Darkus Thel

An innumerable multitude of persons grouped together, loudly speaking, a throng endlessly whispering to one another's ear about the same topic (D&D) every day without any feeling of sickness.
This is more or less what the OSR is to me (but i love you all anyway).

I would sooner listen to anyone able to shed light on this game (and explaining to us all how it was possible that it went almost unnoticed for about 26 years) than being forced to read the next thousands boring posts on Dragonsfoot forum which are likely to appear in the next years to come.

I say "almost unnoticed" because in fact it has been played until today, if a third edition (!) came out.

But then, the laughable idea that will surely arise is that it doesn't deserve attention, because otherwise we all would know it very well.
And everything sinks again into oblivion, except for those who care.

Links of interest:

http://www.bluewaterminiatures.com/dtrb.html http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/darkusthel/?v=1&t=directory&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=dir&slk=3991 http://theworldofthelous.proboards.com/index.cgi/ http://www.examiner.com/rpg-in-fort-wayne/revisiting-darkus-thel


Mock me, scold me, crucify me.

This situation amuses me a lot.
It appears that i have everything, i am acquainted with every fantasy rpg from the beginning of the hobby until-more or less- 1989 (with a few exceptions, most notably Spawn of Fashan, alas), acquainted with everything EXCEPT Ad&d. I mean, ad&d is the game i know LESS after all, and it is the only one i don't own manuals as of today-mostly because i sold them i got rid of them in a way or another.

So, do i have the right to speak? This question amuses me and i am certain that many persons out there would regard it as a serious and valid question and argument. How dare you speak if your background is composed of several things, none of which is Dungeons & Dragons? So it appears that even if you are conversant with anything else but NOT with that SINGLE piece which is d&d, maybe you cannot be taken seriously.

So, to sum it up: i own almost every other fantasy rpg ever published, i have experience with them all, but yes, i don't have experience with AD&D. Too much time has passed since i played it last time, i forgot the rules and everything else, i must admit it, i WANT, i desire to admit it. And as time passes, i realize more amd more lucidly that ad&d is of no use to me, is irrelevant to the comprehension of fantasy in general...for how long it has been held in awe...this is puzzling to me, only this.

It's like taking away meat from your diet...you just don't die. Or taking away the alleged sweetest part...cakes and the like..you just don't die.


Different disciples are scattered everywhere

The most beautiful aspect of fantasy-role playing games- taken as a whole- is to me, the fact that there are different disciples for different games at the four corners of the globe.

This is- at the same time, one of the most neglected aspect, up to the point that at times it may seem almost irrelevant- whereas that would instead be the first truth i would utter loudly to a novice who is just entered in this fascinating world.

"Know that we [worship] so to speak, very different fantasy games, and we are generally deaf to all the others".

Everything has sense until these disciples continue existing, no matter where they are located and if they are still playing the fantasy rpg they fell in love with. "Gone but not forgotten", may suffice- it is enough having fond memories of it, because we all know very well that as time passes the chances of playing regularly become increasingly shorter.

I do not call them fans, i call them Disciples.
They regard their fantasy RPG of choice as the only one, they regard its author a visionary, the authoritative voice in the field, he who was able to see with his own eyes beyond the mist of time and space, reaching a glimpse of the fantasy realm and then putting his intuition and thoughts on paper, once and for all.

These disciples may despise those who play another FRPG or they may simply ignore them.
I seldom witnessed other kinds of behaviour other than these, but it has to be so, after all- and i concur with this attitude.

The tragedy would be (for historical and scholarly reasons as well)- if these traditions succumbed, and remained only one single game.

Instead, each of these fantasy rpg is sitting on its throne as long as there are its disciples, albeit they are a few.

As an example, among my favourite fantasy rpg of all time,there is one for which there remain only a few referees scattered in the world who still play it and able to dungeon mastering it- we keep an updated list of all our names, divided by States, and -30 years after it was published we are little more than 50 dungeon masters still available in the world and able to play it.

The puissance of each FRPG

Each FRPG is capable of accomplishing many things. That's its inner "potency".
They are different from one another, but every one strives to achieve the same thing- that is, the Grand Illusion.

