Sunday, August 18, 2019

Gaming Legend Rick Loomis of Flying Buffalo Games in Hospital

Rick Loomis is the founder of Flying Buffalo Games and has been working in the RPG industry for over 50 years. He is perhaps best known for the Tunnels & Trolls RPG and the Grimtooth's Traps series. Dave Arneson was friends with Loomis and owned shares in Tunnels & Trolls. He also sold his own company Adventure Games to Flying Buffalo in 1985. I was actually chatting to Rick about his connections to Dave just last month. He seemed like a really nice person.

I recently learned that Loomis, 1972, was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer earlier this year. A go fund me campaign has been launched to help cover his medical bills. If you want to help this legend in gaming you can do so by visiting that site here.


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Fredigar's Hope: New Free Adventure Explores Origins of Blackmor's Comeback Inn

My friend Yaztromo is great at keeping me up to date with the "Blackmoor Living World" project which produces free fan written adventures set in Blackmoor for the Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG. This latest installment, titled Fredigar's Hope explores the legendary Comeback Inn and its owner Fredigar Cribbs.

As with the other Living Blackmoor Adventures, Fredigar's Hope is relatively rules light and easy to convert to any edition of D&D or other RPGs of your choice.

This adventure is available as a free download here.


Blackmoor at GenCon 2019

Its always nice to see the original fantasy RPG setting see some presence at the world's largest RPG convention! Origial Blackmoor Player and D&D designer Mike Carr was there running his Fight In the Skies game. The biggest Blackmoor related story to have come out of Gen Con 2019 is related to a certain documentary:

As reported by Secrets of Blackmoor, a screening of the Documentary by the same name was shown at Gen Con 2019, in Indianapolis this weekend. As the producers of the film were unable to attend, the event was organized by Gen Con Film Festival Organizer Chuck Budreau. It was recently announced to backers of the Kickstarter that the version distributed at vimeo would not be the final version of the documentary, but that these backers would recieve a revised version. It is unclear which version was screened at GenCon.

Did you attend GenCon 2019? Did you go to the screening of Secrets of Blackmoor? What were the highlights of your GenCon 2019 experience?

More discussion of this article here.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Rolling Thunder - Lost MMRPG Adventure Available At Last

As reported yesterday, we have been able to find a lost Blackmoor adventure. Episode 91 from season 4 of Blackmoor the MMRPG for some reason went missing and I had assumed it had never been written. However clues to its existence kept popping up and finally the episode has been uploaded and made available for free to fans of this series of Blackmoor adventures. This adventure introduces the Drakon'katha, a spellcasting lizardman-like race of enemies to Blackmoor as well as the Nyborg and Garthopods. We also get expansions to Dwarven lore and a wonderful dwarven war machine!

I hope you like it!

Download here!


Monday, June 24, 2019

Lost Blackmoor Adventure Discovered!

A few weeks ago, we announced that all four seasons of D&D adventures for the Blackmoor MMRPG (Organized play) had been released to the public. While we still have a few surprises left that we are going to share with you over the coming months, we genuinely believed that we had uncovered all the episodes that were written. Some numbered episodes simply do not exist because numbers were assigned and not necessarily written. However when the final episodes had been made available, fans over at the Comeback Inn Forum started asking questions. Something felt like it was missing in the final storyline.

And behold, something was missing! Thanks to MMRPG author Phil Slama, I have obtained a lost episode. The episode is #91 in the series and is called Rolling Thunder. I will be releasing this episode tomorrow, but I can reveal now that it deals with the Dwarves of Blackmoor and some of their most powerful weapons!

So, stay tuned tomorrow for Rolling Thunder! Is this the last time I will spring such surprises on you? I don't know, but I hope not! During my searching for this episode I have reached out to others who were involved with the MMRPG so maybe I will uncover more as well! If you know about anything that is not available as free downloads at The Comeback Inn, please let me know!

PS: Special thanks to Yaztromo for digging into the MMRPG episodes!

Discuss this article here.


Sunday, June 23, 2019

Richard L. Snider (1953-2009)

In November this year, it will have been 10 years since Richard Leonard Snider (August 29, 1953 - November 17, 2009) passed away. I reported on his passing in this post from 2009. Today I want to take the time to look into Richard's importance for our hobby.

Perhaps best known for designing Tabletop RPGs such as Powers & Perils (Avalon Hill) and Adventures in Fantasy (1978), Richard was an important member of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Group and went onto become a game designer himself. Richard was also a supporter of the Blackmoor fan community and participated at the Wayfarer's Inn, a precedessor of the Comeback Inn Blackmoor Forum.

