Fantasy role play made easy (1985)

To me, this is one of the most sought-after item ever, but i'll probably never get a chance to read it in my entire lifetime, due to its rarity.

FRP made easy was a self-published book more than 200 pages long which attempted to improve the 1st edition of the AD&D game and was a complete system in one volume.
I don't have any hints at what its actual contents were, i can only guess, but i find myself daydreaming every day about it.

In what could an "improvement" of AD&D consist of back in 1985? Streamlining of the rules, or maybe a complete re-writing of them? (in order to make them easier,as the title seems to suggest).

And who used this instead of AD&D at that time? From a purely historical point of view (and for historical values as well) such questions are worth pondering.

I would love so much to be able to peruse the rules of this fantasy rpg, and see with my own eyes this different interpretation of what AD&D should have been like, in the intentions of FRP made easy's authors.

The game held in abomination that you own

As for me, it is the so-called fantasy heartbreaker "Of Gods and men", which i bought on ebay some time ago but never actually played. The interior art is rubbish, but the cover is not so bad. Should i devote time grasping the rules' concepts? I am doubtful.

Time to do some cleaning.

I have too many blogs listed in my blogroll. I think it is about time to do some cleaning, and choose which blogs to follow, which ones to adhere to. Those that i don't personally enjoy will be removed from the list.

I think it's normal after all, no one can follow all of the OSR blogs, that would mean to be pleased by everything, that is, to not have personal tastes.

To achieve this, i'm finally reading calmly many OSR blogs, and the effect they exert upon me is quite different as i skip fom one to the other.

At the same time i'm sorry because today i couldn't add any more blogs to my blogroll, i don't know why.
I tried today to add some of them that i just discovered and that i liked, but blogspot didn't enable me to do that, so it is likely i love some of you out there but i can't express my appreciation.I hope to be able to fix that.


Vikings & Valkyrs (1985) by Laurence Gillespie

I don't have this self-published fantasy/historical rpg (there only are a few copies scattered around in the world AFAIK), perhaps some fellow on Acaeum has it, but not mch more than that.

But i DO have an old article by the creator of this obscure rpg.




Advanced Phantasm Adventures (1988)

I'm always perplexed at how people forget rpg's from the past, the nigh impenetrable indifference that surrounds fantasy rpg's which are part of the hobby's history.

Honestly, i should say that i was used to being puzzled by this phenomenon, but now no more.
I take it for granted, and as years pass, i become more and more aware that the OSR has been a new infatuation of Dungeons & Dragons and absolutely no more than that (except for Grognardia website, which celebrates regularly many retrospectives of other games, and in so doing it provides an invaluable plethora of information for everyone and for the future generations as well).

So, to reiterate this, we have to add another forgotten fantasy rpg called "Advanced Phantasm adventures", and i bet only a few among us noticed that a totally new site emerged recently, entirely devoted to this old-school (horror?) fantasy rpg originally published in Japan in 1988 by Dai Nippon Kaiga company.

From the creator's website:

The first edition of the game started out as an alternative to my Dungeons & Dragons game way back in high school. The game was original, fun, and rich in new ideas and rules. The year was 1982. The game saw its next genesis In 1987 when I had the wonderful opportunity to live and go to school in Japan. During that year I decided to rewrite Phantasm Adventures, into Phantasm Adventures II (2nd Edition). The game also saw print in Japan, after meeting up with some gamers who led me to a Japanese game company.

check the entire story here.

Grab the 4th edition copy of the actual game here:


Other links of interest, here, here.

And for the curious ones, there is a review of the game in Dragon magazine issue 193, where the author praises in particular the magic system of the game.


Harc es Varazslat (1991)

Ok, this evening a friend of mine gave me this fantasy rpg which i never saw in my life.

I don't have the slightest idea what it is, but it seems to be and old-school fantasy game. I can't even recognize the language in which it is written, it seems to me to be Czech or Slovak language, but i may be wrong.

I would like so much to be able to read and decipher it, but at present that is beyond my capacity.