Every single one could fight the battle alone, could be isolated from all the others. In a sense, it would be pointless for them to be alive and active at the same time, because it is not in their nature to help one another or to fill the gaps among them.

Whereas i use a system i am alone with that system.
I am using it, relying on its full potential. Where does this lead, up to which level is an important question.
In this sense, every FRPG may be regarded as a tool or a weapon, a means to an end.

I envision an hypotetical FRPG coming from some extra-terrestrial planet and i wonder which FRPG available to me i'd choose to contrast its power and alleged fascination. This is why potency is meaningful.

"I'd choose whichever i find available at the moment", is an incorrect answer.


I will unearth Melanda to the world once and for all

But slowly.

The secret sect that used to play Melanda has always baffled me. Every person who has had the chance of seeing it with his own eyes/ or who actually played it said that it was a game ahead of its time.

On RPG.net a guy says that: "Melanda, Land of Mystery, was published by Wilmark Dynasty, and had nothing to do with D&D (other than it being an RPG). As an earlier poster noted, it was a game ahead of its time. I participated in numerous campaigns run by the authors, Lee and John, back in 1982 - 1985 in an upstairs room of their Days of Knights store. The game is rules-light and fast-paced, unlike AD&D, requiring a minimal rolling of dice to determine outcomes. Until I discovered Risus, Melanda was my game of choice as a DM."

Melanda has remained a mystery to me for a long time and i started craving it. What was it really like?
I tried to contact the author (i found his mail on the web), but to no avail.
But, again: who were these guys who played this obscure fantasy rpg, and why did they choose to play it while everyone else was playing Dungeons & Dragons?

In fact, i could summarize much of my personal feeling and my personal history in the hobby of fantasy role-playing games saying that i have always wondered why there were more than one single fantasy rpg. If it was to be the authoritative text, no other games should have dared arise (and pardon my english with its bizarre structures).In any case, had i never pondered such an apparently obvious question deeply, i would never have stumbled upon the gems that shaped my life as a player and DM.

So, much like philosophy, there had always been different theories and positions, different points of view- thus, no one could utter to have the final truth.But i digress.

Let me turn to the bible of our hobby.
I have my copy of Lawrence Schick' "Heroic worlds" next to me right now.
I open it on Melanda entry:

"Fantasy system that was several years ahead of its time (my note: Melanda was published in 1980). Ability scores are determined by what skills the character studies as a youth, the combat system is likewise quite original. Perhaps most innovative is the rune-carving magic system, in which a character learns various magic runes that modify and act on each other to create varying effects."

It seems that Melanda even devised the magic system adopted in Ars magica seven years before it.

And then, behold! i found a 1st edition of Melanda on ebay here that ended for 112 dollars! yes, it is rare, very rare, the true collector knows what it is and is willing to pay for it.

And then, there exists a review of Melanda, published in DF, here.

Besides,a fellow player wrote to me some time ago:

"There are six races to choose from: Baladel, Lyradel, Gisadel, Wandel, Uridos and Omenwedur. (I.e., Dwarves, Forest Elves, Jungle Elves, Sea Elves, Halflings and Humans.)

No dice are involved in the determination of your character's stats; they are determined solely by your character's race and selection of skills. A Fudge-like descriptor is associated with the numerical stat, which the GM can use to determine whether a character succeeds or fails at a task.

Players are supposed to begin by coming up with a character concept, and then choose a social class and skills that fit that concept. Non-humans have three social classes - elite, privileged, and common. Humans have a fourth class: the dregs. Race and social class determine the number of points available to buy the skills a character learned during youth. Humans get more points, but each non-human race has a number of 'native skills' that all characters of those races acquire for free. Characters of all races get 6 additional points to spend on skills acquired during adulthood. Some skills are unavailable during a character's youth, depending on race.

A character's combat stats (Strike Base and Defense Modifier) are determined by cross-indexing Manual Dexterity and Agility on a table. Personal Energy Points (as Melanda's hit points are called) are determined by race and Physical Condition.

To hit in combat, roll greater than or equal to (your Strike Base - your foe's Defense Modifier).

