Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grimtooth's Legacy

Some supplements are simply like candy to GMs. And The Grimtooth's Traps legacy rise to that level and far, far beyond. I can still recall buying my first one, back in like 1983. It was the first and some might say most glorious: What I can't recall is when I started using them in my dungeons. I know I _did_ use them, much to my player's chagrin. I just can't recall the initial mayhem. But what I have to give Grimtooth true credit for is for introducing me to a whole new world of GMing mastery. For Grimtooth inspired me with the idea that I was more than simply a GM, I was a Dungeon Engineer. I suppose "adventure engineer" might be more appropriate, because the action wasn't always below the surface. But my role was the same either way. I was responsible for putting things together in such a masterfully horrendous way that players would have _no_ idea what they were walking into.

Because see, by '84 all my fellow players had pored over not just the PHB, but also the GMs Guide and heaven forbid the Monster Manual. We all had Dragon magazine subscriptions and half the time they were ahead of me on the gaming learning curve. So when I ran across Grimtooth I knew I had found something that was just for me. As long as nobody else found out about it. I needed tricks of the trade, inside knowledge, secret lore and maniacal inspiration. Enter Grimtooth, appearing like a demon summoned by my earnest inner DM pleadings. Once I had it it was mine, all mine and I horded it like Bilbo horded the ring. And pity the fool I caught rifling through my backpack of gaming supplies to discover what might lie hidden there. That was why, by myself in Austin Comics and Fantasy Books one day, I quickly picked up number two like another grail had been created, just for me:

I never did manage to get ahold of all of the series, but I'm slowly building my collection. Truth is I've never used all of the beautiful nasties in one or two, but I'm going to ... some day. There's simply too many players to kill and just not enough time. But the mastermind behind Grimtooth, Catalyst Systems has allowed all these marvelous supps to go out of print. As of January this year the word is they are trying to get them re-released. But most are still available in used form via Amazon, Ebay, Alibris and others. So if you are anything like me, keep looking, they'll appear. Sometimes in a puff od sulfourous smoke laced with the hint of brimstone, but they'll show up. They always do.

The subsequent six all had titles that in True Robert Asprin style were as punny as the second. Another fact I loved at the time and still appreciate today:

Grimtooth's Traps Fore:

Grimtooth's Traps Ate:Grimtooth's Traps Lite:

Grimtooth's Traps Bazaar: Grimtooth's Dungeon of Doom:

But truthfully, Grimtooth's legacy wasn't just the 8 volumes that it spawned; nor that it gave GMs a plethora of useful PC torture devices, or even the fact that now _every_ adventure could be turned into another Tomb of Horrors. (I can hear the violent shudder of fear running through PCS everywhere). No, Grimtooth's legacy was much more important than that. Grimtooth's true legacy was PC body-count pure and simple. His success was measured not by books sold, but by the number of rotting corpses and scattered bones that littered so many of our lovingly engineered Dungeons of Death ... Ya gotta love that.

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