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The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Arneson's Sketch Map of Blackmoor, Annotated

      Over at the Acaeum, sauromation asked about how Arneson's hand-drawn sketch map of Blackmoor (in which the settlements are not labeled) in the First Fantasy Campaign corresponds to the fine fold-out poster hex map that came with the same product. Above I've taken my best stab at annotating the sketch map using the labels from the poster map. The positions of the waterways and the settlements actually exhibit a great deal of similarity between the two, although there are definite geographical differences. It's tempting to call this an "earlier" map of Blackmoor, but I'm not sure if there's any evidence of this (please let me know if there is). It could be earlier but could also be a  sketch that is contemporary with the fine map.


  1. On the page in the FFC where this map is reproduced, Arneson says, the original was "drawn from some old dutch maps." Whereas the two big fold out maps were redrawn later. That's apparently a backhanded way of saying this is the original map from circa 1971/1970.

    Nice work connecting the dots. I suspect some of those places were just unnamed dots when Arneson first made the map. Temple of the Frog is interesting since it didn't exist as we know it until 1975, when Stephen Rocheford came up with the idea of a playing an alien taking over a cult in the swamp, but maybe Arneson had something in mind there earlier.

    You could add Kenville - that spot directly south of Vestfold.

  2. Hey, Zen

    The map of the "Northern Marches" shown in "Secrets of Blackmoor" and posted on Griff's blog has shed some light on the FFC maps.

    It looks like the hand-drawn map of Blackmoor, shown above, was the version that Arneson made changes to in order to match up with the Judges Guild 'Known World' - the desert in the southwest corner is new, perhaps a corner of the Dar Undine Desert in the Valley of the Ancients.

    In other words, this is the Judges Guild version of Blackmoor, a step removed from the Great Kingdom version of Blackmoor - the location of the Great Ocean and geographical features are new!

    1. Thanks for the info, I hadn't seen the map on Griff's blog. Very interesting!

  3. Back again - my thoughts have changed on this, based on a recent post at "Hidden in Shadows" (May, 2020).

    In today's entry on my blog, I suggest this map of Blackmoor actually incorporates features from as many as three earlier maps - the map of the Northern Marches (for the basic outline in the upper two-thirds), the Outdoor Survival map (for the desert and the two groups of mountains in the bottom third), and the map of the Great Kingdom (for the changes to the right-hand side incorporating the Great Bay/Ocean).

    In other words, I no longer think the changes have anything to do with the Judges Guild map (I'm planning to tackle that subject, tomorrow).