Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Map by Ashtagon of Blackmoor is Complete

Last week, I talked about how  Ashtagon was making maps of Blackmoor based on the maps from the DA modules.The map hs now complete:

What was particularly fascinating was that fans could follow the map making process live as Ashtagon was creating the map. The process was live streamed on Discord via the Piazza Discord Server. The final version of the map is being offered for free.

Go here for the final results!

What would you like to see Ashtagon tackle next? If you like Blackmoor maps, also check out the maps we have offered for free at the Blackmoor Archives, companion site to the Comeback Inn!


Friday, August 25, 2023

Why ArneCon Moved Dates to October 22-23

 As mentioned in my update yesterday, ArneCon 2023 has moved dates to October 22-23. This had the unfortunate side effect of taking place at the same time as another gaming convention, Gamehole Con (Oct 19-22) based in Madison WI. Not only that, but five other conventions are apparently taking place in the Twin Cities that weekend. ArneCon Organizer Griffith Morgan clarified why ArneCon was forced to move to this date rather than the original plans for late September:

Obviously this sort of thing happens and one will just have to make the best of the situation. Hopefully, having multiple conventions during the same weekend won't hurt either event as much as some fans fear. 

Are you going to ArneCon this year? I would love to hear from you! :)


Thursday, August 24, 2023

ArneCon 2023 Announcement - This is the First ArneCon Organizers Say

An announcement was just made about ArneCon 2023. While it is exciting for all Blackmoor fans  that this event is approaching, the announcement also contradicts much of the information provided in the original announcement made in April, including moving the dates almost a month back, and raises some questions.


Welcome to the first ever Arnecon! 
 Brought to you by The Fellowship of the Thing, Ltd - creators of the film, Secrets of Blackmoor and the book, The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg. 

 “...After all, the keynote is, that ‘Anything is Possible’, just that some [things] are more likely than others.”- David Arneson

 Officially sanctioned by the Estate of Dave Arneson Set in an intimate locale, Arnecon is a gathering honoring the creative genius of Dave Arneson and his game group, The Blackmoor Bunch. It is a panoply of game experiences - featuring miniatures war-games, board games, and role playing games. Come game with the people who were there when Role Playing was invented. A celebration of the friendships formed through gaming - where everyone is welcome and "anything is possible". Come, try a new game, make new friends, and explore the unlimited possibilities of gaming. Most of all - have fun! 

Special Guests:
  •  Malia Arneson - Dave Arneson’s daughter. 
  •  David Wesely - A half-elf in Blackmoor. Known for Strategos - A adaptation of Totten’s Strategos;
  • The American game of war, The Braunstien RPG, Valley Forge, and Co-author of Source of the Nile. 
  •  Paul Stormberg - Creator of the Legends of Wargaming, and Owner, The Collector's Trove. 
  •  Ross Maker - The worlds first Dwarf character in Blackmoor. Co-author of Source of the Nile. 
  •  Stephen Rocheford - The High Priest of the Temple of the Frogs, Owner of Lavender Magazine, Minnesota’s premier LGBTQ+ news source. 
  •  Gail Gaylord - The first woman to play fantasy RPGs. Known for having typed development drafts of Dungeons & Dragons for Dave Arneson. 
  •  Martin Noetzel - The Wandering Elf in Blackmoor and a keen fan of online RPGs. 

Event Submissions Open August 31! More to come... 
 Special room hotel rates for Arnecon will be available on a limited basis. 

Fri, Oct 20 2023, 5:00pm - 12:00am 
Sat, Oct 21 2023, 8:00am - 12:00am 
Sun, Oct 22 2023, 8:00am - 6:00pm 
 Time zone: America/Chicago (UTC -05:00) 
 Location Minneapolis, Minnesota 
 Contact Us (303) 872-7666 

 Venue DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Minneapolis - Park Place 1500 Park Pl Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55416, USA

The most exciting thing for me is to see the list of honored guests. It is very nice to see that so many of the original players are able to make an appearance. It would be nice to see even more of the original group make an appearance, but there could be many reasons why not all are able to go. It is also nice to see Malia's name on the list. 

What came as a surprise to many is that this event is designated as ArneCon 1. The name ArneCon was first coined by Original Player David Megarry back in 2019, when the idea of a convention similar to GaryCon, but in other of the other D&D Co-Creator was first mentioned. The name ArneCon was actually used for the convention organized last year in the Twin Cities, so what makes the 2023 convention the first ArneCon?

