Richard Garriott’s DND29 Notes

DND #1, Richard Garriott’s first game, was written in 1975. Between then and the release of Akalabeth (in 1979), he wrote DND #2 through DND #28, all for teletype. Not all of these were completed; many were, per Garriott’s own explanation, abandoned in mid-development. And Akalabeth itself is DND #28b; essentially an Apple II port of #28, with actual graphics. All of this is (fairly) well-known to those familiar with the history of Garriott’s emergence as a game designer.

But, in November of 2015, Richard Garriott himself happened upon a set of notes for another game — DND #29 — which, as he quipped when passing along these scans to the Ultima Codex:

I have no memory of this.
I will have research what this is myself!

Here, then, are the pages of his notes for DND #29 — the original successor to Akalabeth, I suppose — that he has scanned and set to the Codex thus far:


It would seem that Garriott was very meticulous about appending “Please Return” notices to the cover pages of his project notes.

What we see in these scans is mostly code (the cover page notes that Fortran is the language in use); there are no maps of dungeons or anything. Still, we get some idea of the monster types that would have been included in the game, how the game would have tracked player stats (and the player’s position in the game), and what equipment would have been available to players (including what I assume was the ultimate weapon in the game, a +20 dagger).

The Ultima Codex is, as always, grateful to Richard Garriott for sharing these; it’s interesting to see the next thing that he had been planning as a follow-up to what became Akalabeth. It would be reasonable to assume that work on DND #29 was suspended in the wake of its predecessor’s success, and it would be interesting to hear from those more familiar with Ultima 1 at a low level if anything captured in these notes made it into that game. And hopefully, he will be able to unearth additional notes pertaining to DND #29, to give us still yet more of an idea of just what his plans for the game had been.

Leave a Reply