2012/12/31

Ysgarth, still another forsaken gem.

Yesterday i re-opened my blog after several days (i was far, far away, both physically and mentally) and noticed someone commented again on my post about Ysgarth (here), and he was happy in having found someone had spoken about this game in the vast ocean of the web.

So, since i want this place to become the shrine and refuge of forgotten old fantasy rpg's...here it is, in part.

Happy new year 2013 to those who visit my diary.



Chivalry & Sorcery explained


This morning i discovered two very interesting posts about C&S, written on Anniceris blog (which i hold in great esteem).

Unfortunately, the blog is in french language so not everyone might be able to read it.

Since i adore C&S and i can understand french pretty well, i'm planning to give a rough translation of both articles (here)

Stay tuned, you rpg connoisseurs.

2012/12/26

I love this post

LINK

Chivalry & Sorcery

"I'm french and a long time gamemaster ( though I dont have time for this hobby since many years ) , using a lot of RPGs. I always longed to find or try the legendary C&S without any results. I really love FGU games and I thought it was equivalent in quality as Sworbearer and so on. A week ago , I photocopied a complete .pdf of the hardly available C&S 1st edition. And I was amazed !!!! Why a game of such quality , such nearly perfection was so "underground" ??? Reading it , I'm still impressed of what was done ! System , background , everything ( god ! Magick is a marvel ! )... AD&D , I practiced a lot in campaign , doesn't at all compare ... Pendragon is a joke comparatively ... Incredible ! Now , I'm trying to find time to play RPG again , using C&S 1st ed. 

RPG MUSEUM REVIEW


2012/12/08

Ed Simbalist speaks: bow down.


  A bunch of utterances by Ed Simbalist are worth one hundred sentences of Gygax. And i'm not going to hide the fact that i regard "Chivalry & Sorcery" as the ineffable, unparalleled fantasy role-playing game of all time.

A lot of  interesting stuff written by Simbalist is contained in the old fanzine "Alarums & Excursions", and i will shed light on that material in the future.

As for now, i present this text, coming from DF #1 (which you can buy here for 75 $).

Besides examing in future posts the material by Simbalist from A&E, there will be another long digression by the author of "Chivalry & Sorcery" (taken from a very old fanzine dating back to the seventies) which deals with the differences between D&D and C&S and the views of the author about this topic ( which i never saw published online and that i think will generate much controversy). Stay tuned.

 Text taken from the first issue (1979) of "Different worlds".

ED SIMBALIST

Ed is considered the scholar of FRP games. His output is prolific but very au thoritative. He has no equal in providing pure information specifically for use in
RPGs.

Fantasy Role Playing

Since its inception, fantasy role-playing (FRP) has evolved far beyond the
expectations of those who formulated the first sets of FRP rules or of those players
who first ventured into "dungeons" and "wildernesses" to face the Unknown.

FRP has become more than a mere game. It is an activity approaching the propor-
tions of a cult. It is a means of personal expression on a highly creative and
imaginaive level. It is the spontaneous creation of a "living novel" or a
•• psychodrama," interaction amongst players on many different levels as they
create alter egos in the persons of their characters and so enter, into imaginative
and exciting realms of existence denied to them in their everyday lives. The more
fully they themselves capture the spirit of their characters and imbue them with
rounded personalities, backgrounds, and motivations separate from their own, the
more the players become "actors" on a stage of their own making.

To repeat, FRP is not "just a game." The rules of FRP are regarded in a
manner unlike that accorded to the rules of any other game. Indeed, FRP rules are
merely the language through which players and Game Masters communicate
and simulate those elements of what might be termed "imaginative reality."

To play FRP is to engage in the creation of a group fantasy, to produce the Grand
Illusion of a world ethos by the deliberate suspension of one's disbelief. Thus it is
that twentieth century people can, for a few hours, escape into a fictitious world
and accept the "reality" of that world for the sake of pure enjoyment.

The illusion of reality is essential to any entry into a world of fantasy. One might
say that a "Spell" is cast and consciously submitted to by the participants. "Come
into my world," is an invitation extended by the Game Master, the director of this
group artform, and he employs the "rules" to delineate the outlines of the
world he has conceived and account for many activities which would or could
occur in it. The rules merely aid the Game Master to maintain the internal consist-
ency, the "laws" by which his world operates.

But even as the Game Master spins his web of illusion, the players themselves
add to the performance by playing their roles. Many are the times when the Game
Master finds that his creation has taken on a life and purpose of its own as he
responds to the creative output of the players. The story-telling-for FRP in a
very real way is a story-telling activity- becomes a group creation as the imagi-
nary life experiences and actions of each player/character are added to the basic
concept provided by the Game Master.

The experience is itself the thing, and once begun it becomes a group hap-
pening! As we designed and tested Chivalry & Sorcery, it became clear that the illusion of reality had to be maintained to bring out the finest in creative impulses from both the players and the Game Master.

Thus we aimed at creating the feeling of being in a world, of competing in and
even just surviving the physical and social "realities" of an existence differ-
ent from our own. We chose the feudal model as the basis of that imaginary
world because feudalism is a fairly universal cultural pattern encountered in
not only Medieval Europe but in many works of fantasy fiction and traditional
legend.


Indeed, the biggest illusion we succeeded in creating with the rules is the
belief of many commentators and players that Chivalry & Sorcery is realistic! The
"realism" of C&S is the totally imaginary High Chivalry of King Arthur and The
Faerie Queene, of Ivanhoe and Men of Iron and The White Company. Elements
of classical, medieval, Nordic and Celtic myth were mixed in for seasoning, with
liberal doses of Tolkein and the Dracula/Frankenstein/Dr. Jeykell and Mr. Hyde
horror story and movie tradition thrown in for good measure.

Our magical systems were patterned uon, but never imitated, a dozen traditions found in various times and in various cultures. Of course, elements of hard military and economic history underlie many of the systems, as do insights into social
organization, but these are tempered by a sense of romantic heroism and derring-
do. In short, Chivalry & Sorcery systems may appear to simulate reality, but the
realism itself is purely in the minds of the players!

It is gratifying that this sense of realism has made an impact, but I would
like to point out that the thrust of Chivalry & Sorcery was never directed toward
presenting hard reality for its own sake.Rather, we felt that establishing a
foundation for a fantasy campaign which has its systems rooted in the real world,
even the wildest fantasies can be sustained.

Everyday, mundane considera tions take care of themselves that way, with reduced reminders that "such-and- such" situation "wouldn't really happen that way" to interfere with the fantasy illusion that the players and Game Masters are trying to create. As Tolkien and many other commentators on the subject have noted, all fantasy is founded upon our perception of reality. The trick is not to let the fantasy be entirely bounded and controlled by hard reality, merely informed and guided by it. In examining the brief but eventful history of FRP, one cannot help but notice
the continual modification of the "rules."


