Monday, December 24, 2012

Seasonal Greetings

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Blackmoor Blog and the guys at the Comeback Inn.

Hope you have been a good froggie this year! :)





-Havard

Image snatched from: http://twinklesandsparkles.blogspot.no/2010/03/christmas-frog.html

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All 3 MMRPG Seasons Available!

Fake covers I made for the MMRPG

Just a quick message to let you know that all 3 seasons of the Blackmoor MMRPG are now available at The Comeback Inn. Sort of an early Christmas Present for you there.

Enjoy!

-Havard

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Origin of Mystara's Known World

Known World Map Replica by Thorfinn Tait
The D&D fantasy world that later grew into the World of Mystara, originally referred to as the D&D Game World, or simply the Known World first appeared in the module X1 The Isle of Dread (1981) by Tom Moldvay and David "Zeb" Cook. 


It has for a long time been rumoured that Tom Moldvay ( 1948 – 2007) based the setting on elements from his own campaign. However, over at the Mystara Facebook Group, James Mishler just reported the following:

Per Lawrence Schick in a post I just read..."...the Known World was originally based on the shared-world campaign Tom Moldvay and I ran in Akron, Ohio, before we were hired by TSR. I invented most of the names, including Thyatis, Ylaruam, Ierendi, Darokin, Atruaghin, and Glantri."


The origin of the names of the various countries has also been up to some speculation. Frank Mentzer has hinted that Ylaruam was simply the word Morally spelled backwards. This seems to be well in line with Moldvay & Cook's modus operandi. Another location developed by the two in the same setting is the city of Yavdlom, which also reveals a code if spelled backwards. 





-Havard

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Rise of the Cumasti: Comelar Ithamis


With the death of King Uhlmar, the Elven Nation fell into chaos. The elves of the Wood Realms of the West followed Ceridrone , the Black Queen, the daughter that Uhlmar had cursed for her betrayal. The eastern elves, known now as the Cumasti split into factions, arguing among themselves. The Elder Council could not agree on which direction they should take, leaving each of the eastern Wood Realms to fend for itself.
In the largest of the Cumasti Wood Realms, the Redwoods, leadership fell upon the shoulders of Comelar Ithamis. The Council of Elders said that  although Comelar was the eldest son of Uhlmar, they would not accept his claim to be king of all elves before he could produce Uhlmar’s Crown.  Unfortunately the Crown had disappeared during the time of duress following the former King’s death.  Because of this there were even those among the Cumasti who would not accept Comelar’s rulership. The Goss Clan was especially noted for their desire for independence.

Comelar was an unusual young elf with an openness towards the world reminiscent of his father in his younger days. He carried the sword Woodhold, and some said that he sometimes talked to the blade. In spite of his strange ways, the elves of the Redwoods were loyal to Lord Comelar.
With the divisions among the elves and the increasing number of humans arriving in the North, as well as the appearance of a new race in the North, that the humans called Dwarves, Comelar did not sit idly by. While he was denied command of the Elven Nation, he began to consolidate what power he had, building up the defenses of the Redwoods. He founded an order known as the Gen’Ri, whose mission was to gather information on the races that lived outside the woods.

The information the Gen’Ri brought back was terrifying. The Goss Clan which had opposed Comelar’s leadership had managed to place one prince in Mithgiliwyr as ruler of their woodland realm, while his half brother Raddan had managed to claim the throne of Blackmoor. Raddan’s hunger for arcane power drove him into becoming a leading force in the Mage Wars. When his brother refused to join his side, Raddan destroyed Mithgilliwyr’s Woodrealm, turning it into the Blood Woods. With these arcane wars raging on, the Cumasti Wood Realms again looked to Comelar for leadership. Gradually they began to recognize him as Lord of the Cumasti.

Seeing that the threats from the outside world could not be ignored, Comelar secretly supported the Archmage Skelfer. With the end of the Mage Wars, Comelar made renewed contact with the Thonians, although he was in no way interested in making the Wizards Cabal welcome in his own lands. Skelfer accepted this, given the aid Comelar had given to the Archmage during the time of strife. Upon Comelar’s death, his son, Menander, continued to expand the contact with the Thonians. Menander Ithamis would often walk among humans in disguise, learning of their ways  through personal experience as well as from the information provided to him by the Gen’Ri.

The first real intervention of Menander’s forces into Thonian lands was after the Egg of Coot had invaded and occupied Blackmoor Town. Only through the aid of Menander’s Army were the heroes of Blackmoor able to drive the Egg out. Menander recognized the dangers of the Egg as too great for one race to stand against alone and continued his efforts to work with the other races, finding allies among Humans, Halflings and even the Dwarves.


***
Notes: 

In previous material, I named Uhlmar's son Noris, but later realized that Menander's father had been named in the D20 Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Sourcebook. 

The Gen'Ri and Mithgilivyr Goss were introduced in The Blackmoor Player's Guide.

King Uhlmar is my creation.

***


Image Source

More discussion of this topic.


-Havard

Monday, December 3, 2012

MMRPG Finale Approaching

Over at the Comeback Inn Forum, we have been releasing Season 3 of Blackmoor the MMRPG this autumn. Now, only a few episodes are left and we plan to release them all in time for Christmans. Season 3 marks the last of these freebie adventure modules which are easy to use with any edition. They are released with the expressed permission of Zeitgeist Games.