Meeting Dave Arneson

Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Richard and his brother John moved to Minnesota and joined the gaming club known as the Midwest Military Simulation Association, where Dave Arneson was also a member. In the 1970s and the Sniders became two of the original Blackmoor players in Dave's campaign. The First Fantasy Campaigns makes many references to "The Sniders" detailing the actions of the two brothers in Dave Arneson's Campaign. Richard most memorable character was probably the Cleric who became known as the Flying Monk. Although he was 6 years younger than Dave, Richard was also active in making rules suggestions and  other contributions to the campaign. An entire section in Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign is dedicated to Richard's additions to the game. My own fan sourcebook for Blackmoor, The Eastern Marshes was in part a tribute to Richard Snider's section in the First Fantasy Campaign.

Game Designer and author

Together with Dave Arneson, he co-authored Adventures in Fantasy (Excalibre Games, 1978). In 1983, Richard created the game Powers & Perils, which he was incredibly supportive of throughout his life.  Later in life Richard still expressed an interest in publishing RPGs, though attempts to bring back Powers & Perils on a commercial basis were blocked by Wizards of the Coast. In  2007, Richard stated that he would be interested in bringing his creative ideas to the computer scene in "a computer mega-opus".

Richard was also a published Sci Fi author, having written a novel called The Leather Rose. He also wrote about 35 other unpublished novels.


Tabletop RPGs
  • Arneson, Dave First Fantasy Campaign (Judges Guild, 1977) - Additional material by Richard Snider included.
  • Arneson, Dave & Snider, Richard: Adventures in Fantasy (Excalibur Games, 1978)
  • Asprin, Robert: Thieves World (Chaosium, 1981) - Additional material
  • Snider, Richard: Powers & Perils RPG (Avalon Hill, 1983)
  • Snider, Richard: Perilous Lands (Avalon Hill, 1984) - Powers & Perils Supplement
  • Snider, Richard: Book of Tables (Avalon Hill, 1984) - Powers & Perils Supplement
  • Snider, Richard: Tower of the Dead (Avalon Hill, 1984) - Powers & Perils Supplement
Strategy Games
  • Snider, John, Snider, Richard etc: Star Empires (TSR, 1977)
  • Snider, Richard: The Leather Rose

Thanks to Bob Meyer, Greg Svenson, Chirine ba'Kal, James Mishler and others for providing additional information. If you have more information about Richard L. Snider that you think should be included, please let me know.

More discussion of this article here.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Fall of the Dwarves: A Free PDF Campaign Expansion to the CBI-2 The Rand Sourcebook

With the overwhelming response to the Thonian Rand Sourcebook I released last month, I could not stop thinking about the lands I had described within it, drawing on many different sources linked to Dave Arneson's World of Blackmoor. While the PDF is self contained, I felt like a campaign outline might have been useful to illustrate how this booklet might be used.

CBI-2 The Thonian Rand introduces the Duchy of Evedhur. The idea with Evedhur was to expand on the lore of Dwarves from the Blackmoor Campaign Setting. In Dave Arneson’s campaign, the dwarves were ruled by Oberstar Kazakhum , the Regent of the Mines. In CBI-2, I gave him a brother, Arkalist Kazakhum.

 My idea for the character Arkalist, was that this dwarf, like his brother, wanted a kingdom of his own and settled in a mountain chain in the Thonian Empire. Arkalist’s Duchy of Evedhur also allowed me to incorporate some of the material and characters from Clock & Steam, another Blackmoor sourcebook from Zeitgeist Games written for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition. The following is the outline for a campaign where the players will have a chance to determine the fate of the Duchy of Evedhur and perhaps the entire world of Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor™

I hope you will like this campaign expansion as much as you enjoyed the Thonian Rand Sourcebook.

Download the Fall of the Dwarves Campaign Expansion here


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

The Blackmoor MMRPG Finale Released!

Its been a long journey, but the final episode of the Blackmoor MMRPG has now been released at The Comeback Inn. We have been fortunate enough to be allowed to host these episodes, many years after they were run at MegaCon and other conventions. The final episode, titled "the Beginning" is described thusly:

There’s trouble in the North this night, a feeling of unknown, we’re stuck here in the future and our destiny’s unknown. We knew the timeline was corrupted, but we didn’t believe until Mithgilivyr told us and our friends all disappeared. So friends, here’s our chance now, to foil evil’s plan; here’s a couple items we’ll strike just the way we planned. They’re sorry it went down like this, but sacrifice ain’t new; it’s the nature of the business, it’s what adventurers do. A Dave Arneson's Blackmoor one round adventure for players levels 9-15.