From the moment that FRP began, Game Masters started to alter and improve and
add to the existing rules. Variants sprang up in profusion, despite calls for "One
True Way" of FRP gaming. This design creativity on the part of players is their
inevitable and necessary response to their particular needs. Any set of FRP
rules has, as a primary task, the sustaining of the particular fantasy world
the players are attempting to establish. It is unthinkable that there could be any set
of rules that would answer all the needs of all players everywhere to create any
fantasy world that might be conceived!

Moreover, it is likely that one of the main appeals of FRP is the freedom of players
to put their own personal touches into the activity. From the Game Master's point
of view, it is fun to develop his own world, to design or alter rules in order to
simulate the conditions and effects he desires. It is fun to see others enjoying
the results of that creative talent. In fact, it is the biggest "high" a Game Master
can know.

That is the reason that I encourage layers to "meddle" with the rules I
design. An unrepentant meddler myself, I like to play with the systems. It not only
gives me some feeling of pride in my creations, but it is absolutely necesary if I
am going to adapt the rules so that they sustain my world. "Come into my world,
and welcome," but first I have to be sure that the world will remain consistent, that
it will function the way I want it to function. Every Game Master faces the
same problem. Is there any wonder that variant systems appear?

In talking to Greg Stafford, for example, I discovered that he employed many
Chivalry & Sorcery systems to set up his Dragon Pass world for FRP. I also borrow
from his systems, and those of other games as well. So should it be, for the
idea of a "pure" FRP campaign ignores the needs of individual Game Masters.
One uses anything that does the job, and one never fears to modify a promising
system or concept to fit his world. The only criterion governing such modifica-
tions and adoptions of systems is that they work! If they produce the results
desired, well and fine. Who cares who designed the systems of what publisher
produced them?

FRP is an individual activity expressing the needs and expectations of those
engaged in the activity. One is limited only by his imagination and his design
ability.
Knowing the investment of time and imaginative energy that is required to
design an FRP world, and fully aware of the infinite potentials for enjoyment and
creativity that are available to the role player who willingly accepts the "reali-
ty" of an FRP world, I sometimes become impatient with players who insist on
being their usual twentieth century selves and refuse to live in the fantasy as their
characters.

Perhaps I am insulted as the Game Masterlstory-teller/director of the
activity, but it grates to see all that work and all that potential ignored as some
player tries to win the game in the same manner as he would approach a game
based upon the "adversary" model. One simply cannot "win" a role playing game
because ther are no "victory conditions" as in, for example, a board game
simulation of the Battle of Kursk. The "game" is the Game of Life, with each
character choosing his own "victory conditions," and success is not simply a
matter of counting bodies or gold or experience points.

Chivalry & Sorcery reflects that philosophy. What is the aim of FRP as
embodied in C&S? Be a Lord. Aspire to power and position. Rule a kingdom or
barony or barbarian tribe. Make war. Conquer Empires. If you are a common-
er, seek the golden spurs of Knight-hood-or maybe even just freeman status
if you are a serf or slave. Gain respect and reputation by performing deeds of valour.
Seek gold. Become a Merchant Prince. Become an explorer or freebooter or the
best darn pickpocket in the nation. Do good. Do evil. Avenge an ancient wrong
against one's family. Regain a lost throne. Marry a princess. Protect the
weak. Oppress others. Escape the consequences of your acts by cunning and
deceit and plain bribery and corruption of public officials. Be a Robin Hood. Smite
the Godless. Take holy orders. Go crusading. Make a pact with the Devil.
Seek universal knowledge. Unlock forbidden secrets. Know yourself!

Above all, survive and conduct yourself in the sure knowledge that a victory
marks only one skirmish amongst many that Life will inevitably bring to you as a
character.
If one is going to create a world that is "alive" and charged with real adventure,
role playing is essential. One must get inside his character, see what motivates
him and makes him unlike any other,breathe life into him as an individual, and
above all surrender one's twentieth century self to the illusion and be that
character-see, feel, think, and act as he would. Only then will the activity be more
than counting gold or bodies or experience points. '

This is the consideration upon which FRP succeeds or fails. For FRP is a
socializing activity, a deliberate gathering of friends to enjoy and marvel at the
wit and cunning and skill we all exhibit as we contribute to our mutual enjoyment of
the activity. Not to be outdone by our fellows, each of us responds to the
contributions of our friends with equally fine character play, always aware of the
degree of sensitivity and expertise with which the Game Master orchestrates and
directs our efforts as we enfold the living drama. Weare all playwrights and actors
and audience rolled into one. If it is a good performance, we are highly grati-
fied and, though limp with repeated adrenalin surges, we make plans to meet
for the next foray into "Our World."

And that is what FRP is to me.



Bringing you a rare review of Dungeons & Dragons

 From "Space gamer" #2 (1975) (link):

REVIEWS OF DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS

D&D is the ultimate fantasy game.Players start as a Fighter, Magic-User,
Cleric, or Thief. They may choose to be a human, elf, dwarf, half-elf, or
even a hobbit. They must decide to be lawful, neutral, or chaotic. There is
never any winner. In a good campaign players start in a town. First, they
must get a room at one of the several inns. Then, they usually go to a
general store to pick up some equip- ment such as rope, sacks, etc. If
they have any money left, they'll go to a tavern, have a drink, and try
to hire some men. How well they fare at this is determined by charisma,
one of the abilities. The other abilities are intelligence, strength,
wisdom, dexterity and constitution.

They'll then begin to ask towns people about the surroundings, about any
legends, etc. The next day bright and early they'll pack up and set out
down the road. If they have bad luck, sometimes they even have to get a
job to keep from starving! All this takes a lot of work and time for the
referee, but it's more than worth it! The most stimulating part of the game
is the fact that anything can happen. Nothing' is impossible. Even when you
are standing between a cliff and a troll, there is still hope, perhaps
Levitation boots! Over a hundred monsters are provided for, from
trolls, orcs, zombies, werewolves, vampires, dragons, gargoyles, rocs,
and giant purple worms, to hell hounds, rust monsters, giant slugs,
and even tyranosaurus rexes and giant tics. Whether you're exploring the
depths of the dungeons, roaming in some forsaken wilderness, or being
pursued by an evil wizard in an intricate castle, I'm sure you'll be having
one heck of a good time!

Tim Waddell


If you took everything possible or impossible that you ever dreamed
about, read about, or imagined; put it in a medieval setting, and heaped
it all into one set of rules for a game, you would have created DUNGEONS
& DRAGONS. As a game, D&D is a fantastical outlet for the imagination.
It has the quality of being infinitely flexible, and with it comes the
reality of impossibility.

