Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Town of Blackmoor

From the castle itself the small town of Blackmoor grew, then the surrounding countryside became filled with new holes to explore...
 Dave Arneson "The First Fantasy Campaign" (1977)
"Points of Interest in Black Moor" was published in Domesday Book #13 (July, 1972) together with a map of the town.

View of Branzoll Castle from the town square.  The view of Blackmoor Castle from Victory Square outside the Comeback Inn would be similar.  (Photograph from tripadvisor.)

Back in 2017, Havard shared this map on his blog (attributed to Domesday Book #13, but possibly from another source):

The ground plan of the castle is based on the Burg Brazoll model kit.

Within the town, the Silver Dragon Inn, the Comeback Inn, the Gallows, the Store, the Warehouse, the Church, and a Wharf are labeled.  Another forty smaller buildings are numbered.

There are three gates leading past the city wall:

The Swamp Gate to the east leads to a fork in the road, beside Elf Stump, in between three Pillars.  The road to the east leads to Bramwald, and the road to the north passes by Svenny's Freehold, then continues to the Wizard's Wood through Wolfshead Pass.

The South Gate leads to Tonisberg, while the Troll Gate to the west leads over a bridge to a fork in the road.  The road to the west also leads to Tonisberg, while the road to the northwest leads past Jenkin's Hill on the way to Glendower.

An island in the center of Blackmoor Bay is labeled Serpent Rock.  A small cave opening is visible, facing south.  A scale for the map is present in the upper right hand corner.

In December, 2016, another map was posted on the "Secrets of Blackmoor" Facebook page, along with some fascinating insights into pre-D&D Blackmoor adventures:

On this map, Jenkins Hill is labeled Vampire Hill, and Elf Stump is labeled Elf Home.  The buildings in the town are color-coded, red for David Megarry's thief McDuck's gang, and blue for Dan Nicholson's Merchant of Blackmoor.

In Playing at the World (2012) Jon Peterson states "...Duane Jenkins apparently wasted a wish to transform his character into a vampire - only to find that Arneson, exercising the latitude of the referee, exploited a loophole in his wording and turned him into a vampire rose bush."


  1. Thanks for posting this, I hadn't realized there were so many versions of this map. There's another one that has been up on the Acaeum for many years at: Blackmoor -- Original Map

    It's attributed to Domesday #13 (July 1972), and I think that's correct as you can see some of the typed writing bleeding through from the back side of the page. It accompanied the article "Facts About Blackmoor".

    The big difference there is that it has no labels (other than the title), like a Players' Map for a D&D game. In the first of the two maps you posted, I note that that some of the color coding from the second map has been photocopied gray - the pattern is the same. So I'd order these maps in date as (1) Domesday Book #13 version (no labels), (2) Color Coded Version (with shading and a few pencilled labels) (3) Fully Labeled Version, which seems to have been photocopied from the Color Coded version before the pencilled labels were added.

    1. Yes, I believe the map on the Acaeum is the original map, for the reason you describe. The map of the Great Kingdom from Domesday #9 has the same typewriter bleed through. Good catch about the photocopied colors.

      There's reference to which buildings are owned or lived in by followers of the Great Svenny or Minions of the Merchant in "The Town of Blackmoor Map" section of Arneson's FFC, as well. I think I read somewhere that multiple copies of the town of Blackmoor map were circulated, and that players made their own modifications.