Monday, June 24, 2024

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 book will contain several maps. Included is also the original Dutch Map that was often mentioned as a source for the Blackmoor coastline. Among the other maps included is apparently also the map from AVH's Outdoor Survival Game which was used to detail the inland geography. 


The texts included here are also interesting as they show part of the connection between a Dutch Historical campaign that may have gradually transitioned into the Blackmoor game. Master Fant mentioned here is the character of David Fant who later also played the Baron of Blackmoor. 

Also of interest are references to the Great Kingdom, the Tower of Sorrows (Tower of Salt?) and the Capital of the Picts. The Picts were later replaced by Orcs as enemies, though I have also used them in my development for the people of the Vales as an older human culture before the Thonians moved into the lands of Blackmoor. 

It is going to be interesting to see what else comes to light when this book becomes widely available. 


Sunday, June 23, 2024

Exclusive Interview with Blackmoor Age of the Wolf Designer C.A. Suleiman


Interview with C.A. Suleiman 

June 17, 2024 
By Havard

Readers may know or recall C.A. Suleiman as the developer Dave Arneson trusted to shepherd new material for Blackmoor, the first fantasy campaign, into the 3rd and 4th editions of D&D. He’s also the developer of the last tabletop project with which Dave Arneson was directly involved prior to his passing in 2009, a setting update for Blackmoor called Age of the Wolf

What was it like working with Dave Arneson?

 In some ways, it was the opportunity of a lifetime for a lifelong gamer like me. Dave’s creative mind is what drew me not just to roleplaying, but to really exploring the limits of my imagination. Getting to sort of channel a guy like that through your own work, which is what being his developer was like, is like taking a guided tour through the halls of another creator’s imagination. Beyond being a legendary figure, Dave was like a kindred spirit to me. I’ve been fortunate enough to work on a number of high-profile projects for some well known companies, but there is no substitute for having the father of the roleplaying game put his trust and endorsement in you when it came to developing material for him. Dave could have empowered any one of a number of worthy designers, and he chose to put his faith in me. Words fall for short for describing how that made me feel back then, and how it still makes me feel today. 

What is Age of the Wolf like and what can we expect from the new release? 

Well, maybe the most important aspect of the book is going to be its cost to fans: I’m pleased to be able to announce here, for the first time, that Age of the Wolf is going to be absolutely free to pick up, starting the first day of its release. Here in the U.S., the price tag is going to be $0.00. 

Wow. What prompted you to push for a no-cost price for the new book? 

A number of considerations, chief among them the desire to create an inclusive offering for people to celebrate on the 50th anniversary of the biggest RPG. Sadly, there aren’t a lot of releases or events dedicated to Dave and his legacy on the industry slate this year, and that means that whatever projects are in the offing, should really be given their due. Waiting 15 years to get the book seemed enough of a barrier. No sense complicating matters any further. 

How does Age of the Wolf differ from previous Blackmoor offerings? 

The biggest difference is that Age of the Wolf isn’t strictly a game book. It’s a world guide for a new a vision of Blackmoor and a creative tribute to the man who started it all. The book has no game mechanics for any specific edition or iteration of any game, but rather focuses on setting, mood, and hopefully doing justice to the legacy and memory of Dave Arneson. In that regard, it’s fair to say that Age of the Wolf is a book that’s intended to be enjoyed by all. 
    Apart from how it’s being rolled out, the biggest difference between Age of the Wolf and previous Blackmoor material is the timeline. The entire concept for the book is a big “What if?” — in this case, what if the Kingdom of Blackmoor fell and the land was put through centuries of turmoils and upheavals both magical and mundane? As a result, the political situation, most of the active characters, and even the underlying themes are all written to suit this specific vision. The classic Blackmoor setting is about a land united by a singular king and his attempts to bring ordered civilization to a dangerous part of the world. In Age of the Wolf, that king and his works are long gone, and the land he fought to unite is now being fought over by those who remain. 

Would it be difficult for those running classic Blackmoor campaigns to bring their characters into an Age of the Wolf campaign? 

Since the book advances the Blackmoor timeline 270 years, it’s fair to say that only characters who were young elves or dwarves in the classic setting (or otherwise trapped out of time, or the like; always a possibility in a Blackmoor story) would still be around come the new setting. 

