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Showing posts from January, 2010

Now we're 50!

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Today the 50th person joined the ranks of my fantastic followers ! That is reason to celebrate! Thanks for hanging out here and thanks for the good feedback. It really helps keeping me motivated to write more articles. A friend of mine asked me yesterday why I haven't gone into publishing some material of my own and maybe make a few dollars, but for now I am actually just really happy to share my thoughts and ideas with people who are interested in the same things as I am. I think I will go out and celebrate this weekend, and I think you should do the same! I have a pretty cool announcement which I will share with you guys in a couple of days. Have a great weekend! Havard

Realm of the Egg Part III

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Here's the third installment about the Realm of the Egg . Realm of the Egg Timeline: The Cthonian Age The Egg is formed. It is said that it originally had humanoid characteristics, but as centuries passed this has changed... Tsaothogghua spawns the Sar-Aigu and sends them towards what will become Blackmoor. 1 Empire of Thonia Founded Emperor Robert I founds Blackmoor as the northernmost province of the Thonian Empire 512 Temple of Id is destroyed 970 The Egg of Coot is first discovered by men of the Duchy of the Peaks. 994 In his rampage through the Duchy of the Peaks, Marfeldt learns of the Egg of Coot and fully realizes what threat this entity poses to all who value freedom in the North. Marfeldt wows to destroy the Egg. 995 The “Weasel” is promoted to Baron of Blackmoor. Learning of threats to the realm, he betrays Thonia and flees to barbarian lands, leaving Blackmoor unprotected. The Egg launches its first invasion against Blackmoor finding Blackm

El Raja Key and Blackmoor

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The more I dig into the stories of the early days of the Blackmoor Campaign, the more I see how much it is connected to the other campaign settings being created at the same time. In order to learn more about the Great Kingdom (which later became Thonia) of the C&C Setting , I have been doing some much needed reading up on Greyhawk. However, it seems like what I just as much should have been doing is to learn more about the worlds of Robert J Kunz. Kuntz was kind enough to direct me to one of his own current projects: El Raja Key. In this upcoming book, Kuntz also details the impact a few adventures in Blackmoor had on the Greyhawk campaign: "Within 4-6 weeks of our first adventure into Blackmoor Gary had a rough first draft of the new rules and several levels of the new dungeon, Greyhawk, to play-test these.  His daughters and Ernie were the first adventurers; the second one consisted of myself (Robilar), my brother Terry (Terik), Ernie Gygax (Tenser) and Elise Gygax (

Harpies

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I've never really regarded the Harpy as a particularly Blackmoorian creature, but on Friday, A Paladin in Citadel made me remember the legendary harpy illustration from Supplement II. I wonder to what extent the monster selection from Supplement II should be an indication of which creatures are the most common in Blackmoor. Based on who wrote what in that supplement , perhaps not so much, but then again, the book does have the Blackmoor label on the cover and Dave didnt seem to mind having it associated with himself even in later years . -Havard

Realm of the Egg Part II

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Here's the second installment of my take on the Realm of the Egg.   The Land The Realm of the Egg is a place filled with sinister disorienting mists. Large towering structures can be seen surrounded by smaller ruined and abandoned buildings. Cities and towns appear desolate, although there are always creatures lurking in the shadows. Structures originally built by Merfolk can be seen among ruins. Travelling through the land, the landscape will seem surreal to explorers. Magical experiments, permanent gates to other planes of existence and rampages of demonic creatures have turned the lands of the peninsula into a bizarre twisted realm.  Woodlands such as the Thornwood, the Forest of the Druj and the Weirdring Woods are dark and sinister places, where even plantlife seems hostile. These are not green wonders of nature, but black and thorny areas bearing little resemblance to forests in other lands. Mountains and hilly landscapes can be found in the humanoid infested Trollop

[Rafael]The Lodoss War

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Another entry from Official Guest Blogger Rafael on sources of inspiration for his Blackmoor games: In my (apparently developing?!) series about things of all kind that might make a good inspiration for Blackmoor, I sooo want to take a closer look to a series, or better, a setting I mentioned in the “Northlanders” review: The World of “The Lodoss War” , where “The Lady of Pharis”, another extraordinary comic book is set: Having long become an all-time classic among anime-fans all over the world, “The Record of Lodoss War” OVA (=direct-to-video-series) is the best product of a franchise that can basically be described as “Japanese D&D”. Being based on ACTUAL OD&D SESSIONS in which the main author and developer, Ryo Mizuno participated, this is like the closest you can get to classic D&D fiction without relying on ebay, or WotC periodical republications (kudos to Wizbro for rereleasing a lot of the old stuff from time to time, btw). An entire universe on its own,

