Monday, March 25, 2024

Blackmoor Like Map Used for Runehammer's Crown & Skull RPG?


Crown & Skull is a new TTRPG created by  Brandish Gilhelm, Hankerin Ferninale and Ingrid Burnall and published by Runehammer Games. The RPG looks great and uses a d20 roll below mechanic. Now the author mentions in the introduction of this RPG that both David Wesely and Dave Arneson were huge inspirations when getting into the hobby. This is all very good in my book, but looking at the map, I wonder if this should be called inspiration, homage or something else? There are differences between these maps and the map of Blackmoor, but the similarities are hard to ignore. Some locations have been completely changed, while others like Bramwald, Bramford or Cloudtop are used as is. The game also features frogfolk as a playable race. 

Are you pleased to see all of these Blackmoor-like elements appearing in a new RPG? Do you wish they had come up with their own world? Or do you think this is something you could borrow back into your Blackmoor campaign?

Whatever your thoughts are, it is pretty clear that the creativity of Dave Arneson lives on quite well 50 years after the publication of D&D.

Thanks to my friend who sent me links to this RPG.

Discuss this article at The Comeback Inn.


Friday, March 15, 2024

Blackmoor Player Bill Hoyt Shares Campaign Notes in Free PDF


Bill Hoyt is one of the surviving members of the Blackmoor Bunch, the group that played in Dave's Blackmoor campaign and parttook in other gaming activities in the St. Pauk/Twin Cities area of Minnesota in the 60s and 70s. Bill is someone who has shared a lot of information with me to help with my research for this blog. 

I am pleased to learn that Bill Hoyt now, with the help of Rob Ritchie, has compiled the notes from his own D&D campaign and has made them available in a Free PDF! I have not yet had time to go through the document in detail, but we have lots of old school maps and other awesome details for anyone who appreciates learning more about the early days of our hobby. 

Get the Free PDF here.

More discussion of Bill Hoyts work at The Comeback Inn forum


Thursday, March 14, 2024

Age of the Wolf not Sanctioned by Estate Morgan Says

Edit: I just talked to a source within Ink Bat Studios. They have clarified that the Age of the Wolf Sourcebook was not written by Dave Arneson: "like all but one of the Blackmoor supplements during the 3e and 4e eras, Dave did not write any of the book. He simply oversaw and approved it. We're just trying to honor Dave's own wishes and make sure he's not forgotten." They also says that from their perspective, Ink Bat's contact with Fellowship of the Thing (Griffith Morgan and Chris Graves) was just established and that they were still trying to make a deal. They were surprised that Fellowship contacted myself and other bloggers before negtotiations were finalized. Lets hope this is all just a misunderstanding and that things can be cleared up!

Yesterday we were excited to report that the legendary sourcebook Blackmoor Age of the Wolf will be released by Ink Bat Studio this August. The Age of the Wolf sourcebook was a project started during the 3E and 4E eras when Dave Arneson's company Zeitgeist Games and later their partners Code Monkey Press wanted to develop a new subsetting for Blackmoor. The manuscript along with a lot of illustrations were completed when Dave passed away and WotC announced that the Blackmoor lisence had been rewoked. This marked the end of Zeitgeist Games venturing into RPG publishing. 

What happened to the Age of the Wolf manuscript since then is not yet known, but I have confirmation that some of those working on Age of the Wolf are currently involved with Ink Bat Studios. Some of the designers involved have a long list of credits working in the industry and the final Blackmoor sourcebook, dubbed Blackmoor: The First Campaign was highly acclaimed by fans of newer and older editions. It is possible that they have spent all these years seeking to find a way to get the manuscript published. 

According to Griffith Morgan from the company Fellowship of the Thing (Secrets of Blackmoor Documentary, Tonisborg Sourcebook), Ink Bat Studios will not be allowed to publish Blackmoor: Age of the Wolf. "It is not sanctioned by the Estate", Morgan says. "If this is Arneson material it belongs to [Arneson's daughter]. They cannot use the Blackmoor Trade [Mark]. Wthout the family's permission, they cannot put Dave Arneson's name on it." I have not yet been able to get confirmation from the family, but Morgan says his company are operating under a lisence from the Estate.

Griffith Morgan as he appeared on Wandering DM's Youtube Channel three years ago. 

Morgan says Ink Bat Studios have been in contact with both the Estate and Fellowship of the Thing. Morgan says his company would love to publish the manuscript, but according to Morgan, no agreement was reached. 

