Saturday, April 17, 2021

50 Years of Blackmoor!


 Today, April 17th 2021 marks the 50 year anniversary of the first official Blackmoor Game session. The session was announced in Dave Arneson's fanzine, Corner of the Table Top (Vol. 3 No. 4), where shared gaming updates with other gamers in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. 


The announcement for the game read:


There will be a medevil "BRAUNSTEIN" April 17, 1971 at the home of David Arneson from 1500 hrs to 2400 hrs with refreshments being available on the usual basis. Players may come at any time and any number are welcome to attend what should prove to be an exciting time. It will feature mythical creatures and a poker game under the Troll's bridge between sunup and sundown.

Now I don't know about you, but I would have loved to be part of this game. I have not seen many more details about what this game entailed. Did actual trolls play poker or was it just that the game took place under that bridge where the troll used to hang out?

Was this actually the first Blackmoor game? That is where fans and experts disagree. Most accept that Dave Arneson ran similar games before this time even if they were not announced in the fanzine. Several of his players have said that they remember games at least as early as 1970. Jon Peterson has referred to these games as Blackmoor "precursor games" which leads us to a discussion of definitions, which we can get back to in a future blog article. 

In any case the anniversary of the Blackmoor Troll Bridge Poker Game gives us an opportunity to celebrate perhaps the most important step in the development of modern Tabletop Roleplaying Games. Enjoy the day and raise your glass to Dave Arneson!




-Havard



Saturday, April 10, 2021

Jeff Grubb's Lost Mystara Sourcebook To Be Released to the Fans at Pandius



Edit: It has since been made clear that this announcement was a bit premature. The Vaults of Pandius are still awaiting the green light from WotC. Fingers crossed!


It was just announced that Wizards of the Coast have given their approval for a long lost manuscript written by legendary D&D Game Designer Jeff Grubb to be released for free to the fans at The Vaults of Pandius. 

The Mystara Sourcebook was comissioned by TSR in 1990s and was to be part of the companies relaunch of the Classic D&D setting under the AD&D 2nd Edition rules. Mystara first appeared in published form in 1980 with the release of the adventure X1 Isle of Dread and was from that point on the default setting of the B/X and BECMI D&D line which also incorporated Blackmoor. 

Sadly, the nearly completed book that Jeff Grubb had written was never published as curious reversals of decisions within TSR's management and sales department at the time suddenly decided that instead of a book presenting all of Mystara to AD&D 2nd Ed fans, they instead wanted a product focusing only on the Grand Duchy of Karameikos. These behind the scenes workings which would eventually lead to a gradual death of Mystara even resulted in Jeff Grubb leaving TSR. He describes the story better himself at his blog.

As rumours that this manuscript existed in a nearly complete form, fans became hopeful that it would one day become available for them to read and enjoy. One fan, Travis Henry, even started a petition with more than 800 signatures. Jeff Grubb said that he would love for this work to become available as he was always a fan of the setting since the days of the Known World.

This week, Shawn Stanley who has been managing the Vaults of Pandius website for almost 25 years announced at The Piazza that the book will now finally be released later this year for the website's anniversary. The website was made into the official fan website by Wizards of the Coast in the early 2000s and remains the best resource website for the Mystara fan community. It is very fitting that this book will now find a home there.



-Havard

Friday, October 23, 2020

Rip Lenard "Len" Lakofka (1944-2020)

 

I was sad to hear about the passing of another legend in tabletop gaming today, Len Lakofka. This blog's main focus is the people involved with the gamers from Dave Arneson's group, but today I feel like paying respect to Mr Lakofka. 


Perhaps best known as the main whose campaign gave its name to the Lendore Isles of Greyhawk and the Leomund of various spells across all editions of Dungeons & Dragons, Len created the L-series of modules, a project he continued after his departure from TSR releasing L4 for free to fans via Dragonsfoot.


Len's involvement with the hobby goes back to the 1960s when he got involved with the International Federation of Wargamers (IFW) at one point becoming President of that organization and helping Gary Gygax organizing GenCon. 


I never got to meet Mr Lakofka in person, but we were friends on Facebook and I got to discuss some aspects of the history of D&D with him a few months back. He was always very polite and helpful. I am sad to hear that he is gone.


Rest in peace.


Photo is screenshot by Bryan Nystul.



-Havard

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A New Thonia Sourcebook (Dave Arneson Game Day 2020)!

 

Dave Arneson Game Day 2020 is here! October 1st is a great opportunity to celebrate gaming all around the world! 


FEATURES

Here are today's featured contributions:

  • The Stone Mask: A cursed item linked to the Temple of the Frog, created by Zeromaru X. Read all about it here.
  • Do you love Halflings, Docrae and Gnomes? Boddynock at the Gnomish Embassy has an article every day this week. Today's article oresents information for converting the short races of Blackmoor to the D&D 5th Edition Rules. Check it out here.  
For more details on what's going on, don't forget to visit the following places on the Internet:



FREEBIES
  • Thonia: Province of Bleakwood Sourcebook. This is the third installment in the Comeback Inn series of sourcebooks detailing the ten provinces of the Thonian Empire. This sourcebook has callbacks to such Dave Arneson creations as Adventures in Fantasy and The First Fantasy Campaign as well as tributes to Mike Carr and others. Get the PDF here.
  • Blackmoor Rampart, the MMRPG Newsletter #13 and 14 are now available here.








WHY DON'T YOU JOIN US?
Anyone can participate in Dave Arneson Game Day. If you have written something that I haven't noticed, ran a game and posted some pictures or a game report, let me know by posting in one of the forum links above. 

