Quarter Century of Role Playing?
laying off Pete what about me?" Intercepted
message in Medieval
skirmish game. So was it to Pete or about Pete?
Individual player goals introduced.
ya mean my Elephant got fried?" Ancient Miniatures
Roman punitive expedition in England runs into
got too many papers. Let him go." Brawnstien
First 'non-wargame' just players with their own
can't stab me in the back. We're on the same side!"
Introduction of the Chaotic thief. (Character
cares they're just Sword fodder." Blackmoor
Evil nasties eat a bunch of village militia.
my familiar is bigger, stronger, and smarter than
me. Well can I run him
instead?" Player comment after rolling six
'01' on a row. (NPCs with character)
Yep. Each marked a new phase in what was to become
first role playing game. Before the above Medieval
game the battles with
knights was pretty much a dice throwing match
until someone got wiped out. No
real tactics or strategy. With that game no one
knew whose side anyone was on
for the medieval sword bashes.
a non-period weapon the Druid high priest (and
barbecued the elephant but only made the Romans
VERY angry. So the effect on the game was only
psychological. While the Federation observer never
intervened because the Druid was killed by the
Romans. Now those Ancient
battle/shoving matches might find huge holes blown
in their sturdy Phalanxes.
marrying these two, and many other aspects, came
the first pure
South American genre Annaban Republic game. Not
quite role playing but
real close. I still fondly recall flying out of
that South American country,
in the Armies' own helicopter, with money from
most of the other players to
buy off the enemy invasion. What no enemy invasion?
Well at least my bulging
suitcases and I made the connecting flight to
Switzerland. Yes, according to
my papers I worked for virtually everyone. It
was fun drawing them up too!
were number of games of this sort. Most of these
were set up by me in
the a small Balkan country called Braunstien.
Interesting but complicated and
usually turned into an urban war.
playing came into it's own for me when I thought
about using the
Medieval skirmish rules called CHAINMAIL along
with the individual goal
concept explored in the Braunstiens.
a weekend off from refereeing our group's Napolenic
wargame with national goals set by the players)
I spent the time reading
CONAN novels and watching old monster movies while
munching on popcorn.
in a town called BLACKMOOR. Actually mostly the
graph paper dungeon under the castle and town.
The previous games had all been 'on the board'
but it's hard to hide things there. A totally
unseen dungeon maze added additional
territory and to hide several nasty beasts therein.
we began wit CHANMAIL'S simple combat matrix and
the handful of monsters and spells that it contained.
immediately, like during the first game, things
got changed. I
started making notes in a black binder and the
seeds took root and germinated.
that and decisions or rules used had to be consistent,
even if it
was a]fantasy world so notes were essential. The
CHAINMAIL matrix called
for any losers being immediately killed which
the players certainly did not
like. And there were not enough critters to satisfy
them either. Shortly
after that the matrix was replaced, spells added,
yadda yadda yadda.
since there were NO rules for practically anything
the players wanted to
do the game was "loose" and "unstructured".
The old referee got VERY good at
thinking on his feet. I say I was good because
the game, and I, both
survived the player's onslaught. And even without
a lot of rules we had rules
lawyers back then too! Thank he lord for that
black notebook. Even if the
rules weren't all in there I was usually able
to convince the players that
the rule was in the black folder, or at least
would be soon.
began without the multitude of character classes
and three alignments that
exists today. I felt that as a team working towards
common goals there would
be it was all pretty straight forward. Wrong!
me my sword back!" "Nah your old character
is dead, it's mine now!"
I couldn't really make him give it to the new
character. But then came
the treasure question. The Thieves question. Finally
there were the two new
guys. One decided that there was no reason to
share the goodies. Since there
was no one else around and a +3 for rear attacks
. . .. well . . Of course
everyone actually KNEW what had happened, especially
a great deal of discussion . . . yes let us call
it "discussion" the
culprit promised to make amends. He, and his associate
did. The next time the
orcs attacked the two opened the door and let
the Orcs in. They shared the
loot and fled North to the lands of the EGG OF
now had alignment. Spells to detect alignment,
and rules forbidding
actions not allowed by ones alignment. Actually
not as much fun as not
knowing. Chuck and John had a great time being
the 'official' evil players.
They would draw up adventures to trap the others
(under my supervision) and
otherwise make trouble.
message was to Pete by the way but everyone assumed
it was to someone
else. The resulting free-for-all left no victors,
| dave arneson | activities | published works
| origin of role-playing | blackmoor campaign
photos & downloads | d&d | friends | contact
info. | webmaster