Thursday, October 4, 2018

OSR Commentary In Praise Of DA2 Temple of The Frog By Dave Arneson, & David J. Ritchie For Your Old School Campaigns

"Green Death...
That's what old hands call the Great Dismal Swamp. For centuries, this tangled maze of sluggish watercourses, stagnant ponds, and festering marshes has defended Blackmoor's southwestern frontier. Large armies and smaller parties have disappeared altogether inside its vast, dripping, claustrophobic corridors.

Among those who have dropped from sigh in this arboral hell is young Rissa Aleford, one of Blackmoor's most important leaders. Carried off to the sinister City of the Fron, she is now being held by the eccentric Monks of the Swamp. By making the baroness captive, the deranged monks have seriously weakened Blackmoor at a time when enemies already threaten it from all sides."
So begins DA2 Temple of The Frog by Dave Arneson, & David J. Ritchie

set in the ancient past of Mystara the official setting of Dungeons & Dragons. But DA2 Temple of the Frog for me is really about Blackmoor. The legendary adventure's history & legacy for DA2 Temple of the Frog can be found over at Board Game Geek.  My own storied history of this adventure begins way back in Eighty Eight when my PC Hermious The Wizard of Woe was gutted like a fish by the Froggies. Since then I've adapted,mutilated, re adapted, & reread through this module countless times.
"St. Stephen the Rock is  one of the first great most dangerous NPCs in D&D's history." Make no mistake about it this guy is one of the biggest & most under appreciated bastards in Dungeons & Dragons. But while David J. Ritchie revamp of Supplement II: Blackmoor (0e) by Dave Arneson into Mystara adventure history. Its Dave Arneson's breath & his player's PC's  gaming life in the elements of Blackmoor that make the setting.
 For those who collect & know the ins & outs of Blackmoor through the First Fantasy Campaign plus countless  interviews, articles,etc. about Dave Arneson & his campaign's history its really the players who made it. Most people know DA2 Temple of the Frog as the gate way into Mystara's ancient past because of the TSR crew in the Eighties;
"Blackmoor popped up again to be integrated into the default setting "Mystara" as an antediluvian or precursor civilization to Mystara. Three modules were writen by David J. Ritchie and Dave Arneson:

  • DA1 Adventures in Blackmoor
  • DA2 Temple of the Frog
  • DA3 City of the Gods
  • DA4 The Duchy of Ten"
Today DA1 & 2 is really the backbone of a number of folks Mystara & Greyhawk campaigns. The adventure path of these classic modules can actually be used to fuse out a decent ancient Blackmoor campaign if the First Fantasy Campaign book is used with them.That is if the characters survive the experience. Temple of the Frog is not known for being terribly forgiving for PC's. And we have Dave Arneson to thank for all of it. The terrible Frog God's power certainly seems to keep resurfacing for a very dark reason.

And Stephen the Rock – First D&D Arch Villain has been one of the main driving forces in my game adventures for years.  The impact of Stephen The Rock isn't to be under estimated & neither is the continuing influence of DA2 Temple of The Frog. Thank you
Dave Arneson, & David J. Ritchie

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