Sunday, September 25, 2016

Introducing Blackmoor Week 2016

For many years now, fans all over the world have been celebrating Dave Arneson Game Day on October 1st, Dave Arneson's birthday. Some fans have been expanding this tradition to include the week leading up to October 1st as well, referring to that whole week as Blackmoor Week.

I think this is a wonderful idea and this year I will be embracing this growing tradition. Better still, this is a world wide event so all of you can join in as well! There are many ways you can take part in Blackmoor Week and it doesn't have to be all that complicated. This is all about celebrating Dave Arneson, Blackmoor, Dungeons & Dragons and gaming in general. So, do you want to write blog or forum articles, run games, make drawings, paintings or other art or find other ways to celebrate your love for gaming, that is awesome.

But make sure you share those things with us. Post about what you are doing in the comments here, over at the Comeback Inn or any of the other associated websites. I will add links to all the websites and events here on my blog so that we can share in the fun! This week, I have some special surprises in store for you guys as well, but those will have to wait a few days.

What will you be doing for Blackmoor Week this year and where can we learn more about it?

Also, if you post about your Blackmoor Week activities online, please link back to this place so that we can all share in the fun! :)

Check out the official Comeback Inn Blackmoor Week Thread for more related links and information.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

DA4 Duchy of Ten now available on DMSGuild!

At last the final installment of the classic DA module series is available for purchase in PDF format. The Duchy of Ten was one of the realms just beyond Blackmoor's borders that date back to Dave Arneson's original campaign. This module introduces those lands, now occupied by the invading Afridhi and their evil queen Toska Rusa. In the Duchy of Ten DM's can learn about the evil deity, Zugzul and the Well of Souls.

Of the DA series, this module was the one Dave Arneson was least happy about as he was not consulted or credited for this project. Still, it does seem that David Ricthie did base parts of the module on Dave Arneson's campaign and I think it belongs on the shelves (or HDs) of any true Blackmoor fan!

Find the Duchy of Ten here on the DM's Guild.

What is your opinion on DA4 the Duchy of Ten?

See also:

Discussion about this module at The Comeback Inn


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dykstra: Her Quest for Immortality

I have to admit, I wasn't a huge fan of Terry Dykstra's art when I first came across it in the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia. As many of you will know, my favourite edition of D&D is the version popularly known as BECMI written by Frank Mentzer between 1983-83. The 1991 Rules Cyclopedia collected most of the rules from the BECMI boxed sets, but replaced the interior illustrations by masters like Larry Elmore and Jeff Easley with those of Dystra. Now that is a tough act to follow and it was hard for me to look at them without comparing them to what had come before. Later I have come to appreciate Dykstra's art more though, not only in the Rules Cyclopedia, but also in the follow-up product, the Wrath of the Immortals Boxed set which revised the most innovative part of Frank Mentzer's rules: Rules for playing the godlike Immortals.

One thing I really do like about Dykstra's art is that he uses the illustrations to tell stories. One such example is the Quest for Immortality that appears in the Wrath of the Immortals: Codex I:
The first image shows a young female heroine's first encounter with one of the Immortals. This is the one who will become her sponsor and she encounters him in a dream. I am not sure if this is supposed to be a specific Immortal. It could be Ixion, but artist Paul Abrams made Ixion look very different in Codex II. I think the glowy effect is simply the Aura Ability possessed by all Immortals. 
This second image shows the young heroine finally embarking on the quest to become an Immortal. This illustration shows the part of the quest called the Petition, where the PC must travel alone to formally seek out an Immortal to become her sponsor. Most likely she is seeking out the site revealed to her by the Immortal in her dream earlier. 
The third image shows the heroine continuing her quest. She is in battle with Orcs or goblins. If this is supposed to take place after she is already on her quest for Immortality, such opponents should be no problem for her. The illustration shows that her sponsor is watching her progress however. 
The fourth image has the heroine back with her adventurer group. This image also shows our heroine with a mace suggesting that she is likely the group's cleric.Here they are in some dungeon, having discovered a powerful artifact; a crown of some sorts. This item could be an important part of her quest. Is this an item she has to destory, or something she needs to use to continue her quest? 

The fifth and last image shows the party, still in the same(?) dungeon. The windows behind them suggest that this could be in a castle above the dungeon from the above dungeon. It seems that they have defeated all the monsters and are trying to figure out what to do with a mysterious portal they have discovered. Will the quest for Immortality take the group to other planes?

This last image is from the Rules Cyclopedia, also by Dykstra. For a long time I thought this was the same character as the Cleric from the images above. However, she carries a different symbol at this time so this could be a different character. What do you think?


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mystara Guide to the Multiverse in the works!

As some of you will know, I have been working on making maps for the Inner and Outer Planes of Mystara these last couple of months and posting them on The Piazza.

Paul over at the Mystara Cartography Group on Facebook asked me if I had any reference documents with all the planes listed. That gave me the idea I could do better. What about a full guide to Mystara's Multiverse?

