21 October 2018

A lighthearted open letter to Greyhawk fans.

Let me start by saying I don't dislike Greyhawk. I play in a current AD&D 2nd ed. game set in that setting, Greyhawk and Blackmoor also, as the settings designed by the game's two creators, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson respectively, deserve a place of honor among D&D settings.
Since Greyhawk, like Blackmoor and Mystara, have largely been ignored by the publisher for decades now and exist in a state of publishing limbo, I see comments now and then from Greyhawk fans lamenting the theft of Greyhawk adventures, NPCs, deities, etc by other settings. I'm looking at you Forgotten Realms. Most recently I was enjoying the first couple episodes of the #Greyhawk Legends & Lore podcast (http://greyhawkery.blogspot.com/…/legends-lore-premiers.html has the details) where the hosts briefly bemoaned the inclusion of some iconic greyhawk adventures (Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, Temple of Elemental Evil, etc) in recent D&D 5th edition adventure anthologies. That gives me a little pause.
If you're a Greyhawk fan upset by the pilfering of your settings content by another, I can only hope that you have a similar regard for Greyhawk's theft of the Classic D&D adventures B1, B2 and X1 by Greyhawk at the expense of the Mystara setting.
Yes, it's true that B1 and B2 were published before any setting officially existed as a product from TSR, and early printings of both adventures contain some minor references that apply to Greyhawk, but in that same regard, much of the nomenclature in AD&D and (WotC 3e - 5e) D&D game manuals is shared with Greyhawk. To the average fan, which takes precedent? Vecna, Tenser and Mordenkainen are as much Greyhawk now as Quasqueton and The Keep are Mystara.
Then there's the Isle of Dread. X1 is not just a Mystara product, it is arguably THE Mystara product. That adventure, and the Expert rulebooks it accompanied in the 80s, established and created the Known World setting for D&D that later became Mystara. The setting is implicit and integral to the adventure.
So, in short, please, let's be fair. If you're complaining that the Forgotten Realms is stealing your Greyhawk material, please, also reject the Return to the Keep on the Borderlands AD&D adventure that appropriated B1 and B2 for Greyhawk as well as the Savage Tide adventure path from Dungeon and Dragon magazines that relocated our beloved Isle of Dread to Greyhawk. Show Mystara the same love and respect Greyhawk gets.
Yours respectfully,
Mystara fans.

20 October 2018

Stocking the Dungeon is now on MeWe!

I never did a lot of RPG stuff on Google+, for some reason the interface and spam I'd run into there just kept me from getting that into it. I was a bit saddened though, to hear of Google's plans to close down the network next year, since a lot of creative gaming stuff got shared and discussed there, especially in the old school D&D and related OSR groups. When discussions of the announcement turned toward people migrating to MeWe, it was honestly the first I'd heard of that network, and I was a little skeptical at first. I'm glad I gave it a shot though, the old school and OSR community at MeWe is thriving now and I've been following a handful of groups related to my interests of Classic D&D, Mystara and compatible OSR titles.

That got me thinking; I used to maintain a Facebook community for the blog, and it had a pretty good following, over 200 users. I eventually closed it down however, as it really didn't accomplish much but letting me share blog updates, which most people can get through a blog subscription or RSS feed reader. The ease of use of MeWe, and better functionality for discussions and sharing material has prompted me to have another go at a community to support my blogging as I once again dust off the Dungeon and get back to Stocking it.

Stocking the Dungeon @ MeWe

I've opened up membership to anyone who wants to join, so if you want to discuss things from the blog, or just chat about Classic D&D related stuff and share your own ideas and material, please stop by and say hello! Then, be sure and browse the other groups dedicated to Classic D&D type gaming, there's a lot of fun stuff happening there now.

Fixing the revised X1 Map quirk

Most long time D&D players have fond memories of module X1:The Isle of Dread, and with the ease of researching things online, both versions of the classic adventure can be compared.

The main difference between the two is the art. All the artwork from the blue cover original version of the module gets replaced in the revised orange cover. Also, the maps get updates, with more color and update encounter area labels to reflect the revised labels and numbering in the text of the module. While opinions vary according to personal taste on the new art, the one complaint most people have had with the map update is a fairly glaring omission made to one of the important maps of the Taboo Island temple complex.

Here's the original map, for reference.

And the same map in the revised edition. I removed the monochrome blue background from this map for easier comparison, though you will see, the change is very obvious.

Without that little inset graphic depicting the tunnel under the north end of area 5, it appears to a lot of readers that there is no way to get to area 6 and beyond. The Description of room 5 (room 34 in the revised module key) mentions the raised platform where people in area 34A, on the raised platform, may observe the activity in the main chamber (area 3 or 32 revised), but doesn't clearly explain the tunnel leading under it to access the rooms and collapsed tunnels beyond. So, with a little bit of paint shop magic, I've created a corrected map for the revised module that includes the missing insert illustration, for your reference when using the X1 module.