Alas, a gate barring knowledge!

It contains several art pieces which depict scenes taken from Tolkien's work, and as far as i can tell this is not the rulebook but instead a sort of supplement detailing magic or something similar.

When you think you don't have many gaps in your understanding of the hobby, something suddenly pops up to remind you to be humble. So thanks to this game who showed my inability today.

It'd be interesting to hear from some fellow gamer of the country where this was published, how this game was like, its history, and any piece of valuable information.

EDIT: whilst writing this post, i stumbled upon this where a guy wrote the following:

There are some hungarian RPG-s as well:
Our very first RPG was Harc és Varázslat (Fight & Sorcery). Only the core game was released, and it was unfortunately not a big success, but its nevertheless one of my favorites. It used ten sided dice, and it was based on a percentile system. In feel it was similar to 1st ed AD&D, but simpler.

There's no room in my heart anymore for AD&D

Yesterday it happened for the first time: i was reading through the Player's handbook of AD&D 1st eidition...and i didn't feel anything. I knew it would happen, i didn't feel anything.

This game has nothing to give me anymore, while i was perusing the classes...monk, paladin, and then barbarian (Unearthed arcana), i thought- WTF is this? and then for one brief moment i tried to think about a monk, a paladin, and a barbarian going together around, adventuring.

And it all seemed so unreal, on the verge of impossibility.

But this game doesn't thrill me anymore, apparently. Maybe i'm wrong, i cannot be sure, but i feel fairly certain now that i was born to play some other fantasy rpg.

And i am happy of that. It would be long for me to explain why, suffice it to say that i don't feel in chains.

And with all this reasoning, a new idea dawned before me: basically, we are so different among one another. You like red wine, i'd sooner drink white wine than red, and vice-versa.

And there exist so many thinly different kind of wines, because we are aroused emotionally under very different circumstances. The sad thing of it all is that it is almost impossible to try to convey the uniqueness of a game to the mind of another fellow: if he likes red wine, it is likely he will stay stick to it.

Nonetheless, the greatest thing is that no-one is bound to play anything that he doesn't want to.

And that day came TODAY for me: AD&D seems unable to enthrall me, anymore.

But i am blissful notwithstanding.


What were the reasons behind Mythus by Gygax?

I have never read Mythus and I doubt I'll read it in the next month or next year.

Gygax was not the author who influenced me the most among the great geniuses of the past of the hobby, although I would not dream of belittling the extent of its importance.

However I can not help but notice that even in the recent reissue of the handbooks of the first edition Dave Arneson's name is absent, and this is by no means excusable and it is even embarrassing to see such a thing.
But I digress... and this is not the place to rehabilitate the other creator of D & D.
I've never played Mythus, although I have the manuals. I hear that Gygax wrote them in a style quite convoluted and complex.

I remember seeing in the past ads which suggested Mythus was a game better than AD&D because Gygax had surpassed himself.

The thing that intrigues me the most of this role-play remains the reason why Gygax wrote that, and I wonder if he were somewhat dissatisfied with his previous creation, that is AD & D.
If so, the matter would be very interesting, because it would mean that in the eyes of Gygax AD&D was not perfect, nor was the maximum achievable in the field of fantasy role-playing.
But I admit I do not know the reason for its publication, perhaps they were related to the fact that Gygax did not work at that time at the TSR?

Dragon warriors for sale!

Marvel at the splendor of the complete series of Dragon Warriors-this lot is located in Singapore and it certainly is not cheap, however it is a great opportunity to take possession at once of almost all of the books comprising this fantasy role-playing game, it lacks only volume five.

The auction is here.


Resurrecting forgotten fantasy RPG's

Thanks to David of Theresdungeondownunder, who pointed me towards this fantastic web page archived here, i have just resolved to use my blog in the future to revive and push forward this project.

I'm going to contact the guys who had this idea (if i can). To me, this sounds like an astounding project to pursue.

I already have in mind Bifrost, and other fantasy rpg's undeservedly sank into oblivion (Several came immediately to my mind, but it is not time to reveal them any further now).