The 2022 ArneCon was originally teased by Blackmoor Documentary makers Griffith Morgan and Chris Graves (AKA The Fellowshin of the Thing), but when they dropped out, local organizers lead by Kevin McColl took over. Kevin at the time stressed that he saw the event as a continuation of the gathering Dave Arneson's Players had continued after Dave's passing, typically organized around Dave's birthday on October 1st, also known as Dave Arneson Gameday. 

This new ArneCon appears to be a clean break from past events with the Fellowship of the Thing taking full charge of the event. Moving the dates also separates the convention from the Blackmoor Social Event announced for Octobers 1st. Moreover the Facebook event for ArneCon 2023 now points to the wrong dates and details.

I wish ArneCon 2023 all the success it can get and I think it has the potential to become a great event. However, from this corner, it looks like there much unused potential in getting better coordination between various groups of Blackmoor enthusiasts. 

Additional information from Kevin McColl: 
Technically the same people behind setting this up have had two other conventions that had to be cobble together because of peoples health. After the first one we had COVID-19 kick in, and the second one which we still did Chris was in the hospital. Morgan might be listing it as the first one but it’s not. Even though we didn’t have that working title for the first two. In case anyone’s confused


Saturday, August 19, 2023

Live Map Making from Ashtagon for Blackmoor This Sunday

A follow up from a post from earlier this week when Asthagon, the founder of the D&D Worlds Fan forum known as The Piazza started making Blackmoor maps to share with other fans. The map she made at the time was a replica of the map from DA3 City of the Gods which shows the southern lands of Blackmoor with the Valley of the Ancients in the center. 

The question was, would this be Ashtagon's only venture into Blackmoor map making? Fortunately, she just announced that she will be doing another map. Moreover, this will be done live on the Piazza Discord Channel to demonstrate the process. It is not clear what map she will be tackling next, but only that it is related to Blackmoor. The live mapping process can be watched this Sunday afternoon GMT time. 

Find out how you can join the Piazza Discord Channel here. (its all free, fan organized). 


Thursday, August 17, 2023

ArneCon 2023 Dinner Announced for October 1st


ArneCon 2023 has been announced for September 29-October 2nd this year. While few details of the convention has yet been revealed, a pre-convention social event  will take place on Saturday October 1st:

 The original team here in MN who fostered and created what became D&D are gathering for a meal and quiet memory of Dave Arneson & 50 years of D&D! TSR was incorporated on his birthday 50 years ago. Showing how much Gygax support Arneson’s creation and help him publish. There is no planned gaming, just a social event. I will have my time table of the process of how the game came to be with highlights of events in MN that sparked Dave Arneson's body of work. He did not work alone, others helped create inspiration for rules, classes, combat, and other aspects. We are planning to gather at Perkins Roseville, MN, where Dave Arneson loved to visit. (Dutch bill, everyone pays their own.)

Last year's ArneCon was by all reports a fairly small and intimate event.  The convention sees itself as a continuation of the tradition started by Dave Arneson and his original players of meeting for an annual game:

Annual convention since 2017 returning again. Holding Minnesota as home and origin of dungeons and dragons, celebrating the birth month of Dave Arneson as well as the birth of TSR. A long history of gaming fostered the creative works of many in the group that played with Dave Arneson. Sharing both the history and friendship that has been the hallmark of Minnesota nice. And extending our hand to not only Wisconsin which helped get it published but also the rest of the community.

Some have called for ArneCon to join forces with DaveCon, the other convention organized during the Spring season, also dedicated to the D&D Co-Creator.  More details on ArneCon can be found here .


Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Tonisborg Softcover Official Blackmoor Setting Now Available from Barnes And Noble


The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg Softcover Edition is now available from Barnes and Nobles for 30 USD.

Written by Greg Svenson, Griffith Morgan and D.H. Boggs and published by Fellowship of the Thing, Tonisborg is based on the dungeons original Blackmoor player Greg Svenson created with the approval of Dave Arneson back in the early days of the hobby:

" A guide to how Dungeons & Dragons was played before Dungeons & Dragons! Greg Svenson's, The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg. An Official BLACKMOOR™ Setting The Most Unique RPG Module ever published. In 1971, Greg Svenson and his friends took part in the very first dungeon adventure game, Blackmoor, created by their friend, Dave Arneson (D&D Co-Creator).