More Comeback Inn Freebies in the Horizon!

This isn't the end of good stuff coming from the Comeback Inn however! We recently released CBI-02 The Thonian Rand, the second in our 10 part series of sourcebooks detailing The Thonian Empire. More sourcebooks from Original Blackmoor Player Greg Svenson are also in the works. All this and more free fan material will be released at the Comeback Inn in the coming months.

More MMRPG Material?

Well yes, we do have a few more surprises here as well. Make sure you download all four seasons as well as the related files for now, but stay tuned for a few extras that have not yet been shared with the community.

But enough chatter, we know why you're here:

Download the episode 95 here.


Monday, May 27, 2019

CBI-2 The Thonian Rand - New Fan Made Thonian Empire Sourcebook Available For Free!

The Comeback Inn is proud to announce the second in the series of Thonian Empire Province Sourcebooks. Written by Havard and friends, this sourcebook details the northwestern border province of the Thonian Empire. Here DM's can find material for campaigns where the players can:

  • Take the battle against the Iron Duke, Taha Marcovik to his own home ground.
  • Help free slaves forced to work in the brutal mines of the Thonian Empire.
  • Visit the dwarven duchy of Evedhur, home of Arkalist Khazakhum, brother of the legendary Regent of the Mines
  • Explore the wonderous inventions of the Gnomes and Dwarves of Evedhur
  • Explore the shady pirate ports of the Duchy of Rockaway and visit the court of the eccentric Duke Dindlor Dragoneye

Research into the most obscure writings of Dave Arneson have gone into the writing of this sourcebook, while still making it playable and fun!

Compatible with all editions of D&D.

Get this sourcebook at the Comeback Inn


Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Piazza D&D Worlds Forum Turns Eleven!

One of my main hangouts, The Piazza turns 11 years old today!

I wasn't able to go all the way to London to attend to the real life birthday party today, but we have spent the entire weekend at the Piazza discord chat, talking about games and all kinds of geeky things.

Pretty amazing how far we have come since we started that place that Ashtagon created for various displaced D&D fan communities. Its been a fun ride and I am looking forward to many new discussions and friendly debates there in the coming years!

Happy birthday to The Piazza!


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Dave Arneson Article at the MinnPost Website

Nice article at the MinnPost Website. It is great seeing more attention given to Dave Arneson, now 10 years after his passing. While I like the article, it repeats the common mistake in my opinion of putting too much emphasis on the role of Chainmail as I have talked about in the past. It would also have been nice to see a bit towards the end of the article on the last years of Dave Arneson's life. The article mentions teaching at Full Sail University and his health conditions, but it would have been nice to see mention of his chance to publish Blackmoor again with Zeitgeist Games and his involvement with WotC as a playtester of D&D3E, being invited to write articles at the WotC website and being invited to the set of the D&D movie in Prague. I think all of these moments meant a lot to Dave towards the end of his life.

Thanks to Big Mac at ThePiazza for letting me know about this article.

More discussion of this article here


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Secrets of Blackmoor Documentary Now Available to KS Backers

At last, the Dave Arneson documentary, Secrets of Blackmoor is now available for Video on Demand streaming for backers of the Kickstarter. This is exciting! I will write a more detailed review later when I have had time to really appreciate the documentary. However, I have to say that parts of this documentary are really moving. I really like seeing the Twin Cities gang get together around the gaming table. It is great listening to them and hearing their enthusiasm for gaming and how genuine it is. It is also touching to hear them talk about their memories of Dave. Another highlight for me was seeing Dave's daughter, Malia, talk about her father and what he was like as a person.

Have you seen the documentary yet? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments!


Saturday, May 4, 2019

Blackmoor's Elemental Plane of Fire

The information found across various Blackmoor books has many implications for what's going on on the Elemental Planes. Especially on the Elemental Plane of Fire. I am looking through all the versions of Blackmoor to find information relating to the Plane of Fire. Starting with the First Fantasy Campaign, there is a Hermes-looking Fire-Elemental on the cover. Elementals are mentioned in the Wilderness section and in the Blackmoor dungeon, but mostly Air, Water and Earth varieties. Items of Elemental control can also be found.