Season 3 Fake Tribute cover by Havard

So, stay tuned with us over at The Comeback Inn and make sure that you download these final MMRPG episodes as they are released in the weeks ahead.

Discuss this article and download the adventures here.






-Havard

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Life of Keres (Burrower Wars Part III)

Summoning the Burrowers


As the Burrower Wars raged on, Keres would often think back to the events of his life having lead up to this point. While Keres was human, his true parentage was unknown. As a young child, he was discovered by a tribe of Brute-Men, the Qullan who raised him as their own. Perhaps it was growing up with the Qullan that made him feel different. He felt even more like a stranger among other tribes, the powerful Garls, the dangerous Fey or the Human Tribes.

Instead explored the mysteries of the Shamans. The Qullan had always regarded Keres as a holy child. As he grew older he began wandering into the Great Glaciers. This is where he found the weapon. The Carnifex Scythe. This artifact from the Cthonian Age was where he first encountered real power. And from that point on, he knew that he wanted more.
The Carnifex Scythe

Looking back at his life, his biggest achievement was climbing the mountain top to the Throne of the Gods. From that point on it was easy. Tricking the God, Temrin, back to his lair and killing him with the Carnifex weapon. He drew power from Temrin's blood, which he drank. Also, he kept the god's still glowing heart in a medallion around his neck.

Using these two sources of power, Keres could summon the Burrowers, in order to destroy the world. From this destruction he hoped to drain infinite power. But there was something wrong in his memories. A person appeared now and then. A human. He wondered if this human had actually been there, but the face appeared him the memories of Keres in many stages of his life. Who was he though? This mysterious figure. 

Keres had been wondering about this Mystery Figure for a while now. Would he see him again? Unfortunately, the next time the Figure appeared, it would be too late for Keres to do anything about it. "You!" he said, as the Figure appeared in front of him. 

"Who are you, thief?" Keres asked, noticing that the Figure held the Temrin Medallion in his hand. But the  mysterious man simply vanished in thing air. With a grim smile on his face. 

Instantly, Keres felt the mind-link to the Burrowers disappear. That day, his armies began to fail. Months later, all was lost.

***

The mysterious figure returned to his own time. Khoronus, General of the armies of King Robert of Geneva had climbed the mountain to the Throne of Gods centuries after Keres. The Throne olds the secrets to Time Travel, allowing Khoronus to thwart Keres' plans. With Keres explosed, the Gods intervened. 

Some believe that Khoronus placed the Heart of Temrin near the Bramwald Forest, where was later constructed the Bramford Abbey, whose monks claim it still resides there today. Then he left the world. A new God of Time had been born. But it is said that he left behind a means to travel through time, so that others could explore such mysteries in later centuries. 


Behind the Curtains: Additional Comments.
In this installment I wanted to explore how the Burrower Wars came to an end. Also, hinted in this material are clues to Khoronus' quest fore Immortality. The connection between Khoronus and Bramford Abbey is a round about nod to some of the work of Fred Weining on Greyhawk's Blackmoor. In addition this article allowed me to take a closer look at the different groups becoming involved with the Burrower Wars. 

This series of articles has sparked some really helpful discussions. Thanks for great ideas provided by Aegir and Yatzronomo on the Comeback Inn, and everyone in this thread on The Piazza, especially Ripvanwormer for suggestions to the Carnifex Scythe.  


Image Sources


-Havard

Gygax Magazine and TSR Games

Interrupting the ongoing series with a news flash.



I first heard about TSR Games and Gygax Magazine over at The Piazza. Apparently this new company will be publishing a new old school focused magazine in print and electronic formats. Gary's two sons, Luke Gygax and Ernie Gygax are involved in this projects as are Tim Kask, Jayson Elliot, Jim Wampler, James Carpio and several others. Gail Gygax has stated that the project is not supported by the Gygax estate.

More information can be gleamed from Loremaster, the Gamers & Grognard's blog as well as The Piazza discussion.

Looks to me like with the good people involved in this project, this could become very interesting. I hope that they will offer the possibility of print subscriptions overseas. With the disappointing announcement about Kobold Quarterly folding recently, this could be a good time for their launch too.


I wish the Gygax boys the best! :)



-Havard

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Murder of Temrin (The Burrower Wars Part II)



Many believed that the Long Winter was a punishment by the Gods for allowing the Dark Races to gain dominance during the Cthonic age. As the Ice Age came to an end, Humans, Brute Men and Dwarves stumbled clumsily around in the Melting Lands.

Most sought away from the Ice as it reminded them of all of those who had frozen to death. Keres, Shaman of the Qullan Tribe, saw it differently. Unlike his tribesmen, he did not fear death. Instead he was drawn to it. His anger was against those Gods who had taken power from the world. He believed that some of that ancient power was still buried beneath the ice. Keres was right.

As the Glaciers began to melt, some of the things hidden beneath the ice once again resurfaced. The object Keres discovered in the Ice was nothing less than an artifact from the Cthonic Age. Charged with its immense power, Keres began to form his plan.

