Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Arneson's 1970 Medieval Braunstein

Dave Wesely's Braunstein games were among the first to introduce roleplaying methods into the wargaming hobby. Dave Arneson and Dave Wesely belonged to the same group and Blackmoor is said to have started out as a Medieval Braunstein run by Arneson.

Dave Arneson had played in the original Braunstein Game, another Braunstein game (Brainstein 4) set in a Central American Republic (where he won). In yesterday's Q&A session, Jon Peterson revealed some more details on another Braunstein Game set in the Old West:

"Well, don't sell short Duane Jenkin's "Brownstone," the pre-D&D Western RPG were Arneson played the evil bandit "El Pauncho," and Dave Fant was the lawman "Marshall Fant." All of these activities informed the development of role-playing and the idea of simulating people."

In Blackmoor, Dave Wesely played the treacherous "Weasel", David Fant controlled Blackmoor and Duane Jenkins eventually became a Vampire Knight. I originally believed that Blackmoor was Dave Arneson's first medieval Braunstein. However, in his History of D&D in 12 Treasures Video, Peterson mentions several medieval Braunsteins run by Arneson. The first such game was run as early as 1970.

Dave Arneson Started Experimenting with a Medieval Braunstein as early as 1970 Jon Peterson says.

Peterson describes how this game dealt with a battle between one player controlling a defending Castle and two players controlling an invading army. In addition there are other players controlling rebellious peasants, a band of vikings looking for plunder and two mercenary bands.

Arneson's Medieval Braunstein featured invading forces attacking a Castle. Sounds familiar FFC readers?

Peasant Forces also took part in the battle.

Although Peterson makes it clear that this is a different game than Blackmoor, it is hard not to notice the Blackmoor-like elements. A Castle being invaded by attacking forces sounds like it comes straight out of the First Fantasy Campaign (FFC). The FFC also has peasant rebellions, of course. And Vikings, though they were later referred to as Skandaharians, as more layers of mythology were added to those. Summing up things, it would, in my opinion, be difficult to argue that the 1970 Medieval Braunstein was anything but a first step towards Blackmoor.

Its a bit difficult to read...does this one say Rescue Forces?

Image Source: Beowulf, by Marcgabbana



  1. There should be no copyright problems, I hope Peterson makes these available to the general public.

  2. I'd love to be able to read all of these notes for sure! :)


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