Damage is determined by how good your attack roll was and the weapon your character is using. Armor makes you easier to hit, but protects you from critical hits; if an attack's damage exceeds your armor protection, you take a critical. (All hits are critical hits if you aren't wearing armor.) The severity of a critical hit depends entirely on the damage class of the weapon, not the actual damage rolled. (I'd use a house rule taking into account the amount by which the actual damage exceeds armor protection, so that the large weapons wouldn't necessarily lop off limbs or crush skulls if the damage only barely exceeded armor protection.)

The actual effect of a critical hit depends the location of the hit. Hits in the heart or skull (as opposed to head) cause instant death; there's a 1% chance of being hit in either of those locations, so you have a minimum 2% chance of dying from a critical hit from even the smallest weapons. The only hit location table given is for humanoids, so creative interpretation of hit locations is required for non-humanoids.

Rune Science: create magical effects by combining runes; types of runes: nouns, verbs, modifiers, transitions; the rules for determining the effects of spells are extremely vague - basically, it's "GM decides" with a few vague guidelines. In the one example given in the rules, a sea captain easily shrinks an attacking giant fish "to mackerel size" with no saving roll or anything for the fish. There are no spell points or castings per day or anything to limit the use of rune science. A presented, rune science seems overly powerful, but I guess it all depends on what the GM allows.
I like their rules for summoning spirits and demons and creating undead. Their background spirits, demons and the undead would explain demons and undead in original D&D very well. I'd like to adapt D&D magic to Melanda and run a game using Melanda characters and rules with D&D spells.

I will share more about Melanda in the future, since i'm going to peruse a copy and play it.

Fantasy earth is heavy on math

Maybe i wasted my money, maybe "Fantasy earth" is the worst rpg i ever bought, but i don't know.

I'm sure that it is grim and gritty, and i don't own a grittiest fantasy rpg, honestly.
I'll put some excerpts online in the future to convey the idea.

Anyway, let's read the intro of the game..

[...] some may find the rules a little dry and not exactly an exciting read. I apologize. However, they are rules[...]

The game has been criticized as too heavy on math. I hope people will not be scared off by this... ...certain sections of the rules describe graphic violence. It is not the intent of the game to glorify violence- combat is ugly, painful, and dangerous, and the intent is to portray it as such. ...the book of magic includes what some may consider gratuitous descriptions of "black" magic. The reason is not to wallow in depravity....

but, as a final note:

[...] once you have your character sheet completed, you will have almost no math to do at all. The idea is to front-load the math, so to speak, so that almost all of it can be done before play starts.

Mythworld rpg

Its author is still alive (Rev Cardwell), it is an old school fantasy rpg (released in 1986), he is still active in the hobby, he released long interview, he is willing to sell remaining copies (boxed sets) of its creation.
And he is President of The Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games

It is "Mythworld", and it has a lot to do with Runequest.

"Mythworld is one of those little desktop jobs you won't find in the game stores, but still has an abundance of ideas to improve the state of the art in game design. It was originally designed as a proposal for RuneQuest 3, but was rejected as being too detailed."

The rest can be read here.

"Back in the 1980-90s I had a book and hobby store and naturally stocked some D&D books. I was totally turned off by the acres of charts and arbitrary rules. I discovered RuneQuest at a game convention and even did some writing for them. When they were ready to produce the third version, I submitted a full game system, which Greg Stafford rejected as too detailed. I published it as Mythworld and because we had lost track of who came up with what, I was given permission to use the Gloranthan critters. I refereed the first demonstration of RQ3 the day before doing the same for Mythworld at Origins '84. Mythworld was published in '85 and we are now finishing the first revision - more of an expansion as the original game was thoroughly playtested before publication. I got in CAR-PGa in 1989 and became a Director and then Chair in 1991. I am currently the second oldest in CAR-PGa, which has three members over 70. We need high school and college members."

the rest can be read here

Another interview here.

As usual, no one ever mentioned all this on blogs, because we are too much concerned with d&d. I hope to fix things a little bit with my contribution.Thanks Mr. Cardwell.


I do not hate AD&D

Though i may give this impression.
And it is not true that i am eschewing it for any reasons.Should i be forced to say at least one thing, i'd probably just say that i find pathetic those at Dragonsfoot forum that talk every single day about it, opening threads restlessly.I regard it as a waste of time.
As someone once said: "too many movies, too little time". I say: "too many rpg's, and just one life".