The Afridhi

The DA modules (1980s) i where we are starting to get more details. These modules introduce Zugzul, the God of Fire and Ice (Later Fire and Darkness). Zugzul is the patron of the Afridhi who clearly are fire worshippers. Through Zugzul they are given allies in the form of Efreeti who provide the Afridhi with the Well of Souls within the Hills of Karsh. This also draws to the Prime Material Plane the enemies of the Efreeti, the Sun Brothers, an order within the Sollux Race. Solluxes are natives to the elemental Plane of Fire and Sun Brothers are their Champions of Good. Solluxes were not brought in the 3E/4E version, but I would have made the Sun Brothers followers of Paccuun (Ixion). I also like the idea of having Fallen Sun Brothers, ala Fallen Paladins/Anti-Paladins who basically serve the Efreeti and Zugzul, but that's just a fan addition of my own.

Gods of Fire 

Blackmoor 3E/4E introdouced more Deities that could be linked to the Plane of Fire:

  • Zugzul: already mentioned above. Evil patron of Fire and Darkness. Lord of the Afridhi. 
  • Paccuun: Champion of Good. Sun God 
  • Baldin: Lesser Sun God. Patron of Bards. Patron of the Sun Singers from BMPG. 
  • Sollus: Lesser Sun God. Patron of Harwest. Paladins of Sollus call themselves the Warriors of the Sun. Sollus is mainly a patron of Druids though. 
  • Fiumarra: elven Patroness of Fire. Represents both the destructive and life giving aspects of fire. Most Clerics of Fiumarra are also Sorcerers. They believe they have an inner flame called qut'aunales which while in balance gives them their power. If balance is not achieved it may consume these sorcerers. (See BMPG for details).

Fire Magic

The 3E version of Blackmoor also introduced various groups of spellcasters involved with fire magic. One was the Elven Elementalists and another is the Ordo Elementarum. It is likely that these have made several expeditions to the Plane of Fire and have summoned many of the fire based creatures currently found in the lands of Blackmoor.

Creatures of Fire 

I have already mentioned Efreeti and Solluxes. Fire Giants are likely not natives of the Plane of Fire, but it seems likely that they are connected to that element somehow. Fire Giants in Blackmoor go back to the Age of Giants. A descendant of King Jevorin currently resides within the Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor. Another Fire Giant clan lead by Gonut-Vanur is found within the Valley of the Ancients (CotG p33). 

In Classic D&D, Fire Salamanders are not intelligent creatures like in later editions. Intelligent Salamanders play a big role in the 3E/4E version of Blackmoor though. Within the Valley of the Ancients there is a region controlled by Lord Jihzaja ("The Dour Lord"), a noble Salamander who has an on and off quarrel with is sometimes lover the Fire Nymph named Lady Acendioris. On the 12th level of the Blackmoor Dungeons, there is also a Fire Salamander named Qu'tangles. He is the leader of a warband called The Burning Spike who are at war with the Hammerfire Clan of Fire Giants.  In my campaign The Burning Spike isn't just a war band, but a greater clan of Fire Salamanders back on the Plane of Fire

Fire elementals are of course one of the most important races on the Plane of Fire. Many of these have found their way to the lands near Blackmoor, either through wormholes, rifts between the planes or being summoned by spellcasters. A few of them are found within the Blackmoor Dungeon, including a very old one that the other residents simply refer to as "Fred" (DocBM p 130). 

Other fire elemental cretures  found near Blackmoor include Magma Mephits, Lava Lizards (Called Fire Lizards in Supplement II), Pyrohydras and more!

More discussion of this article here.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Blackmoor Player: William "Billy" Crolley

NOTE: I got some of the facts wrong when I first wrote this article. I confused Crolley with his father and got the ages wrong. Thanks to Bob Meyer for helping me get the the facts right. This article has now been revised and is hopefully rid of mistakes.

I just learned that William Crolley passed away some time ago through obituary of his father at the Star Tribute: . I first heard mention of Crolley back in 2013.He was not on the list I had originally been supplied of the people who played in Dave Arneson's games, but that list was never a complete list. It has taken me a while to get around to people like Crolley and it is a shame that I never got to talk to him or write to him.

William Crolley's 
Blackmoor player Bob Meyer remembers Bill Crolley well:

"Bill was around at the at the time of Blackmoor, and also played in many of the other games we were playing at the time. He was consumed in working on an invention that he was trying to perfect, and ended up moving in with relatives in a western suburb of the Twin Cities. We did not see much of him after that. I lost touch with him long ago. "
Michael Mornard (Gronan) suggested to me that Crolley may have been present when Dave Arneson had first introduced Clerics into the Blackmoor Campaign. I don't like reporting on people having passed away, because it feels so selfish thinking about the things I would have liked to ask of William Crolley and others. At the same time, I think this blog needs to make a record of everyone who in some way added to Blackmoor.

