Saturday, September 5, 2020

JG 37: The First Fantasy Campaign

Dave Arneson, co-creator of the Dungeons & Dragons game, parted with TSR in late 1976.  Jon Peterson recently posted about Arneson's D&D tournament at Origins 77.  Arneson was also scheduled to run at least one session of "Don't Give Up The Ship" at Gen Con X in August, 1977.

In the meantime, Arneson self-published the "Dungeonmaster's Index" and, perhaps disappointed with how OD&D supplement II: Blackmoor had turned out, was working with Judges Guild to publish his extensive pre- and post-D&D Blackmoor campaign material.

"The First Fantasy Campaign" (1977) by Dave Arneson.  Cover illustration of a fire elemental credited to Pixie Bledsaw.

Although not appearing in the credits, "The First Fantasy Campaign" was edited by Bill Owen, co-founder of Judges Guild.  The 1st and 2nd printings were 96 pages.  The 3rd printing appears to have been re-typeset and was shortened to 64 pages, (see The Acaeum for details).


Interior of the 1st printing of the First "Family" (Fantasy) Campaign.  Note that section headings in the Table of Contents are underlined.

Arneson dedicated "The First Fantasy Campaign" to Colleen Wording and Family (spelled "Wordem" in the 3rd printing) although I'm not sure who Colleen was, or which spelling is correct.

Interior illustrations are credited to Dave Arneson in the 1st printing, and to Ken Simpson and Dave Arneson in the 3rd.
Update (Sept 9): Havard sheds light on the illustrations in this thread over at The Comeback Inn
The original version featured interior illustrations by Dave Arneson. In the revised version these illustrations have been replaced. The new illustrations are based on Dave's originals, but slightly more professional looking. In my opinion however, these illustrations are not enough of an improvement over Dave's to really make me like them better though. As it stands I prefer Dave's illustrations.
"The First Fantasy Campaign" is a treasure trove of material.  However, as has frequently been stated, it could have been better organized, starting with the Table of Contents.  That section headings were not underlined in the 3rd printing further compounds the issue.
Here is a comprehensive listing of the Table of Contents:
(Bob Bledsaw, August 9, 1977)

(Dave Arneson)

 - The Great Invasion
 - The Original Price/Unit Ratio List
     - Additional Weapon Cost/Limit
     - Additional Price Lists (Standard Castle Types)
     - Personnel Costs (in GP for 1 Year's Pay and Upkeep)
 - The Later Prices Lists
     - Earl of Vestfold
     - Northern Lords (Sea Raiders)
     - City of Maus
     - Regent of the Mines
     - Duchy of Ten
     - Minor Holdings of Ten - Nomads of Ten
     - Egg of Coot
 - Internal Investments
     - Roads, Bridges, Canals, Inns
     - Hunting, Armories and Animal Branding
     - Religion, Exploration
     - Ship Building, Farming, Fishing
     - Trapping, Tourism, Arrival of New Persons
 - Land & Sea Trade
     - Price List

Campaign Map Notes (Part 1, Part 2)
 -Terrain Key To Campaign Map

 - Blackmoor Military Manpower Distribution (Initial)
 - Table of Contents
     - Egg of Coot
     - Ran of Ah Fooh
     - Gin of Salik
     - Marfeldt the Barbarian (A Short Biography)
     - Duke of the Peaks
     - The Blue Rider
     - Mello and the Hobbits (Mello's Hobbit House)
     - The Great Svenny
     - The Bishop
     - Final Notes

     - Population, Area, Resources, Ruling Class, The Country
     - Blackmoor Castle, The Pits, The Ruins, Wolf's Head Pass, The Comeback Inn
     - The Blackmoor Castle's History
     - Haunted Rooms and the Like
         - The Black Hall
         - The Catacombs
         - The Tower
             - Haunted Rooms

 - Encounters
 - Moves, Budget
 - Outdoors in Blackmoor
 - Migration
 - Drawing Your Own Map
 - Human Habitation
 - Area Pattern in Hexes

 - Sir Fang
 - Elves
 - Dungeon Map Notes
 - Magic Protection Points
 - Wandering Monster Areas

 - Level Maps

 - Magic Swords Personality Matrix "Blackmoor"

 - Explanation
 - Combat Characteristics Table
 - Magic Characteristics Table
 - Special Characteristics Table
 - Sword Enchantments by Magic-Users
 - Holy Swords
 - Special Notes

 - Gypsy Sayings
 - Legends
 - Chance Cards

 - Definition of Terms
 - Examples
 - How to Become a Bad Guy

 - Differences in Creatures from Blackmoor Game
 - Population of Known Area
 - Wizard's Apprenticeship
 - The Languages
 - Hero and Superhero Flunkies
 - Vampires
 - An Explanation of Creature Psychology

 - Sample of Playing Area
 - Description of an Area
 - Defense of Area

 - Dragons
 - Orcs
 - Bandits
 - Nomads
 - Trolls and Ogres
 - Wights (and Ghouls)
 - True Trolls
 - Rocs
 - Tarns
 - Basilisk
 - Balrog
 - Giants
Although I am not an expert in Blackmoor, I will endeavor to cover each of these sections in turn over the coming months, with links to relevant posts and discussion that has appeared across the internet in recent years.  Please join me, and be sure to add your own two cents!

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