RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

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RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

Post by Big Mac »

RPG Crawler has a video, called D&D Retrospective 0 - Chainmail, Braunstein, and Blackmoor:
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He talks about Chainmail, Braunstein, Blackmoor and how this fed into the original version of D&D.

I didn't realise that Dave Arneson had been part of the Braunstein group. I wonder how much crossover there was between early Braunstein players and early Blackmoor players.
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Re: RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

Post by finarvyn »

Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:01 pm
I didn't realise that Dave Arneson had been part of the Braunstein group. I wonder how much crossover there was between early Braunstein players and early Blackmoor players.
Yeah, both Dave Arneson and Dave Wesely were in the same Twin Cities wargame club. The group found a book called "Strategos: The American Art of War" by Charles Totten and this apparently was their inspiration for Wesely's Napoleonic "Braunstein" games that everyone talks about. (They also did an overthrow-the-government scenario based on a banana republic, a wild west version, and eventually fantasy versions.) This all led to the notion of one person playing one character in a dungeon, and Blackmoor was born. My understanding (I was not there) is that many of the players in the Braustein games were the same as those of early Blackmoor as it was a continually evolving process within the Twin Cities club.
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Re: RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

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finarvyn wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:33 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:01 pm
I didn't realise that Dave Arneson had been part of the Braunstein group. I wonder how much crossover there was between early Braunstein players and early Blackmoor players.
Yeah, both Dave Arneson and Dave Wesely were in the same Twin Cities wargame club. The group found a book called "Strategos: The American Art of War" by Charles Totten and this apparently was their inspiration for Wesely's Napoleonic "Braunstein" games that everyone talks about.
I wonder if Havard has read Strategos: The American Art of War to see if it has inspired anything in Blackmoor. I might have to ask him. :D
finarvyn wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:33 pm
(They also did an overthrow-the-government scenario based on a banana republic, a wild west version, and eventually fantasy versions.) This all led to the notion of one person playing one character in a dungeon, and Blackmoor was born. My understanding (I was not there) is that many of the players in the Braustein games were the same as those of early Blackmoor as it was a continually evolving process within the Twin Cities club.
The overthrow the government idea, sounds like an early version of the idea used as the Social Collapse Point System (SCPs) system for the 2nd Edition Night Below setting. I wonder how the two compare.

I had heard of the name "Braunstein" before (although not before I joined The Piazza and had friendly people explaining old school stuff to me). I didn't realise it was a Napoleonic thing.

That's a much later era of real-world culture than most D&D campaign settings base themselves upon. And Napoleonic sounds like it would tie-to real-world France (while Dave Arneson would have been able to fudge details of Blackmoor to suit his needs and not get told "he did it wrong").

I guess that a Braunstein is closer to the Historical Reference series of books that came out in the 2nd Edition AD&D Era. But even those books are seem to be set before the Napolionic era. Perhaps HR4: A Mighty Fortress Campaign Sourcebook is the closest that D&D has ever come to replicating the Braunstein experience.

Did Braunstein ever make it to publication? If so, is it still going? And is the setting built up beyond the original Napoleonic concept?
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Re: RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

Post by Havard »

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:26 am
finarvyn wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:33 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jan 02, 2020 10:01 pm
I didn't realise that Dave Arneson had been part of the Braunstein group. I wonder how much crossover there was between early Braunstein players and early Blackmoor players.
Yeah, both Dave Arneson and Dave Wesely were in the same Twin Cities wargame club. The group found a book called "Strategos: The American Art of War" by Charles Totten and this apparently was their inspiration for Wesely's Napoleonic "Braunstein" games that everyone talks about.
I wonder if Havard has read Strategos: The American Art of War to see if it has inspired anything in Blackmoor. I might have to ask him. :D
Indeed I have a copy of Totten's Strategos. The Twin Cities group used Totten's rules for many different games, but for the original Braunstein game they ended up not using the rules that much because the entire session evolved into a very free form roleplaying heavy event with tons of players. The event was more similar to a LARP than to a Wargame session.