I love AD&D, how could i not love it considering that it was my introduction to fantasy rpg's?

But Advanced Dungeons & Dragons doesn't hold sway over me.Yes, i did fall in love once, and it was with AD&D that i fell in love. It took place, but that happening alone certainly doesn't prevent me from falling in love again.

Now i feel attracted by the game highlighted in the previous post, and i want to see with my own eyes what its nature is.

My courage quailed for a while when i saw it, because it is another complex game which requires time and effort to be understood, but i must know it notwithstanding.


What i'm trying to understand now

Everything started when i read this today:

"Légendes celtiques : l'un des premiers jeux français (après L'Ultime épreuve et Mega) et l'un des jeux les plus complexes jamais créés (juste derrière Aftermath, je pense quand même)."



I'm not really sure, because I bought a lot of material in a few months when I discovered that tiny rpg shop not faraway from mum's home. I think it could have been Legendes celtiques, a french rpg which was a summit of 80's simulationism [James, I'm sure you would be interested to discover a bit more about french 80's rpg production].


Légendes celtiques was one of the most complex RPGs (except for Aftermath). The basic system was simple (a little like Daredevils or Bushido) but it took forever to create a character (at least two hours).


so, i got this today. i'm going to peruse it.


We took an instant dislike to Gygax

"We self-published 40 copies of it under the title of Chevalier. It was our intent and our hope to sell our material to TSR as a sort of "Advanced" D&D. We traveled to GENCON for that purpose in August ''76. We never did show it to TSR because we took an instant dislike to Gygax and so sought out another publisher. It required us about 4 months to completely de-D&D our manuscript [...] "


If Carcosa has any value, it owes it to D&D

The most perilous form of reasoning:

"Carcosa, Lotfp, an so on. They were successes. But someone could simply say they would never have been without D&D.
Moreover, they "borrowed" mechanics from D&D, in some way or another they were "founded" on d&d mechanics.
In fact, really someone could have devised Carcosa without having ever read OD&D, Moldvay, or ad&d 1st ed.?"

Thank Heaven, i do not concur with the above argument. Nevertheless, it is enlightening to note that this is one of the reasons why many persons regard several other fantasy rpg's from the past as "petty" d&d spin-offs, a sort of sub-products of d&d.

The "perilous reasoning" is a simple and straightforward logical argument which would prove very difficult to refute if taken seriously.

But do we have to take it seriously?

The only way to refute it (thus showing that Carcosa, for instance, can rely only on itself and its merit), is to show a complete disinterest in finding an answer to the question put at the beginning of this post, because i think the question is based on a false presupposition.

Put simply and in a nutshell, the presupposition is that we are always, in each instant indebted to Dungeons & Dragons, we cannot get rid of it.
It is the big red flaming eye which is always staring at us, we can't escape from its sight.

A false presupposition because Carcosa and Lotfp deserve both their recognition as fantasy games, regardless of d&d. And even if d&d had never existed, i think it is likely someone would have concocted something like Carcosa or Lotfp sooner or later. I think the same for Arduin (i wrote a post about it some time ago) and for any other FRPG from the past.

The pernicious reasoning was detrimental in the past because it overshadowed many rpg's worthy of attention (and several ones possibly worthier than d&d itself).

As soon as a new fantasy rpg aroused they said: "it is just an alternative to d&d, with some rules modifications, that's all". Even when a game was born which was in stark contrast with d&d, they simply said: "it is a reaction to d&d".

So in a way or another they were almost never regarded as INDIPENDENT ENTITIES.
It is as if someone showed me a new animal from planet Venus and i couldn't but compare it to the terrestrial denizens i am used to, trying to highlight the similarities, instead of trying to understand it as it is, understand it as a new and different entity.

The perilous and pernicious reasoning might be a menace even nowadays, if only a large number of persons stood up uttering such infamous sentences as the one i wrote at the opening of this post.

I myself believe in the inner quality of both Carcosa and Lotfp, and i would like to hear everyone say:" those guys had never written a fantasy rpg before- howbeit, i feel their first attempt was quite good, up to the point i decided to abandon d&d in favour of their fantasy games".

