First Fantasy Campaign Review
By Michael Falconer
This product is nothing like what you would expect. I love FFC, but I
still amazed that it was considered ready for publication, even by the
standards of the day. When Gary Gygax published The World of Greyhawk
1980, he essentially published a huge map and an accompanying booklet
which systematically described the lands on the map; it was not a
"journal" of his home campaign!
Dave Arneson's Final Fantasy Campaign does have a map. Actually, it has
two maps, according to the practice of Judges Guild (the publishers):
is a complete map of the Blackmoor region, showing all bodies of water
is rather swampy, of course), hills, and forests; and the names of
landmarks. Blackmoor, Regent of the Mines, Egg of Coot, Vestfold,
Glendower, Temple of the Frog, Duchy of Ten, and Loch Gloomen are some
these. Horsemen of Peshwah and the Great Kingdom are notated as to the
south. The other map is exactly the same except relatively blank. Most
topographical features are missing, and only the names of a few
are given. This is the "Players Map" which is meant to be filed in by
them. You can download this on the web, though someone coloured it in
Now for the book. The 1977 printing is 92 pages, with a large monospace
font and appears to have been done on a typewriter. The 1980 printing
63 pages. It uses a much smaller, sans-serif font and fixes a legion of
typos (and I mean a legion). Also, the interior illustrations in the
printing are all by DA, and the 1980 illustrations are redone by Ken
Simpson. The improvement is not huge, unfortunately, so I prefer the
"authenticity" of the original. Also, the maps for the Blackmoor
are halved in size in the 1980.
FFC *is* more of a home campaign "journal" than what you'd expect from
published setting. Dave Arneson quite often refers to himself and the
players in his campaign. It is very poorly organized, and much of the
material is useless. There are actually a lot more "home rules" (using
Chainmail and the original 3-booklet D&D set as a basis, but obviously
deviating very far from how D&D was to evolve) than "world info".
I won't cover the home rules in too much detail, but one example would
the Special Interests section. As you may know, in original D&D
points were awarded for treasure. In DA's game, players would roll to
what their Special Interests were. In order to gain experience for the
money, they would have to first spend it on their Special Interest. It
a complicated system; suffice it to say that a lot went on between
Starting with page 3, Arneson plunges into a recounting of a big
scenarion that took place in the third year of his campaign, known as
Great Invasion. It is interesting to note the forces involved:
Egg of Coot
Duchy of Ten
Nomads of Ten
Men of Maus
Tower of Booh (Hobbits)
Wizard of Mi-Karr
Regent of the Mines (Dwarves)
Earl of Vestfold
Northern Lords (Seamen)
Horsemen of Peshwah
Wizard of the Wood (Pixies, wizard)
Monks of the Swamp (Temple of the Frog)
He goes into lists of how many forces each has, how many heroes and
superheroes, what their income is, number of villages and/or cities,
the status of each force in each of four stages of the campaign. It
like the Lawful forces really kicked butt.
There are then pages and pages on the forces and monetary resources and
how much it costs to hire troops and build roads and bridges and
Very wargamish stuff. He does note that "All of the Neutral Forces
(except the Regent of the Mines) are considered as minor holdings of
Earl of Vestfold."
So I skip to page 17, where he begins describing "Blackmoor's More
Infamous Characters". This is one of the more interesting sections of
book. These are either major villains or famous PCs.
Egg of Coot - The bizarre arch-villain. This description is on the web
Ran of Ah Fooh - Another villain, High Duke of the Duchy of Ten. A
who is super-logical and all-around perfect, he is breeding dragons and
building an army of androids^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hzombies. Formerly served
Egg of Coot but had to flee because his experiments were more perfect
Gin of Salik - A powerful wizard, also very beautiful. "His ways with
females...has made him extremely unpopular with the male community but
very popular amont the ladies." A real womanizer.
Marfeldt the Barbarian - An incredibly powerful warrior who is said to
have single-handedly destroyed several kingdoms to the East and to have
caused much havok in the Great Kingdom. Very blood-thirsty and chaotic.
Duke of the Peaks - Obviously a very innefectual leader. Changes sides
between the Duchy of Ten and Egg of Coot constantly.
The Blue Rider - Has a sword of blue flame (lightsaber?) and a suit of
plate armor and an "armored warhorse" (robot). This paraphernalia,
he found in Blackmoor Dungeon, is capable of heroic deeds, whether he
wants it or not...
Mello and the Hobbits - Mello (5'6") the Hobbit is the Blue Rider
sidekick. He and a bunch of Hobbits live in a house in the village of
Blackmoor, and help guide strangers for a fee.
The Great Svenny - First Paladin of the [Great] Kingdom. The greatest
hero, he has often adventured in the depths of Blackmoor. He is the
archnemesis of both the Orcs and the Egg of Coot, and friend of the
Rider, Mello, and the Bishop.
The Bishop - Little is really said other than that the Church maintains
the largest standing army in the Empire, and a bunch of jokes on
The Nomad - Chief of the Nomads (of Ten, I guess). Fearsome beyond
but stays in the deserts so far.
The next section is about the city of Blackmoor itself. Baron Fant
commands Blackmoor Castle, which has been the site of a fortress
throughout recorded history. There are a large number of stories and
legends attached to it. More on that later. Blackmoor Castle was
during the first and second Coot invasions but in each case it was
after the invasion was repealed.
There are other sites of note in the vicinity. There are ruins of an
temple complex devoted to the Dark lords of the Egg of Coot. I believe
this is the Temple of the Id. There is a famous jewel there.
often steal it but meet with a violent end. The Comeback Inn is also
mentioned--you can not leave unless someone from the outside helps you.
There is a complete map of Blackmoor Town, which is rather nice.
Then there are three pages describing Blackmoor Castle and a map. It's
very extensive, but each room has legends and peculiarities about it.
Blackmoor Dungeon has 10 levels, and it is completely mapped and
Features of note are the Orcian Way--a door in the first level which
to level 10, where the adventurers will find King Funk's grand
Sir Fang, a very powerful vampire. The entrances and exits to the
are controlled by Elves with Holy Water Hoses and other anti-Evil
They also have a bazaar of sorts in the courtyard of the castle.
Michael Falconer - http://www.dwarvenmilitia.com/falconer/greyhawk/
"Because by fate even the gods are cast down, weep ye all with me."