Travelling to the highest mountain peak, Keres came upon the Throne of the Gods. There he fasted and prayed until Temrin, God of Time heard his prayers. Keres told Temrin of the artifact he had found. The Shaman told the God that he would show him this artifact if he came with him to the place where he had hidden it. Temrin accompanied the Shaman suspecting no threat from a mere mortal.

Once they were back in his lair, Keres made sure that Temrin had stepped into the circle of blood that the Shaman had drawn on the ground. When Keres produced the artifact, Temrin was eager to see this discovery from a past age. He was taken by surprise, when Keres drove the weapon right through the God. Power flowed from the dying God into Keres' body. The God of Time was dead.




Behind the Curtains:

  • Temrin and his death were first mentioned in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor D20 Campaign Setting.
  • The Throne of the Gods was first mentioned in the First Fantasy Campaign (JG) by Dave Arneson.
  • The Cthonic Age was first mentioned in Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor





-Havard


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Burrower Wars

With the end of the Age of the Cthonians, a Great Winter came upon the world. During this Ice Age, many of the ancient races perished. The ancient evils who had ruled in the previous Age were now either banished or had fallen into unnatural sleep becoming from now on known as the Sleeping Ones.

Although The Long Winter was hard for everyone, smaller races such as the humans and Dwarves were better at adapting than many other ancient races. Two races of humans came out of the Ice Age. Some resembled modern man, and others were of a more primitive breed. Brute Men they were called, and what they lacked in wisdom they made up for with physical strength. But it was their weak minds that would be their undoing.

During this age, a human shaman named Keres became fascinated with Death. Using his spirit magic, this Shaman was able to lure a God named Temrin into this world. Wielding a weapon that had been trapped in the Ice since the Cthonic Age, Keres murdered Temrin, drawing his power into himself. Upon the site of Temrin's murder would later be built a construction called the Temple of Id.

Keres the Shaman, used the power he had drained from Temrin to awaken the ancient Sleeping Ones trapped deep beneath the ground. Although they were still trapped, these Burrowers were slowly beginning to dig their way out. But even without reaching the surface, their minds could travel much faster.

In the north, both Humans and Brute Men had only mastered tools of stone, but the superior intellect of Humans allowed them to withstand the mental corruption of the Burrowers. Many of the Brute Men, however, became the unwilling slaves of those evils below. These corrupted Brute Men began to wage wars on Humans and Brute Men alike.



Raging on for two centuries, the Burrower Wars brought unthinkable destruction to the world. Even Dragons, usually oblivious to the affairs of the lesser races, were drawn into action. As a powerful Burrower known as Iscranin was about to emerge near the North Pole, it was attacked by the Great Dragon Yealaletherveri. Yealaletherveri died, but only after preventing the Burrower's escape.

The Gods now realized how serious the situation was. Learning of the murder of Temrin, it was agreed that intervention into the Mortal World was permitted. The Burrowers were returned to deep sleep. This marked the end of Brute Men in the North. The Burrower Wars had also weakened the position of Dragons, who were soon driven into the mountains by Giants. The Age of Men was still centuries away.

What happened to Keres the Shaman is not known. Some say he was punished by the Gods. Others say he had become a God himself.



********

Behind the curtains: Did I make up all of this?
What I like to do is combine information from different sources. The Burrower Wars were introduced in the Hollow World Boxed Set and expanded upon by OldDawg. I decided to combine this with the murder of Temrin as described in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor D20CS as well as elements of the history of Blackmoor from Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor (such as the Cthonian Age). Iscranin and Yealaletherveri appear in the novel Son of Dawn and are placed into context in the History of Dragonkind by Simone Neri. 


More discussion of this article here.


-Havard

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Exploring the Vales of Blackmoor

Heroes of the Vales is the second chapter in my Play by Post Campaign. Hosted at the Comeback Inn, this game is  set in the Vales, a remote region west of Blackmoor. It has been great running this game for a group consisting of some of the most hard core Blackmoor fans on the Internet, including Greg Svenson who was a regular in Dave Arneson's original campaign.

One of the great things about the Vales is that it is a region where very little has been detailed in published sources. This offers a lot of creative freedom. On the other hand, one of my goals is to preserve a certain Blackmoor atmosphere for the campaign. Most recently I revealed to my players a map of a much greater area of the region than they had seen before...




-Havard


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mystara Tuesday!

Mystara Monday would have sounded better. Maybe that is a plan for next week?

Anyway, a lot of people assumed Mystara had disappeared back in 1996. However, locations and characters strongly associated with Mystara keep showing up in every edition. Most recently the Isle of Dread is revealed to be included in the latest installment of the D&D Next Playtest Package!


The Mystara fan community has always been a strong one of course, currently with its main base at The Piazza. If anything this fan community was strengthened by the return of Bruce Heard earlier this year. After a brief break, Bruce, who also is a member of the Comeback Inn, has now resumed posting Mystara material at his blog, where he just completed his article series on the Alphatian Kingdom of Bettelyn.

So if you are a Mystara fan like I am, this is a good time to be on the Internet!


-Havard

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Scourge of the Mage Wars

One of the bloodiest times of Blackmoor's history is known as the Mage Wars. As more and more mages learned to make use of the strong magical energies of the North, the rivalry between them gradually grew into  open hostilities. Among the Wizard Warlords, the most ruthless at this time was probably the Half-Elf known as Raddan Goss. It was only with his defeat at the hands of the Skelfer the Arch Mage that the Mage Wars came to an end. I have previously speculated that the energies released in battling Raddan Goss was what eventually awakened an ancient evil, sleeping in the deep waters near Blackmoor.

