• Dante

REVIEW: Secrets of Blackmoor - The True History of Dungeons & Dragons

Secrets of Blackmoor - The True History of Dungeons & Dragons - Volume One is a documentary by The Fellowship of the Thing, Ltd. which sheds light on the lesser known beginnings of the fantasy role-playing game industry and more specifically Dungeons & Dragons. The two plus hour documentary centers around a young Dave Arneson and a number of other pioneers in the wargaming community who ultimately formed the "Blackmoor Bunch". Arneson and the Bunch took traditional wargaming to unprecedented levels of realism by adding innovative elements to the gameplay. Their search for more resource material led them to a university library where they stumbled upon an old nineteenth century publication called Strategos - The American Game of War which inspired them in the belief that the only limit to their games was their imagination. The group's wargaming sessions started to take on a new immersive aspect as elements of role-playing usurped the dominant role of the games than the actual military battles themselves. The wargaming referee also began to resemble more of a what was later known as a Dungeon Master in fantasy role-playing game terms. As the story progressed, Dave Arneson went on to meet Gary Gygax at Gen Con where their relationship initially blossomed in a positive way but it was subtly suggested that this changed in later years. Arneson collaborated with Gygax and co-created Dungeons and Dragons adding his setting Blackmoor as a supplement to the game second to Gygax's Greyhawk though it is known that Blackmoor was created prior to it. The documentary reveals how much Dave Arneson's worked inspired and directly contributed to the creation of Dungeons and Dragons and provokes questions to fantasy role-playing game enthusiasts as to who actually had more creative input for the game, Arneson or Gygax. I really enjoyed this documentary and will be purchasing the second volume once it becomes available. I think anyone who plays or has played Dungeons and Dragons would enjoy watching this film. Secrets of Blackmoor - The True History of Dungeons & Dragons - Volume One is now available on Amazon Prime video for rent or purchase, VIMEO VoD, and DVD at https://www.secretsofblackmoor.com/.

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