Dangerous Journeys Mythus
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Post Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 2:00 pm 
 

I was curious if there was much of a market for these, given that the law suit pretty much ended the run and forced a re-release with different rules and names.  On e-bay it looks like they are a dime a dozen.


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Post Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 6:44 pm 
 

Dangerous Journey items are fairly common. Usually sell for only a few $.

  


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Post Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 8:48 pm 
 

burntwire wrote:Dangerous Journey items are fairly common. Usually sell for only a few $.


Neat, so a lot of them escaped the shredder.

Thanks!


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Post Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 9:04 pm 
 

Apparently, the original rulebooks (Mythus and Mythus Magick) suffered from some kind of bloat that supposedly made them rather daunting to play, though Chartmaster was far worse.  Mythus Prime though supposedly fixed that problem and made for a pretty good version of the game.  Something tells me I'm going to have to find Epic of Ærth, as that was to me a rather kick-ass worldbook.  Having the rules wouldn't hurt either, even if TSR's machinations are what brought about the demise of GDW.



  


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Post Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 10:51 pm 
 

Traveller wrote:Something tells me I'm going to have to find Epic of Ærth, as that was to me a rather kick-ass worldbook. Having the rules wouldn't hurt either, even if TSR's machinations are what brought about the demise of GDW.


Actually, it was the return of all those Desert Shield/Desert Storm books that killed GDW. The money they got from the Dangerous Journeys lawsuit (it ended in a payoff by TSR, not a decision against GDW) actually helped keep them afloat for a while.

Epic of Aerth is indeed a kick-ass worldbook, but like the classic Greyhawk book it is the outline of a setting, and does require a fair bit of work on the part of the game master to use. I've used it for DJ: Mythus, AD&D, and D&D 3E campaigns. If you are looking for something meatier, go for Gary's newest and, I believe, greatest setting: Lejendary Earth. The Gazetteer is very, very bare-bones, even moreso than that of Epic of Aerth, but the first support book, Noble Kings & Dark Lands, fleshes everything out in great depth. And that's two whole continents! Yet it is all so wide-open you can still drop anything you want into the setting and still have that classic Gygaxian flavor.

But if you want something more definitively Earth-like, Epic would be the way to go, as Aerth is far more strongly "historical" than Learth (Lejendary Earth), which diverges even more from historical Earth and its geography.

As for the system, I felt it was one of the best all-encompassing complex systems on the market, though it had a few glitches here and there, noticeably in the amazing recursion factor in the experience system and the never-completely-defined-properly Heka system for magic. But some homebrew work on those fix things up quite easily. And don't let the detailed character creation system put you off; it is well worth it, as it really defines and fleshes out the character. But if the complexity puts you off, go for Gary's newest system Lejendary Adventure, which is to Mythus as Classic D&D is to D&D 3E (though with all the lessons learned from 30 years of gaming).

  

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Post Posted: Fri May 13, 2005 6:38 pm 
 

Your information regarding those Desert Storm factbooks being the cause of the demise of GDW comes from where?  I really do believe you need to rethink your theory in light of the facts that are found on the Internet, as those two books were printed five years before the demise of GDW, and one of them (The Desert Shield Fact Book) was a NY Times Bestseller.

For instance, there is this tidbit from Robin Goodfellow, an employee of GDW.

Robin Goodfellow wrote:As for the infamous TSR (publishers of Dungeons and Dragons) lawsuit over Dangerous Journeys (or Dangerous Dimensions, as it was originally titled -- that sounded a bit too close to Dungeons & Dragons, I suppose), I really have no insights. We got regular updates from Frank at the start of each week's production meeting, but I don't recall much. I was disappointed that they decided they did not need a deposition from me -- I was hoping to get an interesting life experience out of it, and maybe use it in a short story.

The suit did not cost GDW a cent -- it was all the time spent attending to the lawsuit that took us away from making games that hurt us financially. That, plus the success of a little game called Magic: The Gathering, which hurt all RPG publishers, as distributors put their funds toward CCGs first and RPGs second. (See Loren Wiseman's site -- IO - The Modular Data Center Technology Leader -- for his take on the fall of GDW, among many other things.)