Will Age of the Wolf cover the same geographic area as did previous Blackmoor offerings? 

While the timeline may be different in the new book, the geography is still more or less the same as it was in the classic setting. A lot has changed, but it has changed the face of the same North we know and love, not moved the setting to a different geographic region in the same world. This book is set for a 2024 Gen Con release. 

What will be available for Gen Con attendees? Will some of this material become available for fans who are not able to attend? 

As mentioned, the digital edition will be free to download starting the first day of Gen Con, and that offer will be good for everyone, whether they attend Gen Con or not, for as long as Ink Bat publishes the book. Those who attend Ink Bat’s ticketed events will also receive a limited edition print copy, as well as a free high-quality metal miniature courtesy of Paizo Publishing, but Ink  Bat has no plans to distribute a print edition of the book through general distribution thereafter. This project is primarily about seeing the last tabletop book Dave was involved with finally released to the fans, and in the process, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his greatest work. Many Blackmoor fans have been waiting 15 years for this book to be published and are excited that it is finally coming to fruition. 

Besides the shift to new rules, have other changes been made to the original product? 

Originally, I intended Age of the Wolf to be compatible with 4e, since that was the new hotness at the time and since Dave’s approach had been to release Blackmoor support right on the heels of the release of new rules, as we’d done with 3e and 3.5e. After 50 years, though, there are a lot of fans enjoying Blackmoor through a number of different rulesets, so I decided a more system-neutral book, a world and tonal guide, was the most accessible approach for the whole community. Dave’s genius wasn’t rooted in any one rules design, and his genius is for everyone. 

You have worked in the RPG industry for decades. What are some products that you are especially proud of outside of Blackmoor? 

I’m grateful for both the opportunities I’ve been given in my career and for the way most of those projects turned out. I’m especially proud to have created Hamunaptra, the first expressly ancient Egyptian setting for the great game, but the other books I’ve written for D&D stand out, as well, including Heroes of Horror and Cityscape, both of which continue to have their fan followings long after the edition of the game for which they were written wrapped. I’m also proud of the work I’ve done for the World of Darkness, especially Mummy: The Curse, which I created, and Vampire: The Requiem, which I wrote with my friend Ari Marmell, and which remains the biggest-selling RPG White Wolf ever published. 

Is Ink Bat working with WotC or the Arneson estate for this product, or is it a completely independent launch? 

Ink Bat approached Wizards of the Coast about its plans for the book, and WotC proved just as excited to see Age of the Wolf finally released to the community as the fans seem to be, so they gave their blessing for publication to proceed. And of course, the project predates the Arneson estate, so neither the estate nor WotC were involved in the creation of the content of the book. 

Can we expect more Age of the Wolf content in the future? What other projects are in the works from Ink Bat?

 To my knowledge, there are no current plans to produce support specifically for Age of the Wolf beyond this one book, though of course we all hope the book will live on at the tables and in the stories of Dave’s fans. Ink Bat is just getting started, though. Look for a teaser for their next big project at Gen Con in August.

More discussion of this topic at The Comeback Inn


Saturday, June 22, 2024

Will WotC Rename Blackmoor in Mystara Too?


It was quite a surprise to fans that Mystara would be brought back to print by Wizards of the Coast in 2024. 

Of course, saying that WotC would bring it back is a bit of an overstatement as the upcoming book Dungeons & Dragons: Worlds & Realms - Adventures from Greyhawk to Faerun and Beyond is a licensed product from Ten Speed Press and more a coffee table book than an actual game supplement. Still, seeing an entire chapter  of this book being dedicated to Mystara when several popular D&D settings are not included (notably Dark Sun, Birthright and more). 

With the recent discussions of Blackmoor being renamed Arn in the 2024 DMG has lead to much speculation. Yesterday I explored the name Arn as it is not new to the world of D&D. As the DMG is not yet available, we don't know if the change was made due to setting specific ideas, rights issues or a number of other reasons. 

However, given this change for Greyhawk it will be interesting to see if Blackmoor will be renamed in the descriptions of Mystara as well. Mystara's connection to Blackmoor began before Mystara had even gotten its own name. Mystara is of course the world of the old BX and  BECMI D&D Games (Some call then Basic D&D, a term I feel is misleading) and back then it was just called the D&D Game World as opposed to AD&D which had many settings tied to it. 

