Saturday, September 11, 2021

Crimson Escalation

 Crimson Escalation

What if you could speed-up DnD combat while making battles more exciting, realistic, and fun? All that with a minimum of bookkeeping!

Let's help Venger Satanis get this Kickstarter to the Stretch Goal. You only need to kick in $1.00 (or more if you are feeling generous. 516 people have already pledged $733 and he only needs $267 to hit the Stretch Goal. I backed it and I encourage you to do it too. It is only a $1.00 and I want to see that bonus mentioned below at the bottom. Have a little fun and throw in $1.00, you spend more than that on anything and everything these days. $1 menus are gone, but this one is still here. Throw $1.00 in and smile, you did a good thing.

This KS is to fund a standalone PDF, allowing gamers who love D20 fantasy RPGs to have Crimson Escalation at their fingertips.  Sure, you could start using it without throwing in a buck; I don't mind.  But if you want to see something like Crimson Escalation proliferate throughout the hobby, like I do, back this sucker for $1 and let's see what happens.

If you want short, brutal combat that ups the tension every single round - without having to keep track of stuff (besides which round it is), this might be for you!  I've found the majority of combats never go beyond the 4th round using this method (7 rounds max).

Feel free to give it a try before backing this project, just to see if it's as good as promised.  You won't be disappointed.  That's the Venger Satanis guarantee! 

This blog post has all the basic information (including an embedded link to Crimson Dragon Slayer D20):

Here's a direct link to the FREE Crimson Dragon Slayer D20 PDF (page 7, if you want to go right to the mechanic itself):

So, let's talk about this PDF... it's going to have a cover page, a page for Rob and I to give some background on Crimson Escalation, a page covering the basics of the mechanic along with extraneous details (What happens if people join the battle a couple rounds in?  What if a character already has a wider crit range than everyone else?), and a page at the end for credits.

The KS funds will be used to pay for layout (bloodstains on parchment don't just come out with a little soap and water, you know) and the already acquired artwork.

The Stretch Goal of $1,000 is a bonus - the Ten Commandments For Immersion. Who doesn't want their game to be more immersive?

Thursday, September 2, 2021

The Perilous Dreamers First Dungeon (a look back to winter 75-76)

 Over at The Ruins of Murkhill forum I have started a thread about the first dungeon I ever created.  I based the nine areas on nine quotes and then improved from those quotes.

You can find the thread here. I will be commenting more about it once people have had a chance to comment on the forum.

I think you will find some things about the dungeon rather surprising.

Monday, August 30, 2021

Fast Approaching Blackmoor Week and Dave Arneson Game Day

Blackmoor Week, which is celebrated every year September 24th to September 30th followed immediately by Dave Arneson Game Day celebrated on October 1st, the birthday of Dave Arneson, is fast approaching. October 1st is a Friday, so plan on gaming in honor of Dave Arneson on Friday night or the weekend or the previous weekend during Blackmoor Week.

Right now is also a good time to be thinking of writing one or more blog posts or posting on your forum or other social media group to honor Dave Arneson on his birthday and to celebrate this the 51st Anniversary year of Blackmoor which began in December of 1970.

The Night Companion Kickstarter

 The Night Companion Follow the link!

The author says:

This game demystifies old-school style play and lets you run any kind of modern supernatural, horror, or urban fantasy style game you like all with familiar rules and systems! This is the first sourcebook, but you can grab the entire game in the Kickstarter, too...for cheap!

Saturday, July 31, 2021

The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg Has Arrived!!!

The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg book has arrived! This was part of the Secrets of Blackmoor Kickstarter that launched back on November 24, 2018. The delivery of this book has been a long time coming, but I assure you that it has been more than worth the wait.  Aside from the Original Dungeons & Dragons itself published in January of 1974, this is one of a tiny handful of books that are truly relevant and important in the realm of Fantasy Adventure Role Playing Games.

