Thursday, May 30, 2013

Obscure RPG Appreciation Day: Adventures in Fantasy

When I first read the post over at Mesmerized by Sirens about the first annual Obscure Fantasy RPGs Appreciation Day on May 31st I instantly knew that I wanted to participate.  The only rules for the post is that the subject must be a game from the fantasy genre and it must have been published between 1975 and 1989.  It was not hard for me to come up with a subject for my post.  Adventures in Fantasy has been part of my collection for several years now.  I won it on an eBay auction for the price of $12 if I recall correctly.  It seems I lucked into finding it before the OSR and all of the interest in these older games and the roots of our hobby took hold and caused the price to go up.  I have seen ridiculous prices on Amazon & similar sites - in the neighborhood of $200 or so - but I suggest that you do not pay these outrageous prices and hope that you can find a copy cheap if you are interested. I admit that I feel Adventures in Fantasy is an interesting historical gaming artifact that will provide insights into the early years of the hobby and a look at some of the differences between the game design philosophy of Arneson and Gygax but only if the price is right.  Since that original post the theme has changed to the Obscure RPG Appreciation Day so the subject for my post is still valid.

This is not my first post about Adventures in Fantasy - I started this blog by doing an examination of the game.  My previous posts can be read by following the links below:
Book of Adventure Part 1
Book of Adventure Part 2
Book of Adventure Part 3
Book of Adventure Part 4
Book of Faerry and Magic Part 1
Book of Faerry and Magic Part 2
Book of Faerry and Magic Part 3
Book of Faerry and Magic Part 4
Regrettably, I have not completed any  posts for the third book but I will dive back into it at some point in the near future.  I have decided not to rehash the information in the above posts so I am providing an assortment of information related to Adventures in Fantasy within this post. 

It is a fair statement to claim that Adventures in Fantasy was "the other fantasy game" for Dave Arneson and Richard Snider.  Both of them were better known for other games - Arneson for Dungeons & Dragons (specifically the Blackmoor setting) and Snider for Powers & Perils.  Opinions vary but the general consensus seems to be that people feel the game showed more of Arneson instead of Gygax OR that the design showcases more of a Snider slant due to the apparent complexity.  

Adventures in Fantasy comes up on message boards every once in a while.  The site I have found with the most posts or conversation concerning the game is Dave Arneson's Blackmoor section of the OD&D Discussion boards.  I have contributed to some of the conversations myself.

Adventures in Fantasy is an incomplete game; at least, if you consider all of the stuff that was planned but never saw the light of day.  The boxed set does provide the very basic framework but there were several supplements announced in the forward of book one:
Dragon Lore & Legend
Ritual Magic
The Races of the Faerry
World of Fantasy
None of these supplements were ever published to the best of my knowledge.  I can only wonder what the complete game would have looked like or how it would have played. 

I have searched the internet for resources specifically for Adventures in Fantasy but I have had no luck.  I tried scanning the original reference sheets that were included in the box but I was not happy with their appearance.  If anyone else is interested, I will provide a clean pdf version of these reference sheets for download.

The boxed set of Adventures in Fantasy did not include a character sheet.  I have searched around and have been unable to find one.  I was hooked up with some character write-ups to use as a guide so I will be making a character sheet for this game at some point.  An example character I ran across from the OD&D Discussion  board (thanks dwayanu!) is provided below.

from Chaosium's Thieves' World:
Caravan Master (exp)
Minor Mage (exp. lev 3)
Fighter (exp. lev 12)
REPUTATION: 100!* CHARISMA: 40 HIT DICE: 18 points

ONE Read
TWO Figure
THREE Speak two other languages
FIVE, SIX Physical Training I, II
SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE Horsemanship I, II, III
TEN, TWELVE, FOURTEEN, EIGHTEEN Bow, Sword, Lance, Spear, Dagger, Shield

Can cast up to three 1-2 point spells
Knows the following Lawful spells: Light, Protection from Chaos
Knows the following Non-Alignment spells: Gambling, Open Door, Find Gold
Knows the following Neutral spells: Charisma, Rhetoric
80% chance to know any Non-Alignment spell up to six points
Has 24 spell points a day, six points a turn
*Get credit for being the champion of one god and cheating another and see what it does for you!

