The first edition of Ysgarth was produced in 1979 as a collection of house rules for an RPG convention (Tourney 1979). At the game was characterized by the author as a variant of Dungeons & Dragons, also drawing on another, earlier, system called Warlord. The initial edition contained basic mechanics only and included the tournament adventure scenario called Tower of Vadrayffe.
The first edition of the game consisted of stapled pages and was provided (in limited supply) only to convention dungeon masters. It was not intended for general publication. The rules set also was not consistently titled - either Tourney Rules or Ysgarth Rules being on the cover. The author referred to the game during the period also as Warlord I.
The rules subsequently were serially published in Alarums & Excursions, with some revision.