non-TSR update on Mercury Games
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Post Posted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 11:46 pm 
 

OK folks, here some clarification info and a new printing of the Mercury Games "Lair of the Spider Mother" module.

The version I own, which I bought from MG back in the middle '80s (I'm not sure at what convention, since there weren't may still going on in NJ by that time), was issued in a manilla envelope, stamped with two dice (a six on the left and a one on the right), between which read "Mercury Games" and "Naugatuck, CT" on two lines.  

The envelope contains four hand-drawn maps with no copyright dates (they're obviously photocopies), and the module.  The module is printed on daisy-wheel computer paper with good quality printing settings (it's good-quality dot-matrix).  My copy has the unnumbered title page, three roman numeral pages (with copyright and two pages of TOC), and 77 numbered pages.  The pages are all joined top-to-bottom just like home printers worked back then.  

The title page lists, across separate lines:  

  • LAIR OF THE SPIDER QUEEN
  • Written by David Elliott
  • as part of the Master Tournament Series
  • Mercury Games
  • (the TSR suitability/TM statement which I'm not going to bother to type out)

My friend Alex Anesko, my brother Phil and I played this adventure IIRC, so it was probably at a Cherry Hill or other nearby convention.  Alex later sold them art for a poster and/or some module illustrations (which I have copies of in a file).  

I would guess that this is a pre-production/tournament version of the later digest-sized publication.  This version has no cover art, and no interior artwork.  

Here's Matthias' info on them:

One of those little-known thingies I was told about in e-mail: "Lair of the Spider Mother" is its title and it is a digest sized adventure (C) 1985, though some art inside is marked 1986. Written by David W. Elliott, with cover art by Don Clavette. Whoever has this, please send in more info!

There also has been another item called "Lord Farrick's Keep", written at the same time. The author's name is given as Andrew F. Byrne, cover art is from Mr. Clavette again. The adventure is a typical rescue mission, however, it is impossible to solve with pure fighting.

According to James Sinks, their overall impression is very good, considering they are small press items.


Anyone know more about these guys?


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:06 am 
 

Someone can post some info about this module? i mean, details about the plot and the like.

i would like to buy this somewhere, but i'm not sure it ever popped up on ebay, and at NK store it is sold out..

From what i heard it seems to be a fascinating adventure module.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 9:36 am 
 

This copy keeps popping up, but there are some questions about the seller (which is probably why it hasn't sold):   Lair of The Spider Mother Adventure Module RARE 1985 | eBay


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:19 am 
 

Publisher is Mercury Games, and there is a little info on Afterglow2.com. Grodog appears to have a prepub copy of the MS. They also published Lord Faricks Keep, it being a little rarer than Spider Mother. Delf's Laair of Medusa is equally rare, but appears to be a better adventure, or maybe Tombs of Valla. All very rare, but more siuted to collecting than gameplay. That's a reasonable price for Spider Mother, but I wouldn't be trusting my money to the seller.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:54 am 
 

He has 100% Positive feedback, what's the matter with him?

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:05 pm 
 

vault keeper wrote:He has 100% Positive feedback, what's the matter with him?


I think he has appeared in the shady sellers thread a couple of times.  One problem is that if he doesn't like how his auctions are going, he will cancel the bids and cancel the auction only to relist it later.  I can remember there being some condition problems as well.

I have only seen about 2 copies of Lord Farricks Keep and maybe a half dozen of Lair of the Spider Mother.  Lair of Medusa is a bit more common than this (I have probably seen maybe 12-15 copies).

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:13 pm 
 

i might be willing to risk, bidding for this one "Lair of the SM", or contacting the seller directly.

The only thing i need is feedback from someone who actually played it, to ascertain if it is worth buying or not. :D

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:39 pm 
 

From what I recall, it read quite well, seemed to have a fairly predictable old school plot, a little cliched, and seemed to be well paced. I read it from a DMs perspective but didn't played it. It is set up in two phases, the first being a journey by boat to an island, the second being the adventure within the lair itself. The first part is more roleplay and an aid to integrating the adventure into a campaign world, the latter a straight forward hack and slash with a few puzzles and awkward decisions to make.