A sonnet of good cheer (by R.E. Howard)


Adventures, imagination: this is the problem.

I am obsessed with systems, rules. Years spent finding the most enchanting ruleset which was ever devised by human fancy, but when i pause i realize that the real problem are adventures, and at times the question of the rules appear silly to me, devoid of true meaning.

Regardless of the system used- nay, even if it existed just one and only rule system to adopt and no alternatives, the problem is to be able to devise adventures, the problem is IF adventure ideas can arise in your brain, the doom might be the lack of imagination.

Whence to find ideas for adventures? Whence to obtain inspiration when the imagination is silent?

When i have played all of the adventures contained in Dungeon magazine issues, together with those modules published by TSR, what will i do? Can i rely on my imagination always, without fault?


H.P. Lovecraft: consummate prose stylist (1984)

A very interesting article from the out-of-print "Lovecraft studies" issue 9, published in 1984.

I concur with the critic's view. Lovecraft's verbiage was not so byzantine as C.A. Smith's, nor could it reach Smith's heights of "verbal black magic"- nonetheless, he employed it on purpose and shouldn't be accused of excessive use of adjectives.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed is king


Spawn of Fashan: it's a fantasy heartbreaker of course, the worst rpg ever, as stated here. Everyone says that, so why should we give it a chance?

Runebearer: it's a fantasy heartbreaker. Too complex. Useless.

Dominion rules: guess what? a fantasy heartbreaker. It is not worth an instant of your life.

Realm of Atlantasia: It has already been criticized and almost destroyed. A fantasy heartbreaker without doubts, and pretentious.

Fantasy earth: the truth is already half-revealed in its title: a fantasy heartbreaker, whoever buys it is wasting his money, and probably has lost his brain.

Wizard's world: it's just a re-statement of old D&D, who did they think they were in order to dare writing it?

Original D&D: Hadn't it never appeared and existed, and was published today: a fantasy heartbreaker. It wouldn't be able to bamboozle anyone.Silly, incomprehensible, a mess, complex and reveling in its complexity. Abstruse.
But, the sun is going down: it's time to genuflect before it again.


First reactions to Clark Ashton Smith in 1930/40 - II

"I think your magazine (Weird tales) one of the few outposts of the human imagination still left in the age of stale realism, "writes Benjamin De Casseres, of New York City. "I enjoyed particularly in the May issue "The End of the Story" by Clark Ashton Smith, which is not only a philosophical thriller but possesses real literary quality, which is not lost (on the contrary) on readers, such as you have, of imaginative tales."1

1. Benjamin De Casseres was born twenty years earlier than Smith, and died in 1945. The Reader's Encyclopedia of American Literature describes him as "newspaperman, drama critic, poet, biographer" and says that his style "tended...toward the hifalutin..." He was a friend of H.L. Mencken

"I want to thank you," writes Carl Wilhelmson, of Phoenix, Arizona, "for the enjoyment i had in reading that superior and fascinating tale, "The End of the Story", by Clark Ashton Smith, in your May issue - and to express my admiration for your taste, since from a prolonged perusal of American magazines i am under the impression that in the publications pretending to culture and sophistication one would look in vain for the writings of anyone of the caliber of Mr. Smith - a true poet."


An rpg i have been coveting for some time

There is ebay, there are dedicated shops which sell out-of-print rpg's, and then there are online shops such as Rpgnow and the like where you can find old games in pdf format. All of these help greatly to get those old school modules or games you were trying to find.

But even so, something remains out of reach. I ignore which games other fellows in the OSR are craving for, but for my part i sometimes find myself longing for a grim and gritty kind of "fantasy" rpg, so my thought goes to Heroes (1979) which i've been coveting for some years now and still am unable to locate at a decent price.

It would be interesting to know which games are most sought after in the OSR community once you complete your AD&D collection, though i suppose one of them is likely to be Mythus by Gary Gygax...

Unfortunately (for me) there are many others much more difficult to find, alas.


I found this from 1976 but i don't know what it is

The complete PDF is located here.

