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Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Posted by The DirectorFor group 0
The Director
GM, 4928 posts
Fri 3 Sep 2021
at 20:19
  • msg #1

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Dave Arneson's Day is the first of October, and it is the date when this campaign started, a few years ago. Its purpose was, and is still, to (humbly) remember Dave Arneson and his legacy.

For this reason, this year I decided to propose a small essay competition for the players participating to this game. Of course, the end date will be the first of October 2021 (let's make it 12:00 mid day, GMT, just to be spot on). The theme is: "What is Dave Arneson's legacy for contemporary role-players?".

The essay has to be written as a post in reply to this thread and it can be as long or short as desired (as long as it is accepted by RPoL and made visible), but has to be a single post for each player (player, not character). The post can be modified as many times and desired and it can be kept private / visible just to the GM as long as desired, but by the first of October 2021 at 12:00 mid day GMT, it has to be visible to everybody.

After the deadline, there will be a short time for discussion and, when I'll see that the discussion is over, I'll open voting and every player (again, player, not character) and GM will be able to vote. Nobody of course is allowed to vote for themselves (in case, that votes will be void).

The player that posted the most voted essay will receive 200 XPs to divide as desired between the characters of that player (of course, if the player controls a single character, that character will receive the 200 XPs, if the player controls more than one character, then the XPs can be divided as desired). The second most voted player will received 100 XPs and the third will receive 50 XPs. All other participants will received 5 XPs.

In order to keep everything tidy, please post in this thread your essays and post your questions and comments in the general OOC thread link to a message in this game
This message was last edited by the GM at 20:24, Fri 03 Sept 2021.
The Director
GM, 5001 posts
Sun 26 Sep 2021
at 20:17
  • msg #2

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

The Dave Arneson's Day is approaching fast! :)
The Director
GM, 5002 posts
Fri 1 Oct 2021
at 15:54
  • msg #3

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Time to post your essays!

Time to post your essays extended to 3rd of October:
link to a message in this game see message 740.
This message was last edited by the GM at 15:59, Fri 01 Oct 2021.
Garl Ligoosh
player, 347 posts
Sat 2 Oct 2021
at 01:28
  • msg #4

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

As preparation for writing my contest entry, I watched the 'Secrets of Blackmoor' documentary which I rented on Vimeo.  Prior to this, I had no idea what I would have to say about Mr. Arneson's influence on contemporary role-playing.

Having watched it, I now realize there might not even be a contemporary RPG scene without him.  As the co-creator of D&D, his influence is inestimable.  Yes, there would have been other role-playing games without it, but would those games have ever achieved the same level of success?  I suspect that without Dave Arneson, tabletop RPGs might have been a fad that died in the 70's.  And if this documentary is correct, it was Arneson, not Gygax, who did most of the heavy lifting in crafting the rules (Gary, on the other hand, did most of the heavy typing).

Even setting his role in creating Dungeons and Dragons aside, it was Blackmoor, not Greyhawk, which was the first real RPG campaign setting.  (Gary Gygax later falsely claimed that honor for Greyhawk, although he had personally played in the Blackmoor campaign before creating it).  How do you top that?  He co-wrote Dungeons and Dragons, created the first fantasy rpg campaign, and inspired Greyhawk.  He also worked for TSR for a time, although he was later fired (as was Gygax, eventually).

Neither his name nor Gary Gygax's appear on contemporary Dungeons and Dragons products, but let's face it: without Dave Arneson, we'd all be sitting around a table playing Risk.  The only appropriate response is, thank you.
This message was lightly edited by the player at 01:31, Sat 02 Oct 2021.
Jan Tarran
player, 461 posts
Stamina 16/16
Luck 9/10
Sat 2 Oct 2021
at 13:04
  • msg #5

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

In reply to Garl Ligoosh (msg # 4):

Stop telling people what I was going to say!! *grin*

Without Mr Arneson, the RPG scene would be a very different place right now. In fact, the most important feature, is that without him I doubt I'd have got into RPGs or LARP.
Rennias Greystone
player, 240 posts
Sun 3 Oct 2021
at 05:53
  • msg #6

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

MY ESSAY

Question: "What is Dave Arneson's legacy for contemporary role-players?"

Answer: I believe the short answer to this question is that new concepts and technology is built on the foundation of the older ones that previously came before it, and in the case of our game and gaming in general this is no different.

The longer answer is that like all things involving humanity and its slow but forward progress, the Role-Playing Genre Is something that has not just popped into existence overnight but instead is the product of YEARs of evolution and growth. Not just in the genre itself, but in the minds and ideas and approaches of gamers everywhere as well.

After doing a bit of research, I learned that Blackmoor is actually older than I am (I was born in the early 80's)! And also that not only was Arneson a co-creator of D&D but that Blackmoor was his personal campaign setting where he did some testing for proto D&D, but apparently he did some things with miniature gaming and such too. This means Blackmoor not only technically is one of the earlier ancestors to most modern role playing games like D&D 5th edition, but if you think about it...his work probaby helped inspire modern miniature gaming like Warhammer and Mageknight.

