Thursday, January 28, 2010

Now we're 50!


Today the 50th person joined the ranks of my fantastic followers! That is reason to celebrate! Thanks for hanging out here and thanks for the good feedback. It really helps keeping me motivated to write more articles. A friend of mine asked me yesterday why I haven't gone into publishing some material of my own and maybe make a few dollars, but for now I am actually just really happy to share my thoughts and ideas with people who are interested in the same things as I am.

I think I will go out and celebrate this weekend, and I think you should do the same! I have a pretty cool announcement which I will share with you guys in a couple of days. Have a great weekend!




Havard

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Realm of the Egg Part III

Here's the third installment about the Realm of the Egg.


Realm of the Egg Timeline:



The Cthonian Age
The Egg is formed. It is said that it originally had humanoid characteristics, but as centuries passed this has changed...

Tsaothogghua spawns the Sar-Aigu and sends them towards what will become Blackmoor.

1
Empire of Thonia Founded
Emperor Robert I founds Blackmoor as the northernmost province of the Thonian Empire

512
Temple of Id is destroyed

970
The Egg of Coot is first discovered by men of the Duchy of the Peaks.

994
In his rampage through the Duchy of the Peaks, Marfeldt learns of the Egg of Coot and fully realizes what threat this entity poses to all who value freedom in the North. Marfeldt wows to destroy the Egg.

995
The “Weasel” is promoted to Baron of Blackmoor. Learning of threats to the realm, he betrays Thonia and flees to barbarian lands, leaving Blackmoor unprotected.

The Egg launches its first invasion against Blackmoor finding Blackmoor town largely unprotected. A small force lead by Lord Fant sneak into the castle and open the gates from the inside. The Egg’s forces are driven back, but the Town of Blackmoor is all but destroyed. Rebuilding begins. Fant becomes the new baron of Blackmoor.

Captain Krey of Blackmoor sells out to the Egg’s Lieutenant, Soukup, but the treason fails.

997
Large scale invasions of Blackmoor by the Egg of Coot, under the leadership of the Egg’s most trusted lieutenant: Ran. In the second wave of attacks, Blackmoor ‘s defences are breached and the Egg’s forces make it all the way into Blackmoor Castle, slaying everyone in sight.





The Egg places King Funk I of the Orcs in charge of Blackmoor. Too Confident in their own strength, the Egg’s forces expand south, eventually stirring even the Peshwa. The Barons regroup and are aided by Peshwa, elves and Northern Lords, working to regroup.

The Ran of Ah Foo betrays the Egg of Coot, escaping to the Duchy of Ten, taking many of the Egg’s secrets with him. The Egg does not forget betrayal. The Egg’s forces are gradually driven back.

998
Elven forces liberate Blackmoor Town, driving the orcs deep underground. Great Svenny slays Funk I. The Egg licks its wounds.

Moorkok the Slayer leads a Skandaharian attack against the Realm of Coot. The Slayer is captured and turned into a Thrall.

1008
Third invasion attempt by the Egg of Coot. This time the men of Blackmoor are prepared. King Uther repels the invasion.

1015
The Duchy of Ten is occupied by the Afridhi. The Egg is pleased to hear that the Ran has lost his realm, but disappointed that he seems to have escaped.

Working under the command of the Egg, Orc King Funk II launches an attack on Bramwald from the Stormkiller Mountains. Unfortunately for the Egg, the attack is repelled.

1022
Baron Bascom Ungulian leads an attack against the Realm of Coot, but is captured and his attack force is crushed.

1024
Baron Ungulian returns alive from the Egg’s captivity, but has been stripped of any memory of the events.
King Funk’s Orcs of the Black Hand attacks the Crystal Peaks and capture Dwarf-King Khazakhum.

Dwarven attempts to rescue their King fail.

1030
The Present.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

El Raja Key and Blackmoor




The more I dig into the stories of the early days of the Blackmoor Campaign, the more I see how much it is connected to the other campaign settings being created at the same time. In order to learn more about the Great Kingdom (which later became Thonia) of the C&C Setting, I have been doing some much needed reading up on Greyhawk. However, it seems like what I just as much should have been doing is to learn more about the worlds of Robert J Kunz.

