August of 1972, Michael was an avid gamer. He recalls, "It blew my mind that there were over one hundred people playing wargames in one place at the same time."

Then, some time in late 1972, while outside of Don Kaye's garage, one of the other players, Rob Kuntz, mentioned that Gary Gygax had a new game called Greyhawk. He explained, "You’re a bunch of guys exploring an old abandoned wizard's castle." To which Don Kaye replied, scowling, "That doesn't sound like much fun." Eventually, Gary showed up at Don's garage where he ground out his cigarette butts into the sand table as he talked and answered questions. He then invited Michael to join the group playing Greyhawk.

Michael showed up at 330 Center St., where he met with Gary and Ernie Gygax and Rob Kuntz. They set up in the corner study of the house and drank refreshments from old peanut butter jars. Michael rolled up his first character, rolling a 15 strength and a 15 intelligence. He chose the character to be a fighting-man and named him Gronan of Simmerya, as the collection of Conan short stories of nearly the same name had just recently been published. (Michael notes it was one of the few fantasy titles available to him at the time.) At the end of the adventure Gronan was still alive. According to Michael he had no idea what he was doing but said, "It sure was cool!"

After Gronan had gained some levels, Michael had the opportunity to play solo with Gary acting as Dungeon Master. Wanting to try his hand with a spell caster, Michael rolled up his second character, an unnamed 1st level magic-user, to go adventuring beneath the ruins of Greyhawk Castle. At one point the lone magic-user became lost and stopped in a dead end. As he turned he discovered he was trapped by a wandering 5th level fighting-man - he was a goner! As luck would have it, the magic-user, later named Lessnard by Gary, had but one spell memorized: charm person. He managed to get the spell off and the fighting-man failed his save. Now Lessnard had his own bodyguard and was able to escape to the surface. A remarkable feat for a 1st level magic-user!

Later in 1973, in Michael's last semester of high school, Lessnard returned to adventure beneath the ruins of Grehawk Castle. Again Gary acted as Dungeon Master but this time Lessnard brought along three lackeys: Crum, a Veteran, St Cuthbert, and Acolyte, and Flopspell, a Medium. Their adventure led them through a one way secret door, trapping them on a deep level of Greyhawk Castle. As the foursome desperately sought a way back to the surface their numbers dwindled, first losing St. Cuthburt and, second, Crum. In a series of amusing moments (for Gary), Flopspell tried to get the upper hand on Lessnard. Despite the traitorous acts the two make it back to the surface. The adventure so amused Gary that he immortalized the story as The Magician's Ring on the pages of Wargamer's Digest in June of 1975.

After Michael started his Fall semester at University of Minnesota in 1973, he was invited to play in Dave Arneson's campaign. While he had originally met Dave at Gen Con in 1972, he did not start playing in Dave's campaign until attending school in Minneapolis. It was thus Gronan of Simmerya was transported to Blackmoor for the first time. The character subsequently made many more appearances in both Greyhawk and Blackmoor over the years, rubbing elbows with the characters of Ernie Gygax, Rob and Terry Kuntz, Tom Champeny, and Bill Corey from Gary's campaign and Greg Svenson, Dave Wesley, Richard and John Snider, and Bob Meyer from Dave's campaign. While most of his play was with Dave in 1973 to 1975, Michael occasionally returned to Lake Geneva for a game with Gary.

As Michael played D&D and corresponded with Gary and Rob, he brought his great love of Medieval arms to the game, possibly influencing Rob, who influenced Gary, to introduce variable weapon damage in Supplement I: Greyhawk. He also introduced the giant slug into his own D&D game and eventually to the published game, having been influenced by it's appearance in a Conan short story The Hall of the Dead by Robert E. Howard.

During his college days Michael was a member of the University of Minneapolis Conflict Simulation Association, a wargaming club that played D&D, among other games. The faculty advisor for this club was none other than Professor Phil Barker. The good professor had long been developing his Far-East/Far-Future world of Tekumel and its languages. Michael introduced Prof. Barker to D&D in 1974 and eventually to Gary Gygax and TSR. This would ultimately result in TSR's publication of Tekumel as a D&D world but first, Professor Barker needed to find someone who could illustrate the manuscript. Again, Michael was the touchstone. Through the Society for Creative Anachronism he met Dave Sutherland III. Dave had observed a female SCA member trying, with difficulty, to draw some weird sci-fi creatures. Dave knew he could do better. So Michael arranged a meeting between Dave and Prof. Barker. The meeting went smashingly well and Dave was hired to do the work. Of course, Dave ended up working for TSR as their first staff artist in 1976.

Carpooling and bussing back and forth from Lake Geneva to Minneapolis, Michael not only played in Gary, Dave, and Phil's campaigns, he made important connections between three brilliant minds and three worlds of imagination. So too he made the connection between Dave Sutherland III, Tekumel, and D&D. What would TSR and D&D have been like if it weren’t for Michael? Different indeed.

Thankfully, he did make those connections and D&D ended up becoming everything we love about the game. Despite not ever having worked for TSR, Michael's influence on the games we love cannot be denied. Quite a legacy!

Now you have the opportunity to be a curator of a portion of this legacy! I look forward to seeing your bids!

The auction was posted, Sunday, November 15th and ends on Sunday, November 22nd. Here is the link to get a crack at them:

Here is a listing of the items up for auction:

Guidon Games Don't Give up the Ship by Arneson Gygax Carr
Guidon Games Chainmail 2nd Edition by Gygax
SPI S&T #6 to #10 Siege of Bodenburg Play Copies
SPI Strategy & Tactics #15
Original War of Wizards by M.A.R. Barker 1975 RARE
Empire of the Petal Throne 2nd Print 1976
Empire of the Petal Throne RARE Ditto Errata & Notes 1974-5
Empire of the Petal Throne RARE Original Citizenship Grant 1976
Tekumel The Imperial Military Journal vol II no 1
Tekumel The Imperial Military Journal vol II no 2
TSR The Strategic Review #1 Spring '75
TSR The Strategic Review #2 Summer '75
TSR The Strategic Review #3 Fall '75
TSR The Strategic Review #4 Winter '75
TSR The Strategic Review #5 Dec '75
TSR The Strategic Review #6 Feb '76
TSR The Strategic Review #7 Apr '76
TSR The Dragon #7 Jun '77
TSR The Dragon #12 Feb '78
TSR The Dragon #13 Apr '78
TSR The Dragon #15 Jun '78
TSR The Dragon #16 Jul '78
TSR Little Wars #3 Dec '76
TSR G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chieftan 1st
TSR G2 The Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl 1st
TSR G3 Hall of the Fire Giant King 1st
TSR Dungeon Geomorphs Set 1 SHRINK
TSR Outdoor Geomorphs Set 1
TSR Swords and Spells 1st Printing by Gygax
TSR Warriors of Mars by Gygax Blume
TSR Air Power by Tony Adams 1976
TSR The Strategic Preview #3 TSR Jobbies RARE
TSR D&D Original Greyhawk Castle Player's Map '75

Good luck!

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