Go here to join Dave Arneson Game Day!





-Havard

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

When Frogmen Attack! (Blackmor Week Day 3)

 



Temple of the Frog was the first Dungeons & Dragons adventure published by TSR. We are already on Day 3 of Blackmoor Week and what better way to celebrate than with an adventure featuring those pesky Frogfolk? Dave Arneson Game Day 2020 is tomorrow and I hope you are all ready for the big day!  

As with every day during Blackmoor Week, we bring you featured articles and free Blackmoor PDFs. Remember that we also enjoy hearing stories about your games, and what you are doing to participate in the celebration to make this into a joint effort. It doesn't strictly even have to be connected to Blackmoor as long as you would like to join us in celebrating our common hobby of RPGs!


FEATURES

Here are today's featured contributions:

  • Thonia: Province of Bleakwood Map Preview. This is something I have been working on for quite some time and hopefully I can have more on this topic ready tomorrow. Check it out at The Piazza here.
  • Boddynock at the Gnomish Embassy has an article every day this week. Today's article continues his conversions of Blackmoor to the D&D 5th Edition Rules. Today the focus is on the elves and half-elves of Blackmoor. This article also features a new Cumasti NPC. Check it out here.  
For more details on what's going on, don't forget to visit the following places on the Internet:



FREEBIES
  • A free Blackmoor Adventure for D&D 5E. This is the second installment of the Shattered Empires series by MMRPG author Philip J Slama. Both this adventure and the previous installment are available here.
  • Blackmoor Rampart, the MMRPG Newsletter #12 is now available here.








WHY DON'T YOU JOIN US?
Anyone can participate in Dave Arneson Game Day. If you have written something that I haven't noticed, ran a game and posted some pictures or a game report, let me know by posting in one of the forum links above. 

Also, make sure to sign up for this year's Dave Arneson Game Day!





-Havard

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Dwarves! (Blackmoor Week 2020 Day 2)

 Are you ready for more Blackmoor Goodness? Its great to see more and more D&D fans joining in the celebration of Blackmoor Week as we keep moving towards Dave Arneson Game Day. My friend Dungeon Delver mentioned that he will be re-reading Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign. That is a book that deserves being re-read at least once per year and what better day to read it than today? OD&D superfan Finarvyn is running a Blackmoor campaign with laser wielding frog miniatures that he borrowed from a board game. Are you doing anything with Blackmoor this year?


TODAY's FEATURED ARTICLES

  • Boddynock at the Gnomish Embassy follows up with another article today for Blackmoor and D&D 5th edition, this time with a a rules conversion for Blacmoor Dwarves along with an NPC and an organization called the Hearthguard. Check it out here.
  • At The Piazza, Zeromaru X has expanded his article on the City of Rodhin from last year's Dave Arneson Game Day.
FREE STUFF FROM THE COMEBACK INN
  • The Age of the Wolf DM's Guide to Meta Orgs for Blackmoor 4E is now available as a free download 
  • 3 issues of the Blackmoor Rampart Newsletter for the D&D 3E Blackmoor MMRPG. #9, #10 and #11 are now available. 





For more details on what's going on, don't forget to visit the following places on the Internet:



WHY DON'T YOU JOIN US?
Anyone can participate in Dave Arneson Game Day. If you have written something that I haven't noticed, ran a game and posted some pictures or a game report, let me know by posting in one of the forum links above. 

Also, make sure to sign up for this year's Dave Arneson Game Day!


What are you doing in gaming this week? What would you like to see over the next or for future events?





-Havard

Monday, September 28, 2020

Blackmoor Week 2020 Begins! (With Free Blackmoor Stuff!)

 


As mentioned in yesterday's blog article, Blackmoor Week, the week leading up to the annual celebration of Dave Arneson Game Day has now begun!


In association with The Comeback Inn and The Piazza, this blog attempts this year, like every year to provide an overview of everything Blackmoor related that happens during this week. Several people have already announced that they will participate in the event and more are joining in! 


FEATURES

Here are today's featured contributions:

  • Doc Necrotic has a post talking about the various iterations of Blackmoor including his own Blackmoor Returned Campaign. Check it out here! Doc Necrotic is a regular contributor to The Piazza and the Mystara Reborn Facebook Group.
  • If you are a fan of Dragonborn, check out this latest article at The Gnomish Embassy presenting two new Blackmoor based types of Dragonborn for 5th Edition based on two unique types of Dragons from Dave Arneson's Campaign. Dragonborn first appeared in the 4E version of Blackmoor. Boddynock at The Gnomish Embassy has been a consistent supporter of Blackmoor Week over several weeks and is a friend of the Comeback Inn. This article also fits very well with the City of Rodhin mini gazetteer by Zeromaru X which can be found here.
For more details on what's going on, don't forget to visit the following places on the Internet:



FREEBIES
Today's Blackmoor Freebies are 3 issues of Blackmoor Rampart. This newsletter was createt during the Blackmoor Zeitgeist Games era and are now available once again. Currently 8 issues are available at the Comeback Inn.

Get your free downloads here.

(If you are not yet registered at The Comeback Inn, you will have to follow some simple instructions before you can get to the goodies, but it might be worth it!)






WHY DON'T YOU JOIN US?
Anyone can participate in Dave Arneson Game Day. If you have written something that I haven't noticed, ran a game and posted some pictures or a game report, let me know by posting in one of the forum links above. 

Also, make sure to sign up for this year's Dave Arneson Game Day!





-Havard