The legacy of Raddan Goss lives on even in later day Blackmoor, as revealed in Night of Goss, a recently released episode of Blackmoor the MMRPG over at the Comeback Inn.

Image Source



-Havard


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Last Days of Blackmoor

In 1975, Dave Arneson's players launched their first expeditions to the City of the Gods. Did they already at this point consider what bringing high tech artifacts back to Blackmoor would mean for a fantasy world? The DA modules hinted at dark consequences of these events in the centuries following King Uther's reign. The cover of module DA3 certainly sparked the imaginations of many about a sci fi heavy future of Blackmoor.


One such Blackmoor fan is RobJN who occasionally appears in this blog with his Thorn's Blackmoor.This Weekend RobJN announced his plans to start a Play by Post Campaign hosted at the Comeback Inn. Right now it looks like the campaign may be set a either a thousand years after Uther's Reign, or during the Beastman Crusades, "only" a few centuries into the future.


Those interested in such futuristic versions of Blackmoor may also be interested in this discussion about Blackmoor 2000. More details on RobJN's project will undoubtedly be revealed in the months ahead!

Stay tuned! 

-Havard


Monday, October 8, 2012

Complete MMRGP Season 2 Available!



The complete season 2 of the Blackmoor MMRPG has now been uploaded to the Comeback Inn. As with Season 1, I have created an unofficial cover for this season.

 Go here to download season 2!

Make also sure to check out the first episodes of season 3!

-Havard

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Sleeping Ones


As mentioned in a previous post, there are certain forces at work in Blackmoor, seeking to use ancient Sar Aigu Rituals to achieve their dark goals. The purpose of these rituals is to awaken the Sleeping Ones. Millions of years ago, there existed Beings whose power rivaled that of the Gods. While these Outer Beings were eventually driven out of the Multiverse, many of their dark servitors remained. In the Cthonian Age, members of these Servitor Races were able to aid creatures like the evil Carnifex in their dark quest for power. But even the reign of the Carnifex came to an end and the creatures who had supplied them with power were destroyed, or imprisoned beneath the earth, in the depths of the sea or on other planes of existence. There they were placed into unnatural slumber, so that they could no longer do harm.Thus they slept through the last Ice Age.

During the last Stone Age, 6.000 years ago, the many of the Brute Men of the North were magically influenced by the dreams of such Sleeping Ones, known as Burrowers. These Brute Man Wars were also finally ended, though it is unknown if the corruption that comes in the form of dreams has been fully stopped.

Some scholars believe that the Egg of Coot is one such Greater Servitor of the Outer Beings. It was buried beneath the sea, but it was once again awakened by the energies released during the Mage Wars. It stands to reason then that the servants of the Egg of Coot and its allies, such as the Priesthood of Id, are interested in awakening other such Sleeping Ones. As only divine intervention has succeeded in defeating these entities in the past, it seems that the future of Blackmoor would be forfeit should these agents succeed.



Image Source: http://craigspearing.com/#challenge-entries-personal

The Outer Beings were created by James Mishler and Geoff Gander.
Thanks also to Freedom92 for suggestions and encouragement! :)



-Havard

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Greyhawk Mapper Darlene Speaks!

Darlene Pekul, TSR illustrator and map maker, began answering questions to fans today over at The Piazza D&D Worlds Forum. Perhaps best known for the first published versions of the World of Greyhawk maps, Darlene is happy to get back in touch with her fans after decades: "I feel like I'm a comet in an elliptical orbit on a return journey after 30-years" says the 58 year old artist.

Parts of The Darlene Greyhawk Map



In the Piazza discussion forum thread, she talks about her friendship with other well known former TSR employees such as Joe Orlowski, Dave Sutherland,Jon Pickens, Kenneth Reek and Tim Kask as well as her relationship to game designer and Blackmoor alumni, Mike Carr.

In her first batch of answers to curious fans, she also talks about her first jobs for TSR:

"Among the first jobs I was given to do was to design and produce an outdoor sign for TSR's Williams Street building. I made the sign in the shape of a shield and painted The Dragon on one side and TSR on the other. Although I had earned my BA degree in Art, nobody initially associated me with illustration. I was first and foremost associated with graphics design, happy to receive any freelance work I was given..."


It is going to be interesting to follow this discussion with Darlene and listen to her experiences and see what they tell us about the early days of TSR and the early development of Greyhawk.

Also, make sure to visit Darlene's Facebook Fan Page and her website.


-Havard

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Sar Aigu Ritual

The Sar Aigu Ritual is something that has become a central element in my current regular group campaign. I have found that it is a way to connect several elements of the Blackmoor Mythology. The Sar Aigu were introduced in Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor. That book describes how the Sar Aigu were the first race to climb onto the rocks where Castle Blackmoor was built thousands of years later.

In my campaign, the Sar Aigu were directed to that place by their God, the Power behind the Temple of the Frog. On the Blackmoor peninsula, they performed some kind of dark ritual. However, instead of summoning their God, they istead summoned a much older power. An Old One.

