Havard wrote: Cthulhudrew wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Why do you think that the City of Blackmoor (which would seem to be the main area) was pushed back to DA5 in the schedule? Does DA1 give you an overview of the city that DA5 would have expanded on?
It wasn't a matter of being pushed back in the schedule, it was just the order in which they were published/conceptualized- at least to the best of my knowledge. The hook of the DA series is that the PCs are in the present-day Known World and travel to the past era of Blackmoor. DA1 contains both the time travel mechanism that allows them to accomplish that, and that same MacGuffin is what sets the plot in motion that requires the assistance of the PCs and is the major location of the adventure.
The city of Blackmoor itself was never really a big part of the setting- that was the Castle (which DA5 would have gone into) and the outlying areas. As for why DA5 wasn't the first and foremost, or at least the second module, couldn't say. At a guess, I'd hazard it's because it was a megadungeon and they weren't sure about the approach they wanted to take with it? (IIRC, the Undermountain megadungeon had already come out by this time and might have set a new bar for such things.)
I think you are into it here. I think the main focus of the module would not have been the city, but the dungeon below it. This would have meant it would have been better suited for more powerful adventurers.
I guess an increase in power level would make it logical to get the DA5 slot.
But they could just as easily have done DA5 as the story of the city above the dungeon and then DA6 as the story of Dave's megadungeon itself.
Havard wrote:It is also quite possible that the module could have started with the City of Blackmoor being invaded either by the Egg of Coot or by forces from the dungeon itself. It makes little sense to have a city standing on top of a huge dungeon filled with monsters. Even less so if the castle on top of the dungeon is the home of the king. In the actual Dave Arneson campaign, the adventures in the dungeon mostly took place at a time when the city had to be liberated after the Coot Invasions. The DA modules (and subsequent product lines) take place at a later, more stable era, which makes the dungeon more problematic.
To be fair, the game is called "Dungeons & Dragons". I think there is a level of assumption in most campaign settings that there are dangerous things below the ground. Waterdeep (from Forgotten Realms) and Manifest (from Ghostwalk) are both cities built smack on top of dangerous dungeons. Chainmail (the 3e Greyhawk subsettings) has elves moving out of mountain cities to build new cities right on top of portals to dangerous Outer Planes (so they can close them down and keep an eye on them).
I think there is some logical reason for the City of Blackmoor to be built on top of a dungeon. It probably feeds into the local economy. There are probably strategic advantags to controlling access. (It's probably better to control access than to allow Egg of Coot to take over the dungeons.)
I wonder if any of this DA5 stuff can be inferred from the things that were set up in earlier Blackmoor products.
Havard wrote:I actually think an adventure focusing on the town itself outside the dungeon could be very interesting as well. The First Fantasy Campaign has lots of details on the town and the Castle itself and DA1 has details on the Comeback Inn, so all of that could be used to make an adventure above ground.
How many pages does The First Fantasy Campaign
have on the city?
I know from my SJ knowledge of the AD&D Adventures in Space
boxed set that it gives some details about Realmspace, Greyspace, Krynnspace, the Rock of Bral and The Spelljammer and that four books and one boxed set come along to expand those details into standalone products.
If the same sort of thing was done in a The First Fantasy Campaign
to DA5 City of Blackmoor
progression, by how much would DA5 need to "expand" the existing canon? (The SJR products take one to three paragraph descriptions of planets and expand them to entire chapters, for example.) Would DA5 have doubled, tripled or quadrupled the detail on the city? Or are we looking on a much much larger level of expansion than that.
Havard wrote: Cthulhudrew wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Have you ever seen an outline for DA5 in a 1980s TSR catalogue? Do you know if they actually started work on this (or finished it and abandoned it just before it was due to be printed?
Havard might have better info than I on this. As far as I recall, it was only ever announced, not produced. I don't recall for sure where it was done- in a catalog or just in the "previews/coming soon" section of Dragon- but it was definitely announced.
Yes, there was an announcement somewhere. I thought it was Dragon. I cannot be sure about that, but it even contained a pre production cover using the art from Dragonlance's Time of the Dragon. Several people "in the know" have claimed that the module was completed, but just never published. I guess we will never know for sure.
I guess we need to find that announcement of DA5 and see if there is any marketing blurb to go with the picture. (You usually can't trust marketing blurb, but it might tell us something.)
If Bruce Heard was in charge of the schedule back then, he might be able to tell you how far ahead of publication date DA5 would have needed to be handed in for editing. And how far ahead of publication the designers would have had to start writing it. That would give you a window when DA5 would be a concept, a work in progress and a finalised document passed over to the editing team.
If the rest of the DA products were edited by the same people, you might be able to contact them and ask them if DA5 was handed over for editing. That might give you an absolute "no" that tells you it was not finished.
The other clues might be in the 3rd Edition products. If Dave Arneson had a partially complete DA5 script he would surly have given copies to anyone creating a 3e City of Blackmoor (if he had them).