Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rob S. Conley's Blackmarsh Setting

Blackmarsh Cover

According to Rob S. Conley's excellent blog, the Blackmarsh Setting is ready to be released through the Print on Demand company Lightning Source in about a week or so. Blackmoor fans will find many similarities between this setting and Arneson's world. The map for it was created through a process believed to be the same as what Arneson did when coming up with his map for Blackmoor. However, the author is quick to point out that:

"Blackmarsh is a homage to Dave Arneson's Blackmoor. But it is not a clone. The elements that it shares are; drawn from a map of holland, has a castle with a dungeon underneath where access is controlled by the elves, an elven forest, vikings roaming around, and there is a larger kingdom to the southeast. Beyond that background, the locales and details are unique to the Blackmarsh setting."

In additon to these elements, Blackmarsh also has the Mountain that Fell, a meteorite that fell from the sky, creating the Smoking Bay, a seeming parallell to the crashed spaceship of Blackmoor.  Conley has previously suggested that the Blackmarsh Setting could be connected to his other projects of the Southlands (From the Points of Light) and the Wild North (published in Fight On #3), both also having some connection to Blackmoor.

Castle Blackmarsh

With Code Monkey Press's Shaerdreath Setting and Dolmen Creative's Destiny6 game running into pre-production problems, could Blackmarsh be the first Arneson Tribute setting to actually get published? still, there is a fine line between homage and IP violation, and hopefully all involved in these projects will be careful.



  1. I'm looking forward to this coming out. While it is just a homage I do believe that Blackmarsh will be a very significant release for the OSR and Classic Gamers.

  2. Very much looking forward to 'Blackmarsh'!

  3. Rest assured that I took care in not crossing the IP line or even try to get close to it. I used First Fantasy Campaign as my guide to what to stay away from. For example there is no equivalent to the Egg of Coot.

    Although I aware of the technology in Arneson's campaign I didn't know about the crashed spacecraft. Maybe years ago I read it but I since forgot about it.

    I left it open whether The Mountain That Fell brought technological items with it. But it main plot use is to scatter Viz a magical substance throughout the region.

    The major goal of the background was to plausibly pack a lot of dungeons into the region. I figure using Viz to create a gold rush atmosphere would be perfect for that.

    And with the text, open for everybody, people can judge for themselves whether I crossed the line. And I understand people's concerns given the situation with open gaming, print on demand, and PDF stores.

    And I welcome questions on the subject because it is important people to understand what can do, and what can't be done.

  4. I'm not worried about the IP line as I'm sure you would be careful.

    But what I'm wondering is if the "Holland" shape of this map makes it possible to slot it into Wilderlands, in place of where people slot Blackmoor. (In other words does the shape of Blackmarsh make it a replacement for Blackmoor on a map?)

    Does Blackmarsh dovetail with Majestic Wilderlands? And does it dovetail with Wilderlands of High Sorcery and Wilderlands of High Adventure?

  5. Sorry David, I made it mesh with the Southland setting from Points of Light, which has it own background. But...

    You can jam Southland to the north of the Valley Ancients. Then from Southland get to Blackmarsh.

  6. @Josh:
    I'm looking forward to this coming out. While it is just a homage I do believe that Blackmarsh will be a very significant release for the OSR and Classic Gamers.

    Interesting! I will definately be keeping an eye up for it :)

  7. @Rob: Thanks for dropping by! I hope I didnt make it sound as if I was suspecting you of getting into trouble. That last paragraph was regarding homage products in general rather than Blackmarsh. I am also interested in seeing what is possible to get published and what kind of products that are unacceptable to companties like WotC.

    In any case, it seems like Blackmarsh, along with your other related books will be a useful resource for Blackmoor gamers. And we havent been getting much of that in a while now! :)


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