This scared the Sar Aigu and forced them back into the dark waters of the Black Sea. The magic of the Old One was what was infused with the rocky foundation of the Blackmoor peninsula. It is that magic that later drew large numbers of mages to the region, resulting in the Mage Wars. During that time of magical conflict, so much energy was released that it awakend the Egg of Coot from its dark slumber.

And here we get to another dark secret from my campaign. The Egg of Coot is just one of several ancient evils who were put into a state of unnatural sleep by the Gods. The servants of the Egg have now uncovered the ritual originally used by the Sar Aigu. They believe that they can use this ritual to draw fully from the power of the Blackmoor Peninsula. Their purpose, to awaken the other Sleepers. This is why the Egg of Coot and its servants keep attacking Blackmoor. And in my campaign, the ritual is about to be performed....




-Havard

Image source: http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/raven-home/wikis/deep-ones

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Arneson turns C&C Map into RPG World

The Great Kingdom was an attempt by Gary Gygax and Rob Kuntz to create a "mythical world" for their Castles & Crusades Society. New details of this appear in Jon Peterson's new book, Playing the World. The first mention of the Great Kingdom appeared in the Domesday Book #6 and the map appeared in Domesday Book #9. In this fanzine, Rob Kuntz is referred to as King and Gary Gygax and other members are given other titles.  However, what does this mean in the context of the C&C Society being mainly an organization for Medieval Miniature War Gamers?



For Dave Arneson, however the nature of the map and other details about the society grew to get a deeper meaning. With the Blackmoor Game, the focus shifted from skirmish units and the vague war gaming notion of "Generals" to real flesh and blood characters. The setting Arneson created for these player controlled characters was called Blackmoor of course, but what of the lands beyond the Castle and town?



In the introduction to the original Dungeons & Dragons game, Gary Gygax writes:

'From the map of the "land" of the "Great Kingdom" and environs -- the territory of the C&C Society -- Dave located a nice bog wherein to nest the weird enclave of "Blackmoor," a spot between the "Great Kingdom" and the fearsome "Egg of Coot."'
On his blog, Zenopus examines the exact location of Blackmoor on the map that became the basis for Arneson's campaign and later also the basis for the World of Greyhawk Setting.  In an RPG-like context, the world of the Great Kingdom also gained a new depth. "King" Rob Kuntz was no longer just the leader of the was gaming association, but a character living in this imagined world, controlling the Kingdom. In Arneson's game, the King would sometimes send troops to aid Blackmoor against its many enemies.

Rob Kuntz himself may not have known about this, had it not been for the article Facts About Black Moor by Dave Arneson published in Domesday Book #13. I imagine the editors must have been thrilled to see someone taking their "world" so seriously!

Img Source

More discussion of this article here.

-Havard

Monday, August 13, 2012

WotC to Bring Back Old Setting!



As was reported on The Piazza today by Big Mac, WotC has just announced that they will be bringing back an old D&D setting, presumably for D&D Next. Which setting that will be is to be revealed on GenCon this Thursday!

Is it going to be Blackmoor? Unlikely. Although as Twin Agate Dragons mentioned in the same Piazza thread, Blackmoor would be ideal in many ways. Greyhawk is the obvious choice, but in a recent poll held by WotC Greyhawk ended up fairly far down on the list. As one commenter suggested, perhaps it is "too soon" for another go at Gygax' campaign setting after Greyhawk's return as a default 3E setting.

More details on all of this at the D&D Nexus.


Image Source.

-Havard

Monday, July 2, 2012

Beyond This Point...

I got this from a friend on Facebook. My first association was Skandaharian explorers on their way to the mythical Janivarsland. There is always a Blackmoor connection if you know where to look! :) Looks like the Skandaharians got a bit more than they were hoping for this time...


-Havard

Sunday, July 1, 2012

More MMRPG Episodes

Things are a bit more quiet now with summer here. I have returned to uploading MMRPG episodes to the website. We are still on Season 2 which I hope to complete over the summer so that we can get started with the third season this autumn.

You can find these and more free Blackmoor Downloads here.

-Havard

Monday, June 25, 2012

D&D 3 The Movie - Trailer Up!

They have gone and done it again:

"This chapter of Dungeons & Dragons takes you deeper into the dark and fantastic world of this epic fantasy adventure. A noble warrior must battle dragons and demons while upholding his moral code as he covertly joins a group of villains to rescue his kidnapped father from Shathrax, the Mind Flayer, who threatens to destroy the world."



More detail here.http://blackmoor.mystara.us/forums/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2769&p=17556#p17556

-Havard

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mi-Karr and the Wizards Cabal

One of the most powerful Wizards in the history of Blackmoor is the mysterious Wizard of Mi-Karr. I decided to make use of this character in my Tales from the Vales Campaign. Very little is known about this Wizard who was introduced in the First Fantasy Campaign. Undoubtedly, Dave Arneson named the character after Mike Carr, although it doesnt seem like Mike actually played the character. More details on the origins of Mi-Karr and how I have adapted him to my campaign  can be found here.



Image source


-Havard

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Vales Campaign approaches Season Finale




Tales from the Vales is my ongoing PbP campaign hosted at the Comeback Inn. It is set in the lands west of Blackmoor, known simply as the Vales. Starting in February this year, the campaign is now approaching its season finale.
 