As TSR had found themselves in the situation of having to publish two parallell game lines called D&D and AD&D, due to agreements with Dave Arneson. Since Arneson's rights were tied to the D&D line, it made sense that Blackmoor would end up there, even though the name Blackmoor was still kept on the Greyhawk map. The advantage of placing Blackmoor in Mystara's past was that players of the D&D game could use the same characters and simply visit Blackmoor through Time Travel. some people say Blackmoor was put into Mystara's past, but another way of looking at it is that Mystara would end up being a possible distant future for Blackmoor. For Mystara, this had the advantage of adding a layer of mysteries buried in the settings past that made it so much more interesting and almost every Mystara product referenced Blackmoor after this. The products that laid the groundwork for this connection were the DA modules, starting with DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor. 

So, will Blackmoor be renamed in the presentation of Mystara? It is very difficult to say at this point. As mentioned we have no idea why they changed the name for Greyhawk and those reasons could easily have no impact on how WotC presents Mystara. On the other hand, if they do make the change that will support the uncomfirmed theory that WotC are distancing themselves from Blackmoor. If they call Mystara's Blackmoor Arn, that would be the craziest scenario of them all. Of course, it would be perfectly possible to present Mystara and not mention Blackmoor at all. 

Whatever happens we will known more when this book comes out. 

Dungeons & Dragons: Worlds & Realms - Adventures from Greyhawk to Faerun and Beyond is to be published on October 29th 2024. The book will be 368 pages and the current price tag is 50$


Friday, June 21, 2024

The Realm of Arn and its History in D&D

This week, we learned that WotC are changing the name of Blackmoor in the Greyhawk setting to Arn. But beyond the obvious reference to the last name of the D&D Co-creator, why does the name Arn sound so familiar?

The name Arn has actually been used on a number of occasions. In the adventure DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor (p46), we meet Arn Yonson, a 10th level Fighter who is an obvious stand in for Dave Arneson. Arn Yonson's name does suggest a Skandaharian origin, but the description only says that he wears an outlandish helmet with large horns that some people of Blackmoor find a bit funny. 

In OD&D Supplement 3: Eldritch Wizardry (by Gary Gygax and Brian Blume), we find the artifact known as the Invulnerable Coat of Arn, a chainmail +5 with a number of magical resistances and powers linked to it. The same book also has a Ring of Gax so both D&D Co-creators got their names referenced in this book. It is unclear where the Coat of Arn got its name, but it is said to be a relic of a bygone age. 

The oldest known reference to Arn that I was able to dig up on short notice however, is an illustration from the D&D draft document known as Beyond This Point Be Dragons or the Dalluhn document. The document contains an illustration showing a sign leading to "Lord of Arn". Now, I am not sure if there was ever a conclusion to who actually wrote that document, there have been suggestions that this illustration was drawn by Dave Arneson. Likely the signpost was just a joke, but Lord of Arn does suggest that this is the name of a realm. Perhaps the realm whose ruler once wore a magical chainmail?

Have you found other references to Arn in any D&D products or Arneson material? Please let me know about it. 

Could any of these factoids help explain why Arn has now become the name of a realm in Greyhawk? Could this support Greyhawk Grognard's theory that the new WotC Greyhawk is set at an earlier point in the timeline?  Or was it just a big coincidence?

Discuss this article at The Comeback Inn


Thursday, June 20, 2024

Blackmoor Foundation Arneson Manuscripts Content

 Blackmoor Foundations is a book to be published towards the end of this month. I talked about the book a few weeks ago and how it is going to include many unpublished documents and maps that can be linked back to Dave Arneson's campaign, including material written by Dave Arneson himself. Much of the content is still unknown, but some is starting to get leaked. 

Fellow Blackmoor scholar DH Boggs wrote on his blog that much of this material comes from illustratior Ken Fletcher's collection. Ken was employed by Dave Arneson's company and was tasked to prepare Blackmoor material for possible publication in the early 1980s.

More details comes from YouTuber DaddyRolledA1 who has been given a first draft copy of Blackmoor Foundations. In his video D&D History: Foundations, Product Lines, Art, & Creators, he covers many sources for gaming history, but I want to direct your attention to the section where he is talking about this specific book and reveals some of the content. 

