Blackmoor Foundations: Upsetting the Applecart

Author: DHBoggs /

 Now that the "Fletcher Collection" folder as it is known by us in the Northern Marches Historical Society - our informal little research circle - has been published as Blackmoor Foundations, I will be providing some historical analysis of the content.

The most interesting of these documents can be firmly dated to 1971 and early 1972. In the circa May 1971 Corner of the Table, Vol III No. 6 is the Following:

"The June issue will feature an article by Ross Maker on the Boer War as well as the start of the Napoleonic War simulation battle reports. There will also be the continuing saga of El Pauncho and the start of the "Black Moors" battle reports, a series dealing with the perils of living in Medevil Europe, (or at least as much as is possible when a wargamer cum fantasy nut creates a parallel world that includes perils from a dozen Fantasy plots plus a few of his own)."

That's what it says, but that's not what happened.  No more el Pauncho or Brownstone stories were published, and perhaps more importantly, there were no "Black Moors battle reports" published in CotT either.  


The closest thing is the Nov 71 Blackmoor Gazette & Rumormonger #1, which was published as a separate little newspaper kind of thing with no battle reports or narratives like the el Pauncho reports.  BG&R #2 is arguably a battle report, but that doesn't come until over a year after this announcement and covers then-recent events (2nd Coot invasion), skipping past nearly a year of play.

Yet, among the Blackmoor Foundation papers and articles we find "Return to Black Moors", a detailed and unfinished battle report clearly and firmly a very early document which details the heretofore barely detailed "Icelandic Cave Adventure".   The Icelandic Cave adventure was among the first, if not the first Blackmoor adventure.  

I will dive deeper into the dating and related details in future posts, but here I want to set the tone of what to expect in these documents.

The documents confirm much of what has been said in this blog for many years, yet somehow I think some will be shocked to learn that early Blackmoor was as much about overland adventures as dungeons, that it was not primarily a wargame, that the earliest battles did not utilize the CHAINMAIL rules nor was Blackmoor born as a variant CHAINMAIL campaign, oh and yes, the land of the Red Coven was the same as the Land of the Egg of Coot.

In short they challenge many of the oft repeated detractions directed at early Blackmoor as being somehow merely derivative of CHAINMAIL or that play in Blackmoor was not "real" adventuring as it was and is in D&D.

Next post I will breakdown the 2nd dungeon report  (because I already have the maps prepared, and because the original scans for this section were easier to read...)  

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Game Archaeologist/Anthropologist, Scholar, Historic Preservation Analyst, and a rural American father of three.
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