Obviously it would be a good idea to advertise such a project everywhere, mostly on RPG.NET and RPGGEEK, to cite just a few.

Everyone who knows me is aware that i am not an AD&D (or D&D) guy, and that basically i am against the cult of D&D and the fixation on it. I regard myself as a dungeon master primarily concerned with other fantasy rpg's, many of which are nowadays forgotten, or considered obscure. And given my kind of obsession for lesser-known fantasy rpg's, perhaps i'm the right person to revive this project again.

It will be a long-term project, i'm not going to start tomorrow, in fact i'm not in a hurry.

Thanks again David for sharing the link!

And- a couple of links to begin with here, here and here.

I love this guy

Don't know why his videos are not so popular among blogs, but i love listening to his rumblings..that does not necessarily mean that i adhere to all of his theories.

I already posted one of his video some time ago, i honestly feel that he revels in speaking out loud his position (that is, he likes so much to be in front of a camera after all..), anyhow- this video is of particular interest given that here he attacks AD&D, and explains why he regards himself as a Runequest man.



Where is the complete list of OSR blogs?

I would like to put in my blogroll every single OSR blog address existing on the net, so i was looking somewhere to find it, hoping someone else already did the work for me.

I took a look at Cyclopeatron list, but it seems to me it lacks something, and Cyclopeatron himself hasn't updated his blog for a while now so perhaps i should grab my list somewhere else.

Maybe Dreamsofmythicfantasy has the complete list that i'm looking for?

Any help is appreciated.


World terrain description

This is taken from "Worlds beyond" rpg, which i was reading right now. As always, this kind of posts on my blog is to be considered an exception to the usual course of things, but it seems to me that Worlds beyond didn't get much attention, hence this image.


Do Americans know Gemini dark-fantasy rpg?

"One of the best kept secrets IMO is the defunct "Gemini" RPG. It has the best, most intense setting I've ever seen in a fantasy RPG. Does anyone know if it exists in pdf form? I'd like to revise some of the rules and having a pdf would be a big help".

So an user on rpg.net expresses his view on this "obscure" rpg which seems to have a lot to offer.

On another site, i read:

If Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe wrote a fantasy RPG - this would be it.

I was wondering how many americans know it, because i have a copy of this game and it is a peculiar one. I'm not sure it can be regarded as an old-school role-playing game, because it dates back to 1998, but at the same time it is pretty intriguing because as i said, it is sort of "one-of-a-kind" rpg, given its setting.

From Sjgames website:

Most American gamers have probably never heard of Gemini. This is because most of the games that we play over here are American ones. Many gamers probably never stop to think about the fact that there is an entire continent of gamers across the ocean, all gaming away just the way we do (we're talking about Europe here). Most of them just go about their business playing their American stuff and assuming that the term "foreign game" means a non-English translation of an American one.

Well, the truth is that there are plenty of other games out there, and Gemini is a great example of one that is ever-so-slowly creeping its way onto American gaming tables. It hails from Sweden and brings with it a style similar to our own, yet at the same time unique unto itself.

Other info here.


Fantasy gamer's compendium (1983)

This is a fantasy rpg i know nothing about, i must admit it. I don't know why, it skipped under my radar, always.
Nonetheless, i suspect there is something interesting in it, particularly in "The Book of Sorcery" (Fantasy gamer's compendium is in fact composed of several books joined together).So this fantasy rpg eluded me, and i do want to know more of it, and it is likely i will buy it in the near future. I dislike the idea of a FRPG lying in the oblivion, because who knows what lurks beneath its surface?

If i am not wrong, the book of sorcery should contain not only spells but an entirely different magic system as well, which makes it all the more interesting, at least to me who have always been dissatisfied with that found in AD&D.

It is an OLD school fantasy rpg, no doubt about it (1983), and i would love to hear someone who actually played it or owns it.

On Dragonsfoot forum they don't know anything.

