So Maylin's looking for an adventure. Tomb of Horrors is one option, but I might throw out some Blackmoor hooks too, see which way he goes. A trip to the City of the Gods sounds fun. I also have a Tharizdun based adventure seed set in the Land of Black Ice inspired by some references from the Slayers Guide to Undead. I'm getting a real Winterfell vibe for Blackmoor.
Post by geneweigel on Aug 12, 2014 22:55:11 GMT -5
You mean a Wintershiven vibe?
I was not influenced by Dave Arneson's Blackmoor in any way (didn't see the First Fantasy and the DA series was not out yet so 1985?) when I concocted the sketch for "Bestmo". It was as a barbaric and evil character all dirty and big-helmed. I have to dig that out as I can't recall the details.
If you're referring to the high level SLAYER'S GUIDE TO THE THE UNDEAD (2002) mini-module, I like about 75% of it but the core of it, which is somewhat important, has this feeling of wanting to reach out to the then new edition which kind of subtracted from the purpose of buying a Gygax product over a then official product. For instance, the character classes (especially the necromantic specialist) are too 3E official as well as reference to certain undead types or modding out with templates. Otherwise the only disappointment is that its too short. Perhaps an expanded map of the dungeons and using the scenario for an outline, as well as for key areas, for a larger complex.
Not the mini-module, one of the short hooks at the end of the nightshade entry, but I was mis-remembering. It was beyond a black waterfall, and not black ice.
Oh, that would make a more Tharizdun-like adventure for sure. Oops. Nightshade those are monsters from the MASTER RULES SET (1985) by Frank Mentzer. I wonder if Mentzer originally had that planned for the Skip Williams' blown off adventure SHADOWLAND which Gygax said was almost ready in 1980 and a few years ago Gygax also said the monsters were already figured for it at the time of the hostile takeover? Maybe they wended their way into MASTER RULES SET? Could be!
I've always wondered what is the appropriate way to develop the World of Greyhawk's Blackmoor region. Clearly, it is not intended to be Dave Arneson's campaign world, but it is a tip of the hat to it. And it is a sort of reference back to the time when one could get from EGG's campaign to DA's campaign by travelling overland, just like you could drive from Lake Geneva up to the Twin Cities. Wasn't it in the "Gnome Cache" story that the characters travelled north from the Great Kingdom up towards Blackmoor? So, maybe that was the original conception: everyone's D&D game was on the same "world" but in different countries or regions, and you could get to them by walking, horse, flying carpet, or whatever. But then, later, the conception evolved to the idea of other dimensions, alternate Prime Material planes, and so on.
It seems wrong to not incorporate at least some of DA's game material into GH Blackmoor. At least get the Temple of the Frog in there, and the City of Gods, and maybe some version of the Egg of Coot and Sir Fang.
I would use the Dave Arneson stuff as a base. The old temple of the Frog adventure is pretty cool. The re-make has a lot of muck to sift through. There really isn't a good City of the Gods reference. I have the DA version and the D20 version, and neither is very good. If he would go there, I would probably get him to make one or two trips into the Blackmoor dungeon, then spring the frogs on him, and use that to lead the party to the CotG.
The D20 city of the Gods was disappointing. There very little in there about the City. It's a railroady adventure and most of the book deals with the journey to the city, and the adventure plot. The DA version had a lot of fluff, but there was still a good frame to put something together. The D20 version is really powered down though, which is odd for a D20 product. The robots are like 7, 8, or 9 HD, compared to the 20 HD Terminators from the DA version.
The things that I had to go on was what could be imagined from the alignments (LE, NE and LN) and the grey tinge meaning its devoted to evil and therefore dangerous to travel according the alignment map. Nothing was in my mind from Arneson(I was surprised to read through DA and find no Bestmo material.) I just pictured from the text description: A) uncivilized by regional travel, B) no cavalry except in the force of the ruler, C) little known territory Years, later after seeing the contradictory and bizarre DA series and reapproaching the 1983 (1980) Greyhawk entry's mention of the original capital as being a ruin in which the Blackmoor dungeons reside I had created a notion considering Dave Arneson's cheerleader fans (who were really just anti-Gygax pro-Williams fans) that Blackmoor should be forgotten so this savage helmeted Northern goon version of Bestmo that I had pictured out of the Frazetta era (perhaps not specifically Frazetta) never came to light.
