Translate

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Blackmoor Week Day Seven

Back a few years ago Dave Arneson was interviewed for Issue #2 of Fight On! magazine. In it he was asked this:
FO! Did you ever try early role-playing experiments in other kinds of settings, or was it pretty much all Blackmoor?
DA We tried many settings for roleplaying, including Modern, Horse and Musket, Wild West, and some Sci-fi. Some of the material from the latter game slipped into City Of The Gods.
Wouldn't we all of loved to have been there for that, even if only as a fly on the wall watching it.

In that interview which unfortunately was extremely brief we also learn this about Dave Arneson:
My favorite computer games are the world strategy games, like Age of Empires and Civilization. 
As a huge Civilization fan, that rather tickles me that in so many things Dave and I have the same taste. I've never tired Age of Empires, but I am sure I would like it.

As I think about it, I think of the three Davids of gaming:

David Wesely
David Arneson
David Hargrave

It is sad that they did not all hook up in a game company together with a silent partner to fund and hire support staff and a good editor. That would have been DIY gaming material for the next century.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Blackmoor Week Day Six

David "Dave" Lance Arneson, creator of table top role-playing, and Blackmoor, creator and co-author of Dungeons & Dragons, has a birthday anniversary in a few days. Born October 1st, 1947 he revolutionized the gaming work with the creation of the table top role-playing game.

Rob Kuntz wrote the first of several books to come exploring this topic. Here is a review that covers the book titled  by  in a review located at Cedgewick's Reviews > Dave Arneson's True Genius. I will post here a quote from the lengthy detailed review that constitutes by far the best review of the book to date.
The first essay deals with the unique system qualities of Arneson’s creation, Blackmoor, which Arneson conceived of and developed more than a year prior to revealing it to Gygax. Here Kuntz’s genuine excitement and respect for what Arneson achieved is readily apparent, as he reveals 26 distinct leaps in game design that he has identified from Arneson’s work. Most notably is Arneson’s genius in merging two seemingly disparate concepts: the open system of play as exemplified by children imagining together, and the closed system of play as exemplified by a typical board game. Kuntz then moves on to demonstrate, through analysis of Gygax’s own shifting statements as well as through recounting several key events, how TSR abandoned a basic tenet of Arneson’s philosophy: that of the gamemaster as the absolute creator of his own highly individualized game. In its place, Gygax instituted a new and far less creative role for the gamemaster as simply the administrator of standardized and structured rules (AD&D and the boxed sets of increasing complexity), premade game worlds (Greyhawk and Mystara) and even premade adventures (modules). Kuntz points out that Gygax instituted this shift at TSR to further monetize Arneson’s concept while privately adhering to Arneson’s original philosophy at his own gaming table.
I highly recommend that you read the entire review and that you buy the book in order to gain a more complete picture of the genius of Dave Arneson.

Or just go play some Dungeons & Dragons, but take off the training wheels and run your own adventure and make the game your own. Arneson won't mind, he'll be happy for you! 

Yes, I know I talked about the same review twice and that is because it is that good, go read the whole thing and then buy the book. :)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Blackmoor Week Day Five

If one is really interested in learning more about the creative side of Dave Arneson, one should get the book "Dave Arneson's True Genius, by Robert J Kuntz. While I am not allowed to quote from the book itself, I will refer you to this review Cedgewick's Reviews > Dave Arneson's True Genius on Goodreads by Cedgewick, the researcher Michael Wittig who is known for being honest and forthright.

Quoting portions of Mr. Wittig's excellent review
More subtly on display, however, is Mr. Kuntz’s unarguable bravery in tackling the firmly-entrenched Gygaxian narrative of Dungeons & Dragon’s creation. In fact, to my knowledge this is the first time anyone in the 43 year history of the game has dared to challenge that narrative in a published work, despite the persistent whispers in various corners of the industry of its fallacy. But what better man to do it than Kuntz, who was at the table with Gary Gygax when Arneson first unveiled his revolutionary new game system?
Then he says 
The first essay deals with the unique system qualities of Arneson’s creation, Blackmoor, which Arneson conceived of and developed more than a year prior to revealing it to Gygax. Here Kuntz’s genuine excitement and respect for what Arneson achieved is readily apparent, as he reveals 26 distinct leaps in game design that he has identified from Arneson’s work. Most notably is Arneson’s genius in merging two seemingly disparate concepts: the open system of play as exemplified by children imagining together, and the closed system of play as exemplified by a typical board game. 
You'll want to follow the link to see what he says next all the way to the end of the review as it goes from solid point to solid point.

He closes with this 
If, by now, the reader of this review gets the sense that I have summarized all of the thoughts and topics contained in this 69 page book, I can assure you that I have not. But given the superficial nature of the other reviews that I’ve seen for this book, I thought it necessary to provide you a taste of the thought-provoking richness Kuntz offers should you dare to read his book—if you are brave enough to do so, good luck and enjoy the adventure!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Blackmoor Week Day Four

Over at The Comeback Inn - The Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Discussion Forum there is a wealth of Dave Arneson and Blackmoor information. Some of it is available to the public and other treasures are reserved for forum members only.

