Havard wrote:Great questions!
Big Mac wrote:I don't own any of this stuff and it is the sort of thing where the price is driven sky-high by eBay bandits, so I probably never will.
I think most of these books should be available in PDF form at this point?
Sure. But PDFs are not
books. I want WotC to turn on the PoD switch on DMs Guild. DMs Guild is able to sell PoD verisions of all those rare books. Right now, I'm looking at late Blackmoor books that are economically affordable and early Blackmoor books that are impossible to buy. It doesn't need to be this way.
I think that what you get, with some of these older products, is eBay bandits pushing them out of the reach of people who are curious about a campaign setting.
So if there is a "standing on the shoulder's of giants" vibe to Blackmoor's various waves (rather than each wave of products being a standalone thing) it means that some fans can't afford to buy older things that can help them understand the newer things more.
Havard wrote: Big Mac wrote:
Havard wrote:Dungeons & Dragons (1974)
Sometimes overlooked as a Blackmoor product, Dungeons & Dragons in its original 1974 form was based on the campaigns of the two creators, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. The Foreword to D&D by Gary Gygax references Dave's Blackmoor Campaign, set in a swampy landscape in the Great Kingdom. The Egg of Coot is also mentioned here. Classic concepts from the Blackmoor campaign, such as the dungeon type adventures are explored and classic hero and monster types that appeared in both campaigns are presented. Although OD&D is actually different from how Dave and Gary really ran their individual campaigns, OD&D is a good introduction to Blackmoor.
How much of a Blackmoor game can you actually get out of this book alone?
Would a Blackmoor GM in 1974 need to invent their own backgrounds for the Great Kingdom, Egg of Coot and other Blackmoor elements? Or were there short descriptions that were later expanded upon in Supplement II: Blackmoor
You should note that the old school mindset is fairly different from what people who started gaming in the mid 1980s and later when it comes to the amount of setting material they require. Most old school gamers prefer simple bare bones settings with only a few limited details and being allowed to flesh things out themselves. However, OD&D probably doesn't include enough to run a Blackmoor campaign. I would at least recomment having a map of the lands of Blackmoor or the Blackmoor Dungeon. Alot of information about Blackmoor can be found online though so in that respect you could probably find what you need without tracking down every book.
Sure. I've spoken to some old school fans now. There was a time when I'd not managed to meet enough of them.
What I'm thinking is that someone who started out before Suppliment II, who liked that Blackmoor stuff (or dare I call it proto-Blackmoor stuff) would have had to have made their own map and created their own context for Dave Arneson's elements.
At that time, that was the only
There must be some people who started out with a proto-Blackmoorian game, who then added in more and more of Dave Arneson's ideas as new books came out. And there must have been other people who started out with a proto-Blackmoorian game, who then moved away from the emerging Blackmoor campaign setting to end up with a fairly different homebrew world that contained a number of Dave's ideas in a radically different context.
That 1974 D&D book was a pebble that was thrown into the lake of roleplaying and the ripples spread outwards. I know that even the Spelljammer product line has a nod to Blackmoor in it.
Havard wrote:In the case of references to The Great Kingdom, the Egg of Coot etc these are just name checked in OD&D however. Some locations, most specifically the Temple of the Frog and surrounding lands are expanded upon in Supplement II. The idea of true setting books had not yet been concieved however. Each DM was expected to flesh out most of these things himself.
Have you ever hooked up with GMs who have scratch built their own versions of The Great Kingdom, the Egg of Coot, the Temple of the Frog and anything else namechecked in the 1974 book?
I remember that (before I even owned Ghostwalk) the late James
Havard wrote:Back to your question about how much of a Blackmoor game you could get out of these books:
I think it is easy to overlook how closely tied OD&D is to the worlds of Greyhawk and Blackmoor. All of the creatures in the monster section first appeared in these campaign as did many of the magical items. Most of the character classes, spells and abilities were developed for the players in the campaign. The difference between core D&D, Blackmoor and Greyhawk were minimal.
That reminds me of the way that Eberron has a place for everything in D&D (possibly just 3e D&D) but that Eberron gives it all a reboot to fit in with Eberron canon.
Presumably, if Dave Arneson had stayed with TSR and developed Blackmoor there as much as Gary Gygax developed Greyhawk there, the parallels between Blackmoor, Greyhawk and core D&D would have continued into the AD&D line...or Classic D&D would have taken Blackmoor while AD&D took Greyhawk...or somesuch.
3e has that "Greyhawk lite" thing going for it. I suppose it could be possible to use Classic D&D, AD&D 1st or 2nd Edition or D&D 3rd or 4th Edition as "Blackmoor lite", compare the core D&D elements with the Blackmoor concepts embedded into OD&D and guess at how those systems would have evolved if Dave Arneson's Blackmoor had been the default campaign setting.
Havard wrote:The problem is that many of these things have later become associated with every campaign world and not these two worlds that formed the D&D experience from the beginning. For someone more familiar with later editions though, it might be refreshing to see what elements actually appeared in the D&D rules back then and what has been added later. I was myself quite surprised when I first learned how much of D&D had been unchanged across all the editions from 1974-2016. But still, getting the atmosphere of the original edition could help form a better understanding of the original campaigns.
I'm starting to learn how many iconic Spelljammer monsters have roots that go back long before Spelljammer was even created. The Blackmoor products on my Blackmoor wishlist are mostly the 3rd Edition books. But you are right - I would be interested to know how much of Blackmoor hails back to this older stuff.
I think it would also be interesting to see how much of this stuff evolved. How much was changed by revolutionary changes. And how much totally new stuff was created later.
Havard wrote:I talk about Blackmoor and Greyhawk as two separate worlds. Both Gary and Dave assumed that the other's campaign setting existed in the same world. But since their knowledge of what went on in the games of the other was limited, I think it makes sense to consider them two separate settings, even though they were closely connected, at least originally.
I hear about people merging Blackmoor with Greyhawk. I hear about people merging Blackmoor with Mystara. And I hear about people using Blackmoor on its own.
From one point of view, you could say that the 1970s is the era of the Greyhawk+Blackmoor concept, while the 1980s is the era of the Mystara+Blackmoor concept. With the 3rd and 4th Edition eras being the era of the standalone-Blackmoor concept.
The great thing is that there is no wrong way to play with Blackmoor and the world is big enough for fans of all three play-styles to co-exist.