Or four, maybe. Yeah, it really was Thursday that I started getting "bad" and that turned "real bad" by Friday. In past years I had a habit of getting a cold at least once every 1-2 months due to a combination of over-work, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, etc. However, I started taking a daily multivitamin shortly before my son was born and this has resulted in me retaining near solid health despite averaging 5 hours of sleep at night. Unfortunately, I ran out o vitamins a week or two ago and I've been lazy about replacing 'em (they bulldozed the nice little grocery across the street from my house where I used to get 'em)...so combine that with my child being sick (Tuesday-Wednesday) and short sleep all week and the stress of putting out the new book; well, it was a recipe for disaster.
I'm still sick. Which has made an otherwise beautiful weekend kind of miserable.
[actually, I haven't been resting as much as I could due to the beautiful weekend and going out with friends and family, etc. resulting in lingering illness...at least I did pick up the vitamins]
Being sick has prevented me from blogging (till now) but hasn't stemmed the flow of blog ideas and inspiration. I picked up a couple-five books this weekend, several of which have been idea fodder for my feverish brain. The first one I want to talk about is Dave Arneson's Blackmoor. Published by Zeitgeist Games in 2006 for use with D&D 3.5, you might have missed this one. I certainly did...the copy I picked up was in the used book section for $8.
Now, of course, I don't play D20 or Pathfinder or anything would lend DA's Blackmoor any semblance of usefulness to my gaming library. However, as it was published in 2006, three years before Arneson's death, and was a book on his original campaign world ("Blackmoor") I figured it might have some useful tidbits to help me in my present pursuit of deconstructing the Dungeons & Dragons game. In fact, it appears this post will be the first in an on-going series of deconstruction posts I intend to write...as I find the time to do so.
And, no, I was not disappointed. I own the original Supplement II ("Blackmoor") for OD&D but there's precious little of Arenson's home-brew campaign world. There's a lot one can infer from Supp. II (I've written before that it has a much more Sword & Sorcery vibe...almost a weird Eastern flavor to it, with its assassins and monks and whatnot)...but there's no detailed narrative from Mr. Arneson that accompanies the text.
Dave Arneson's Blackmoor, on the other hand, DOES have a preface from Dave himself (Arneson is credited as "lead designer" for the book), and it is this preface that contains the bulk of useful information I was hoping to find.
The first part, talking about getting the idea for dungeon delving while spending a boring weekend watch TV and reading fantasy books isn't anything that's not available from other sources. The part that perked my interest most was the following bits:
"By Sunday night the first six levels of the dungeon were done and the gaming table in the basement had been transformed into a small medieval town with a castle. A dungeon seemed like a good idea since it would keep the players from running all over the place. We still needed some more details... Ah! I drew a map of the town and the country around it. These last details took me most of the rest of the week to complete. I was really excited about this idea. Now everyone could be a hero like in a book but without a tight (and often dumb!) plot. They could do just about anything they wanted to do, for better or for worse."In that short time, Blackmoor was born. I had few rules and no plans for anything beneath the 6th level in the dungeon, or beyond the tabletop boundaries into a greater world. With the basic idea laid out, there were still questions to answer."Where did the players meet? Inns were popular in a lot of books and it was logical that the guys would meet in a public establishment. And there had been this neat medieval restaurant in Chicago called The Comeback Inn."What was their goal? Why, money, of course. They sought great treasure and cool magic items. These were quite popular quests in fantasy novels and movies. Maybe they will quest after the "Magic McGuffin Amulet!""The campaign setting now known as Blackmoor was done within the month with additional details added as needed. Both the setting and the rules continued to grow over the weeks. Most, but alas, not all, the guys liked the game and wanted to keep playing. So the next few weeks were spent fleshing things out and trying to maintain structure..."Major combat changed from rolling a pair of dice that resulted in victory or death to one where the hero could fight on beyond the first swing just like in the movies! Killing critters in one blow was fine but not when it meant getting your character killed. Within the first month the players were getting quite attached to their characters. Then came the next big question... "Shouldn't we be getting better at killing stuff like our experienced troops on our Napoleonic campaign?" OK, let's work something out..."
All right, this post is getting a bit long and it's getting a bit late. I'll come back to it tomorrow.