Post by bigjackbrass on Jan 13, 2008 11:44:29 GMT -6
Remember this one?
Published in 1978, with a second edition coming out in 1981 from Reston Publishing, it has a reputation for being a mediocre game with rather good support material. Certainly the adventures and solos, such as Goldchester: More Adventures in High Fantasy, stand today as good examples of their type and are clearly better than the standard fare produced circa 1980. Cover art on the Reston editions steadily improves, from what may be the single poorest cover painting I've ever seen for any book (High Fantasy) through to a Steranko piece (not his best, but Steranko nonetheless) on Wizards & Warriors.
The rules are a strange mix of clunky and old-fashioned (even in 1978 it was possible to seem old-fashioned, after all) and oddly innovative: the four character classes start with the usual fighters and magicians, but the other choices are beast masters and alchemists, leading to some intriguing options for an adventuring party.
I've been trying to play this for a while now, but getting my group to play older games is like pulling teeth, despite one of them having started back when I did and enjoying many of the same systems. Any thoughts and recollections about High Fantasy among the members?
I never ran this game, but I did own it (probably still do, somewhere). What I liked was that it was the first game that I remember where spells actually had prerequisites. If you wanted a high level fire spell, you had to learn all the lower level fire spells along the way, thus customising your character as a particular sort of mage. I also liked all the little "sub-classes" that each class could diversify into. And of course this was one of the first fantasy games to have fully drawn out rules for firearms.
And also, I can't forget that High Fantasy included a really good solitaire adventure; easily as good as anything Steve Jackson put out.
Post by bigjackbrass on Jan 13, 2008 15:25:31 GMT -6
What are the rules like?
A bit erratic, really. Combat involves cross-referencing numbers on a chart that looks considerably more complicated than it really is (a bit like the Chaosium Resistance Table would be if the results looked like fractions), but there was an optional system to streamline fights. Flanking, different types of weapons and various modifiers were covered, the various classes and sub-classes have their own skills (such as analysing potions for Alchemists) and there are such cunningly disguised creatures on the monster listings as "Balro" and "Ehnts"... ;D It's basically a percentile interpretation of D&D in many ways, which is why I think it didn't really catch on as it fell between the two stools of D&D and RuneQuest.
Unfortunately although you can find copies of the rulebook on Abebooks and occasionally on eBay the supplements - arguably the best feature of the line - are trickier to find and prices are surprisingly high; I still can't find Goldchester in hardback (which is hardly essential but the paperback version I have just doesn't match the rest, you know? ) for example, nor the Judge's Screen.
The average DM might find a few interesting ideas in the core book that are worth stealing, but I'm not sure whether the game as a whole is worth the investment in time and effort to run. I find myself liking it... but I can't explain quite why. It just seems to have that effect on people!
I had a copy of both books at one point, but sadly they are long gone.
Maybe, sadly, since I actually don't remember them much. Usually that's a bad thing. There was probably a reason why I got rid of the books....
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
I own a copy of the original softcover with slipcase. The thing that I like most about it is the presentation of spell books as living things that you must mutilate (i.e., tear pages out of) to draw power from. Yeah, I'm a bit weird.
As a system, it seems to be a forerunner to Rolemaster moreso than an imitator of D&D or a precursor to Runequest, even containing several of the same 'unusual' classes thought to be unique to that later game (e.g., Beastmaster).
Last Edit: Jan 13, 2008 17:01:58 GMT -6 by jdrakeh
I acquired this recently. I thought it was very interesting and the rules seemed streamlined; the only thing "clunky" was a little table used for combat which was interesting in its own right because critical hits, armor wear, etc. were all built into the game.
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