Continue your tour of the Ravens Bluff campaign setting, the brightest spot on the Dragon Reach. Meet Jack Mooney, proprietor, manager, and ringmaster of the Realms' largest circus. Lucky visitors receive invitations to ourParty on Embassy Row, where intrigue and high society collide. Visit Lord Mayor Charles Oliver O'Kane's study for a quick peek at Elminster's notes on Ravens Bluff and environs. Discover more new businesses, personalities, and officials --including the Vulture, the city's infamous tax collector. All stops on your tour will add adventure to your travels in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
LC2: "Inside Ravens Bluff, The Living City" (1990), compiled by Jean Rabe, is the second of the Living City supplements for the Forgotten Realms. It was published in July 1990.
Origins (I): The Shared World. The city of Ravens Bluff in the Forgotten Realms began as a concept by Penny Petticord, who suggested that the RPGA could create a shared-world locale, where anyone could add details of their own. Articles about Ravens Bluff appeared regularly in Polyhedron magazine, starting with issue #34 (1987), then two years later, the RPGA published the first mass-market book about their city, LC1: "Gateway to Ravens Bluff, The Living City" (1989).
LC2: "Inside Ravens Bluff, The Living City" (1990) continues to detail the city, but with one big difference: Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms, offers an extensive article that puts Ravens Bluff in the context of the larger Realms. It was an open acknowledgement that Ravens Bluff was another puzzle piece in the tapestry of the Realms, now being created by a variety of hands including Jeff Grubb, Douglas Niles, and others.
Origins (II): The Circus Contest. It took two and a half years for "Gateway to Ravens Bluff" to come to fruition, in part because the RPGA's publications were constantly running behind in the late '80s. However, when Jean Rabe took over as Network Coordinator in early 1987, she quickly got things back on track. That allowed for a much quicker turnaround when the RPGA decided to publish a second "LC" supplement.
"Inside Ravens Bluff" started as a contest to stock the Living City's circus, which ran in Polyhedron #48 (July 1989). The deadline was December 31, 1989, with the winner announced in Polyhedron #53 (May/June 1990): one David Carl Argall of California, who contributed the "Pick a Prize" game. Using the entries from that contest, the RPGA was then able to compile the majority of the content for their second Ravens Bluff supplement.
Origins (III): The Tournaments. The shared world of the Living City was just half the story; the RPGA was also running a yearly Living City tournament at Gen Con. The fourth of these tourneys appeared at Gen Con '90 (1990), shortly after the release of "Inside Ravens Bluff"; it was "Nightwatch in the Living City" by Walter M. Baas and Kira Glass. As with the other Living City tournaments, players were invited to bring back their characters from previous years, with the caveat that they were "responsible for keeping track of [their] character". A special Living City character sheet even appeared on the mailer cover for Polyhedron #54 (July/August 1990).
As it happens, the "Nightwatch" tournament would also be the basis of the third "LC" supplement.
Exploring the Realms. The Jack Mooney & Sons Circus makes its winter home in Ravens Bluff, but otherwise it travels the Realms. As a result, this module-length description of the circus is somewhat less important to the city of Ravens Bluff than what appeared in the previous supplement. Nonetheless, there's plenty of information on Mooney's people, games, rides, and other attractions, and they're found in the Living City during part of every year.
The Realms is explored much more thoroughly through Ed Greenwood's article, which describes The Vast, the once-orcish lands east of the Dragon Reach that include Ravens Bluff. This area of the Realms lies just east of areas like the Dalelands and Hillsfar which received strong attention in the early days of the Realms. Though the Vast is somewhat separated from that major campaign area by the Dragon Reach, Tantras had already received some attention in FRE2: "Tantras" (1989) while even further north, Mulmaster was relevant to FRC2: "Curse of the Azure Bonds" (1989); many of the other nearby cities had been touched upon in Forgotten Realms Adventures (1989). In other words, one of the best detailed areas of the Realms was continuing to expand, and the development of Ravens Bluff was part of that.
Greenwood would continue his exploration of the area around Ravens Bluff in a column called "Elminster's Everwinking Eye", beginning in Polyhedron #54 (July/August 1990). There was a particular focus on Mulmaster in issues #60-68 and on The Vast in issues #72, 74, and 87-93.
NPCs of Note. The most notable NPC in "Inside Ravens Bluff" is of course Jack Mooney, the eponymous head of the module's traveling circus. He has not appeared much more widely in Realmslore, possibly because of his origins in the RPGA.
Future History. Polyhedron continued to feature Living City in its articles; around the publication of "Inside Ravens Bluff", the focus was on Jack Mooney. There are some circus bards in Polyhedron #54(July/August 1990), then a complete adventure called "Easy Money" appears in Polyhedron #55 (September/October 1990). Mooney returned one more time with "Burton's Bouncing Bears" in Polyhedron #57 (January/February 1991).
About the Creators. "Inside Ravens Bluff" was another joint effort of the RPGA membership, compiled by Jean Rabe, and edited by Skip Williams and Jean Rabe.
About the Product Historian
The history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the editor-in-chief of RPGnet and the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.