Other links: here, here and here, here, and some impressions here


Miekka ja Magia (Sword & Magic) - 1987

I would love to hear someone who has ever played this fantasy rpg.

Translated automatically with Google from finnish language:

"Sword and Magic is a role to play adventure game where you and your friends can experience the breathtakingexcitement in underground caves and caverns dark adventure. Task is to find missing for centuries been the secret of gold-Aare, which is guarded by terrible monsters and mysterious spells using the Wizards. During the adventure you have to MonLineIn exciting life-threatening situations and fights. Vampires, snakes, gnomes, orcs and dragons are hungry for your blood, and only quick solutions, the exact sword attacks, and the controlled use of magic may beleading you into destiny."

Much information can be found here.


Why no one talks about Ysgarth?

For the moment, i will just paste a description taken from the web, together with an old review of this old fantasy RPG:

Ysgarth is a fantasy role-playing game written by David Nalle with contributions from other authors. It was originally released in 1979 by Ragnarok Games. The company also published subsequent editions of the game throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but no new edition has seen print since the 6th edition in 1995, although various revisions and addenda are available on the internet, including partial versions of an unpublished 7th edition of the game. Ragnarok Games also published a number of other board and roleplaying games during the period when Ysgarth was in print, as well as a games magazine called Abyss Quarterly. Many of those involved in the development of Ysgarth were also subsequently involved in the development of the Quest for the Grail Arthurian CCG published by Stone Ring Games.

Ysgarth is generally noted, both positively and negatively for the extreme detail of its game mechanics. It was one of the first roleplaying systems to rely heavily on skills and discard the idea of character classes and also one of the first games to rely solely on the use of 10 sided dice for percentile rolls in resolving actions. Ysgarth also emphasizes realistic combat resolvable in minute detail. Some have praised the mechanics as innovative and others have damned them as cumbersome. This issue of excessive mechanics is made more complex by the fact that each edition of Ysgarth featured fairly radical changes in the implementation of the basic rule concepts varying in their level of complexity. The 5th edition actually included three completely different versions of the mechanics in a single rulebook.

Least played (or known) science fiction RPG'S

I'm not used to asking questions on my blog, but this time i'm going to make an exception and i decided that i will leave one here for posterity.

Without further ado:

Is there a science-fiction role playing game that you have always wanted to try and play but never did due to a difficulty in obtaining a copy to read? I mean, not only a physical copy, but even a PDF copy or a photocopy set. I'm talking about obscure SF rpg's.

Maybe this game pops up from time to time on ebay and you can't afford the price or you hesitate because you aren't sure of its value.
So it's clear that i'm not talking here about widely known SF RPG'S such as Traveller, Space master, Space opera, Cyberspace, Cybergeneration, and the like.

I put some pictures of potential candidates, feel free to add others as you see fit.

If you are against Jack Vance's spell memorization

This book is for you. This is in my opinion the greatest netbook ever written for AD&D. Check it out.



The enthralling mystery of Bifrost

Today i was thrilled when in my blogroll i noticed that Randall on Retroroleplaying blog wrote a post about an obscure fantasy RPG which matters a lot to me. My eyes immediately fell on the title of the post and i was excited in reading what he had to say. Basically he was asking any kind of information which might be available about Bifrost, which- for the american audience- is probably one of the most difficult fantasy rpg to obtain, because it was released in the UK and from what i understand it didn't get much notoriety outside of the UK and Europe.

I've been chasing Bifrost for a long time because i instinctively felt there was something special about it, and i was not wrong nor was i disappointed once i managed to get my hands on it. I don't want to repeat here what i already wrote as a comment today on Randall's blog, suffice it to say that i consider Bifrost a beautiful gem, and one of the best fantasy rpg of all time.

I would be very happy to contribute in this sense to the OSR community trying to spread the knowledge of this game. I was already trying something similar with Melanda and other obscure fantasy rpg which i deem deserve more attention. Those who read my blog already know that my attitude is more centered towards other fantasy rpg other than Dungeons & Dragons, so it is not surprising if i add Bifrost to the already existing list.

