In Quest of the Hand of Vecna?
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:11 pm 
 

Another possible update on this. Someone sent me a link to a different website forum talking about favorite modules (not sure if I am allowed to post a link to the specific page or not so I'm not).

In the post someone mentions "...My favorite is a module that our DM came up with to house the Hand of Vecna. He's since written it up for publication and we changed the hand to an interesting artifact called the Serpent of Me'Tal...".

I have sent the guy a PM as well as an email to the address listed in his account. Unfortunately the post was 4 years ago, so I don't know if I will hear anything from him but interesting nonetheless.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 6:38 pm 
 

A homebrew that was eventually published (or self-published)? Is that what we're looking at here?

This is an interesting saga. At the very least, it's got some actual history behind it, unlike one of our more recent laughable attempts to score a quick buck.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:19 pm 
 

I would assume its self published, but I don't know for sure. I can't find anything on the Internet regarding "High Level Adventures" which is listed after "Presented by" and "Carl Perkins" the copyright holder. I don't own the Serpent of Me'Tal but it looks like its the same High Level Adventures if you look at the cover that Mars posted.

I did figure out the other website (if you do a google search with the quote it should show up) and it appears the poster was on yesterday (but hasn't posted in 4 years? so I don't know how accurate that is). Hopefully he was actually on yesterday and still checks his email.

I'm leaning towards this was never played at a con/tourney anywhere around here but back in the 80's you never know. There were little tables everywhere back then and you could find a weekend game at any decent gaming store. Sad to say there's not many gaming stores here anymore but thats happened everywhere.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:22 pm 
 

Deadlord39 wrote:Looks like a standard homebrew, Grey.


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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:35 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:A homebrew that was eventually published (or self-published)? Is that what we're looking at here?

This is an interesting saga. At the very least, it's got some actual history behind it, unlike one of our more recent laughable attempts to score a quick buck.


Ah yes, the Realm of No Frakkin Way.  Anyone heard from "Atari" lately?  :)

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:47 pm 
 

I'm sure that this one was a self published effort and ranks just slightly higher than a homebrew - it was at least typed up and has a cover.  Although , in the scheme of things I don't think this one ever got out of Ohio.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:40 pm 
 

Mars,

    I think we (me too now) both agree on it being just a step or two above home brew....but I think it might have made it out of Ohio and into Kentucky since I picked it up in Cincinnati.  :P

   If nothing else, it makes a good look into the evolution of a module (even if it was self published) between this and the two versions of The Serpent of Me'Tal that you have.

    It was a good thing you were paying attention to this thread because almost all the information we have is from you with comparing this to the Serpent. Considering all I had was the adventure with its name and author and one website that I couldn't make heads or tails of (the copyright site). Thanks again for all your help,

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:17 pm 
 

I'll have to go back through my Tom Moldvay materials to see if Carl Perkins was someone who did playtesting or otherwise was also involved to some degree (since Moldvay also lived in Ohio):  the name still rings vague bells, and I don't own the Serpent of Me'tal....


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:28 pm 
 

I have received a reply from "ThorinIronfist" (John) the guy that posted the above quote.  I am summarizing here (I have asked his permission to paste the entire email and I'm waiting for a response).

He goes into the background on how they (Carl, John, and two others) took it from In Quest of the Hand of Vecna! and changed it to The Serpent of Me'Tal. Unfotunately it was not due to the TSR conspiracy. They made the name changes because they didn't want to get into trouble with TSR.

He said he was amazed since I was the 2nd person to contact him regarding this in the past two days (possibly someone here tracked him down first) where he hasn't heard anything regarding this in 20 odd years.

For the old timers among us, he said it was printed out using an Apple Lisa (early early Macintosh) and a dot matrix printer and after looking at the pictures he believes that this is one of the original copies of it.

Once I get his permission, I'll paste his entire email because there's alot of detail in it. I sent him a link to this forum so he could read for himself whats been said.

