Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Gygax Memorial Fund

Since today is Gary's birthday, I think it is appropriate to take a look at the Gygax Memorial Fund and their goal to build a monument in his honor.

From what I have learned, the Fund will have an exibit at Gen Con on this August 4th-7th. At the Old School Renaissance Group booth (#1541), Gail Gygax will be talking about conversations she had with her husband before his passing about how he wanted to be remembered, the resulting vision for the statue, and the goals of the Memorial Fund.

At the booth, they will be taking contributions and offering donor rewards including T-shirts with the Gygax Memorial logo -  Argent, a Bar Azure, Three Lozenges Gules  - and a book called "Cheers, Gary" which selects the best of his correspondence with fans at the EN World Q&A threads. Editor Paul Hughes will also be at the booth with Gail signing copies of "Cheers, Gary" and discussing plans for another volume based on the Dragonsfoot Q&A. Although all of this is available online, it would sure be nice to have Gary's wisdom collected in print.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Piazza URL returns

Just a quick message to let you know that the Piazza is back at its original web adress.  As I reported a few weeks back, it was only accessible through a temporary URL for a limited period, while the site was being moved to a new host. The reason for the move was the security problems believed connected to the previous web provider. Good to have the old adress back. :)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A different take on alignments

An interesting discussion over at the Piazza's Dark Dungeon forum, made me think about alignments again. I am wondering if the original OD&D system of only the Law - Chaos axis might not be more suitable for what I am about to present than the more complex double axis system introduced in AD&D. I believe the Law/Chaos duality came from Michael Moorcock's fiction, and before that from Babylonian mythology. This could lead to endless philosophical discussions. However, playing Red Dead Redemption on my XBox 360 the other day, I was wondering if the Old West analogies might not work just as well. The question would then become whether you operate within the law (Lawful) or outside the law (Chaotic).

This is quite different from the early Arnesonian concept of Good Guys vs. Bad Guys. We know that in Western movies, the good guy can sometimes be the Sherrif, but just as often he will be the Outlaw working to bring down corrupt officials. So lets be clear that Chaotic does not mean evil, even if there in many scenarios will be more villainous elements working outside the law.

This take on alignments is linked to the idea of reputation. Many different systems of reputation have been invented for D&D, but to keep it simple, lets say that reputation equals your character's level. 9th level represents the point where you have truly carved out a name for yourself that is, reached Name Level. Reputation is based on level, but is also linked to alignment. At first level, nobody cares who you are or what kind of person you are, but as you gain levels, people will have heard of you and your exploits. This is different from many D&D games where alignment is secret. Using this model, a high level character is pretty much a celebrity. People you meet will know who you are and what you have done, good or bad. More importantly, their reactions will depend on your reputation. A reputation as a Chaotic will gain you respect among criminals, orcs and evil wizards, but most cityfolk will react negatively towards you. Borrowing ideas from The Dark Dungeons discussion, a +4 bonus to charisma (or a -4 penalty) might be appropriate. Prices for weapons, equipment and lodging in towns will normally be higher for a chaotic. OTOH, buying shady goods from smugglers will probably not be an option for a Lawful character. (Note: I would also charge higher prices to characters using Cha as a dump stat regardless of reputation).

Chaotic Realms
While most civilized places will favor lawfuls, there will be regions, city districts, or even kingdoms where the situation is reversed. In a Pirate City, a known lawman will be viewed with suspicion if not outright attacked. A Champion of Chaos may find that the Black Gates of Mordor will open for him.

In general, it is more tempting to play an unscrupulous character. Because of this, I do suggest making it harder for these guys and rewarding those who play lawful characters and act according to their alignment.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dragons at Dawn Supplement I is out!

DHBogg's just announced the release of the first supplement for his Dave Arneson inspired game Dragons at Dawn. Named Supplement I: Twighlight, the description at Lulu reads:

Supplement 1 is a broad ranging expansion of the Dragons at Dawn retro-tribute fantasy role playing game honoring the first years of adventure role playing as envisioned by gaming pioneer Dave Arneson. The contents include character class variations, alternate combat tables, new spells and rules for governing magic, expanded information on skills, morale, wilderness adventuring and a whole lot more!
 Click here to order a hard copy or buy the pdf. You can talk about supplement I with other fans as well as the author at the Dragons at Dawn section of the OD&D74 forum, or at the new Arnesonian Rules Section of the Comeback Inn.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Individualizing dwarves

Alright, they have already been all over the blogosphere and forums, but I wanted to have the dwarves on my blog as well. Is that too selfish? While some have expressed worries about the length of beards or that these dwarves somehow don't look right, I actually like that Jackson is individualizing the dwarves. It may even be good for the hobby that these films are challenging our often stereotyped views of demihumans. How many battle axe wielding Gimli copies have not appeared in your D&D games? How many Elven archers?

Kili and Fili

Oin and Gloin

Nori, Ori and Dori

Bofur, Bombur and Bifur

One of the things done to differentiate the dwarves seems to have been the emphasis on the difference between noble born dwarves and those bred in the west:

"While most of the Company of Thorin Oakensheild is related to the royal and noble line of Durin, Bofur, his brother Bombur and their cousin Bifur most definitely are … not. Born and bred in the West, descendants of coal miners and iron workers, they have joined the Quest for the Lonely Mountain partly to seek their fortune and partly because they were told the beer was free."

 Back to Blackmoor.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Arnesonian Rules Discussion

The other day I mentioned Adventurer Conqueror King System, and I have previously talked about the excellent Dragons at Dawn RPG. These are two of several games looking back to the way Dave Arneson ran his games. Because of this, we have added a new section to the Comeback Inn for discussing the RPG rulesets Arneson wrote or contributed to as well as systems attempting to follow this tradition.

Check out the discussions, sign in and participate here.

IMG Source


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Where is the Piazza?

Some of the readers of this blog have been having trouble finding the Piazza (D&D Worlds Forum) recently. The Piazza has moved to new servers, and while it will eventually get its old web adress back, it is currently found on a temporary URL:

Img source


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fred Funk's World

Hard core Blackmoor fans and followers of my blog will know that Fred Funk played the Orc King in Dave Areson's original game. As I have previously reported, Fred sadly passed away in January. Over the last few days, many of Fred's friends have joined the Comeback Inn sharing stories of Fred and also of the game he DMed.

Interestingly, Fred ran his own D&D game, set in a world of his own creation, which he even had a Player's Guide created for. The setting is uniquely imaginative and clearly shows Fred's roots in the Minnesota Gamers group. You can read more about Fred and his world here.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Adventurer Conqueror King

After spending last week on a Mediterranean beach, I am now back to making updates here again!  So what have I missed? Well, I recently found out about this project called Adventurer Conqueror King that does look interesting. On the one hand it may seem like yet another OD&D retroclone, but I do like the focus on supporting play across the whole range of levels in the campaign, including what they call "Arnesonian barony building". The scope seems to be wider than many D&D variants out there, perhaps reminiscent of the BECMI approach. Having Blackmoor enthusiast Tavis Alison involved also doesnt hurt from the point of view of this Blackmoor Blog.

Read more about the system and how you can help make it come to life here.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Paizo is 9 years

Getting into an anniversary groove here. Paizo is 9 years today. I have never gotten into playing Pathfinder, but I have been buying some of their books, just because they look so damn good.
Happy birthday Paizo!


Blackmoor Like Map Used for Runehammer's Crown & Skull RPG?

  Crown & Skull is a new TTRPG created by  Brandish Gilhelm, Hankerin Ferninale and Ingrid Burnall and published by Runehammer Games. T...