Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Happy Dave Arneson Day - Campaign Commentary On DA2 Temple of the Frog by Dave Arneson, & David J. Ritchie.

"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 serioulsy weakened Blackmoor at a time when enemies already threaten it from all sides.

Yet, even as the Froggies gloat, the king of Blackmoor dispatches a small band of bold adventures to the rescue. Deep into the Great Dismal Swamp they must go - far from sunlight and sanity - there to seek and save the swamp, there to find the Temple of the Frog."

For me everyday is Dave Arneson day, the Egg of Coot has been a active & very dangerous presence in any number of my campaigns. The egg's presence was something we as players ran across in my uncle's campaign as a piece of  graffiti on one of the walls of the temple of the frog.  To say I've got history with Blackmoor is an understatement, Blackmoor has been my go to campaign for longer then I can remember. It connects with my earliest memories of gaming back in '77 when my uncle ran us through his modified version of the temple & we died. Boy I was hooked on original Dungeons & Dragons. I've got a whole blog piece from back in 2o16 about my experiences with Blackmoor. 
Here's some of the back history according to wiki on the original Temple of the Frog adventure found in the original Dungeons & Dragons Blackmoor supplement; "
Following the release of the original Dungeons & Dragons rulebooks, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson decided to publish expansions of their respective campaigns. For Arneson, this expansion would be based on his Blackmoor campaign, which had originated with the 1971 Fantasy Supplement to the Chainmail rules.[10] In March 1975, Gygax told a wargaming newsletter that Arneson was working on a final draft, and TSR began accepting preorders for the product and advertised it in The Strategic Review. The booklet was delivered late, in part by having gone through two editors (Brian Blume and Tim Kask) and being temporarily misplaced. The final edit was done hastily in a few weeks.[5]:111 The Blackmoor expansion was published by TSR, Inc. in 1975[11] as a sixty-page, digest-sized book.[1] It was the second supplement to the original Dungeons & Dragons boxed set and bears the designation "Supplement II," with Gygax's Greyhawk preceding it in the same year.
Illustrations were provided by David C. Sutherland III, Mike Bell, and Tracy Lesch. The supplement was edited by Tim Kask,[12] who also did development on it.[13]
The Temple of the Frog was later revised, expanded, and released as DA2 Temple of the Frog."

Instead I wanted to talk about bringing the DA2 Temple of the Frog by Dave Arneson, &  David J. Ritchie. My own experiences with this module started back in '90 when a friend bought me a copy for my birthday. But in 2019 what are the machinations of St.Stephen of The Rock & his followers doing in the Dismal Swamp? 

For me as a dungeon master Mystara & Blackmoor are two separate yet interconnected timelines via the Planes Prime. There's a series of articles on the Vaults of Pandius site that go into the fannon of this stuff. 

St.Stephen is a nasty villain who is going to be doing two things looking for other worlds to expand his empire into for future conquest. And securing his place in Blackmoor via the temple of the Frog. 
Over the years I've had St.Stephen clash with adventurers in Dark Albion, he's appeared in Hyperborea any number of times, etc. The bottom line is the enduring impact that Dave Arneson's creations have had on gaming. The Egg of Coot is a whole other ball game taking an active role of causing havoc with my player's PC's over & over again. But St.Steven hasn't been idle not when he's got the toad god Tsathoggua on his behind. Someplace out in the multiverse in my games these two struck a bargain. The soldier had his knowledge & given the science fantasy aspect of DA2 this isn't surprising. The toad god sees the temple & its monks as another playing piece in the grand game of time for its own amusement. 

All throughout the time streams, history, etc. the 'Temple of the Toad' must exist in one form or another. Stephen has been sending out small expediations over the years to explore the planes. These have sometimes ended in conquest or sometimes in disaster. But this doesn't deter St.Stephen & his master isn't a patient entity. I do believe its time for St.Stephen & his monks to take the stage once again. Happy Dave Arneson day folks!

Thanks to Havard now in my mind St.Stephen looks like
Brainac 5. Brainic 5 is trade marked & copyrighted to DC comics.
Artwork used without permission. This blog post is for entertainment & educational purposes only. 

But can the Egg of Coot be far behind?!

And if you want to set the record straight about Blackmoor then go watch Secrets of Blackmoor for an inside look into the other history of old school gaming.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.