GreyM

  


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:32 pm 
 

I just got his OK to post the entire email so here it is:



from John Barnes <johnbarnes16.AT.hotmail.D0T.com>

to Jerry Eblin <jeblin.AT.gmail.D0T.com>,



cc Carl Perkins <carlperkins.AT.earthlink.D0T.net>,



dateWed, Apr 16, 2008 at 1:57 PM

subjectRE: In Quest of the Hand of Vecna

mailed-byhotmail.com



hide details 1:57 PM (28 minutes ago) Reply





Jerry,



Thanks for directing me to the thread you've had going on Acaeum.  It is really interesting and, you certainly have my permission to post my email to you there.  I will be curious to continue following the thread.



So, you got this module from a guy named Dean in Cincinatti.  Very interesting.  Rings no bells at all, and it still doesn't explain how it reached the general market.  My best guess, is that Bob, who is cited in the copyright informtion posted on the thread, had the originals and put them up on ebay.  Woudn't be unlike him to do it.  Not that I mind, since he was really the chief driving force behind our publishing enterprise and I think he put more money into it than any of the rest of us.  His mother, who is an artist, did the sketch of the hand of Vecna that you have on your copy.  She also did the design for the High Level Adventures logo.  However a completely different person did the artwork for Serpent.



I'm curious about this multiple versions of Serpent being in existence.  The letter I got yesterday was from a person who had only a Xeroxed copy of the original and appearantly without the cover material, though he must have had copies of the map.  I placed an order with Spellbinders last night for the module they are advertising as The Serpent of Me'Tal.  It was 10 dollars and I'm curious to see what I get.  I would be suprised if they are original, but I'll let you know what I get, and if it is authentic or not.



I appreciate your offering to send zipped scans of the module that you have.  I still have my original of the Serpent and Carl thinks he has an original of the form you have.  However, if it wouldn't be too much trouble I would enjoy seeing what you have.  In 10 meg or smaller increments please.



Jerry, I hope that your kids grow to enjoy the game as much as you did (and our group as well).  We had a lot of fun back in the day.  Actually Carl and I still play 2 or 3 times a month (using VoIP) along with another member of our original group and another friend we picked up 15 or 20 years ago.  Carl is working on copying in one of his other modules from the era of the hand module.   I'm looking forward to seeing it.  It was done in quest of an orb of the eternal grand dragon.   A good module that almost killed some of us.



Anyway, thanks for your interest.  I hope this information is helpful.



Sincerly,



John Barnes





(Some email mangling was done by me to keep automatic spam bots from grabbing them too easily - I didn't notice until I did the mangling that carlperkins was cc'd on it.)



Back on the first page, I said something like I don't think we'll ever know for sure which came first unless Carl himself came in here and added his two cents. This is good enough for me. It's amazing that any kind of information can be got on something like this that is 24 years old and printed on a dot matrix printer let alone information like this. I can't thank the members here enough for helping me out with it. Thanks again,



GreyM

  


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:55 pm 
 

edited to avoid more rolly-eyes ...


Last edited by Xaxaxe on Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:59 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Must ... resist ... urge ... to be ... big Apple geek ...

[rolls a 1 for saving throw]

Ahem. The Lisa and the Mac were actually contemporary, competing projects at Apple. Steve Jobs, in fact, was kicked off the Lisa team at one point and threw all of his considerable energy behind the Mac project, one of the many reasons that, despite being released second, the Mac ended up easily winning the unofficial "war" between the two platforms.

Wait; where were we? Right: D&D collecting site. Back on topic: I really, really like White Plume Mountain.


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:10 pm 
 

Yeah, like I'm the first to go off-topic here ... here's some rolly-eyes right back at you:  :roll:  :roll:  :roll:

I'll delete it; sorry to offend.

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:18 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Yeah, like I'm the first to go off-topic here ... here's some rolly-eyes right back at you:  :roll:  :roll:  :roll:

I'll delete it; sorry to offend.


Ah...no offense at all Xax.  I thought it funny....in a really uber-nerdy sort of way.  I honestly thought the Apple Lisa was the codename for the Apple ][ GS.

And I never get offended by off-topic stuff unless it is needless arguing.  Guess I should have used a LOL emoticon.  :lol:


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:35 pm 
 

Okay, let me see if I can make an attempt here to stay on the rails and still throw out a bit of Mac geekery.  :)

The bit about the Lisa is interesting in a historical sense: I'd be willing to bet that no more than 10 gaming items were ever produced on a Lisa. The damn things were just horribly expensive (about $20K or so in current dollars) and they were poorly marketed by Apple.

