Saturday, October 1, 2022

Dave Arneson Game Day 2022 is Today!


Today we celebrate the Co-Creator of Dungeons & Dragons on what would have been his 75th birthday. All his life, Dave Arneson loved gaming, whether it was board games, wargaming, roleplaying games or computer games. What better way to celebrate the gift that he helped give us than to run a game, play a game or tinker with some rules or a setting you are working on?

At this blog I have been celebrating Blackmoor Week. Did you miss any of the posts?

What are you doing to celebrate gaming today?

Friday, September 30, 2022

Dave Arneson Gameday is Tomorrow! (Blackmoor Week Day 7)


Tomorrow is the big day and people are already joining in with the celebrations!

Over at Thorn's Chronicle, my good friend and Co-Admin of the Comeback Inn, Rob has revealed plans for running a game on Discord. Depending on whether time differences will allow for it, I hope to join in!

Over at The Castle Blackmoor Facebook Page, we have a new confirmation that Kevin McColl and the Minnesota Gamers will indeed be running ArneCon, a convention mentioned earlier on this blog in the memory of Dave:

Mark October 15th. ArneCon 0.2 Returning since 2017 We are planning a gaming convention in October, to tie in with the Birthday of Dave Arneson celebrating Minnesota's history of the origin of Role-Playing Games. And cheer all who were involved in the early years! Emphasis on old school style gaming, its history, and how it's history evolved. 


* David Wesely doing his Braunstein - the first true Role-Playing Game. 
* Robert Meyer doing the Blackmoor game - first true Fantasy RPG. 
* And many other activities.

As noted the event will take place in a couple of weeks, but hopefully Blackmoor Week has given the gang up there the inspiration boost they need to make this as successful as previous years.

 Over at The Piazza, site founder Ashtagon is doing a close examination of the Blackmoor maps presented in the DA modules. If you are interested in maps, you might want to check out that discussion.


Thursday, September 29, 2022

Why Fantasy? (Blackmoor Week 2022 - Day 6)

 Today the fantasy genre is everywhere. Rings of Power, Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft. All the streaming shows and video games are doing it in addition to novels, comics and other media. We are surrounded by it. When D&D was published in 1974, one of the reasons for its incredible success was probably that it tapped into this almost unknown part of the zeitgeist, finding an audience whose hunger for more fantasy content would only grow. D&D not only fed on the growing popularity of this new genre, but even came to shape how audiences understood what fantasy was all about. It is not surprising that when Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies came out, they felt as much as D&D movies as they felt like the stories told by JRR Tolkien. RPGs of other genres were soon created, but none became as popular as D&D.

Almost  decade earlier, Dave Arneson and his players had began experimenting with fantasy elements in their games. Adding laser guns into a wargame of Gauls vs. Romans back in 1969 is what Dave Arneson himself called his first venture into fantasy gaming in an interview with Space Gamer Magazine. Of course, this is a much wider definition of fantasy than we are accustomed to today, but was certainly a huge departure from the extreme focus of historical realism that was popular among many war gamers at this time.

So why did Dave Arneson select the fantasy genre when he decided to run his new Braunstein variant? David Wesely had always selected historical or contemporary real world settings for his Braunstein Games as had Duane Jenkins, running the Brownstone games for the Western setting. Was Dave simply part of the growing zeitgeist that would later project D&D into its extreme success? 

I am sure that is part of. Greg Svenson, one of Dave's players, has told me that pretty much everyone in Dave's group would read any fantasy novel they could get their hands on as such books were far between especially compared to today's situation. However, I think there is also another reason why Dave decided to use the fantasy genre. Freedom.

Dave seems to have been in search of tools that would allow him to run games where he would have complete creative freedom to run games that were all about a fun experience for his players. It is well documented that he and others in his group were frustrated with the grognard wargamers with their obsessions with historical accuracy and how such arguments would completely derail many wargaming sessions. 

With the Braunstein Games, the games were no longer confined to revolve around armed forces clashing. Shifting the focus towards individual characters meant the game could be about anything the players wanted. Merging this style of gaming with a world where anything was possible? This meant the ultimate freedom for both players and referees (or later Dungeon Masters). 