Image from Secrets of Blackmoor backerkit page 

There are two different covers, one is purple and a limited number are teal. As I am color blind I will not know which I have until I have a chance to ask someone. It is going to take quite a while to read through this book and peruse the maps contained within it. It is 156 pages and the print is small enough that I must use my reading glasses, that is to say it is densely packed with information. The page size is 8.5 x 11 of high quality paper in a hard bound book. I am extremely happy with the heft and appearance of the book and look forward to many useful hours.

I have so far only skimmed through the book. There is an (slightly less than 3.5 pages) example of play that is lengthy and detailed enough to get anyone started gaming. There is an excellent Table of Contents, Index and List of Tables. 

In my opinion, everyone who referees any version of D&D and any game that is derived from the original version of D&D should buy this book, read it, study it and putting the advice into practice in their own campaign. Some people will want to play this dungeon. I don't view it that way. I view it was one example (a very good example) of how it is done. My advice is imitate it and then go beyond it. Make it Yourself and Do it Yourself was the original way to play, don't short change yourself and your players, give it a try. This book will help you do that.

Other important books are Dave Arneson's The First Fantasy Campaign, which is a comparable volume to this, only it did not have the production values or editing team. Sadly it is out of print, but hopefully one day that can be changed. Fortunately I have a copy, a first print of that volume.

The Secrets of Blackmoor - The True History of Dungeons & Dragons DVD documentary, part of the Kickstarter that included the Lost Dungeons and Dave Arneson's True Genius, by Robert J. Kuntz complete the list of the five most important and relevant items in the realm of Fantasy Adventure Role Playing Games.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Post from the blog "A Land Beyond Beyond"

Over on the blog A Land Beyond Beyond subtitled: A blog mainly about the early role playing games, those from the 1970s and 1980s. Original Dungeons & Dragons, Empire of the Petal Throne, Arduin, Tunnels & Trolls, Skyrealms of Jorune, Traveller, Metamorphosis Alpha and many more, there is a blog post Arduin fans will be interested in.

He says: 
In discussing DAH’s source inspirations for Arduin, I find it convenient to group them into three categories: literary, historical, & personal. The literary category covers fiction—whether written or visual media—and is the subject of this part. The historical taxon and personal influences appear in part two of this article. 

I recommend that you check this out and I eagerly await Part Two. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Dave Hargrave Day - 2021

Today we celebrate Dave Hargrave Day, the birthday of David Allen Hargrave (May 25, 1946 – August 29, 1988) who was known as The Dream Weaver and his world and game Arduin. Dave died an untimely death at the age of only 42 and all that he could have created was lost forever. Sadly there are few pictures available.

David Allen Hargrave

Dave was a military veteran , serving six years on the front lines. He brought that experience to Arduin. Dave had an extraordinary imagination and it was on full display in Arduin. Some called it a "cross-genre" rpg, but truly many of the early homebrew games were "cross-genre."  Blackmoor the original campaign was "cross-genre" and Tékumel was also "cross-genre."  So he was in very good company.

I started playing OD&D in September of 1975, first got our hands on The Arduin Grimoire early in 1978. It was a treasure trove, a veritable gold mine of ideas. As a treasure trove it was the proper kind IMO, the excellent, the good, the average, the bad and the ugly. It was all there. I have heard a lot of people dismiss it and mostly because they think that everything they don't think are good ideas should have been edited out. IMO these kinds of documents tend to suffer greatly from way too much editing. Ideas that one person doesn't like or another wouldn't use nevertheless spurs thinking and that leads to the creation of more ideas.

IMO those of us who are Arduin fans are those who tend to use almost anything as a gateway to more ideas and anything that makes you think, like it or not, is a gateway to more ideas. I for one am very happy that Dave chose to not attempt to separate the dross from the gold, because he might have robbed me of an idea had he done so.

If you want to create your own grab bag of ideas, you could not find a better inspiration than The Arduin Grimoire!

If you have not yet read The Arduin Grimoire I urge you to get a copy without delay. Read it with a non-critical mind and let his ideas take you where they will. Read it a second time with a note pad close at hand. Jot down what you like and make note of how you would do other things differently. You are on your way!

