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D&D General 50th Anniversary of Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor campign


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Reynard

Legend
So much "blazed the path to D&D" that it gets really muddy as to the origins and influences. Peterson recently did a post on his Playing at the World blog showcasing a pre D&D western proto-RPG from England of which Gygax was aware.

More and more it seems like RPGs were inevitable in the early 70s, that their time had simply come.

I don't say this to undermine Arneson's importance and contributions to the creation of D&D, just to point out that had it not been Gygax and Arneson it certainly would have been others. What would the modern RPG landscape look like if the first game had been that old west game? Or if sci fi and fantasy Fandom with their early LARPs had been the progenitors, rather than war gamers? What if the influences had been Poe and Doyle and the detective pulps, or even comic books?
 



No one in the news media has bothered to do an article.
This is a pretty salty take. I really doubt the Associated Press is sitting on this information and saying "nah." Unless people in the media are told about such things, it passes without mention.

I think it's a good bet that Kotaku, Ringer and Polygon, for instance, would have done something, as would -- ahem -- ENWorld.
 



overgeeked

B/X Known World
Came across an oddity or a fading memory. In the post I linked above it says that April 17th is the date of the first fantasy role-playing game session. According to Svenny’s introduction to Zeitgeist Games’ Dungeons of Blackmoor, the first game was over winter break 1970-1971.

Unless winter breaks last into April, I think someone’s memory might be a bit off. Anyone know which version is right?
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Thread 'The first character to die in D&D was named Bob! Bob the Hero!'
D&D General - The first character to die in D&D was named Bob! Bob the Hero!

The April 17 invitation still called it a “BRAUNSTEIN”. So it’s possible he is referring to when it was actually called the Blackmoor campaign.
Odd.

That person is claiming they were the player of the first character to die in a Blackmoor game. While Svenny is saying half-a-dozen PCs died in the first dungeon adventure in Blackmoor 3-4 months prior.

The relevant section of text from Dungeons of Blackmoor is:

"I had the unique experience of being the sole survivor of the first dungeon adventure in the history of “Dungeons & Dragons”, indeed in the history of role-playing in general.

It was during our Christmas break in winter of 1970-71. Our gaming group was meeting in Dave Arneson’s basement in St. Paul, Minnesota. We had been playing a big Napoleonics campaign on Saturday afternoons, which was getting bogged down in long drawn out miniature battles. So, as a diversion for the group, Dave set up the town of Blackmoor instead of a Napoleonics battle on his ping-pong table. I had never played or even heard of any games like it before, although I had read “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”..."

"[T]here were six players, myself, Bill Heaton, Mel Johnson, Kurt Krey, Steve Rocheford and one more whom I can’t remember. All of us were first level fighters in modern terms, although at the time you were a flunky, a hero or a superhero. Dave treated us as teams (the good and bad guys) and alternated between which group he was working with as he got to points were he needed information from the other team..."

"By 4 AM when that first adventure was finally finished I was hooked on the game. We started playing Blackmoor almost every week after that and we started coming over to Dave’s basement on Sunday afternoons to have additional adventures, too. It was a wonderful opportunity to let our imaginations run wild with our adventures."

So according to Svenny, they were playing Blackmoor months prior to this other person's claim. Odd.
 

darjr

I crit!
The willingness of folks to be dogmatic astounds me. Also from Greg.
Greg: You are welcome; hopefully I will be able to answer your questions. Nobody is really sure when we started playing Blackmoor. My recollection was that we played the first adventure over the Christmas holidays during the winter of 1970-1971; but, I am not really sure. The first documented Blackmoor game was on May 21, 1971. Dave Arneson found that in an old “Corner of the Table” newsletter article a few months ago. The “Corner of the Table” was Dave’s newsletter for our Napoleonics campaign. Dave recently came across a complete set of them.

from Q&A with Greg Svenson

so, hard in print documentation still fits the April 17 timeline. I admit it also may be wrong.
 
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aco175

Legend
I just wonder if you have been telling the story of being the first for 40+ years, you believe it to be real. Same for the other person. So now, it may be hard to know the actual truth. One may have beta tested and is calling it the real thing, and likely thinking it was.
 

I just wonder if you have been telling the story of being the first for 40+ years, you believe it to be real. Same for the other person. So now, it may be hard to know the actual truth. One may have beta tested and is calling it the real thing, and likely thinking it was.
I'm not sure how much of a line there was between beta testing and just playing, given that, at the time, there was no prospect that the game would be turned into a professional product.

But yes, memory playing tricks decades later is likely a big component here, as is what everyone defines as "the beginning."

(It's very clear to me that D&D didn't exist before I played the first time at summer camp, no matter what the creators might say.)
 

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