Heroic Worlds by Lawrence Schick
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Post Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:30 am 
 

Is there anyone who posts on these boards who DOESN'T have the wonderful reference book by Lawrence Schick, Heroic Worlds? I was thinking of this when I consulted it for probably the one millionth time as I sorted out some Star Trek RPG and Pendragon RPG stuff for selling, making sure the sets were complete with all maps, etc.  I had just consulted it the night before while sorting a stack of probably 50 Rolemaster items to make sure these were in the correct box, the correct editions, etc.  What an incredible book.

I once saw an article where a guy listed all the books that had a profound effect on his life.  He had some of the classics on there...stuff like Moby Dick, Catch-22, etc.  But he also listed "The Baseball Encyclopedia" there, because apparantly after finding and buying this when it first appeared it renewed his love of baseball as he looked up all the stats of the players of his youth, and led to a reconnected with the team of his youth which was the Chicago White Sox.  I can truthfully say that finding a copy of Heroic Worlds had a profound effect on my life!  When this came out in 1991 I bought a copy based on a review I read somewhere, it had to have been in Dragon magazine I think.  At the time I think it was quite expensive, maybe $20, but it was worth every penny.  If not for this book I might be several thousand dollars richer, but in the long run I like the trade off because it's the first place I ever saw listed the hundreds and hundreds of items that now make up my gaming collection, items I had never heard of before or never showed any interest in.  Due to this book I was able to make lists of any and all game systems or items that interested me, and spent many happy years hunting said items down!

For the unititated, Heroic Worlds is a 448 page listing of every RPG item by every company ever published up to 1990.  The first 36 pages is the history of RPGs, plus advice for collectors, then the meat of the book: Every item is listed under one of a 22 categories (Such as Comic Book Superheroes, Fantasy: Sword and Sorcery, Humor, Military, Science Fiction: Space Adventure, Westerns), plus a listing for Solo gamebooks, award winning games, definition of terms, timeline, and even an index.  There is also a short description of the item with all identifying info: Publisher, date of publication, author, pages, any inserts or maps, and a short description.  I would have to say this book is completely indespensible to anyone in the field who is a collector or reseller, due to the high quality of research in this book.  There are very few mistakes, most of the items are described accurately and concisely.  

Anyway, if you don't have this book, get it immediately.  I checked and Barnes and Nobles seems to have copies for sale at $27 each.  It came in a trade paperback and a hardcover, I don't know which B&N was selling. These used to pop up with regularity on ebay and in used bookstores, but I don't seem them in either place very often anymore.  The sad thing is that there exists no further reference for items 1991 and on, I suppose no one has risen to the challenge of cateloging half a million RPG items that have been released since then! (The White Wold stuff alone would bury you!).  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:56 am 
 

Actually, I didn't.  But, I took your advice and ordered one.  Amazon.com has the same new price, but they have many sellers that are offering Used ones for around $8.00.  

I grabbed the cheapest which came to $11.00 with shipping.


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 1:11 am 
 

beyondthebreach wrote:Actually, I didn't.  But, I took your advice and ordered one.  Amazon.com has the same new price, but they have many sellers that are offering Used ones for around $8.00.  

I grabbed the cheapest which came to $11.00 with shipping.


You won't regret it.  You'll wonder how you got along all these years without it!  Just used it again to look up some Villains and Vigilantes stuff to see if I was missing anything (apparantly I am, something to add to the list!)

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 10, 2005 3:41 am 
 

I have to agree with Minke, My copy sits beside the computer very tattered... although we shuld lits the games that aren't lited in the book, there are several...I always though of doing an updated version, one of my to do thgings I'm afraid...

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Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 9:47 am 
 

Well, I received Heroic Worlds last week and I must admit it's a great resource.  Quite a bit of historical/factual information and game development backgrounds as well.

Thanks again for the tip. . . I know I'd heard of it often, just hadn't gotten around to finding out what exactly it was.