There is this from BITS 11.

GDW Closed Shop
 ---------------
 Late in 1995, GDW announced that for various reasons (blamed primarily
upon previous legal and financial problems) they would be closing shop
at the end of February 1996. Frank Chadwick, Loren Wiseman, etc. went
solo, while rights for practically all the Traveller material then
devolved to the game's originator - Marc Miller (Marc had left GDW some
years before, to pursue alternative career interests).

Then from the Internet Archive, there is Loren Wiseman's resume (at the site in the Robin Goodfellow quote).  Please explain how a New York Times bestseller gets a company into financial trouble?  If it's a bestseller, then it means a lot of people bought it.  I know I did, although my copy is long gone.  I don't know about the Gulf War Fact book, but it did not bring down GDW, as both of those books were printed in 1990, five years before GDW closed shop.

The Gulf War books did not bring down the house.  Given the time frame, that is absolutely impossible, especially as one of those books was a New York Times Bestseller.  It was as Goodfellow said.  The time and energy involved in fighting off TSR, as well as the appearance of Magic: The Gathering, killed GDW.  Not the Desert Shield Fact Book, and not the Gulf War Fact Book.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In regards to my choices in world settings, I don't want a fully detailed setting.  That is why I don't bother with Atlantis or Harn too much.  Greyhawk and Epic of Ærth are sufficiently bare bones to allow me to make the world my own, which was always a hallmark of a Gary Gygax world.



  


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Post Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 1:05 pm 
 

Traveller wrote:The Gulf War books did not bring down the house. Given the time frame, that is absolutely impossible, especially as one of those books was a New York Times Bestseller. It was as Goodfellow said. The time and energy involved in fighting off TSR, as well as the appearance of Magic: The Gathering, killed GDW. Not the Desert Shield Fact Book, and not the Gulf War Fact Book.


Actually, I did half-misascribe. Indeed, the Desert Shield Fact Book, which was a bestseller, did very well for GDW. It was the Gulf War Fact Book that hurt them, because by the time that one went through the mass (and even the hobby), nobody cared, and they printed it to the same level and beyond that they had with the Desert Shield Fact Book... though there were no returns from the hobby (in general), the mass could return them in mass, and did. It was sold starting in April 1991 and for a year and a half or more afterward... and then the returns started coming in a year later. Having worked in distribution at the time, I saw tons and tons of those things come back through at pennies on the dollar after the returns.

From Loren Wiseman's bio:

"The Desert Shield Factbook made us a fortune. The Gulf War Factbook lost most of it. In retrospect, we should not have listened to those advising us to do the second book. The first was in the right place at the right time, and was the only title available for several critical weeks during and after the air and ground campaign. The second was "just another Gulf War Book.""

Recall, that though GDW officially ceased to to business on Feb. 29, 1996, they had been on the ropes for a number of years before that. I recall meeting with some of the GDW people at the GAMA Trade Show in 1994, before Magic: The Gathering had taken over the industry (Antiquities was releasing that month), and even then they were effectively down and all but out of business, with the cash infusion from TSR the only saving grace. You will note that Steve J. Pyskoty Olle's story in your quoted page confirms this, as he was laid off in July 1994, more than a year and a half before the company closed its doors, and after things were bad that people had already taken paycuts to 1/2 normal and they had Frank Chadwick working the phones for sales!

Now I'm not quite sure as to the exact timing, but the two major cash flow incidents occured at or around the same time. Yes, there were troubles caused for developers and others because of the TSR lawsuit, but that was a secondary issue. The money that GDW got from the settlement helped keep them alive after losing the cash they had to pay back to the mass market on the GWFC returns...

The basic chronological order is this (and this, note, happens time and again with game companies that get a good sale in the mass): Massive numbers of books go out to the mass, pay the printer, the writers, pay down a lot of bills. Great cash flow, and it all goes out in old bills or in new products. Then the returns start coming in, and you've got to pay those guys off. Returns on mass market books are generally 50% or greater, and can be up to 90% (the Desert Shield Fact Book was an aberration, believe you me). Most of the products cannot be resold. And returns are at full wholesale price. So GDW's cash flow crashes to less than zero at the same time they are going through the whole Dangerous Journeys: Mythus thing with TSR (1992-1993). They lose many of their creatives and much of their staff during this time, for various reasons.