Kuntz was kind enough to direct me to one of his own current projects: El Raja Key. In this upcoming book, Kuntz also details the impact a few adventures in Blackmoor had on the Greyhawk campaign:

"Within 4-6 weeks of our first adventure into Blackmoor Gary had a rough first draft of the new rules and several levels of the new dungeon, Greyhawk, to play-test these.  His daughters and Ernie were the first adventurers; the second one consisted of myself (Robilar), my brother Terry (Terik), Ernie Gygax (Tenser) and Elise Gygax (Ahlissa).  Within 4 weeks of this second adventure and the ones that followed on a daily and nightly basis, I crafted the first levels of El Raja Key, at first with the intent of only judging Gary therein, as he had been pulling double duty with writing the D&D rules as well as designing the levels beneath Greyhawk Castle.  After starting his PCs Yrag and Mordenkainen within it, Gary took his first step at making me the co-DM of the Greyhawk “Campaign” as then understood.  As the play-tests had been fast and furious,  many of the earliest PCs had grown very quickly in level and were moving to the outdoor.  I was allowed to DM these outdoor adventures just prior to completing my journey as Robilar to “China” (which earned me the co-DM mantle permanently and on all levels). ..."

 Robilar and Mordenkeinen may have been Greyhawk PCs, but as they also appeared in Arneson's campaign, they should also be considered part of the history of Blackmoor. It would not be inappropriate to use them as NPCS in Blackmoor along with the Wizard of the Woods, the Great Svenny and all those others.













-Havard

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Harpies



I've never really regarded the Harpy as a particularly Blackmoorian creature, but on Friday, A Paladin in Citadel made me remember the legendary harpy illustration from Supplement II. I wonder to what extent the monster selection from Supplement II should be an indication of which creatures are the most common in Blackmoor. Based on who wrote what in that supplement, perhaps not so much, but then again, the book does have the Blackmoor label on the cover and Dave didnt seem to mind having it associated with himself even in later years.



-Havard

Friday, January 22, 2010

Realm of the Egg Part II

Here's the second installment of my take on the Realm of the Egg. 



The Land

The Realm of the Egg is a place filled with sinister disorienting mists. Large towering structures can be seen surrounded by smaller ruined and abandoned buildings. Cities and towns appear desolate, although there are always creatures lurking in the shadows. Structures originally built by Merfolk can be seen among ruins.

Travelling through the land, the landscape will seem surreal to explorers. Magical experiments, permanent gates to other planes of existence and rampages of demonic creatures have turned the lands of the peninsula into a bizarre twisted realm.  Woodlands such as the Thornwood, the Forest of the Druj and the Weirdring Woods are dark and sinister places, where even plantlife seems hostile. These are not green wonders of nature, but black and thorny areas bearing little resemblance to forests in other lands. Mountains and hilly landscapes can be found in the humanoid infested Trollop Mountains and the infernal Locust Hills.

Four major settlements are hidden in this terrifying landscape; The Egg’s Nest, Ohmfet, Trollgate and Harbol.




The Egg’s Strongholds
The Egg’s Nest is an impenetrable fortress. Colossal rocks enforced by rusting steel bars and huge iron doors are some of the most prominent features of the Nest. Going deeper underground, the halls are a mixture of metal rails, cold rock, mushy swamp like growths covering some of the walls and slime dripping from the ceilings.

In addition to the Nest, three other strongholds guard the corners of the realm: Ohmfet, Harbol and Trollgate. Harbol lies to the south. It is from this nefarious place that constant attacks towards the Glendover are sent. Baron Bascom Ungulian made an attack on this fortress, but was captured and stripped of any memories of the place. Ohmfet occasionally sends envoys to meet with the people of the Duchy of the Peaks, but the people of the Peaks are frustrated that these envoys are oblivious to the temptations the Peaks have to offer. Trollgate guards the northern border. As the name implies, this stronghold is populated by Trolls and other humanoids who carry our raids on the Skandaharian and Frisian neighbours. At times, they Skandaharians have attempted to fight back, taking the war to the Egg. The last time they did this was a raid lead by one of the Skandahar’s greatest warriors; Moorkok the Slayer. When Moorkok succumbed to the domination of the Egg, the Skandaharians fled. They have not forgotten this loss.

















