Sunday, November 20, 2022

Fans Demand Tonisborg PDF


Last week, I wrote about how the Tonisborg Kickstarter from The Fellowship of the Thing group had been successful. But while successful, could this project have enjoyed even more success? Several people told me that they would have supported the Kickstarter if it had offered PDF options as well. 

Over on the Kickstarter page, Fellowship of the Thing, gave the following reason why they are not doing PDFs at this point: 

"I appreciate you reaching out in regard to the PDF option. A lot of people do want to know what we will be doing in this regard. Chris and I have talked a lot about doing PDFs. We're testing the water in that regard with the 5e conversion PDF. As a small company our margins are really small if you consider that sales of physical units are in the small print run range anyway. We talk to other small houses about how their sales are and some have had horrible encounters with PDF piracy. One said his sales dropped 50% over a month and when he went on the web to see what was going on he discovered that his PDFs were being shared freely on dark sites. It has effectively killed his business. It leaves us in a quandary because we want people to use our book to run adventures and have all the tools to do so, yet, if we release digital content it could put us out of business in the next few months. The option of having a PDF is still on the table, but we really need to take a closer look and be cautious about how we do it. I hope that helps clarify why are not making PDFs right now."


Hopefully, "right now" is the key word here, meaning we can hope for PDFs at some point in the future?


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Dungeon! Created 50 Years Ago Today


Published in 1975, the board game Dungeon! shares deep historic roots that tie it to the the origin of D&D and Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Campaign. 50 years ago today, David R. Megarry sat down and created this dungeon exploration game that would allow all the players to join in on the fun without the need for a Dungeon Master.

Megarry tells the story of how the game was created on his Facebook page:

It was 50 years ago this weekend, in a perfect storm of despair, driven by not finishing my degree; not being drafted at the last minute and thus becoming unmoored from an expected future; and breaking up with my girlfriend, I entered a 72 hour creative flow and produced Dungeon! I showed the game the following weekend to Arneson & Co. and they liked it. Dungeon! has come a long way and is now being enjoyed by yet another generation. Keep on gaming!

Back in 2011 I wrote about how David Wesely remembers Megarry showing up with the Dungeon! prototype and how Megarry and Arneson decided to go to down to Lake Geneva to demonstrate the game to Gary on a day that would change the history of gaming forever. 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Tonisborg Kickstarter Fully Funded


Last week, the Kickstarer campaign for The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg ended. The project was successful as 709 backers pledged $71,553 to help bring the project to life.

It is wonderful to see the interest in this sourcebook from original Blackmoor Player Greg Svenson. I wonder if we get to see more from The Fellowship of the Thing group in the near future? Will we ever see a part 2 of the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary series?

In any case, congratulations to Greg and everyone involved in this Kickstarter. 


Monday, October 17, 2022

How 35 Year Old Dungeon Maps were found by David Megarry

 When preparing to take part in the documentary Secrets of Blackmoor, David Megarry, discovered another hidden gem among his old documents. David Megarry, creator of the Dungeon! board game is one of Dave Arneson's Original Blackmoor Players. I first wrote about Megarry and his contributions to our hobby back in 2011.

The treasure Megarry discovered among his documents were dungeon maps drawn up 35 years earlier by his friend and fellow Blackmoor Player, Greg Svenson. They detailed Greg's own Blackmoor based dungeon known as the Dungeons of Tonisborg. 

Yesterday, David Megarry, revealed on his Facebook page the story about how the maps were lost in the first place back in 1978:

"I have a role in this work as I am responsible for the "lost" part: I think it might be titled better "The (How Megarry) Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg" or something to that effect. Yes, dear readers, in 1978 in my attempt to preserve Greg's Tonisborg by making a copy at my workplace, I did not do a very good job of handling the originals. I put them in a magazine so they would not get bent and went to sleep. When I awoke and went to retrieve the magazine, it had been picked up by the cleaning lady and thrown in the garbage. I raced to the garbage bin in the alley, but, alas, it was also garbage day and the bin was empty! Tonisborg was irretrievably lost. It was one of the hardest days when I told Greg I had lost his only copy. 

To add insult to injury, at Arneson's funeral 21 years later, having completely forgotten the history, I asked Greg if he was going to do anything with that dungeon he had created. To his great credit, being the gentleman he is (but I could tell he was mad), he politely informed me he couldn't do anything with it because I had lost it. Chagrin doesn't begin to explain how I felt at that moment. Memory is a funny thing and can be selective. Greg and I had both forgotten he had made me a copy in 1974, which got "lost" in my files after many years of moving place to place. In getting my records in order for my part in the "Secrets of Blackmoor" movie, I found what is pictured below and couldn't remember who's dungeon it belonged to. When it was shown to Greg, he instantly recognized it as Tonisborg."

The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg will now become available to all gaming enthusiasts in the new Kickstarter from Fellowship of the Thing. Learn more about this kickstarter here.

Buy rare art from the Tonisborg project here


Ernie Gygax Univited From DaveCon 2023


DaveCon has univited Ernie Gygax as a special guest. The first DaveCon took place earlier this year and was organized by Victor Dorso who has announced plans for a second DaveCon in April next year. Recently, several gaming conventions, including DaveCon recieved criticism for associating themselves with the son of Gary Gygax due to various controversies other sites than this one has covered in detail.

Personally, I would rather keep this blog focused on other issues connected to Dave Arneson's legacy and less about drama, but I hope that with this decision, fans of gaming will come out to support DaveCon.

Discuss this article at The Comeback Inn.


Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Tonisborg Art and Rarities Auction from Secrets of Blackmoor


Original art and maps for the Tonisborg book are now for sale at the Secrets of Blackmoor Website. Most interesting are perhaps the original David Megarry hand drawn maps. According to the website, "all preceeds go to the artists". Starting bids range from 150-300 USD.

See anything you fancy? Go here for the auction site

More discussion of this auction here.

Oh, and if you are interested in a Blackmoor map signed by Dave Arneson, this might also be of interest to you. The seller of this map is Brent Chumley who made the map for the D20 Blackmoor Softcover edition. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

ArneCon 2022 coming up this Weekend


The Castle Blackmoor Facebook Page shared a posted the other day with a reminder that ArneCon will be taking place this weekend. Back in September I reported that it looked like the Secrets of Blackmoor crew (Griffith Morgan and Chris Graves) would not be involved in the convention, but instead would be organized by Castle Blackmoor's Kevin McColl. Now it seems from the posted that both groups will see at least nominal involvement although it is clear that McColl is doing the heavy lifting on what he has described as a small event mostly for local gamers. It is unclear if the Secrets of Blackmoor group will have a presence at the convention, but at this point it seems less likely. 

Several of the original Blackmoor Players are announced to attend:

  • Bob Meyer, doing a Blackmoor game, which will be a continuation of the original Blackmoor Campaign. 
  • David Wesely, doing a Braunstein. 
  • Bill Hoyt 

The event will take place at the Geek Partnership Society HQ on October 15th. 

Disclaimer: I am not associated with this event and I am also sadly unable to attend.


Fans Demand Tonisborg PDF

  Last week, I wrote about how the Tonisborg Kickstarter from The Fellowship of the Thing group had been successful. But while successful, ...