Tabletop Warriors Fantasy Adventures
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:46 am 
 

Ok, after having this for years, I've finally taken a close look at it. It's a very, very cool product, on par with a Judge's Guild item like Book of Ruins or Modron or Thieve's Guild using D&D stats. It is a small booklet with 106 pages jam packed with goodies for those who love self-published stuff, and the level of professionalism is high enough to put this on a scale better than a lot of better known items (Wilmark Dynasty for example).
         The item comes in booklet form like the OD&D supplements. It was published in 1984 out of Longview, TX, and I get the impression this was some guy's homebrew campaign he ran in college (Longview is a small town but there are several small colleges and universitys there). The item is more professional than a lot of self-published items (Wilmark Dynasty comes to mind, this item blows any of their products away). One thing helping was the artwork of Darla Hallmark throughout, she is now a professional erotic fantasy artist and this was probably something she illustrated while still in college or maybe even high school. The maps are adequate, there are four larger pull out maps and these are quite well done (off hand, they are as good or better than some of The Companions maps I saw while I was flipping through one of their products today). The system used is basically 1st edition AD&D but disguised as "generic" to probably avoid a lawsuit. However, when you use the same stats (AC, LVL, six basic character abilities, etc), magic items, monsters, spells and such of OD&D/AD&D you are basically publishing a Dungeons & Dragons item. This could easily be run with OD&D or 1st edition AD&D with little or no changes, 2nd edition AD&D with a few changes. The feel is very OD&D, early Judge's Guild, or early AD&D in content and form.
         This item is jampacked with stuff. There are eight short Dungeon crawl adventures, an entire city (Greystone Claybank and enviorns), and lot of other homebrew goodiessuch as encounte tables, new character classes, interesting locales, Fumble and Crit charts (what homebrew product of this time period didn't have one of those?), and more. The adventures themselves are all of average quality, none really stick out as spectacular, but neither do they fall below certain standards. They have the feel of being written by several different authors due to the varying quality, very homebrew (think your average Judge's Guild module in Pegasus or Dungeoneer magazine, only a little better). All are for levels 1-4 and are reminiscent of low level adventures you or I may have put together on a weekend 25 years ago or so. The city is really quite good for the time period, it would require a bit of tweaking due to some of the unrealistic elements but overall could fit in nicely with a campaign. The last few pages are fun to read through, lots of homebrew stuff that reminds me of the Arduin Books especially the "Lore of the Land" sections that describe certain places in the world of R'Lane.
         The back says a second volume was due out, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I have a feeling this item may have been very, very short printed and only sold locally. I've never seen or heard of another copy, and it's not listed in Heroic Worlds or talked about anywhere. Maybe a few hundred copies for the author's friends and fellow gamers?(He states 200 people have adventured in his world, that seems about right for a print run). Something like this would have cost very little to print up and was probably only sold at the local gamestores in Longview and Tyler.
All in all this is a surprisingly neat little item that deserves a much better fate than the obscurity it has fallen into.
         Below are some images of the product. If you think you might be interested in a copy of this, please PM me, thanks!

Mike B .

Front Cover:
Image

Back Cover:
Image

Half of City Map:
Image

Table of Contents:
Image

Cool Darla Hallmark artwork:
Image


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:28 am 
 

Thanks for the detailed review! Looks like a useful product. Is it the same size as the OD&D booklets? I.e., would it fit in the white box?

I like the fonts they used, especially the title on the cover (similar to the original 'DUNGEONS & DRAGONS' title font), and the place names on the map (similar to the section headers in the Dungeon Master's Guide, etc). Nice way to tie it to D&D without saying so. The interior font looks like its from a typewriter, which really gives it an old-school feel.

And that monster illustration is fantastic...much more professional than usual found in these products. It would fit fine in the original MM or FF. Does it go with any particular encounter/monster in the book? Looks sort of like a bugbear crossed with a bird ... and with hair braids!

Z

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Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 9:44 am 
 

yeah looks like a cool item! looks like the kinda thing i like having - nice one mike!

Al



  

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Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:05 am 
 

Have you tried contacting the artist at her gallery to see if she could furnish any additional information?

From a google search it appears that she could be contacted through:

http://www.unseengallery.com/


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:32 pm 
 

jasonw1239 wrote:Have you tried contacting the artist at her gallery to see if she could furnish any additional information?

From a google search it appears that she could be contacted through:

http://www.unseengallery.com/


         Thanks Jason, I did see that, and it appears it is indeed the same Darla Hallmark.  I guess I will eventually contact her, it's just that it appears she is running a business online (selling fantasy art, quite good, some erotic) and I feel odd about bothering her about something she probably knocked off in her spare time 22 years ago. Don't want to take up her time, so to speak, without compensating her...maybe I can find something artwise of hers I like and purchase it, and then pepper her with questions after the purchase.  
       The drawings are one of the best parts of the supplement. By far some of the most professional looking on something I basically consider a homebrew.  BTW, the creature pictured is a Type IV demon hopefully you won't run into during one of the adventures (thought these were for levels 1st-4th, yikes!).  You have to retrieve a Mage's amulet and that is the demon it summons (very tournament like, that adventure). When I get time I will post a couple more drawings.
  Remember if you are interested in a copy please contact me via PM...I don't mind this item getting into as many hands as possible, it should be better known. Thanks!

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 1:49 pm 
 

Thanks Mike,

Our local gaming group back in the 70's and 80's had its own share of "homebrew" style adventures and small local tournaments but as far as amatuer publications that is one of the best looking ones that I have ever seen.

You can tell that having been created in the "pre word processor days" that a lot of work went into it to arrive at that final product. Brings back good memories of the early years.

