Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Beyond the Skies: Bruce Heard Launching New World of Calidar Kickstarter




We all remember how TSR Product Manager Bruce Heard brought us the World of Calidar last year. This amazing fantasy world featured Sky and Space faring magical ships, epic heroes questing for Immortality and a wealth of fantastic races and cultures. I have been a fan of Bruce Heard's work since the 1980s when he gave us Dungeons & Dragons books like The Principalities of Glantri, The Orcs of Thar and of course the ongoing series The Voyage of the Princess Ark in the pages of Dragon Magazine.



I was a backer of the first Calidar Kickstarter: The World of Calidar: In Stranger Skies, so I was naturally excited when I heard that we will be getting more goodness for this setting. This new Kickstarter will give newcomers a chance to get the original book at a reduced price as well as new exclusive titles. The upcoming World of Calidar: Beyond the Skies will detail the Gods, Sprits, and other Planes of Existence in the Calidar Universe. I am also happy to see my good friend Thorfinn Tait returning as cartographer for this book as well. Thorfinn makes the most amazing RPG maps and in addition to Bruce Heard's writing, I find that the maps and floorplans he makes have really become a trademark of the World of Calidar. I can't wait to learn more about this project.



Take a sneak peak at the upcoming World of Calidar: Beyond the Skies here.


Visit the World of Calidar Forum on the Piazza.


-Havard

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Bye-Bye WotC Forums



Today the forums at the Wizards of the Coast Forum were finally shut down as announced in September. Although I have not been too active on that web site for a long time, I am  sad to see all of that gone. I still do not understand why they could not simply lock the forums and keep them around as an archive, but I suspect there could be legal issues involved. The amount of fan creativity found on boards like that one are a terrible thing to loose though.




I still remember when the old Blackmoor Forums hosted by Zeitgeist Games were shut down. Fortunately we were able to preserve most of that over at The Comeback Inn. Similarly, ENWorld, The Piazza and other forums have attempted to preserve as much as possible from the old WotC boards.



A web community isn't just the information in the posts either. It is also relationships, memories and a central part of the history of our hobby. Now deleted. I have compiled a timeline of the website's history here. On a less depressing note, there are other forums out there, run by fans and amateurs doing a better job than many companies are able to. If you are into forum discussions, you can find me at The Piazza and the Comeback Inn.





-Havard

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

TSR Authors Talk about Mystara and the D&D Gazetteers



Do you remember back in the first decades of Tabletop gaming? Back then, our best hope of interracting with the Dungeons & Dragons game designers was to write a letter to Dragon Magazine and maybe have someone reply. Especially for those of us living in places where the idea of going to GenCon or Origins seemed like an epic journey.

These days though with this thing called The Internet, that has all changed. Over the last couple of months, the Mystara Reborn group on Facebook has exploded. It has now reached 1195 members and keeps growing. One of the great things about this group is the participation of many of the TSR game designers who helped contribute to this classic Dungeons & Dragons Game Setting. With a history of published material dating back to 1981's X1 The Isle of Dread, the list of game designers having been involved with the World of Mystara over the years sure is a long one.

Even more amazing to me is how so many of these game designers have such fond memories of their contribution to this setting, so much that they are actively participating in discussions in the group. Current membership includes Bruce Heard, Frank Mentzer, Ed Greenwood, Scott Haring, Steve Perrin, Jim Bambra, Jennell Jaquays, Douglas Niles, Ken Rolston, Steven Schend, Lawrence Schick, Merle Rasmussen, Michael Dobson, Steven Winter and Ann Dupuis. (In random order. My appologies if I forgot anyone, it was a long list to scroll through!)



It is indeed a great time to live if you are a fan of one of the oldest Dungeons & Dragons Settings. I am looking forward to see who else will sign up to join the chat in the coming months.  Especially missed are Aaron Allston, Tom Moldvay, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. But those esteemed gentlemen are not forgotten.

Sign up to Mystara Reborn here.


-Havard


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dave Arneson Day 2015 Across the Web

Some D&D Gamers!


