Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Have You Played with Dave Arneson?

I got to meet Dave Arneson back in 2003, but I never got a chance to play with him. Poster Heymikey over at the Comeback Inn is collecting reports from actual play sessions with the man himself. Besides the Original Blackmoor Players, Dave has played with hundreds if not thousands of gamers over the years.

Dave Arneson at HURRICON 2007, Orlando, FL.

Not every gaming report is full of praise. Back in 2008, the Semper Initiative Blog reposted an old magazine article written back in 1976 by a less pleased player, Bill Paley. Still, Paley's report contained alot of interesting information that I have just gone through.

Did you ever get to play in Dave's games?


Image Source

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last Fantasy Campaign Coming to an End?

Our ongoing Blackmoor PbP Campaign, DMed by Rafael has been going on since 2005. The Last Fantasy Campaign as it has become known as, has become legendary in the realm of forum based gaming. Now it seems the grand finale is approaching. "The Promised Land and The Ghosts of Summer will be the final parts of the Last Fantasy Campaign." Rafael says. He continues:

"Furthermore, with the end of our current story arc, our ambitious project, The Last Fantasy Campaign, will achieve the goal we had set for it: To bring closure to all the main story arcs from the original Blackmoor setting, and to effectively write that epilogue that never was."

Read Rafael's full detail on his plans for the conclusion of this more than 6 year long campaign here.


Hobbit Trailer

Yep, the trailer is out. This is the best Christmas present I could get. If you havent already seen it, you can find it here.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Combining Worlds

Some like to create their own RPG settings from scratch. Others like to use premade settings. A third group likes using elements from many different settings, combining them into a campaign world of your own. A world like Dave Arneson's Blackmoor lends itself very well to combining with other settings. It has rich detail on a small region of the world, but is very vague on what lies beyond the regional map of the North.

There are different approaches to combining settings. Some try to include everything from every setting they have ever heard of. Others pick the elements they like from each setting and combine those features instead. Robert Fisher's World of Kulan is an example of this latter approach.

My own approach is slightly more complicated. I want to use settings that have a connection to oneanother. So when choosing a setting for giving my Blackmoor a framework I chose Mystara. Almost every single Mystara sourcebook refers to Blackmoor as an era long gone. The Hollow World Boxed Set (for Mystara) gives a world map of that ancient era. However, not much in the Mystara material gives detail on what is found on the continent where Blackmoor is located. This is why I looked to the Wilderlands. The Wilderlands are also connected to Blackmoor through the FFC publication and the region called the Valley of the Ancients.

So instead of just picking elements at random, there is a system at work here. Maybe I am just a complicated fellow. In any case, we have opened up a forum for discussing Mystara's Blackmoor over at the Comeback Inn. If you are interested in this topic, please come and join our discussion! The Comeback Inn is also seeing other activity these days and more MMRPG files have just been uploaded to the Coot's Nest section.

Have you incorporated Blackmoor into your campaign setting?


Monday, December 19, 2011

Thorn's Blackmoor

That Blackmoor rose to great heights and then fell in a cataclysmic Rain of Fire is about all that is remembered of the kingdom and empire from four thousand years in the Known World’s past.
To most people of the Known World, the sable on argent represents a Black Eagle of Karameikos, not the Sweeping Hawk of Andahar. That name, if it is known, is only whispered in the deepest recesses of the great libraries in Sundsvall or Glantri City. The words of that house, though, live on in toasts raised over feast day tables, spoken after oaths and handshakes sealed a treaty that ended decades of war between Thyatis and Alphatia:
“Once and Always.”
Truer words have never been spoken. While the destruction and devastation of the Great Rain of Fire caught the Immortals off guard, the men of Blackmoor saw it the more they worked on Project Valkyrie.
For hundreds of years, the Northern Marches were all that stood between Tuska Rosa and her goal in the heart of the Thonian Empire. The Afridhi, which had crushed the Vales and ground the Duchy of Ten into submission found their fury thrown back into their teeth on the lances and swords of a ragtag, patchwork army of Northern barons.
The Afridhi came, again and again, stronger every time, their numbers bolstered by demons of shadow and flame.
But Blackmoor had the wild magics of the North, and Uther’s bargain ensured that the powers of the North would fight at the side of the barons.
“Once and Always,” was the oath spoken over that covenant.
While Blackmoor perished, drowned in fire and then the cold waters of the Northern Sea, the promise— and the line that had made it— was not broken.
Uther’s daughters survive, and will do so until the threats brought into the world by the Afridhi and the Beast Men are extinguished once and always…

Rob’s blog and website chronicles a bit of a darker take on the Mystara presented in the D&D Gazetteers. Thorn's Chronicle is posted semi-regularly on the Mystara board of The Piazza.