Oh. . . and apparently there is a game called Woof Meow made in 1988 by Game Systems.  The characters are all cats & dogs. . . and, well, the cat lover in me really wants to check it out!  I'll have to start watching ebay for it.

Anyone here have a copy?


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Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:32 am 
 

beyondthebreach wrote:Well, I received Heroic Worlds last week and I must admit it's a great resource.  Quite a bit of historical/factual information and game development backgrounds as well.

Thanks again for the tip. . . I know I'd heard of it often, just hadn't gotten around to finding out what exactly it was.



Oh. . . and apparently there is a game called Woof Meow made in 1988 by Game Systems.  The characters are all cats & dogs. . . and, well, the cat lover in me really wants to check it out!  I'll have to start watching ebay for it.

Anyone here have a copy?


Yeh, my group has a campaign going back 15 years, I play a pit bull/weiner dog hybrid that has the power of Pee On Command, the other players round out the group with a Manx cat, Golden Retriever, a Cocker Spaniel/Doberman cross and a pure blood Siamese that has 1 foot extendable claws and the power to turn invisible which has gotten our group out of a few nasty scrapes...

No, just kiddding, but all the years I've had the book I never noticed that game, pretty funny.  Now I'll be looking for a copy too!  I wonder if this is what Jolly Blackburn based B.A.'s failed RPG game on in the Knights of the Dinner Table comic (his game was called something like Dog: The RPG if I remember correctly).  See, you've already gotten your money's worth out of the book!

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Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:33 pm 
 

I have a copy of Woof, Meow!  It's pretty silly but looks like fun.  
Another oddball RPG that is pretty humorous is Og!  
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Post Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 3:00 pm 
 

i've got an RPG here called "Battle Cattle" which looks a lot of fun....could be a right lark to play with the kids this... :D



  

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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 12:02 am 
 

Was just flipping through Heroic Worlds . . . there is a Top Ten Best RPG products list at the back of the book and also a:

TOP TEN MOST APPALLING RPG PRODUCTS:

1) SPAWN OF FASHAN
2) WORLD ACTION & ADVENTURE
3) GANGHEDGE MANIFESTO
4) LEGACY
5) U.G.S. FANTASY UNIVERSAL SCREEN

The description in Heroic Worlds for Spawn of Fashan:

Hilariously bad fantasy system, legendary among RP game designers as the epitome of cliched, amateurish FRP games.  The rulebook includes a bizarrely complex character-creation system, painfully cumbersome combat rules, guildelines for creating wilderness, towns, and dungeons, monster descriptions (with names like "makl", "foklom", "finikor" and "rolmtrokl"), a brief description of a campaign setting (the land of "Boosboodle") and an example of play.


He also adds that it is a highly collectible item. Too funny! :D  So, who here has a copy? Deadlord? Dathon? Anyone?

I also like the U.G.S. screen: The players side has silly fantasy cartoons and the DM's side is completely blank (for use with any system!)  :roll:


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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 3:49 am 
 

beyondthebreach wrote:Was just flipping through Heroic Worlds . . . there is a Top Ten Best RPG products list at the back of the book and also a:

TOP TEN MOST APPALLING RPG PRODUCTS:

1) SPAWN OF FASHAN
2) WORLD ACTION & ADVENTURE
3) GANGHEDGE MANIFESTO
4) LEGACY
5) U.G.S. FANTASY UNIVERSAL SCREEN

The description in Heroic Worlds for Spawn of Fashan:

Hilariously bad fantasy system, legendary among RP game designers as the epitome of cliched, amateurish FRP games. The rulebook includes a bizarrely complex character-creation system, painfully cumbersome combat rules, guildelines for creating wilderness, towns, and dungeons, monster descriptions (with names like "makl", "foklom", "finikor" and "rolmtrokl"), a brief description of a campaign setting (the land of "Boosboodle") and an example of play.


He also adds that it is a highly collectible item. Too funny! :D So, who here has a copy? Deadlord? Dathon? Anyone?