Below are some comments posted on Facebook for Dave Arneson Game Day:
It's been such a long time since I last played Blackmoor... But it's like yesterday in my mind. Such a great time we had with friends. No matter how difficult it was for us to translate it from English, still we enjoyed it very much :D - Gilberto G, Italy I'm making something special. 
-Doc W

I fell in love with Blackmoor and Dave's work when I read the four DA modules, many years ago. I was so mesmerized by them, their environment, their alien feeling, their characters and villains that most of them have influenced my way to be a Dungeon Master. So great is my passion for Blackmoor that I'm (the being) behind the fan page dedicated to the Egg of Coot that, in my imagination, remain and always will be, the real nemesi of Mystara and Blackmoor. Maybe someone could say that all this stuff is good only for Jurassic players like those of the old school..like me.. maybe.. I can only answer that, till the day that I'll have strength to thrown a dice and play this game.. well.. I will play the old, great, fantasy worlds like that imagined by Dave. 
- Giuliano M


 Whut. You know me. I am Rafe. Previously, the Last Fantasy Campaign. Now, Meleon: The Coward's Blade. I love Blackmoor. 
- Raphael, Germany

 Blackmoor has been my favorite campaign setting since I started playing back in the early 1980s. I played the MMRPG under 3.5 for quite a while and am now running a 4th ed campaign that started with the short lived 4th ed MMRPG and is now forging the history of Blackmoor in the year 1300. The PCs, having started at 1st level, are now all just about to hit 23rd level. 
-Sheridan

 Well, I didn't get to play today but I did get to go to the wedding of two D&D buddies in the company of two other D&D buddies, so I guess that's something. Hopefully they'll never forget their anniversary! 
- Michael T

 Without Dave Arneson's Blackmoor, I never would have asked the question "Did Uther ever have kids?" I never would have filled in that blank myself and launched a writing project that has spanned nearly six years in the telling (with many, many more to come). One piece of that story is unfolding in the Throne of Stars campaign in the Thorn's World That Was sub-forum at the Comeback Inn: http://blackmoor.mystara.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=65 
 And yes, seats are still available if you'd like to play :D 
-RobJN

 My Thursday group IS presently playing D&D (Rules Cyclopedia version). Blackmoor even features in the campaign, (The game will continue through October, at which point we'll rotate GMs and game systems/campaigns again.)

- Steve Miller (Former TSR staffer) 

 [Dave Arneson Day is a] Great idea! 
 -CA Suleiman, Game Designer (Mummy, Blackmoor 4e)





Image Source: http://vengersatanis.blogspot.no/2014_08_01_archive.html



-Havard

Dave Arneson Game Day 2015


Here's my banner for Dave Arneson Game Day 2015, celebrated on the birthday of D&D Co-Creator Dave Arneson! A legend in gaming. Let us celebrate this today by playing games, talking about games and posting about games.


Visit our Facebook Event

These are some places where Dave Arneson Game Day is being honored:

Havards Blackmoor Blog
The Gnomish Embassy
The Comeback Inn - Official Dave Arneson Game Day Thread
The Piazza 
Blackmoor Fans Facebook Group

Help me add more to the list!

Also, introducing Blackmoor Week! Starting from today and one week onwards, many of the supporters of Dave Arneson Game Day will be posting Blackmoor and Dave Arneson related material on their websites every day. Join in the celebrations and show your love for gaming! :)

Also, take a look at last year's Dave Arneson Game Day.

And here is an overview of Dave Arneson Game Day Events since 2010.


-Havard

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jim Bambra and B10 Night's Dark Terror

B10 Night's Dark  Terror is recognized by fans as one of the best adventure modules for the classic (BECMI) edition of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game and is a fan favorite module for the World of Mystara. Set in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, the adventure features a combination of dungeon crawling and wilderness exploration. For a long time it was seen as the conclusion of the B series of modules that began with B1 In Seach of the Unknown by Dave Arneson player Mike Carr and B2 Keep on the Borderlands by Gary Gygax.

B10 Night's Dark Terror was published by TSR UK and written by three British game designers Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, and Phil Gallagher. Today, at the Facebook BECMI group Jim Bambra revealed the story of how the module was written and the module's overall design goals:


"Night's Dark Terror was designed to bridge the transition of the Basic Set to the Expert Set. It's goal was to introduce wilderness adventuring in an easy and fun way that would lead players on a clear quest without forcing them down pre-defined paths. The story would drive the players forward as they followed the clues that eventually leads them to the Lost Valley. "


Unlike most D&D adventure modules of the time, this one was written by a team of three experienced designers. So how did they work together as a team and who brought what to the table?


