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 Post subject: Why Blackmoor ended up in Mystara
PostPosted: Mar 02, 2012 1:22 pm 
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Lord of the Regency Council
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Mystara is a setting that grew out of the merging of various components such as the Known World, the Hollow World and Blackmoor. What these components had in common was that they were all linked to the Classic D&D rules instead of AD&D. But there was already a Blackmoor in the AD&D Greyhawk line. Why would TSR want to present another Blackmoor? In 2012 Frank Mentzer revealed the following:

"[...] We all remember the tussle between Gary and Dave :cry: and its effect on certain developments in the game, editions, etc. Once that was settled* (which was in the early '80s, during my time there), we discussed options. Since the World of Greyhawk included Blackmoor, should it go there (AD&D1e)? Or since I was drawing from OD&D & supplements, should Sup2 (Blackmoor) go there? Anyway, it ended up in BECM, as you know.


Once the executive decision for placement was made, tho, it was handled by others; I was too busy to do modules (except some RPGA tourneys on the side) or Gazetteers. Given the importance and nature of Blackmoor -- the first fantasy campaign, to some -- it got its own line, instead of being a 'mere' gazetteer.


* In actuality iirc 'settlements' were reached at 3 separate times -- late '70s, early '80s, and then later '80s with the PoG, post-Gary -- before Dave was finally happy with the whole shebang.


Time for my usual caveat, which I haven't offered for a while. All of these and other reminiscences are, and ever shall be, 'If I recall correctly', and I may be in error on various technical points, precise dates, and such.[...]


Apparently, Blackmoor's return was the result of Gary Gygax approaching Arneson. In spite of their differences, Gary must have realized the significance of Blackmoor and also likely believed it could have commerical value. The result were the DA modules.



The DA modules and later also the Gazetteers suggested that Blackmoor existed thousands of years ago. They were vague on its exact location, but seemed to suggest that it was located in the same region as the Known World would later appear. This was problematic from the beginning as locations didnt match up and was made further complicated when the Golden Khan of Ethengar suggested that the Steppes of Ethengar were the North Pole during the Blackmoor Era. Then the Hollow World Boxed Set came out and placed Blackmoor on Skothar, another continent. At the Piazza today, Bruce Heard explains why some of these decisions were made:

"I had to move it out of the Known World because of design contradictions and, basically, no good place to put it. It was relegated to Skothar which was essentially a blank area. Blackmoor was interesting but really not well integrated with Mystara. Management and marketing wanted to have Dave Arneson's material attached to Mystara because or their common connection to Basic and Expert rules, and so the non-negotiable "request" came down to accommodate Blackmoor. The whole thing was well-intentioned but terribly awkward. It should have been designed from day-one to fit Mystara and not pretty much slapped onto it."

Of course, us fans have been taking care of that last part. :)

-Havard


Full version here: http://blackmoormystara.blogspot.com/20 ... stara.html

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 Post subject: Re: Why Blackmoor ended up in Mystara
PostPosted: Mar 05, 2012 10:31 pm 
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I still like having Blackmoor attached to the Wilderlands more than I like it in Mystara, but I guess neither is the "true" Blackmoor since both are stuck onto someone else's world.

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 Post subject: Re: Why Blackmoor ended up in Mystara
PostPosted: Mar 06, 2012 12:43 am 
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Oh, Havard's gonna be fuming...

I simply think WL is a better, more suited setting for the kind of games I want to run.

Mystara, outside of BM, never managed to interest me in the least.
- With the notable exception of the Princess Ark series of stories.

While the Wilderlands, they had me totally going off! A thousand stories in my head that I wanted to tell! :)

...Guess I am a lost cause.


As to where the true Blackmoor is, I don't care.

Mr Arneson had this catchphrase: "Did you have fun?" - So, Blackmoor is, where my players have fun, and, end of story. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Why Blackmoor ended up in Mystara
PostPosted: Mar 06, 2012 5:28 am 
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The above article simply explains the story behind the relationship between these two settings.

As to the question of whether Mystara or the Wilderlands fit Blackmoor best, my own campaign incorporates both. Each DM is of course allowed to do what he wants.

I personally have nothing invested in making others like Mystara, though it is a personal favorite of mine. At the end of the day, I do think that the shared journey that these two settings made in the 1980s and 90s was beneficial for both settings though, as it allowed more people to discover Blackmoor. If it had not been for this connection, I would never have discovered Blackmoor myself.

The Comeback Inn is of course home for discussion of all iterations of Blackmoor regardless of setting affiliations or editions. It was always my hope that we could all come together and talk more about what we have in common than what sets us apart.

Le Noir Faineant wrote:
As to where the true Blackmoor is, I don't care.

Mr Arneson had this catchphrase: "Did you have fun?" - So, Blackmoor is, where my players have fun, and, end of story. :)


+1 :)

-Havard

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 Post subject: Re: Why Blackmoor ended up in Mystara
PostPosted: Apr 15, 2012 9:41 am 
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Le Noir Faineant wrote:
Mystara, outside of BM, never managed to interest me in the least.
- With the notable exception of the Princess Ark series of stories.

While the Wilderlands, they had me totally going off! A thousand stories in my head that I wanted to tell!

This was me exactly. Of course, I'm biased because I got started with Judges Guild products by subscribing in 1976 and so I was getting those regular installments of the Wilderlands material delivered in the mail. I was hooked on the Wilderlands long before I ever discovered Greyhawk or Mystara or other published worlds. When the FFC came out, it only seemed natural that it be included in the Wilderlands.

Years later I bought the Gazateers but never really did much with them. Not like my Wilderlands days.

As I said, my own personal bias. Others with differing experiences would draw different conclusions.

And of course all of this is somewhat OT, since the thread was supposed to recall TSR's plan instead of my preference. Thanks for the info, Havard! 8)

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