Monday, September 30, 2013

Arneson Gameday: LFC Blackmoor Campaign Returns!

Today is Arneson Game Day, commemorating the birthday of Dave Arneson and we have some exciting news: The Last Fantasy Campaign, or LFC, is the longest running online Pen & Paper RPG Campaign set in Blackmoor. Today, the following announcement was posted in the LFC section of the Comeback Inn:

 The year 359 of the Reunited Kingdom, or Year 1398 of the Northern Calendar. 

Theodore Zvenzen, last descendant of both the Ithamis and the Andahar bloodlines, is banned from the royal court for a crime he did not commit. Together with his friends and allies, among them Sumerset, the latest Black Prince of Naelax, and Oliver Pren, the twenty-third Blue Rider, he turns his sight northwards: To the home of his ancestors, to the ruins of old, abandoned Castle Blackmoor… The Ruins of Castle Blackmoor,

Part One: Reprise While I will have to explain this to a greater degree later on, these are the basic ramifications under which the first chapter of The Ruins of Castle Blackmoor will take place.

 DATE: (Tentatively) December 25th, or, depending on agreements between The Company of the Maiden, one of the other dates between Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

FORM: Open chat, likely at the Last Fantasy Campaign’s gaming room at Details on the adventuring scenario in question will follow.

 DURATION: Because this will likely happen on the same day I do my yearly database backup, I will stay logged in from 1200 to 2400 GMT+1. Since it’s the holiday season, I don’t expect everybody to stay for ALL the time. But whoever drops in will immediately get the chance to play in a new adventure that should get a smirk on the face of even the grimmest grognard… ;) Hide all the pies, and all the pipeweed, and that’s all I am going to say.

 SYSTEM: Still up for discussion, but most likely d20, as per the Blackmoor gaming books by Zeitgeist Games, and Code Monkey Publishing. Rules contained in those books supersede all variant rules of d20, unless explicitly allowed.

 REQUIREMENTS: As a principle, all those who send a full character sheet to as late as one week before the start of the game (approx. December 17th) are allowed to join. The duration and the form of the game are specifically designed to give as many people as possible the opportunity to play, even for a little while only.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Piazza is back!

The Piazza went down this Weekend, and for a while it looked like the site had run into some serious problems. Fortunately, due to swift action from its webmaster, the site is back up again fully intact today.

Although there are many great web forums for D&D fans, The Piazza is still the best forum focusing on multiple D&D settings. The Mystara and Spelljammer communities are the most active there, but many other worlds are also being discussed. The list of settings with their own forum there was greatly expanded for the 5 year anniversary earlier this year. Thanks to Ashtagon for the hard work in maintaining this site over so many years now.

Go over there now! :)


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

D&D Cartoon is 30 Years Old!

Came across this via Geekdad. Thanks to Luke Gygax for pointing me in that direction. The cartoon was loved and hated by D&D fans, but it is now 30 years since it first came out. According to some, it is still the best filmatization of D&D ever produced by TSR & WotC.

One thing I always wondered about was which setting the kids from the cartoon visited. Referred to only as The Realm, I wondered if it corresponded to one of the published settings? I once argued that The Realm would be best fitted into Mystara, but I have since changed my mind. Check out some more details on The Realm of the D&D Cartoon here. A later article by WotC had the kids from the Cartoons come back as adults and visit the Forgotten Realms.

However, I think The Realm could be more interesting if it was actually multiple realms. Perhaps the kids visited new settings in each episode? Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Mystara and Dragonlance were available when the Cartoons were running (1983-1985). Could the Dungeon Master have transported the kids to all those worlds? Tiamat is strongly tied to Greyhawk, yet Strongheart the Paladin, Warduke and Kelek appear both in Greyhawk and Mystara products.

In any case, the cartoon is a classic, for many helping to share the perception of D&D for better or worse! :)


Monday, September 9, 2013

The FFC Coming Back in Print?

The First Fantasy Campaign (FFC), published in 1975 by the Judges Guild Chronicles Dave Arneson's original Blackmoor campaign from the years 1971-1975.

Over the last few years, reprinting old gaming material has become increasingly popular among publishers. Recently, Robert Bledsaw III asked over at the Wilderlands Fans Facebook Group which old JG modules people would be interested in seeing reprinted and updated to Pathfinder or universal systems.

Not surprisingly, several people requested that the First Fantasy Campaign by Dave Arneson would be among the books reprinted. Now the question is, should JG be interested, would it be possible for them to reprint the FFC?

