Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Into the First Fantasy Campaign Part 4

Continued from Part 3

The next section after the dungeons is Magic Swords & Matrix. Here Dave Arneson give a pair of tables to generate magic swords. The first 'Magic Swords Personality Matrix "Blackmoor" is a bit confusing. At the beginning there is are a list of entries

Number, Invisibility detection, Magic Detection, etc. Then the entries are labeled A to R, then Red, White, Blue, Purple, Green, Gold, Grey, Black, Maroon, Pink and Yellow.

A entry looks like this
'N' Double Values (4) Orcs, Trolls, Balrogs, Giants; Special values (5) Paralyze, Raise Morale II, Magic Detction II. Strength = +3; Combat=+2; Intelligence=+2; Values:440 GP
Now there could be one of two things going one. Either you draw the card and that the sword. Or you drew a card for each of the entries (Strength, Invisibility Detection, etc) and read the value for that entry from the card. Because of the GP printed on each card I think it is former.

Then we get to the Matrix which generates Magic Swords through a series of tables using percentile dice. Interesting that we have Holy Swords, Fighter's Swords, AND Magician's Sword. I guess we know how Dave dealt with the issue of Gandalf wielding a sword.

Reading this table versus the one in Monster & Treasure you can see the similarities. For example both have a Intelligence scale of 1 to 12. Both have similar percentage chances for alignment. The main difference is that Dave's tables run for two pages and seems to make more varied and powerful swords.

The next section is Gypsy Sayings & Chance Cards. Basically every month Dave would draw one from the deck and it's effect worked into the game. He would draw a year's worth so he can make a logical progression of events out of the random events.

For example #3 was
When three rule the land, the Dark Lord will come.
He notes that this referred to the fact that three players setup a committee to rule Blackmoor and his thought was that the Bad guys would think them too divided to put up effective resistance.

Then he gives a brief legend table and then a more extensive table called chance cards. His notes state that they represent "Strategic Encounters" for the Blackmoor area.

Next he talks about the Original Blackmoor Magic System. He says it was based on the Formula pattern for most magic. That magic-users were limited because they had to prepared the ingredients before entering the dungeons. Some spell had special ingredients that could only be found by adventuring. A magic-user only gained experienced if he casted spells. The magic-user's constitution also played a role in limiting the number of spells cast.

Next is a list of magical items with some whimsical items as a tricoder.

The next section is Special Interests. Basically Special Interests are things that character can spend gold in between adventures. Some of things that are talked about are Wine, Women, Song, Wealth, Fame, Religion, Hobby. He gives some charts and examples to help use the charts. This followed by a sub-section labeled "How to become a bad guy". It starts off about how Dave awarded XP and levels then eventually goes into Alignment changes.

Next are maps and a description of Svenson's Freehold. One of the more successful of Dave's players. After that is a section devoted to Richard Snider's Additions. Richard Snider (of Lords of Creation fame) was another early players and developed house rules for Dragons and misc subjects like Population, Wizardry Apprenticeships and so on.

Next Section is about Loch Gloomen which was of early importance as the players wore out their welcome Blackmoor.

I hate to say this but the last three pages are totally incoherent in organization or theme. I get the feeling that last pages of Dave's notes were being typed up in the order they were found.

The sections are (in order)

Bleakwood (Next to Bramwald) which give the interesting tidbit that some of the regions of Blackmoor were mapped out in a form a scale model suitable for miniature wargames.

Magical Items Summery.
A table involving Dragons and their treasure
(This page has a bad sketch of the city of Father Dragon. It looks like somebody made two circular wall in a sandtable, one inside another. the inner circle is filled with rocks mounted with a ball stuck on rod.)

Then we learn about Orcs, Isengarders, Bandits, Nomads, Trolls, Orges, Wights, True Trolls, Rocs, Tarns, Basiliks, Balrogs, and Giants.

Finally FFC concludes with a sketch made off of a photo of a scale model setup the town of Glendower. It was setup in the local hobby store.

Tomorrow concluding thoughts.


Jeff Rients said...

I have a Maroon Sword of Blackmoor floating around in my Cinder campaign. You know, just 'cause I can.

Matthew James Stanham said...

Ha! It never occurred to me that Gygax might be directly criticising Arneson's campaign when he made those statements in Dragon about magicians and swords in the context of the imminent release of AD&D. Interesting!