Monday, May 24, 2021

Arduin Week Day Seven 2021

This was posted in the Arduin Grimoire community on the defunct Google+ platform by Matrox Lusch a number of years ago.

From the old group, original source is unknown.

David Hargrave's Thirteen Rules for Survival

1. Nothing is ever what it seems, so always be alert.

Forget this rule at your peril, never assume. Some monsters hide in plain sight, the obvious trap may distract from the real trap. 

2. The Game Master cannot be out-fought, be he can be out-thought.

The best defense the players can muster is to work together and pool their knowledge and talents. 

3. In all melee, battle, or surprise situations, the prime thing to remember is that you must react. Do something, even if it’s wrong. Take action!

The Decision Challenged die! A vital old school ability is to be ready and be decisive, indecision kills. 

He who hesitates is lost. "Swift and resolute action leads to success; self-doubt is a prelude to disaster. The proverb goes back to 'Cato' by English essayist and poet Joseph Addison.

4. The surest way out of any ambush is through the point of maximum resistance. Never ever try to turn around and/or retreat. It’s precisely what they’ve planned for you to try. So hit them hard, fast, and hell bent for blood, because you’ve got nothing to lose anyway!

Again, he who hesitates is lost.

5. Never fight when you can think instead.

In real old school games, murder hobo's die quickly. Those who can think and decisively act with wisdom survive. Fighting everything is suicide. Trying to kill everything is stupid. If you think fighting is always the only option, you are dead before you begin.

6. Beware mixing the three M’s: melees, missiles, and magik. To do so is to court disaster.

Enough said, no need to belabor the obvious. 

7. Remember that for battle you must have preparation; distance between yourself and the target; sufficient delay time in which to wield your maximum firepower, and enough firepower to ensure the absolute destruction of your intended target.

Fight if you must and if you must, fight to win.

8. Always expect the worst in any given situation. Always be prepared for the worst, no matter where you may be, and truly, through practice, become “the worst” so that trouble will strive mightily to avoid you!

There was a reason the Boy Scouts of yesteryear had the motto of "Be Prepared." Be Prepared means “you are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do your duty.”

9. You must have eyes and ears in all directions at all times.

Are you focused? Or are you talking about non-game things during the game? Are you focused? Or do people have to remind you of what is going on and what they just asked you to do? If so, you are highly subject to being surprised.

10. A closed mouth means silence, which equates to secrecy, which means safety and a surer way to travel. Don’t advertise your destination.

Amazing the loose chatter that comes out of players when they are in taverns or other public venues where who knows who or what is listening. Amazing the things that players volunteer to NPCs without any reason to have done so.

11. Be careful with your weapons - they cut in two directions, and your friends are often more vulnerable than your foes.

More than one PC has fallen from "friendly fire."

12. Every adventurer should be prepared to fight and/or flee at any time with no more than what he is wearing and carrying. And don’t load yourself down with a lot of junk; be selective.

Your kit should contain nothing trivial, every item should have a purpose and be the things that you need the most.

13. The thirteenth, though last, is the most important of all the rules of survival:


Old school players are masters of the art of thinking. They are focused, thoughtful and they develop good memories of things that can save their lives. But beyond this, successful adventurers are creative and can come up with ideas at the drop of a hat. For every obstacle there are solutions. Thinkers mine for solutions all the time.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Arduin Week Day Six 2021

Today I want to take a look at a blog by the name of, he has written several essays about Dave Hargrave and about Arduin.  Let's look at Hargrave’s Old School:

He says:
Reflecting on my re-reading of David Hargrave’s Arduin material, I realise that the “Old School” was never as homogeneous as many in the community would have us believe today. Hargrave was, perhaps, an outlying force in the hobby – contentious and loathed by some – but he was also a force for creativity and variety.

