The former Non-TSR Recent Fun Finds Thread
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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:51 am 
 

Corsair Publishing's Pulp Dungeons are a very interesting find...particularly at the price quoted higher up in this strand.

These modules pre-date the D20 system.  Corsair has made up for this lack by inventing an informal, generic system based upon the concept of a "hit."

A "hit" is one roll of whatever dice your RPG happens to use as the damage for a standard sword.  Thus, a "3 hit" monster would have 3d8 hit dice in AD&D.  Damage, levels and hit dice are all given in this "hit" format.

This may sound sketchy, and it probably is for DM's who are used to robotically following a module's notes.  Still, it is not much different than typical 1st Edition AD&D module notations that often said things like: "Inside are four orcs with hit points of 8, 6, 5 and 3.  They attack as soon as the party enters the room."

For game masters like myself, it is an easily adaptable generic system:  So, if "Hugo the Bear Trainer" is a "2-hit human," it does not take a lot of mental gymnastics to make him a second level fighter with 2d10 hit points.  Nor does it take a genius to supply the stats for Hugo's bear, which is a "4-hit monster."  This puzzle should not prove hard to solve for anyone with a 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Screen in front of them.  I have seen far worse generic systems.

A D20 game master could generate all of the NPC's in Gary Gygax's Jolly Jongleurs by spending 15 minutes on this website:

Aarg.net

    Jolly Jongleurs is one of three adventures included in the Corsair product, Uninvited Guests.  This publication sold for $7.95 new and is practically free on Ebay at the moment.   Uninvited Guests is 37 pages long, counting the map to Jolly Jongleurs on the front inside cover.  

    Jolly Jongleurs is 16 pages long.  In it, Gygax details a band of nefarious gypsies and their enchanted encampment.  Gygax details the members of the gypsy band and then tells what is down the various paths leading away from the camp.  

    The adventure uses the device of magically entrapping the the characters at the camp, making it impossible for them to leave until dawn.  There is no reason why a game master has to use the module this way.  Jolly Jongleurs would work just as well as a semi-permanent encampment, where the characters visit, relax, do business and occasionally get swindled.

    All of the Pulp Dungeons are written in an informal voice, and most of them utilize the device of a story "as told to" the author...then with the usual format for describing encounter areas.  (TSR's James Ward wrote several of the Pulp Dungeons, but most of them are by Timothy Brown.)  Gygax takes this informal approach a bit further with his chatty writing style.  Some examples of Gygax's writing:

(The character might like to jump into a magic pool) "And why not?  There's nothing in it but a naiad, and she won't mind."

"Brother! If they go in there without testing the ground they deserve what's coming!  This is a patch of quicksand."

"UH-OH! This blasted path leads only to a fallen log, and there is a strong odor near it.  It seems that this is the latrine.  Time to turn back...indeed!"

    Despite the writing style, Jolly Jongleurs is not a joke.  It is an encounter for low-level characters, and they might find it quite challenging.  There are enough gypsies and camp guards to wipe out any characters who want to solve the situation by fighting.  There are alternatives to fighting that could prove quite interesting.

    The artwork is amateur, but entirely adequate.  There are maps of the gypsy camp (including paths into the surrounding woods) and a nice layout of a gypsy wagon.

    To summarize, Jolly Jongleurs is an interesting scenario and potentially quite useful to a game master who does not normally require all the statistics written out.  The other Pulp Dungeons are of roughly the same quality.  They look useful and they are a good bargain at the current price.  The chance to collect an entire line of modules in one purchase seems like a can't-miss opportunity.

Mark  8)


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:19 pm 
 

Well, I just got out of the bathroom. Had to wash up after the shipping rape I suffered on the Pulp Dungeons. I feel so dirty...
The irksome part is that I had all but two of them already. Ah well.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 12:57 pm 
 

Few auctions. Nothing major but still fun. Had been looking for the early Fringeworthy for a little bit....


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:36 pm 
 

Deadlord39 wrote:Well, I just got out of the bathroom. Had to wash up after the shipping rape I suffered on the Pulp Dungeons. I feel so dirty...
The irksome part is that I had all but two of them already. Ah well.


I just figured the shipping as part of the cost:

$25 for 15 modules = $1.67 per module...with free shipping...if you think about it that way.

Mark  8)


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:48 pm 
 

Mark, thanks for the Jolly Jongleurs* review! Your review was exactly what I was looking for.

*that's fun to say, isn't it?

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 1:56 pm 
 

Marlith wrote:Few auctions. Nothing major but still fun. Had been looking for the early Fringeworthy for a little bit....


I've heard interesting stuff about Fringeworthy, but haven't ever decided to pick up a copy; I heard that the film Stargate was a direct rip-off of the game.  Anyone know for sure?


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:28 pm 
 

Marlith wrote:Few auctions. Nothing major but still fun. Had been looking for the early Fringeworthy for a little bit....


** expired eBay auction **



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Again your searching abilities astound, Marlith.  I would have bid on both of those Role Aids auctins...if they had been listed in the proper category.  I am mission a couple of those modules.

Mark


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:32 pm 
 

grodog wrote:I've heard interesting stuff about Fringeworthy, but haven't ever decided to pick up a copy; I heard that the film Stargate was a direct rip-off of the game.  Anyone know for sure?

No more than either are rip-offs of standard plot devices: the portals just happen to be about the same size. Strange shape-changing alien races and pyramids are par for the course, too. ^^
In Fringeworthy, only a tiny minority of people are able to travel thus, hence the title => major plot difference, IMO.