The Story So Far:
When they first arrived in the Vales, the heroes befriended Thane Arthax, a local chieftain. Arthax was having trouble with local brigands and the heroes agreed to help rid the Thane of this problem. Investigating the  situatuon further, they learned that the brigands were lead by a man called Drunstan the Dog and that Drunstan was also hiring out his brigands to Master Oswin, an emissary of the Wizards Cabal.

The Wizards Cabal formally has no authority in the Vales, but were tracking a renegade sorceress named Madam Wynne who had sought refuge in this region. Having killed most of the brigands, the heroes made contact with Wynne and agreed to help her defeat the Wizards.


Retrieving an artifact for Wynne in ancient ruins, the heroes once again crossed paths with Drunstan the Dog as well as a cult dedicated to the worship of the Frog God. The cult was lead by Thane Arthax' daughter who apparently had seduced Drunstan. Defeating the cultists and killing the Thane's daughter, the heroes, Drunstan and Wynne have now formed an unlikely alliance in order to fight Master Oswin. But will their collective strength be enough to oppose a Master of the Cabal and his Arcane Warriors?





Image Sorce:


-Havard

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thorn's Blackmoor: Kingdoms of the Twilight Empire

It is time for this month's guest entry for my blog and a new visit from RobJN who takes a look at the monsters of Thorn's Blackmoor: 



Before the Great Unification, the southlands of Skothar were teeming with woodlands, and the Fey outnumbered men and elves and halflings and dwarves nearly ten to one. But as Men pushed ever outward, the forests fell, lands were cleared, and order was brought to the wilderness. Then came the plows and the farms. The chaos of the wilds withered beneath the onslaught of the laws and ways of Men, and most of the Fey withdrew, either receding further and further to the North, or simply… fading away.
By the time of the Mage Wars, the Fey were nearly extinct in the Southlands, with a few secreting themselves among Men out of curiosity, observing, puzzling over their ways. The main concentrations of Fey situated themselves among the forests and lakes of the North, and collectively referred to their nation as the Twilight Empire.

Their rulership was something only vaguely understood even by the Wizards of the Woods. At times, the leadership changed with the seasons. Other times, it seemed that wagers among certain groups, won or lost, determined who would reign over a given pocket of the Fey. The Wizard of the Woods, Pete, was said to have observed rulership hinging on who won a staring contest between two pixie lordlings.

No one is sure of the exact date, but Morgana seized the Twilight Throne some time between the end of the Mage Wars and the time that the lands of the Egg rose up from the Black Sea. It was then that the Equinox Pacts were forged among the Summer and Winter fey, combining those two nations, to better fend off the depredations of the Egg of Coot, which only grew stronger as years passed.

Though Morgana was dark of hair and eye, as was Uther Andahar, there has been some speculation that the golden-haired twins may very well be court hostages of the Summer fey, given over to a neutral party for safekeeping….






Rob’s blog and website (which close on July 30th) are in the process of moving. The new blog is already up, and continues to chronicle a bit of a darker take on the Mystara presented in the D&D Gazetteers. Thorn's Chronicle is posted semi-regularly on the Mystara board of The Piazza.







 Image Sources
Thorns Chroicle logo by RobJN 


-Havard

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Pathfinder AP for Blackmoor fans?

I have previously suggested that Numeria is the equivalent of Blackmoor in Pathinder's Golarion Setting. I was therefore disappointed by Paizo officials making statements suggesting that they were never going to do much with this part of their setting.

Now I am pleasantly surprised to learn that Paizo developer/author James Stutter has announced definite plans for an entire Adventure Path with connections to Numeria. Sharing Blackmoor's elements of combining technology and fantasy, this could mean that the adventure path could also be adapted to our favorite setting!

Furthermore, new Numeria themed monsters will be appearing in the Pathfinder Inner Sea Beastiary which is being planned for release this fall. I will definately be picking up these items!


More on this topic here.

-Havard

IMG Source: Humans of Golarion

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tales from the Old Lands: Adventure Now Available



While waiting for the rest of the Blackmoor MMRPG Season 2 episodes, take a look at Tales from the Old Lands, an excellent adventure easily adapted to any edition. Enjoy!

Go here to download.

-Havard

Monday, May 7, 2012

Arneson Auction is Up



So the Arneson Auction is up at last. Its interesting to see the items listed in the first batch. Although I am more interested in the items coming further down the line, it is interesting to see what sort of RPG items Dave Arneson owned. Some were doubtlessly gifts and perhaps items bought to collect. Still it would be interesting to know what items he used for gaming in the later days. For instance, there are reports saying Dave Arneson loved his copy of the D&D Rules Cyclopedia. Its interesting to see how the collection include personal favorites of mine like Master of the Desert Nomads, the Orcs of Thar Gazetteer and other BECMI items. I wonder if he ever used them in play?




-Havard

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Busy Week for Arneson Fans


So much has happened over the course of this week I dont really know where to start. First there is the relevation that Arneson's personal library is to be sold on an auction. I am filled with a mix of joy that this material will be taken care of and a feeling of concern if these documents are to be locked into some vault, never to be seen again.