"At TSR UK we'd already written adventures for the D&D game. Graeme Morris had designed X8 Drums on Fire Mountain and CM6 Where Chaos Reigns. I'd cut my teeth on O2 Blade of Vengeance. All three games featured wilderness exploration, so we were well versed in what we needed to do. “Design a great adventure that players would love.” Little did I think that gamers would still be playing it almost 30 years later! Design work was shared between Graeme and myself, with Phil Gallagher involved in many of the brainstorming sessions. I can't exactly remember who did what, but Graeme designed Sukiskyn and the goblin siege; I worked on the Iron Ring and the wilderness encounters, as well as the journey up to Hutaaka and the Lost Valley itself. Having said that it was not that clearly demarcated. Graeme's and my design work is pretty much intermingled throughout. As ideas were shared on this project, the text wasn't always written by the person who had the original idea. Overall, B10 was a collaborative project that was great fun to work on."

Jim Bambra in the couch, middle


The module also included some additional features that were uncommon back then. An early scene in the module is a fairly epic battle of Sukiskyn, where the homestead is being attacked by goblin tribes:


" We also had the opportunity to add the large-scale map of Sukiskyn and the cardboard counters. I was particularly pleased with this as it matches my style of play of using maps and miniatures to keep track of the players and NPCs."

Design by committee is not usually something that comes with positive connotations, but in this case it clearly did work. The TSR UK branch had delivered yet another excellent game product. And yes Jim, we are still playing it all these decades later. Thank you!





-Havard



Image Source:
Jim Bambra (Pumpkin Studios): https://warzone.atlassian.net/wiki/display/wzpedia/Pumpkin+Studios

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Threshold #9 Mystara Fanzine, Now Available as Free Download!

Threshold #9 is out! The latest issue of the Mystara fanzine  covers the Hollow World. This 200 page PDF continues the surprisingly professional lookin style that we have come to expect from Threshold, a magazine co produced by the people of The Piazza and the Vaults of Pandius.

This issue even covers a small article by the author of this blog. In addition you get Icevale Elves,Azcans, the Ecology of Megaliths, Koskatep Megadungeon Level 7, 5th Edition adaptations of Rahasia and much more! Complete with a combination of color and black & white interior illustrations and superb color maps. A must have for Mystara fans and D&D fans in general!





See the official announcement thread here for how to download this free fanzine!



-Havard

Monday, September 21, 2015

Wizards of the Coast Community Website Timeline



2001
TSR Message boards shut down. New forums set up at WotC's website. Old data lost.

2007
Last published issue of the print version of Dragon Magazine is released by Paizo. The lisence is reverted to WotC who launch a online versions of Dragon and Dungeon untill 2013.

2007
WotC acquires the Gleemax Software. The Gleemax platform promises to provide services similar to early social media platforms like Myspace. Unfortunately this software turns out to be a disappointment to WotC.

WotC announces D&D Insider (DDI). This platform is to include 4E character generators, subscruption to Dragon and Dungeon Magazine and other services. DDI ends its support in 2014.

2008
Gleemax officially shut down. The forums and DDI are moved to the Community.wizards.com website.

WotC announces that all the Other Worlds Forums, except for the currently supported settings would be merged into a single forum. This decision is later reversed, but by then many users have already left for The Piazza and other forums.

2013
Last issue of the online Dragon Magazine is published.

Active community member Mark "Wrecan" Monack passed away April 21st. Missed by many in the community and outside it.


2014
WotC announces that DDI and the Magazines will no longer be supported to subscribers.

Website rewamped for D&D 5th Edition. Alot of information is lost from groups and blogs section of the community site.

New  "Wizards Account" launched allowing a single account for logging into Insider, D&D, MtG etc. The new system allowed merging previous accounts. However it also had quite strict requirements for passwords and a more complicated process for password recovery.

2015
February: Mailinglists are shut down and archives for the mailinglists of each setting.

October: Entire WotC community Website shut down on Oct 29th (announced). Fans rush to try to preserve some of the lore from the discussion forums.


******************************************************************

Comments:
Having invested 3600+ posts into this website I have to say I am saddened by this decision.  That being said, the last years seem to represent a series of failures in terms of maintaining a successful community. I still think it is a mistake by WotC not to run a forum of their own on their website. At the very least I would have liked to see the old forums preserved as an archive for future reference. I am thankful that they at least give us a decent time window to preserve the most vital information on other sites.


If you catch any errors or can provide any additional information that ought to be included here, please let me know in the comments below.


Although I think my readers are above this, "WotC is evil" type comments have no place here.

-Havard

Wizards of the Coast Community to be Shut Down

WIZARDS OF THE COAST COMMUNITY FORUMS TO BE SHUT DOWN 

Posted in News on September 16, 2015 By Wizards of the Coast Archive 

Choosing to retire a former foundation of our community was not an easy decision, but we feel that we must adjust our communications structure to reflect where conversations about Wizards of the Coast games are taking place.