-Havard

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

[Rafael]The Lodoss War

Another entry from Official Guest Blogger Rafael on sources of inspiration for his Blackmoor games:





In my (apparently developing?!) series about things of all kind that might make a good inspiration for Blackmoor, I sooo want to take a closer look to a series, or better, a setting I mentioned in the “Northlanders” review:

The World of “The Lodoss War”, where “The Lady of Pharis”, another extraordinary comic book is set: Having long become an all-time classic among anime-fans all over the world, “The Record of Lodoss War” OVA (=direct-to-video-series) is the best product of a franchise that can basically be described as “Japanese D&D”.

Being based on ACTUAL OD&D SESSIONS in which the main author and developer, Ryo Mizuno participated, this is like the closest you can get to classic D&D fiction without relying on ebay, or WotC periodical republications (kudos to Wizbro for rereleasing a lot of the old stuff from time to time, btw).

An entire universe on its own, “Lodoss War” and the RPG it is “officially” based upon, the Japanese “Sword World”, span dozens of gaming books, novels, graphic novels, artbooks, musical CDs and even a few video games. – And, Yours Truly absolutely loves it.

You can perfectly be a friend of fantasy literature today without knowing “A Song of Ice and Fire”, “The Dragonbone Chair”, or “The Name of the Wind”. – However, if you miss “Lodoss War”, especially the first OVA, this is like not having seen Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings”, at least as far as I am concerned.

What connection, you may ask, is there between some Japanese RPG to “my” or “The Maiden’s” Blackmoor? – “Lodoss War” is, more or less, how I visualize D&D for myself! The dragons in my mind look like the Lodoss Dragons, and the Elves look like Lodoss Elves, and the “Evil Island Marmo” is pretty much how thought of the darker places in “The Grim Winter”.

It’s been years since I first suggested the 1990 “Record of Lodoss War” OVA to my players as the kind of introductory material they would want to watch to get into my style of  D&D. For my personal view of roleplaying and fantasy, I think, it’s safe to say that the Lodoss universe was the one that influenced me the most, at least in the last few years.







-Rafael

(Edited by Havard)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Realm of the Egg Part I

The Realm of the Egg




Overview
• Location: North of Blackmoor.
• Area: 7000 sq. mi. Population: 20,000. Languages: Thonian. Coinage: Egg (pp), Prince (gp),
• Government Type: Dictatorial Magocracy. The Egg is the law within its realm.
• Industries: Piracy, slavery.
• Notable Sites: The Egg's Nest (pop. 6000), capital city.
• History: About 25 years ago, the seas to the north of Blackmoor mysteriously receded, as a rocky peninsula rose from its depths. Shortly thereafter, messengers bearing tidings from the Egg of Coot, lord of the northern peninsula, traveled to all the major cities in the North.
• Important Figures: The Egg of Coot (MU?). Moorkok the Slayer (F17), Prince of the Egg, Soukup (Balrog), Abler (MU)
• Flora and Fauna: Due to the experimentations of realms sorcerers, and the nature of the realm itself, encounters with nearly any sort of monster imaginable are possible.

Background
The origins and true nature of the Egg remain a mystery. For centuries, it rested deep underwater. Untill something, or someone awakened the evil entity from its slumbers. Some sages speculate that it was the sea folk who first discovered the Egg somewhere within their realm. Others claim that evil wizards, perhaps from the Red Coven, or even Abler the Demonologist himself.

