Monday, June 2, 2014

The 1985 Mayfair Games Blackmoor Modules!

Totally fake cover imagining what a Mayfair games Blackmoor module may have looked like.
A previously unknown chapter in the history of Blackmoor publications has just come to life thanks to my friend NPCDave at The Piazza. Reading an old interview with Dave Arneson from Space Gamer Magazine, I learned that Dave had planned many more Blackmoor modules than the four from the DA series published by TSR. It has long been rumoured that DA5 City of Blackmoor was completed, but never published.

In Space Gamer #85 (1986) Dave talked about a total of eight modules and a novel to be published by TSR for the Blackmoor Campaign. Was this just Dave Arneson bragging? The most recent information reveals a hidden chapter in the story of the DA Blackmoor modules. Before they were published by TSR, it was another company, Mayfair Games that intended to publish a total of twelve modules based on Dave Arneson's Campaign in 1985 for their Role Aids RPG line famous for their "For use with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons" label (which would get Mayfair Games into trouble with TSR in 1993). This information can be learned from an advert in TSR UK's Imagine Magazine #26 (published in early 1985).



Advert from Imagine Magazine #26 announcing Mayfair Games' Blackmoor Chronicles


So what happened through the course of 1985 that lead to the Blackmoor material being transferred from Mayfair Games to TSR? Gary Gygax was still with TSR untill December that year. Apparently he was interested in more cooperation between Mayfair Games and TSR, but was voted down on this issue. There have also been some rumors about Gygax being involved in TSR to publish the DA modules, but the details of this is unknown to me at this point. If anyone knows more about the relations between Mayfair Games and TSR in the mid 1980s let me know!


More discussion of this article.




-Havard

Monday, May 19, 2014

D&D Next Covers Revealed!

Over at WotC's website the covers for D&D Next have been revealed. As XStarkillerX notes at The Piazza, the announcement also includes release dates for the three core books, the starter set and new adventures. It is surprising that so little bravado accompanies this announcement. Perhaps they are assuming that bloggers and forum posters will do the job for them? :D

Although the images are fairly small, I dont see any mention of "5th Edition" or "Next" on the covers. The new style should ensure that these books are not confused with previous edition products however.


ENWorld also reveals this logo:


And this one:





What do you think of the art?


-Havard

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

TSR Veteran Jeff Grubb Blogs On Blackmoor


"[Blackmoor] was the cauldron of creativity where [Dave Arneson] fully distilled a game featuring individual characters as opposed to battling armies. Many of the features that would become Dungeons & Dragons began in the Blackmoor campaign."
You are reading the words of game designer Jeff Grubb, whose name should be known to any D&D fan. Jeff worked for over a decade at TSR and has continued to design RPG products since then.

As part of the A-Z 2014 Challenge, Jeff Grubb decided to write about Blackmoor for his second day entry on the letter B. I am also quite honored that he has included a link to my website, the Blackmoor Archives, for those interested in "a lot more backstory than I can give here". Thanks to my friend Big Mac at The Piazza for bringing this to my attention!


-Havard

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Quotes by Arneson, Gygax and Barker



Some nice quotes on gaming from the giants of RPG history.

More comments on this topic.

-Havard

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dave Arneson as inspiration for King Uther

Over at the Comeback Inn we have been discussing whether some of the characters in Blackmoor were based on Dave Arneson himself. Jim Holloway who illustrated the DA modules certainly seems to agree with us that King Uther was in fact a personification of Dave.

In the later d20 line his appearance was changed however:



-Havard

Friday, February 28, 2014

Aaron Allston (December 8, 1960 – February 27, 2014)

I just found out via this thread in the The Piazza Mystara Forum this morning that Aaron Allston had passed away. Although he was probably best known as a novelist, especially for his Star Wars novels, he was also a great game designer.

Allston had a great impact on my childhood due to his works on Dungeons & Dragons (the BECMI edition), in particular the role he played in writing defining supplements and sourcebooks for the World of Mystara.

In an interview in the Tome of Mystara fanzine he is introduced in this way:


To Mystara fans, the mention of the name "Aaron Allston" brings to mind gaming on a grand scale, world-shattering events, empires of staggering power. As well it should: Austin, Texas-based Allston can be considered the "Father of Mystara." His contributions include: 

 Skarda's Mirror
Grand Duchy of Karameikos
The Dwarves of Rockhome
Dawn of the Emperors
The Hollow World
Wrath of the Immortals
Poor Wizard's Almanac (I)
Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure
Mark of Amber
D&D Rules Cyclopedia
Bruce Heard, who was Product Manager for the "Classic" D&D (And Mystara) line at the time worked closely with Allston. Bruce also writes about his friend Allston on his blog today.



Rest In Peace. And thank you so much for the work that has given me so much joy and inspiration!


Image Source: Wikipedia.

-Havard



Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Greyhawk and Michigan

This map was just posted in the Flanaess Geographical Society group on Facebook. Although this should be well known by most readers of this blog, I think it illustrates well the fact that the C&C Society World Map was based on central parts of the USA.


-Havard