Sunday, September 30, 2018

More Late Night OSR & Arnesonian Commentary On Dave Arneson's First Fantasy Campaign

There's always been more to the hobby of table top gaming then, "clear the room, take the loot, & move on." Especially original Dungeons & Dragons which has remained consistent in its approach via the three little brown books in their wood grained box. I've used those books to run everything from Barsoomian adventures to full mythological campaigns involving deities from Mount Olympus to the Halls of Valhalla.
But Judge's Guild has always been my back up going back to when I started in this hobby. I wrote about Judge's Guild product code thirty seven last night The First Fantasy Campaign. The First Fantasy Campaign isn't a carefully organized piece of gaming, instead its an alternative collection of rules from Dave Arneson's home game setting organically grown from the actual play sessions. These are the look behind the curtain of Oz's wizard in this case its Dave Arneson's notes & partial session materials. Arnesonian books at the table as I came up the ranks were Blackmoor & The FFC.

This is in addition to B/X Dungeons & Dragons along side the Monster Manual finally the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide. Hargrave's Arduin Grimoire sat right in that pile of reference material. There were a few others but will get to those coming up. So what's in the First Fantasy Campaign? Well the Acaecum has a good break down explanation of the book's contents;"
  Herein are many new guidelines on lair generation, character interests and vocations (hunting, farming, fishing, trapping, etc.), the resources and manpower of the various feudal holdings and nomadic hordes of this landmark in war gaming, and much more.  Carefully mapped are the twelve levels of Blackmoor Dungeon beneath the five levels of Blackmoor Castle, the village of Blackmoor, the home of Mello the Halfling, and the tower of Svenson's Freehold."

What the First Fantasy Campaign actually is an artifact of the play sessions of David Arneson & his player's PC's. What the were facing down, the content of the world setting of Blackmoor & your possible player's PC's within it. Here's some rules & guidelines for having at it kids now go play. That's really what Arneson's brilliance was getting the players involved organically.  This really a good dungeon master needs to start moving in on a setting & making it their players own. The player's PC's are the most important people in the campaign.

There is a lot of Dave Arneson's personality &  humor scattered throughout the FFC from the holy water fire hoses to the glorious puns of some of the names. This doesn't be grudge the fact that there are many monsters who will kill your party deader then a door nail. Bear in mind that I'm not taking one iota of brilliance away from Gary Gygax at all. The approaches to the hobby of Dungeons & Dragons are day & night as I said. Here the dungeon master is given all of the fiddly bits to make Blackmoor their own. These literally are the guidelines to bring the setting to life. Its like looking through & thumbing through the carefully kept note books of an older uncle who happens to be your dungeon master.The FFC is the antithesis of the carefully laid out rules packed retroclone or old school rule book. Its for a dungeon master who doesn't want a pre generated adventure & instead wants the play to come about once again organically from the players. The First Fantasy campaign works best with an old school system especially something like original Dungeons & Dragons. Understand that my love for Greyhawk noes no bounds but Blackmoor has a very special place within my heart mostly because of what it represents to me. This isn't nostalgia but the fact that I came into the OSR searching for that same feeling that had getting hacked to bits all of those years ago in the rooms of
Blackmoor Dungeon. Thanks David Arnson for getting me partially started on this path of gaming all of those years ago! 

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