What you get when you buy D&D are
three booklets, filled with basic guidelines for a fantasy campaign.

The first book is Men and Magic. This basically tells about getting a
character, equipping him, and getting off to a start. Magic and clerical
spells are listed and described forreference whenever needed. With these spells, magic-users and clerics can make people, monsters, things, and objects, do anything from sleepingto serving them or dying. With rules for developing your own new spells, the sky's the limit.

 I feel that book II, Monsters and Treasure is the
most interesting book of all. This book describes all the mean, nasty,
and horrifying creatures that the players get to fight. Then, when
they are finished fighting, this book describes many rich treasures and
countless magic items, to aid the players in finding more and better
loot. Volume III, The Underworld and Wilderness Adventures is probably the
most important book, because it tells how to go about playing the game, in
either of two settings. Dungeons must be mapped out by the referee in
advance, and care taken to detail. The wilderness is rather a do-it-
as-you-go- situation. This book also includes ways to spend your
treasure, and other interesting things such as; Castle construction,
Naval combat and adventures, Baronies, and much more.

There are drawbacks to the game
however; as there are in any game.D&D cannot even begin to get
interesting in less than 20 hours playing time. Hundreds of hours of
work must be done ahead of time by the referee, and it takes a fairly
long time to prepare on the part of the players.

In this game there is no victor as such, but the object is to gain exper-
ience (by finding treasures and beating up on monsters) and become more
powerful and gain more possessions. Staying alive is a big part of the
game, as there are always monsters that hate you, lurking in the gloom.
But, if you should happen to die, don't worry; you can always start again.
If more complexity is desired, the supplement GREYHAWK adds outstanding
improvements, and many more ideas. Also, the Strategic Review, a TSR
newlestter has some good things.

Andy Pudewa



2012/12/07

Maya predicted the end of D&D by 2012

Thoughts experiments. I revel in them. They just pop up in my mind unexpectedly.

So, you already know it. Maya predicted the end of Dungeons & Dragons once and for all by 2012.


You just have a bunch of days left to play it. Your own life will be spared, but not your handbooks and manuals. They are going to vanish all of a sudden, 2012/12/21, devoured by a metaphysical entity known as "The incorporeal eater".

That said, you have just 1 minute, not more, to decide which game you'll play instead of it. You will be bound by your decision for the rest of your lifetime.
Now choose.

The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth (original from Gygax)

Ok, so what do i actually have on my HD?

I cannot seem to identify this.

Maybe a sort of pre-production version of this AD&D adventure?
I am not an AD&D expert anymore, so any hints is appreciated.

Some images are attached below.


www.ImageBanana.com - l1.jpeg www.ImageBanana.com - l2.jpeg

2012/11/20

The End of the Story (The Collected Fantasies of Clark Ashton Smith, Vol. 1)


 Follow the white rabbit. 

Published in chronological order, with extensive story and bibliographic notes, this series not only provides access to stories that have been out of print for years, but gives them a historical and social context. Series editors Scott Conners and Ronald S. Hilger excavated the still-existing manuscripts, letters and various published versions of the stories, creating a definitive "preferred text" for Smith's entire body of work. This first volume of the series, brings together 25 of his fantasy stories, written between 1925 and 1930, including such classics as "The Abominations of Yondo," "The Monster of the Prophecy," "The Last Incantation" and the title story.

Full lenght editorial from "Imagine" issue #4

www.ImageBanana.com - editorial.jpeg

Google plus, this odd thing

Now i am on G+, basically i created a profile there because i realized it is not possible to post comments on Grognardia's blog in the usual way, and since that is the only old-school blog that i read..here i am.

my address is here:

G+

2012/11/08

Posts content disappeared

I noticed that some post contents disappeared from my blog, mostly because the hosting site where i uploaded images has gone out.

For instance, this, that i cherished much:

http://mesmerizedbysirens.blogspot.it/2011/12/magic-isnt-throwing-fireballs-magic-is.html

or this other one:

http://mesmerizedbysirens.blogspot.it/2011/12/hp-lovecraft-consummate-prose-stylist.html

Hmmm...i'll see what i can do.

So, you admit it.

Imagine magazine issue #1, there is the so-called "The Beginner's guide to role-playing", i was amused to read this: "...you play the part of a fantasy hero battling fearsome monsters, as you struggle to become more powerful..."

More powerful..not to develop a deeper character, a more realistic and profound alter ego in an alternate reality...but just to become more powerful.

I know, that is just an early advertisement, but, anyway. I just can't like it.

I think i will compare ( in a future post), the content of this ad to what Richard Snider wrote about what he thought it was the main and most entertaining aspect of playing a fantasy character.


2012/11/07

Basic or Advanced?

As i said, yesterday, here they are: better resolution scans of an article contained in issue 3 of Imagine magazine.

One of the most interesting quote i found in this article when i read it, is this:
"Basic D&D feels as if you are playing a game, whereas Advanced D&D can feel
as if you are taking part in a fantasy novel".

Oddly enough, this is exactly what my first DM taught me when i encountered AD&D as a teenager. A lot of attention was given to the role-playing aspect, and together with the rules so detailed, i really grasped how important it was to be able to recreate an illusion, that is, to give flesh to dreams.

From there, i then moved to more complex fantasy rpg's, to pursue the same, the Grand Illusion. But this is another story.



 20187304_1.jpeg 20187305_2.jpeg 20187306_3.jpeg 20187308_4.jpeg 20187309_5.jpeg

2012/11/06

Imagine magazine issue #3

Again, Grognardia is talking about another issue of Imagine magazine.

Again, i appreciate a lot his reviews, but at the same time i wonder how eagerly anyone not owning any of them may crave for them (i hope this convoluted english sentence is understandable).

It must be painful after all.

Fortunately, i have all of them in electronic format. I still have to put issue 2 available, but today he is reviewing issue number three.

So, here it is an article taken from its pages.
I still have to figure out if there is interest in this, since i received just two comments so far.

By the way, i know the quality is not outstanding, i'll try to upload better resolution later. Image Hosted at ImageLodge.net Image Hosted at ImageLodge.net Image Hosted at ImageLodge.net

2012/11/04

Imagine magazine issue #1

So i noticed that on Grognardia website James started to comment on Imagine issues, that is quite interesting and i applaude at this idea, anyhow i couldn't help but wondering: "is this not pointless without giving people the chance to actually read these and making ideas of their own"?

Of course, i'm talking about those (few?) who could not afford to get  physical issues of this magazine.

So, here it is the experiment: as soon as Grognardia publishes reviews of single issues, i will make them available here.

But i repeat, it is just an experiment, should i realize there is no interest in this, i will immediately cease.

To start, Imagine issue #1.

