Wednesday, July 1, 2009

More Hendryx Information

In the first part of my two-part interview with ex-TSR designer Kevin Hendryx, Allan Grohe asked the question, "Do you touch on the ex-TSR folks' infamous newsletter, by chance? IIRC, Kevin was one of the primary instigators of its creation and distribution!" In answer, I have a reply direct from Kevin Hendryx himself. He says:
Lawrence Schick and I began this little private fanzine/newsletter in 1983, while we worked in the same office at Coleco. Just as a lark, and an outlet for our energies and a desire to maintain ties among the ex-TSR crew.

I sold my original two sets of this ("The CTHULHU CHRONICLE") in late 2007 to an avid TSR collector. There were 7 issues, if I recall correctly, published irregularly and only circulated among ex-TSR staff. Plenty of gossip and humor (?) and in-jokes, fully illustrated and wacky. We got contributions from other TSR alumni, including a few pages of hilarious sketches and jokes done by Paul Reiche and Erol Otus when they were completely sloshed, but mainly it was created and assembled by Lawrence and myself, photocopied, and sent out. Only a few dozen of each issue were ever "published". Industry news, gossip, deliberate lies, parodies of TSR products and employees, doodles -- it was like a MAD magazine for the in-crowd. When I left Coleco it became too much work for Lawerence on his lonesome so he folded it and started his "The Fort Mudge Moan" private fanzine instead, which ran for another few years but was primarily interested in comic books, not the game biz.
And there you have it.


  1. sold my original two sets of this ("The CTHULHU CHRONICLE") in late 2007 to an avid TSR collector<

    OK James, I think we need to see an interview with this "TSR Collector." I'm dead serious. What other gems does he possess?

  2. See The Acaeum, The Tome of Treasures, The TSR Archive, and AfterGlow 2, for the best rpg collecting sites.

    If you want to get in touch with some of the site admins, or particular collectors, James, I'd be happy to provide introductions :D

    @ Brunomac: there are folks out in the hobby who've either been there from early on, or who've attended GenCons (and their auctions...) from early on, or who've simply known early TSR folks, or simply gotten lucky, etc.
    As a result, some of these folks own, for example, Rob Kuntz's OD&D box set and dice, or original unpublished Top Secret adventure manuscripts, or draft versions of unpublished early RPGA adventures, or original levels from Castle Greyhawk, or the original Drelnza vampire artwork from S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, or the very first AD&D Players Handbook ever sold, etc., etc., etc.


  3. I'm not sure a lot of that stuff (collectables) is super exciting, but it's always interesting to get into the head of a serious collector.

    As I only ran AD&D as I cruised into adulthood, plus some Champions and Call of Cthulhu, my personal old school gems from the late 70's (Bunnies and Burrows, Superhero 2044, Dragon and White Dwarf Magazines, Alarums and Excursions, various 1st editions for various games) were kept in a trunk in my folks garage from the late 80's till the late 90's. Some years ago when I opened the trunk, half of this stuff was ruined by years of moisture and mold.

    Most of the survivors, like B&B and Empire of the PT, got Ebayed a few years ago when times where tough.

    Just...just wanted to share my pain *sniff* So I'm kinda fascinated by collections of old stuff in good shape.

    One day I'll have the dough to buy a lot of my old collection back. Maybe I'm in Michael Jacksons will?

  4. LOL. Well, while some of the D&D collectors are into the "pure" collecting side of things (a la baseball cards, or whatever), some also still play, and most of them are very interested in the early history of the hobby---the authors, the companies, the conventions, and of course the games. So, they're a reservoir of useful information because of the research they've done, and the conclusions they'd dervied---for example, about the printing history of D&D box sets and books---via their collections and from cross-comparisons when various collectors collaborate.