Justinov's Blackmoor Campaign

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Justinov
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Justinov's Blackmoor Campaign

Post by Justinov » Tue May 28, 2013 8:33 pm

I remember playing the 4 Blackmoor adventures with my RP group way back. When they came back to AC1000 Karameikos they were pretty loaded with high tech equipment and also I seem to remember a Blackmoor computer technician and engineer they brought back with them. We had played our first great campaign in Mystara spanning 3 years playing almost every weekend (and covering almost every part of the known world that was published back then) and since it was my first GM campaign I had been very friendly with magic items. It ended up we had to stop around level 17-18 because it was impossible to really find anything they couldn't beat. Several dragons, Blackmoor technology, a Tarastia priest with a ring of truth ("you lie, you die") using it on every single person I introduced. A fighter with master level with two handed +5 lightsabers and I could go on. As the priest know ruled Rugalov he also could field an army with Blackmoor weapons build by the Blackmoor guy.
But great fun and learning experience for all future campaigns.

Actually quite interested if any in some detail hex map has been made for Blackmoor before the Great Rain of Fire and/or a map based on AC1000?

Split from this thread for the sake of clarity. Keep talking folks! :)
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
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Re: The Blackmoor Blog

Post by Havard » Wed May 29, 2013 1:17 pm

Justinov wrote:I remember playing the 4 Blackmoor adventures with my RP group way back. When they came back to AC1000 Karameikos they were pretty loaded with high tech equipment and also I seem to remember a Blackmoor computer technician and engineer they brought back with them. We had played our first great campaign in Mystara spanning 3 years playing almost every weekend (and covering almost every part of the known world that was published back then) and since it was my first GM campaign I had been very friendly with magic items. It ended up we had to stop around level 17-18 because it was impossible to really find anything they couldn't beat. Several dragons, Blackmoor technology, a Tarastia priest with a ring of truth ("you lie, you die") using it on every single person I introduced. A fighter with master level with two handed +5 lightsabers and I could go on. As the priest know ruled Rugalov he also could field an army with Blackmoor weapons build by the Blackmoor guy.
But great fun and learning experience for all future campaigns.
Sounds like a great campaign if you ask me! :)

Monty Hall-types campaign where people end up with ridiculously powerful items is something I am sure we all have come across. On the other hand, in BECMI there should always be something more powerful out there. Powerful characters have a tendency to attract the attention of powerful enemies as well. And such enemies are often powerful because they are smart, so they will be clever about how they oppose the PCs.

On the other hand, you don't want to outright kill them either, since where is the fun in that?

One thing I would be sure about is to enforce the rule that all XP above what is needed to level up is lost so that I could send at them powerful enemies without having to worry about having to make them even more powerful when they win.

Actually quite interested if any in some detail hex map has been made for Blackmoor before the Great Rain of Fire and/or a map based on AC1000?
Check out my map gallery. Maybe this is what you are looking for? Dave L's replica maps for instance?

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Re: The Blackmoor Blog

Post by Justinov » Wed May 29, 2013 4:59 pm

Sounds like a great campaign if you ask me! :)
Oh yeah. My two friends playing it still talks about and they loved their items and power.
The problem was to give them a challenge I had to have powerful people against them. That just meant they got even more powerful items in a vicious circle. Give them dragons and they "subdued" them ending up having a dragon breeding.
Monty Hall-types campaign where people end up with ridiculously powerful items is something I am sure we all have come across. On the other hand, in BECMI there should always be something more powerful out there. Powerful characters have a tendency to attract the attention of powerful enemies as well. And such enemies are often powerful because they are smart, so they will be clever about how they oppose the PCs.
Exactly since it was my first long campaign as a GM you learn that you just can keep throwing raw power at the characters. Since then I have played a much more sinister political kind of game, where raw personal power often doesn't matter that much. I have also gone from high fantasy to a more low fantasy inspired by Birthright, where a few is very powerful but most a just normal. Actually when you think about the Mystara world having numerous 36 level characters running around is pretty crazy when you think about it :lol:
On the other hand, you don't want to outright kill them either, since where is the fun in that?
Yeah with high magic it's often an initiative between life and death. Characters being so powerful that either the villains kills them outright or this cleric/fighter team (with a long time magic user NPC) chops them down in max 2 rounds.
One thing I would be sure about is to enforce the rule that all XP above what is needed to level up is lost so that I could send at them powerful enemies without having to worry about having to make them even more powerful when they win.

