Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jim Bambra and B10 Night's Dark Terror

B10 Night's Dark  Terror is recognized by fans as one of the best adventure modules for the classic (BECMI) edition of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game and is a fan favorite module for the World of Mystara. Set in the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, the adventure features a combination of dungeon crawling and wilderness exploration. For a long time it was seen as the conclusion of the B series of modules that began with B1 In Seach of the Unknown by Dave Arneson player Mike Carr and B2 Keep on the Borderlands by Gary Gygax.

B10 Night's Dark Terror was published by TSR UK and written by three British game designers Jim Bambra, Graeme Morris, and Phil Gallagher. Today, at the Facebook BECMI group Jim Bambra revealed the story of how the module was written and the module's overall design goals:

"Night's Dark Terror was designed to bridge the transition of the Basic Set to the Expert Set. It's goal was to introduce wilderness adventuring in an easy and fun way that would lead players on a clear quest without forcing them down pre-defined paths. The story would drive the players forward as they followed the clues that eventually leads them to the Lost Valley. "

Unlike most D&D adventure modules of the time, this one was written by a team of three experienced designers. So how did they work together as a team and who brought what to the table?

"At TSR UK we'd already written adventures for the D&D game. Graeme Morris had designed X8 Drums on Fire Mountain and CM6 Where Chaos Reigns. I'd cut my teeth on O2 Blade of Vengeance. All three games featured wilderness exploration, so we were well versed in what we needed to do. “Design a great adventure that players would love.” Little did I think that gamers would still be playing it almost 30 years later! Design work was shared between Graeme and myself, with Phil Gallagher involved in many of the brainstorming sessions. I can't exactly remember who did what, but Graeme designed Sukiskyn and the goblin siege; I worked on the Iron Ring and the wilderness encounters, as well as the journey up to Hutaaka and the Lost Valley itself. Having said that it was not that clearly demarcated. Graeme's and my design work is pretty much intermingled throughout. As ideas were shared on this project, the text wasn't always written by the person who had the original idea. Overall, B10 was a collaborative project that was great fun to work on."

Jim Bambra in the couch, middle

The module also included some additional features that were uncommon back then. An early scene in the module is a fairly epic battle of Sukiskyn, where the homestead is being attacked by goblin tribes:

" We also had the opportunity to add the large-scale map of Sukiskyn and the cardboard counters. I was particularly pleased with this as it matches my style of play of using maps and miniatures to keep track of the players and NPCs."

Design by committee is not usually something that comes with positive connotations, but in this case it clearly did work. The TSR UK branch had delivered yet another excellent game product. And yes Jim, we are still playing it all these decades later. Thank you!


Image Source:
Jim Bambra (Pumpkin Studios):

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Threshold #9 Mystara Fanzine, Now Available as Free Download!

Threshold #9 is out! The latest issue of the Mystara fanzine  covers the Hollow World. This 200 page PDF continues the surprisingly professional lookin style that we have come to expect from Threshold, a magazine co produced by the people of The Piazza and the Vaults of Pandius.

This issue even covers a small article by the author of this blog. In addition you get Icevale Elves,Azcans, the Ecology of Megaliths, Koskatep Megadungeon Level 7, 5th Edition adaptations of Rahasia and much more! Complete with a combination of color and black & white interior illustrations and superb color maps. A must have for Mystara fans and D&D fans in general!

See the official announcement thread here for how to download this free fanzine!


Monday, September 21, 2015

Wizards of the Coast Community Website Timeline

TSR Message boards shut down. New forums set up at WotC's website. Old data lost.

Last published issue of the print version of Dragon Magazine is released by Paizo. The lisence is reverted to WotC who launch a online versions of Dragon and Dungeon untill 2013.

WotC acquires the Gleemax Software. The Gleemax platform promises to provide services similar to early social media platforms like Myspace. Unfortunately this software turns out to be a disappointment to WotC.

WotC announces D&D Insider (DDI). This platform is to include 4E character generators, subscruption to Dragon and Dungeon Magazine and other services. DDI ends its support in 2014.

Gleemax officially shut down. The forums and DDI are moved to the website.

WotC announces that all the Other Worlds Forums, except for the currently supported settings would be merged into a single forum. This decision is later reversed, but by then many users have already left for The Piazza and other forums.

Last issue of the online Dragon Magazine is published.

Active community member Mark "Wrecan" Monack passed away April 21st. Missed by many in the community and outside it.

WotC announces that DDI and the Magazines will no longer be supported to subscribers.

Website rewamped for D&D 5th Edition. Alot of information is lost from groups and blogs section of the community site.

New  "Wizards Account" launched allowing a single account for logging into Insider, D&D, MtG etc. The new system allowed merging previous accounts. However it also had quite strict requirements for passwords and a more complicated process for password recovery.

February: Mailinglists are shut down and archives for the mailinglists of each setting.

October: Entire WotC community Website shut down on Oct 29th (announced). Fans rush to try to preserve some of the lore from the discussion forums.


Having invested 3600+ posts into this website I have to say I am saddened by this decision.  That being said, the last years seem to represent a series of failures in terms of maintaining a successful community. I still think it is a mistake by WotC not to run a forum of their own on their website. At the very least I would have liked to see the old forums preserved as an archive for future reference. I am thankful that they at least give us a decent time window to preserve the most vital information on other sites.

If you catch any errors or can provide any additional information that ought to be included here, please let me know in the comments below.

Although I think my readers are above this, "WotC is evil" type comments have no place here.


Wizards of the Coast Community to be Shut Down


Posted in News on September 16, 2015 By Wizards of the Coast Archive 

Choosing to retire a former foundation of our community was not an easy decision, but we feel that we must adjust our communications structure to reflect where conversations about Wizards of the Coast games are taking place.

Social media has changed significantly over the last ten years, and discussions about games aren't exclusive to company-hosted forums. The majority of community conversation takes place on third-party websites (such as Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and many other fantastic community-run websites), and it is up to us to evolve alongside our players.

We encourage past and current users to retrieve any information you want to retain from the Community Forums for both Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. The shutdown will occur on October 29, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. PT.

We want to provide enough time for our forum members to move their content, and we recognize that given our forum's vibrant user base and extensive history, this may take time. Any information still on the forums on the cut-off date will be deleted. Thank you to all of our past and current forum users. You helped build our community into what it is now, and we look forward to continuing to interact with you on our many active social platforms.

The above was taken from:


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