The men of the Duchy of the Peaks were the first who reported to have made contact with the servants of the Egg, as early as in NC 970. The Egg used its powers to raise its city, Coot’s Nest, from the bottom of the Black Sea and at the same time made the surrounding lands sink below the level of the ocean. This greatly reduced the kingdom of the Redwood Elves. The changing of the landmass also connected the Black Sea to the North Sea which in turn gave access to the Black sea to the Skandaharian Raiders of the East. It is unknown what havoc these dramatic geological upheavals caused for the Black Sea Merfolk, but they have obviously no love for the Egg.










(Notes: Some of this information was based on the works of Andrew Theisen and David Ross)

-Havard

Hit Points, Levels, XPs everywhere!




In a blog entry at the Grognardia Blog today, James Maliszewski notes how Hit Points, Levels and XPs keep popping up everywhere these days. That is indeed quite a legacy that Gygax and Arneson left behind!





-Havard

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Northlanders

Today the Blackmoor blog features another entry by guest blogger Rafael:


So, during one of those days, while I had to wait for the van to take my furniture out of my old flat, I did a short of visit to my FLGS, “Hermkes Romanboutique”. (Yeah, that’s what one calls viral marketing!)

Among other treasures I found there, I literally ran into a comic book that instantly captivated my attention, not only as a Blackmoor aficionado, but also as a fan of comic books in general:

“Northlanders”, written by Brian Wood, and published by Vertigo comics, is certainly one of the better indie series I have in recent years: Narrating pseudo-historical stand-alone episodes from the British Dane Law era, the comic manages to stay captivating, intelligent, and artistically pleasing in its minimalism all through the two trade paperbacks ( a third one being due in March of this year).

The first one, “Northlanders: Sven the Returned” is my favorite, telling a byronesque tale of revenge about a lost son returning home to the Orkney Islands and declaring war on those who have wronged his family. – The most intriguing comic book tale with a medieval/fantasy background I have read in years, and I am talking “really long ago”, like, since the publication of the Japanese “Lady of Pharis” in Germany.

Of course, the book has the usual Vertigo weaknesses: In-your-face action, too much sexual innuendo, and some lesser logical flaws concerning the plot. However, as it comes, Brian Wood’s story is convincing, and the artwork provided by Davide Gianfelice is extraordinarily well suited. Of special interest, and good for a few smirks is he fact that the storyteller and hero, Sven, is not only the typical Vertigo badass, but also a very unreliable narrator when it comes to moments where he could look bad.

In sum, a very good comic book, and already a favourite of mine. As to medieval action and suspense, an example of how things should be done.


The second TPB installment of the series “Northlanders: The Cross + Hammer”, unrelated to the first story arc, and telling the story of a solitary rebel against the Viking attacks on Ireland, didn’t convince me as much as “Sven the Returned” did, though it’s still a solid read; the problem is that Wood overdoes the perspective of the unreliable narrator to a point where I personally had problems following the story. Also, I personally dislike totally grim tales; the comic would have done better showing some of the narrative balance the “Sven” arc had displayed. However, that might be just a matter of my own personal taste.

So, what connection do I draw between “Northlanders” and “Blackmoor”? - Well, the visuals, of course!

In contrast to the manga-like, over-the-top illustrations 4e and Pathfinder provide the fans with, Gianfelice’s, and in the second arc, Ryan Kelly’s art is almost exactly how envision my own personal world of Blackmoor: Simple clothing, Dark Age weaponry, sumblime sceneries and hostile weather.

In addition, I like low-paced stories; nothing big and spectacular, just slow and dark, naturalistic action. Scenes, that when made to a movie, maybe would be filmed without a musical score.

For my personal taste, a reader’s pleasure, almost all the way through.




-Rafael

Edited by Havard

Something is coming...


A storm is brewing.  Lisence questions aside, 2010 will not be a quiet year for Blackmoor. While we are keeping our fingers crossed for the industry to get things sorted out, things are also stirring among the fans. Some clues can be discerned here..

Only a few weeks to wait...















Havard

Introducing Rafael

I am Rafe, the Judge of the “Grim Winter Winter” and “The Promised Land” campaigns Havard mentions on here from time to time, and since I am pretty jealous of him for having such an extraordinary blog running so successfully, I thought , “if you can’t beat’im, yield”, and sent him a few of my scribblings on Blackmoor and related topics that will probably appear around here in the next few months.