But, to be brutally mercenary, there are far better things out there to blow $50 on. You'd get better quality writing and more hours gameplay from something from The Companions, a couple of copies of Tortured Souls!, Heart of the Sunken Lands, etc.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 1:25 pm 
 

thanks for the details mbassoc  :D

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:49 pm 
 

Curious that the title changed between prepub and public issue, and the map count dropped by one. Lord Farrick's Keep looks quite interesting, but I've not had the chance to read it yet.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:23 pm 
 

I played the prepub version c. 1984-6, and at at the time I was interested in it because it was (I thought at the time) an interesting alternative to Q1, and/or it could be leveraged in conjunction with Q1.

I don't own the prepub mss. any longer: I traded it to Mike Kuo with some other books for a very minty Warriors of Mars, and he subsequently sold/traded it to persons unknown.  I don't think I kept a copy of the actual prepub mss., either, since the adventure really was only so-so/ho-hum overall (the dumb decisions we make sometimes....  :roll:  :)  ).


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:46 pm 
 

:D  :lol:


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Post Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:29 am 
 

vault keeper wrote:He has 100% Positive feedback, what's the matter with him?


I just got a package from this seller last week.  Zero problems.  Packed the stuff really well and didnt gouge me on shipping like some sellers do.

Mars wrote:I think he has appeared in the shady sellers thread a couple of times. One problem is that if he doesn't like how his auctions are going, he will cancel the bids and cancel the auction only to relist it later. I can remember there being some condition problems as well.

I can't comment on the cancelling and relisting point.  I dont pay enough attention to every seller to know who plays by the rules and who doesnt.  But I think its been several years since his name came up in the shady sellers thread and IIRC it was only listed because of a similarity with another seller that went by the handle whitedalek that bclarkie was sure was a scumball.

All I can tell you is he did right by me.  Best option is to ask the guy directly if you want more details about condition, shipping, etc.


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Post Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:17 pm 
 

And just to connect a few dots properly, here's the info on the Mercury Games magic items cards:

[non-TSR] Mercury Games' Magic Touch Cards - found!


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Last edited by grodog on Fri May 17, 2019 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 2:29 pm 
 

Adding this recent auction for posterity:

tool wrote in Interesting Non-TSR Items Currently on eBay:This went for less than I expected, but more than I felt comfortable spending just now:


** expired eBay auction **


From the auction, there were at least two products new-to-me from Mercury Games/Mercury Fantasy:

- Mercury Monster Cards - a companion set to the Magic Touch cards linked to from my post above
- The Magic Touch: Being a compendium of ancient and arcane items - this looks like another prepub product format to me although it's not in the same format as the prepub Spider Mother module was---a compilation of the Magic Touch cards and more, perhaps?

I hope whoever picked this set up is a member and can share some more details about these books? :D

Allan.


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Post Posted: Fri May 17, 2019 5:44 pm 
 

There are 20 monster cards in the monster pack (just as there are 20 cards in the magic item pack).
The Magic Touch is a 128pp book of magic items divided into three sections: Weapons, Miscellaneous and Artifacts. Copyright 1985
The seller also included two other unpublished manuscripts by the same author.


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Post Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 8:00 pm 
 

In going through the three books to grade them and see whether the newly acquired ones are in better shape, I discovered something. The Lord Farrick's Keep I just acquired is in fact a different printing from 1989. It has 66 pages (as opposed to the 60 pages in the 1985 printing). While it has been reformatted slightly, there is additional content as well in the 1989 printing. It looks identical on the front and back covers. Lair of the Spider Mother and To the Aid of Dwarves were identical to the copies I already owned.


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Post Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 12:44 pm 
 

stratochamp wrote in non-TSR update on Mercury Games:In going through the three books to grade them and see whether the newly acquired ones are in better shape, I discovered something. The Lord Farrick's Keep I just acquired is in fact a different printing from 1989. It has 66 pages (as opposed to the 60 pages in the 1985 printing). While it has been reformatted slightly, there is additional content as well in the 1989 printing. It looks identical on the front and back covers. Lair of the Spider Mother and To the Aid of Dwarves were identical to the copies I already owned.


My copy of To the Aid of Dwarves has a loose leaf page.  The page does not have staple holes suggesting that this is how it originally came.  Do your copies have the loose leaf page?

Martin

  


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Post Posted: Thu May 30, 2019 6:55 pm 
 

I will check. What is the content of this page that you describe?


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Post Posted: Fri May 31, 2019 12:22 pm 
 

stratochamp wrote in non-TSR update on Mercury Games:I will check. What is the content of this page that you describe?


I believe there is a map and like a table of contents.  I do not have it with me at the moment.   But I'm pretty sure of the map and TOC.

Thanks.  

Martin

  
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