FILES.MAIL.RU

2012/11/01

The Music of Erich Zann (1980)

A better version than that which is available on youtube.

IMDB link here

Based upon the short story of H. P. Lovecraft (which the author listed as one of his personal favourites), this is the 1980 adaptation, directed by John Strysik.


The naïve young Charles Dexter Ward finds himself staying at a boarding house on the mysterious street Rue D’Ausiel during his studies in Paris .  In his room each night he hears haunting violin music emanating from the building’s top floor, where, he learns, an old man named Erich Zann lives.  He convinces Zann to play for him one night, but when he asks the old man to play the eerie refrain that drew Ward to him, Zann violently refuses and asks the building’s proprietor to re-locate Ward on a lower floor.

The music continues to haunt Ward’s dreams, however.  One night he hears a falling sound from Zann’s upstairs room and knocks on the door to see if he’s okay.  Zann invites him in and promises to write down the full explanation of his “blasphemies.”  After he’s filled several handwritten pages, however, strange tones are heard coming from Zann’s curtained window; the musician grabs his violin and commences playing it in an apparent attempt at keeping whatever is lurking outside at bay.  During the melée Zann’s papers are blown through the window and Ward takes the opportunity to part the curtains and look out...and is confronted with all manner of unearthly visions.


 http://depositfiles.com/files/nuvo5dfx5

2012/10/31

Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age (1975)

I didn't think i could ever get my hands on this...well, i was mistaken.

From Fantasy games unlimited, a rarity i want to share with the rest of the world.

"A variant of FGU's Broadsword rules designed to "make possible the recreation, on a table top, of the type of battle described in Robert E. Howard's Conan stories." There are rules for magic and a section giving descriptions and army lists of the forces of the various nations of the Hyborian age."

FILES.MAIL.RU



The Magnamund Companion

Not everyone is aware of this awesome fantasy setting, so here it is.

I started my fantasy role-playing hobby with videogames as well as the Lone wolf series of gamebooks, so i think that i will give it a shot sooner or later, throwing my players in this fascinating world.

To me, it seems so real, i don't know why but it exerts a great force on my imagination, probably because it involves my childhood memories in a feverishly manner.

Enjoy.



MEDIAFIRE

2012/10/13

Silencing Gygax. The Boundlessness of the fantasy rpg hobby.

This is the story of Albert, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the Notre-Dame University of Paris.

Since his childhood, he felt profoundly attracted by speculations about the nature of reality and of the world as a whole. When he became an adult, he began attending the faculty of Philosophy. He was eager to learn and was educated thoroughly. He studied Plato, Socrates Dscartes, Kant, Netzsche, and so on.

After five years he obtained a degree. He kept on studying and after a couple of years more
he was permitted to TEACH philosophy because at that point in his career he was recognized and accepted as a teacher, as an expounder of a discipline.

He was regarded as a luminary.

After all, he dedicated and evoted many, many years of his life to the study of this subject, and he knew the history of this discipline, of this field of study.

He was delighted to contemplate all that the human mind had been capable of thinking and pondering since the dawning of mankind and the birth of abstract speculation.

At times he sat on his sofa, quietly smoking his cigar and further examining critical studies written to better explain the theories of some of the well-known and respected titans of thought which appeared centuries before and that he so eagerly admired. Schopenhauer, Spinoza,and so on...

Then, during a casual stroll on a rainy evening, while walking in a remote part of the city he lived in, he stumbled upon an old bookstore he had never noticed before.

Beyond the entance door, he found himself in an half-lit room and he realized that that was an antiquarian bookstore and he was surrounded by interesting volumes, all hoarded on wooden shelves about him, volumes worth perusing, many of which were old and second-hand.

Whilst searching, he found a dusty tome titled "Dictionary of philosophers".
He was totally unaware of the existence of such a work of reference. In fact, it was a massive and sturdy tome of about 3000 pages in lenght, which claimed to record -alphabetically- all of the philosophers who ever existed through the centuries and who had written some treatise, work, or dissertation of any kind.

Entranced he began reading, and soon Albert forgot anything about him.

He was flabbergasted when he stumbled upon the name of an Hungarian thinker died in 1820 which name he had never heard before and who had written a philosophical book whose title meant "The Impossibility of the existence of an external world".

It was specified that an english translation existed somewhere, though hard-to-find.

Albert read the synopsis and the table of contents that was provided, and he was astounded to learn the views and the kind of intricate and byzantine reasoning it contained.

Albert was confused and an odd feeling of uneasiness held him. He immediately bought the dictionary the went home.
Once gone back, he sat on his couch.The desire to obtain the precious book of that Hungarian philosopher held him spellbound, and he obsessively began to wonder why none of his former teachers ever warned him or informed him about the mere existence of such an eminent philosopher who apparently lived all his life unnoticed in spite of the fact he wrote a philosophical work which could rival Kant's works.

Why his works were not recorded and mentioned in the history of the discipline he graduated in?
Then he pondered: "I graduated in a field of study despite i was unaware of this scholarly work. Nonetheless, they generally regard me as a master of this subject, that is, philosophy. In fact, i teach philosophy every day in front of hundreds of sudents. How can this not be a shame at this point?"

For the first time in his life, he realized that no one can call himself a teacher, unless he knows everything that has been written and thought on the topic he wants to be a teacher in.

He now knew there was a huge lack in his knowledge he had been unaware of until now- a gap, a terrible void- which threw him in a state of uncertainty- in a word, he didn't feel capable of teaching anymore because he knew he was the first person who instead needed to learn again.

Studying the multitude of obscure philosophical works which he every day discovered in this formidable compendium found in an old bookstore started becoming his sole interest.

It was a question of dignity.

If he was to be called and regarded again as a teacher of philosophy, he could not be ignorant and unaware of the strange and fascinating theories written by these lesser-known philosophers which- thank heaven - were recorded name by name in the tome he held in his hands and that he cherished so much.

Yes, he knew very well Plato and Kant- and smiling to himself he asked aloud- though none was in the room except himself- : "Which philosophy professor doesn't know or has never heard about Hume, for instance? But i'm sure only a few know about "The Impossibility of the existance of an external world". the title is spellbinding, who knows which treasures might lie within?
How can they boast themselves being called professors" No, what we need is humility.
I am not going to teach anymore in my life until i will have grasped the thought of these forgotten philosophers. Only then will i find again the courage to speak before students about my subject of study".

---------------------------
The story of Albert mirrors mine.

Richard Snider, Ed Simbalist, Dave Hargrave, John Dankert, and the others: thank you for your teachings and for making me realize that no one can venture further in the fantasy rpg hobby regardless of your words of wisdom. Blind is he who accepts only one single master as his guide. May you rest in peace.