Social media has changed significantly over the last ten years, and discussions about games aren't exclusive to company-hosted forums. The majority of community conversation takes place on third-party websites (such as Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and many other fantastic community-run websites), and it is up to us to evolve alongside our players.

We encourage past and current users to retrieve any information you want to retain from the Community Forums for both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. The shutdown will occur on October 29, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. PT.

We want to provide enough time for our forum members to move their content, and we recognize that given our forum's vibrant user base and extensive history, this may take time. Any information still on the forums on the cut-off date will be deleted. Thank you to all of our past and current forum users. You helped build our community into what it is now, and we look forward to continuing to interact with you on our many active social platforms.


The above was taken from: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/news/wizards-coast-community-forums-be-shut-down-2015-09-16

-Havard

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Braunstein Inspired RPG Gets Name Change.



Back in May, I reported an RPG called "Braunstein!" that initially got gamers excited, but then disappointed when they learned that the game had little to do with David Wesely or the original Braunstein Games, which in many was were the predecessors of Blackmoor and D&D. David Wesely was generous enough not to want to shut this game down right away, but instead made a deal with the designers.

After meeting in person with Wesely, the designers have now come to an agreement that their RPG will operate under a lisence from Wesely and be renamed Barons of Braunstein. I think this is a great name and it also removes some of the misleading notions that this game is the same game that Wesely created, which is one of the things that got some fans upset in the first place. Apparently the revised version, whenever it comes out will also feature material by Wesely himself!

It is nice when stories like this get a satisfactory conclusion. I am sure that the Olde House Rules folks were unaware of the problems surrounding their original game. With self-publishing becoming so easy these days, many would be game designers with little knowledge of IP laws can easily step into dangerous or unethical territory. I think that fans play an important role in reporting these issues so that other similar, or even more serious cases can be remedied in the future as well! 



-Havard

Monday, July 27, 2015

Happy Birthday Gary Gygax :)


What are you guys doing in gaming today? :)


Photo lifted from Jon Peterson's Blog.

-Havard

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Clerics of Blackmoor

My good friend and fellow Blackmoor aficionado DH Boggs just wrote an excellent article on the Clerics of Blackmoor over at his blog. Well worth a read. Clerics were the one class that originated in the Blackmoor Campaign. You can also read some more comments by myself and others on this topic over here.

Back in 2011 I wrote a piece on Mike Carr's character in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign, Bishop Carr, who might well have been the first Cleric in the history of D&D.


Would you be interested in playing a Cleric in a Blackmoor Campaign?



Image source: http://thesignmaker.deviantart.com/art/Sean-Connery-179541605



-Havard

Monday, June 8, 2015

Flying Buffalo's Rick Loomis Retires from Origins Game Fair

Photo by Tim Riley
Rick Loomis, founder of Flying Buffalo Games (Tunnels & Trolls, Grimtooth Traps etc) just annouced that he is retiring from his positition as President of GAMA, the organization that runs the Origins Game Fair.

Earlier today he posted the following on Facebook:

"Well, Origins is over and I'm on my way home. FYI after many years as President of GAMA (the organization that runs Origins and does other fine things for the industry), I have retired and let someone else start leading/doing the work. Justin Ziran from Wiz Kids is the new President. I will remain on the board as Board Member Emeritus, offering advice whenever I can."

Loomis was friends with Dave Arneson who also for a time owned shares in Flying Buffalo. Dave ended up letting Loomis take over the remaining stock of Arneson's company, Adventure Games  (Adventures in Fantasy, when that company was terminated.

Dave mentioned this episode in his interview with Ciro Alessandro Sacco at the Kyngdoms:

I am a part owner in Flying Buffalo, and I have been so for several years before I founded Adventure Games. When I decided to terminate Adventure Games, Rick Loomis (president and founder of Flying Buffalo) agreed to take over my remaining stock. It is a reputable company with a wonderfull President and he is also a good friend: the choice was natural. 

It was also through Rick Loomis and Flying Buffalo that Dave met Michael Stackpole.



This blog author thanks Rick for his work for GAMA and wishes him luck on future endeavours!




-Havard



PS: I normally do not pull quotes from people's facebook walls. However, since this post had already been shared by several people I am making an exception. Hope you won't mind Mr Loomis!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Blackmoor Dungeoneer Society (Download Available)

Few are the heroes who have braved venturing into the Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor, and fewer still are the ones who have lived to tell the tale. Fortunately for you, if you are one of those individuals, you have also qualified for membership in the Blackmoor Dungeoneering Society!

