Thursday, June 17, 2010

DA5 City of Blackmoor

Over at the Comeback Inn, we have been discussing vapourware products for Dave Arneson's Blackmoor. That is, products which were planned, or even written, but never published. Most famous of these is DA5 City of Blackmoor. Supposedly, it was completed, but for various reasons never published back when TSR were doing the DA series. 

Although we will probably never get to see DA5 City of Blackmoor, it can be intersting to speculate to what that product may have contained. We do know that it was written by David Ritchie as part of the DA series and that Ritchie used Arneson's notes as a basis.

The title City of Blackmoor is what tells us the most of what this product is about. This would have been an adventure set in Blackmoor Town itself. Looking at the style of the other DA modules, there may likely have been room for more than just an adventure. The other DA modules have plenty of room for backstory, NPCs and additional setting material.

Since Ritchie was working from Arneson's notes, it would make sense to look at items like the FFC which would have been available to Ritchie. As mentioned elsewhere, it is likely that the map of Blackmoor town from the FFC would have been included. Most likely this would have been expanded upon, with more information about the different buildings than what the FFC provides.

The next part from the FFC which might be useful is the description of Castle Blackmoor. The Castle itself is a wonderful opportunity for adventure and the FFC provides alot of information about the different parts of the castle and its inhabitants.

From the castle, the next step would be the dungeons themselves. Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor and the FFC might both include hints on what DA5 may have contained. Most likely, this would have been the main focus of the adventure.

Finally, there is the metaplot. The entire DA series was written to allow PCs from the Known World to travel back in time and adventure in Blackmoor. It seems very likely that the same would be true for DA5. DA5 would also have to take into account that events of the previous DA modules, with the Afridhi having been defeated in DA4 etc. ZG's Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor has one big problem. The idea of a castle in the middle of Blackmoor, the royal residence, sitting on top of a 20 layered dungeon, home of demons and whatnot just does not make sense, does it? However, this was not so problematic in Arneson's own campaign. In his campaign, the forces of good were repeatedly driven out of Blackmoor town by the forces of the Egg of Coot. In this context, it made perfect sense to run a campaign where you were fighting to reclaim the city and the castle.

It is not unlikely that Ritchie would have deviced a similar storyline for DA5. Perhaps, after the Afridhi invasions, you would have a new invasion of the Egg's forces, lead by King Funk. This would basically repeat events from the original campaign, but allow the PCs to venture into the dungeons and defeat the Orc King once and for all. Leaving room to take the battle to the Realm of the Egg in a later DA module? 

Click here for more discussion of this product.



  1. It certainly is a shame that this great setting's wealth of information looks as if it will never see light of day under the name 'Blackmoor'.

    Oh, BTW, I've PM'd you on Facebook.

  2. Yeah, that is true. In the case of DA5, ZG had 6 years to publish it, so I wonder why they didn't do so.

    BTW: I finally got around to responding to you. Sorry it took so long! :)


Melissakainen is running Castle Blackmoor for 10$

  Melissakainen is running an online Castle Blackmoor oneshot game. She will be using the OD&D rules. The event costs 10$ for those inte...