Fantasy Encounter Games [psychology textbook]
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:53 pm 
 

I have a copy of Fantasy Encounter Games, by Herbert A. Otto, Nash Publishing 1972. What, might you ask, did fantasy roleplaying games consist of in 1972? The preface says it all:

"This volume is dedicated to the Human Potentialities Movement, the humanistic psychologists, and all of those who know that the actualizing of their potential is a lifelong exciting adventure.

"The work in the area of fantasy development began in 1963 during the beginning years of my work with Developing Personal Potential groups at the University of Utah..

"Members of the two Fantasy Weekends conducted at Esalen Institute in 1968 and 1969 were especially helpful in the course of two very challenging and mind expanding experiences."

Mind expanding, indeed. Before Messr.s Gygax & Arneson were doing their thing, hippie-era psychologists were doing theirs. It's not hard to imagine group therapy having a resemblance to RPGs, but to see it so close in form & historical period is surreal.

There is some amount of coin-flipping & dice-rolling, although it's much more in open-ended LARP style. Some texts in the many scenarios are labeled "Partner Action," functioning just like GM-only text.

Ladies, Gentlemen, Entities; we have before us the beginnings of an actual honest-to-god Call o' Cthulhu quest for hidden knowledge. Beneath the RPGs, whose history of growth from wargaming we thought we knew so well, lie foundations of madness.

Everyone reading this post must now roll for sanity damage. Sorry folks, you knew what you were getting into.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:04 pm 
 

http://www.amazon.com/Fantasy-Encounter ... 204&sr=8-1



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Post Posted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:53 pm 
 

mordrin wrote:Be the first to write a review


Done. The edition listed at Amazon is a 1974 reprint by a major publisher, which adds another piece to the puzzle- it was popular enough & around long enough to be seen by the early generation of gamers, not just something Gygax stumbled onto one time by chance.

It's common to hear psychologists talk of using D&D-type games in therapy today, & the concept of roleplaying itself is as old as theater/drama itself. What makes this book interesting to me is that it's such a strikingly close resemblance, two years before RPGs were supposed to exist.

Here's a section on LARPing: "For those who like to do their fantasying out of doors, or while strolling through the streets, the following is a list of Walking Games." Understandably, the scenario entitled "The Sex Fantasy Sharing Game" is not on that particular list. Or for those who prefer Gamma World:

"A major disaster has struck your part of the world. You arrive with a band of others whom you select.. Decide what type of disaster strikes your environment.. Is it a type of ray from the far reaches of the universe that puts almost everyone into a state of hibernation?..

"What would you do? Would you "govern?" What are the first & most important changes you would bring about? DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT. LET YOUR PARTNER'S BRING YOU THE SURPRISE OF NEW AND EXCITING ADVENTURES. Partner Action: Part I A. Tell your partner that a new band of survivors has been added to the original group (go into detail). B. An accident decimates key people in the original band."

Starting to sound familiar?

  
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