The explains how the book discusses dates that are often uncertain and how it contrasts some documented dates with sometimes contradictory information from what people who were there rememeber. Given the type of "documentation" that is available from someone's personal games, I 

Some of these maps or variants of them have been shared among fans already, but it will be nice to see everything collected. 

Ken Flether apparently had lots of pages of documents that he shared with The Fellowship of the Thing (DaddyRolledA1 does not seem to appreciate the name of that company) that produced this book. 

This illustration made be curions. According to the youtube video this illustration was made by Dave Arneson.

The firearms of Blackmoor are shown in the illustration below. I am not sure if this refers to artifacts origination from the aliens, or if these are supposed to be regular firearms that the men of Blackmoor were able to produce. Both types are referenced in the FFC. 

Credits for this book are given to Griffith M. Morgan III of Fellowship of the Thing, but others have also contributed as shown on the intro page. 

So the final version of this book should be available soon. If you already own a copy, let me know what else might be found there!

More discussion of this article at The Comeback Inn.


WotC removes Blackmoor from Greyhawk in 2024

Wizards of the Coast has produced a new map of Greyhawk where Blackmoor has been removed. I first learned about this when I saw a post by my friend Big Mac at the Piazza the Piazza D&D Worlds forum where he discusses the lastest youtube video from Greyhawk Grognard video from Greyhawk Grognard going through the new WotC produced map. 

The map in question is the Greyhawk map that is going to appear in WotC's upcoming 2024 D&D Dungeon Master's Guide. Greyhawk is from what I understand going to be used as a default setting in the new D&D core rulebooks. The new map looks somewhat reminiscent of the beloved map made by Darlene back in the days, but there are some interesting changes. Greyhawk Grognard's excellent video goes through these changes and speculates to reasons why these changes have been made and what might be possible consequences of the large and small changes. 

The change that will likely be of most interest to the readers of this blog is probably the removal of Blackmoor. Removal may be a strong term. Rather, Blackmoor has been renamed Arn. Now Arn is a name that could be familiar to hard core Blackmoor fans as it also appears in several of Dave Arneson's writings. 

Why has this change been made? Could it be linked to rights issues? Could it be to reduce confusion with the other Blackmoor product lines available that are less compatible with Greyhawk? Could it be linked to this map detailing a different part of Greyhawk's timeline?  Or is there another reason? 

In any case, the original intent of paying homage to Dave Arneson is retained in the new name.

What do you think of this new Greyhawk map and the changes made?


Monday, June 17, 2024

Melissakainen is running Castle Blackmoor for 10$


Melissakainen is running an online Castle Blackmoor oneshot game. She will be using the OD&D rules. The event costs 10$ for those interested. 

Here's the description:

About the adventure At the very origin of Dungeons & Dragons lies Castle Blackmoor, the dungeon Dave Arneson started running in 1970. In 1980, Dave published a large portion of his campaign notes as The First Fantasy Campaign. I will be using that to take you on a short tour of the City, the Castle, and the Dungeon of Blackmoor. Although Castle Blackmoor predates D&D, I will be using the original D&D rules (1974 ed) to run it. Play careful, because your fighters, magic-users, and clerics are dead at 0 hit points!

Here are more detailHere are more details. 

Would you pay to play in Castle Blackmoor?

I am in no way affiliated with this game. This blog and all related sites have always been non-profit.


Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Aleena the Cleric Iconic D&D Legend Character Sheet Revealed


Aleena the Cleric was the legendary character introduced in the BECMI D&D Red Box introductory adventure. Her tragic death at the hands of the evil Wizard Bargle inspired thousands of players to go on adventures and seek justice for this innocent and brave hero. Aleena went in to become an NPC in the Mystara setting, appearing in Gaz1 The Grand Duchy of Karameikos and the the AD&D Boxed Set Karameikos: Kingdom of Magic. The introductory adventure also gave inspiration to the Kill Bargle phenomenon and was revisited several times in Dragon Magazine during the Paizo era. 

