Friday, October 23, 2020

Rip Lenard "Len" Lakofka (1944-2020)

 

I was sad to hear about the passing of another legend in tabletop gaming today, Len Lakofka. This blog's main focus is the people involved with the gamers from Dave Arneson's group, but today I feel like paying respect to Mr Lakofka. 


Perhaps best known as the main whose campaign gave its name to the Lendore Isles of Greyhawk and the Leomund of various spells across all editions of Dungeons & Dragons, Len created the L-series of modules, a project he continued after his departure from TSR releasing L4 for free to fans via Dragonsfoot.


Len's involvement with the hobby goes back to the 1960s when he got involved with the International Federation of Wargamers (IFW) at one point becoming President of that organization and helping Gary Gygax organizing GenCon. 


I never got to meet Mr Lakofka in person, but we were friends on Facebook and I got to discuss some aspects of the history of D&D with him a few months back. He was always very polite and helpful. I am sad to hear that he is gone.


Rest in peace.


Photo is screenshot by Bryan Nystul.



-Havard

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A New Thonia Sourcebook (Dave Arneson Game Day 2020)!

 

Dave Arneson Game Day 2020 is here! October 1st is a great opportunity to celebrate gaming all around the world! 


FEATURES

Here are today's featured contributions:

  • The Stone Mask: A cursed item linked to the Temple of the Frog, created by Zeromaru X. Read all about it here.
  • Do you love Halflings, Docrae and Gnomes? Boddynock at the Gnomish Embassy has an article every day this week. Today's article oresents information for converting the short races of Blackmoor to the D&D 5th Edition Rules. Check it out here.  
For more details on what's going on, don't forget to visit the following places on the Internet:



FREEBIES
  • Thonia: Province of Bleakwood Sourcebook. This is the third installment in the Comeback Inn series of sourcebooks detailing the ten provinces of the Thonian Empire. This sourcebook has callbacks to such Dave Arneson creations as Adventures in Fantasy and The First Fantasy Campaign as well as tributes to Mike Carr and others. Get the PDF here.
  • Blackmoor Rampart, the MMRPG Newsletter #13 and 14 are now available here.








WHY DON'T YOU JOIN US?
Anyone can participate in Dave Arneson Game Day. If you have written something that I haven't noticed, ran a game and posted some pictures or a game report, let me know by posting in one of the forum links above. 

Go here to join Dave Arneson Game Day!





-Havard

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

When Frogmen Attack! (Blackmor Week Day 3)

 



Temple of the Frog was the first Dungeons & Dragons adventure published by TSR. We are already on Day 3 of Blackmoor Week and what better way to celebrate than with an adventure featuring those pesky Frogfolk? Dave Arneson Game Day 2020 is tomorrow and I hope you are all ready for the big day!  

As with every day during Blackmoor Week, we bring you featured articles and free Blackmoor PDFs. Remember that we also enjoy hearing stories about your games, and what you are doing to participate in the celebration to make this into a joint effort. It doesn't strictly even have to be connected to Blackmoor as long as you would like to join us in celebrating our common hobby of RPGs!


FEATURES

Here are today's featured contributions:

  • Thonia: Province of Bleakwood Map Preview. This is something I have been working on for quite some time and hopefully I can have more on this topic ready tomorrow. Check it out at The Piazza here.
  • Boddynock at the Gnomish Embassy has an article every day this week. Today's article continues his conversions of Blackmoor to the D&D 5th Edition Rules. Today the focus is on the elves and half-elves of Blackmoor. This article also features a new Cumasti NPC. Check it out here.  
For more details on what's going on, don't forget to visit the following places on the Internet:



FREEBIES
  • A free Blackmoor Adventure for D&D 5E. This is the second installment of the Shattered Empires series by MMRPG author Philip J Slama. Both this adventure and the previous installment are available here.
  • Blackmoor Rampart, the MMRPG Newsletter #12 is now available here.








WHY DON'T YOU JOIN US?
Anyone can participate in Dave Arneson Game Day. If you have written something that I haven't noticed, ran a game and posted some pictures or a game report, let me know by posting in one of the forum links above. 

Also, make sure to sign up for this year's Dave Arneson Game Day!





-Havard

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Dwarves! (Blackmoor Week 2020 Day 2)

 Are you ready for more Blackmoor Goodness? Its great to see more and more D&D fans joining in the celebration of Blackmoor Week as we keep moving towards Dave Arneson Game Day. My friend Dungeon Delver mentioned that he will be re-reading Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign. That is a book that deserves being re-read at least once per year and what better day to read it than today? OD&D superfan Finarvyn is running a Blackmoor campaign with laser wielding frog miniatures that he borrowed from a board game. Are you doing anything with Blackmoor this year?


TODAY's FEATURED ARTICLES

  • Boddynock at the Gnomish Embassy follows up with another article today for Blackmoor and D&D 5th edition, this time with a a rules conversion for Blacmoor Dwarves along with an NPC and an organization called the Hearthguard. Check it out here.
  • At The Piazza, Zeromaru X has expanded his article on the City of Rodhin from last year's Dave Arneson Game Day.
FREE STUFF FROM THE COMEBACK INN
  • The Age of the Wolf DM's Guide to Meta Orgs for Blackmoor 4E is now available as a free download 
  • 3 issues of the Blackmoor Rampart Newsletter for the D&D 3E Blackmoor MMRPG. #9, #10 and #11 are now available. 





For more details on what's going on, don't forget to visit the following places on the Internet:



WHY DON'T YOU JOIN US?
Anyone can participate in Dave Arneson Game Day. If you have written something that I haven't noticed, ran a game and posted some pictures or a game report, let me know by posting in one of the forum links above. 