I don't know much about miniature gaming - I dabbled in Mageknight a bit as a teenager but put it aside for tabletop gaming like D&D and World of Darkness and so on, but I acknowledge that the Role-Play genre has branches like any family and it's pretty neat to think about how older game designs like Blackmoor and old school D&D have grown and evolved over time and with player input into things like Pathfinder, D&D 5E, World of Darkness, Exalted, Powered by the Apocalypse, and more.

But I'd also like to bring the topic back around to the present, to my experience here in in this game now on RPOL. We're using Advanced Fighting Fantasy as rules with Blackmoor as a lens of sorts. There's some basic concepts in our game that were from the old school times...like forming a party, using a d20 (well 2d6 got this game heh), and we as players are sort of simplifying things a bit sometimes rules-wise as we try to emulate an older style of game HOWEVER, we're not totally stuck in the past as I find myself inspired by mor emodern ideas for our own game...like having my Rennias become an Archmage, and maybe one day learn enchanting, and of course seeing what ways we can push the GM's boundaries as well. and I feel some of those types of concepts are more modern at least in my mind than old school 1970's gaming.

I'm glad that I have the opportunity to play in a game like this as it is a perfect blend of older nostalgia and modern appreciation.

Thank you for reading.
The Director
GM, 5012 posts
Mon 4 Oct 2021
at 18:44
  • msg #7

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Before opening the voting session, I'll leave a couple of days for discussion and personal remarks.

My personal remark is that I don't think that discussing about who was first and who was second at something is particularly interesting. I think that Dave Arneson left an important legacy beyond that controversy.
I think that his big step forward was to evolve from toy soldiers battle simulations to role-play. He then referred to several topics of literature, leaving everybody's fantasy free.
If you think about it, this is all, in simple words, in his introduction to Blackmoor:

quote:
Dave Arneson introducing Blackmoor

One day, a little over thirty years ago, I discovered that I was bored. The campaign that I was running had become a drag. It was consumed with these long tedious battles and constant bickering over historical details. These most recently uncovered details would mess up next week’s battle. Curses on all such books!
Why not just use one source and be done with it? CLICK! Graph paper, pencil, the old 20-sided dice we never used, some really poorly sculpted plastic monsters… I began to imagine a dungeon. My mind raced… I began to draw.
Maybe I can fill it with critters and gold! This dungeon needs a name? Hmm, it’s a dark place in the wilds of wherever. Ahh! Blackmoor! By Sunday night the first six levels of the dungeon were done and the gaming table in the basement had been transformed into a small medieval town with a castle. A dungeon seemed like a good idea since it would keep the players from running all over the place. We still needed some more details… Ah! I drew a map of the town and the country around it. These last details took me most of the rest of the week to complete. I was really excited about this idea.
Now everyone could be a hero like in a book but without a tight (and often dumb!) plot. They could do just about anything that they wanted to do, for better or for worse. In that short time, Blackmoor was born. The campaign setting now known as Blackmoor was done within the month with additional details added as needed. Both the setting and the rules continued to grow over the weeks. Most, but alas not all, the guys liked the game and wanted to keep playing. So the next few weeks were spent fleshing things out and trying to maintain the structure. In a very real way I have continued to “flesh things out” over the last thirty years.
I continue to run the Blackmoor campaign in the games I judge at conventions and in my classroom. Over the years some 5,000+ people have adventured in Blackmoor in excess of 1,500 game sessions. The roads are well traveled but the adventures never end. (Orlando, 2004)

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:02, Tue 05 Oct 2021.
The Director
GM, 5020 posts
Tue 5 Oct 2021
at 21:06
  • msg #8

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

There is a bit of Dave Arneson's stuff that I don't know if / how it is now seen by role-players and it is the technomagic thingy. Perhaps one of the first and most notable episodes where this trope showed up is in a game where a Gaul used a lightsaber or a laser gun, or something like that.
How do you feel like dropping high tech stuff in a campaign that is fundamentally fantasy (and therefore will regard the high tech stuff as magic)?
Rennias Greystone
player, 246 posts
Tue 5 Oct 2021
at 21:13
  • msg #9

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

I myself tend to avoid heavy technology when I'm doing fantasy settings because I like magic more than science if that makes sense. However I acknowledge that there is sort of a blurry acceptable area in the form of like steampunk and things like what dwarves and gnormes would build. Things like lasers and robots though in a high fantasy setting is weird unless that is part of the setting fundamentally like how numeria in Pathfinder for instance is a land of barbarians and technology from like I think stuff from asteroids that hit the planet or something. I don't really know a whole lot about numeria.
This message was last edited by the player at 21:13, Tue 05 Oct 2021.
The Director
GM, 5023 posts
Tue 5 Oct 2021
at 21:20
  • msg #10