Frank Mentzer, editor of the TSR top selling D&D Red Box Basic Set and the rest of the BECMI line revealed the charcter sheet used for Aleena back in 2020 and shared it again now for the 50th anniversary of the D&D Gamenull. According to Frank, this character was rolled up in 1977 and the character sheet shows the character as she appeared in ca 1979. Aleena was played by Aileen Shea in Frank's campaign. As presented this character sheet presents Aleena as an 8th level Cleric wielding a +2 Mace of Disruption and a +1 Shield. She is dressed in plate armor. 

The character sheet also reveals some fantasic adventures that this character has lived through. She has retrieved a magical ring from a Type II Demon. These Frog-like demons were lated renamed Hezrou and also provided the inspiration for the Croaking Demons from the BECMI Immortal Set. What happened to this ring, I wonder?

Sadly, the character sheet also states that Aleena has been killed by the hands of a Mummy. Does this mean Bargle was an undead all along?

With WotC revisiting all kinds of obscure characters for their new 2024 Core Rulebooks, why aren't they using Bargle and Aleena?

Discuss this topic further on The Piazzaon The Piazza.


Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Blackmoor Foundation Book Announced for June 2024


Fellowship of the Thing have just announced that they are releasing a new book. Titled Blackmoor Foundations, this book promises to present early documents and RPG creations by Dave Arneson. The book is to include History, Maps and Lore from 1971 to 1985. 

The official description has the following:

Within the pages of this book, you will find maps and writings by David Arneson as he recounts the events and people in his Blackmoor, a living game environment that gamers are still experiencing over 50 years later. With the emergence of more historical documents, it's undeniable that Dave Arneson pioneered the play methods used in every role-playing game since the birth of Blackmoor in 1971. This collection, much of which has only recently been discovered, is an astounding glimpse into the historical writings that remain from Arneson's life. Yet, it can also be a guide to creating your own version of Blackmoor for you and your friends to play in.

This is going to be very interesting. A lot of documents from the early D&D creators is becoming available to a wide audience this year so it is is great that coverage from the Dave Arneson side of things is also going to be presented.


ArneCon 2 Early Bird Badges

 ArneCon 2024 takes place on October 4-6 2024. This Dave Arneson themed convention is hosted by Fellowship of the Thing; the producers of the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary and The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg. 

Guests of honor this year include:
  • Malia Arneson
  • David Wesely 
  • David Megarry 
  •  Ross Maker 
  •  Paul Stormberg
  • D.H. Boggs 
  •  Rob Kuntz 
  •  Alexander Macris 
  •  Ronin Wong

Badges at reduced prices can be bought via the ArneCon website.

Are you going to ArneCon? What is your favorite convention?


Saturday, May 25, 2024

The Piazza - D&D Worlds Forum Celebrates 16 Years!


One of my favourite places to talk about D&D is The Piazza. I can't belive its been 16 years since fans created that forum. People keep saying discussion forums are going away, but here we are still very much alive and kicking. Since its inception, The Piazza has been known for its friendly atmosphere and immense creativity. 

Piazza Birthday Event on Facebook


Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Blackmoor T-Shirt from 80sTees

I got a tip from my friend Cory that  80sTees are selling these awesome looking Blackmoor T-Shirts with the image from the cover of D&D Supplement II. The website offers this description of Blackmoor: 

Blackmoor is a campaign setting for the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. It originally evolved in 1975 as the personal setting of Dave Arneson, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, first as a setting for Arneson's miniature wargames, then as an early testing ground for what would become D&D. Blackmoor is the longest continuously played fantasy role-playing campaign in existence. It is a mysterious land of sword and sorcery mixed with relics of highly advanced technology. Everyone will immediately know you are a fan of the classic role-playing game when you wear this exclusive Blackmoor Dungeons & Dragons T-Shirt!

These T-shirts come in black or natural color and are officially lisenced Dungeons & Dragons T-shirts from Wizards of the Coast. 

I previously wrote about a cool looking Blackmoor long sleeve product which as I was looking more into it only claimed to be lisenced when it was in fact not. 

Do you have any Blackmoor branded clothing yet? :)


Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Blackmoor - Age of the Wolf goes to GenCon 2024!


Dave Arneson's Blackmoor - Age of the Wolf is to be presented at GenCon 2024 with gaming events and panel presentations. Age of the Wolf was the last Blackmoor project Dave Arneson was involved with before his passing and fans have been asking for it ever since. It was a surprise to most when I reported with much excitement back in March that the publisher Ink Bat announced that they were to bring back the project that was completed in 2008 but never released. 