Realm of the Egg Part I

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The Realm of the Egg Overview • Location: North of Blackmoor. • Area: 7000 sq. mi. Population: 20,000. Languages: Thonian. Coinage: Egg (pp), Prince (gp), • Government Type: Dictatorial Magocracy. The Egg is the law within its realm. • Industries: Piracy, slavery. • Notable Sites: The Egg's Nest (pop. 6000), capital city. • History: About 25 years ago, the seas to the north of Blackmoor mysteriously receded, as a rocky peninsula rose from its depths. Shortly thereafter, messengers bearing tidings from the Egg of Coot, lord of the northern peninsula, traveled to all the major cities in the North. • Important Figures: The Egg of Coot (MU?). Moorkok the Slayer (F17), Prince of the Egg, Soukup (Balrog), Abler (MU) • Flora and Fauna: Due to the experimentations of realms sorcerers, and the nature of the realm itself, encounters with nearly any sort of monster imaginable are possible. Background The origins and true nature of the Egg remain a mystery. For centuries, it re

Hit Points, Levels, XPs everywhere!

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In a blog entry at the Grognardia Blog today , James Maliszewski notes how Hit Points, Levels and XPs keep popping up everywhere these days. That is indeed quite a legacy that Gygax and Arneson left behind! -Havard

Northlanders

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Today the Blackmoor blog features another entry by guest blogger Rafael : So, during one of those days, while I had to wait for the van to take my furniture out of my old flat, I did a short of visit to my FLGS, “Hermkes Romanboutique” . (Yeah, that’s what one calls viral marketing!) Among other treasures I found there, I literally ran into a comic book that instantly captivated my attention, not only as a Blackmoor aficionado, but also as a fan of comic books in general: “Northlanders” , written by Brian Wood, and published by Vertigo comics, is certainly one of the better indie series I have in recent years: Narrating pseudo-historical stand-alone episodes from the British Dane Law era, the comic manages to stay captivating, intelligent, and artistically pleasing in its minimalism all through the two trade paperbacks ( a third one being due in March of this year). The first one, “Northlanders: Sven the Returned” is my favorite, telling a byronesque tale of revenge about a lo

Something is coming...

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A storm is brewing.  Lisence questions aside, 2010 will not be a quiet year for Blackmoor. While we are keeping our fingers crossed for the industry to get things sorted out, things are also stirring among the fans. Some clues can be discerned here.. Only a few weeks to wait... Havard

Introducing Rafael

I am Rafe, the Judge of the “Grim Winter Winter” and “The Promised Land” campaigns Havard mentions on here from time to time, and since I am pretty jealous of him for having such an extraordinary blog running so successfully, I thought , “if you can’t beat’im, yield”, and sent him a few of my scribblings on Blackmoor and related topics that will probably appear around here in the next few months. While I probably won’t be able to write too much on the Blackmoor game itself, in order not to give away too much on the games I run, I thought it might be worth sharing some of the impressions and experiences I take from running those games, if for nothing else than to remember them some day. I hope you readers will like my ramblings, and find them at least somewhat of use. Yours, Rafael

The Grim Winter Campaign: Behind the scenes!

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Back in 2005 began what would become the longest running Blackmoor PbP Campaign in history. After 5 years of play, the game is still not over. It's sequel, Road to the Promised Land was announce last year.  The players are a group of highly dedicated and creative gamers, including original Blackmoor player Greg Svenson. Blackmoor author Jeff Quinn also took part in the game for a while.Other Blackmoor fans and game designers are avid readers of the game. Back in 2006, the following add was posted for the campaign: A Grim Winter has fallen over the lands of the Bitter North, as valiant heroes and vile foes fight for the control over the once so beautiful lands called the Duchy of Ten! While the troops of Blackmoor and Vestfold march on against the cannibal Afridhi, two small bands of rogues and mercenaries travel through the battered lands of the West, following their quests that might come to determine the outcome of this lethal conflict... If you want to come to the

Print copies at Paizo

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In yesterday's entry I mentioned that RPGNow has pdfs of Blackmoor: The First Campaign (4E) for $22,10. At Paizo however, you can get print copies for only $36,00. Print copies of this book have been difficult to obtain, in particular in Europe. -Havard

Well, they're still here...