“But Dave was not satisfied with the trilogy, or the five supplements that followed it… For ten years he play-tested and wrote new rules almost continuously, trying to make the FRP experience easier and more accessible for the players…” (Compleat Arduin, Book 1, page iii) 

I will let you read the rest of it yourself, check out his other Arduin essays while you are there.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Arduin Week Day Five 2021

Today I want to highlight a post by DM David (blog) titled Once subversive, the Arduin Grimoire’s influence reaches today’s games.

He says,

Dave Hargrave’s campaign world of Arduin was not built; it was piled. To create Arduin, Hargrave took every fantastic element he dreamed up or fancied and piled them into one work of love. If Tekumal is a museum, with treasures for contemplation, then Arduin is a dragon’s horde, with everything shiny heaped to the walls.

Dragon's Horde is an apt description, as Arduin is filled with riches and to the discerning reader there are still things to be found in Arduin that is found no where else. Gygax commercialized Arneson's creation, but Hargrave fully understood Arneson's creation and built on what Arneson wrought in the same spirit in which Arneson wrought. No disrespect to Gygax, but for me when I sit down at the table, I want to do what Arneson did, what Hargrave did and that is put fun and immersion ahead of all rules. Some people say that "fun" is vague and meaningless to use to describe the game. I say that "fun" is shorthand for several hours of monologue about the game. (I am trying to remember who said that and where I read it.) All I can say is if you don't understand "fun," then you need to play a truly old school game and find out what it is.

In a look back on the trilogy, Ryk Spoor called Arduin “one of the most absolutely concentrated essences of the fun of roleplaying games ever made.”


To us, Hargrave preached bigger imaginary playgrounds. “The very essence of fantasy gaming is its total lack of limitation on the scope of play, both in its content and in its appeal to people of all ages, races, occupations or whatever,” Hargrave wrote. “So don’t limit the game by excluding aliens or any other type of character or monster. If they don’t fit what you feel is what the game is all about, don’t just say ‘NO!,’ whittle on them a bit until they do fit.” (Vol. II, p.99) 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Arduin Week Day Four 2021


I found this image over at Lizard's Gaming Blog. He has 51 Arduin posts that are well worth reading. 

He also posted this 

Dave Hargrave’s Gaming Philosophy. Also, Mine. Also, ‘eleven’, ’embarce’, etc. are as in original. I didn’t want to muck it up with ‘sics’.

And on this page are his reviews/essays on The Arduin Trilogy. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Arduin Week Day Three 2021

 Arduin fans are familiar with the term Arduin, Bloody Arduin.

I ran across this essay by Sarah Newton back in 2017. The really unique thing is that she started her RPG gaming with Arduin. For those that don't know, women have been playing Arduin and D&D from the beginning. I have previously noted that my 1975 OD&D group was 50/50 male/female. 

Arduin, Bloody Arduin – Thinking About How It Could Be Done

If you haven't read this essay I recommend that you do so.

As some of you may know, I’m a big fan of The Arduin Grimoire – the original gonzo fantasy fest RPG which followed hot on the heels of White Box D&D back in the 70s. I was actually an Arduin player before I was a D&D player; back in 1980/81, I got the very first Arduin Grimoire Volume 1 (the one with the Erol Otus Tunch on the front – you remember!), and for the best part of a year I played the game just with that book, before getting hold of White Box and the other 2 Arduin volumes. Yes, Virginia, you can play an entire game with just the first volume of The Arduin Grimoire. You have to wing it a fair bit in places (mostly in how many experience points to award), but it can be done.

Here is her take on how she would write it:

Well, one of the big hurdles the original Arduin Grimoire faced was that it wasn’t allowed to be a complete RPG using the D&D system. There was all kinds of litiginous stuff flying around in the day, and Dave Hargrave tippexed out all mentions of the game in subsequent printings. That left Arduin in the weird situation of not being quite a game, not being quite a supplement, which was always a bit of a shame.
That’s no longer the case. With the open gaming license, the d20SRD, and the whole Old School Renaissance movement, the d20 game system which underpinned Arduin is now available for use — and still wildly popular! So that’s where I’d start.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read and it I enjoyed it on the re-read today.



Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Arduin Week Day Two 2021

All of the Arduin books and resources have been out of print for years and not even available by pdf file, but just recently 14 of the Arduin items went back into circulation on DriveThruRPG - Emperors Choice

Arduin Grimoire Trilogy (although not in the boxed set as shown above) 

Arduin Adventure

Compleat Arduin Book 1

Compleat Arduin Book 2

The Black Grimoire aka Compleat Arduin Book 3 (unofficial)

These are a few of the items now listed in pdf format. Currently 24 items are listed and that is almost double what was available yesterday.

It is hoped that much more will soon be available in pdf and that print will also resume.

Some of the items are free. Please go buy something and send the message that Arduin fans are still here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Arduin Week (Day One) 2021

It is that time of year when we remember Dave Hargrave and Arduin (both the game and the campaign world).

It is always odd to me that people thought it was out there or controversial or anything of the sort. From the first time I laid eyes on The Arduin Grimoire (Volume One) 

it always seemed to me that this was a very logical evolution of Dungeons & Dragons.  Arduin started as a D&D campaign and was forced to go beyond those roots and become its own thing due to, IMO, short sightedness on the part of TSR. Me, I would have offered Hargrave a job and have published The Arduin Grimoire as the ultimate grab bag of ideas.Of course I would have down the same thing with Arneson's material. A dozen ways of doing each thing, false starts and all. It would have been a treasure. Fortunately Hargrave was no shrinking violet and The whole nine volume series of the Arduin Grimoires was the result. Volume nine, which I have never seen (YET) was the only volume that was not entirely Hargrave. IIRC both volume eight and nine were posthumous.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Coming Soon! Arduin Week & Dave Hargrave Day 2021

 Coming up in May - Arduin Week (May 18th to May 24th) followed immediately by Dave Hargrave Day on May 25th (his birthday).

David "Dave" Allen Hargrave

The Arduin Grimoire Volume 1 - Original Cover Illustration by Erol Otus

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Ides of March is " OD&D Inspirational Author Day" 2021

The Ides of March is " OD&D Inspirational Author Day" 2021, so I ask you to post about an author that has inspired you.

One author that inspired and inspires me is Frank R. Stockton who wrote "The Lady or the Tiger" and other great short stories.

From Wikipedia Frank R. Stockton (I encourage you to read the whole article):
Frank Richard Stockton (April 5, 1834 – April 20, 1902) was an American writer and humorist, best known today for a series of innovative children's fairy tales that were widely popular during the last decades of the 19th century.
Stockton avoided the didactic moralizing common to children's stories of the time. Instead, he humorously poked fun at greed, violence, abuse of power and other human foibles, describing his fantastic characters' adventures in a charming, matter-of-fact way in stories like "The Griffin and the Minor Canon" (1885) and "The Bee-Man of Orn" (1887).
His most famous fable, "The Lady, or the Tiger?" (1882), is about a man sentenced to an unusual punishment for having a romance with a king's beloved daughter.  He also wrote a sequel to the story, "The Discourager of Hesitancy".
The Lady, or the Tiger?
You can read it here
The short story takes place in a land ruled by a "semi-barbaric" king. Some of the king's ideas are progressive, but others cause people to suffer. One of the king's innovations is the use of a public trial by ordeal as "an agent of poetic justice", with guilt or innocence decided by the result of chance. A person accused of a crime is brought into a public arena and must choose one of two doors.[1] Behind one door is a lady whom the king has deemed an appropriate match for the accused; behind the other is a fierce, hungry tiger. Both doors are heavily soundproofed to prevent the accused from hearing what is behind each one. If he chooses the door with the lady behind it, he is innocent and must immediately marry her, but if he chooses the door with the tiger behind it, he is deemed guilty and is immediately devoured by the animal.

The king learns that his daughter has a lover, a handsome and brave youth who is of lower status than the princess, and has him imprisoned to await trial. By the time that day comes, the princess has used her influence to learn the positions of the lady and the tiger behind the two doors. She has also discovered that the lady is someone whom she hates, thinking her to be a rival for the affections of the accused. When he looks to the princess for help, she discreetly indicates the door on his right, which he opens.