And THEN Magic: The Gathering hits in 1993, and starts sucking the free cash and then the core cash out of distributor, retailer, and consumer pockets in October and on. Traveller: The New Era was a bad game, and sold no better, with a lot of the money gotten from the TSR settlement going down the drain supporting an insupportable line. 1995 was a massive year for CCGs, and the glut caused a massive discombobulation in sales at the end of the year... the "three bad quarters" mentioned by Wiseman. And that was the final, last nail in the coffin. Already a marginal company to begin with at this point, orders for GDW products died... and so did GDW (and a fair number of other marginal companies at the time... heck, even WotC laid off some people in the 4th quarter of 1995).

Without the financial wherewithal to continue, the double whammy GDW received from the changing industry did them in once and for all. I say double as truly, Magic: The Gathering was only half the equation, the obvious and hobby-related portion; the other half, invisible to many, was computer wargames. That shift was the final nail in the coffin in the vast majority of wargame companies, either directly or indirectly. But GDW's demise is attributable to the following, in whole or in part, with the assignment in order of my estimate of the damage that was caused by the factor:

#1) Over estimation of number of Gulf War Fact Books that would sell through in the mass market, and the return and charge-back thereof;

#2) Movement of wargames away from tabletop to computer;

#3) Magic: The Gathering;

#4) Dangerous Journeys: Mythus lawsuit (remember, they made more money than they ever lost on the settlement, and the lawsuit never cost them a dime in cash).

#5) TNE sales being miserable.

  


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Post Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 1:58 pm 
 

That fits the gossip I heard.


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Post Posted: Sat May 14, 2005 7:57 pm 
 

jamesmishler wrote:
Traveller wrote:The Gulf War books did not bring down the house. Given the time frame, that is absolutely impossible, especially as one of those books was a New York Times Bestseller. It was as Goodfellow said. The time and energy involved in fighting off TSR, as well as the appearance of Magic: The Gathering, killed GDW. Not the Desert Shield Fact Book, and not the Gulf War Fact Book.


Actually, I did half-misascribe. Indeed, the Desert Shield Fact Book, which was a bestseller, did very well for GDW. It was the Gulf War Fact Book that hurt them, because by the time that one went through the mass (and even the hobby), nobody cared, and they printed it to the same level and beyond that they had with the Desert Shield Fact Book... though there were no returns from the hobby (in general), the mass could return them in mass, and did. It was sold starting in April 1991 and for a year and a half or more afterward... and then the returns started coming in a year later. Having worked in distribution at the time, I saw tons and tons of those things come back through at pennies on the dollar after the returns.

From Loren Wiseman's bio:

"The Desert Shield Factbook made us a fortune. The Gulf War Factbook lost most of it. In retrospect, we should not have listened to those advising us to do the second book. The first was in the right place at the right time, and was the only title available for several critical weeks during and after the air and ground campaign. The second was "just another Gulf War Book.""

Recall, that though GDW officially ceased to to business on Feb. 29, 1996, they had been on the ropes for a number of years before that. I recall meeting with some of the GDW people at the GAMA Trade Show in 1994, before Magic: The Gathering had taken over the industry (Antiquities was releasing that month), and even then they were effectively down and all but out of business, with the cash infusion from TSR the only saving grace. You will note that Steve J. Pyskoty Olle's story in your quoted page confirms this, as he was laid off in July 1994, more than a year and a half before the company closed its doors, and after things were bad that people had already taken paycuts to 1/2 normal and they had Frank Chadwick working the phones for sales!

Now I'm not quite sure as to the exact timing, but the two major cash flow incidents occured at or around the same time. Yes, there were troubles caused for developers and others because of the TSR lawsuit, but that was a secondary issue. The money that GDW got from the settlement helped keep them alive after losing the cash they had to pay back to the mass market on the GWFC returns...