Thanks to Aldarron for pointing me to the most recent information about William Crolley in a discussion at the Comeback Inn. If anyone knows more about William Crolley, his involvement with the Twin City Gamers or has other relevant information, please share in the comments or contact me directly.

More discussion of this article here.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Tonisborg Cover Art Revealed

Yesterday, the Secrets of Blackmoor Facebook Page revealed the cover image for the Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg book. This book was part of the Secrets of Blackmoor Kickstarter. It is written by Greg Svenson and Dan H Boggs and based on a dungeon Greg created for Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Campaign Setting back when Greg was a player in Dave's campaign.

The cover art is created by Bob Bledsaw Jr.


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Dave Arneson 10 Years Later

On this day, it is 10 years since Dave Arneson passed away. The Co-Creator of D&D is not forgotten. The Blackmoor Fandom, centered around the Comeback Inn and our associated sites are still going strong. We are still releasing the MMRPG modules which are approaching the end of their run soon.  In addition, we are continuing the PDF booklets by Greg Svenson. Much more will be happening this year too, so stay tuned for that.

Dave Arneson Day last year was a great success. Can we do even better this year?

The Secrets of Blackmoor Documentary, although not associated with this blog, is coming out later this year. Already it has helped create more attention around Dave Arneson and the Twin City Gamers.

Speaking of the Twin City gamers, it is great to see so many of them coming out to talk about the early days of gaming. There are still so many great ideas there that are worth bringing back into modern day gaming.

"I started playing blackmoor in 1968 or 69. It's exciting to know I was one of the first to enjoy playing. As the Earl of blackmoor castle I lead many an expedition into the dungeon under my castle." -David Fant (Played the Baron of Blackmoor in Dave's Campaign)

Many D&D fans will read about the unfortunate relationship between Dave and TSR, but this was just a small period in Dave's life. His life was too short, but he knew that he had created a legacy that would make millions happy. The last years of his life were spent bringing Blackmoor back and getting the recognition that he deserved. And we fans remember well, 10 years later.

"My dad had this ability to connect with the people around him. And had this creative archive in his imagination paired with the skill of story telling.
Resulting is this concept of Dungeon Master.
And that he was The Master.
I miss you dad." -Malia Weinhagen (Daughter of Dave Arneson)

Thank you Dave!


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Secrets of Blackmoor Documentary to have World Premier at Twin Cities Film Fest 2019

Secrets of Blackmoor, the Documentary about the Blackmoor Campaign is to have its World Premier at Twin Cities Film Fest 2019. This announcement was posted on Facebook:

 It seems fitting that a movie about a bunch of gamers from the Twin Cities should have its World Premier at a Film Festival in the Twin Cities. Secrets of Blackmoor has recieved its first festival laurels from the Twin Cities Film Fest! Come join us for a Red Carpet Gala: Wednesday May 8th 2019. Tickets and info here: Book your tickets before it's too late! Watch out Minnesota - Secrets of Blackmoor is coming and THERE'S GONNA BE A BIG PARTY 😁
If you live in the region and have a chance to drop by the festival, please send photos and info this way! I would love to see first hand reactions to this premier!

More discussion of this article here.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Bone Pit - New Free Fan Adventure for Blackmoor!

Jon Goméz known to some of us as Zeromaru X has written his first Blackmoor adventure. This free fan written adventure explores the Yellow Mists that overtook Bozero's lands (controlled by Jon Snider) as described in the First Fantasy Campaign. The adventure uses the Advanced Fighting Fantasy Rules, but is easily converted to other rulesets and editions.

Download this Blackmoor adventure for free here!

Would you like to see more adventures by Jon? Let me know and I will pass on the word!

PS: What was that weird post yesterday all about? Come on, it was April 1st! Read an updated version of that article to understand more of the background for that one.


Monday, April 1, 2019

April Fool's: Skyship Admiral Takes Game Desiger Hostage!

April Fools: BREAKING NEWS: Famous Admiral Appears in Washington, Takes Game Designer Hostage RENTON, Washington — A naval officer who was declared dead when his legendary vessel crashed exactly seven years ago today made a sudden and unexpected reappearance in Renton, WA. Witnesses reported a series of strange flashing lights culminating in a group of people in strange clothing appearing in the middle of a car park.