2012/09/28

Rediscovering Powers & Perils




"I'm doing a review of the system which wavers between love and hate, enthusiasm and dismay. I've loved the ideas behind P&P for decades, but convinced myself it was probably as terrible as my friends thought it was, and now that I'm going back through it ... it's not perfect, but I have to admire it."

"Yep. Powers & Perils. Avalon Hill's entry into early-80's RPGs, complete with the requisite ampersand. I've been completely fascinated (at times obsessed!) with this system for no real reason ever since I was a kid. Through some accidents of fate (and companies dumping stock onto Kay*Bee Toys) I have all three published works - the box set, the Perilous Lands box, and the Tower of the Dead adventure.
I don't know why I loving love this game, but I do. Its combination of earnestness and terribleness hits me right in the ... well, the imagination balls if there's such a thing. It's a splendid mix of math-heavy gonzo early-80's games, high school algebra, and a weird implied setting with some real charm. It's packed full of interesting ideas because, near as I can tell, the author had no clue what he was doing and just vomited a bunch of rules into a box set, numbering them as kind of an afterthought. It didn't matter - I loved this game, made characters in it, and even figured out the system a little bit.
I could never get my friends to play it with me, though - they were convinced it was a piece of poo poo. And ... um ... they might be right? I'm not convinced this game was ever playtested, and I'll wager hardly anyone managed to actually play it once they bought it. I was so desperate to get people to try it out that I even copied the loving rules into a notebook by hand to try and trick them into playing it. Yeah, dick move, but you should have seen the Dimension Lord my friend Brad threw at us in his D&D game ."

A guy under the nickname of "Dwarf74" is currently writing a sort of overview of the Powers & Perils system.

It is worth checking out, you can find all the articles he has written until now here.




2012/09/22

The Nine Doctrines of Darkness



"In the time before Men, Elves, or creatures of any kind walked the material plane, there were created three caves of power. Although their origin has been lost in antiquity, the caves have retained the awesome force with which they were originally endowed. Each cave contains a pattern of arcane knowledge inscribed upon its smooth-surfaced floor.

In order to maintain the balance of nature, one cave of each alignment (good, neutral, and evil) was created, and within each recorded all laws pertaining to its nature. Throughout history the caves were mentioned in legend though none had actually been seen.
mages and Mystics had at times gained brief glimpses of the caves through their meditations, but such visions were always obscured by the fields of power abiding within. Thus, the location of the caves remained a mystery until Lord Erlich, an evil Arch Mage, found the Cave of Darkness after three decades of searching.

Under the great roots of a giant oak,deep within the old forest, he noticed a small hollow which proved to be the cave entrance. Entering the low-vaulted chamber, Elrich was awed by the sight of a golden pattern etched flawlessly upon the smooth ebony floor. Entranced with the vision of great power, he slowly began to walk the pattern. A full nine days later, he had walked the pattern in its entirety, and thus comprehended the nine principles upholding all Evil. This knowledge tore at Elrich, piercing his soul like a mortal wound. Deep in despair, Lord Erlich, Arch Mage and sole possessor of the nine principles arcane, began to fade.

Hoping still to master his fate and possess completely the knowledge of perfect evil, Elrich began to conjure. Through his art he formed nine blackbound texts and upon them he wrote "The Nine Doctrines of Darkness". Tirelessly, he transcribed into each text one of the nine principles of Evil. Though his task was arduous, he labored obsessively, and within two days time the texts were complete and perfect in their detail.

Working his magic once more, Elrich then polymorphed each volume into different common-place objects, and instructed his Homonculous to hide them carefully throughout the world. When his servant had departed, lord Erlich created a scroll empowered with a spell of summoning to gather the Doctrines at will. After he had completed this, he sat on the cave's smooth ebony floor and summoned all his will in an attempt to conquer the terrible power surging within him.
The struggle was awesome, but Lord Erlich knew he had no choice. Numbness spread slowly throughout his limbs preventing his escape, and still his will endured. For three months he fought, using all his power and knowledge to ward off impending doom. Finally, his soul wrought with pain and his body numb and lifeless, Elrich gave  a great cry of despair and collapsed on the cave floor. The knowledge of perfect Evil had brought the Arch Mage to utter and final destruction.

Though they appeared to be common objects, the Doctrines retained their inherently high charisma and were, in time, discovered and carried away to differents part of the world. Time passed uneventfully and the Doctrines changed hands many times, usually under very odd sets of circumstances.

Nearly four centuries had passed when the polymorph spell began to lose hold on the Doctrines. The first text appeared in the forest of Gelden Minor in the hands of Locklomin, King of the Elves and holder of the sceptre of Lawful Good. It was late afternoon in the month of July, when the King's favorite wine flask suddenly appeared in its true form. News spread quickly throughout the land and those of both good and evil natures became profoundly interested in the discovery. Defenders of the land began a pilgrimage to Gelden Minor either to guard or destroy the Doctrine. Evil creatures of every description set out for the forest of the Elves with their own ambition, to obtain the Doctrine. The time was short before news of the Doctrine reached the Underworld, provoking concentrated interest among the Arch Devils. Asmodeus himself was not the least of those interested in obtaining the Doctrine for his own use. Turned by the power of a great artifact, the sceptre of Lawful Good, all attempts by the underworld to enter the castle of the Seven Towers had failed.

Unable to obtain the Doctrine themselves, the Arch-Devils began to enlist the aid of mortals promising them great treasure and giving them what aid possible. Thus began the War of the Doctrine, a great war centered around the small forest of Gelden Minor, which influenced the entire land and involved many holders of power".

2012/09/18

Maze of zayene is mine and pondering Powers & Perils thrice

So, i finally bought the entire "Maze of Zayene" series (here), and it's on its way to me.


In the meantime we just stepped into the core heart of another impossibly beautiful adventure which was published in 1980 for AD&D 1st edition. This one is pretty rare and divided into TWO parts, i'm going to write a long post about it this saturday.
If someone is able to decipher which adventure i'm talking about before saturday, i promise i'll scan it for everyone out there! (since it is still missing from the internet and when i say that i mean you can't find it anywhere, not even on DC++..)

Besides, i'm reading Powers & Perils for the third time, and i started re-writing it on sheets of paper.
I just compiled the first two of them and i am already pretty proud of how i wrote and condensed the rules.
If only Richard Snider's style of writing had been different! P&P would have a wider audience, i'm sure of that.

And as i delve into it i'm realizing more and more the beauty of its complexity.And its Magic system amazes me.Almost (and i say, almost) as much as that of Chivalry & Sorcery.

I hope to have more drafts ready by next summer, i will take my time, if it be years, let it be.

2012/09/08

No brotherhood amongst old-school players

There is no such thing as a brotherhood in the old-school renaissance community.

