Greyhawk Castle level 2 has 20 keyed encounter areas in two pages of handwritten text. The write-ups are more detailed than the one-line Gygax ones, some are 2 lines, others up to about 6 (maybe 50 words). It's pretty cool. Whether it's $80 worth of cool depends on how easily you can spare $80.
The ERK dungeon levels 1 and 3 also have keys with their maps (CG level 2 was ERK level 2 originally), but those two weren't incorporated into the Expanded Castle Greyhawk. The only other CG key is from the Bottle City level.
Three linked essays forming the first major treatise on David L. Arneson, the man behind the role playing frenzy that swept the nation 1974 onward and that continues to this very day world wide; and all of it, as revealed herein, based upon a unique systems architecture he invented and utilized for his make believe campaign world, Blackmoor, circa 1971.
This extensively researched work reveals:
That Arneson broke with 2,000 years of game design history and theory by creating and implementing a transcendent systems structure never before conceived of in the history of games or play. The author examines and explains Arneson’s evolutionary systems architecture.
That the design dimension qualities of Arneson’s systems structure are still in their embryonic stages due to his original concept being redacted for a less robust system, and by the very company which was catapulted from a basement concern to a near 1 million dollar business almost “overnight” while at first championing it.
That outstanding claims that the RPG concept, as first made available commercially as Original Dungeons & Dragons™ in 1974, is descended from the game Chainmail are incorrect and stem from assumptive leaps of logic not consonant with design theory or systems theory. Both of the latter’s knowledge bases are utilized by the author to debunk this ongoing fallacy.
Included as addenda to this work is a section and chapter outline, including select samples, from the author’s upcoming and much larger work, A New Ethos in Game Design: The Paradigm Shift Originated by Dungeons & Dragons™, 1972-1977.
At first, it sounds like a bad idea but at the same time it seems more interesting than these "scholarly" schadenfreude things. Give me the real Gygax schadenfreude god damn it all to hell!
Post by geneweigel on May 10, 2017 10:23:26 GMT -5
Is there some objective input on those forum links?
"Subjectively", from the description my spider sense is saying that there might be a little bit of sophistry on Rob's memories to satisfy the Arneson false love that grew with the removal of Gygax but thats just my spider sense.
Theres a comment on page count being 76 pages and it being an essay from a larger future book.
The back cover photo and mini-biography is also giving off a strange vibe.
If I ever put my wife on something just blow my head off...
I wouldn't mind buying these "little book" City of Brass modules based on how much I enjoyed Sunken City. I somehow avoided all of the City of Brass melodrama of around 15 years ago. How many versions of the City of Brass are there at this point? TSR Al-Qadim, Necromancer, Hackmaster, and Frog God Games... Am I missing any? Anyone know how they compare? I was interested in the idea of an adventure based on the old DMG illustration but only for that reason... Otherwise, I was never very interested in an "Arabian Nights" setting. I guess it could be okay with a DM who was really into all of the lore around it. I did enjoy the Harryhausen Sinbad movies when I was a kid, for the sheer swashbuckling fantasy of it all. They were solidly in that old pulp swords & sorcery genre that is like the anti-Tolkien strain of D&D. I love both strains, BTW.
Last Edit: Apr 12, 2019 15:25:29 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
I wouldn't mind buying these "little book" City of Brass modules based on how much I enjoyed Sunken City. I somehow avoided all of the City of Brass melodrama of around 15 years ago. How many versions of the City of Brass are there at this point? TSR Al-Qadim, Necromancer, Hackmaster, and Frog God Games... Am I missing any?
Thinking off the top of my head, semi-chronologically: - 1987 "(To the) City of Brass" - RJK RPGA/CU adventure, parts 1-2 @ acaeum.com/library/citybrass.html (and there's a PDF version with the NG old skulls-sidebars branding that's probably 3.0 rules, too) - 1993 Secrets of the Lamp (ALQ4) by Wolfgang Baur @ www.tsrarchive.com/aq/aq-alq.html - 2003 Sir Robilar's City of Brass (Kenzer's published version = 60% Jeff Knight with 40% RJK IIRC; this is not the same as the RJK unpublished 89K words manuscript, which Black Blade bought back from Kenzer (both Knight's work and RJK's work, so that we can peel Jeff out of it completely), along with the Garden of the Plantmasterrights, a few years ago) - 2007 NG CoB (3.5 version?) - 0% RJK - 2017 Anthony Huso's A Fabled City of Brass + City of Brass Appendicies @ www.lulu.com/spotlight/anthonyhuso = a brilliant take on the CoB, from a die-hard AD&D designer - 2018 NG recent KS CoB version (5e+S&W) @ (and apparently books began shipping at the end of March 2019, just 4 months late!)