The overthrow the government idea, sounds like an early version of the idea used as the Social Collapse Point System (SCPs) system for the 2nd Edition Night Below setting. I wonder how the two compare.
Probably not at all. Again, the emphasis in Braunstein was roleplaying over rules. Dave Arneson won the "Banana Republic" game by coming up with ideas Wesely had not even considered.
I had heard of the name "Braunstein" before (although not before I joined The Piazza and had friendly people explaining old school stuff to me). I didn't realise it was a Napoleonic thing.

That's a much later era of real-world culture than most D&D campaign settings base themselves upon. And Napoleonic sounds like it would tie-to real-world France (while Dave Arneson would have been able to fudge details of Blackmoor to suit his needs and not get told "he did it wrong").
The most popular war gaming genres were Napoleonics (Napoleon era) and "Ancients" (Ancient Rome, Greece etc). The original Braunstein was a single session of trying something different while still a part of a regular Napoleonics campaign. Instead of controlling armies and generals, they would try to run regular people in the small Prussian town of Braunstein which was about to be invaded by the French. The results of the game was meant to influence the next war gaming session.

I guess that a Braunstein is closer to the Historical Reference series of books that came out in the 2nd Edition AD&D Era. But even those books are seem to be set before the Napolionic era. Perhaps HR4: A Mighty Fortress Campaign Sourcebook is the closest that D&D has ever come to replicating the Braunstein experience.
Napoleonic Era Tabletop RPGs might fit better into d20 Modern. There is also a GURPS Napoleon Sourcebook exploring the era.

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Re: RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

Post by finarvyn »

Havard wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:34 pm
Indeed I have a copy of Totten's Strategos. The Twin Cities group used Totten's rules for many different games, but for the original Braunstein game they ended up not using the rules that much because the entire session evolved into a very free form roleplaying heavy event with tons of players. The event was more similar to a LARP than to a Wargame session.
I have a copy as well and it's long and sort of dull reading. Didn't Wesely (or Arneson, or both) condense the Totten book into a shorter document for the group to use? I'm pretty sure I've seen reference to a shorter version in the Twin Cities gaming circle.
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Re: RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

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finarvyn wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:36 am
I have a copy as well and it's long and sort of dull reading. Didn't Wesely (or Arneson, or both) condense the Totten book into a shorter document for the group to use? I'm pretty sure I've seen reference to a shorter version in the Twin Cities gaming circle.
I've heard of another version of Strategos that Arneson used, or kit-bashed a version of it for his group. I know it was referenced in a youtube video about Arneson and the early days as he was formulating game rules for the gaming group that eventually came to be.

Strategos-N, I believe?
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Re: RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

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Dread Delgath wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:46 pm
finarvyn wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:36 am
I have a copy as well and it's long and sort of dull reading. Didn't Wesely (or Arneson, or both) condense the Totten book into a shorter document for the group to use? I'm pretty sure I've seen reference to a shorter version in the Twin Cities gaming circle.
I've heard of another version of Strategos that Arneson used, or kit-bashed a version of it for his group. I know it was referenced in a youtube video about Arneson and the early days as he was formulating game rules for the gaming group that eventually came to be.

Strategos-N, I believe?
Yes, I believe Wesely and Arneson and possibly others from that group made several different versions of Strategos for their games. One was called Strategos-N, but not sure which one was Arneson's offhand.

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Re: RPG Crawler talks about Chainmail, Braunstein & Blackmoor

Post by Aldarron »

Strategos N (Napoleonic) is Weseleys version - it's 21 pages.
Strategos A (Ancients) is an Arneson and Gregg Scotts ancients rules for Strategos N.
There's also a civil war and Russo Turkish war adaptation.

Oh, and of course, there's Don't Give up the Ship (TSR) and Valley Forge (TSR), which is Strategos for the American Revolution.

Blackmoor began as a "medieval Braunstein" set in the Northern Marches (Blackmoor). Arneson started this on the heels of Duane Jenkins "Brownstone" games set in the old west.
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