I play "Powers & Perils", i am simply not able to comprehend you's, your frame of mind, your viewpoint, i cannot understand how your neurons behave and act on one another, cannot come to know how your brain operate.

Much as Tolkien and Howard, or Lovecraft compared to Edgar Allan Poe, the uniqueness of fantasy rpg's is overlooked and underestimated.
This is every day clearer and clearer to me, it is an evidence: fantasy role-playing games, although they may have similarities among them, in spite of this there is an abysmal distance which separates them without hope of reconcilement making them totally different from one another.

At times i felt how "outrè" is the mere fact that i'm playing , say, Chivalry & Sorcery or Powers & Perils instead of Dungeons & dragons. I (we, if i decide to consider the tiny communities that still exist for these games), we feel kind of outsiders.

I am not saying that we are the fools and the others are doing it right, nor vice-versa.
I am just pointing out and stressing the fact that - in the final analysis - i am now playing Powers & perils and that is how the world works for me.

When you adhere to a system, when you "abide by" its principles, you forget the rest, because you have come to grasp the "spirit" of the game - and each game has a different soul, a different scent. You end up being imbued with its philosophy.

We are not a brotherhood, this is false, each one of us is alone under the system of his choice and caged inside his own brain.

You don't believe that?

Try to read, absorb, and figure out a complex FRPG such as Chivalry & Sorcery, Powers & perils, Rolemaster 2nd edition, AD&D 1st edition or even Arduin.

I'm not talking about a cursory read.
I said: read, absorb, and figure it all out.
After weeks of solitude in doing that, you will sink in them and realize what i'm trying to convey with words.

I maintain that they have almost nothing in common with one another, apart from the fact that they are all FANTASY games.

And never - under any circumstances - listen to anyone whispering in your ear they are all mirrors of the grandfather of all fantasy rpg's - that's a falsehood, but if you delve into them you'll end up recognizing the truth by yourself.

Everyone is caged inside his own brain and you will never witness a reunion of C&S, P&P and AD&D players under the same roof, be sure of that.

Choose your game carefully, choose your abode wisely.

And especially to you, who are young and have just started perusing the multitude of old school fantasy rpg's, once more i'd like to say: there is no brotherhood among us, there has never been one as far as i know; rather, know that there may be disdain among different old-school traditions, each claiming to possess the final truth, and it is likely that an old school tradition of some sort speaks disdainfully of another and gives itself superior airs.

Who is living in the ebony tower?
AD&D players, securely confined in their shining empire, or we - who dwell alone sipping the kind nepenthe that drip from defunct and forsaken games?

Perhaps none of us is - but what is certain is that we are not a brotherhood and i see no way how we could or should ever be one.

2012/09/01

How not to forge another Dungeons & Dragons zombie

My dear nephew is approaching that age where he is starting to be enticed by fantasy images, be it dragons, fighters, wizards, etc.. and whenever he enters my room where my cherished rpg collection is hoarded his eyes are set ablaze when he sees the covers of the various fantasy role playing games.

He started posing me questions and he's trying to convince me to teach him how to play those games.
I decided i will never show him a copy of D&D or AD&D (it's easy, i don't own it, i think it's the only fantasy rpg that i miss).

What could i show him? or maybe the question is: "What should i show him"?

There's little doubt that the first game we stumble upon is the one we become hooked to ever since and it's very likely it will be the one we'll have the fondest memories about in the far future- all in all, it's the one that is going to have the biggest impact on our minds.

What will i show him?
What is the fantasy rpg most suited for his baptism?

far from being a silly question, the kind of fantasy rpg we meet first is bound to shape our minds and our hearts forever.

A proof of this is the myriad of players worldwide who still find difficulties in getting rid of what they loved for the first time.
I have a friend of mine who's been playing AD&D 2nd edition for twenty years and he can't stand any offer of playing - even just trying - 1st edition AD&D- not to mention if i made him the proposal of changing and switching game altogether.

This blindness has always scared me, because most of the time i noticed it stems from a kind of powerlessness. This friend of mine cannot WILL it, he doesn't have the necessary strenght needed in order to change his mind.
It is as if the habit of solely playing this game for so long has made him uncapable-unable to exercise his will in a different direction. Quite frightening. Sort of the effect of a charm incantation.

So, my nephew's baptism.

Powers & Perils: he wouldn't find it complicated if he played this as his first game, he's so excited he could devour any rules-set.

Or maybe i should opt for Chivalry & Sorcery? He would be utterly fascinated by it and would forget forever anything else.

But why not "The Compleat Warlock" instead of Original Dungeons & Dragons?
This way he'll eventually come to despise OD&D as inferior to Warlock.

Or Dragonquest? Lands of Adventure?
Or maybe the gigantic Rolemaster? He won't fear anything after that.

Anything. anything will do, except for AD&D. I'm not planning to creating another D&D zombie.
There are already too many out there in the wide open world.

I will bestow a different gift upon his infant mind.

And who knows, perhaps he will be grateful to me one day because of this.

2012/07/18

The first Powers & Perils retro-clone!

Yesterday night i decided to write the first Powers & perils retro-clone.


I'm planning to create and publish as a PDF a streamlined version of this venerable old-school fantasy rpg, a sort of "Powers & Perils" in a nutshell, devoid of all that is considered too complex, so as to ease the comprehension of the game to anyone who might be scared of it.

Considering that a community of fans already exist (powersandperils.org) and that you can find all of the original books online available as free downloads, i am pretty sure there is no problem at all concerning copyrights in embarking in such an endeavour as a retro-clone.

As i said, this version is going to be more easy to understand, quite streamlined and without the optional rules and tables which may confuse someone who tries to grasp this game for the first time.

I would like to make a version of this fantasy rpg more accessible to the masses, so to speak, and i am planning to make some rules changes and revisions, much like they did with OSRIC.This is why i'm calling it a retro-clone.

For instance, i'm planning to change the way priestly magic works, to develop the thief/assassin class better.

Similarly, i'm going to omit something: the faerry class, some crunchy stuff such as height and weight calculations, food requirements factor and the like, modify the initiative rules ( which i deem can be improved), make the overall presentation of the game more easy (in fact, Richard Snider put basic material at the end of some books whereas he should have put them at the beginning. This was baffling for many who read it when it was published and it was detrimental for its accessibility).

All in all, i'm very excited about this project.

I'm just uncertain as for the name under which it will be published, i was thinking about "Perils Eternal" or "Powers & Perils: the Rebirth".

Any suggestion will be much appreciated.

Stay tuned, i totally want to contribute to the OSR movement in this way.