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

In reply to Rennias Greystone (msg # 9):

I don't know much about Numeria, but I understood that it is in part inspired by Blackmoor as well.
I think that the mix up of technology and fantasy can be controversial and when I started roleplaying (as a kid) I didn't like it, but now I'm fairly relaxed about it.
Rennias Greystone
player, 247 posts
Tue 5 Oct 2021
at 21:25
  • msg #11

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

I guess I don't like it unless I'm emotionally prepared for it if that makes sense. Like if I'm told beforehand it could be a setting conceit or something related to plot or something like that but if it just feels overdone or random it just seems to go against the fantasy genre too much. But like I said there are some instances where it does work.
Garl Ligoosh
player, 348 posts
Wed 6 Oct 2021
at 02:44
  • msg #12

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

It can be fun to (for example) drop a laser pistol into a chest, or have the party discover something in a room that they would never recognize, but that the players themselves would immediately understand.  I've done this in the AD&D game I run on Roll20.  You can't let it get out of control, though, unless you want to fundamentally change the setting you're playing in.

One thing I forgot to put in my essay: after watching that documentary, I felt SO jealous of Dave Arneson and everyone who got to play in his campaign.  How cool would it be to run in a game like that for three decades or longer?  I wish I'd had friends like him when I was in high school.
This message was last edited by the player at 02:46, Wed 06 Oct 2021.
The Director
GM, 5025 posts
Wed 6 Oct 2021
at 21:15
  • msg #13

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Garl Ligoosh:
One thing I forgot to put in my essay: after watching that documentary, I felt SO jealous of Dave Arneson and everyone who got to play in his campaign.  How cool would it be to run in a game like that for three decades or longer?  I wish I'd had friends like him when I was in high school.

I really like this comment!
By the way, Greg Svensen (a.k.a. the Great Svenny in that historical Blackmoor campaign that initiated a lot of novel things) is really a very nice person to play with.

Any other comment or contribution to the discussion?
The Director
GM, 5030 posts
Thu 7 Oct 2021
at 20:23
  • msg #14

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Looks like there the discussion is more or less over, so it is time to vote the preferred essay. Please be polite and don't vote for yourself :)
I'm planning to close the voting by Sunday :)
This message was last edited by the GM at 21:43, Thu 07 Oct 2021.
Rennias Greystone
player, 250 posts
Thu 7 Oct 2021
at 21:18
  • msg #15

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

I am voting for Garl.

He is the only one besides myself that I feel put a lot of effort into making a response, and he also obviously took some time to try to learn more about Dave arneson too.
Garl Ligoosh
player, 352 posts
Fri 8 Oct 2021
at 17:25
  • msg #16

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

I’m voting for Rennias… and not just because Rennias voted for me.
The Director
GM, 5045 posts
Sun 10 Oct 2021
at 18:24
  • msg #17

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Last few hours for voting!
The Director
GM, 5046 posts
Sun 10 Oct 2021
at 21:45
  • msg #18

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

With my vote, the final leaderboard becomes:

1) Rennias
2) Garl
3) Jan

Congratulations for participating!

200XPs for Rennias, 100 XPs for Garl and 50 XPs for cheecky Jan!
This message was last edited by the GM at 21:47, Sun 10 Oct 2021.
The Director
GM, 5050 posts
Fri 15 Oct 2021
at 20:29
  • msg #19

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Any other comment about this little competition?
On my side, I'm glad if my humble tribute campaign helped somebody to discover more about Dave Arneson.
Rennias Greystone
player, 253 posts
Fri 15 Oct 2021
at 22:25
  • msg #20

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

It certainly inspired me to look into the man more and I came out knowing a little bit more than I did before.
Garl Ligoosh
player, 356 posts
Sun 17 Oct 2021
at 08:01
  • msg #21

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

I’d say that I appreciate this campaign more after learning about Dave A.  For the cultural explosion that is tabletop roleplaying, Blackmoor is ground zero.
This message was last edited by the player at 08:01, Sun 17 Oct 2021.
The Director
GM, 5053 posts
Sun 17 Oct 2021
at 12:34
  • msg #22

Re: Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Garl Ligoosh:
For the cultural explosion that is tabletop roleplaying, Blackmoor is ground zero.

I really like this statement.
Jan Tarran
player, 466 posts
Stamina 16/16
Luck 9/10
Sun 17 Oct 2021
at 17:45
  • msg #23

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

The Director:
Garl Ligoosh:
For the cultural explosion that is tabletop roleplaying, Blackmoor is ground zero.

I really like this statement.


+50XP for effective summary??
The Director
GM, 5054 posts
Sun 17 Oct 2021
at 18:16
  • msg #24

Dave Arneson's Day essay competition (2021)

Ahahah
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