Interestingly, the speculative comments were just removed from Wikipedia a couple of days ago. Heh, heh...

=

(It's easy to play the "rip-off" game the other way around, of course. Metamorphosis Alpha for example ;)).


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 3:26 pm 
 

faro wrote:No more than either are rip-offs of standard plot devices: the portals just happen to be about the same size. Strange shape-changing alien races and pyramids are par for the course, too. ^^
In Fringeworthy, only a tiny minority of people are able to travel thus, hence the title => major plot difference, IMO.

Interestingly, the speculative comments were just removed from Wikipedia a couple of days ago. Heh, heh...

=

(It's easy to play the "rip-off" game the other way around, of course. Metamorphosis Alpha for example ;)).


Referring to Starship by Aldiss I would presume. I was unaware of the book before the game and I happened upon the book some years ago. I said to myself that either they read the book and wrote the game afterwards or it was a spooky coincidence.

If not Starship is there another one?

As to Fringeworthy there were enough differences I always assumed it was inspiried by...witha touch of Gateway and a few other books thrown in for good measure.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 3:28 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
Again your searching abilities astound, Marlith.  I would have bid on both of those Role Aids auctins...if they had been listed in the proper category.  I am mission a couple of those modules.

Mark


Thanks, though I will only take credit for searching for Fringeworthy. When I saw that item I looked at their others and saw the RA stuff.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 3:55 pm 
 

Marlith wrote:Referring to Starship by Aldiss I would presume.

Major-league spoiler title for the US market: published as "Non-Stop" in the UK.

Yep, that'll do for one... (Watch out for those telepathic mice, Mr. Adams).

=
Since we're on Tri Tac, how about Stalking the Night Fantastic for another pseudo-film connection?

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 3:58 pm 
 

faro wrote:Since we're on Tri Tac, how about Stalking the Night Fantastic for another pseudo-film connection?

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hey i got one of them ages ago - quite a cool item imo!

:)

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 4:12 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
hey i got one of them ages ago - quite a cool item imo!

:)

Al


Yes. that was a cool item to get. Fringeworthy was the last one of the originals (base games - not modules) I needed. I was trying to get them all spiral bound which I think are the first copies. Even if not those were the originals I bought many moons ago and sold in one of my moments of weakness. I will say that their games were at least part of the incentive for some well known movies or TV shows.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 4:22 pm 
 

faro wrote:Major-league spoiler title for the US market

No kidding ... nothing liking using the title to give away a major plot point. :)

There's been a reprint here in the States, though, using the "proper" title. Still in stock at Amazon, as of this writing:

Non-stop

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:00 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
hey i got one of them ages ago - quite a cool item imo!

:)

Al


Hey whats up with Tri-Tac stuff?  I have seen a few items around and thought they looked interesting, but I thought I read somewhere that they were garbage, so I stayed away.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 6:49 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:
Hey whats up with Tri-Tac stuff?  I have seen a few items around and thought they looked interesting, but I thought I read somewhere that they were garbage, so I stayed away.


well i liked it, but then i like anything thats got an interesting cover :)

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 7:09 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
well i liked it, but then i like anything thats got an interesting cover :)

Al


I am sort of the same way. It is more for nostalgia that I wanted them. I remember playing the games each once or twice and having a good time (not sure if it was the game or the friends though) and so I bought them. I then sold off stuff years ago and all of the Tri-Tac stuff was victim in the first or second great purge. Now I can check them off my stuff to get back to do list.


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Post Posted: Sat Aug 12, 2006 10:43 pm 
 

I sold a Fringeworthy a while back. I think it might have been a 1st. It was bagged IIRC.


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Post Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:03 pm 
 

Marlith wrote:
If not Starship is there another one?


Ward has stated that Starship (aka Non-stop) was his inspiration for MA:
Dragonsfoot • View topic - Q&A with James M. Ward

However, Starship (by Brian Aldiss) is itself a "re-imagining" of Orphans of the Sky by Robert Heinlen.

From an Amazon review:
The concept of a self-sustaining starship on a multi-generational voyage where things go tragically awry is not a new one. Heinlein's "Universe" (reissued as "Orphans of the Sky") goes back to 1941, and Aldiss uses much of Heinlein's plot and even his terminology in "Starship".

Starship: Brian W. Aldiss: 9780380002269: Amazon.com: Books

Somewhere I read that Aldiss was dissatisfied with Heinlen's characterization in Orphans. Hence his re-write. I enjoyed each book, but would recommend reading Orphans first.

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Post Posted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:48 pm 
 

zhowar wrote:
Starship: Brian W. Aldiss: 9780380002269: Amazon.com: Books

Somewhere I read that Aldiss was dissatisfied with Heinlen's characterization in Orphans. Hence his re-write. I enjoyed each book, but would recommend reading Orphans first.

Aldiss is phps closer to MA, IMO: no telepathic mice in Heinlein, IIRC. *g*

(Heinlein's social struggle focus isn't that far off Wilcox's 'The Voyage That Lasted 600 Years', published the year before (1940) in Amazing. But since Heinlein wrote for Astounding in those days, that wasn't a problem. ;)
Wilcox used the same twist-in-the-tail that van Vogt borrowed later, too...).

Hmm... looks like the latest release of Non-Stop has been revised by Aldiss to remove the dodgy 1950s science. I wonder how that will look in another 50 years time... :)

=
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