The outcome of this choice is not revealed. Instead, the narrator departs from the story to summarize the princess's state of mind and her thoughts about directing the accused to one fate or the other, as she will lose him to either death or marriage. She contemplates the pros and cons of each option, though notably considering the lady more. "And so I leave it with all of you: Which came out of the opened door – the lady, or the tiger?"
Stockton later wrote "The Discourager of Hesitancy," a follow-up to "The Lady, or the Tiger?" that begins with five travelers visiting the kingdom to discover what the accused man in that story found behind the door he chose. An official tells them a second story, of a prince who had come to the kingdom to find a wife. Instead of allowing him to see any available ladies, the king had him immediately taken to guest quarters and summoned attendants to prepare him for a wedding to be held the next day. One attendant introduced himself as the Discourager of Hesitancy and explained that his job was to ensure compliance with the king's will, through the subtle threat of the large "cimeter" (scimitar) he carried.

At noon on the following day, the prince was blindfolded and brought before a priest, where a marriage ceremony was performed and he could feel and hear a lady standing next to him. Once the ceremony was complete, the blindfold was removed and he turned to find 40 ladies standing before him, one of whom was his new bride. If he did not correctly identify her, the Discourager would execute him on the spot. The prince narrowed the possibilities down to two, one lady smiling and one frowning, and made the correct choice.

The kingdom official tells the five travelers that once they figure out which lady the prince had married, he will tell them the outcome of "The Lady, or the Tiger?" The story ends with a comment that they still have not come to a decision.
You can read it here.

I would be hard pressed to rank his stories in order of which one is best, they are all excellent and full of ideas that you can mine and I hope that sometimes I succeed in porting some of this into my OD&D games.
The Adventures of Captain Horn is an 1895 adventure novel by Frank R. Stockton that was the third-best selling book in the United States in 1895. A sequel, Mrs. Cliff's Yacht, was released in 1897.
I see that The Adventures of Captain Horn is now available and since this is one I've never gotten to read, I am going to celebrate by reading it.

You can read many of his other stories here Books by Stockton, Frank Richard.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Original Cantrips Designed Specifically For OD&D

Here are some original Cantrips (designed specifically for OD&D) that I wrote up in an unfinished thread on my forum back in 2019 that I need to get back to over on my forum and finish. I thought I would share with you what I have done so far:

Better Rations: Enhances the flavor and texture of Iron Rations, making them an enjoyable meal. Affects up to 10 serving per use.

Bloom: Causes one flowering plant to burst into full bloom, maximum of 10 blossoms per use.

Nosy: Enables Magic-User to eavesdrop on conversations up to 60 feet away for 1 turn per use.

Flame: Allows a Magic-User to light a fire (1 campfire, 1 fireplace or the like)  or up to 10 candles per use.

Hidden: Enables the Magic-User to hide up to a dozen small objects that would otherwise be in full view for up to 3 turns.

Animate Minor Clean: Animates a dust cloth, broom, mop, or similar items to perform cleaning of a 10'x10'x10' cube within a room or space for 3 turns or until clean whichever comes first.

Snuff: Allows a Magic-User to snuff out a small fire (1 small campfire, 1 small fireplace or the like) or up to 10 candles per use.

Monday, February 1, 2021

An Artifact In My Campaign I Called "The Map"

One of the magic things IMC are paintings and tapestries (sometimes). Players have on occasions encountered a painting or a tapestry on a wall and been able to step directly into the scene and adventure there, where ever there is.

On one occasion they found a map that you could use to display other places that they wanted to know something about. They accidentally discovered that you could travel directly there by entering through the map and by reaching a hand into the map they could pull that player back out of the map. So on one occasion not long after they obtained the map they had to flee for their lives and they made the decision to escape by going through the map instead of riding away, but they were unwilling to give the map up so they each took hold of a corner of the map and jumped in together and pulled the map through itself after them (or tried to anyway).