Actually I could never really got highlevel campaigns to work since players get lazy using magic to get information. It gets extremely time consuming to make adventures since a tiny hole in my plan and they can use some spell to solve their problem. I tried to take magic from them by special anti-magic fields, but that gets plain silly in the long run. If they win they will have it themselves next time - raise the corps and forcing to reveal it's secrets and with a ring of truth (the most powerful item you can imagine for a campaign) they will always know whats right or not. Because of their items I was extremely cautious with XP. They complained how they could only be level 17-18 after three years of constant playing, but even at that level they squashed much higher level characters easily because of their gear. Give opponents more gear they would have it if they won. I tried to make some of it disappear it first, but then they would use everything to retrieve it. Had a super fighter with a plate mail+5 of gaseous form (and specially immune to all magic when in this form etc) that they still manage to kill whenever he materialized to attack them physically. I made him die in gaseous form, and they first assembled the gas in a bottle and magically tried to condense the plate mail or or by dispelling the magic etc. They really thought it quite silly that I kept saying that all they tried didn't work that the gas stayed a gas even when they invented a spell "Reverse Gas to original form" or whatever or prayed to their immortal that giving them this item would help them even more to spread the right faith (which would be very correct - Tarastia had a priest that were on a mission to kill all people that lie). My group wasn't the kind that quit when new treasure was in sight lol You could almost forget starting a new adventure before since all resources would be used to retrieve the item. Someone attacking their castle was simply impossible with all their defenses - probably only a wish could bring you in there and that also gets silly in the long run. I mean they had a Blackmoor technician with a computer and radiation radar scanning for anything magic and a squadron of dragons with magic ability controlling air-space and antimagic forcefields against teleportation, invisibility etc. These guys had thought of everything, since they knew the spells. But man it was fun, the amount of work we put into it. My friend playing the cleric even made maps with his castle and detailed descriptions of all rooms and defensive measures. His Rugalov keep would be the Pentagon of Mystara and with much better intelligence since you couldn't lie to him - even after he killed you he would raise your corpse still asking question and keep doing so until he had all the answers. At one point he questioned a NPC character for 4 hours straight , but then Tarastia is the goddess of judgement and the court is in session :lol:
Check out my map gallery. Maybe this is what you are looking for? Dave L's replica maps for instance?
Super. Thanks. Great work. But it doesn't seem there has ever been made a hex-Blackmoor map for AC1000? Maybe a job to introduce it more again to the normal day Mystara world.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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Re: The Blackmoor Blog

Post by Chimpman » Wed May 29, 2013 5:57 pm

Justinov wrote:
Check out my map gallery. Maybe this is what you are looking for? Dave L's replica maps for instance?
Super. Thanks. Great work. But it doesn't seem there has ever been made a hex-Blackmoor map for AC1000? Maybe a job to introduce it more again to the normal day Mystara world.
Hi Justinov, and welcome!

I want to say there's a small map showing the epicenter of the blast... there might also be comparison map for AC 1000, but I can't remember off the top of my head, and so far a search of the Vaults has not turned it up.

