Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New explorations of the Blackmoor Dungeons.

As mentioned, this Saturday was Dave Arneson Gameday on which Dave Arneson was honored with gaming activities in New York City. Tavis Alison has a great report on his blog about the exploration of the Blackmoor Dungeon, which keeps attracting adventurers almost fourty years after the Great Svenny first ventured into the Dungeons in Arneson's own game. Tavis is also kind enough to mention the Comeback Inn. I like that :)


Saturday, March 27, 2010

NYC Dave Arneson Gameday Today!

I just surfed by JoeTheLawyer's blog and was reminded that today is Dave Arneson Gameday! At the Compleat Strategist in New York City, various RPG events will be arranged in Dave's memory.


Friday, March 26, 2010

St. Paul Memorial Event Poster

As I mentioned earlier this month, there will be a memorial event held in St. Paul, Minnesota on April 10th. Thanks to Jeff Berry, I can present you with the poster for the event:

I like the illustration. I wonder if that is Arneson's character, Captain Harchar right there, swinging from the mast?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Blackmoor Miniatures

Dave Arneson enjoyed using miniatures for his game. However it wasn't untill after 2003 that a line of Blackmoor Miniatures were produced. They were manufactured by Lance & Laser Miniatures and included the following:

The above are three Afridhi Warriors. They are pretty much in line with the way the Afridhi were depicted in the ZG material. I always imagined them to be more exotic though, more Persian or perhaps even African. The models are nice, but they look more like man-sized Fire Giants. Which may have been the idea.

The models above are Ash Goblins. This is a race that was introduced in the D20 Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Sourcebook. They are goblins that have been exposed to the effects of the Valley of the Ancients (Radiation?), mutating with horns and other strange features.

Next models up (above) are Ash Goblin Wolf Riders. I guess they can be pretty menacing when charging down from the Dragon Hills...

These three models are Beastmen. If I remember correctly, these models cam with loads of different beastial heads so that you could mix and match bodies and heads. Beastmen were introduced to the Blackmoor mythos through Mystara. In the Mystara version, there are no Orcs in the Blackmoorian Age, just Beastmen. Beastmen were also included in the D20 Sourcebook, though the D20 line also has Orcs. 

The final models are Thouls. A classic Monster that appeared in OD&D and Classic D&D. In other additions, Thouls were associated with the Mystara line, appearing in the Mystara Monsterous Appendix and appeared under the Mystara logo in 3E conversions. 

One other miniature was also produced. It was a limited edition miniature of Toska Rusa. If anyone has pictures of this miniature, I would very much like to see them! Also, I don't own any of the miniatures above. Lane & Laser seems to have disappeared so I have no idea where I can get these. Ebay perhaps?


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Final Blackmoor Cover!

Jim pinto of Knightime studios just posted what would have been the final version of the Blackmoor: Age of the Wolf cover. I posted an article of an earlier version of this cover back in November. I think this final version looks really good. How about you?

Read more about it and see more pictures at the Knighttime Studio blog. From the various images used, I recognize Lee Smith's Herald of Thanatos, posted on this blog a few days ago. In the top left corner is part of the image used at the cover of the City of the Gods adventure (ZG version).


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


What happens to Blackmoor's solar system thousands of years into the future? Around the year 2000, a friend of mine, Marco Dalmonte (DM) and I stated what we calle the Mystara Space Project. After a few years of very interesting discussions however, the project sort of faded out. Many of the original files were sadly lost. Recently however, over at the Piazza, Mystara and Spelljammer enthusiast Chimpman has taken charge of the project for developing Mystara's solar system.

Back in february, I made a mock-up cover for Blackmoorspace. Some of my readers get frustrated by these mock-up covers since they know there is now way they will ever see the products, but at least in this case we have talented fans working on it! (And *ahem* I am helping too ;) )


Monday, March 15, 2010

Blackmoor Sale at Noble Knight Games

Are you missing some of the 3E/4E sourcebooks for Blackmoor? Reading over at the OD&D Forum, I was made aware of a sale at Noble Knight Games where you can get 7 books from the line at $69.95.The package includes:

  • Dave Arneson's Blackmoor 4E
  • Clock & Steam
  • Player's Guide to Blackmoor
  • Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor
  • The Wizards Cabal
  • Redwood Scar
  • Dave Arneson's Blackmoor

Might be worth checking out to complete your collection? :)


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nostalgia part II

This the second teaser for Dave Arneson's Blackmoor, posted on the ZGG website back in 2002. The first teaser poster featured a Gnoll or a Beastman. This one, features a sinister looking woman. She is exotic in appearance and wears a kind of crown. Most likely, this is supposed to be Toska Rusa, the leader of the Afridhi.


Friday, March 12, 2010


This is the first advert ZGG posted on their site announcing that they were going to be publishing Dave Arneson's Blackmoor (D20). Not the copyright from 2002. 8 years passed already!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Age of the Wolf Art Revealed!

The Age of the Wolf product line for Dave Arneson's Blackmoor was cancelled. Artist Lee Smith was comissioned to do some of the illustrations for the project. Above is one of the pieces he made. The cap for the illustration reads:

The Herald of Thanatos is a massive mechanical construct that roams the lands, in its wake the dead rise from their graves and follow the machine as a legion of undead warriors.

 It's really interesting to see this wonderful illustrastion. It gives us alot of room to speculate to what the Age of the Wolf was really about. Based on this illustration alone, I'm getting associations with the Iron Kingdoms, perhaps with a hint of post apocalypse? The challenge with such a setting would probably be how to preserve the Arnesonian touch to the setting. I hope to reveal more news on this topic in the coming months!


