More self-indulgent nostalgia, but given that's the veritable perpetual motion machine that drives my gaming...
I was flipping through the Magnum Opus Press edition of Dragon Warriors the other day. It occurred to me that in my gaming collection there is quite the collection of fantasy gaming worlds created by British authors in the 1980s. My love of Titan is pretty evident, as is my soft spot for the Old World of Warhammer [Fantasy Role-Play]. But I’ve also got a fair bit of time for Legend (Dragon Warriors, Blood Sword) and Magnamund (Lone Wolf), and I’ve journeyed across both the Fabled Lands (okay, that’s really the 1990s) and Orb (Talisman of Death and Way of the Tiger).
By Samuel Fisher (found here)
A tremendous amount of my affection for these worlds is, obviously, nostalgia. Even my claim that these worlds are ripe for adventure (see my view on Titan, here) is the product of an inescapable circularity; these worlds shaped my view of what fantastic adventures should involve.
But I can’t be the only one, judging by the fact ALL of these game worlds are in-print:
- Titan is still being explored, through Advanced Fighting Fantasy, the Wizard Books gamebooks, and the Tin Man Games and Inkle apps.
- Dragon Warriors, after its brief but comprehensive revival by Magnum Opus Press, is still available in pdf and print-on demand, and Serpent King Games have plans to publish new material (in fact, they already have published an adventure, The Miller’s Tale).
- Magnamund is the beneficiary of the generosity of Joe Dever and a number of artists, including Gary Chalk, who have made their work available for free at Project Aon. As far as physical books go, Cubicle 7 and Manticore-Verlag have picked up where Mongoose left off, producing reprints of the gamebooks and ‘multiplayer gamebooks’ – i.e. an RPG.
- The Fabled Lands gamebooks are back in print, and GreywoodPublishing has a roleplaying game (with a couple of sourcebooks) in print. And then there is also the iPad app and the truly fantastic and free ‘FLapp’.
- Finally, Orb is coming back into print with Way of the Tiger getting the deluxe (i.e. beyond my means and taste) republishing, while sometime in the future there will be versions more in line with the capacity of my wallet.
- Oh, and the Warhammer Old World… It never went away, you know - what with the monster that is Warhammer Fantasy Battle. But for a slightly less RAGH! AWESUM! take on the setting, near on the full line of WFRP2e pdfs are still available (with some books available as print-on-demand).
I’d say that I didn’t know what bound these together – apart from time, geography, and childhood – but there are a number of names that recur, both authors and artists, through this list, playing a game of seven degrees of Dave Morris (or Russ Nicholson).
Maybe next week I’ll write about how I like something a little more contemporary (or, at the very least, about the fact that I can't stand old gaming products X,Y, and Z). But then the point of this is that these aren't (just) old gaming products. They're in print, with new stuff being published - officially and by fans. And anyway, first I’ll have to tell you about what happened on our day-trip to Mampang.
80s British fantasy definitely seems like the product of a very specific time and place created by a small pool of like-minded guys. I've seen pictures in recent miniatures wargaming magazines of Rick Priestly and Joe Dever participating in big game bashes, so clearly they're all mostly still knocking around in the same circles.ReplyDelete
I'm right in the same camp as you--I think it's partly nostalgia that makes the worlds created by that small community so appealing, but it's also the feel of those worlds. An American hobby filtered through British lenses, sensibilities informed by punk and metal, by the Thatcher government, by the attitudes of late-stage Cold War brinksmanship. It's a potent stew.
I've got to admit to a total lack of familiarity with Titan. Off to pursue some of your links, then...
To boil up a slightly different stew... didn't Terry Pratchetts Discworld begin as his AD&D game? I might be "creatively remembering" that, but it would fall into the 80s and still active category if it was. And then the lost, long forgotten British jems, TSR UKs Pelinore, Tony Baths Hyboria, Games Workshops Valley of the Four Winds.ReplyDelete