Friday, 22 August 2014

#RPGaDAY: Day 22 - In which I change horses mid-stream

Okay, so this - best secondhand RPG purchase - is a bit of a toughy, as I don't buy many games secondhand. Back in the day I used to get them new on my way home from work (I was paid in cash on the far side of the games shop from the bus station; it was a fit up!), and when I've not had the money to do that I've never possessed enough of a collecting bug, not enough prospect of playing random purchases, to go for things secondhand. As a result, pretty much all I have are books I've talked about before, specifically Maelstrom and Allansia, the Advanced Fighting Fantasy wilderness and mass combat guide.

I think that's a remora, which always
confused me because a remora is also
a small fish that attaches to larger fish.
So, let's talk a little about Allansia, since I've covered Maelstrom quite a bit.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy was Steve Jackson (the GW one, not the Steve Jackson Games one) and Ian Livingstone's first shot at an original RPG, based in the world shared by most, but not all, of the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. I'm pretty sure that by this point their names were just on the 'present' banner and they weren't writing all that much, but...

Holy shit.

So, looking up who wrote the books (Marc Gascoigne and Pete Tamlyn) I have discovered that there was a new edition (published by Cublicle 7) a few years back, which included a campaign book called The Crown of Kings, for running the Sorcery! campaign in new AFF. Oh, man, if I had money I would be spending it right the fuck now!

Okay, fuck second hand purchases; we're talking about Sorcery!

Sorcery! was the first attempt to do something really different with a Fighting Fantasy book, and featured an epic quest stretched across four volumes. Your hero, 'the Analander', was an agent sent from the Kingdom of Analand into the chaos of Khakabad, through The Shamutanti Hills and Khare - Citiport of Traps, over the Baklands in pursuit of The Seven Serpents, and finally through the fortress of Mampang to confront the Archmage and recover The Crown of Kings.

It also had an awesome spellcasting system, which required the player to memorise a book of 48 spells, each with a three letter name and a crucial ingredient. In combat, you would have the option of casting one of three spells, one of which was usually a dud, one hopelessly inappropriate and one useful. If you picked the right one, actually had the right ingredient in your backpack, and paid the Stamina cost, you got to feel like a fricking Wizard for a few minutes, until the next time you tried to cast YOB without a giant's tooth in sight.

And it was tough. Dear lord, it was difficult. In Khare you had to collect parts of the password for the gate by completing what certainly seemed like fucking Mensa-level IQ tests. I don't think I ever completed either Khare or Crown of Kings, and not for want of trying.

Sorcery! was an eye opener for me; the first thing that showed me that fantasy games could be more than just a single book. The idea of character continuity was a revelation, and was I think what really hooked me into the idea of roleplaying. It's certainly what attracted me to Dungeoneer when it came out.

So, yeah... Wow, the idea of running The Crown of Kings for a group is pretty tempting. The wild beasts and vicious tribes of the Shamutanti Hills, the cutthroats of Khare, the Seven Serpents and the Archmage. I know it's probably just the nostalgic haze talking, but I am practically salivating at the thought. It's such a wonderfully rich setting and I have such fond memories of the books. Of course, ideally I wouldn't be killing off all of my PCs at the Baklands Gate of Khare, so it wouldn't be just the way I remember it.

£19.99 for the core book from the publisher, and I can get the campaign for £11.99 on Amazon...

No! Bad blogger! No biscuit.

Apparently, I could shift my old AFF books for about £500, and the new ones are only £100 or so all told, but... I guess I don't roll that way. One day, I may sell Dungeoneer to buy something awesome for my daughter, but not for me.

Still, I feel better about paying £30 for Allansia now.

Come back tomorrow - or possibly after the weekend, which may be Tuesday, because bank holiday - when I will still be wrestling with my desire to spend money I can't afford on books I will likely never use, and also talking about my coolest looking RPG product/book.

Man, that Crown of Kings campaign looks pretty cool to me right now.

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