Legalities about Blackmoor have always been complicated. Although I am no expert on these matters It is important to realize that Trade Marks and IP are two separate issues. An entity called the Arneson Estate LLC has made claim to the Blackmoor Trademark, but the Trademark registry status is still listed as pending, although an extension was granted on Feb 1. 2024. WotC also claim to own the Blackmoor Trademark through continued publication of PDF and Print material. 

When it comes to Blackmoor IP, things are even more complicated as multiple parties have supported Blackmoor across the years. 

For the sake of fans, many of us have been waiting for this source book since we first heard about the concept in the early 2000s, let us hope that some solution can be found so that we can finally see what this book was about. Before we know more, it is dangerous to speculate too much.


Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Erol Otus Cover Art for Jon Peterson's Playing at the World 2nd Edition


Jon Peterson's Playing at the World was the first book to attempt to cover the history of our hobby from the earliest miniature games to the creation of D&D in a comprehensive and scholarly manner. Jon has announced that he will be releasing a new edition of this book and Erol Otus is going to make the cover for the book.

"It is an honor to do the cover for the great author and scholar Jon Peterson’s “Playing at the World: 2E”! I am hoping the artwork calls to mind monochromatic publications from the earlier days like “The Strategic Review” and Fanzines:" Otus said.



Blackmoor Age of the Wolf to be Published by Studio Ink Bat

Looks like 2024 and the 50th Anniversary of D&D will have a lot of great things in store for fans of the creations of Dave Arneson. Loyal followers of this blog will be familiar with the Age of the Wolf which was supposed to be released just before Dave Arneson passed away. Now it seems like the original designers of that book have joined up with Studio Ink Bat to make sure the fans finally get to see what this was all about. 



WASHINGTON, DC (03/12/24): Studio Ink Bat announced today that it will release the final tabletop roleplaying game sourcebook directly overseen by the late Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons and the creator of Blackmoor, the fantasy setting in which the game was first incubated. Entitled Blackmoor: Age of the Wolf, the book is a fiction of ideas, taking the classic setting’s timeline and sending it centuries into the future.

The announcement was made by Denise Robinson, Art Director for Studio Ink Bat. “I had the chance to meet Dave Arneson,” said Robinson. “And as so many others did, I liked him immediately. When the opportunity arose to help release the last RPG project created by Dave’s own team, I knew we had to jump. The content is fantastic, too. If you aren’t a Blackmoor fan, yet, Age of the Wolf is sure to make a believer out of you.”

“After a fifteen-year wait, I could not be happier to see this project finally come to fruition,” added C.A. Suleiman, developer of Dave Arneson’s tabletop projects at the time of his passing in 2009. “With the 50th anniversary of D&D; the 20th anniversary of the launch of an independent Blackmoor line overseen by Dave, himself; and the 15th anniversary of the legend’s passing, the timing could scarcely be any more appropriate than it is right now.”

Back in 2009, the project was nearly complete and ready to be sent to the printer when Dave Arneson passed away suddenly. After that tragic turn of events, it didn’t seem right to release the book as planned originally, and so the project went into indefinite hibernation. “With the big anniversary year upon us,” Robinson concluded, “We feel the time is right to finally get this book into the hands of fans.”

Blackmoor: Age of the Wolf is scheduled for release this August, 2024. As a supplemental edition for the setting, the book will be released system-neutral,  allowing players of any edition or expression of the world’s greatest roleplaying game to make immediate use of it.

About Studio Ink Bat

Ink Bat is a content development studio dedicated to the art of making excellent games. Blackmoor: Age of the Wolf is Ink Bat’s first major release, but will surely not be its last. Ink Bat can be found online at

About Dave Arneson

Dave Arneson is the late co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. He is regarded the creator of the roleplaying game and innovator of the ‘dungeon adventure’ concept in tabletop gaming. Blackmoor is his original fantasy setting and the environment in which he and Gary Gygax incubated their legendary game. He passed away in 2009, but his profound legacy endures.

Are you excited about this news? What do you think this book will contain? 

More details at the Comeback Inn

Ink Bat Studios Press Release


Thursday, February 15, 2024

New Release from Rob Kuntz: The 4th Category


Rob Kuntz returns to exploring the history of D&D in the year of the game's 50th Anniversary. 