Some of the things available are:
General Blackmoor Discussions
Blackmoor Rules Discussion
The Original Blackmoor Campaign (Members Only)
Other Twin Cities Campaigns (Members Only)
The Blackmoor MMRPG Campaign

Discussion about Dave Arneson's Blackmoor the MMRPG ("Living Blackmoor"). 
The MMRPG episodes are available as FREE DOWNLOADS here! (Members Only)
Greyhawk & Blackmoor
Mystara & Blackmoor
Other Worlds & Blackmoor

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Blackmoor Week Day Three

As you celebrate the birth of Dave Arneson and the unique place he occupies as the founder of our hobby, you may wonder what some of the Blackmoorian monsters are? They can be found at The Blackmoor Archives:
The Blackmoor Bestiary ( it is in d20 format but converting back to the proper OD&D format is a trivial exercise and easily completed)
Monster: Sandfolk, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Frogfolk, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Killer Frog, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Gakarak, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Grazer, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Man, Hidehunter, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Robot, Dbot, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Robot, Ebot, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Robot, Sbot, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Robot, Ubot, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Cyborg type III, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus
Monster: Cyborg type IV, converted by Traianus Decius Aureus

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Blackmoor Week Day Two

As you celebrate Dave Arneson and Blackmoor week you may want to know more about him and about it. At The Blackmoor Archives there is a download page and a few of the items available for download are:
The Silent Guard
The Sightless Sisters
The Gen'Ri
The Eldrich Underground
The Brothers of the Greenwood
The Wizards Cabal
The Topaz Eye
Castle Blackmoor Preview, preview to the Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor
Three Blackmoor NPCs, an except from the D20 Campaign Sourcebook
Blackmoor Dungeon Level 1, revised Dungeon Level 1 from Dungeons of Castle Blackmoor
Paladins of Blackmoor Blackmoor Softcover Book.
Blackmoor Hex Map, sample from the D20 Blackmoor Softcover Book.
The Maiden's Blackmoor, first draft of the companion for the Last Fantasy Campaign (pdf). 
Character creation rules for the Blackmoor MMRPG 4E. Includes a sneak preview of the new Inventor Class!
City of the Gods Web Enhancement (pdf) from CMP. Includes stats for two monsters; the Sandfolk and the Camarilla.
Return to the Temple of the Frog, A D&D 3.5 adventure by Ted Albert available from Wizards of the Coast. (Preserved at the Internet Archive)
Supplement II: Blackmoor (pdf) by Dave Arneson 
First Fantasy Campaign Map of Blackmoor by Dave Arneson 
And that is just a small sample of what is there, go check it out. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Blackmoor Week Day One

Today is the kickoff of Blackmoor Week celebrating Dave Arneson and Blackmoor. If you would like to know more about Blackmoor and about Dave Arneson then you should check out this site:

The Blackmoor Archives

There is no better resource for all things Blackmoor. The site contains links to a forum (you have to be a member to access the good stuff), Havard's Blackmoor blog (a cool chap from Norway), articles, history, a bestiary, rules, gallery, maps, campaigns, worlds, community, MMRPG (a lot of those links do not work as the MMRPG is no longer running).

Community is a partial list of websites that have Blackmoor and/or Dave Arneson information.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Secrets of Blackmoor Documentary

Secrets of Blackmoor is a Feature-Length Documentary about the birth of the “Mother of all Games”: Dungeons & Dragons.
Blackmoor is the name of a fictional world created by David Arneson. It is also the prototype of Dungeons & Dragons, the first published role playing game. Unlike other fantasy worlds, such as J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, Blackmoor is a living world that is being explored to this day. Secrets of Blackmoor investigates the origins of the role playing game, through candid interviews, archival footage, and newly discovered artifacts.

This Secrets of Blackmoor T-shirt is for those who want to show their alliance with the old ways of gaming.
With artwork by none other than Bob Bledsaw Jr. who illustrated some of the first game modules ever published, including Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign.
This T-shirt features a minimalist design of Castle Blackmoor backlit by a rising full moon and the movie title right up top. 
Oh oh,  Gerti the Dragon has decided to take flight tonight!
Bob Meyer says "You could never be sure if Gerti was a good dragon, or a bad dragon…"
Be one of the few who celebrate the oldest role playing campaign ever, with your "The Legend Begins" movie shirt! 

With artwork by none other than Bob Bledsaw Jr. who illustrated some of the first game modules ever published, including Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign.
This updated unisex essential fits like a well-loved favorite. Super-soft cotton and excellent quality print will make this your favorite shirt.
 Special! Buy a shirt, and get a code to see the Gary Con 2018 35 Minute Demo Screener Free! See the trailer here.