2012/07/01

A memento for me myself II

First of all, English is not my mothertongue, so what i write may sound a little odd from time to time. I think i have to say that, at least once. So, at times i must admit that it is painful to write in a language that is not my own, it requires from my part a lot of mental concentration. I simply learnt english by studying at school, nothing more and nothing less than that. Nevertheless, i am happy to learn it more and more every day, by reading other people's blogs.

I would like to remind me of what i'm planning to write on my blog in the future and in the FAR future (besides having a sketchy summary on my personal paper diary, it is useful to carve it on stone here as well).

1-Translate some parts of "Tiers age" (here) rpg from french into english. At the very least, creating a charcter so as anyone can have a glimpse why this rpg is astounding and perhaps still the best to play in Tokien's world.

2- scanning rare and very rare AD&D adventures, such as this one. which is rated as "extremely rare" on Tome of treasures website.After all, i promised to someone i would do that.

3-publishing rare and never-before published articles by Ed Simbalist (creator of "Chivalry & Sorcery"). This is going to be a great happening, and one of the my major personal achievement.
I will announce more about this in the future.

4- Maybe the most important point of it all, unveiling for the first time several old-school fantasy rpg neglected and lesser known. One example might be Bifrost rpg by Skytrext (here), but there are others. The fact that these forgotten gems are still obscure nowadays to the OSR community simply amounts to a blasphemy.Unfortunately, Bifrost and similar old-school fantasy rpg are almost impossible to obtain.


5- explore thing i like, no matter who and how many might be interested in it. A current instance is Sword's path glory. I am aware these kind of little known pieces of fantasy rpg history may appeal only to a few, and that's ok, very understandable. But i like the idea of mental comrades of mine looking for these types of information- maybe 10 years from now or so- and finding this blog in their research, and so finding in me a companion. The fact, after all, is that we will always be able to find spiritual friend with whom to enjoy something, no matter the distances, spatial and temporal. We are not bound to love D&D just because we are interested in fantasy role-playing games, the proof of that being the existence of several other old-school traditions.

6- At the opposite side, explore Advanced Dungeons & Dragons deeply, because it was my first love, so it is going to reside in my heart forever. Glimpses of that started to emerge with posts such as this one , this,and others similar. There are so many philosophical implications, theories and essays that were written on AD&D which i still haven't been able to find online (because they usually come from rare sources such as "Australian realms" magazine (here), and i'd like to contribute in this respect.

7- Talk about little-known fantasy movies. I already started doing that here.

8- Finish my C.A. Smith project. It encompasses several posts yet to be written, they are about the first reactions to the writings of Smith during the 1930-40 period. I want to write them all on the blog, they were taken by old issues of "Wonder stories" and the like.

9- Most importantly, speak about my favourite and beloved fantasy rpg's. They are obscure nowadays, in a sense or another, and it is likely i will open different blogs for an accurate treatment.

10- create a monthly column dedicated to the art of DMing, consisting in the publishing of excerpts from old books on the subject (mostly books from the eighties).

2012/06/29

Sword Lords (1981)


An old-school fantasy rpg-influenced Wargame. Rules for battles, ship combat, magic and dungeoneering. Lots of Random Tables.Lots of great old school artwork throughout. 

"A game of fantasy armies, heroes, and adventures."

"The ancient stories of elves and men tell much about the titanic struggles of good and evil, but little has been recalled of those who were not of Middle Earth but of its fringes. With this book you may recreate a part of the Eastern Regions, the vast and diverse archipelago that bordered the eastern coast of middle earth, to sail between strange islands, face demons and gather treasure, and to fight large battles between the many powerful contenders for this part of the world long past."

DOWNLOAD HERE.

Powers & Perils: review by Matthew J. Costello

So why i am publishing this reviews about P&P?

The author here seems, on the whole, to despise the game.

This is why i'm putting the review, players of the future must know that Powers & Perils is not a game for everyone, that it is a quite different fantasy role-playing experience.

Oddly,part of its fascination stems from such bad reviews, because they highlight its peculiar nature, setting it apart from several other fantasy rpg's. Because it is horrible and incomprehensible to many, but this bizarre complexity attracted others.
Why? No one can tell.

Sure there are and there will always be some to whom P&P amounts to something near perfection, and we can get glimpses of this reading this review as well.The author acknowledges that for some persons, this kind of game might be the right game.

At the end of the review, the author says: "players who demand detail in their fantasy rpg's will find all they desire here"

[...]if there are some rule-devouring sophisticates out there who've swallowed every bit of AD&D, then they just might be looking for this.The detail is overwhelming.

and the phrase i prefer, which i think summarizes the feeling that Powers & Perils conveys when you approach it with an open mind, and get to its heart:

[...] i almost hope that in some bizarre,unimaginable way, it's a masterpiece.




Reverance Pavane, are you out there?

I'm trying to contact this fellow, if you are listening or if any of you readers out there can help me to get in touch with him, please leave a comment below.

The guy i'm trying to contact has a blogger profile here.

It is likely he is a member of some rpg forums (therpgsite? rpg.net?).

Thanks in advance.

2012/06/23

Powers & Perils vanquishing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

CHANCES TO HIT AN ENEMY OR MONSTER: In Ad&d you have better chances to hit (THAC0) if you are a fighter than, say, a mage.

In Powers & Perils: You have better chances to hit regardless of the concept of class- rather, if you have high scores in strenght, stamina (to endure the prolonged fight) you'll end up having better chances. Also, your combat experience level plays a role on this aspect.

HIT POINTS: In Ad&d if you are a fighter you roll for more hit points. Instead, if you are a mage, you are doomed to have less hit points.

In Powers & Perils: How many hit points you have depend on a formula which takes into account your strenght, your stamina and your constitution.

Besides:

In Powers & Perils each time you successfully use a weapon against an opponent you earn experience with that weapon, thus making you more skilled with it (but you have to score at least a certain amount of damage during that encounter in order to have this gain).


EXPERIENCE POINTS: In Powers & Perils when you earn experience points and you reach a specified amount, you can raise some of your characteristics (those that you logically used, such as strenght, stamina, dexterity, will, etc..)
Consequently, if your scores get better, even your offensive combat level (OCV) can get better (thus having more possibilities in the future to hit enemies), and you could get more HPV (hit points value), because as specified above, they depend on your characteristics.

Ad&d doesn't take this aspect into account, you are supposed to never raise your characteristic scores. You were born that way, with no chance to improve your physiology.


Moreover:

COMBAT: In Ad&d, almost every weapon does different damages, if you need a 13 to hit a monster and you score a 18 it's the same. In both cases you hit him, without any significant difference.

In Powers & Perils, all of the weapons do the same damage, BUT the big difference lie in how "high" is your roll. If you need a 78 to hit but you roll a 30 with the 100 sided die, you are likely to score a SEVERE or even a DEADLY hit.