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Welcome to Vestfold!

As Arneson's campaign developed, he realized that he needed a bigger city to be the capital of the realm. Blackmoor was but a small town, and it had been continuously sacked by the forces of the Egg of Coot. As a name for the new capital, he chose Vestfold. It is not unlikely that this was a reference to Westfold, the district within Tolkien's Rohan. Afterall, Blackmoor already had Hobbits, Ents and Balrogs at the time.

On the other hand, places like Mohacs (the Imperial City) and Borno were taken from real world locations of a certain historical significance. It is not unlikely that Arneson borrowed this name, like Tolkien did from the county of Vestfold, Norway. Given Arneson's interest in history, it is not unlikely that he was familiar with the petty kingdom of Vestfold, the staging point for the unification of Norway in the Viking Age.

Arneson's player, Greg Svenson originally developed a town in this part of Blackmoor which he called Tonisborg. The spelling is curiously not too different from that of the town of Tønsberg, located within the Norwegian county of Vestfold. Being Norwegian, I found this quite fascinating, although in my own campaign I had to rename the City, Westridge, as it would have been too familiar a name for them. Hopefully Dave would not have minded me doing so! :)


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The End - Officially?

Last year, we learned that the Blackmoor lisence agreement between WotC and ZG was ending by the end of 2009. There were hints of possibilties of negotiating a continuation of the agreement, though given WotC's changed attitude towards lisencing out its property and the fact that Arneson was no longer in the picture made the chances seem slim.

Other speculations included the possibilities of ZG's partner, Code Monkey Publishing launching a new, but related setting, sometimes referred to as the New Lands. However, this hope was reduced when ZG announced that their relationship with CMP would also come to an end in early 2010. An announcement at CMP's website of coming changes to their site was announced in early january, but as of now, the site can still be considered Out of Order.

A few days ago, the president of ZG (now IMI labs) made the following statement at the Comeback Inn:

"Age of the Wolf is a CMP project, but both Dave [Arneson] and I were involved in the early framing of the effort. CMP handled the oversight for the development.  AoW is not planned for release at this time in any format. IMI has no business relationship with CMP at this time nor are there any immediate plans."
 I interpret this as the closest thing we are going to get as an official statement that ZG and CMP's involvement with Blackmoor have come to an end. Barring a dramatic change in attitude from WotC towards lisencing out their property, any chance of seeing published Blackmoor material in the future would have to come from WotC themselves. Given the wide range of trademarks owned by WotC, that might not be too likely either, but who knows?


Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Original Castle Blackmoor

While I had heard rumours of this in the past, Jeff Berry was kind enough to confirm the origins of Castle Blackmoor:

Seriously; let's never lose sight of the fact that the original 'rust monster' was a plastic toy that Dave got in a set of equally cheap plastic dinosaurs, and it's lasted for how long? You can still buy a copy of Dave's original Blackmoor Castle, too; it's an N scale model kit made by Kibri in Germany, their "Branzoll Castle" catalog number 7304. He used it for years to show people what the place looked like. 

The real Branzoll Castle is located near the town of Chiusa (Klausen) in a formerly Austrian part of Northern Italy. The Castle was built around 1250. In 1671 it was left in ruins after a fire, but was rebuilt in 1895 by a castle-enthusiast by the name of Dr. Otto Piper. You can read more about the Castle here.

Below is a picture of the model from Kibri. Guess what I want for Christmas this year?

More discussion of this article here.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dave Arneson memorial gameday (NYC)

Tavis just directed my attention to this year's Dave Arneson's Memorial Gameday to be celebrated in New York City:
Here are the descriptions of this year's gameday and the (old-school) games scheduled so far:

When: Saturday, March 27th, noon until 5 pm

Where: Compleat Strategist, 11 E. 33rd St., Manhattan, NY

What: Celebrating Arneson's legacy by playing some of the roleplaying games inspired by his pioneering Blackmoor campaign (a category which includes D&D of every edition!)

Who: Players and GMs of all ages, experience levels, edition preferences, and degrees of old- or new-schoolness
More details can be found at Finarvvyn's OD&D Board. With all these events happening, I hope some of those able to attend will share with the rest of us!


Dave Arneson Memorial Event Announced (St. Paul, Minnesota).

It's been almost one year since Dave Arneson passed away. Today a memorial event was announced:

The second annual David L. Arneson Memorial Maritime Mayhem Miniatures event will be held at The Source Comics and Games on Saturday, April 10th, 2010 at noon.

Dave's infamous Tekumel character, the rascally Captain Harchar, will feature in two epic sea fights: "Captain Harchar versus the Hlyss nestship", in which the captain tries to keep his crew and passengers from becoming living incubators for the larvae of these insectoid non-humans; and "Captain Harchar versus the Customs Officials", in which the captain tries to get his cargo of unlicensed, untaxed, and undeclared luxury good past an armada of enraged customs and excise officials while dealing with his piratical associates in the Clan of the Blazoned Sail.

No experience needed; rules and miniatures will be provided. No fixed
times for players to participate; drop in and out as you want. For more information, please feel free to e-mail me: chirine@aethervox.net

 I for one, envy those who will be able to attend!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Piazza - D&D Worlds Forum Celebrates 16 Years!

  One of my favourite places to talk about D&D is The  Piazza . I can't belive its been 16 years since fans created that forum. Peop...