A wise OSR gift for Christmas

There are many items that are still available nowadays through sites such as Rpgnow and the like, which belong to the old glorious days.

Which are the most precious OSR items which is still possible to buy in 2011?

Among all the things i perused on those sites, what is most amazing is in my opinion the availability of "Space opera" in pdf format for just 10 dollars.

As far as i know the boxed sets of Space opera are sold out almost everywhere at the moment (starting with Noble Knight shop), so that amount is ridiculous for what is doubtless one of the most complete SF rpg of all time.

Do yourself a favour, if you want a worthy gift for the end of this year, this is an unparalleled one.


Philipp Mainländer - Can such a thing be?

“Our world”, writes philosopher Philipp Mainlander (1841- 1876) “is the means and the only means for God of achieving nonexistence”. In his view, immortality, the eternal existence, is unbearable and agonizing even for God. But as God is eternal by nature, the only way to achieve nonexistence for the immortal God, who is beyond space-time and matter, is to transfer Himself into universe, that is to escape from the logically impossible into the logically plausible".

In his theory, God - in the beginning, masterminded His own quietus. Unfortunately, God was impervious to the depredations of time. This being so, His only means to get free of Himself was by a divine form of suicide.
God’s plan to suicide himself could not work, though, as long as He existed as a unified entity outside of space-time and matter.
Seeking to nullify His oneness so that He could be delivered into nothingness, he shattered Himself—Big Bang-like—into the time-bound fragments of the universe, that is, all those objects and organisms that have been accumulating here and there for billions of years.
So, this is what happened when Reality didn't exist, that is- when only God existed (before the creation of any kind of reality whatsoever, when there was no Universe, no space,no time).

So Reality came into existence because God destroyed himself, in Mainlander's argument.
In Mainländer’s philosophy, “God knew that he could change from a state of super-reality into non-being only through the development of a real world of multiformity.” Employing this strategy, He excluded Himself from being. “God is dead,” wrote Mainländer, “and His death was the life of the world.”
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Mainlander’s philosophy is that it offered a possible theological explanation for one of the scientific theories of the origin of the universe, considered to be most probable at present.


The long history of fantasy rpg's will be unbearable

My nephew grew old, he became profoundly interested in fantasy rpg's, came to me and asked: "Many beautiful things happened before i even opened my eyes. It is as if i woke up late in an hour of the day where all the best events already took place. So, what should i do to recover the time lost, if there is a way to do so, which i am no certain about?

My dear (i replied), first and foremost you should learn the very basics, the fundamentals-as a minimum, i urge you to discover the Original Dungeons & Dragons, and then pass to the so-called Advanced, which in itself may suffice to all your needs, today and tomorrow.

Is there more?

Yes, there is. Should you ever be unsatisfied, keep in mind that the manuals alone are not enough. If you are still thirsty, go and find the magazines where many scholars delved and reasoned about every conceivable aspects of that venerable game.

But- if i learnt AD&D, will my background be sturdy enough as to be able to understand any fantasy rpg's that might cross my road? Again, will it suffice?

No, it won't. But it could require a lifetime for you in order to learn AD&D in all its majestic profoundity.

after that, you can rest at your will.

This is an amazing story, please tell me something else. My ears are open now as they will never be again.

Oh..listen then, and don't forget that there were others who barely realized the passing of AD&D, they spent their strenght elsewhere, they wanted to imagine in a different way-as an example they landed here, and stayed there forever. If you have doubts concerning the different kinds of sensations and feelings you are able to experience taking such a different path, i want to soothe you now and assure you they were different indeed. Up to the point you will have to choose which of those paths to take in your life- i rarely encountered persons who lived fully both.

But please tell me, is there even more?

What do you mean, where are you intentioned to arrive?

I want to see the recesses of fantasy, explore what other minds conceived, what other hearts were able to imagine, i want to collect the love that dripped from their hearts when they wrote what they wrote.

So, you'll find yourself alone in that voyage. Be aware of that. You'll have as company only your craving and their sparkling thoughts.

If you ever turn your shoulders from the long road, you'll find persons who dared conceive other facets of fantasy, some who laughed in front of Dungeons & Dragons, others who scorned it, and others who just left it with a tear on their cheek, knowing it would never have quenched their desires.