Here are some monster stats from the same user and same source:

Average Hit Points: 1 Body Type: Scaled Movement: 4" (water) 2" (land) Alignment: Chaotic (Hostile) Hit Dice: 1 (1-3)

Alignment Neutral Av. HP 52 Hit Dice 15 Body Type: Snake / Special SPP: 3" / 30" No. Encounter Clear 1-6

There are only two classes available in Adventures in Fantasy - warrior and mage.  The skill system does provided some customization options. 

Like I previously stated, Adventures in Fantasy is a great historical gaming treasure to examine if you can find it for the right price.  It has provided we with many hours of interesting reading even though I have never played it.  Maybe I should crack open that box again and get a game started?

I would have liked to have posted more for this but I am in the middle of overtime season at work.   



Monday, May 27, 2013

[Music Monday] ORDEN OGAN - The Things We Believe In (2012)

This is the first installment of Music Monday here at The Semi-Retired Gamer.  It will be in irregularly updated addition to the blog.  There are no hard and fast rules on when it will be used but I will post stuff I run across that I think is cool or related in someway to gaming.  I have never heard of Orden Organ before stumbling onto this video but I like it because of the power armor, the Fallout look in the video, and certainly because it is metal!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Better Late Than Never...(Part 1)

I admit it - I failed to complete the A to Z challenge this year. I had it all planned out and got a good jump start but then overtime picked up at work and I got caught without enough leeway in the scheduled posts to compensate for the extra time spent at work.  It is not the same but I have split the remaining letters into two posts that will summarize each of the posts I intended to make for T to Z.

T is for Toldara
I have been asked from time to time where I got the name of Toldara for my campaign world.  I honestly just wanted a name that "sounded cool" and the answer is as simple as that.  One of the names I always liked was Talislanta and I wanted something similar.  At one point I considered customizing the Talislanta rules with Toldaran archetypes and world information but I never did. 

U is for Underworld
Toldara has an underworld inspired by reading books like Journey to the Center of the Earth and popularized in fantasy fiction and movies.  In the original campaign, the Slarn were just a different lizard like race found in the hotter climates but I think that will change in this campaign.  The Slarn will probably serve as the typical hostiles found in the underworld and fill the same type of spot that Orcs, Goblins, & Kobolds fill in a typical fantasy world. 

V is for Villains
There will be other recurring villains in addition to the Slarn.  There will  be members from the Church of Grax (the Dark Lord) that are trying to implement a plan of world domination that will serve as a driving plot point.  Others to come...

W is for World Map
I have an old world map for Toldara.  In fact, I have a few maps laying around.  I am not going to use them in the new campaign.  I am starting small with just the local area and I will expand outwards as necessary.  It may not be the most realistic map but it is fantasy gaming not real life so I am comfortable with that.  I used to worry about world maps and realism but I finally learned to just let it go.
Part 2 is coming soon...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Just a Reminder...

The Obscure RPG Appreciation Day is coming up on May 30th.  Details for participating can be found by following the link.  I am working on a post, are you?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Come & Get It!!!

If you are interested in checking out a new rpg on the cheap and want something different from the wave of retroclones and take a step out of the typical fantasy genre then you might be interested in hearing that SteamCraft in pdf form is on sale for the ridiculously low price of $8.00!!!  That price is 78% off of the cover price of the physical book and 60% off the normal pdf price.  This reduction is only for a limited time so do not waste an opportunity for a great deal!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

First Renaissance Fair

We were looking for something to do and remembered the Renaissance Fair was starting up this weekend at the Castle of Muskogee.  We had previously discussed going "some time" and finally took the kids yesterday.  It was Student Day so entrance was only $5 so for $20 it sounded like a reasonable risk.  I am glad that we went because it was an absolute blast to see the jousting, sword fighting, tour the torture chamber, and see all of the vendors; the artist Peter Bradley was also set up there with copies of Castles & Crusades available for purchase.  I think we found a new annual event  for years to come.
I got to thinking about my involvement with fandom and realized that I have not participated much at all.  I have gamed and read comic books since 1980 and have only gone to a few gatherings in that time.  I went to the first year of Conjuration - a gaming convention in Tulsa - that took place in the early 80s.  I remember enjoying myself but I never went to another one or even a different gaming con.  I believe both Conjuration and O-Con are no longer running.  As far as comic books go, I have only been to 2 comic book conventions in the mid-90s; one was at a mall and one was at a conference room in a motel.  I think the next time I get an opportunity I will try to attend a gaming con to make up for lost time.