What happened is that the event sent a magical shock wave around the world and as they materialized in the new location (The Blighted Lands - now with new massive damage to the landscape), a powerful magic user appeared and cast a spell and they were in stasis in a bubble and only able to observe and nothing else (meanwhile the map which was an Artifact was gone and not to be found). The magic user immediately disappeared was followed over the next few minutes with many different beings appearing and immediately disappearing. After a while things settled down.

Then the magic user reappeared and pulled them out of stasis and gave them a stern lecture.

1. what they did could have caused immense destruction and innocent deaths.
2. things like that and other very powerful magic contradictions draw the notice of powerful entities and you don't want that
3. you could have ended up in a very bad place, any number of them
4. you are welcome for my saving your lives, I'll take my pay and go (and taking his pick of their magic (one from each player) he left)

They did not complain, when you are standing in the middle of a new smoking crater that you caused, it is hard to argue that you being mistreated when you are still alive.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Legends of Roleplaying & TLB Games Adventures

Paul J Stormberg posted this over at Dragonsfoot Legends of Roleplaying & TLB Games Adventures

Announcing a partnership deal with the Robert J. Kuntz Estate and a new line of products from both TLB GAMES and LEGENDS OF ROLEPLAYING(TM):


TLB GAMES produces a series of RPG products with an eye toward the history of the game. Our first new TLB GAMES(TM) releases, The Game That Changed Everything, a monograph by Robert J. Kuntz on the event that led to the creation of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS®, and a line of Old School Cool Posters for your game room or home office, will be available January 31st, 12 Noon (GMT-6) on the TLB GAMES(TM) website (


LEGENDS OF ROLEPLAYING(TM) grew out of the incredibly successful, LEGENDS OF ROLEPLAYING(TM) TOURNAMENT featured at GARY CON each year. These highly popular adventures are now being published through LEGENDS OF ROLEPLAYING(TM). Our first LEGENDS OF ROLEPLAYING(TM) release, adventure LR1 Beyond the Living Room by Robert J. Kuntz, will be available January 31st, 12 Noon (GMT-6) when the LEGENDS OF ROLEPLAYING(TM) website goes live (

In addition to these, more old school adventures are being planned. But these aren't just "old school" adventures in name and appearance, they are old school adventures, heart and soul. They are written, edited, illustrated, mapped, and play-tested by the LEGENDS OF ROLEPLAYING(TM) themselves. That's right, the band is getting back together!

At one point in time TSR, the company that brought us DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® and ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS®, had the magic. It had a gathering of the most talented creative people in the gaming industry. Now those former TSR creatives have recaptured their magic with adventure designs by Rob Kuntz, Jim Ward, Mike Carr, Allen Hammack, and Kevin Hendryx, cartography by Steve Sullivan, and artwork by Jeff Dee, Erol Otus, Darlene, Dave "Diesel" LaForce, Harry Quinn, and Jeff Easley.

Join us! The adventures you seek are at hand!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Blackmoor Week Day 1 September 24th, 2020

 Today is the first day of Blackmoor Week 2020 which runs from Sept. 24-30 followed immediately by Dave Arneson Game Day on October 1st. This is a time to remember Blackmoor and Dave Arneson and celebrate both. 

Dave Arneson is the man to which the entire hobby called Role Playing Games should pay homage for his out-sized contributions to the game genre. Born October 1st, 1947,  he died an untimely death when he passed away April 7th, 2009 at only 61 years old. He was the creator of Blackmoor which was inspired by many things including his experiences with David Wesely's "Braunstein" games which Arneson took over after Wesely departure for military service.

Following the departure of David Wesely to service in the Army Reserves in October 1970, Arneson and his fellow players in the Twin Cities began to imagine alternate settings for "Braunstein" games. Arneson developed a Braunstein in which his players played fantasy versions of themselves in the medieval Barony of Blackmoor, a land inhabited in part by fantastic monsters. As the game quickly grew and characters developed, Arneson devised scenarios where they would quest for magic and gold, escort caravans, lead armies for or against the forces of evil, and delve into the dungeons beneath Castle Blackmoor.