Art by Terry Dykstra, Colorized by Havard

 “It was like they teleported in from some alternate dimension or something, man!” remarked a bystander named Chris. The group made their way to local gaming company, Wizards of the Coast, where they walked into the building and began making demands. The leader, apparently the captain of a “sky-ship”, demanded to see the lead designer of famous role playing game DUNGEONS & DRAGONS (R). “In the name of her Imperial Majesty, I insist that you bring this Mr. Mearls to me this instant!” he was heard to say, brandishing a strange stick in one hand in a strangely hypnotic manner, the feather in his outlandish hat waving about his head. To the shock of everyone present, the receptionist proceeded to summon Mr. Mearls, who appeared in short order wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan, “Unearthed Arcana: The Truth is Out There!”

 From there, the situation escalated quickly. The interloper’s leader announced that he was “an admiral of Her Imperial Fleet”, and began to accuse Mr. Mearls of collaborating in the destruction and looting of his “sky-ship”. “It was your company’s employee, a Mr. Robert J. Schwalb, who reported that my ship was crashed — my crew dead! — was it not?!” When Mr. Mearls informed him that Mr. Schalb no longer worked for the company, and was not there, the group became agitated. A large-looking man wearing a tiger-like mask (which looked amazingly real) stepped forward and grabbed poor Mr. Mearls, and amid shouts of “The Princess will have vengeance!” the whole group disappeared in a cloud of coloured smoke. The current whereabouts of these people and the unfortunate Mr. Mearls is unknown. Police have interviewed witnesses, but many find the whole situation to be inherently unbelievable.

 In other news, scientists today discovered hitherto unknown tunnels leading deep into the interior of the Earth. "We never would have believed these tunnels could go this deep!" the lead scientist told reporters. "Ordinarily the conditions beneath the ground would make such deep tunnels impossible. And yet, here they are."

For the record, the text linked above was written by my good friend Thorf. Were were discussing the idea of an April Fool's Joke that was a little retort to the pretty poor taste joke WotC played on Mystara's expense back in 2012 which is linked in the article. Thorf suggested I post the text on my blog.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

1983 Red Box Aleena Bargle Tribute Kickstarter from Failsquad Games in Trouble

Failsquad Games recently announced a new Kickstarter featurng a reimagined version of the legendary 1983 Red Box intro adventure featuring Bargle and Aleena. Labelled The Ruins of Mistemere (after the Red Box's Castle Mistamere), the adventure promised in the Kickstarter also included several of the characters from the dungeon with their names slightly altered. 

Now as some feared right from the start, this concept may have been a little too close to the original. At least Wizards of the Coast thought so and had the Kickstarter shut down. Kickstarter now only displays the following message: 

The Ruins of Mistemere - a 5E adventure is the subject of an intellectual property dispute and is currently unavailable.
If you are interested in this project, please check back later. Thanks for your patience.

The reason for seeking to get this project shut down by WotC is listed as follows:

Re: The Ruins of Mistemere - a 5E adventure
Description of copyrighted material: "The Ruins of Mistamere" was an adventure found in the classic Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Red Box - a starter set for D&D created in 1983.

Description of infringing material: This Kickstarter plans on recreating an "inspired by" version of our copyrighted material. It is derivative and not authorized. As you can see from their own description, anyone familiar with the original material would know what they are trying.

Castle Mistamere is an iconic dungeon and Frank Mentzer's tragic story about Aleena the Cleric and the evil Wizard Bargle have inspired generations of gamers. The characters made it into the Mystara setting with Gaz1 Grand Duchy of Karameikos and have been revisited since in the Kill Bargle adventure in Dungeon #150. It would be really nice to see this adventure reimagined for the current edition of Dungeons & Dragons. That said, Wizards of the Coast's objection in this case does not strike me as unreasonable. (Even if they called it the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Red Box... ;) ).

Lloyd Metcalf of Failsquad Games told me he understands WotC's position. He felt "they were in fair use territory", but stresses that FSG does not want to infringe on anyone's IP. It looks like that is the end for this product. The company is moving on to work on an Old School fanzine called "Maximum HP"

Lets hope Failsquad Games finds success with less problematic projects in the future!


Monday, February 25, 2019

Will WotC's Next Book "Ghosts of Saltmarsh" Be a Missed Opportunity to Pay Homage to Dave Arneson, Master of Naval D&D Adventures?

WotC's next release for Dungeons & Dragons now has a cover and a title. Ghosts of Saltmarsh will feature all kinds of nautical and underwater adventures. While based on the U series, it now looks like Greyhawk references in the book will be limited. It also seems like there will be some Mystara material included in the book. Read more about all of this in this thread at The Piazza.