These tomes that you desire are piled in forgotten libraries, shunned by many players you once gamed with. You will soon discover that they just couldn't bear their shining light or could not comprehend it. But sometimes they just were not in need of it, so please do not ever scold them or lambast them. They are your brothers and sisters in any case.

So, you are free to listen to me or ignore my advice entirely- maybe i cheated you.
But you wanted to know what you missed,so i started telling you this odd story.


Wizards' world

We'll probably never know. I can say, without fear of being belied, that a few (perhaps several) opted for Wizards'world instead of Dungeons & Dragons, although i haven't yet met any old fan personally.

Also, i would like to ascertain if the project of concocting such a game in 1983 was due to a dissatisfaction of some creative guy with the rpg's existing at the time or other reasons.Anyway, i feel there is still someone right now in some corners of the world who is playing it.



18 years of development ROA claims to be the most realistic fantasy rpg on the market today.

Honestly i didn't expect this, and i am intentioned to peruse deeply in this matter: It is called "Realm of Atlantasia".

Holding his new book, Vulcan resident John Holland says words cannot describe the feeling.

"This is the culmination of 18 years of work," he said about the self-published 544-page The Game Master's Bible, which delves into the world he created, Atlantasia.

Holland had come up with his medieval fantasy world in anticipation of writing novels set in Atlantasia, but became frustrated after finding the popular RPG Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was not challenging enough.

"When I got bored with D&D, it's like, OK, put novels on the backburner, let's get a real game going here," he said.

Holland says other companies' RPGs are "passé" and "too generic."

"To tell you the truth, I'm really not in this for the money," he said. "I'm in this to do a David and Goliath. I'm going after the big boys."

Holland wants to give them "a taste of what's to come," and what's to come, he says, is realism.

He's marketing the game as the most realistic fantasy based role-playing game (RPG) on the market.

In his game, called The Realms of Atlantasia, realism means bows are less useful in the rain, armour rusts and horses die if not cared for.

"Your weapons and your armour take damage in battle," he said. "You've got to get them repaired."

"As realistic as I can get in a fantasy-based world, we have added it in this," he said.

Like in real life, players won't find the same stores everywhere they go, and similar stores don't have the same prices and merchandise, he said.

And players have to make sure characters practise their skills or their characters won't develop as quickly as they could, said Holland.

"It's part of the realism," he said.

Holland has introduced exchange rates into his game, something he says no other role-playing game has done before.

"Something else that no one RPG game has done, and this is my pride and glory, is the magic using class," he said. "Every other game it's all generic, it doesn't matter kind of priest you are, what temple you worship, you get all the same spells. It doesn't matter what kind of mage you are, you get all the same spells.

"In this world, there are eight different temples, there are eight different schools of magic. Each one of them has their own spells."

There are 900 spells in the game, and there are many more to come, he said.

Out of the 52 monsters introduced in the game, 44 of them nobody has ever seen before, he said.

Holland has many supplementary books he wants to publish to give his game a more "3D like experience."

The supplementary materials include a dictionary for each of the languages he's come up with, atlases, and books on potions and poisons.

The game is certainly involved, with an eight-page character sheet. (The D&D fourth edition character sheet is two pages.)

Holland wasn't always sure he was going to complete even the first book, let alone others that delve into his world.

"I got halfway through the 900 spells and I thought I'm never going to get this done, and (his wife) Alisa just kicking me in the butt," he said.

He said he was getting disenchanted dealing with publishers, but when she found a company with which he could self-publish the book through IUniverse, it became a reality.

The Game Master's Bible is available online, both in print (for $44.95) and ebook (for $3.99). Holland is selling it on the website www.realmsofatlantasia.com, the iUniverse website, www.iuniverse.com, where it can be found by searching for The Realms of Atlantasia, and the websites of large bookstore chains including Chapters, Indigo, and Barnes and Noble. The soft cover book is $44.95, and the ebook sells for $3.99.

The next steps are to get the book into game stores in southern Alberta, and then onto the shelves in the large bookstores, he said.

Holland plans to auction a signed first edition, complete with documentation and a case, on eBay sometime in December.