The basic chronological order is this (and this, note, happens time and again with game companies that get a good sale in the mass): Massive numbers of books go out to the mass, pay the printer, the writers, pay down a lot of bills. Great cash flow, and it all goes out in old bills or in new products. Then the returns start coming in, and you've got to pay those guys off. Returns on mass market books are generally 50% or greater, and can be up to 90% (the Desert Shield Fact Book was an aberration, believe you me). Most of the products cannot be resold. And returns are at full wholesale price. So GDW's cash flow crashes to less than zero at the same time they are going through the whole Dangerous Journeys: Mythus thing with TSR (1992-1993). They lose many of their creatives and much of their staff during this time, for various reasons.

And THEN Magic: The Gathering hits in 1993, and starts sucking the free cash and then the core cash out of distributor, retailer, and consumer pockets in October and on. Traveller: The New Era was a bad game, and sold no better, with a lot of the money gotten from the TSR settlement going down the drain supporting an insupportable line. 1995 was a massive year for CCGs, and the glut caused a massive discombobulation in sales at the end of the year... the "three bad quarters" mentioned by Wiseman. And that was the final, last nail in the coffin. Already a marginal company to begin with at this point, orders for GDW products died... and so did GDW (and a fair number of other marginal companies at the time... heck, even WotC laid off some people in the 4th quarter of 1995).

Without the financial wherewithal to continue, the double whammy GDW received from the changing industry did them in once and for all. I say double as truly, Magic: The Gathering was only half the equation, the obvious and hobby-related portion; the other half, invisible to many, was computer wargames. That shift was the final nail in the coffin in the vast majority of wargame companies, either directly or indirectly. But GDW's demise is attributable to the following, in whole or in part, with the assignment in order of my estimate of the damage that was caused by the factor:

#1) Over estimation of number of Gulf War Fact Books that would sell through in the mass market, and the return and charge-back thereof;

#2) Movement of wargames away from tabletop to computer;

#3) Magic: The Gathering;

#4) Dangerous Journeys: Mythus lawsuit (remember, they made more money than they ever lost on the settlement, and the lawsuit never cost them a dime in cash).

#5) TNE sales being miserable.

I couldn't find his bio page except on the Internet Archive, so thanks for the link.  But I still have to disagree that the Gulf War Fact book was the number one factor.  No doubt it contributed, as Loren himself pointed out, but it still was predominantly the lawsuit and Magic that did GDW in.  I'm not discounting that the other things you listed played a part, but I'm not inclined to believe that those things were as major as the lawsuit and Magic.

That is simply my take on it.  And, I do want to apologize if I seemed hot and bothered in my initial reply.  I didn't mean it.



  

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Post Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 4:39 pm 
 

On the subject of Dangerous Journeys,  one of the books is Necropolis (book 4 I think).  Is this essentially the same as the D20 NEcropolis book that Gygax put out?

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Post Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 4:59 pm 
 

d20 Fantasy Necropolis is a conversion of DJ Necropolis.  I had a copy of the entire set at one point, but had to get rid of them.  I think I'll be searching on ebay for Mythus Prime, Epic of Ærth, and Necropolis, as the diet that DJ was put on to make Mythus Prime actually made the game more enjoyable.



  


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Post Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 5:37 pm 
 

Traveller wrote:I think I'll be searching on ebay for Mythus Prime, Epic of Ærth, and Necropolis, as the diet that DJ was put on to make Mythus Prime actually made the game more enjoyable.


Rather than Mythus Prime, you might want to check out Gary Gygax's Lejendary Adventure, which is essentially the ultimate evolution of Mythus Prime. It eliminates all the complexities that went with Mythus and concentrates on the core idea of a system characters based on extremely broad skills.

A typical starting avatar (yes, new terminology in this game, too) has five or six very broad skills, and merely three to five stats. Orders ("classes") are optional, and give specific in-game cultural/social benefits if taken (more like professions, really, than classes as we understand them from D&D... and the numbering goes backward, from 12th rank at weakest to 1st rank at best).