While I probably won’t be able to write too much on the Blackmoor game itself, in order not to give away too much on the games I run, I thought it might be worth sharing some of the impressions and experiences I take from running those games, if for nothing else than to remember them some day.



I hope you readers will like my ramblings, and find them at least somewhat of use.

Yours,

Rafael

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Grim Winter Campaign: Behind the scenes!



Back in 2005 began what would become the longest running Blackmoor PbP Campaign in history. After 5 years of play, the game is still not over. It's sequel, Road to the Promised Land was announce last year.  The players are a group of highly dedicated and creative gamers, including original Blackmoor player Greg Svenson. Blackmoor author Jeff Quinn also took part in the game for a while.Other Blackmoor fans and game designers are avid readers of the game.

Back in 2006, the following add was posted for the campaign:
A Grim Winter has fallen over the lands of the Bitter North, as valiant heroes and vile foes fight for the control over the once so beautiful lands called the Duchy of Ten! While the troops of Blackmoor and Vestfold march on against the cannibal Afridhi, two small bands of rogues and mercenaries travel through the battered lands of the West, following their quests that might come to determine the outcome of this lethal conflict... If you want to come to the rescue of poor Ten's helpless citizens, and join our brave heroes in their perilous attempts to free the lands of men from Toska Russa's iron grip, then read on carefully...


Today. Grim Winter DM, Rafael, revealed some of his secrets over at Dragonsfoot:


What I would suggest new DMs, or DMs unhappy with the course of their games:
1. Keep a slow pace. Daily updates are difficult to manage for most people, but updates two or three times a week are doable. The better you adjust to the gaming rythm to your players,
the more probable is it that you can go playing on the long hand.

2. Don't write a novel. Or, well, do. In any case, keep the measure of the game modest.  This is the most important thing I think many DMs don't understand, IMO. The way I run PbPs, even the standard 32-page adventures by TSR would take more than a year to complete. So, my suggestion would be to have a DM script of, say ten pages, which you can complete in just a few months.
- And then, revaluate if the game has potential for successful continuation. That way, you will get less frustrated, should the group lose interest in the game, than if you go on and prepare a monster project.


 I have been fortunate enough to participate with a small role as the hardened soldier Harwan, who started out as a Sergeant, but has now become promoted to the rank of General. I am looking forward to the sequel and I know the core players are doing the same!





-Havard

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Print copies at Paizo



In yesterday's entry I mentioned that RPGNow has pdfs of Blackmoor: The First Campaign (4E) for $22,10. At Paizo however, you can get print copies for only $36,00. Print copies of this book have been difficult to obtain, in particular in Europe.









-Havard

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Well, they're still here...


Well, they are still here! In the beginning of December I suggested there might only be one month left to buy Blackmoor products. I guess I was wrong! Code Monkey Publishing (CMP) did say the lisence would end early 2010 which is a fairly vague phrase.

Having hear no word on the matter from either ZGG or CMP this year, I figured checking the online stores would be a good way of finding out if anything is happening to the situation.

 RPGNow/Drivethru have the best offers for pdfs that I have seen so far. If you have some money left after Christmas, I guess you still have a chance to complete your collection.

Edit: Paizo offers print copies of the Blackmoor: First Campaign (4E) sourcebook.






-Havard

Memorial Game for Dave Arneson, by Bob Meyer



After Dave Arneson passed away last year, Bob Meyer, also known as Robert the Bald, ran a game with many of the original Blackmoor players. Bill Hoyt, Dave Wesely, Ross Maker, Pete Gaylord, Alan Musielewicz and others of the Original Blackmoor Players were present.

Bob set the game in an historical period of Blackmoor, shortly after the death of King Robert of Geneva. Those interested in learning more about this session can read about it here.