This is also going to depend on where you place Blackmoor in your campaign however. Some (myself included) place it at the polar openings (which means all trace of Blackmoor proper would have been removed in AC 1000). Others place it in the Known World area (which would mean the Gaz maps would cover it). Havard, where do you place the location of Blackmoor in relation to the Gaz nations of AC 1000?
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Re: The Blackmoor Blog

Post by RobJN » Wed May 29, 2013 6:17 pm

Justinov wrote:
Havard wrote:
Check out my map gallery. Maybe this is what you are looking for? Dave L's replica maps for instance?
Super. Thanks. Great work. But it doesn't seem there has ever been made a hex-Blackmoor map for AC1000? Maybe a job to introduce it more again to the normal day Mystara world.
There's a wee bit of a problem, that being that according to the Gazetteers and Hollow World boxed set.... Blackmoor was pretty much wiped from the face of the planet some 4,000 years before "current day" 1000 AC. :oops:

Then there is the question of precisely where Blackmoor was, those 4000+ years in the past. Early sources placed it on the Known World's continent of Brun, smack dab in the middle of the Broken Lands, the preliminary idea being Blackmoor's ka-blooey is what.. uh.. broke those lands.

However, this was changed with the arrival of the Hollow World set, with Blackmoor being placed on the eastern continent of what would become Skothar. Of course, in Blackmoor's day, Skothar was still connected to the main continent way, way up in the north (past Skandaharian lands, and Frost Giant kingdoms, and the Draconic Empire.) The continents didn't break apart until the Great Rain of Fire remade parts of the continents and tipped the planet on its axis.

We have some discussion on the "Where was Blackmoor" question here on the boards: viewtopic.php?f=33&t=9045&start=0
Also, some discussion of canon vs. non-canon material for Mystara, which included discussion on the "official" location of Blackmoor in AC 1000 Mystara here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=9477&p=116278

Anyhoo, that's what The Books have to say about it. What you choose to use and toss aside is entirely up to you. If you do have Blackmoor alive and kicking in AC 1000, it'll be great to see what you develop, and how it impacts the rest of the Known World...
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Re: The Blackmoor Blog

Post by ripvanwormer » Wed May 29, 2013 6:57 pm

It does seem like a missed opportunity to make a planet-shaking cataclysm an important part of a setting's background and then fail to make the place where the cataclysm began part of the current setting. Even if it's just a water-filled crater, like the Sea of Blood in the Dragonlance setting (where Istar used to be), there's a resonance you can get from being able to show the PCs this is where it happened. Plus, at the very least you could have them encounter incorporeal undead and strange (not necessarily atomic) radiations.

It ought to be obvious where Blackmoor was. The terrain should look like what it is: a place where a massive hole was violently torn out of one of the continents 3,000 years ago, still beset with wild magic and ghost winds.
Chimpman wrote:I want to say there's a small map showing the epicenter of the blast
Yes, it's here.

Here is where Blackmoor is in Havard's campaign (based on the Hollow World map). I believe that would put it somewhere in Nentsun on this map, but it's a shame there isn't a big eldritch crater there.

Like I said, a missed opportunity. The problem is that Skothar was mapped before Blackmoor was placed there (or anywhere on Mystara), so we end up having to imagine that the most catastrophic event in Mystara's known history left no identifiable traces whatsoever. If they had began with the idea of an ancient cataclysm before making the map, the map would probably be more logical. That's a problem for canon, but not necessarily a problem for us as individual gamers. Someday I might remap Skothar so that it looks like a post-apocalyptic, severely beaten up version of the Greyhawk and Wilderlands settings. Modern Skothar is barely used in canon Mystara anyway, so it doesn't much matter what it looks like.

As Rob says above, in DA1 Blackmoor was supposed to be in what is now the Broken Lands. And a planet-shaking cataclysm is a pretty good excuse to have Broken Lands, but I think it was too hard to justify how a coastal nation became a region that was so thoroughly land-locked. I mean, was Rockhome supposed to be underwater back then? And the Northern Reaches, and Ylaruam, and... where's the seam? Why does nothing east of the Broken Lands look like lands that have risen from the sea thousands of years ago? If half the continent was thrust up from the ocean, why are the Broken Lands confined to this little area instead of being spread out everywhere the land rose and fell? The map of the Known World looks so utterly incompatible with the Blackmoor maps that they decided to hide Blackmoor under the ice cap where no one would notice the fact that the world map doesn't look anything like a planet in which a major nation exploded and shifted all the continents around. And then later, when they decided that there weren't any polar ice caps and there was just a gap there instead, they moved it over to Skothar, because nobody cares about Skothar.

