Sunday, April 19, 2009

Into the First Fantasy Campaign Part 3

Continued from Part 2

After reading about Caste Blackmoor we wind up on page 23 in my printing. The next section is titled the Into the Great Outdoors.

We first start off with a little tidbit that they started using the Outdoor Survival Board after the first year but it wasn't until the third year of play they moved into it. He is goes on to describe the change to the game that resulted because of increasing wandering outdoors.

Next is a Encounter Matrix for Open, River, Mountain, Desert, Woods, Swamp. You rolled a d20 and a blank entry meant no encounter. This is followed by Avoiding Encounter rules.. a Map Movement Table, Some more travel rules, and a revised price list with a % Failure to Arrive column. Remember those Special Female Slaves you bought well you are facing at 82% chance of them failing to arrive.

Page 25 has two interesting sections. The first "Outdoors in Blackmoor" is detailed discussion of how a referee can judges outdoor travel and encounters. The second is about monster migrating back in after the hex is clear. In MMORPG term how to respawn them.

On the next page comes a section on Drawing your own Map. It somewhat basic but has some good tips in it. Finally on page 27 we get a few charts to help build our own maps including a neat breakdown of a hex into areas so you can roll percentile dice and see where stuff is at.

Finally we get to the Blackmoor Dungeons on Page 28. Now I don't know why it goes Castle, Outdoors, and Dungeons. It just how it is. We learn that the Dungeon was first established in the Winter and Spring of 1970 to 71. The remainder of the page gives some of the background of the dungeon and it's history both in-game and out-of-game. One thing we learn that levels 1 to 6 in FFC are not the original levels but switched over to using D&D because he uses them to run people at conventions. Level 7 to 9 however are original notes.

In quick succession he talks about Sir Fang, the Elves that took over the Castle, and Dungeon Map Notes. We also have a neat drawing by Ken Simpson of a forbidding door into one of the fouler areas of the dungeon.

Next comes a section called "Magic" Protection Point. Now for a long time this section and the sparseness of the following entries didn't make much sense. It wasn't until I was reading the various old school blogs that I finally had a good guess at what happening.

You see the old time referees were just as pressed for time as we are now. Even the more dedicated folks were running out of time because of all the games they were running. The dungeons were not keyed maps we see in commercial products. Near as I can tell basically at lot of the times they drew a map. Only keyed a handful of rooms and for the rest they relied on table or their judgement to stock what in them. This explains why we haven't seen virtually any of the really old dungeon ever published commercially. (Blackmoor, Greyhawk, El Raja Key, etc) because their format is nothing like the commercial dungeons that came later). If you look at the first commercial dungeons they invariably are drawn from tournament modules.

"magic" protection Points describes how Dave randomly stocked the rooms on the various levels. The actual dungeon descriptions from 30 to 33 are quite sparse. Consisting little more than a description of treasure, monsters, and one or two words. For example

3rd Level, Room 4, Mels Room Golden Statue (Boa), Mels Room 30 Zombies AC8, 8 HTK
5th Level, Room 18, 2000 Gp, "Evil" Area, 2 Permanent, 20 Wishes
When you get to levels 7 to 10 the descriptions change to even a sparser format. The format is Room #/Wealth/Protection in Points/(Magic)

7th level Room 10/2000 GP/200/10 Werewolves (Den, Garrows), (75)
9th level Room 29/--/7 Magic Arrows/"Man Easting Sea Weed" (150)

Page 34 has the 10th level , the Tunnel System key, and the key for the Glendower Dungeons. Pages 35 to 43 are maps for the dungeons most of which are drawn at 45 degrees to the grid.

Tomorrow Part 4.


kesher said...

Weirdly, I happened to be reading this exact part of the FFC, and puzzled over what the Magic Protection Points were for. Unfortunately, I still don't quite understand---what exactly did you suss out from discussions elsewhere? How do those points connect to the dungeon key?

Rob Conley said...

You need Chainmail For example a room on the 2nd level had 15 points. Because Goblins at 1 1/2 points in Chainmail this means you can have up 10 Goblins in the room.

kesher said...

Aha. That's actually really fascinating! Thanks!