The limitations of Heroic Worlds & other good resources?
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Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 6:08 pm 
 

Lawrence Schick's Heroic Worlds is, as we all know, a fabulous resource for researching rpg books. It does, however, have several self-imposed limits on what it covers, as well as the general limitation of not covering anything after it was researched.

The areas that are not covered by Schick break down as follow; I used his categories, and then added several more. The ones I personally consider most important and relevant to collectors and the readership of the Acaeum, I list in bold, while those of secondary import I list in standard text, and those areas of tertiary importance appear in italics:

  • any rpg published after c. 1990
  • autographs (it might be nice to have a collection of game designer autographs, for authentication purposes, although this might enpower and encourage forgers too much)
  • board games from rpg publishers, like Chaosium's Arkham Horror, TSR's Divine Right, etc.; general board games are well-beyond the scope of this category
  • computer rpgs
  • convention ephemera (badges, bags, t-shirts, etc.)
  • convention programs
  • dice
  • endless-quest-like books (this could be combined with fiction, I suppose)
  • fanzines
  • flip-book games (Lost Worlds, et al)
  • fiction inspired from gaming sources (Gygax's Gord novels, Holmes' Maze of Peril, etc.)
  • licensed products (D&D MPC sets, LJN figures, etc.)
  • Live Action rpgs
  • magazines
  • miniatures
  • miniatures rules (WoM, W40K, etc.)
  • mystery party games (this could be combined with rpg publisher board games)
  • non-fiction books by rpg folks (like Gygax's Role Playing Mastery, Schick's HW, etc.)
  • original materials (original art, original manuscripts, etc.)
  • PBMs
  • tournament scenarios
  • wargames from rpg publishers, or by authors related to rpg publishers; this would include TSR wargames like Tractics, WEG's Kings & Things (via Kunt), the Gorgonstar/AH Titan (due to Trampier), Guidon Games Gygax titles, etc.; wargames in general, again, would be out of scope

My intent in discussing these limits is three-fold:

  1. Are there any categories missing that would be worth adding to the list?
  2. I'd like to get a breakdown of additional resources like HW that would be useful and valuable as part of my collecting reference shelf, but which cover areas that Schick didn't. Example: Terence Gunn's The Fantastic Worlds Of Grenadier. Other, similar resources probably exist for general categories, as well as for specific publishers and manufacturers. What are they?
  3. In general, I think that these categories of subject matter would benefit (in the long run) from the creation of Acaeum sub-web forums and/or Distributed Computing sites: certain members of this board have vast interests, collections, and experience in certain niches of the hobby (Brette Easterbrook is infamous for his fanzine collection, for example), and creating such forums and/or sub-sites would be a good way to start to define, build out, and share our collective tribal knowledge for the betterment of gamers everywhere.

Lastly, has anyone ever tried to contact Schick at the PO Box 90, Shrewsbury, PA 17361-0090 mailing address provided in HW? If so, pleas share anything interesting to relate, in terms of when he last replied, any work being done toward a second edition, etc.? (I just queried Prometheus Books to see if they're still in touch with Schick, and whether to their knowledge a 2nd edition is being planned).


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Post Posted: Sun Jun 26, 2005 9:24 pm 
 

Heroic Worlds is a great read, and the hardback is a nice part of my collection. The essays on the RPG hobby (and many of the game systems) are interesting & informative. The component lists for each item have really helped me at times (How many maps, books, etc. in a box set, for example.) However, I seldom use it for reference. The internet -- while frustrating at times -- is generally more useful for research.

The book's primary limitations in my view:

1. The date of publication: 1990

2. Schick deciding to create his own Dewey-decimal-style product number system. While interesting in a theoretical sense, he neglected to include the product codes designated by the RPG companies themselves. (i.e. Kara-Tur box set - TSR 1032) Those are much more useful in a real-world sense.

3. ISBNs would have been useful.

4. And yes, this is nutty, but I would have preferred this work in, say, a large 3-ring binder format like the much-maligned Monstrous Compendium. This would have allowed it to open flat on the desk and be upgraded at will. Trying to type info out of a smallish hardbound book sucks.

Just my two-cents worth!  ;>)

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:06 am 
 

grodog wrote:Lawrence Schick's Heroic Worlds is, as we all know, a fabulous resource for researching rpg books. It does, however, have several self-imposed limits on what it covers, as well as the general limitation of not covering anything after it was researched.

The areas that are not covered by Schick break down as follow; I used his categories, and then added several more. The ones I personally consider most important and relevant to collectors and the readership of the Acaeum, I list in bold, while those of secondary import I list in standard text, and those areas of tertiary importance appear in italics:

[[*]endless-quest-like books (this could be combined with fiction, I suppose)

Lastly, has anyone ever tried to contact Schick at the PO Box 90, Shrewsbury, PA 17361-0090 mailing address provided in HW? If so, pleas share anything interesting to relate, in terms of when he last replied, any work being done toward a second edition, etc.? (I just queried Prometheus Books to see if they're still in touch with Schick, and whether to their knowledge a 2nd edition is being planned).