As noted in the Wikipedia Article; however, sadly this article contains a lot of false information which has been repeatedly debunked.

Join me this week as we look back over the last 50 years of Blackmoor, Dave Arneson's creation.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary - Day One Hundred and Sixty

Celebrating 2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary of Blackmoor and of Role-Playing!

Now we come to Loch Gloomen (Dave Arneson):

So he tells of the players being "exiled for losing Blackmoor to the Baddies," so they were sent to Loch Gloomen or Lake Gloomy under heavy escort. They could only take what they could carry. This would mean that they lost a lot of stuff.

Then he sets it up so they cannot tell determine direction. A 20% chance of getting lost without knowing it. On top of that he provides multiple adversaries of the human variety not counting the monsters.

A sample playing area, with base wealth, creature based in each area plus treasure. Also Hit Dice of creatures per area. He says no more than 300 Hit Dice of creatures followed by examples all larger to much larger than that, one example be 3000 Hit Dice of creatures.

A table to roll on for a description of an area.  A lot of information is packed into this little table. It is an excellent guide for how to create and use a table.

I love this, one True Troll and two Ogres (standard Trolls).

This is a pretty detailed, but very concise note. A lot of people tend to dismiss and sneer at this volume, but IMO that is pathetic and the complaints ring hollow. There is so much information in The First Fantasy Campaign, and it was first. I really believe that anyone who really sneers at this volume is just jealous. This is not a rulebook although it has rules in it, it is a snippet of the campaign as it was. But then I am not someone who thinks a nice prettied up document is better in some way, than the honest unpolished gem. I would take one of these over a dozen hard back, slick paper, full color modern tomes.  IMO an awful lot of time and money are wasted producing things that are more designed to be a coffee table book, than to be useful for gaming.

That being said, there are of course some real gems with high production values. But to be clear, the high production values is not what makes them a gem, the high production values are the whipped cream with a cherry on top. The gem is the great stuff under the whipped cream.

The next page is a long section detailing the description of each area and what it contains.

Bleakwood was provided as another example. Note that it was accidentally destroyed.

Then we have the makeup of Bleakwood, as far as major features.

Monday, June 8, 2020

2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary - Day One Hundred and Fifty-Nine

Celebrating 2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary of Blackmoor and of Role-Playing!

Here are some more Richard Snider changes from Blackmoor:

I found this to be intriguing and the only reason I have not used it, is that I have not had any players with a Barony since reading this. Your hireling was over qualified and has taken your place, so sorry. :;) 

The five ways to destroy a true Vampire. See item F below for more info about two of these methods. I love these names "True Bishop of La Hazar," "The Sacred Lake of the Acaldi," "The Death Plant of the Saccinid Monks." Great names, evocative names is a necessary skill for a referee. Bitd, you had to come up with your own, now there are many places to turn to for help if you need it. 

Then a few ways that have only a 33% chance of even doing damage.

The the restrictions on entering rooms and no reflection in a mirror. The details on how a Vampire can make a Flunky Vampire. Have you ever done this in your game? I have not, but might someday.

Locations lost in time, sounds like something to follow up on and search out, when I play, I would be completely into something like this.

2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary - Day One Hundred and Fifty-Eight

Celebrating 2020 - The Year of Blackmoor - 50th Anniversary of Blackmoor and of Role-Playing!

Continuing with Richard Snider's changes:

I love that first sentence!  Detailing out eight Baronies is a really good start. No gunpowder, and yes Blackmoor did have gunpowder.

Do you use any type of apprenticeships in your campaign? I never have, but every time I read this section, I wonder if I should. I think if I could play twice a week like I did in college I would do it.

Simple way to run languages. I like this Odds of Creature Friendship, I have run variations on that theme, it can be fun if a player not only ends up with a new friend, but ends up with some really odd fanatical follower.