JasonW


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 10:50 pm 
 

Badmike wrote: BTW, the creature pictured is a Type IV demon hopefully you won't run into during one of the adventures (thought these were for levels 1st-4th, yikes!).


Ah! I just checked the MM and the type IV is supposed to combine the "worst features of an ape and a boar". This one looks more like it was created using the random generation tables in the back of the DMG...assuming that "artichoke" and "pigtails" can be found on those tables. To quote the movie Metropolitan, "It's really vulgar; I like it a lot". Great style!

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:40 pm 
 

Well guys........

It's been a few weeks.  Anyone read through their copies yet?  Opinions?

I admit I've only read through a few of the scenarios and the rules additions in the back. Anyone read all the adventures yet?

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:38 pm 
 

Not had time I'm affraid.


This week I've been mostly eating . . . chicken and wild rice soup.

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 7:24 pm 
 

Mike, is this copyrighted?


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 6:14 am 
 

Nope. It states copyright pending 1984. In the uk this would be considered 'abandoned work' until a copyright owner challenged it's distribution.

Not for proffit distribution would be hard to sue against. But it could even be published provided that in any ensuing claim the published could prove that he took all reasonable steps to trace the original writer, and ceased publication immediately upon the writer surfacing.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 5:11 pm 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:Nope. It states copyright pending 1984. In the uk this would be considered 'abandoned work' until a copyright owner challenged it's distribution.

Not for proffit distribution would be hard to sue against. But it could even be published provided that in any ensuing claim the published could prove that he took all reasonable steps to trace the original writer, and ceased publication immediately upon the writer surfacing.


I would agree with everything Ian said.  I don't believe it was every copyrighted but I don't have the time or funds to investigate further...preliminary investigations have only located two of the individuals involved, the aforementioned Darla Hallmark (who did the illustrations) and I've located a few Lane Renfros, the one I deemed most likely to be the original author (he is in Houston now) has not returned an email I sent to his employement (it might not be the same guy which is why I got no reply, probably thinks I'm a nut).  If I had the time/money I would actually see about professionally self-publishing this item and as Ian said stop when/if a writer surfaced.  I don't believe one will ever come forward...I would frankly be surprised if anyone associated with this even remembered it being published, it is basically someone's homebrew rules which they have had semi-professionally published at the local printer.  I can't imagine anyone except for people like ourselves being interested in something like this. If I am asked by the original author to cease and desist copying this item, I will do so immediately.  The profit I am making is basically nil so if I had to stop copying it there is no problem there. I would actually like to locate the aforementioned author to see if the Part Two to this supplement was ever published in any form and if they still have a copy!

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 30, 2006 7:33 pm 
 

jasonw1239 wrote:Have you tried contacting the artist at her gallery to see if she could furnish any additional information?

From a google search it appears that she could be contacted through:

http://www.unseengallery.com/


BTW also sent an email to Darla Hallmark this week; let's see if I get anything back.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:07 am 
 

I would be quite surprised if no one remembered this small-press publishing effort.  People have a long memory for such things.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:53 pm 
 

Bumped

Found four of the photocopies I made, I'd like to sell them if anyone is interested.  I'm also selling some copies of tournament modules, check out the classifieds. I have four copies of this left, first come, I won't be making anymore of these for the forseable future if ever....these four are it.  BTW, anyone who got one ever read through them?I'm going to take another look at it this week, might be able to work some parts into my D&D campaign...

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Post Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:55 pm 
 

Did I ever respond?


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Post Posted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:00 am 
 

HannaFate wrote:Did I ever respond?


Darla you never replied back.  PM me if you wish to have a photocopy of this; unfortunately it's very rare and I can't part with the original.

Mik g


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Post Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:02 am 
 

Evening Mike:

That booklet is my work that was created in 1983-1984.  The inital print run was about 1000 copies, most of which I still have :P    It was never distributed except for a dozen copies that I gave to an old Friend who owned Nan's Toys and Games in Houston Texas.

Darla Hallmark did all the artwork, I paid her $120 for 12 pages of orignal art which she created in about 2 evenings from a short phone conversation we had.  I typed the whole manual on an electic typewriter that I rented from an Office Supply (I didnt own a personal computer that had word processing capabilities until 1985).   Its fairly obvious that there was not much spell checking or editing.  

Most of the material came from my homebrewed campaign that began in 1976 or 77.  Some of the material was used in a gaming tournament that was held in 1979.   Much of the world was recreated using Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, and that server was open to the public for about 5 years under the name of Shroudworld.

I am happy someone appreciated the work, however crude it might be.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:47 am 
 

Segal wrote:Evening Mike:

That booklet is my work that was created in 1983-1984.  The inital print run was about 1000 copies, most of which I still have :P    It was never distributed except for a dozen copies that I gave to an old Friend who owned Nan's Toys and Games in Houston Texas.

Darla Hallmark did all the artwork, I paid her $120 for 12 pages of orignal art which she created in about 2 evenings from a short phone conversation we had.  I typed the whole manual on an electic typewriter that I rented from an Office Supply (I didnt own a personal computer that had word processing capabilities until 1985).   Its fairly obvious that there was not much spell checking or editing.  

Most of the material came from my homebrewed campaign that began in 1976 or 77.  Some of the material was used in a gaming tournament that was held in 1979.   Much of the world was recreated using Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, and that server was open to the public for about 5 years under the name of Shroudworld.

I am happy someone appreciated the work, however crude it might be.


You should put one up on ebay and see what it fetches then sell a bunch to eager collectors here! (Once you've established fair asking price). I know I'd love to get hold of a copy.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:23 am 
 

Actually after saysing that you have 988 left you might just want to set a price rather than chuck one up on ebay, I would like one as well and I'm sure you could prob sell at least 50 odd easily..

Brette:)


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