I can't think of another big version, offhand. If I forgot any, please let me know.
I'm familiar with RJK's version and Huso's version, and like them both. I've played in part in the NG version, which Jon used as teh basis for the CoB in our Wilderlands campaign, but I've not read it otherwise. I haven't read the Kenzer version, don't know the Baur one either. Huso's is brilliant, and I really like his work in general if you've not checked it out.
I can't think of another big version, offhand. If I forgot any, please let me know.
Also of possible inspirational interest: the Pathfinder "Legacy of Fire" adventure path, specifically part 5, "The Impossible Eye" which is set in the City of Brass. I have no idea if this is any good as inspirational reading or not, however
I don't know but my guess would be -- in the context of this post -- Gail Gygax. Rob makes the case that he never sold out and therefore has complete ownership of his own creations like Kalibruhn and El Raja Key but he also references co-DMing with EGG, Greyhawk and the shared environs of the original campaign, so someone who believes they own the Gary Gygax name as as a brand and intellectual property could see it differently. If the "Red Book" is something RJK and EGG both contributed to, and RJK is marketing it that way, then Gail may see that as at least in part a Gary Gygax IP. From the description at this link: www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/d-greyhawk-red-book-collectibles-52796189
Another terrific piece of the original Greyhawk campaign! As Gary Gygax's co-DM for Greyhawk from 1973 onward Rob Kuntz kept a notebook referred to as the "Red Book". The Red Book is a spiral notebook kept by Gary and Rob to keep track of various facts of the original campaign. In addition to the spiral bound pages the Red Book was stuffed with maps, loose leaf pages of notes, and miscellaneous papers of all kinds. Rob came to be the holder of this fantastic folio of Greyhawk lore and has held onto it ever since.
Last Edit: May 12, 2019 12:08:15 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Yeah, so much of what he did was under the wing of Gary that it really is hard for him to detach with so many sketchy outings that were overdeveloped into slush with imagery and "updates" to correlate and degrade the flight of fantasy potential (e.g. the above mentioned Hackmaster brass outing, the overdeveloped Necromancer Zayene set, etc. ).
I see the need for the association but now that I think about it I might just remove my rambling dedication to Gary from my adventure....
Post by foster1941 on May 14, 2019 21:43:02 GMT -5
The El Raja Key DVD was already sold as being Rob’s complete creative archive, and as such commanded a premium price tag. So either he was lying to us then or he’s lying to us now (or, most likely, both). Either way, he won’t be getting any more of my money.
Post by geneweigel on May 14, 2019 22:12:50 GMT -5
I can't even talk about it that way.
I think the last thing I got from him was TOWER OF BLOOD (2006) and it was kind of another Dungeon Magazine-ish outing where he let some person rewrite everything horribly. I did browse someone else's BOTTLE CITY (2007) but it wasn't enough to make me go out and get my own copy. Something was saying "not Rob" about it.
I haven't talked to Rob since before Gary died and he was supposed to get back to me about the production of a monster book. Never did for absolutely no reason whatsoever. Left me (and GT) hanging.
If he had just gotten back to me then I might have been more interested in checking this stuff out but I still don't know what the heck happened there.
Can someone define exactly what is going on with Rob Kuntz?
I wish Rob the best with his endeavors, and I am happy he has found love with Nathalie in France. But a lot of what is referred to in this "Red Book" line preview looks like what I was hoping to get in the EL RAJA KEY ARCHIVE. I didn't mind paying for what amounted to a pile of original gaming maps and notes from the early days, but much of it lacked detail and context and the implication was that it was incomplete because that was all that had survived from that time. I was fine with that, since my understanding was I was buying historical artifacts and fragments. But in the "Red Book" Line preview, he gives this list:
Castle Property List (owned) [Footnote: This list has been filed prior to this printing with the legal representatives of Robert J. Kuntzʼs estate. It was partially composed through the curation of Robert J. Kuntzʼs Intellectual Properties for their release in the EL RAJA KEY ARCHIVE, 2016, Three Line Studio // TLB Games.]
