Friday, February 3, 2017

Arneson's Great Kingdom Map

Among Dave Megarry's treasures, he's found another old map.  It's a hand drawn map belonging to Arneson, showing another version of the the old Castle & Crusade Societies Great Kingdom map, including notations of the area around the holding of Blackmoor and seeming to focus on provinces of the Great Kingdom.  The map is on an old photocopy, made on the old light sensitive paper by the look of it, and contains further notations written on the photocopy in colored ink.



Now, for comparison, here's a look at Arneson's contemporary map of Blackmoor, as found in his First Fantasy CampaignTM 




Here's what Mr. Megarry has to say about it.. "I have looked at the Great Kingdom map and have little to say about it. I think the numbered areas were districts within the Kingdom which had their own Duke's and such. As you can see, Blackmoor was wedged into a space between the Great Kingdom, the Duchy of Ten and the Egg of Coot. I think Arneson was trying to do a combination of Diplomacy, Braunstein and Fantasy gaming, having us take roles. But I think it was too ambitious and I was not part of it. I received the map in a poor condition with the coloring already done, possibly in anticipation of my being assigned a part, but nothing came of it. I suspect I was away in Boston.....I was living in Boston in 1974 and 1975; I moved to Lake Geneva on 22-23 Feb 1976 from Boston. I did not do much role playing during my time in Boston." (perscomm 2016-2017)

Check out Zenopus 'blog Zenopus Archives , and of course, the Secrets of Blackmoor Documentary.  Zenopus in particular has done some outstanding work on the Great Kingdom maps, so I asked him to lend his expertise, and I'd encourage readers to enjoy his results.

A couple additional notes:

One of the main NPC characters in Arneson's Garbage Pits of Despair is Terrence of Walworth, so it is interested to see Walworth so prominently marked.  Walworth, as has been mentioned before, was of course a territory controlled by Gary Gygax.

I'd also like to suggest that the "Contested Area" is quite possibly an early reference to what became known as The Wild Coast.


In this map, we are shown the location of the Capitol of the Egg of Coot is marked with an Asterisk.  But also of note is just how big the land of the Egg is.  Blackmoor is tiny by comparison. 





6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Dan. Wild Coast is a good idea for the "Contested Area"! There's one mention of the WC in Quag Keep, so the name existed prior to the Folio WoG.

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  2. I think this is a copy made on a mimeograph paper but then it could also be the light sensitive paper you are talking about. It is a waxy type paper; I keep thinking that the mimeograph was the same but maybe I am wrong. I went on at length on Zenopus Archives that it was mimeograph paper. This is a mystery to myself. What technology used light sensitive papers? That in itself may give us a broad time frame, as Xerox technology completely blew mimeograph and light sensitive paper technology away. Thoughts?

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  3. If that is photographed onto light sensitive paper, wouldn't it be at risk of turning black? (Or is it just more recent thermal printers that do that?)

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  4. I think - but I'm no expert - that it is what is known as "electrostatic copying". Back in the '80's dad had a reconditioned copy machine that I believe was of this sort. The paper is very smooth and waxy feeling. I still have a number of dungeon maps and parts of TSR modules I copied on this stuff.

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  5. OK, I think you are right. Does that help us date this map at all?

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    1. The electrostatic technology ran from the 1950's to the 1980's, so the technology does not help us date this map.

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