The large group of players descended into Blackmoor Dungeon in search of a wizard and his cohort, an evil Balrog. Greg was the only player to survive this momentous first game session, earning the title: The Great Svenni. As his game persona, Greg would go on to become the most celebrated character in the history of Blackmoor and RPGs. Then, in the summer of 1973, as Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax worked to complete the manuscript for Dungeons & Dragons, Greg was given a play-test copy of this novel new game. He used these rules to create his own adventure dungeon, The Dungeons of Tonisborg. One day, Greg loaned his maps to a friend to make copies. An unexpected disaster struck: the maps, stowed in an old magazine, were thrown away. All ten original map levels of Greg's epic mega-dungeon were thought lost forever. This lost map set came to be known as The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg among the "Blackmoor Bunch."

Thirty-five years later, during the making of the documentary film, Secrets of Blackmoor, a mysterious set of photocopied dungeon maps was unearthed. D. H. Boggs emailed copies to Greg Svenson, who instantly recognized his own handwriting, declaring that these old photocopies were indeed copies of his original Tonisborg Dungeon. Now published with extensive background information, The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg is not like any RPG Game Module you've ever encountered before. Step back into time with this stand-alone book, presenting the second oldest mega-dungeon created in the Twin Cities during the early development of RPGs. It's a history of RPG dungeons. It's a guide to the secret art of the Dungeon Master - from the people who invented it. It's a rediscovered ten-level mega-dungeon filled with monsters and hidden treasures. It is an entire RPG, complete with old-school rules for creating player personas, outfitting equipment, adventuring, extensive charts for generating treasures, a spellbook, and a compendium of mythical creatures. (Or you can use your own favorite rules)

Everything you need to play is in this one volume! Guide your players through a deep dive into the dungeon as you learn RPG History, Philosophy, and Traditional Game Methods to improve your gaming sessions. Immerse yourself and your friends into a fantastic world of adventure with this historic mega-dungeon using original game rules derived from rare manuscripts from times past The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg - The Seminal Guidebook to Traditional Role Playing! 


  • Reproductions of the original drawings of all ten levels of Tonisborg Dungeon, complete with the original dungeon keys and stocking lists. 
  • Updated maps and keys have been beautifully reconstructed from the originals for ease of play.
  • Greg Svenson reveals how the dungeon came about and why it's a bridge between past and present.
  • Extensive play guidelines teach you how to make Tonisborg rise again as a real-life experience for you and your players. 
  • A set of historically accurate game rules are included that are ideal for developing an original style adventure campaign - or use your own preferred rules. 


 Product Details 

  • ISBN-13: 9781736572108 
  • Publisher: The Fellowship of the Thing LTD
  • Publication date: 01/13/2023
  • Pages: 164
  • Sales rank: 241,197
  • Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.35(d)"

By the Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg Softcover from Barnes & Noble (Not a paid advertisement)

The Softcover Edition first became available directly from the publisher back in July this year. It is also noteworthy that the book is now marketed as an Official Blackmoor Setting. I reported on the status of the Blackmoor Trademark here. The wording is a bit unusual. I would have thought that Blackmoor was the name of the setting, while Tonisborg could have been said to be a supplement for Blackmoor. But that is not how it is phrased. I am not sure if this signifies something important about how the publisher views Blackmoor, but it will be interesting to see. 

NOTE: This blog, like all of my Blackmoor related websites are non-profit fan materials. I am not associated with any publisher. This blog is not monetised. 

More discussion of this article

Visit Greg Svenson's Tonisborg Fan Forum



Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Blackmoor Replica Maps Made by Piazza Founder

Ashtagon, the founder of the D&D Worlds Fan Forum known as The Piazza has been making Blackmoor maps based on those found in the DA series. 

The map making process was demonstrated on The Piazza's Discord channel before posted at The Forum. The current map is based on the map from DA3 City of the Gods and shows the Valley of the Ancients and its surrounding areas. 

Lets hope Ashtagon will make more Blackmoor maps in the future! :)

Grab your free copy of the map today. Visit Blackmoor at The Piazza here.

If you love fan made Blackmoor maps, you may also check out the maps available at my website the Blackmoor Archives, where you can find maps by myself as well as other very talented artists. All for free of course! 

Do you prefer hex maps or other styles when it comes to D&D maps?


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