My friend David, started asking question about this Blackmoor organization in this discussion over at The Piazza. That made me realize that the documents describing the Dungeoneer Society had never been made available to the public.

I have now obtained the documents and they are available here. (Login required) Check it out and learn all about the most exclusive of Adventurer Societies!  How would you use this type of group in your campaigns?



-Havard

Friday, May 22, 2015

Braunstein! Issue Resolved out of Court

Yesterday, I wrote about the debacle concerning a minor RPG publisher's decicision to make use of the name Braunstein! for their game without consulting with Braunstein creator David Wesely first. Today I have good news regarding this question. David Wesely writes the following:


"I have received a very nice apology from the publishers of the "Braunstein" offered by Drive Thru. They have offered to change the title and delete some of the text; we are in discussions about settling this amicably."


 I think it is great that such an issue can be resolved amicably and without involving lawyers and courts. Misunderstandings can happen and admitting it when you have made a mistake is a great sign of character. I wish the publisher all the best in future endeavours.




-Havard

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Braunstein! Or Do Ethics Matter in OSR Publishing?

In the 1960s, David Wesely created a game he called Braunstein, which relied heavily on roleplaying and individual character motivations as opposed to the more commonly popular strategy miniatures games of the day. Wesely was of course part of the same group of Minnesota Gamers as Dave Arneson, and Wesely's ideas greatly influenced the Blackmoor Campaign.

So you can imagine that when I heard of a new game called Braunstein appearing at an online RPG retailer my curiousity was peaked. Furthermore the description blurb read the following:

"A Drive-Thru exclusive in digital format only! 
Role-playing began with the Braunstein games of the late 1960s. These converted war-games emphasized personal interactions and setting over complex rules and excessive mechanics... Braunstein! is written in this style, being designed for historical adventure games in the 4th through 15th centuries, but expandable through the early 16th if so desired. The judge need only choose a historical book(s) on the period they wish to chronicle and use these rules to create characters and resolve unpredictable situations using extremely simple (just 18 pages) mechanics. The rest is pure interaction! History is the best, most richly-detailed setting around, but Braunstein! also has simple rules for introducing real magic and witchcraft - perhaps the easiest ever! History or historical fantasy - it's your game now!"

The reference to the Braunstein games of the 1960s further suggested that this was the same game that Wesely used to run. The description on the cover of 1:1 Scale was slightly more confusing. Wasn't Braunstein combat typically handled through small a unit skrimish system? Was this really Wesely's game? One poster on Facebook suggested the game had little resemblence to the descriptions of the Braunsteins of the 1960s.

David Wesely created the Braunstein Games of the 1960s


Yesterday, Mr Wesely posted several places on Facebook that he had nothing to do with this ruleset. He had not been consulted for the contents and the publisher, "Olde House Rules", had never asked Wesely permission to use the name.

Critical voices were raised on various Facebook groups. Was this copyright infringement? Was it ethically right to market the game as something liked to the Braunstein's of the 1960s when the contents appear to have little to do with them? One defender suggested that it was okay because the game was dedicated to Wesely and because they only charge $1.49. 

The product has now been pulled from the online retailer. According to one source, Wesely is in talks with "Olde House Rules" to see if they can come to some sollution instead of getting into legal action. Hopefully the issue can be resolved.


I am no lawyer, but what do you think? Should this small time publisher have been left alone? Do ethics matter in OSR publishing?



More discussion of this topic.


-Havard

Friday, May 15, 2015

Blackmoor Module Maps Improved by Author!

The Redwood Scar was the first published adventure set in Blackmoor in the D20 line. The plot was a continuation of Ties that Bind, an adventure included in the D20 Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Core Book. Both Ties that Bind and The Redwood Scar were authored by game designer Jeffrey Quinn and dealt among other things with the elves of Blackmoor. Recently Quinn has been revisiting the maps of his adventures:


"It has been some time since I worked on the Redwood Scar. But, as I look at it now, I can turn a sad eye to the one gaping weakness of the product... the maps. Not that I'm truly disappointed with them, after all you get an adventure module for the adventure, not the artwork. But, think of this like looking at your living room after you put wallpaper up a decade ago and think to yourself, that needs to come down and get a new coat of paint. In this thread, I revisit the maps of the Redwood Scar, tear down the decade-old wallpaper, and gussy it up with a fresh modern coat of paint."

