Excerpts Archive | 10/29/2013
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OD&D Excerpts
Book V: Blackmoor

T he original Dungeons & Dragons game, published in 1974 and aimed at wargamers and medieval fantasy enthusiasts, created an entire industry of roleplaying games, as well as legions of D&D fans worldwide. It included three small rules booklets in a white box.

On November 19th, the deluxe reprint version of Original Dungeons & Dragons releases, which includes seven booklets (the first three rules booklets and four supplements) and dice within an engraved and illustrated wooden storage case.

The Supplements

Following the publication of OD&D's first three booklets, a number of supplements were to follow. The second of which, Blackmoor, began with the following:

"Caution! This is the second supplement to the highly addictive game Dungeons & Dragons. Handle it at your own risk. Even a brief perusal can infect the reader with the desire to do heroic deeds, cast mighty magical spells, and seek to wrest treasure from hideous monsters."

Indeed, there would be four supplements for OD&D: Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry and Gods, Demi-Gods and Heroes. In today's preview, we consider just a few of the details that stood out within Book V: Blackmoor, as well as preview the new cover art. However, let's first look at the foreword to the book, as written by Gary Gygax.

Blackmoor Foreword (27 Kbs PDF)

Book V: Blackmoor

Considering the connection to Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign, the book begins: "Dave Arneson... Is there really such a creature? Yes, Gentle Readers, there is, and shudder when the name is spoken. Although he is a man of many talents who has authored many historic rules sets and games (which TSR will be publishing periodically), Dave is also the innovator of the "dungeon adventure" concept, creator of ghastly monsters, and inscrutable dungeonmaster par excellence."

Certainly high praise! And just what material did this book contain? For starters, the monk and assassin classes, further information on combat, monsters, and the perils of adventuring (your chance to catch sickness and disease). Also included was a sample adventure, The Temple of the Frog (revisited in the following module).

Background: Deep in the primaeval swamps of Lake Gloomey, shrouded in perpetual mist, lies the city of The Brothers of the Swamp. For years past this “religious” order has delved into the forbidden areas of study and determined that animals have more potential to populate the world than man, who was, after all, a biological abomination which would ultimately threaten the existence of all life. Therefore the good Brothers began developing a strain of amphibian that would combine the worst ferocity and killer instincts of larger mammals with the ability to move through swamps with great swiftness to strike and avoid retaliation. Combining the natural animals available with each other — through the use of biological mutations and methods discovered in old manuscripts — the Broth¬ers began developing the giant killer frogs of the swamp…

For today though, let's end with a look at the original cover art for the booklet, and how it's been reimagined.

Click below for a larger view of the new cover:

Bart Carroll
Bart Carroll has been a part of Wizards of the Coast since 2004, and a D&D player since 1980 (and has fond memories of coloring the illustrations in his 1st Edition Monster Manual). He currently works as producer for the D&D website. You can find him on Twitter (@bart_carroll) and at bartjcarroll.com.

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