Gro, Endless Quest type books are covered on pages 358-380, under "Solo Gamebooks", I believe all the important genres and titles are covered pretty fully. It includes such items as the Catacombs series, AD&D Coloring Book, and Dicing With Dragons as well as the usual suspects (Endless Quest, Middle Earth Quest, Fighting Fantasy).  I think the reason the original Endless Quest series wasn't included was that technically they don't fill the definition of a solo "gamebook"...they are simply storybooks and fit under the heading "Choose a path" rather than a game.  However, these would fit into your definition of "fiction" I believe, which is not covered in HW.
I've heard from many over the years that have attempted to contact Schick about various points that are raised in HW (afterglow/Matthias Bock is one I know for sure, some of the people I used to deal with on the frp. games marketplace also), and each time were totally rebuffed and given the reply that Schick is no longer involved or even interested in RPG or gaming subjects and is totally distanced from the entire genre, he has nothing to do with such pursuits now, and no second edition is ever planned.  This was several years ago, and I haven't heard anything from anyone since disputing this.
As for other references, the Role Playing Game price guide that came out a few years ago (by Timothy Brown I believe) was an absolute piece of crap in terms of pricing information; however since it was released in the late 1990's it contained reference information on quite a few more items than Heroic Worlds (there are a lot of mistakes in this one, though).  Rick Swan's book didn't add anything to the reference aspect although the reviews of the items and game systems are a little more thorough.

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:47 am 
 

Demian Katzs' Gamebook Web Page is an extremly good source for gamebook for those that don't know of its existance, I recomend it! It goes well beyond HW.

Demian's Gamebook Web Page

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Post Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:08 pm 
 

Anyone else have other suggestions for other good rpg resources?


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:30 am 
 

I know this is an old thread, but I was just trying to find out more about this book. I had posted my desire to one day be involved in developing a Wiki-style online RPG encyclopedia or catalogue style book.

Schick's book (which I didn't know about until recently - and will get a copy ASAP) is clearly the first attempt to do this. No doubt - most of you long-timers on Acaum have copies.

It seems a pity, Schick did not plan on a second edition and no one has taken it further. Obviously a lot of us here, would be keen to see this type of work.

Question: has anyone ever contacted Schick - not about him making a new edition, but about using his edition as a base on which to build an updated book?

  

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:50 am 
 

I suspect a lot of entries in the original HW text were taken from the catalog pages of books, and in some cases those items didn't exist. Most of the UK published market is also missing. That's why I thought Afterglow2 needed to be started.

But why try to re-invent the wheel? With Brette making fine headway on the fanzine front, The Acaeum being the defacto authority on TSR,  and Shane and Alan's complete Judges Guild catalog, why would anyone try to do the work again.

Most of the information is out there on the message boards, newsgroups and websites. There is a single front end but it's owned by Google.


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 10:17 pm 
 

Hi mbassoc and thanks for taking the time to reply. I did not mean to gloss over your work. I think Acaeum, the subwebs and Afterglow are the best sites, that is why I am here.

I am perhaps getting a little tired of Googling and wading through sites that come and go, trying to build up knowledge and descriptions of former RPGs. I guess Ebay is the best source of info, as long as someone linked to these groups buys the items and then records the data.

I am not aware of Brette's fanzine effort, where is the link to that?
It is very useful to know that items listed in Schick's book do not actually exist, maybe I have been trying to find items for years that were never printed (e.g. for years I have been looking for the orange and cream cover first and second prints of Dillow's High Fantasy as well as the 'Judges Screen' - perhaps these really don't exist!).

  

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 9:04 am 
 

Brette! Time to plug your site in your signature line. I can't remember the URL.
I'm sure someone will post the URL in a few hours.

When you step outside of Acaeum's remit, the level of information available and its accuracy drops off quickly. I try to do justice to the non-TSR published D&D (and sympathetic compatibles) but its very much a work in progress. It is also very much a collection of the information others have provided me with and that's why their names appear on the site and not mine.

There is a big backlog of stuff needing updated and listed, and hopefully there will be a major update this Christmas. That will make Afterglow2 one year old. The site is still new. It doesn't crop up too often on Google searches yet.

The RPG market has had millions of published products. It is too big for anyone to catalog in its entirety without suitable funding and the prospect of proffit. I'm affraid Google is the best search engine around. Their bots archive everything and it often sits on their servers for years after the original message has been erased.


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Post Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2006 10:31 pm 
 

I been spending some late night hours reading through Heroic Worlds. It really is a great resource, but I have to agree with several of the above posts. It is lacking in some respects.

Product numbers should have been an automatic decision.

There should be some effort to list linked products/scenarios. The use of product charts would be excellent - maybe even a chronological product release chart, too.

A scan or picture of each item. (hard, but man would that be cool).

And just because I have to say it...No freaking way should it ever include anything to do with Live Action RPing!!!!


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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