Thursday, April 3, 2014

Interlude: A Pair of Obscure Games

I have recently acquired two obscure roleplaying games from the late 80's/early 90's. Both items came from the fire sale at my LGS, which has risen from the grave and has become one of my favorite places to go. The total cost of these two items: $7.

*Legacy: War of Ages- This is basically Highlander the Roleplaying game with the serial numbers filed off. (In fact, 'filed off' may be a bit charitable, more like 'taped over with cheap masking tape.') The design aesthetic is very heavily inspired by early White Wolf- lyrics from gothy bands, quotes to show you how well read the authors are, etc. The artwork consists mostly of photographs of people - I can only assume the writer and his nearest and dearest- either a.) having very languid-looking swordfights, or b.) standing by fences and buildings and staring off into the distance with a disaffected expression.

I have only skimmed the surface of the mechanics at this point, but there's one thing I could definitely take away that would make this book well worth the two bucks I spent on it: the system seems to use the same kind of number scale as White Wolf, but they add trait + stat and you roll under on 1d10. This seems an attractive alternative to White Wolf, because ever since I crested 30 I found that I am annoyed by games that make me roll huge fistfuls of dice to resolve every damn thing.
I'm sure the probabilities are off... so I'll have to look into that later.

Though I appear to be bagging on this game, I must confess that I went through an ugly "White Wolf Ivory Tower" phase in which games were AAAAAAARRRRRRRRTgoddammit and you were a bad person if you wanted to take Melee 3 for your character. It was a thing in the 90's. It's probably still a thing now, though my gaming circles and outlook have changed considerably. I now balk at the idea that this roleplaying game and the ideas behind it are somehow more "grown up" than D&D's conceits of killing orcs for money.

The author was working on another roleplaying game, his answer to Mage it seems, called Warlock: Black Spiral. (No White Wolf influence there, no sir.) It never saw the light of day, though you can retrieve online excerpts of it via the Wayback Machine. I actually like the premise a bit more than Mage. CJ Carella's Witchcraft seems to have a somewhat similar premise.

The second game is Quest of the Ancients, a game that claimed it would become "The Sword and Sorcery Product of the 90's."'s pretty much houseruled AD&D with three different combat systems.


My favorite part: the inside cover where the characters listed on the outside cover are given their names, players, class, and level. A 30th level Witch? Nah, this is -totally- unlike D&D. should be fun to mine for AD&D stuff, though.

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