The Dave Arneson's Blackmoor Discussion Forum



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 Post subject: Gary Gygax on Blackmoor
PostPosted: Jan 16, 2014 11:23 am 
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The relationship between Gygax Arneson is yesterday's news, but what about Gygax' thoughts on Blackmoor? My impression is that Gary was always fascinated with Blackmoor and greatly enjoyed playing there. Has anyone collected Gary's statements about Blackmoor anywhere?

-Havard

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 Post subject: Re: Gary Gygax on Blackmoor
PostPosted: Mar 25, 2014 6:37 am 
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Frankly, I can't remember him making any comments about Blackmoor other than the few cryptic references in the introductions to OD&D.
  • Dave located a nice bog wherein to nest the weird enclave of "Blackmoor" (Forward, M&M p.3)
  • "BLACKMOOR" also contains some interesting and amusing information regarding the actual campaign of that name. (Foreward, Supplement II Blackmoor)

So Gary used terms like "weird" and "amusing" in these cases. He does drop some praise in the Supp II BM foreward as he states that adventuring in Dave's world is a challenge.

His lack of comments may speak volumes as much as a wealth of comments would have.

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 Post subject: Re: Gary Gygax on Blackmoor
PostPosted: Mar 26, 2014 8:48 am 
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It's dangerous out there.

Take this:

http://www.thekyngdoms.com/interviews/garygygax.php

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 Post subject: Re: Gary Gygax on Blackmoor
PostPosted: Mar 26, 2014 5:22 pm 
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Raphael Pinthus wrote:
It's dangerous out there.

Take this:

http://www.thekyngdoms.com/interviews/garygygax.php


That is an interesting interview, although Gary's comments on Arneson/Blackmoor are sparse. OTOH, I think it would be more interesting to look at Gary's comments from the 1970s on Blackmoor.

for instance from the 1974 D&D Boxed Set:

Gary Gygax wrote:
From the mapof the "land" of the "Great Kingdom" and environs — the territory of the C & C Society — Dave located a nice bog wherein to nest the weird enclave of "Blackmoor", a spot between the "Great Kingdom" and the fearsome "Egg of Coot".



From Supplement II:

Gary Gygax wrote:
Dave Arneson . . . Is there really such a creature? Yes, Gentle Readers, there is, and shudder when the name is spoken. Although he is a man of many talents who has authored many historic rules sets and games…Dave is also the innovator of the "dungeon adventure" concept, creator of ghastly monsters, and inscrutable dungeonmaster par excellence. He devises complex combat systems, inexplicable dungeon and wilderness areas, and traps of the most subtle fiendishness. Herein you will get a a taste of this, but he never reveals all. The writer always looks forward with great anticipation to an adventure in the "BLACKMOOR" campaign, for despite the fact that I co-authored the original work with Dave and have spent hundreds of hours creating and playing DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, it is always a fresh challenge to enter his "world". I cannot recommend him more highly than simply saying that I would rather play in his campaign than any other - that other dungeonmasters who emulate Dave Arneson will indeed improve their games. While eagerly anticipating yet more material from dread "Blackmoor Castle", the following pages should satisfy your immediate craving for new ideas. Those of you fully comitted to the fantasy adventure game may expect additional supplements from time to time, and isn't that dark shape crouched over the desk of blackened oak laughing fiendishly as glowing runes flow from his quill remarkably similar to Arneson's?




My favorite part of that quote above is:

Gary Gygax wrote:
I cannot recommend [Dave Arneson] more highly than simply saying that I would rather play in his campaign than any other



-Havard

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 Post subject: Re: Gary Gygax on Blackmoor
PostPosted: Mar 26, 2014 6:12 pm 
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Here's another brief comment from Alarums & Excursions #15 courtesy of Jason Zavoda:

Gary Gygax wrote:
I hope that in the future I will be able to have more individuals try "Greyhawk Castle." It's not as tough as "Blackmoor," but I think it might give some few an enjoyable time.


Source: http://jasonzavoda-hallofthemountainkin ... sions.html

Although he is talking about Greyhawk, Gary's comments emphasize how challenging the Blackmoor Dungeon is.

-Havard

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 Post subject: Re: Gary Gygax on Blackmoor
PostPosted: Mar 27, 2014 11:52 am 
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I posted the above interview mainly because it illustrates one very important thing that seems to be usually overlooked:

Judging from all I've read, it seems to be true that, until the final demise of TSR in 1999, Gygax and Arneson had the relationship Gygax describes.

A working relationship, but not necessarily a strained one. They were not friends, but then, not to be friends doesn't mean to be at odds with each other.
It was only after WotC brought Arneson in to promote 3e that Gygax, or, rather, the Gygax camp, started these nonsensical hostilities towards Arneson.

This might not be as controversial as one may think, though:
In the last decade of his life, Gygax had bad relationships with almost all of his former collaborators.
The beef with Arneson was ertainly the most publicised fallout, but apparently by far not the only one.

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 Post subject: Re: Gary Gygax on Blackmoor
PostPosted: Apr 02, 2014 7:15 am 
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Some very interesting points there Rafe. You know far more about Gary than I do. I am also reminded of a discussion the two of us had with a former WotC freelancer (who will not be named) about how the WotC staff had made it very clear that they wanted Gary nowhere near any future WotC D&D publications.

Dave and Gary were in contact for many years before the publication of D&D. The first time they worked together professionally was on Dont Give Up The Ship (1971). I would say that they were probably never friends, even back then.

My original point though, is that I think that even from early on they recognized eachothers qualities as inventors of game concepts. Up untill the publication of D&D, Dave was always interested in working with Gary. Gary also seemed very fascinated with the kinds of gaming Dave was doing. While the C&C Society had many members, it was clear from Dave's first letter to the Domesday Book Newsletter that Arneson's group were doing something uniquely different from any of the other campaigns out there.

I think that the quotes from Gary that I referred to earlier in this thread shows this. Gary was extremely fascinated with Blackmoor, both from the perspective of commercial potential, but also as a gamer. When he says he prefers Dave as a DM for his D&D games to any other, what does that say about Rob Kuntz, Jeff Perren and all the others?



-Havard

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