I will no doubt be talking more about the official Blackmoor products (old and new) later in this blog, but today I would like to draw attention to an unofficial product: The Gazetteer of Blackmoor, by David Ross (aka Zimriel). The author (though he calls himself an editor) has done an amazing job going through the material published for Blackmoor in the 70s and 80s. Ross managed to incorporate material, not only from the First Fantasy Campaign and the DA Modules, but also the more obscure material like the adventure Garbage Pits of Despair and the information from the Domesday Book.
The style of writing is unique in terms of fan RPG products:
I (David Ross) "wrote" the gazetteer... in a very, very technical sense. My aim was to clarify what was really the work of Dave Arneson (1970-1987) and, to a much lesser extent, Dave Ritchie (1986-7); I saw my role as an editor. This ZIP has 13 files (12 RTF's, one XLS) of the history and geography of the world's oldest Role-Playing fantasy world. You will still need the DA series in order to play; there are no warez'ed maps or modules here.
Ross is not exaggerating. The gazetteer is written in a highly academic style and is extremely well researched. This makes it challenging to read if you aren't already familiar with Blackmoor, but also highly valuable since it doesnt deviate from Arneson's intentions. Ross includes his own speculation and analysis, but is always clear on what comes from Arneson and which conclusions are his own.
The files are highly recommended for any fan of Blackmoor. Rumour has it that the ZGG staff adviced their freelance authors to read through the gazetteer before making submissions for the 3E line. If you haven't already, go over to Blackmoor - Home of the Ancients and download it now! :)