Now there have been many great nautical and undersea adventures in the history of D&D, but there can be no doubt that a pioneer in both these areas of D&D gaming was Dave Arneson. Dave was of course a huge fan of nautical war games. He even co-designed a Napoleonic era naval wargame with Gary Gygax, Don't Give Up The Ship in 1972. Naval adventures played a big part in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign. The First Fantasy Campaign (1977) references several naval battles, including a battle between ships and sea monsters ("Sea monsters won") and the attack on the Black Castle of the Orcs from a ship sailing along the river. Although Dave was not credited for DA4, it seems likely that the adventure across the Black Sea of Blackmoor in that adventure, where the heroes travel on board "The Blossom" under the command of Captain Castagere, must be a reference to Dave's style of gaming. Several Blackmoor adventures also took place on the waterways of the Dismal Swamp, including the epic adventures of Robert the Bald and Captain Krey, where Greg Svenson took on DMing duties for Dave Arneson.

Sahuagin, from Supplement II: Blackmoor

Underwater Adventures are also an important feature of Dave Arneson's adventures. Supplement II: Blackmoor (1975) included an entire section dedicated to Underwater Adventures and the supplement introduced many races and monsters that would later becoming iconic underwater D&D creatures. It is not surprised that the D20 Blackmoor line dedicated so much material to the Sahuagin-like race of the Sar-Aigu which tied to the origins of the Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor itself.

WotC's return to aquatic adventures presents them with a chance to pay some kind of homage to Dave Arneson, the master of Naval D&D adventures. Will they seize this opportunity?

More discussion of this article:


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Isle of Dread as an Endless Quest Book from WotC?

Endless Quest was the name of the Pick-Your-Own Adventure Path game books that TSR published between 1982 and 1996. It was recently revived for the  D&D 5th Edition with a series of books by author Matt Forbeck.

Matt recently revealed the covers for two new books in the series that will be published in September this year.

Escape from Castle Ravenloft is especially noteworthy because it is the only book so far to be associated with a D&D setting other than the Forgotten Realms. All the books in the series have tie ins to current D&D Adventure Sourcebooks. The Mad Mage's Academy is tied to Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage for instance.

"You never know, but we’ve stuck mostly to the Forgotten Realms so far. Ravenloft is our first venture outside that." says Matt Forbeck when asked about the possibility of an Isle of Dread tie in book. The question came up because a gigantic hardcover version of the Isle of Dread was released last year. It was published by Goodman Games under lisence, but the previous adventure in that series, Into the Borderlands, is advertised on Wizard's Website.

More Isle of Dread material from WotC would make fans of BECMI D&D and fans of Mystara happy. The setting has been teased in numerous D&D5E books, but Isle of Dread is the only book to fully embrace the setting.

See also: An old analysis of mine about the old Endless Quest Books and possible connections to Mystara (Piazza thread)


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Comeback Inn Moving Web Host Provider

The Comeback Inn is about to move to a new host provider for the site. This will hopefull go smoothly, but in case you should have any difficulties, feel free to contact me via this blog.

We should have everything sorted out by Monday. The forum will remain up and running through this whole time, but in case you experience any glitches, this is why.

Thanks for understanding!

More details here.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Exploring the Valley of the Ancients MMRPG style

Over four seasons of D&D adventures, Blackmoor the MMRPG has explored most of the plotlines ever detailed in the setting. It is not surprising that it would also have its own take on perhaps the deadliest of all of the adventure locations from Dave Arneson's campaign. I wrote about the early adventures Dave Arneson ran with the City of the Gods here.

Although hints to the City of the Gods go back to Supplement II's Temple of the Frog and the references to the Valley of the Ancients in the First Fantasy Campaign, this region was first explored in published form with DA3 City of the Gods. When Dave Arneson's company Zeitgeist Games got the lisence to do Blackmoor for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, they published a new version of the City of the Gods for that edition. The MMPRG also served to promote the Zeitgeist Games product line so it is not surprising that the time would eventually come for the Valley of the Ancients. This way players could bring their charaters from the MMRPG campaign into this famous adventure location. Over at the Comeback Inn, we are soon approaching the re-release of the last episodes of the MMRPG. Episode 90-L is available now as a free download.

Go here to download the MMRPG adventure!

Let me know what you think! Are you ready to see the remaining adventures of season 4 as well? :)


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Did D&D Goliath's First Appear in BECMI D&D and Mystara?

Goliaths first appeared as a race in D&D in Races of Stone (2004) for D&d 3.5 Edition. They returned as a playable race for D&D 4th Edition and D&D 5th Edition. When D&D 4th Edition launched their version of the Dark Sun setting, the Dark Sun race of Half-Giants was changed into Goliaths. So perhaps it is possible to trace the origins of Goliaths back to those Half-Giants from AD&D 2nd Edition's Dark Sun? Or could its roots be even older?