Also, make sure to sign up for this year's Dave Arneson Game Day!


What are you doing in gaming this week? What would you like to see over the next or for future events?





-Havard

Monday, September 28, 2020

Blackmoor Week 2020 Begins! (With Free Blackmoor Stuff!)

 


As mentioned in yesterday's blog article, Blackmoor Week, the week leading up to the annual celebration of Dave Arneson Game Day has now begun!


In association with The Comeback Inn and The Piazza, this blog attempts this year, like every year to provide an overview of everything Blackmoor related that happens during this week. Several people have already announced that they will participate in the event and more are joining in! 


FEATURES

Here are today's featured contributions:

  • Doc Necrotic has a post talking about the various iterations of Blackmoor including his own Blackmoor Returned Campaign. Check it out here! Doc Necrotic is a regular contributor to The Piazza and the Mystara Reborn Facebook Group.
  • If you are a fan of Dragonborn, check out this latest article at The Gnomish Embassy presenting two new Blackmoor based types of Dragonborn for 5th Edition based on two unique types of Dragons from Dave Arneson's Campaign. Dragonborn first appeared in the 4E version of Blackmoor. Boddynock at The Gnomish Embassy has been a consistent supporter of Blackmoor Week over several weeks and is a friend of the Comeback Inn. This article also fits very well with the City of Rodhin mini gazetteer by Zeromaru X which can be found here.
For more details on what's going on, don't forget to visit the following places on the Internet:



FREEBIES
Today's Blackmoor Freebies are 3 issues of Blackmoor Rampart. This newsletter was createt during the Blackmoor Zeitgeist Games era and are now available once again. Currently 8 issues are available at the Comeback Inn.

Get your free downloads here.

(If you are not yet registered at The Comeback Inn, you will have to follow some simple instructions before you can get to the goodies, but it might be worth it!)






WHY DON'T YOU JOIN US?
Anyone can participate in Dave Arneson Game Day. If you have written something that I haven't noticed, ran a game and posted some pictures or a game report, let me know by posting in one of the forum links above. 

Also, make sure to sign up for this year's Dave Arneson Game Day!





-Havard

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Blackmoor Week 2020 Starts Tomorrow!


Next week will be all about Blackmoor! Not just on this blog, but all over the Internet. It is our annual tradition of arranging Blackmoor related activities all over the Internet in the week leading up to October 1st which is Dave Arneson Game Day. 


This means that every day, I will be posting information on this blog about activities happening related to Blackmoor Week. We already have quite a few people telling us that they would like to participate. Just yesterday, on MMRPG organizer Tad Kilgore's livestreamed Blackmoor game, they mentioned that Dave Arneson Game Day is coming up and that they would like to do something linked to that day. 


As usual we will have some things to share with you in the form of free PDFs and other stuff over at The Comeback Inn. I will also put some links at the bottom of this article for relevant forum threads on various forums where Blackmoor Week related activities are already being announced. 


A few things to remember: Blackmoor Week should be a celebration of gaming. It should never be about airing grudges, edition warring, or attacking other game designers. Also, anyone can join in! This is a celebration for everyone who loves this hobby. If you want to do your part, we would love to have you with us. Post on forums or blogs. Run or organize games or other gaming related activites. But make sure you let us know what you are doing so that this can be a shared experience! Post about your Blackmoor Week activities in any of the links below:


The Comeback Inn Blackmoor Week Preparation Thread

The Piazza Blackmoor Week Preparation Thread

Blackmoor Fans on Facebook



Join the fun!



-Havard


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Tribality.com Fails to Notice Mystara's Incredible Fan Base

Could Mystara be set to return as a published setting by Wizards of the Coast in the near future? Over the last few weeks, the rumor that WotC are planning to bring back three classic settings has lead to speculation all over the web about which three settings WotC are looking at. 


This incredible painting by Clyde Cladwell would have been a much better illustration for an article discussing the D&D World of Mystara.

Recently Tim Baker at The Piazza brought to my attention that an article at Tribality.com had a run down about what settings they thought were the most likely candidates. While the article was interesting, I found the description of Mystara very disappointing. Not only was the choice of image illustrating the setting disappointing, but it was especially this line that drew my attention:


"While fan love for this setting exists, it’s far quieter than other classic settings."

Mystara first appeared in 1981's classic adventure X1 Isle of Dread. While the setting was very popular and during the TSR era had more sourcebooks published for it than any other D&D or AD&D setting, the setting and its fans have a long history of being ignored by TSR and later WotC. While various teasers appeared for the setting during the D&D 3E and 4E eras, D&D 5th Edition was recieved especially positively for its explicit mention of the setting in the Players Handbook and with the adventure hardback Ghosts of Saltmarsh making extensive suggestions for how to adapt each chapter to the setting and even including a rewamped version of the Mystara adventure Isle of the Abbey. 

So how about this claim that the fans of Mystara are more quiet than fans of other settings? Mystara has had an incredibly active and dedicated online fan base that I have been a member of since the 1990s. Today these fans can be found on various Facebook groups including the 2,5000+ member Mystara Reborn group and on the D&D webforum The Piazza. The fan works of this highly productive and extremely friendly fan base is collected at the Vaults of Pandius website and also releases a quarterly 300+ page PDF professional looking free fanzine Threshold Magazine which is soon to release its 26th issue, not counting earlier iterations under other titles like the Mystara NetMag, Tome of Mystara etc.

So why is it that this community remains invisble to the world at large? Is it that we mostly prefer to stick to our own parts of the Internet? Or just that others don't know where to look for us? In any case it is a shame, because there are gamers out there who are missing out on something they might really enjoy!




-Havard