 The result are some pretty neat maps to update your Blackmoor adventures with. You can get the maps for free here:

Ties That Bind: Jackport Sewers Map

Redwood Scar Maps


Enjoy!



-Havard

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blackmoor to be Revived by Vampire: The Masquerade Creator

Totally manipulated photo. :D

It has been fairly quiet on the Blackmoor front for a while, and then last night, May 11 2015, the following was announced via the Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Facebook Page:

" BREAKING NEWS: Gaming icon Mark Rein-Hagen (creator of the World of Darkness, Ars Magica) is returning to roleplaying games, and has expressed interest in putting out the first new Blackmoor material in years! "
Mark Rein-Hagen should be a well known name to anyone who is interested in the gaming industry. He started out co-designing the classic RPG Ars Magica and later went on to create Vampire the Masquerade at the World of Darkness Setting. His influence reached way beyond the  world or RPG design, with the World of Darkness influencing Tru Blood, the Underworld movies and beyond.

Ever since Dave Arneson passed away 2008, there has been alot of speculation on the possibilities of seeing Blackmoor back in print. Many have suggested that it would be legally difficult to make this happen. However, Rein-Hagen is certainly serious about his intent to get Blackmoor back into published form as he made this comment for the Blackmoor Blog:


"I am a huge fan [of Blackmoor] and always have been. Was fortunate enough to meet him when I was a kid. We are going to do everything we can to bring his world back into publication."
Also involved in the project is CA Suleiman and the rest of the team at Mark Rein-Hagen's company Make-Believe Games. In addition to being a well-known game designer for White Wolf's World of Darkness games and the Scarred Lands (Sword & Sorcery Imprint), Suleiman was also heavily involved in the design of the previous iteration of Blackmoor, including the never released Age of the Wolf subsetting.



More details here.



-Havard



Monday, February 23, 2015

TSR Artist Fred Fields Defends Karameikos (in Jacqays Painting)



Fantasy illustrator and artist, Fred Fields, worked for TSR for 10 years and has later worked for Wizards of the Coast as well as on the D&D Online Game and Lord of the Rings Online Games. Mystara fans will know him for his work on the Hollow World product line. This is where I first noticed his work. However, I had no idea that he also had to don armor and sword to defend Mystara's Kingdom of Karameikos.



Jenell Jacqays revealed the following in the Mystara Reborn group on Facebook yesterday:
"My fellow TSR artist Fred Fields donned the armor and posed as the body model for this cover. When we needed models, we usually grabbed a co-worker, put a costume on them and posed them. The face is a composite of Fred and one of the graphic designers from advertising."


The final painting was used on the cover of the boxed set Karameikos: Kingdom of Adventure as well as one of the booklets contained within as well as the cover of the novel Dark Knight of Karameikos.



Jacqays worked on several projects for the Mystara line, both as an artist, writer and as an an editor. You can read more about her involvement with Mystara and her fond memories from those projects in this piece I did on this blog back in 2012.

Check out the art of Jenell Jacquays at her gallery. Learn more about the art of Fred Fields here.


-Havard

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Mystara Mailinglist (1995-2015) Shutting Down - End of an Era

20 years ago the Mystara Mailinglist was set up by Leroy Van Camp. In many ways this marked the beginning of the Mystara online fan community, a community which is still strong today even though most of its activity has moved onto other platforms such as The Piazza and the Mystara Reborn group on Facebook.


WotC announced that they will be shutting down all of their mailinglists on February 15th:

Hello!

On February 15, 2015, Wizards of the Coast will terminate our LISTSERV 
system that manages this (and other) mailing lists. We've watched the usage 
of these mailing lists dwindle due to the rise of other communication 
platforms, such as forums and social media. Given this decreased usage, we 
have made the decision that it was time to turn them off.

Please take these two weeks to back up or archive any emails you wish to 
keep. After February 15, 2015, they will no longer be available and these 
lists will cease to function.

—Wizards of the Coast

It is a god thing that they are giving us at least a few weeks notice before the lists are shut down. Although there hasn't been much activity on the list in recent years, it is disappointing that the list archive is also being deleted. Fans are currently discussing options for preserving the archived email exchanges on other websites.

In any case, this marks the end of an era. The MML was the arena where many friendships were formed. It was also a list where TSR alumni such as Bruce Heard, Frank Mentzer and Harold Johnson participated. Fan undertakings such as the Mystara Net Almanacs, the Tome of Mystara, the M3E Project and many other projects were initiated.


-Havard