Swords & Wizardry.....in Blackmoor!

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William
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Swords & Wizardry.....in Blackmoor!

Post by William »

Attached to this post are three PDFs that are currently being playtested in a new Blackmoor campaign, which began on Saturday the 20th of January whilst D&D's 50th anniversary loomed near.
As many will know Blackmoor was the testing ground for very early D&D rules, and its actual conception predates the invention of OD&D. The setting was invented by and belonged to the late Dave Arneson, who along with the late Gary Gygax was the co-inventor of OD&D. According to "The First Fantasy Campaign" released by Judges Guild in 1977 (then revised slightly in 1980) Dave's Blackmoor campaign had eight definite character classes, which were as follows:
Assassin
Cleric
Fighting Man
Magic User
Merchant
Paladin
Ranger
Sage
Two of the above character classes are sometimes referred to as "the lost D&D character classes" - the Merchant and the Sage. There are also two areas of contention:
1) Why have an Assassin when there is no Thief? D&D historians often claim that Dave would play with the two classes rolled into one i.e Thief/ Assassin.
2) What about the famous Blackmoor Monk? Over the course of time D&D historians have come to the conclusion that the Monk was just a nickname for a character who Blackmoor players used to refer to as "the flying Monk", and it wasn't actually a character class at all until the first setting made specifically for D&D came into being - Greyhawk (rather interestingly the Paladin also originally comes from Greyhawk, and was invented by Gary Gygax along with Greyhawk itself, and its inclusion into Blackmoor is the result of cross pollination!). Today it is believed that Brian Blume invented the Monk character class and that it never made an appearance in Blackmoor.
Blackmoor makes use out of the four basic D&D races - Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Humans. The Demi-Humans are more commonly found in Blackmoor than what they are in Greyhawk, as there is a stronger high fantasy feel to Blackmoor. Blackmoor is still more of a Swords & Sorcery campaign though, as early D&D was always more influenced by S&S than high fantasy, and Blackmoor also contains gunpowder, steam power, clockwork devices and, due to a crashed spaceship within The Valley of The Ancients, some highly advanced technology within its southernmost regions.
I will be posting about my Blackmoor campaign in the Campaign Reports sub-forum. There has been two sessions so far which have not been reported on, but there will be no session this forthcoming weekend due to one of the players celebrating his child's birthday, so this will give me chance to make up for lost time by submitting reports on what has happened in the Blackmoor campaign so far. The campaign will continue for a few months until we eventually reach its climax, and then we will return back to the default setting at my gaming table - Greyhawk.
Please note that these two character classes are currently being playtested, and that there is a small chance for some revision in the near future. Play these classes yourself if you wish and do some playtesting yourselves! Report back on anything that you think needs to be changed.
NOTE: Both classes may use the Arquebus, which is an early form of personal firearm. Gunpowder is part of Blackmoor, but you could use these two classes in another campaign world and ignore the references to the Arquebus.

EDIT: I am not a professional games designer, and I do not expect any royalties for the use of this, but should it get used in any kind of OSR material a mention of my name would be nice. Thanks.

Bill
Attachments
SWORDS & WIZARDRY - The Merchant character class.pdf
(105.76 KiB) Downloaded 16 times
SWORDS & WIZARDRY - Merchant Spells.pdf
(127.4 KiB) Downloaded 15 times
SWORDS & WIZARDRY - The Sage character class.pdf
(106.22 KiB) Downloaded 18 times
Last edited by William on Mon Jan 29, 2024 9:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Swords & Wizardry....in Blackmoor!
AD&D 1e/ OSRIC
Conan
Greyhawk (1e)
Lankhmar
Ravenloft

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William
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Location: England

Re: Swords & Wizardry.....in Blackmoor!

Post by William »

Here is a secondary skills list that is suitable for a Blackmoor campaign. Note that it differs from the other secondary skills list that I posted on a previous thread by not being as generic, i.e. it is doesn't include secondary skills that conflict with the Merchant and Sage character class specialities as given in the above post.

Bill
Attachments
SWORDS & WIZARDRY - Secondary Skills for Blackmoor.pdf
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Swords & Wizardry....in Blackmoor!
AD&D 1e/ OSRIC
Conan
Greyhawk (1e)
Lankhmar
Ravenloft

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merias
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Re: Swords & Wizardry.....in Blackmoor!

Post by merias »

Thanks for posting these, Blackmoor is really interesting but seldom talked about. Did you have an original source for the sage and merchant classes, or did you pull from more modern sources? Were they detailed in the FFC? I have a PDF of that somewhere...need to find it.

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William
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Re: Swords & Wizardry.....in Blackmoor!

Post by William »

I pulled from more modern sources and came up with some stuff myself from out of a vacuum. There has been a Merchant NPC class detailed in Dragon Magazine in the past, plus a Sage NPC too, and there's the Sage NPC class in Supplement 2: Blackmoor, all of which I used for inspiration plus, as already stated, I came up with some of it purely from within my own head.

The Merchant spells have influences from the Basic Rulebook from B/X D&D, the AD&D 1e Player's Handbook, and the AD&D 1e Unearthed Arcana, plus there's some stuff in there purely of my own too.

All "influences" are purely just that - influences. These are character classes for Swords & Wizardry, and what material has been used as an influence has been changed and adapted somewhat in order to make it fit in with S&W plus the Blackmoor campaign setting.

These can be used with other OSR systems such as Labyrinth Lord, Basic Fantasy RPG, and OSRIC. However, players of AD&D retroclones (such as OSRIC) may want to flesh out the classes a bit in order to add a bit more crunch. One way in which this could be done is by having the percentile skills adjustable by relevant ability scores. Players of White Box retroclones will need to change skill system percentages to something else - either D6 or D20 oriented.

As already stated - these are currently being playtested. There may be some subtle changes made in the not too far future.

Bill
Last edited by William on Mon Jan 29, 2024 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Swords & Wizardry....in Blackmoor!
AD&D 1e/ OSRIC
Conan
Greyhawk (1e)
Lankhmar
Ravenloft

User avatar
William
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2023 8:28 pm
Location: England

Re: Swords & Wizardry.....in Blackmoor!

Post by William »

merias wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2024 8:08 pm
Thanks for posting these, Blackmoor is really interesting but seldom talked about. Did you have an original source for the sage and merchant classes, or did you pull from more modern sources? Were they detailed in the FFC? I have a PDF of that somewhere...need to find it.
To answer your question directly, which I didn't do in my previous post, they are not in the FFC, and I'm afraid that I don't know why. The Sage was presented in Supplement 2: Blackmoor as an NPC class only, as Tim Kask (who worked as the editor on that supplement) decided that the Sage as a PC class was unsuitable. I've tried to present the Sage here as a cross between an academic scholar and a fantasy world Indiana Jones.
I don't know why Supplement 2 has a Monk as it came from Brian Blume but yet Supplement 2 is credited to Dave Arneson (? :?: ).

Bill
Swords & Wizardry....in Blackmoor!
AD&D 1e/ OSRIC
Conan
Greyhawk (1e)
Lankhmar
Ravenloft

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