To begin with, i think a good idea is to highlight, the only (as far as i know) review that was ever written about Bifrost. It appeared in White Dwarf magazine issue 7, was penned by Don Turnbull and it shed some light on this fantasy rpg though i don't agree with everything written therein. Without further ado:

They want to play in Carcosa, i would play in Kubla Khan

Carcosa is a great work, and deserves undoubtedly praise. But it is too prosaic and blood-shedding, and in this it reveals its main shortcoming. It is very easy to depict such things,it is much like a paroxysm in this respect, maybe that is why it aroused controversy when it first came out.

Who will give me a game where i can instead play in such an amazing place as Kubla Khan? I think if i tweaked Al-Qadim a little bit, i could enjoy this experience.

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea. 5
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And here were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills, 10
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted 15
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst 20
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion 25
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far

The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device, 35
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played, 40
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me.
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long, 45
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair! 50
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.
Ancestral voices prophesying war! 30

Unofficial AD&D monster: Mountain Hag


The only reason why Osric will always be inferior to AD&D

Because it lacks and it cannot reproduce in any way the beautiful byzantine and convoluted Gigaxian verbiage, which is an essential part of AD&D.


Thank you eternally Clark Ashton Smith

The following are the first three paragraphs of "The Eyrie" in the September 1930 issue (by now "The Last incantation" and "Sadastor" had appeared, in the June and July issues respectively):

The stories of Clark Ashton Smith have aroused tremendous enthusiasm in our readres. Mr. Smith, whose poetry has been one of the brightest features of Weird Tales, is now hailed by many as a new find in the fiction world because of the high literary quality and compelling fantasy of his short tales in this magazine.

V.P. Miner, of Sacramento, California, writes to the "Eyrie":

"Just a note of appreciation, nothing more: a man and his work - no matter how great his tasks- must occasionally be compelled to pause now and then and listen for echoes. Lately i have come upon a story now and then by Clark Ashton Smith. I believe you have recognized an artist and put him to work. His stories have care,there are beauty and art in every line. His imagination is distinct, the mystery of his background is amazing.
And within it all there exists a philosophy. I believe you have reached out among the thousands of present-day writers and placed your hands on a real "find".

Why we're here - Howard Phillips Lovecraft


On Piracy - a reply

A friend of mine (James Smith from Dreamsofmythicfantasy) wrote a post about a post i wrote yesterday.It's obvious you were talking about me, hiding our names is pointless at this point.

First of all, the amazing thing: i logged into my blog some minutes ago and i found out i gained 4 new followers since yesterday. Amazing. Piracy (if what i did yesterday was piracy at all) can make miracles.

Second thing to consider: i assume that James was talking in his post about OSR products and not about old school products less recent. In any case, i am a bit puzzled at his very positive comment that i received when i posted this. (though i removed the link to the product some time ago). I cannot figure out the thin line of difference between "The dark eye" and Carcosa, as an example. Isn't "The Dark eye" still in print after all?

But, most importantly, i did nothing yesterday. I just pointed to a Google search query string, and besides,c'mon! everyone knows about 4chan, 7chan and the like- i didn't reveal nothing new with my post.
Is Google liable of infringing copyright if it points to Carcosa?
It would have been different if i had uploaded it myself somewhere and then passed the link to you all.

Apart all these consideration, i carefully considered if i may have inflicted some damage to the selling of Carcosa product writing that post. I'm skeptic about this, but since not everyone thinnks and behave like me, i deleted yesterday's post. I don't want to offend anyone. But, honestly, i still don't think that that made the difference.

If someone is really concerned with all this, go send a mail to the operators of 7chan in the Netherlands.
They are Satan, not I.


Why should i talk about D&D 5th edition

...when i could give a much better advice?

Instead of waiting for the fifth release of your usual fantasy game, you'd better try the 1st edition of something you never played in your life.

And obviously, the imminent release of D&D 5th edition matters almost nothing to me.

A shadowy doubt about D&D as being the first fantasy RPG?

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