When discussing how to adapt the race to Mystara (which is something we Mystara fans like to do), someone (Cthulhudrew?) pointed out how similar Goliaths were to an obscure D&D monster called Stalwarts. Stalwarts first appeared in AC9 Creature Catalog (1986) for the BECMI D&D edition (sometimes called Red Box, Classic or Basic). Paleologos' excellent discussion at The Piazza about the origin of AC9 monsters has not been able to trace this creature to any earlier product suggesting this is the first apppearance of this race.

An actual Goliath

Both Stalwarts and Goliaths stand around 7 feet and are exceptionally strong. Both races love competitive games. Stalwarts are said to enjoy challenging strangers to physical competitions. If they lose they will serve the winner for a month, but not to the point of risking their lives. The Creature Catalogue was limited in detail on the physical appearance of the Stalwarts, but did come with an illustration that didn't quite match that of the Goliath even though the things in its face might either be Goliath style markings or shade. In any case, I tried to fix this with my colorized version of the illustration above. See the original here:

Stalwart from AC9 Creature Catalogue

So, while there is no real evidence of the Goliath being based on the Stalwart, the similarities are remarkable. I like how so many of the monsters, races and classes in later editions of D&D are still the same ones who appeared in the 70s and 80s. And even if these two races are unrelated, I like to think of them as the same thing.

What do you think?


Saturday, February 2, 2019

New Blackmoor Fan Adventure: Tomb of Ajax

Created by fans of the Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG, this is yet another  adventure in the "Blackmoor Living World" series. Credited to The Company of the Maiden, this adventure explores the tomb of an ancient Blackmoor hero. The adventure is set in northern Blackmoor, not far from the City of Maus.

I was pleasantly surprised to find references to my own creations in the adventure such as the characters of Caradegg and King Uhlmar. Caradegg was a squire to the character I played in the campaign Rafael ran at the Comeback Inn, the Last Fantasy Campaign. I later used this character in the backstory of my own Vales Campaign where the starting town was called Caradegg's Rest. (I have a map of that town here.)

Get the adventure for free here.

What do you think of this adventure?


Monday, January 14, 2019

Megarry to host Dungeon! at GaryCon2019

David Megarry, player in the original Blackmoor Campaign is to host the board game Dungeon! at GaryCon this year. David Megarry created the game partly because he saw how taxing DMing was on Dave Arneson and wanted to create a Blackmoor-like experience without the need to have a DM. I wrote a bit more about this back in 2011. The game was first published in 1975. The photo and information below was just posted at the GaryCon Facebook Page.

"DUNGEON! Board game creator and Guest David Megarry (pictured here with his wife Rose Shetka) displaying his original 1971 map of his most famous creation. Dave will host several DUNGEON! events at Gary Con XI. Get your badge today and sign up! #garycon #gcxi #dungeon #DUNGEON! #davidmegarry

Megarry also posts at The Comeback Inn Forum. If any of the readers of this blog are going to GaryCon, please tell Megarry that "Havard sent you".  ;)

Discussion of this article at The Comeback Inn


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Mayfair Games Co-Founder Has Passed Away 68 Years Old

Got the following sad news from Reddit regarding Darwin P Bromley (October 23, 1950 - January 1, 2019):
"Mayfair Games founder Darwin Bromley has died Darwin Bromley, founder of Mayfair games and designer of several train games (including Empire Express) has passed away. There will be a memorial service at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Jacksonville on Saturday at 4:00 PM. Last year, he and his late brother Peter donated 8,000 games to the Museum of Play."

-Co-Founded by Bromley and his brother Peter, Mayfair Games became famous for the controversial RoleAids series which were compatible with AD&D during the TSR era. Apparently Bromley was instrumental in this development. To give this entry a Blackmoor spin, Mayfair Games was once in talks with Dave Arneson to publish 12 Blackmoor modules.

Regardless, Bromley was an important figure in the history of our hobby.

What was your favorite Mayfair Games product?


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle - Now as a free AFF Blackmoor Module!

The new year kicks off with more Blackmoor material! Fans of the Advanced Fighting Fantasy RPG have been making modules under the banner Blackmoor Living World. This latest in the series by Galfiero Risaliti is clearly a nod to the 1963 movie of the same name. Set in Castle Blackmoor itself, the module also has references to the town of Anathema from Blackmoor the MMRPG season 4. which is available at The Comeback Inn.

Get the adventure The Stranger of Blackmoor Castle for free here.

Oh, and Happy New Year!