Wednesday, July 26, 2017

500 Likes!

My blog just got 500 Likes on Facebook. Thank you very much! :)



Thank you everyone who keep coming back to check out my articles. Thank you for the comments and feedback! This is what makes doing something like this meaningful :)


-Havard

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chainmail Co-Creator Jeff Perren 70 years today!

Today is a good time to honor another important figure in the history of our hobby. Jeff Perren turns 70 years old today. He was a member of the Lake Geneva Tactical Association (LGTSA) which was the group who used to meet regularly in Gary Gygax' basement for gaming. Among gamers today, Jeff Perren is best known as the Co-Creator of Chainmail. The original version of the ruleset was distributed in the Domesday Book, which many of my readers will know was the fanzine for the Castles & Crusades Society.

Edit: Frank Mentzer revealed the following on the origins on the original edition of Chainmail:
"I believe that Jeff was the sole Compiler/Author of Chainmail (the version for the club, gathering various good ideas and massaging them into coherence). For publication, Gary had to give it more work. I also believe this fact is vastly overlooked."
The original version of the ruleset was distributed in 1970, while Guidon Games published their 1st edition in 1971. TSR published their first version (3rd edition) in 1975 (Acaeum).

For a while, many incorrectly assumed that Blackmoor was simply a variant of the Chainmail game, but although I think that most people these days accept that that is just a myth, gaming historians and fans still debate to what extent Chainmail did influence the two creators of Dungeons & Dragons. My friend DHBoggs has written som excellent articles about this on his blog here.



No matter where you land on those debates, I think we should all be able to recognize that Chainmail was an important milestone in the development of our hobby and we can be thankful for Jeff Perren's contributions. In this short interview, Perren humbly admits that he recieved no royalties for Chainmail, but that he is happy that some of the things he created are still loved. The World of Greyhawk also has a region, Perrenland, that is named after him.

Happy birthday Jeff!



***





Note: Image taken from this blog
Note: Thanks to author Matt Forbeck for making me aware of the date of Mr Perren's Birthday.

More discussion of this topic at The Comeback Inn


-Havard

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Comeback Inn Forum down for maintenance - Now Back


The Comeback Inn forum for Dave Arneson's Blackmoor is currently down. We have been seeing some technical glitches recently and have had to take this step to try to figure out how to fix these problems. No data has been lost in this process and we hope to have the forum back up again as soon as possible.

The accompanying website, the Blackmoor Archives are still available. That site has links to other places you can reach fellow Blackmoor fans while we wait for this to be sorted out.

Stay tuned for more information!

Sorry for the inconvenience. Our gnome alchemists are working as hard as they can to get the site back up as soon as possible.

EDIT: The site is Back Up Again! Thanks for your patience! :)




-Havard

Friday, April 28, 2017

RIP Stephen Lee Lortz 1949-2017


I just learned via Jennell Jaquays that Stephen Lortz (September 7, 1949 - April 23, 2017) passed away yesterday. Stephen Lortz was another of Dave Arneson's original players. In the Blackmoor campaign, Lortz played the Dwarf who became the Regent of the Mines after Uberstar Khazakhum.

"I met him when we hired Arneson's company as temporary consultants to get us through the initial design documentation crunch on Colecovision." Jaquays recalls.

"Steven was an artist, miniature sculptor, and designer who was part of the early Runequest gaming community and worked for Dave Arneson's company for several years. "

Lortz the Dwarf, from Dave Arneson's Blackmoor RPG
Steve Lortz also designed a miniatures games such as Quactica, Perilous Encounters (Chaosium in 1978) and  and contributed to various other games such as Star Rover. Here's an overview of miniatures companies Lortz has done sculpting for.

I posted some more details and relevant links here:



-Havard



Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Blackmoor Town Maps by Dave Arneson

Jeffery Quinn has been working on making new versions of various Blackmoor maps  on twitch.tv lately. Today he has been working on a map of Blackmoor Town. The best known map of Blackmoor Town was the one from the First Fantasy Campaign:

Years earlier, in the Castles & Crusades Society's Newsletter (The Domesday Book #13), Dave Arneson provided an earlier version of the the map:


I now present an even older map of Blackmoor Town. It is pretty similar to the one above, but with no labels and a few subtle differences.


Let me know if you enjoy these maps and if there are details in them that differ and that I might not have noticed yet!

-Havard

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Awesome Fantasy Maps by Thorfinn Tait Cartography

Although we have never met in person, I have known Thorfinn Tait for decades now. He is one of several people from the Mystara fan community that I consider my friends after so many years of talking online about our favorite fantasy setting.



Over the years Thorfinn has developed amazing skills as a fantasy map maker. He started out making fan maps of Mystara, but in recent years he teamed up with D&D designer and former TSR product manager Bruce Heard in order to produce maps for the World of Calidar from Calidar Publishing.

You can get tons of free maps made by Thorfinn Tait Cartography over at http://thorf.co.uk/


Recently Thorfinn also joined Patreon so that you can now support his Calidar Maps through that program. Making maps for small fantasy RPG publishing companies is not something that typically makes you filthy rich, so it would be really cool if you went on to support Thorfinn Tait at Patreon. I hope to see many more maps from Thorfinn in the future so any small amount sent his way will probably help!


-Havard

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Dan Nicholson: The Merchant of Blackmoor


The Merchant of Blackmoor was a character played by Dan Nicholson in Dave Arneson's original campaign. Dan Nicholson was one of the early members of the Midwest Military Simulation Association (MMSA) which was formed in 1964 by Ray Allard and friends. Dave Arneson joined this group when he was in high school and Dan went on to join Dave's Blackmoor game.

Untill recently, Dan's most well known character in the Blackmoor campaign was the Merchant, who would later go on to inspire the Merchant class in Zeigtgeist Games d20 Blackmoor product line. Nicholson was one of the older members of Dave's gaming group which by then had split from the MMSA.

The First Fantasy Campaign documents the game in which Dan Nicholson's Merchant tried to gain control over all the trade in Blackmoor. His organization gradually developed into a kind of mafia-like group. The Great Svenny, Mello the Halfling and the Blue Rider formed a secret organization of their own to try to counter the influence of the Merchant Mafia (FFC p 20). Although it is not mentioned by Dave Arneson, it has recently been revealed that David Megarry's Thief character, was also involved in trying to thwart Nicholson's plans.

The Merchant was apparently not the only character Nicholson played in the Blackmoor Campaign. Yesterday, the Secrets of Blackmoor documentary team revealed a character sheet provided to them by the late Nicholson's widow Helen. It details a Gnome character played by Nicholson in 1975:



It is possible that this Gnome and the Merchant are the same character, but I tend to believe they were two separate characters. This character sheet clearly uses the format of OD&D and looks a bit different from the character sheets used earlier in the campaign before ability scores and other aspects had been finalized. Also, 2000 XP does not seem like all that much if he had been playing the character from the campaigns beginning and all the way up to 1975. I do like that the Gnome character is in possession of gems though. That only seems appropriate for a Gnome character.


Dan Nicholson passed away in 2012 at the age of 72. I don't know much more about him. I do know that he was a computer programmer, working for companies called Coleco and 4D Interractive Vision. If anyone can provide me  with other details about his life and career, that would help make this article even better.


More discussion about this article here.

-Havard