Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Blackmoor Dungeoneer Society (Download Available)

Few are the heroes who have braved venturing into the Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor, and fewer still are the ones who have lived to tell the tale. Fortunately for you, if you are one of those individuals, you have also qualified for membership in the Blackmoor Dungeoneering Society!

My friend David, started asking question about this Blackmoor organization in this discussion over at The Piazza. That made me realize that the documents describing the Dungeoneer Society had never been made available to the public.

I have now obtained the documents and they are available here. (Login required) Check it out and learn all about the most exclusive of Adventurer Societies!  How would you use this type of group in your campaigns?


Friday, May 22, 2015

Braunstein! Issue Resolved out of Court

Yesterday, I wrote about the debacle concerning a minor RPG publisher's decicision to make use of the name Braunstein! for their game without consulting with Braunstein creator David Wesely first. Today I have good news regarding this question. David Wesely writes the following:

"I have received a very nice apology from the publishers of the "Braunstein" offered by Drive Thru. They have offered to change the title and delete some of the text; we are in discussions about settling this amicably."

 I think it is great that such an issue can be resolved amicably and without involving lawyers and courts. Misunderstandings can happen and admitting it when you have made a mistake is a great sign of character. I wish the publisher all the best in future endeavours.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Braunstein! Or Do Ethics Matter in OSR Publishing?

In the 1960s, David Wesely created a game he called Braunstein, which relied heavily on roleplaying and individual character motivations as opposed to the more commonly popular strategy miniatures games of the day. Wesely was of course part of the same group of Minnesota Gamers as Dave Arneson, and Wesely's ideas greatly influenced the Blackmoor Campaign.

So you can imagine that when I heard of a new game called Braunstein appearing at an online RPG retailer my curiousity was peaked. Furthermore the description blurb read the following:

"A Drive-Thru exclusive in digital format only! 
Role-playing began with the Braunstein games of the late 1960s. These converted war-games emphasized personal interactions and setting over complex rules and excessive mechanics... Braunstein! is written in this style, being designed for historical adventure games in the 4th through 15th centuries, but expandable through the early 16th if so desired. The judge need only choose a historical book(s) on the period they wish to chronicle and use these rules to create characters and resolve unpredictable situations using extremely simple (just 18 pages) mechanics. The rest is pure interaction! History is the best, most richly-detailed setting around, but Braunstein! also has simple rules for introducing real magic and witchcraft - perhaps the easiest ever! History or historical fantasy - it's your game now!"

The reference to the Braunstein games of the 1960s further suggested that this was the same game that Wesely used to run. The description on the cover of 1:1 Scale was slightly more confusing. Wasn't Braunstein combat typically handled through small a unit skrimish system? Was this really Wesely's game? One poster on Facebook suggested the game had little resemblence to the descriptions of the Braunsteins of the 1960s.

David Wesely created the Braunstein Games of the 1960s

Yesterday, Mr Wesely posted several places on Facebook that he had nothing to do with this ruleset. He had not been consulted for the contents and the publisher, "Olde House Rules", had never asked Wesely permission to use the name.

Critical voices were raised on various Facebook groups. Was this copyright infringement? Was it ethically right to market the game as something liked to the Braunstein's of the 1960s when the contents appear to have little to do with them? One defender suggested that it was okay because the game was dedicated to Wesely and because they only charge $1.49. 

The product has now been pulled from the online retailer. According to one source, Wesely is in talks with "Olde House Rules" to see if they can come to some sollution instead of getting into legal action. Hopefully the issue can be resolved.

I am no lawyer, but what do you think? Should this small time publisher have been left alone? Do ethics matter in OSR publishing?

More discussion of this topic.


Friday, May 15, 2015

Blackmoor Module Maps Improved by Author!

The Redwood Scar was the first published adventure set in Blackmoor in the D20 line. The plot was a continuation of Ties that Bind, an adventure included in the D20 Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Core Book. Both Ties that Bind and The Redwood Scar were authored by game designer Jeffrey Quinn and dealt among other things with the elves of Blackmoor. Recently Quinn has been revisiting the maps of his adventures:

"It has been some time since I worked on the Redwood Scar. But, as I look at it now, I can turn a sad eye to the one gaping weakness of the product... the maps. Not that I'm truly disappointed with them, after all you get an adventure module for the adventure, not the artwork. But, think of this like looking at your living room after you put wallpaper up a decade ago and think to yourself, that needs to come down and get a new coat of paint. In this thread, I revisit the maps of the Redwood Scar, tear down the decade-old wallpaper, and gussy it up with a fresh modern coat of paint."

 The result are some pretty neat maps to update your Blackmoor adventures with. You can get the maps for free here:

Ties That Bind: Jackport Sewers Map

Redwood Scar Maps



Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Blackmoor to be Revived by Vampire: The Masquerade Creator

Totally manipulated photo. :D

It has been fairly quiet on the Blackmoor front for a while, and then last night, May 11 2015, the following was announced via the Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Facebook Page:

" BREAKING NEWS: Gaming icon Mark Rein-Hagen (creator of the World of Darkness, Ars Magica) is returning to roleplaying games, and has expressed interest in putting out the first new Blackmoor material in years! "
Mark Rein-Hagen should be a well known name to anyone who is interested in the gaming industry. He started out co-designing the classic RPG Ars Magica and later went on to create Vampire the Masquerade at the World of Darkness Setting. His influence reached way beyond the  world or RPG design, with the World of Darkness influencing Tru Blood, the Underworld movies and beyond.

Ever since Dave Arneson passed away 2008, there has been alot of speculation on the possibilities of seeing Blackmoor back in print. Many have suggested that it would be legally difficult to make this happen. However, Rein-Hagen is certainly serious about his intent to get Blackmoor back into published form as he made this comment for the Blackmoor Blog:

"I am a huge fan [of Blackmoor] and always have been. Was fortunate enough to meet him when I was a kid. We are going to do everything we can to bring his world back into publication."
Also involved in the project is CA Suleiman and the rest of the team at Mark Rein-Hagen's company Make-Believe Games. In addition to being a well-known game designer for White Wolf's World of Darkness games and the Scarred Lands (Sword & Sorcery Imprint), Suleiman was also heavily involved in the design of the previous iteration of Blackmoor, including the never released Age of the Wolf subsetting.

More details here.


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...