So what about the Crusaders? In my version of Blackmoor, I have replaced them with Paladins. It should be noted that Paladins are mentioned in the First Fantasy Campaign. Paladins first appeared in published form for D&D with the Greyhawk supplement in 1975, which was available when the FFC was published (1977), but the references to Paladins in the FFC were more likely to Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions.
The character of Zvenzen was probably roleplayed close enough to the Paladin concept to be called the first Paladin PC in Blackmoor even though the class did not exist when Greg Svenson created his character for the game.
But what can be gained from merging Paladins with the FFC idea of Crusaders? One thing is that when encountered these Crusaders are probably on what they see as a holy mission. In some cases they could be travelling to battle evil in the form of the Egg of Coot, the Afridhi or other monsters or demons. They could likely be in possession of Holy Swords as described in the FFC p 47. Or they could be questing for a Holy Sword, or other religious artifacts.
On page 49, one of the events that can occur by chance in the lands controlled by a player is that Crusaders are "passing through" the lands. This presents an opportunity for the PCs to recruit the unit of Crusaders (comparable to a mercenary unity as per the FFC), but they could also cause problems for the PCs if they have allowed morally grey activities to take place on their lands.
My impression about these travelling Crusaders is that they might likely often hail from the Great Kingdom/The Empire if Thonia and be encountered when travelling on their quests across the lands of the North.
In later version of Blackmoor, Zeitgeist Games released a free PDF (available on my website) detailing various organizations of Paladins for Blackmoor, but this PDF was fairly barebones and an adaptation of material from D&D 3E Unearthed Arcana. Still, it might have some merit to use this material to further develop different Crusader or Paladin Orders which is something that I am currently working on.
In the original campaign, Jim played a magic user and the character of Jallapiere who appeared in DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor was likely based on Jim's character from the early days. In DA1 Jallapiere or Jal is described as a very powerful wizard, known for his kindness. He is said to be a teacher at Blackmoor University. In this video excerpt from the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary, you can see Jim and Greg Svenson talk about their early gaming experiences together in Dave Arneson's world of Blackmoor.
My thoughts go to his friends and family.
I wrote about how the Tonisborg Kickstarter from The Fellowship of the Thing group had been successful. But while successful, could this project have enjoyed even more success? Several people told me that they would have supported the Kickstarter if it had offered PDF options as well.
Over on the Kickstarter page, Fellowship of the Thing, gave the following reason why they are not doing PDFs at this point:
"I appreciate you reaching out in regard to the PDF option. A lot of people do want to know what we will be doing in this regard. Chris and I have talked a lot about doing PDFs. We're testing the water in that regard with the 5e conversion PDF. As a small company our margins are really small if you consider that sales of physical units are in the small print run range anyway. We talk to other small houses about how their sales are and some have had horrible encounters with PDF piracy. One said his sales dropped 50% over a month and when he went on the web to see what was going on he discovered that his PDFs were being shared freely on dark sites. It has effectively killed his business. It leaves us in a quandary because we want people to use our book to run adventures and have all the tools to do so, yet, if we release digital content it could put us out of business in the next few months. The option of having a PDF is still on the table, but we really need to take a closer look and be cautious about how we do it. I hope that helps clarify why are not making PDFs right now."
Hopefully, "right now" is the key word here, meaning we can hope for PDFs at some point in the future?
Megarry tells the story of how the game was created on his Facebook page:
It was 50 years ago this weekend, in a perfect storm of despair, driven by not finishing my degree; not being drafted at the last minute and thus becoming unmoored from an expected future; and breaking up with my girlfriend, I entered a 72 hour creative flow and produced Dungeon! I showed the game the following weekend to Arneson & Co. and they liked it. Dungeon! has come a long way and is now being enjoyed by yet another generation. Keep on gaming!
Back in 2011 I wrote about how David Wesely remembers Megarry showing up with the Dungeon! prototype and how Megarry and Arneson decided to go to down to Lake Geneva to demonstrate the game to Gary on a day that would change the history of gaming forever.
Last week, the Kickstarer campaign for The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg ended. The project was successful as 709 backers pledged $71,553 to help bring the project to life.
It is wonderful to see the interest in this sourcebook from original Blackmoor Player Greg Svenson. I wonder if we get to see more from The Fellowship of the Thing group in the near future? Will we ever see a part 2 of the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary series?
In any case, congratulations to Greg and everyone involved in this Kickstarter.
When preparing to take part in the documentary Secrets of Blackmoor, David Megarry, discovered another hidden gem among his old documents. David Megarry, creator of the Dungeon! board game is one of Dave Arneson's Original Blackmoor Players. I first wrote about Megarry and his contributions to our hobby back in 2011.
The treasure Megarry discovered among his documents were dungeon maps drawn up 35 years earlier by his friend and fellow Blackmoor Player, Greg Svenson. They detailed Greg's own Blackmoor based dungeon known as the Dungeons of Tonisborg.
Yesterday, David Megarry, revealed on his Facebook page the story about how the maps were lost in the first place back in 1978:
"I have a role in this work as I am responsible for the "lost" part: I think it might be titled better "The (How Megarry) Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg" or something to that effect. Yes, dear readers, in 1978 in my attempt to preserve Greg's Tonisborg by making a copy at my workplace, I did not do a very good job of handling the originals. I put them in a magazine so they would not get bent and went to sleep. When I awoke and went to retrieve the magazine, it had been picked up by the cleaning lady and thrown in the garbage. I raced to the garbage bin in the alley, but, alas, it was also garbage day and the bin was empty! Tonisborg was irretrievably lost.
It was one of the hardest days when I told Greg I had lost his only copy.
Best wishes to all of the readers of this blog for the new year! -Havard