Back in the 80s, when TSR faced financial troubles, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure proved to be an unlikely savior. Let's talk about how CYOA saved D&D.
The rise and fall of TSR is a twisting tale of winding, branching paths, much like a good D&D campaign. And, much like a D&D campaign, it's the most random things that end up having a ton of impact. Today we're looking at how one woman's quest to follow a traveling circus led to Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type stories saving D&D.
The year is 1982 and Rose Estes, one of the women who helped shape D&D into the game we know and love today, was working at TSR among other places. It's the other places that are of particular interest to us, because as the story goes, Estes was writing up a magazine article which had her following around a traveling circus when she came across a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel.
Well, in 1982 I took a leave of absence to travel with friends who were part of a tent circus, I figured that it would make for interesting newspaper articles. I had been with them for only a few weeks when we set up in Decorah, Iowa and went to town to do some laundry. There was a bookcase and books that one could borrow or buy and I picked up one of R.A. Montgomery's Choose Your Own Adventure books. I realized instantly that the books would be the perfect method of explaining D&D to both adul...