I also like the U.G.S. screen: The players side has silly fantasy cartoons and the DM's side is completely blank (for use with any system!) :roll:


Wasn't Spawn of Fashan due to be reprinted sometime soon?  And wasn't there the debate wether or not the game was a parody or meant seriously? I've seen exerpts online...the character creation system is particularly hilarious.  The online reviewer managed to roll up a one armed, near sighted mutant with a crab arm for the other arm, or something similar.  Brilliant.

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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 12:32 pm 
 

I also heard that Spawn of Fashan was due to be reprinted sometime soon. I don't have a copy but have been looking for one for quite some time.  I seem to remember a discussion on frp.marketplace about this item back in the mid-90's and the consensus seemed to be that it was a parody and not meant to be taken as a "serious" RPG.  Sounds like some serious fun, kind of like Alma Mater, which is a really funny RPG take on high school life with an awesome Erol Otus cover.  It got banned from Gen Con for being in such poor taste.  Alma Mater I do have a copy of and recommend picking it up just for the Otus cover and cheese value.

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 3:59 pm 
 

Erol also did interior art for Alma Mater.  I have a few spare copies in shrink if anyone's interested in trading :D


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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 4:54 pm 
 

Hello, my name is Bill and I don't have a copy of Heroic Worlds. I haven't had a Heroic Worlds today...

But I am gonna get one soon!


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 7:36 pm 
 

Fear not, bbarsh, I only got my copy in the last year or two....


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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 8:28 pm 
 

"Erol also did interior art for Alma Mater. I have a few spare copies in shrink if anyone's interested in trading"

Just noticed this today, in case anyone's interested...

Original 1982 promotional posters for Alma Mater:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... eName=WD1V

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Post Posted: Mon May 23, 2005 9:33 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:Hello, my name is Bill and I don't have a copy of Heroic Worlds. I haven't had a Heroic Worlds today...

But I am gonna get one soon!


Check Amazon.com or Half.com, they usually have a copy or two.  Barnes and Noble had them at least until a few years ago, I don't know if they still stock it.  But just to let you know, you WILL find something you HAVE to have once you buy this and read it, so make sure the bank account is well stocked!!!  :D

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Post Posted: Wed May 25, 2005 7:57 pm 
 

Ordered one yesterday from Amazon. I think it was around $24 or so for a new, unused copy. The Hardcover was around $50+!!!


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

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Post Posted: Thu May 26, 2005 5:38 am 
 

Badmike wrote:Wasn't Spawn of Fashan due to be reprinted sometime soon? And wasn't there the debate wether or not the game was a parody or meant seriously? I've seen exerpts online...the character creation system is particularly hilarious. The online reviewer managed to roll up a one armed, near sighted mutant with a crab arm for the other arm, or something similar. Brilliant.

Mike B.


It was in the early 90's I believe, the guy was selling em for $50 a piece... (all from meory from penandpaper or some such site that had a review on it)

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Post Posted: Sat Jun 04, 2005 6:43 pm 
 

beasterbrook wrote:It was in the early 90's I believe, the guy was selling em for $50 a piece... (all from meory from penandpaper or some such site that had a review on it)

Brette:)


He's still selling them, actually.  They're still fifty bucks a copy, but if you want one badly enough, he's got 'em.

This is as of two weeks ago, too.  I would imagine he prints them on demand - mine is supposed to be in the mail by the end of this week, so hopefully on the way right now.  The author, Kirby Davis, was very polite in communication.

Yeah, $50 is a tad excessive, but The Spawn of Fashan has been my Holy Grail of collecting for years - just about everyone has heard of it, but nobody has ever seen a copy.

The review site was RPG.net.  The e-mail address listed on that review should still be valid.

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:20 am 
 

A fascinating read and a lot of work was put into that book.

On the subject of Alma Mater a while back from the same person for like $14.  He must be running low on the box of sw copies he had.

Its an interesting read and great artwork from Otus.

  
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