I think it wasn't until I drew that City of the Gods quick sketch was the only reapproach to Blackmoor. I read all Blackmoor/Arneson to date (1975,1977,1986-1987,2004, 2009) which is all, to be fair, not well executed in good D&D standards. I had approached the Arneson subject many times with Gary Gygax and I think deep down Gary loved him but wished that he could put it on paper. Specifically, Gary had told me directly that the heart of the problem with Arneson was over his inability to work on some ship game called DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP! (1972). I have no idea about that game. I was coming to Gary Gygax with a well known dislike of Dave Arneson lovers (which is rare or even unique) and him feeling comfortable telling me he liked the man but he played more than worked. Walking with Rob Kuntz at GenCon 2002 and running in to Dave Arneson just fed the beast as I listened to them drone on and on and I must have gone insane at that point from dislike of Arneson lovers to dislike of Arneson himself! Of course, Mike (Gronan) Mornard does nothing to help my dislike of all things Arneson he just adds fuel to the fire with every interaction!
Seriously, I would love to filter out the madness and arrive at Dave Arneon's place in World of Greyhawk as it should have been. The last version of BLACKMOOR was so bad it was diarrhea inducing. If ADVENTURES IN BLACKMOOR was meant to be a return of Arneson that was fucked up by Williams and company then technically it can be retrieved. The 3000 years before approach that the series had could have been an element that was fucked up.
I agree, Blackmoor has never been published well. But every person I've ever spoken to about Dave's game states he was a great DM and it was a very fun campaign. And I can catch a glimpse of good stuff in the published stuff, but the overall presentation is terrible. With Greyhawk, I'd probably keep the Greyhawk info, and supplement it with nuggets mined from Dave's campaign. BTW, I spoke to Dave pretty often online, and he was always very cool and accommodating.
I just remembered a Gen Con moment, Dave charging for his autograph, his assistant collecting the money and Dave not even pausing his conversation with Rob to acknowledge the little kid he just dinged for his autograph. That left a bad taste in my mouth.
Its crazy that Arneson's content legacy is hollow.
Thats why Blackmoor Greyhawk is an enigma. The First Fantasy Campaign (1980) is like a journey into accountancy. Its smudged material from Chainmail, the 3 book set and implied towards use with Judges Guild's world. Nowhere is there something that screams usable game component. Its like any nerd dropped his organized campaign notes in your lap and you couldn't get an ounce of use because they use the books. Thats the Arneson formula. You can get more out of any fantasy novel.
The Egg of Coot and Ran of Ah Fooh just sound like pencillings on the back of his player's character sheets. I had piled up campaign detritus that sounded just like it back in the mid-80's but I learned to sift and ignore that kind of shit.
For Greyhawk's Blackmoor I would use several of Dave's ideas: lots of small, competing baronies, the City of the Gods, the Temple of the Frog, a strong orc threat, elves associated with the town of Blackmoor itself. In Dave's campaign, controll of Blackmoor changed hands several times. I would say Bestmo recently siezed control from the previous ruler and his elf allies, and the elves may be working to recapture the town/castle.
I remember an old story Gary or Ernie told me about an adventure in Blackmoor. Elves controlled the place at the time. Gary (as Yrag), Ernie, Rob, and Terry were playing. Yrag ended up killing Terry's, and maybe Rob's characters, and was captured by the elves, but they let him go after they decided it was a justified killing.
Post by geneweigel on Aug 15, 2014 11:24:50 GMT -5
I wonder if the City of the Gods is just a plain old Enterprise map? It certainly seems that DA3 CITY OF THE GODS (1987) is a total reinvention with Arneson's grab n' go attitude mixed with someone else trying to codifying that simplicity that is why its so incoherent.
This "Beagle" seems like an Arneson grab n' go which is less obvious than the crashed Enterprise because with all the trendy sci-fi techno items in DA3 its completely different trendy sci-fi techno items in FIRST FANTASY (1980). FF seems to be "duh, Star Trek" and with DA3 its "duh, light sabers, space Beagle, etc.".
If I wanted to recreate a Blackmoor session as a tribute to the halcyon D&D days then I would go with the Enterprise.