So, Grey, if your friend checks in again, I'm very curious as to where he got his hands on one (college campus is my first guess). Actually, on the 1-percent chance that he still has a Lisa, tell him I'll give him $20 for it. It's not like I'd throw it back on eBay and make a huge profit or anything like that. Ahem.

Okay, anyway, sticking with the subject at hand, I also think it's pretty cool that your friend checked in via email. It reminds me a little bit of a few weeks ago when a friend of Jim Perelman's checked in to say that Jim got a laugh out of our finding his old PHB.

viewtopic.php?t=4775&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=100

Now if we could just get rid of the periodic attempts by some bucketheads to create value where none exists (see "Realm of No"), this place would be just about perfect.

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:49 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:Now if we could just get rid of the periodic attempts by some bucketheads to create value where none exists (see "Realm of No"), this place would be just about perfect.


I've had that one in my eBay searches since it came up here.  Whoever it hasn't tried to offload copies at inflated prices yet.

(Ok, I'll stop getting off-topic.)


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:58 pm 
 

I was probably the person who sent John the first email about Vecna/Serpent but I didn't hear back from him :(  I checked his email address too and it seemed current with some recent poetry related posts.

I think that was the store that I picked up my copies of Serpent from as well (although I had the impression that I got the rest of them) so I am guessing that you will receive something similar to a plastic side pinched cover with xeroxed pages.  There is a cover sheet but no map pages such as the ones in the Hand of Vecna.  In the comparison between Vecna and Serpent, it does seem as if a few rooms have been changed and moved around a bit.  For example the casino is room 55 in one and 58 in the other.

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:04 pm 
 

g026r wrote:I've had that one in my eBay searches since it came up here.

That's a good idea; I'm glad someone remembered to do it.

Man, that was a poorly played scam. Atari, if you're still lurking, you really took it too far; a little discretion next time might net you an unwary buyer.

The Vecna/Serpent thing, on the other hand, looks reasonably cool. I'm not usually a fan of homebrews, but this one appears to be a reasonably good labor of love that might be worth dropping a few coins on.

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Post Posted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:13 pm 
 

Xaxaxe,

    Thanks for the history lesson the Lisa...at the time I was on the C64 or the Vic-20 playing Telegard  :D if I can remember that far ago. I can remember the Mac Plus and the SE, but thats the earliest I can go. And I did ask him if he still has the Lisa for you  :P

Everyone,

    I originally just wanted information on this and to see if it had any value. I got all the information that I could want (Thanks go out to Mars and ThorinIronfist(John Barnes) especially) but still haven't seen anything regarding value. I know something like this is rare but then again so is pretty much every homebrew module from the early-mid 80's. This is different from those in that this is an original module that was modified for publication and there is some value to the published version (Serpent of Me'Tal).

    In the last email from John, he told me there were only 4-5 of these ever printed out and after talking to Carl they might have given 1 or 2 of these away so at most if they are remembering correctly there are 5-7 (or just highball as high as 10) that ever existed. So I know the odds of ever getting this back is slim to none.

    I have decided that I am not going to keep it, mainly because it doesn't fit into my collection of TSR items. I have had people PM me offers for it, but I really don't know how much its worth. I don't know if anyone here can give me a rough idea or not but I would appreciate anyones best guess. I know the only 100% way of finding out is to throw it up on an auction site but I prefer not to do that. Don't get me wrong, I can do it (and people can check my Ebay ID --> Fdevlin2002 100% positive feedback of 219 but only 25-40% of those are for selling items - Drop me a message and tell me you're from here and I'll respond) its just that I would prefer to not do it.

    I have been telling people that PM me with cash offers, that I would prefer not to sell it outright but would prefer trades for OD&D items. I mention that just to be up front with people that might be thinking this is an "ATARI" thing.

    Thanks again for everything, I do appreciate it.

GreyM

  

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Post Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 11:00 am 
 

GreyM....well if you want to trade for it, what EXACTLY are you looking for then?

the folk here who want it, i can guarantee, have everything you want and then some, so put something out there and see who bites.

its the kinda item i like having, i have to say, but that said, it doesnt mean i will shell tons of cash at it either.

Al



  
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