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Well, they are still here! In the beginning of December I suggested there might only be one month left to buy Blackmoor products. I guess I was wrong! Code Monkey Publishing (CMP) did say the lisence would end early 2010 which is a fairly vague phrase. Having hear no word on the matter from either ZGG or CMP this year, I figured checking the online stores would be a good way of finding out if anything is happening to the situation.   RPGNow/Drivethru have the best offers for pdfs that I have seen so far. If you have some money left after Christmas, I guess you still have a chance to complete your collection. Edit: Paizo offers print copies of the Blackmoor: First Campaign (4E) sourcebook. -Havard

Memorial Game for Dave Arneson, by Bob Meyer

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After Dave Arneson passed away last year, Bob Meyer, also known as Robert the Bald, ran a game with many of the original Blackmoor players. Bill Hoyt, Dave Wesely, Ross Maker, Pete Gaylord, Alan Musielewicz and others of the Original Blackmoor Players were present. Bob set the game in an historical period of Blackmoor, shortly after the death of King Robert of Geneva. Those interested in learning more about this session can read about it here . Havard

[Characters] The Wizard of the Wood

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Legendary Characters is going to be a returning feature in this blog. One of the striking features of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor is its characters. The fact that so many of the NPCs were at one point PCs gives them a certain depth that would be more difficult to achive had they simply been designed by an author. We have earlier taken a look at the Great Svenny . Today's Legendary Character is the Wizard of the Wood. Greg Svenson provided the following: "Pete Gaylord played the original Wizard of the Wood. The 'Wood' was a forest area just east of the city of Blackmoor where the wizard resided. He was the first wizard/magic user." After settling in the woods east of Blackmoor, the Wizard befriended many woodland creatures. He was able to raise a considerable force of Pixies. Ents and other sylvan creatures may also have been among his allies. The Wizard of the Wood has also been known to befriend dragons . The serene woodlands where the wizard had his homely h

Necrotech: Power of the Egg of Coot

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Necrotech is my take on the manifestation of the powers of the Egg of Coot . This is another example of how sci fi can be added to fantasy . The FFC has a rather humorous descriptio n of of the Egg, but one of its main features is the ability to produce magical items. Since I decided to make technology a core aspect of my campaign, I figured the items produced by the Egg could be more technological in nature. Not just regular tech though, or even technomancy. It's the Egg, which I am already potraying as a Cthuluesque entity, so the technology needs a dark twist. The Egg uses Necrotech to produce technologically enhanced undead. Picture a Zombie with metallic tubes sticking out of its head and metallic plates grafted into its skin. Undead servitors of the Egg have the blue glow in their eyes, similar to that of the Thralls of Coot. Necrotech is a term also used in games by White Wolf and Privateer Press. -Havard

Birthday Present for JRR Tolkien

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Seeing as today would have been Prof. Tolkien's 118th birthday , I decided to take a new look at the Professor's influence on early Blackmoor. As with most of D&D, Blackmoor was originally filled with Hobbits , Ents, Orcs, Balrog s and even references to Saruman, Sauron and Mordor! Ofcourse, these were removed from later printings of D&D, and were also dropped when Blackmoor returned to TSR with the DA series. Arneson relied heavily on Chainmail when populating his setting and many of the Tolkien references were brought over from there. Greg Svenson confirms that "Tolkien was a major influence, otherwise the primary races would not have included elves, dwarfs, hobbits, orcs and goblins; but, at the same time [...] there were many 'major' influences on our games. We all read lots of Sci Fi and Fantasy. Remember there was no cable TV or VHS and DVD players for entertainment in those days..." While TSR were not able to use Tolkien's trademark

Elves of Blacklore: A New Look

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As most of you will know, the majority of the Classic D&D products which featured Mystara, also included Blackmoor references. This is also true for the greatly underrated Hollow World Boxed Set , by Aaron Allston, which featured an entire culture with ties to Dave Arneson's Blackmoor; The Elves of Blacklore. Mystara is a possible future of Blackmoor, one where Blackmoor first grew into a powerful technomantic Empire, due to discoveries from the City of the Gods, but which then destroyed itself in the Great Rain of Fire , since combining magic and technology is a tad too unpredictable.  The Elves of Blacklore were elves from the southern continent who had made contact with Blackmoor some time before its destruction and had become fascinated with the technology of the humans. Being a fairly na├»ve lot, they quickly abandoned their own culture, absorbing as much as they could of the new technologically based way of life. Unfortunately, the Hollow World Boxed Set treats

A New Year!

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Since we are now in 2010, I would like to take a look at the past year and the things that have happened concerning Blackmoor. 2009 has been a year of Great Losses, a year of Hopes and Disappoinments an a year where we need to ask wherein the future of Blackmoor lies. GREAT LOSSES Overshadowing everything else, 2009 will no doubt be remembered for the passing of Dave Arneson on the 7th of April after two years of battling cancer. On the 17th of November, Richard Snider also passed away. More than anything else happening last year, the loss of those two gentlemen will be remembered. HOPES AND DISAPPOINTMENTS On the publishers' side of  things, 2009 saw the release of Blackmoor: The First Campaign in June, bringing Blackmoor over to the 4th Edition of D&D. This was a pleasant surprise as things had been so quiet around Blackmoor that many of us had given up hope that we'd ever see more Blackmoor Products. Blackmoor had now been placed among very few 3rd party sett