Core Level 3 Gem Room and Crypts Level Core Level 6 Black Pudding Doorkeeper Level; note Up on a Soap Box #3, “How to Train a Black Pudding.” West Level 7 Barracks Level Core Level 11 Entrance to Oz Level; this has become Dreamlands as of 1985. Core Level 12 Boreal Level Core Level 12 Valhalla (special inter-level); connects to Asgard Core Level 13 Entrance to Asgard (this is actually a starting point for many levels and sub-levels connected to it), Melnibone (not applicable in published form due to copyright; changed to Entrance to Demonworld (9 joined hex maps, very large)), and Dying Earth Level, same (now Dark Earth with Tharzdu’un) Core Level 14 Orb, Scepter, and Crown Level Core Level 5 Sealed Tomb Level East Level 3 Garden & Giant's Pool Hall Level (this Garden was the prototype for Garden of the Plantmaster) East Level 8 Machine Level South Level 9 Horsing Around (special level) Core Level 2 Invisible Maze Level West Level 5 Gallery Level ? Bottle City (will be expanded to include the whole city; 50+ pages of ms, maps and illustrations are extant for the other levels above it) ? The Living Room (expanded) ? The Lake Level; note that the original Lake Level was designed by me for Castle El Raja Key. Gary loved it so much that he requested I transfer it to CsGH2 upon me becoming co-DM; much later he redesigned it as The Black Reservoir but kept many of my original design elements in place; in 2017 I redesigned the original from 1973 (CsERK) as a two-map Lake Level for Athenscon. The latter incarnation is the working, publishable version. (connects to Castle LV ? and to the Deafening Depths) ?Deafening Depths (connects to the Lake Level); eventually descends to Nveres’ Grotto, an extensive primordial environ ? The Wyrm Caves (one time lair of Tiamat) ? The Hexed Maze Connections to City, City Sewers, Nearby Outdoor, Extra-Planar Temple of the Latter Day Old Ones (connects to Formalhaut, The Annex, Twisted Tunnels and City Sewers) The Annex (connects to Temple of the Latter Day Old Ones) Dreamlands (connects to Castle and Demonworld) Dark Earth (connects to Castle) Demonworld (connections to LV 13, The Abyss and a highly secretive conduit to Dreamland) Asgard (connects to LV13, and to sampled versions of this mythos, Midgard, et al) Formalhaut (connects to the Castle, City, to a special nearby outdoor level, Temple of the Latter Day Old Ones, and to Lost City of the Elders) The Twisted Tunnels (connections between City, City Sewers, Castle and Temple of the Latter Day Old Ones).
So, I am not sure what the intent is here, or what is being planned. My impression is that while he would like to publish the Mark II Greyhawk Campaign -- meaning the second incarnation that he co-DMed with EGG which merged in some of his own Kalibruhn material -- he cannot do that for legal reasons. But he retains Kalibruhn IP and so can publish that material, and is rebranding with the name Greyfalkun to market the connection yet avoid the legal issue. Is he talking about releasing what already exists that hasn't been published yet, or expanding upon the existing IP with new material?
Last Edit: May 15, 2019 13:52:11 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Post by geneweigel on May 15, 2019 12:38:22 GMT -5
I wish that I could be enthusiastic but prior outings are making me skeptical. I think the original interaction with Rob that I had was an intent to unmake "Sargent Hawk" but he wasn't hearing any of my "sword of vengeance" shit. He looked at "Sargent Hawk" like it was a vehicle even defending it saying WOG81 and WOG83 were bogus if "Sargent Hawk" is bogus (remember the story where he had no idea what an unfurled Darlene map was?).
So this is as I see it:
He writes/assembles (dusts off from others?) old style ideas then hands it off to anyone with prior material to look at and its usually someone who doesn't think like him who then proceeds to "fix" it for
A)The "market" (Rob always spoke of this fictional world-spanning lucrative market as if appeasing morons was somehow viable and sustainable.)
B) For what they believe is Rob's aesthetic taste (Which is what I believe some of these latter things were.).
This may be a formula for all of old TSR it certainly seemed to be for Gary but I really don't know. That Gygax Magazine bit by Ernie didn't seem to be something he came up with.
Is he talking about releasing what already exists that hasn't been published yet, or expanding upon the existing IP with new material?
Well, that's the crux of the issue. The ERK Archive DVD included a bunch of hand-drawn maps, some of which were accompanied by sketchy handwritten notes, and we were told at the time that was all there was, at least as far as written material. Now he's promoting a list of what looks to be mostly the same material but now, apparently, it's actually complete and detailed. So either that supporting detail was left out of the ERK Archive and it wasn't what it purported to be, or the supporting detail still only exists in Rob's head and he's planning to newly write it all down. I suspect it's a combination of the two, but weighted heavily towards the latter, which makes me uninterested, both because Rob has a very extensive decades-long track record of announcing elaborate plans for projects that are quickly abandoned once his interest wanes or moves on to something different and there's no reason to think this will be any different (not least because this isn't even the first - or even the second - time this material has been announced), but also because "newly written" Rob Kuntz material is, frankly, not as good as the material from when he was under Gary's wing, emulating his style. He gets carried away by his pet ideas and loses focus on the core adventuring content - everything "Kalibruhn" sucks and is of no interest to me. Rob claims that this is the authentic material, but if it's mostly newly-written by 2019 Rob with 2019 Rob's mindset, is it really?
Last Edit: May 15, 2019 13:18:01 GMT -5 by foster1941