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

John Snider's Egg of Coot Campaign (Blackmoor Week 2022 - Day 5)

The Snider Brothers (usually called the Sniders) were two very important players in Dave Arneson's Camapign. In additon to being a Blackmoor player, John M. Snider also ran the Stellar IV campaign for the Blackmoor players which he eventually turned into two science fiction games which were published by TSR - Star Probe (1974) and Star Empires (1977). There were also plans for a third science ficiton game as a sequel to the two previous games. This was to be a roleplaying game that sadly never saw publication. 

Richard Snider co-authored Adventures in Fantasy (1979)  with Dave Arneson and later went on to create his own roleplaying game, Powers & Perils (1983) with its own unique world. Richard Snider was a member of the predecessor forum to The Comeback Inn until his passing.

The Egg of Coot was a nefarious villain of the original Blackmoor Campaign. In spite of the widespread myth, it was never  based on E. Gary Gygax and in fact Gary Gygax mentions the Egg of Coot in the foreword to the 1974 OD&D Ruleset. The Egg gets a rather humorous description in The First Fantasy Campaign, but the Egg and its stronghold never got to see full development. According to Dave Arneson, The Egg of Coot was never further developed because the players decided to adventure in other parts of his world. Possibly because the Egg was considered too dangerous. 

Recently, it was discovered that John Snider had taken matters into his own hands. In the 1990s, he ran a campaign referred to as the Egg of Coot campaign. It took place in John's own version of the world of Blackmoor in the lands North West of Blackmoor. John had in fact controlled the Egg of Coot's forces during the early days of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign so who else to expand on this lore if Arneson did not want to do it? Few details about John Snider's Egg of Coot campaign are known, but hopefully more details can still be uncovered. You can read more about it here


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Blackmoor Week Day 4


Some real life things got in the way today, but Blackmoor Week is still going on. We are now on day 4! The First Fantasy Campaign may be confusing to some, but it is an amazing resource as it documents the very campaign where many of the fundamental concepts of Dungeons & Dragons were developed. 

Do you have a copy?


Monday, September 26, 2022

Blackmoor For All Editions And Generations! (Blackmoor Week 2022 - Day 3)

These days, there is so much anger on the Internet it is depressing. Anger generates more clicks and range bait articles pays for advertising. People are divided into pointless camps so they can fight over pointless things.

Well, not here on the Blackmoor Blog! And definitely not during Blackmoor Week which is all about love for our hobby in all its forms and editions. Although I am a fan of the TSR editions of D&D, I am always happy to meet other D&D players even if they prefer other editions than I do. The more gamers in the world, the better! I believe this is true to the spirit of Dave Arneson who was all about enjoying every kind of game he could find. Last year I wrote about how I believe Dave Arneson would be happy as long as people find their own way to enjoy D&D. And I am sure he would like to see people run Blackmoor for any edition. 

Dave Arneson's company, Zeitgeist Games, helped bring Blackmoor to the 3rd and 4th Edition of D&D. Over at the Comeback Inn we have a section dedicated to Blackmooor 5E conversions where you can find the Shattered Empires Campaign from Phil Slama as well as conversion notes from game designer Chris Dolunt and others. Over at The Piazza, my friend Coronides has started a new 5E Blackmoor conversion project and he has told me that he really needs help from real Blackmor fans! If you can lend him a hand, please head over there and help him out even if you know nothing about 5E.

For fans of AD&D and Classic D&D, do not despair! We have lots of stuff going on for you too at The Comeback Inn. For most of my own projects, I try to keep things as rules light as possible so that it is easy to use with most editions. I will be sharing more of that over the next couple of days. 

Hope you are enjoying Blackmoor Week 2022


Sunday, September 25, 2022

ComposeDreamGames With Special Offer for Blackmoor Week 2022 (Blackmoor Week Day 2, part B)

 This is a completely non-commercial site and we are not sponsored in any way. However, ComposeDreamGames offers reduced prices for Blackmoor Week 2022:

More details about which RPG products are available can be found here.

I think this is a great way to celebrate Blackmoor Week and Dave Arneson's legacy.

Are any other publishers doing the same?


Dave Arneson Game Day 2022 is Today!

  Today we celebrate the Co-Creator of Dungeons & Dragons on what would have been his 75th birthday. All his life, Dave Arneson loved ga...