At this point, this is just a draft containing a list of all the planes, dimensions and planar locations that I could find in the published material as well as a few fan created ones.

Check out the first draft here!


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Happy Gary Gygax Day 2016

The birthday of Gary Gygax: July 27, 1938 has since been known as Gary Gygax Day. Although this blog has been dedicated to the other D&D co-creator, Dave Arneson, I have always said that I am a fan of both Dave and Gary. Without the both of them, the world would never have seen this wonderful game that changed my life.

We plan on celebrating Dave Arneson Day later this year, on October 1st, but this day belongs to Gary. D&D was such an important part of my childhood and continues to be an important thing in my life today as an adult. Through this game I have had so much fun, learned so much and most importantly met so many great and interesting people.

The early gamers understood that tabletop gaming brings people together. It is a social activity in a face to face environment. In today's age when we all bury our faces into the screens, we might just need this more than ever.

Thank you Gary. Happy birthday.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

RJK to Publish Book on Dave Arneson!

A bit late to this party as I have been travelling, but just a few days ago Robert J Kuntz announced that he is planning to publish a book titled Dave Arneson's True Genius. According to Kuntz' blog, the book has already been written and contains three essays totalling 20.000 words. The book will be published by Black Blade Publishing and is planned for release by the end of the year.

Robert J Kuntz should need no introduction to the readers of this blog, but in addition to being one of Gary's Lake Geneva Group Players, and contributor to several early day D&D publications, Kuntz has also always shown a great deal of respect towards Dave Arneson. From personal experience, Kuntz has been extremely helpful in sharing his knowledge about Dave Arneson and early gaming history. This was really useful when I was doing my research on Dave's life and game design exploits, so I am all the more curious to get to read this book!

Robert J Kuntz also has alot of other plans in the works, including future books on gaming, a DVD Collection and more! I will report more when I learn more about this project.

So, gentle readers: are you as excited as me about this? Do you think this is the book that will finally treat Dave Arneson fairly?

Huge thank you to my friend Big Mac from The Piazza D&D Forum for pointing me to this bit of news.

More discussion of this article here.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Megarry's Dungeon for Sale

To be honest I have mixed feelings about these collectors markets, but Dungeon! was designed by Dave Megarry, one of the original Blackmoor players, which makes it part of Blackmoor history. Note that this is a published copy, not the handmade version Megarry made himself. I wrote more about David Megarry and his Dungeon! game here.

Here is what the Collector's Trove posted on Facebook:
The Collector's Trove Presents: Designer's Copy of Dungeon!
The Collector's Trove is proud to bring you David R. Megarry's own designer's copy of the Dungeon! boardgame still in its original shrinkwrap!
In addition to David's comp copies he received as the designer of Dungeon! he also purchased several lots of 50 sets at a time from TSR and either sold them to retailers or gave them away as giftss. He now only has a half-dozen or so left to give as gifts or to sell and this is one.

As you know, David was a member of the Midwest Military Simulation Association (MMSA), a group of wargamers and friends based in St. Paul, MN, that included Dave Arneson, Mike Carr, Maj. David Wesley, and several others that would go on to design a number of popular wargames.

David took part in playing fantasy adventures in Dave Arneson’s original Blackmoor, a game that incorporated much of the Fantasy Supplement of Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren’s Chainmail Medieval miniature warfare game but innovated with concepts of roleplaying individual characters, experience gains, levels, and most importantly the fantasy dungeon adventure. David Megarry took these experiences and codified them in to a much more regular, but still dynamic, board game, Dungeon! in 1973.

Dungeon! is the fantastic board game that is an ancestor of Dungeons & Dragons and represents the roleplaying game in its purest form – the dungeon delve! Players take on the role of a Hero, Elf, Wizard, or Superhero and play their way across the dungeon-themed gameboard. In their explorations they fight monsters, avoid traps, and find fabulous treasures!

Gary Gygax was the biggest proponent of the game, playtesting, making modifications, creating variants, and shopping it around to various game publishers. At one point, Gary and David made an offering of the game, titled Dungeons of Pasha Cada, to Don Lowry of Guidon Games but it was ultimately decided that it would be too expensive to print the maps. Finally, the game was picked up by TSR who put it into production in 1975.

Since then, Dungeon! has been the most successful board game ever produced by TSR and is still being published to this day! It has gone through dozens of reprintings and new editions, has been translated into a computer game, and even had a line of miniatures marketed for use as pawns. In fact, in August 2012, the game’s current owner, Hasbro, put out a brand new edition of the game and in 2014 revised the game’s presentation to appeal to younger players in yet another release!

Quite the legacy indeed! Now you have a chance to be a curator of a portion of this legacy, care for it well and enjoy!

Item Starts Sunday, June 12th, 2016 at 7:25 p.m. CST/MEX

Item Ends Sunday, June 19th, 2016 at 7:25 p.m. CST/MEX

Here is the link to place your bids:

Although it should be clear from this article, I am not the seller and am in no way associated with the Collector's Trove.

More discussion of this article.