A sever hit yelds more damage than a normal hit (in this case, for instance, you are entitled to roll more dice when you roll for the damage. You could kill a giant if you are incredibly lucky (remember Frodo?).

In Powers & Perils you can try to use your round to dodge the enemy blow, and there is a dedicated table for figuring this out. Basically, your chances depend on your dexterity and on your agility, compared to the DEX and AG of your opponent plus the kind of armor you are wearing.

These are just a bunch of main diference, but there are several others. I think i'm going to start a series in the future entitled "Powers & Perils" lessons. It might be useful for another purpose as well, that is, to debunk a false myth concerning the unplayability of P&P due to its alleged complexity.
P&P books are full of tables Richard Snider wrote that gives immediate results readily available for the DM and the players, so that you are not obliged to calculate them on your own losing time and making mental effort.

But if i am playing Powers & Perils and i am enjoying it who am NOT an english mothertongue speaker, how much more easily that will be for many of you out there?

Last but not least, there is a final consideration that has to be made: it seems quite difficult to me to go back to AD&D nowadays, and i heard others have experienced this sort of feeling after playing Rolemaster and other similar games. I would not be able to stand the illogicity and "silliness" of many aspects of AD&D, how it handles things. I played P&P for the first time several years ago, i was not hooked with it because i was young and i thought that AD&D was the fantasy RPG, stop.
No need to wonder, no need to explore. Now that i decided to go back to complex rpg's, i found out what i missed.



2012/06/19

The OSR not ready for the deepest deed


Something strange has happened recently. Something of the utmost importance took place with the release of DCC RPG.

DCC is a fantasy rpg which is closer to Gygax'original intentions than AD&D itself was, because one of its main goal was to abide strictly by the literature referenced in the famous APPENDIX N, and in my humble opinion it fulfilled its promise.

So, without taking into account its mechanics and regardless of other aspects, it ends up being MORE AD&D than AD&D was. In this fact there lies the paradox.

This is an odd thing indeed, this fact entails something and poses a bizarre threat to the OSR community, an odd challenge which we may or may not be willing to accept and consider worthy of scrutiny.

Those who were enthralled by this achievement (that is, by the actualization of APPENDIX N in its entirety in an rpg for the very first time) - realized that they eventually held in their hands - paradoxically - AD&D as it might have been (or dare is say, as it should have been if Gygax had more thoroughly developed the sources he cited in a cursory way at the end of 1st ed. DMG).

To cut it short, i'm sure that at that point several persons in the OSR community CONVERTED to DCC RPG, thus "forgetting" AD&D.
They were flabbergasted by a new fantasy rpg and behaved in consequence of this emotion.

In a similar way i wondered: how many out there in the OSR are WILLING to forget AD&D (or D&D in general), in 2012? Much as some of us embraced DCC rpg, choosing it instead of AD&D, now i'm posing the question backwardly.

There are several old fantasy rpg rarely spoken of, published in the seventies or in the eighties- which still have to be unveiled to the masses- and which are still floating in an undeserved LIMBO or which sank into oblivion mainly because of their rarity (i think for instance about "Bifrost", which i am lucky enough to own but there are others) which might be- for a variety of reasons- more fascinating or enchanting or just interesting (to say the least) to play than original D&D or AD&D.

But is there anyone willing -wholeheartedly i mean - nowadays to CHANGE HIS MIND and explore such a possibility?

The possibility that the OSR might lead to the discovery of a fantasy rpg "better" than the so-called original fantasy game? To accept this is an act of courage, or is it likely to happen once the OSR will have dug deeper in our hobby's roots?

DCC RPG opened in my opinion the way to this change of perspective, now we should be brave enough to admit the same thing in retrospective.

2012/06/15

The Abduction of Good King Despot


just bought!

i think this rarity deserved 50 dollars.NK only had one copy of this, and i was after it.

For those who don't know what this module is, look here.

Noble Knight website immediately refreshed the page, you can see that the item in question is sold out as of today, here.

I'll tell everyone on this blog what this adventure is like, because i'm planning to play it, as a series of adventures for a Powers & perils campaign. Sure, i will have to modify several stats because at the time it was published with AD&D in mind.

Anyway, while i wait, we can read this fom a comment at Grognardia here:

The Abduction of Good King Despot (by Will & Schar Niebling and Russ Stambaugh; New Infinities, 1988): This module is the epitome of the "funhouse with internal logic" that I just praised in a post at dragonsfoot -- the dungeon is a completely linear and completely non-ecologized (there are some joking nods to what the monsters do when the PCs aren't around but they're not to be taken seriously) gauntlet of tricks, puzzles, and monsters that at first glance seem completely random and arbitrary but are actually all part of a complex and internally-consistent pattern that clever players will eventually recognize and be able to use to their advantage while less-perceptive players will waste tons of time and resources on red-herrings. This was Gary Gygax's favorite module to run at conventions and it's obvious why -- the combination of whimsy and tough challenges (both tactical and intellectual) represents the best of old-style D&D, and the linear nature makes sure the players will get a good dose of fun in a short time-frame (but that said, neither of the two times I've run it did the party get anywhere near all the way through -- or even halfway).

I'm sure i made an excellent purchase, and as time passes i'm hoarding more and more rarities to my collection...i am happy.

2012/06/10

Clark Ashton Smith, virgin

Nostalgia of the unknown - by Clark Ashton Smith

On EBAY, here.






When does you character die in Powers & Perils?

First of all, the way HIT POINTS VALUE (HPV) - are calculated in Powers & Perils is beautiful and highly reasonable, unlike the way they are calculated in AD&D:

HPV= Strenght value + Stamina value (which is the same as Constitution in AD&D) + Constitution value (which represents the physical health of a character) / 4

so, to sum it up:

HPV= (S+St+C) /4

 Then you have to take into account DAMAGE TOLERANCE VALUE:

((C/20) +Stamina bonus) x (-1), round up.

You usually end up having a DTV of -3, -4 or something like that.

Last, you calculate your Lethality index.
Each character has a Lethality Index. The value = DTV * 4. If your DTV is -4, your LI is -16.
Effects are as follows:

Between 0 and DTV - The character is limited and semiconscious. He may take one action per tactical turn OR move MR/10 (RU) in a tactical turn. When less than DTV and not less than LI - The person is unconscious. Less than LI - Dead.

When a wound is suffered that leaves the character with an HPV value less than ONE, a roll is taken on the Death Table, (a sort of "critical hit table") so that if you are unlucky and roll a 20, you can instantly die (head severed, for example). But this dpends on the potency of the blow received.
If, for instance, you received a severe or DEADLY blow, it is likely you will die if you roll on the DEATH table.

So, to sum up: you calculate your HPV, then DTV and your LI value.
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