Honestly, this was a cheat. It cheats the DM out of an interesting map and it cheats the players out of interesting adventures. It cheats the setting's history out of the consequences to that history. If you're going to introduce a major apocalyptic event to a setting, the setting should look post-apocalyptic. I know 3,000 years is a long time, but give me something. /end rant

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Re: Justinov's Blackmoor Campaign

Post by Havard » Wed May 29, 2013 7:22 pm

Ripvanwormer provided the link to where I place Blackmoor IMC. My version is less consistent with the Ethengar Gazetteer, but more consistent with the Hollow World boxed set.

Here's an excerpt of a map by LoZompatore showing what the Blackmoor region would look like today assuming having Blackmoor placed on Skothar. Zompatore and I disagree on what the continents looked like during the Blackmoor Era, but we both agree on what it looks like around AC1000.

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Re: Justinov's Blackmoor Campaign

Post by Justinov » Wed May 29, 2013 7:29 pm

Thank you all for your replies.
I just wondered that if you for instance played the Princess Ark then how would Blackmoor look in AC1000 when you flew over it in an airship and where would it be? It should probably still be a pretty blasted area filled with strange things. But it it above or under water? Disappeared as the Hollow World polar gate or close to Scothar?
I mean some adventerous Alphatians would have tried it after hearing about it, right? Some expedition to salvage something useful? It's not that it's a forgetful spell like Nithia where everything above ground is gone OR did the immortals hide it?
It just hit me that all this work on Blackmoor I never saw a "modern" hex-map - probably a Broken Land of monumental proportions.
Or what has happened there for the last 4000 years.....because that is seriously long time for something to regrow even with enormous radiation.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
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Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
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Re: Justinov's Blackmoor Campaign

Post by Justinov » Wed May 29, 2013 7:33 pm

Havard wrote:Ripvanwormer provided the link to where I place Blackmoor IMC. My version is less consistent with the Ethengar Gazetteer, but more consistent with the Hollow World boxed set.

Here's an excerpt of a map by LoZompatore showing what the Blackmoor region would look like today assuming having Blackmoor placed on Skothar. Zompatore and I disagree on what the continents looked like during the Blackmoor Era, but we both agree on what it looks like around AC1000.

-Havard
Great, thanks for finding it for me! But still that's really a huge overview map. I guess someone could work some hex magic in detail of this devastated area! It would be something to build on because when Alphatians (read PC's) arrive what then? ;) Nobody makes a Gm so happy as a good map!
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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Re: Justinov's Blackmoor Campaign

Post by Justinov » Wed May 29, 2013 7:39 pm

I mean when Bruce Heard is finished with his Alphatia project on his blog and when we have a huge pdf file to read, then the next adventure could very well go Alphatian :lol:
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
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Re: The Blackmoor Blog

Post by Havard » Thu May 30, 2013 5:11 pm

Justinov wrote:
Havard wrote:Ripvanwormer provided the link to where I place Blackmoor IMC. My version is less consistent with the Ethengar Gazetteer, but more consistent with the Hollow World boxed set.

Here's an excerpt of a map by LoZompatore showing what the Blackmoor region would look like today assuming having Blackmoor placed on Skothar. Zompatore and I disagree on what the continents looked like during the Blackmoor Era, but we both agree on what it looks like around AC1000.
Great, thanks for finding it for me! But still that's really a huge overview map. I guess someone could work some hex magic in detail of this devastated area! It would be something to build on because when Alphatians (read PC's) arrive what then? ;) Nobody makes a Gm so happy as a good map!

