"It's true that I did take part in the original Blackmoor campaign and did play the role of a priest, participating in a few dungeon or overland expeditions. [...] I also recall having the ability to cast one or two spells and having the ability to help heal minor wounds, but in retrospect it's obvious my character was low level and not particularly impressive. Since my primary interest was in historical games rather than fantasy games (which is still the case), I didn't play too often and didn't make any progress with that character. It's ironic that I knew both Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax fairly well and enjoyed their company from time to time, but never played much D & D with either of them."
Mike Mornard was another player in Arneson's campaign at this time. Mornard is also unique in the fact that he is the only player to have played in all three of Gary Gygax', Phil Barker's and Dave Arneson's original campaigns. Mornard recalls the origins of the Cleric class designed for Carr's character:
"Ahem. I was there. In CHAINMAIL there were wizards that functioned as artillery. Then there was Dave Arneson's first miniatures/roleplaying campaign. Some players were 'good guys' and some players were 'bad guys' and Dave was the referee. One of the 'bad guys' wanted to play a Vampire. He was extremely smart and capable, and as he got more and more experience he got tougher and tougher. This was the early 70s, so the model for 'vampire' was Christopher Lee in Hammer films. No deep folklore shit. Well, after a time, nobody could touch Sir Fang. Yes, that was his name."
The Vampire Lord, Sir Fang, that Mornard refers to here was actually David Fant's character, who used to be the Baron of Blackmoor. How Baron Fant was turned into a Vampire is a shrouded mystery. The Last Fantasy Campaign suggests that Ran may have been responsible for turning Blackmoor's Baron into an undead lord. My fellow Blackmoor scholar David Ross speculates that it must have happened in the year 998 when the heroes drew the forces of the Egg out of Blackmoor, reclaiming their city:
"Meanwhile, a strong fighter becomes the vampire Sir Fang. This is also the last mention of Fant as a ruling Baron of Blackmoor. Great Vampire Hunt in which Fant is “killed”, but later two dwarves free him and join his undead legion."(-Blackmoor Gazetteer)Lord Fang was also recruited the Baron's ally, Sir Jenkins, Lord of Glendover, to the ranks of the undead. The appearance of a Vampire lord and an undead legion on the side of evil threatened the balance of the campaign. Mike Mornard recalls how the Cleric class was designed to reestablish this balanace:
"To fix the threatened end of the game they came up with a character that was, at first, a 'vampire hunter'. Peter Cushing in the same films. As the rough specs were drawn up, comments about the need for healing and for curing disease came up. Ta da, the "priest" was born. Changed later to 'cleric'. The bit about edged weapons was from Gary's reading the old stories about Archbishop Turpin, who wielded a mace because he didn't want to shed blood ("who lives by the sword dies by the sword")."
Grognaria also suggest Peter Cushing's role of Dr. Van Helsing as an inspiration for the Cleric class. Since Mike Carr was the first to play this class, it would make sense to assume that his character conformed to the ideas they all had of the class at the time.
Besides battling the Vampire Lord, Mike Carr recalls what was probably the most dramatic adventures of Bishop Carr. It featured one of Blackmoor's most dangerous monsters:
"One of my recollections is one rather disastrous encounter with a balrog where our party had to beat a hasty retreat because we couldn't defeat that particular monster."Could this have been the battle recounted by Greg Svenson as the Great Svenny's First Dungeon Adventure? It would not be the only time the heroes of Blackmoor were faced with Demons.
Bishop Carr is described in a humorous way in the First Fantasy Campaign, a description which still makes me chuckle today. Dave Arneson's accounts of the Bishop suggests Arneson's fond memories of playing with Carr. While the character was still of very low level when Carr played in the campaign, Arneson promoted him to Bishop of Blackmoor. In DA1, Garamond Bolitho is the Bishop of Blackmoor. Garamond may have succeeded Bishop Carr since DA1 is set 30 years after the First Fantasy Campaign, or they may be one and the same character. David Ross points to both Clerics' friendliness towards the "pagan" elves as a possible indication that they may be the same, but also offers the years 1002-1005 as the period when Bolitho may have replaced Carr as the preceeding Bishop over Blackmoor.
In this series of character profiles, I have earlier described legendary Blackmoor heroes such as the Great Svenny, the Wizard of the Woods and villains like Moorkok the Slayer, Captain Krey and Stephen the Rock.