Then there is Aldarron's excellent analysis of another obscure Arneson document; the manuscript for  Beyond This Point Be Dragons. That Arneson had prepared a kind of alternate D&D that noone really knew about is pretty amazing. Aldarron has provided a great analysis of the work, but I am also wondering about the things not mentioned in that analysis. Could there be more lore about Blackmoor there?

Also from Aldarron, the Champions of ZED project is up on kickstarter with over 50 backers already. This "Zero edition" game will also incorporates elements from Beyond this Point Be Dragons. At the same time, poster RadagastTheBrown is working on another project for a system based on Arneson inspired combat.

On a less Blackmoor related note, Bruce Heard recently posted his long awaited treatsy on the Goatmen of Kavaja for the Mystara setting.

With all of this happening, I am so busy reading that I hardly have time to write! I promise you though, there will be more thoughts on all of these topics in the days to come!




Image source: http://www.thecollectorstrove.com/site-news/2012/4/29/the-big-announcement.html


-Havard



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dungeon! to return in October!

To be released in October, WotC have announced that they are bringing back this classic board game:

Dungeon!
Board Game
Wizards RPG Team
A classic board game of dungeon exploration returns!
Dungeon! is a fast-paced game where you and your friends can decide which way to go in the hunt for bigger and better treasure. Will you stick to level 1 and clear out the Goblins and Kobolds? Or will you delve deep into level 6 and set your sights on the Purple Worm or the Red Dragon? Along the way, you’ll have to face off against such iconic monsters as the Black Pudding, the Drow, and even the Owlbear! Featuring simple, straightforward rules that are easy to learn, Dungeon! is perfect for a fantasy game night, or a warm-up before your next epic game of D&D!
Item Details
Release Date: October 12, 2012
Format: Board game
Price: $19.99
ISBN: 978-0-7869-6298-3
As has previously been mentioned on this blog, Dungeon! was designed by another of Dave Arneson's players, David R. Megarry and first published in 1975. As usual there seems to be no credit given to Megary for this latest edition. I'm not sure if this is just a trend at WotC or representative of corporate America as a whole?

Original Game Board
Original Rules booklet

More info here.

Photos borrowed from Sandra Rosenberg.


-Havard

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Blackmoor friendly Adventure Path from Paizo?




As my friend Cthulhudrew recently mentioned on the Piazza, rumours have been spreading about Paizo making plans for a Pathfinder Adventure Path involving Numeria, which ,many see as Golarion's equivalent of Blackmoor. James Sutter, a writer/developer/fiction editor for Paizo/Pathfinder has now confirmed on his blog that there are definite plans for some kind of Numeria related AP coming down the line.

I am looking forward to this Adventure Path becoming a reality, and cant wait to see if it can be adapted to Blackmoor.



-Havard

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dan Nicholson has passed away.

Daniel James Nicholson passed away on april 21st at the age of 72. He was recently diagnosed with cancer. Dan played the first Merchant character in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign, and is mentioned several times in the First Fantasy Campaign and thus one of the first to play Dungeons & Dragons. When the Merchant class was re-introduced to D&D in the Players Guide to Blackmoor in 2006 it was undoubtedly a nod to Nicholson. An obituary can be found here.

Rest in Peace.


-Havard

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thonia Revealed!

Although I made this mock cover some years ago, I have now begun detailing the Empire of Thonia. Also called the Great Kingdom, this nation has always been a bit of a mystery. Sometimes ally and sometimes rival, Thonia has always been one of the forces in the North, and someone not to be triffled with.

I have chosen to use the name Thonia and other terminology in the style of the DA modules which is my favorite interpretation of Blackmoor. You can see as the project develops here.





-Havard


Image Source.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Rare Blackmoor Manuscript Sold for $787



A rare manuscript from 1985 by Dave Arneson and David J Ritchie was just sold on ebay for 787,77 US$. The manuscript was titled Aventures in Thonia, and was the basis for module DA1 (Adventures in Blackmoor). However, the manuscript is roughly 250 pages and DA1 is only 64 pages. The sold item also included 28 single-page maps, 2 single-page map text inserts, and 2 double-sheet (11x17) maps.

f the lucky buyer is among my readers, please call me! :)

More on this story here.



Image scan by Frank Mentzer.


-Havard

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Remembering Dave Arneson


Remembering Dave Arneson on this day. RIP.



-Havard

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WotC to kill the Princess Ark?

Many Mystara fans were in distress earlier this week when WotC announced the destruction of the legendary Flying Ship from the classic Dragon Magazine article series Voyage of the Princess Ark:


Last Voyage of the Princess Ark
By Robert J. Schwalb
The Princess Ark, a legendary flying ship, has crashed! Explore the wreckage to find out what happened, and loot the bodies of the dead. A D&D adventure set in the world of Mystara for characters of levels 1–3.

Fortunately, it all turned out to be an April Fool's Joke.  The joke was not well recieved by the fan community however. "Imagine this in Star Trek terms to see just how unfunny it is: 'The Enterprise, the legendary Federation starship, has crashed! Explore the wreckage to find out what happened, and loot the bodies of the dead.' Try posting that in a Star Trek forum and see how much interest it generates." says one fan.