Here's one of my characters:

Snargal, Half-orc Petty Hoodlum (11th rank Desperado)
Knacks & Quirks: Concealment, Voice Mimicry, Impulsive

Health 79
Precision 42
Speed 7

Abilities (Skills)
Stealing 64% (anything having to do with stealing and thievery)
Urbane 56% (anything having to deal with getting by in an urban environment)
Weapons 50% (all weapon attacks)
Ranging 40% (wilderness survival)
Physique 32% (physical strength, adds +3 to harm in melee)
Archery 10% (bow use, adds +1 to Weapons and harm with bows & xbows)

Weapons
Scimitar, 60% to hit, 3-20+3 harm
Medium bow, 61%/56%/51% to hit, 2-20+1 harm

(note that ALL weapon damage is rolled using a d20. Some weapons have a minimum, ranging from 2 to 12, plus you add in bonuses for certain abilities like Physique, Minstrelsy, Chivalry, and so forth depending on the weapon type)

Armor
Half leather, 6 AP, 80 Health (armor subtracts Harm (damage) from an attack, but takes damage itself)

And except for equipment and a few other miscellaneous notes, that is the ENTIRE avatar.

When I want to play a skill-based game, I use LA. Plus, LA has Lejendary Earth, which like Epic of Aerth is an alternate Earth, only there are new products coming out (however so slowly) for LE...

  

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Post Posted: Sun May 15, 2005 8:46 pm 
 

I have the Lejendary Adventures Player's Book, but for some odd reason I was thinking it was a single book system, and not three books (Player's Guide, GM's Guide, Creature Book).  Not terribly useful right now, so it will likely head to storage.  Then again, Mythus Prime would end up doing that as well.  It's really the Epic of Ærth book that I would want, since I have this habit of collecting world settings.



If I want to play a skill-based game, I use the Basic Roleplaying system, either through RuneQuest, or Stormbringer.  Chaosium is supposedly going to have Deluxe Basic Role Playing available at Gen Con this year.  From what I have heard regarding the system, pretty much all the little system quirks that Chaosium created to differentiate their various systems, RuneQuest, Stormbringer, Hawkmoon, ElfQuest, Ringworld, Superworld, Call of Cthulhu, are all going to be incorporated in this one book as optional bolt-ons to the default system.



  


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Post Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 12:08 am 
 

I'll believe in DBRP when I see it. It has not attained for me the same mythical vaporware level that, say, RQ IV has or T2 ToEE did, but it is getting close...

  


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Post Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 7:55 am 
 

jamesmishler wrote:I'll believe in DBRP when I see it. It has not attained for me the same mythical vaporware level that, say, RQ IV has or T2 ToEE did, but it is getting close...


Actually, I have the rough for RQIV sitting on my hard drive, with my feedback comments, back from when the project stalled.  But, with AH having sold the rights back, etc., who knows what might happen next.


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Post Posted: Mon May 16, 2005 3:25 pm 
 

I have that rough draft as well, although no comments as I picked up my copy from the web.  However, I spoke to Dustin at Chaosium and he confirmed that DBRP was being written as I was speaking to him.  Now, whether it gets put out at Gen Con or not is really anyone's guess, but there was also a reason that BRP monograps were being sold at the Chaosium website...to gauge interest in DBRP.

I would not have spent $60 on print-on-demand copies of RuneQuest III if I didn't feel that the game had a ghost of a chance of being put out.



  


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Post Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 10:01 pm 
 

Traveller wrote:I have that rough draft as well, although no comments as I picked up my copy from the web. However, I spoke to Dustin at Chaosium and he confirmed that DBRP was being written as I was speaking to him. Now, whether it gets put out at Gen Con or not is really anyone's guess, but there was also a reason that BRP monograps were being sold at the Chaosium website...to gauge interest in DBRP.

I would not have spent $60 on print-on-demand copies of RuneQuest III if I didn't feel that the game had a ghost of a chance of being put out.


Hmm.  The only copy I knew of on the web was the one I had put up, with comments.  It came down when the rights came back to Chaosium and they asked me to take it down.  I gather that someone else put it up too (since my comments were all over the copy I put up).

I think the chances are much better than anyone suspects.


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