The Above is the first blog entry on this blog written by guest blogger RobJN, who also frequents the Comeback Inn. I have for a long time been fascinated by his ongoing series Thorn's Chronicle and I am very pleased when he agreed to write this piece for us. This might not be the last we hear from him here either!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011 gives Arneson Credit

Forum poster Mr_Roboto pointed out to me an interesting article over at which talks about the less known people behind pop culture icons. says the following about Dave Arneson:

With Arneson's influence, Chainmail was adapted to include:

- Exploring dungeons

- Using a neutral judge/dungeon master

- Conversations with imaginary characters (NPCs) to develop the storyline

- Hit points

- Experience points

- The concept of role-playing an individual character rather than just rolling dice

So, basically, he put the "R" in RPG.

While it is not the intention of this blogger to try to undermine the legacy of Gary Gygax (I also dont think that was the point of the Cracked article), it is nice to see Arneson get the credit he deserves. 


We Are On Facebook!

You can now "Like" my blog on Facebook. Click on the Like button to the right, or visit the Facebook page here. This is all part of my plan to spread the word of Blackmoor to an even wider audience. What experience do you other bloggers have with using social media for pushing your blogs?


Monday, December 12, 2011

MMRPG Season 2 Premiere!

This is the latest update from the Comeback Inn, the Forum for Dave Arneson's Blackmor. I just uploaded the first episodes of Season 2 of the MMRPG. These free to download episodes are short adventure modules, easy to adapt to any edition. In addition I have uploaded two new Meta Organizations: The Eldritch Underground and the Topaz Eye as well as a few more MMRPG goodies. The Eldritch Underground is an organization of rogue arcane spellcasters fighting the dominance of the Wizards Cabal. The Topaz Eye is an organization of wizardly Diviners.

You find all your MMRPG downloads at the Coot's Watch section of the Comeback Inn. 


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Mike Carr's Quasqueton

I have previously talked about game designer Mike Carr on this blog, as he is one of the people who played in Dave Arneson's original Blackmoor group. I did an interview with Mike Carr last year which is available here. When it comes to D&D, Mike Carr is perhaps most famous for B1 In Search of the Unknown.
Just the other day, the Grognardia Blog revealed that there's a 1904 novel called In Search of the Unknown by Robert Chambers, who also wrote proto-Cthulhu stories in the King in Yellow.

 As most of you will know this legendary adventure module tells the tales of the dubious characters Roghan and Zelligar and is set in a place called Quasqueton. Quasqueton, as it turns out is also a place in Iowa:

This factoid and more lore that has appeared on the internet over the years has just been collected by D&D researcher Paleologos in a pdf document called the B1 In Search of the Unknown Sourcebook. The pdf also contains new material by Paleologos and is available through the Zenopus Archives.

If you take another look at the map above, consider the fact that the original C&C Society World was based on a map of North America. Blackmoor was located somewhere in Minnesota. Greyhawk was the equivalent of Chicago. It would not be unreasonable to assume that Quasqueton would exist as Mike Carr's realm in this proto-setting? According to Carr himself, the module is not based on any actual campaign however. Further speculations of B1's connections to Blackmoor may be found here.

It was recently revealed that The Tomb of Horrors was written with both Greyhawk and Blackmoor in mind as possible locations for that adventure. It is now accompanied by B1 as two early era adventures not written by Dave Arneson with close ties to Blackmoor.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nystul and the Duchy of Ten

Many of you will know the story of the player and game designer Mike Nysul who gave his name to the spell Nystul's Magic Aura. Eventually Nystul also became a character in the Greyhawk setting. Later Greyhawk products describe Nystul as a citizen of Greyhawk's Duchy of Tehn where he, during the Greyhawk Wars, was active in evacuating refugees from the realm, as it was being invaded by outside forces.

Time to put on my Blackmoor glasses. Blackmoor's Duchy of Ten and Greyhawk's Duchy of Tehn both come from a realm in the C&C Society Setting. Blackmoor's Duchy of Ten also suffered from invading forces, which we know as the Afridhi under the leadership of Toska Rusa, Bride of Zugzul. Could not Blackmoor also have a Nystul the Wizard? The Tenians sure could use all the help they can get.

This got even more fun when I learned that Nystul also is a wizard in the Ultima games, which is where the image above is borrowed from.

More discussion of Nystul and Blackmoor's Duchy of Ten here!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MMRPG Complete Season 1

All of the episodes of season 1 of the Blackmoor MMRPG have now been uploaded to the Comeback Inn. In addition, you can now also download 5 other MMRPG documents, including the character creation rules and the two first Meta Organizations. 

This inspired me to create this fake cover for Season 1. Hope you like it :)


New Maps and More details on Blackmoor Foundations Book

More is being revealed about the Blackmoor Foundations book coming from the Secrets of Blackmoor crew. I mentioned the other day that the b...