Yeah, that was the best I could do. :)

Rob posted a link over in the thread at the Comeback Inn where he has a more detailed map though, if you want to check it out :)
ripvanwormer wrote:It does seem like a missed opportunity to make a planet-shaking cataclysm an important part of a setting's background and then fail to make the place where the cataclysm began part of the current setting. Even if it's just a water-filled crater, like the Sea of Blood in the Dragonlance setting (where Istar used to be), there's a resonance you can get from being able to show the PCs this is where it happened. Plus, at the very least you could have them encounter incorporeal undead and strange (not necessarily atomic) radiations.

It ought to be obvious where Blackmoor was. The terrain should look like what it is: a place where a massive hole was violently torn out of one of the continents 3,000 years ago, still beset with wild magic and ghost winds.
The more I read from you guys on this I am loving this idea. In addition to what you propose, It would be cool to have some remnants of old Blackmoor among the ruins. I would even propose that the Castle itself somehow survived the blast, protected, perhaps, by the magic hidden within the dungeon.

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Re: The Blackmoor Blog

Post by Justinov » Thu May 30, 2013 7:13 pm

Rob posted a link over in the thread at the Comeback Inn where he has a more detailed map though, if you want to check it out :)
Yep thanks got it. But it could be great with a detailed 8 mile hex map of all of the explosion wasteland and how it would look "today" AC1000-1020 if anyone's inner cartographist takes over. Probably also could invent some new hex-icons for such a land?
Even if it's just a water-filled crater, like the Sea of Blood in the Dragonlance setting (where Istar used to be), there's a resonance you can get from being able to show the PCs this is where it happened. .

It ought to be obvious where Blackmoor was. The terrain should look like what it is: a place where a massive hole was violently torn out of one of the continents 3,000 years ago, still beset with wild magic and ghost winds.
&
It would be cool to have some remnants of old Blackmoor among the ruins. I would even propose that the Castle itself somehow survived the blast, protected, perhaps, by the magic hidden within the dungeon.
Yep exactly something like that you both propose was what I had in mind. Then you could have expeditions to the area and meet all kind of strange things and hidden secrets among the ruins. Maybe a permanent vortex storm if on land or a swirling Malstrom if under water have surrounded the area until now.......but maybe after the Wrath of the Immortals or some other event it has stopped making travel to the area and aerial cartography a possibility. Then for me as GM to send out a group of Alphatian specialists to retrieve important stuff before someone else get the idea?? :mrgreen:

Campaign Idea:
I was thinking about what Bruce Heard had done with Floating Ar and the new class Wraithlings.
http://bruce-heard.blogspot.jp/2013/04/Ar17.html
Quoting him from his blog "One of their goals in life is to research true healing of their bodies and souls, in hopes of freeing themselves of their torment once and for all." & "Although their ancestors were rescued from undeath and brought back to humanity, Wraithlings’ distant relation with death never quite lets go. The dark world keeps beckoning them to return and accept their rightful fates. This is the source of their enduring torment. Powerful undead use this vulnerability to regain control over the “stolen ones

So what about having some Wraithlings suddenly receiving dreams massages of salvation and/or feeling an unexplainable pull towards Blackmoor (like in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"). They will receive it individually feeling alone, but slowly becoming a desperate group convinced that in the solution to this mystery lies the answer to their salvation. They will try to form an expedition and getting access to an airship - maybe first pleading around Alphatia and later maybe even more desperate measures to highjacking one.

A GM with time for two groups (or run both parties with the same group) could even run a party of wrathlings on a mission and also having a group of adventurers hired by other Alphatian powers to bring them back to justice in hot pursuit.
Then its just figuring out what really has happened in Blackmoor and what/who beckons the Wraithlings there......
[At least then you players have a dual characters as backups, when both parties arrive in Blackmoor as the first after probably something new have happened after 4000 year of status quo since the Great Rain of Fire.]

FURTHER DISCUSSIONS TAKES PLACE ON THE "Blackmoor, Skothar AC1000" thread.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,/But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,
[Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening - By Robert Frost]

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.
[The Road Not Taken - By Robert Frost]

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