Havard

Monday, January 4, 2010

[Characters] The Wizard of the Wood


Legendary Characters is going to be a returning feature in this blog. One of the striking features of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor is its characters. The fact that so many of the NPCs were at one point PCs gives them a certain depth that would be more difficult to achive had they simply been designed by an author. We have earlier taken a look at the Great Svenny. Today's Legendary Character is the Wizard of the Wood. Greg Svenson provided the following:

After settling in the woods east of Blackmoor, the Wizard befriended many woodland creatures. He was able to raise a considerable force of Pixies. Ents and other sylvan creatures may also have been among his allies. The Wizard of the Wood has also been known to befriend dragons. The serene woodlands where the wizard had his homely hut built was protected by the dragon Tuffy, named after Gaylord's cat. In Garbage Pits of Despair, we learn of "Sophie", another of the Wizard's dragons. Sophie makes her home in the Dragon Hills. The Wizard befriended the Sophie when she was still quite young (20 years old), but used his magic to increase her age to over 300 years.

The greatest moment of the Wizard may have been during the Great Invasion, where the Egg of Coot attacked Vestfold (most likely in 994). The Wizard of the Wood joined with other forces of good, commanding a force of Pixies. The fate of the Wizard is unknown, but at some point he disappeared.  After this, the Woods which had been his home grew into a sinister place. So they remained untill the Thonian Year 1001 when a wizard named Sildonis cleared out the woods and claimed the title Wizard of the Wood for himself.

I have always been fascinated by the Wizard of the Wood. I think it was the reference in David Ross' Blackmoor Timeline that first drew my attention to this character. I always imagined there would have to be something to this title "Wizard of the Wood". Does the title imply fealty from the nearby Sylvan creatures? Does becoming "the new Wizard of the Wood" provide you druidic powers? In a campaign, I would be tempted to make Sildonis disappear or leave his post (he seems bored with it) so that someone else (a PC?) can claim the title...




-Havard

Necrotech: Power of the Egg of Coot



Necrotech is my take on the manifestation of the powers of the Egg of Coot. This is another example of how sci fi can be added to fantasy. The FFC has a rather humorous description of of the Egg, but one of its main features is the ability to produce magical items. Since I decided to make technology a core aspect of my campaign, I figured the items produced by the Egg could be more technological in nature. Not just regular tech though, or even technomancy. It's the Egg, which I am already potraying as a Cthuluesque entity, so the technology needs a dark twist. The Egg uses Necrotech to produce technologically enhanced undead. Picture a Zombie with metallic tubes sticking out of its head and metallic plates grafted into its skin. Undead servitors of the Egg have the blue glow in their eyes, similar to that of the Thralls of Coot. Necrotech is a term also used in games by White Wolf and Privateer Press.







-Havard

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Birthday Present for JRR Tolkien


Seeing as today would have been Prof. Tolkien's 118th birthday, I decided to take a new look at the Professor's influence on early Blackmoor. As with most of D&D, Blackmoor was originally filled with Hobbits, Ents, Orcs, Balrogs and even references to Saruman, Sauron and Mordor! Ofcourse, these were removed from later printings of D&D, and were also dropped when Blackmoor returned to TSR with the DA series.

Arneson relied heavily on Chainmail when populating his setting and many of the Tolkien references were brought over from there. Greg Svenson confirms that


"Tolkien was a major influence, otherwise the primary races would not have included elves, dwarfs, hobbits, orcs and goblins; but, at the same time [...] there were many 'major' influences on our games. We all read lots of Sci Fi and Fantasy. Remember there was no cable TV or VHS and DVD players for entertainment in those days..."


While TSR were not able to use Tolkien's trademarks in their later published works, there is no reason that fans should feel bound by this. So let that be our present for Tolkien! Lets bring back the Balrogs, Hobbits and Ents to our games, in honor of the Professor who affected our lives in so many ways.




-Havard

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Elves of Blacklore: A New Look



As most of you will know, the majority of the Classic D&D products which featured Mystara, also included Blackmoor references. This is also true for the greatly underrated Hollow World Boxed Set, by Aaron Allston, which featured an entire culture with ties to Dave Arneson's Blackmoor; The Elves of Blacklore.