Thane tostig


A FRPG difficult to find or a rule book for a miniature game?


John Sapienza's wisdom - PART I

When Mr. Sapienza speaks, everyone usually shuts up and listen.

John Sapienza, one of the few real sages of AD&D

42 GDp2

A different education and background

I am not going to show AD&D glossy manuals to my nephew's eyes when he is 12 or 13 years old.

I will show him another fantasy rpg instead. At that particular age, if you are slightly interested in fantasy, you are bound to fall in love with the first game you ever see.So, why another potential AD&D players? The world is already full of them, one more is not necessary.

I will show him a different fantasy rpg.
May the same fate have befallen to me!
Sadly, i was shown AD&D, and it wad hard and difficult to discover all the rest afterwards.

The first fantasy rpg you stumble upon, is the one you'll always love.
AD&D players are everywhere, the world needs that other traditions, others niches, be continued.


Beauty incarnated

If someone suddenly wrote, if someone had already written a book carved in golden letters, princely, beautiful, would we notice it immediately-like we can't escape the awareness of the sunlight during the day?

If there was a fantasy rpg which surpasses all others in grace, in beauty- a game profound, would we really try to get hold of it, leaving behind what cannot stand in comparison with it?

Thou shalt play AD&D


Many more old-school traditions than it seems

One of the most neglected aspect of Fantasy rpg history is the lack of recognizing that in our minds Fantasy is something different, and sometimes radically different from what resides in the mind of our fellow players.

Everything depends on WHICH fantasy role-playing game you have elected as yours. I will never stop from saying that Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is only a fragment (albeit gigantic), of the concept of Fantasy taken as a whole.

Everything depends on WHICH fantasy role-playing game you fell in love with. Almost any of the fantasy rpg's published through history has a fragrance of its own, more- a Weltanschauung of its own, they embody their creator's unique vision.

It happens that someone fails to understand what entertains another player, we don't speak the same language.
Here it is evident the eternal problem that could be summarized saying that "in the end, everyone is supposing to be talking and thinking in D&D terms any time we are talking and thinking about a fantasy RPG".

I realized this one more time today when i bidded for another item to complete my collection pertaining to a fantasy rpg from the past, i couldn't but notice how different it was its taste if compared to AD&D manuals, starting from its graphics and appearance, not to mention its content.

I am not claiming that this approach is doomed to come to an end. Probably it will not, much to the detriment of THE FANTASY in general.
Despite this idea of mine, i'm not advocating that we start to re-consider other fantasy rpg's.
As i said earlier, i'm not interested in making people change their minds. I just want to meet others whom i could call comrades, and fortunately i already found many before opening this blog.

Nonetheless, i cannot but realize that the consequences of this approach are grotesque. Apparently these many other old-school traditions sank into oblivion- i say apparently because in fact many are not and several communities focused around other "minor" fantasy rpg's from the past are still alive and active.

What is grotesque is to associate "Fantasy" to Dungeons & Dragons, which is only a partial facet of it, with its limits and shortcomings.

But, -more importantly- Dungeons & Dragons will NEVER be able to replicate the feeling and the atmosphere of another fantasy rpg, be it Runequest, Dragon warriors of whatever, and vice-versa. This is the reason why FANTASY takes many shapes and tastes. And sometimes these tastes and these peculiar atmospheres are incredibly distant from one other, and the resulting inner experience of the player is a far different one.

Runequest would be king

If AD&D and Dungeons & dragons suddenly disappeared and were not available in any way anymore- this is just a thought experiment- i mean, if Dungeons & Dragons under any form was abruptly removed from existence- in such an hypotetical world where it couldn't be reached anymore by any means- and no clones whatsoever as well....

in such a world, those who still would crave for playing a FANTASY rpg, on which rpg would they rely on?

Dungeons & Dragons has been banned, disappeared as if by magic, or is just unreachable and so are its many clones.
I still find myself in the position of wanting to play a fantasy rpg, so i have to make a choice.

I think the candidates would be Runequest, Tunnels & trolls and Dragon warriors (thanks to this last one having been republished lately). The war would be long in the UK between Dragon warriors and Runequest, but in the end Runequest would be king almost anywhere, sitting on its throne.
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