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First Fantasy Campaign Review
By Michael Falconer
This product is nothing like what you would expect. I love FFC, but I am still amazed that it was considered ready for publication, even by the standards of the day. When Gary Gygax published The World of Greyhawk in 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): one is a complete map of the Blackmoor region, showing all bodies of water (it 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 of 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 landmarks 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 with pencil. ;-)

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 is 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 1977 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 Dungeon are halved in size in the 1980.

FFC *is* more of a home campaign "journal" than what you'd expect from a 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 be the Special Interests section. As you may know, in original D&D experience points were awarded for treasure. In DA's game, players would roll to see 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 is a complicated system; suffice it to say that a lot went on between quests.

Starting with page 3, Arneson plunges into a recounting of a big wargame scenarion that took place in the third year of his campaign, known as The Great Invasion. It is interesting to note the forces involved:

Egg of Coot
Duchy of Ten
Nomads of Ten
Men of Maus
Monk's Vikings

Loch Gloomen
Sage's Tower
Tower of Booh (Hobbits)
Wizard of Mi-Karr
Regent of the Mines (Dwarves)

Earl of Vestfold
Northern Lords (Seamen)
Horsemen of Peshwah
Bramwald (Dwarves)
Boggy Bottom
Wizard of the Wood (Pixies, wizard)
Monks of the Swamp (Temple of the Frog)
Great Kingdom

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, and the status of each force in each of four stages of the campaign. It looks 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 canals... Very wargamish stuff. He does note that "All of the Neutral Forces listed (except the Regent of the Mines) are considered as minor holdings of the 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 the book. These are either major villains or famous PCs.

Egg of Coot - The bizarre arch-villain. This description is on the web somewhere.

Ran of Ah Fooh - Another villain, High Duke of the Duchy of Ten. A genius 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 the Egg of Coot but had to flee because his experiments were more perfect than the Egg's.

Gin of Salik - A powerful wizard, also very beautiful. "His ways with the 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, which 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 (4'5")'s 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 Blue 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 religion.

The Nomad - Chief of the Nomads (of Ten, I guess). Fearsome beyond belief, 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 captured during the first and second Coot invasions but in each case it was retaken after the invasion was repealed.

There are other sites of note in the vicinity. There are ruins of an old 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. Adventurers 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 not very extensive, but each room has legends and peculiarities about it.

Blackmoor Dungeon has 10 levels, and it is completely mapped and detailed. Features of note are the Orcian Way--a door in the first level which leads to level 10, where the adventurers will find King Funk's grand army--and Sir Fang, a very powerful vampire. The entrances and exits to the dungeon are controlled by Elves with Holy Water Hoses and other anti-Evil charms. 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."