Mystara is a possible future of Blackmoor, one where Blackmoor first grew into a powerful technomantic Empire, due to discoveries from the City of the Gods, but which then destroyed itself in the Great Rain of Fire, since combining magic and technology is a tad too unpredictable. 

The Elves of Blacklore were elves from the southern continent who had made contact with Blackmoor some time before its destruction and had become fascinated with the technology of the humans. Being a fairly naïve lot, they quickly abandoned their own culture, absorbing as much as they could of the new technologically based way of life.




Unfortunately, the Hollow World Boxed Set treats the entire Blacklore culture as a joke. Having jokes like this within the gaming products was quite common back then, but although it was a fun read, I think there was an opportunity missed here in this otherwise excellent product. In the past I have presented a more serious take on the Hollow World version of the Blacklore Elves.

What struck me the other day was that the Blacklore Elves could be a factor even in the classic Blackmoor age. We do not need to limit them to elves from afar, but any elf who becomes so fascinated with City of the Gods artifacts or steamtech and clockwork devices can become a Blacklore Elf. I predict some critical comments: "Bah, another elven subrace?". But this isnt really about subraces (at least at this point). These are individual elves who go directly against their own nature to pursue technology rather than living in harmony with nature. Which consequences will this have on the elves themselves. I imagine something sinister, almost like a human selling his soul...






(Elf Image from: http://www.designyourway.net/blog/wallpapers/collection-of-over-70-excellent-dark-wallpapers/ )



-Havard

Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year!



Since we are now in 2010, I would like to take a look at the past year and the things that have happened concerning Blackmoor. 2009 has been a year of Great Losses, a year of Hopes and Disappoinments an a year where we need to ask wherein the future of Blackmoor lies.

GREAT LOSSES
Overshadowing everything else, 2009 will no doubt be remembered for the passing of Dave Arneson on the 7th of April after two years of battling cancer. On the 17th of November, Richard Snider also passed away. More than anything else happening last year, the loss of those two gentlemen will be remembered.


HOPES AND DISAPPOINTMENTS


On the publishers' side of  things, 2009 saw the release of Blackmoor: The First Campaign in June, bringing Blackmoor over to the 4th Edition of D&D. This was a pleasant surprise as things had been so quiet around Blackmoor that many of us had given up hope that we'd ever see more Blackmoor Products. Blackmoor had now been placed among very few 3rd party settings to be supported for the new edition.

Blackmoor fans were further excited to learn of the planned launch of the Age of the Wolf setting which was to be released over the months of the fall of 2009. Unfortunately, those hopes were stiffled as it was announced that the Blackmoor lisence from WotC was coming to an end, with the chance of seeing any future Blackmoor products looking slim.

THE FANS MARCH ON


Not all that happened in 2009 was gloomy though. This year also saw the end of the Grim Winter Campaign. Grim Winter is Rafael San Miguel's long lasting Play by Post Campaign, one of the biggest gaming events in recent Blackmoor history. We are pleased to learn that a new chapter in this saga, the Promised Land will begin later this year.

2009 was also the second year of the Piazza. This D&D World forum is staying vibrant and steadily attracting more followers, with Blackmoor having its own top level subforum on those boards. Finarvyn's OD&D Forum has also been a great resource for learning about Blackmoor's early days and Arneson's way of gaming.

Finally, 2009 was the year when this Blog was born. Getting into the blogosphere has been a very interesting experience for me. Along with my website at blackmoor.mystara.us, it has been a good way for me to organize and collect my thoughts on Blackmoor. I have been humbled to see it attract so many great followers, many of whom help out with very interesting comments and feedback. Several people have contacted me, expressing a desire to see more things happen with Blackmoor even if we can no longer get official material. More than anything else, this blog has convinced me that the Blackmoor fans are a force to be reconned with. I belive that Blackmoor is now in the hands of its fans. 2010 will be the year when those of us who love the setting will have to step up and make sure that Arneson's creation does not disappear into oblivion, but instead lives on! 

I wish you a Happy New Year!






-Havard