As summer approches, Ink Bat has made a new announcement:

Last of the Zah 
Come and play in the first-ever adventure set in the new edition of Blackmoor, Age of the Wolf, and do it in style in one of the luxury boxes at Lucas Oil Stadium! In this scenario, you play a member of a bold company tasked with escorting an important young woman into the very heart of darkness. Should you fail, she fails, and if she fails, all hope for life in the North may be lost! 

 Every ticketed player in this event receives a limited edition print copy of Age of the Wolf absolutely free! 
In addition, everyone who plays a session receives a free miniature, courtesy of Paizo Publishing. Length: 3.5 hours 
Where: Event Suite at Lucas Oil Stadium 
When: Every 4 hours until midnight, starting at 8am 


 Blackmoor: Age of the Wolf Panel 
 The last tabletop project of D&D co-creator Dave Arneson is finally released! Join Ink Bat’s team of creatives for a discussion of the new book, Age of the Wolf, the 50th anniversary of the great game, and all things Dave.
Length: 1 hour 
 Where: JW Marriott — Room 203 
 When: Thursday at 8pm

See you at GenCon

See original announcement.

Are you excited about this news? Are you going to GenCon? 

Read more at the Comeback Inn!


Friday, April 26, 2024

DaveCon 3 is happening right now!

 Reports are coming in from DaveCon, one of the conventions arranged to commemorate the legacy of Dungeons & Dragons Co-Creator Dave Arneson. This is the third time, Victor Dorso organizes this convention, which is taking place this weekend in Minnesota. I wrote about DaveCon3 and its wide range of honored guests a few days ago. 

Photos from CastleBlackmoor

Are you at DaveCon right now? I would love to hear from you!


Wednesday, April 24, 2024

New Blackmoor T shirt from WotC on Amazon (Fake Story

This story has been debunked. The WotC store did not link to this clothes store on Amazon. Hopefully someone takes care of this.  

A friend sent me a link to this long sleeve t shirt sold on Amazon. The store says the clothes are officially lisenced from Wizards of the Coast.

Officially Licensed Dungeons & Dragons Apparel for Women - Men - Boys - Girls - Toddler; D&D 50th Anniversary T-Shirts; Hasbro T-Shirts; Wizards of the Coast; RPG; Role Playing Game; Fantasy; Adventure; Monsters; Magic; 20 Sided Dice; Blackmoor; Vintage;

This is interesting given the discussion of ownership of the Blackmoor name and logo. 

I have to say I love the text on the shirt saying "It started with Blackmoor". 

For some reason, I am unable to  to click buy on this product. Does it mean the shirt is not available yet?


Saturday, April 20, 2024

DaveCon 3 fast approaching with incredible list of guests and events

I can't believe we are already going to see the third DaveCon and it is coming up in less than a week! For those who felt the first DaveCon was more about D&D in general and less about Dave Arneson and the original Twin City Gaming legacy, dismiss those concerns right away. With its third instalment, DaveCon is living up to its name like never before with a foundation is that is stronger than ever. This is the year of the 50th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, the game co-created by Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax and coming up next weekend (April 26-28, 2024) in, Bloomington, MN, USA, DaveCon 3 organizer Victor Dorso promises Three-days of Gaming, Vendors and Art, plus The Auction.

The special guests lineup looks incredible. First of all, there are guests who were there at the beginning with Dave Arneson:

  • Dave Wesely 
  • Mike Carr 
  • Dave Megarry
  • Ken Fletcher
  • Ross Maker
  • William Hoyt

But also, a list of people who will be known to many of you:

  • Dan "Professor Dungeon Master" Defazio 
  • Andy Thomas & Dave Yaeger
  • Baron Deroop
  • David Johnson
  • Justin Alexander
  • Kevin McColl of Castle Blackmoor

D&D 50 is definitely going to be a year of celebration for Dave Arneson fans. We already had amazing Blackmoor and Arneson Alumni presence at GaryCon and more events are coming later this year! 

Are you going to DaveCon this year? I would love to hear about your plans and your experiences!


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?


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...