In the 1970s at the dawn of role-playing game history in the campaigns of the time, was it the expectation of both the players and the figure managing the campaign that the PCs would betray each other?
That is, could a naive, unwary, or even just nice player consistently and routinely expect to see his PC killed by the other PCs, knowingly led into danger by the other PCs, sold into slavery by the other PCs, robbed by the other PCs, thrown to the enemy so the other PCs could escape, or otherwise treated no better than or maybe worse than the NPCs?
In sum, can a sufficient volume of advice, anecdotes, and experience from the hobby's start be marshaled from books, magazines, interviews, and other sources to paint a general portrait of the early-days-of-gaming player as nearly always playing a heartless dastard PC?
I am not looking for an impression of an era based on the recollections of one lone individual, even if that individual is you, Peter Adkison, or Gary Gygax! I know that such a sample is simply too small therefore largely worthless. I'm looking for an answer to draw from several disparate sources to create a general picture so that were someone (like me!) to ask Were PCs usually jerks to each other when the hobby started? a reasonable, general answer could be given beyond the largely unhelpful "It depended on the group."
A great deal of energy is spent here and elsewhere advising gamers that when wronged by the other PCs, the player should talk to the other folks at the table or leave the game. My goal was to see if the fundamental issue ("Of course PCs should expect other PCs to betray them! Duh!") has its roots in the attitudes of gaming's founders and pioneers; if the issue developed naturally, independent of gaming's founders and pioneers; and if the issue is overstated, often for comedic effect.
As an example, there's the "Head of Vecna" story, which, while it pits two opposing parties of PCs against each other, remains a fairly good example. As a further example, in the gaming magazine Knights of the Dinner Table one plot had old, beardy, FLGS-owning Black Hands gaming group member Weird Pete (who has has been involved in gaming since its inception) have his PC convince new player Newt's PC to contribute to the party's raise dead fund; when Newt's PC dies, Newt learns there is no raise dead fund and Weird Pete's PC and his co-conspirators were simply pocketing Newt's PC's money! I'm trying to figure out—based on evidence from multiple sources—if events like these were commonplace enough at the dawn of gaming that players at the time expected such behavior from their fellow players.
My thought was that if betrayal were not commonplace at the hobby's outset, an answer might show someone who is struggling with such PC-versus-PC attitudes at his table that the table's an aberration (perhaps an otyugh). And, if betrayal turned out to actually be commonplace, then an answer could show that folks once, indeed, played that way, even though, it seems most don't now. (This latter based on numerous answers—with which, let me be completely clear, I totally agree!—advising folks to exit such a toxic gaming environment rather than engaging with it.)
A difficult question? O, yes! Creating a general impression based on research is hard, but my hope is that someone's already done the reading and can, with minimal effort, pull out some books, a couple of magazine articles, and a few online interviews, summarize the findings, and provide that impression.