I just got an email with the following:

The 4th Category: a ground-breaking study which identifies D&D™'s true origins... The 4th Category is Rob Kuntz's major update on Dave Arneson's True Genius, as well as a preview to his upcoming opus, A New Ethos in Game Design. Available NOW from Three Line Studio Store. 

Rob of course was there from the beginning of the game's history so it will be interesting to hear more of his thoughts on those events. Rob Kuntz was extremely helpful and supportive when I started out doing research about Dave Arneson. I enjoyed his book, Dave Arneson's True Genius. It is going to be interesting to see what this update contains. 

Get this book from Three Line Studios 

Did you read Dave Arneson's True Genius? Are you going to pick up this book? Let me know!

Discuss this article at The Comeback Inn

Note: This article is not sponsored. This blog is non profit and not monetized.



Sunday, February 4, 2024

David "Zeb" Cook and Frank Mentzer to Attend Italian Conventions in 2024

Two legends from the TSR era are coming to Italy this year as is being reported on  the dmmagazine blog:

David "Zeb" Cook will be a guest of honor at the Play Festival del Gioco in Modena, to be held in May, 17 to 19 in 2024. Frank Mentzer will be a host during Napoli ComiCon. This convention tales place in Naples from April 25 to 28 and is said to be one of Italy biggest pop culture events. Yet to be confirmed are rumours that Frank Mentzer will also attend to the Lucca convention, also in Italy. This convention takes place sometime in the fall.

Are you going to any Italian gaming conventions this year?


ArneCon 2024 Announcement


The Secrets of Blackmoor group just annonced the dates for this year's ArneCon. The convention will take place on October 4-6. Here is the full announcement:

"October 4-6, 2024 are the dates to lock out. Arnecon-2 is coming and you do not want to miss out on the fun of RPGs, War Games, Board Games, Computer Games, and a lot more! Buy a Ticket before March 1st! We have a 20% off early bird special on tickets. You can see last years events in the posted images. Check back for info on Special Guests - not yet announced."

2024 marks the 50th anniversary of D&D and it looks like fans of Blackmoor will have a lot of events to attend this year. 

Are you excited about ArneCon 2? Share your thoughts in the comments below! :)



Sunday, January 14, 2024

GaryCon2024 - Bob Meyer to Run Blackmoor!

Bob Meyer  who played the legendary wizard Robert the Bald in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign, should be relatively well known to readers of this blog. As one of the original Blackmoor players, Bob has always been supportive of my work here on this blog and at the Comeback Inn Forum and has always been helpful in providing answers when I have been struggling with my research of D&D history. 

I was talking to Bob the other day when he told me that he would be running Blackmoor at this year's Gary Con which will take place on March 21-24. 2024 marks the 50th anniversary of the merging of the brilliant minds of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson produced the revolutionary game of Dungeons & Dragons. The process of developing this game had begun much earlier of course, but 1974 was the year that D&D was published and that is worth celebrating! What better way to commemorate this than having Blackmoor at GaryCon?

Bob Meyer, the legendary wizard
(Screenshot from Secrets of Blackmoor documentary)

Bob told me he will be going to the convention with a crew of two helpers and two GMs who will be "carrying on Blackmoor". Bob and the other two GMs will be running a total of six Blackmoor games over three days. In addition to that, Bob will also be holding seminars on the same days. 

Blackmoor fans who attend GaryCon will also have the chance of running into other Blackmoor players like Ross Maker, Mike Carr, Michael Mornard and David Wesely. Brent Chumley, the artist who made the Blackmoor hex world map for the d20 version of Blackmoor is also listed as a guest at GaryCon. 

Will you be at GaryCon this year? If so, I would love to hear what you are looking the most forward to. Looks like Blackmoor fans who attend this year will have a blast! 


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Jennell Jaquays 1956-2024 Rest in Peace


I was saddened to learn of the passing of Jennell Jaquays. She was a pioneer in our gaming industry, both in game design and as an artist and was devoted to the hobby until the very end. 

In addition to being a fan of her work, I was lucky enough to be one of many friends of hers on Facebook and we interracted a few times. She even helped with some information for a few articles on this very blog. 

I reported on Jennel's medical issues and the fundraiser to cover her expenses back in October. If you haven't donated yet, it might be worth taking another look now as her wife likely has been left with many expenses.

May she rest in peace. 


Blackmoor Like Map Used for Runehammer's Crown & Skull RPG?

  Crown & Skull is a new TTRPG created by  Brandish Gilhelm, Hankerin Ferninale and Ingrid Burnall and published by Runehammer Games. T...