Mystara fans can take comfort in the fact that the last chapter in the Voyage of the Princess Ark has not yet been written. Bruce Heard, who recently rejoined the community stated:

"Well, yes, eventually I will write Princess Ark material. [...] If it were me, I'd just find a spot in the timeline where I could resume the exploration/adventures."
 Whenever you are ready, Bruce. We're here waiting :)





-Havard

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Bodendrucker

The Bodendrucker, a monster from AC9 the Creature Catalog, which from the description sounded completely silly. A Huge elephant with multiple trunks and feeding on purple worms. But then I saw the image above.



-Havard

Monday, March 26, 2012

Last Fantasy Campaign About to Conclude

The epic Blackmoor PbP campaign hosted at the Comeback Inn is reaching its final stages. Have the heroes managed to save Blackmoor from the destruction of the Egg of Coot?

Read the details of the final part, called After Blackmoor, here.



-Havard

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blackmoor Weekend!

Playing Blackmoor. This weekend. Live with my old friends around the table.

Dont expect to be online much :)

Not really what my players look like, but maybe in some metaphorical sense...



-Havard

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thorn's Blackmoor: Monsters of Thorn's World That Was

It is time for this month's guest entry for my blog and a new visit from RobJN who takes a look at the monsters of Thorn's Blackmoor:


Aside from Beast Men, there were relatively few non-human menaces in the North. The summer months saw the yearly influx of sahuagin from the southern shores of Skothar. While most of the fey-folk avoided Men, bands of Red Caps and Satyrs were known to cause trouble to those straying too far from the roads and trails through the woods. Pixies and sprites were more mischievous than malicious, more a nuisance than threat. Occasionally, giants would stray from the Stormkiller mountains, but for the most part kept to the peaks in their near-constant war with the Dwarves.

The rising of the Egg of Coot some time around 4030 BC (970 in the Calendar of the North) changed all that.
Some sages posit that the different so-called monstrous races were results of selective genetic strain manipulation by the Egg. Mountains and forests became home to the spidery, spindly offshoot that became known as goblins, while “orcs” were nurtured for work and fighting in the hills. 
Over the decades, more and more specialized species began to spring up, and the Men of the North could not help but notice the consistency in appearance and types of monsters that crept into their lands: bigger, hairier goblins that had some modicum of discipline, yapping, dog-like humanoids that skulked at the fringes of the frontier towns. When pies cooling on windowsills went missing, or a piece or two of the day’s washing disappeared, parents could not easily discount the excuse of “it was a kobold.”
One of the most terrifying creatures to lumber forth from the Realms of the Egg, though, was the troll: ten feet of ravening destruction, a mass of claws and teeth housed in a thickly-muscled, rubbery-skinned hide. Nigh indestructible, the wounds of sword and pike and axe closing moments after landing, limbs seeking to keep fighting even when severed, they were nearly the undoing of the armies of the North.
Scholars tell of Uther singlehandedly fighting off a trio of the beasts, but recent accounts recovered from Uther’s lost personal diary reveal that he was not alone, but traveled with the twins at the time. His account tells of Rowena and Leansethar attacking the creatures in a fury that bordered on madness. It was through their battle that Uther learned of the trolls’ susceptibility to fire, and it was after that point that every squad patrolling along the borders of the Realms of the Egg were equipped with pitch and flame with which to edge their weapons upon encountering the great, lumbering monsters.
The deep, nearly-psychotic hatred between the Sidhe and Trolls seems to originate from these years before the Great Rain of Fire. Were trolls the result of experimentation done by the Egg to blend Beast Man and Sidhe stock? The waning of the numbers of the Sidhe in the North, and growing numbers of Trolls could have been coincidental… but the two events may also be inextricably linked.

Rob’s blog and website chronicles a bit of a darker take on the Mystara presented in the D&D Gazetteers. Thorn's Chronicle is posted semi-regularly on the Mystara board of The Piazza.



-Havard

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jenell Jaquays on Mystara

Jenell Jaquays working under the name of Paul Jaquays has been working in the gaming industry as an artist, writer and editor since the 1970s. Some of her early modules such as Caverns of Thracia and Dark Tower are legendary as are may of her paintings, most notably the cover for the AD&D boxed set Dragon Mountain by Colin McComb.

Cover for the Odyssey Savage Coast book, revising the Red Steel line, released electronically only.

For Mystara Jaquays worked as an editor/developer on products like Gaz5: The Elves of Alfheim, PC2: Top Balista and M3: Twilight Calling. She also did cover art for many of the AD&D Mystara and Savage Coast products, including Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure, Glantri: Kingdom of Magic and the Joshuan Almanac. Jaquays has fond memories of this work:

"I always enjoyed the Mystara (or Known World) setting. I was privileged to be able to edit a couple of the Gazeteers, write and edit adventures for it, and later be the line artist for the Mystara and Red Steel product lines. Good times."

Some sketches and unfinished pieces for Mystara products can be found at her website




-Havard

IMG Source

Saturday, March 17, 2012

M.A.R Barker (November 3, 1929 - March 16, 2012) Rest in Peace

Dave Arneson (left) and Professor Barker
I am saddened to learn that Tékumel and Empire of the Petal Throne creator Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman Barker has passed away as reported on the Comeback Inn by Chirine Ba Kal.

Called the "Forgotten Tolkien" by Gary Gygax, Professor Barker was a close friend to Dave Arneson and the two consulted eachother on various gaming projects. My thoughts go to his family and friends.




-Havard