From what I understand, the IP to the FFC is owned by the Arneson family. Bob Bledsaw reverted the ownership of the FFC to Dave before Bledsaw passed away. When it comes to Blackmoor, that IP is owned by Wizards of the Coast. ZGG was operating under a lisence from WotC to publish Blackmoor material, but that lisence expired in 2008. It is possible that the FFC could be published without a lisence from WotC, but it is probably a good idea to check with them to avoid complications.

It should be noted that I am in no way a lawyer and do not posess any inside knowledge of any of this. The above is based on information that should be available online.

I think it would be amazing to have the FFC return in print or even as a PDF. To be the FFC does not need to be updated to have value for gamers today. OTOH, Dave Arneson did make a request if the FFC was to be reprinted, Robert Bledsaw III says (on FB, August 21st 2013):

"As for First Fantasy Campaign, Arneson offered to let us reprint FFC so long as some typos were corrected in a phone conversation with my dad. However, he passed away unexpectedly so we have no clue what typos he was referring to."
When original FFC manuscript fell into the lap of Judges Guild editor, Bill Owen back in 1977,  he decided not to make heavy alterations to the "somewhat disorganized" manuscript. Perhaps Dave Arneson would have liked to see a reprint that, while not neccessarily updated, might be edited in a way to make it organized in a way to make it more accessible to new audiences?


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mohacs - Imperial Capital of Thonia

Capital of the Thonian Empire, Mohacs is the largest metropolis on the continent. Built on the ruins of Old Geneva, the City of Mohacs is both seat to Emperor Iyx I and home to the High Patriarch of the Holy Thonian Church. Located in the Imperial Province, in the shadow of Mount Mohacs, the city is home to a wide range of peoples from all over the Empire. Walking through the city, you will meet Cirkhosian Merchants, dark skinned Bolger warriors, Synobian Monks, Mirakosian mercenaries, Salikar Nomads, Savages from the Jungle Realm, Skandaharian explorers and Thonian bureaucrats.

Once the shining center of a rising empire, the decline and corruption of Emperor Iyx' reign can be felt through the city. Arrogant officials, corrupt city guards, dogmatic scholars and dark alley muggings can easily leave a visitor disappointed at best. The River Thonia running through the city has become dirty with sewage, its smell can be noticed even in the better parts of town.

 Emperor Iyx is a true tyrant who ascended to the Throne when he was but a child, about 30 years ago. While he is the undisputed ruler of both the City and the Empire, Thonian society is always home to intrigue and scheming. Duke Taha Marcovic has married into one of the most powerful families of the empire and some say he has his eyes on the throne himself. Perhaps this is why the Emperor has sent Marcovic to the North far away from the capital. With him, the Iron Duke has brought his spymaster, Skandros. Even if Skandros and Marcovic are no longer in Mohacs, both men have the ability to pull strings back home.

Some famous locations in the Imperial Capital are the Imperial Palace, Imperial Square, the University of Mohacs and the High Cathedral.Visitors are well adviced to avoid the east side of the River Thonia, where the darker elements of the city may be encountered...

Read more on Mohacs here.

Image sources:
Fantasy City  by Robert D. Brown
Ship Street Tavern by Rico Holmes


D&D at GenCon 2013

Unlike previous years, I havent heard much exciting news from this year's GenCon. At least not for D&D. Since I wasn't able to go there myself, I started a thread at The Piazza, which provided me with some details and links at least. All the new Pathfinder material, Shadowrun 5th Edition, Monte Cook's Numenera and 13th Age are all things I want to check out eventually, but what about D&D?

Obviously the main reason why D&D got such small exposure on GenCon this year is because they are holding off D&DNext for next year. My friend Adrian (aka True Atlantean) pointed me to this GenCon video of a presentation with Mike Mearls where he is talking about D&DNext, The Sundering, iOS Waterdeep, Kree-O D&D and more.

My favorite bit from the video was where he talks about Chronicles of Mystara. "This is actually a personal favorite of mine" says Mearls. "The Chronicles of Mystara from Capcom. These are two games, Tower of Doom and Shadow over Mystara. This is a classic 90s 2d beat-em-up. [...] I am personally very excited about that."

I also came across this GenCon2013 Interview with Will Wheaton, where he again mentions getting into gaming with the Mentzer Red Box. I wrote about Wheaton's adventures in Mystara back in May. The Red Box is 30 years this year, so it was nice of Wheaton to mention it, even if WotC seem to have missed the opportunity of making an event out of this on GenCon.

Was there anything coming out of GenCon that made you guys excited?


Melissakainen is running Castle Blackmoor for 10$

  Melissakainen is running an online Castle Blackmoor oneshot game. She will be using the OD&D rules. The event costs 10$ for those inte...