World-building idea to steal: An inverted ziggurat dungeon marketplace in a platform of rock floating above the city (Ad for “Game’s” store in Casus Belli 1, April 1980) Game’s Paris location was in the Forum des Halles, the underground mall that inspired the illustration.
For my money, 1982’s World of Wonder is the first serious
attempt at the creation of a generic, modular roleplaying system that would
work regardless of genre. It is an expansion of 1980’s Basic Role-Playing, a
brief pamphlet of skill-based rules derived from the first edition of RuneQuest.
The box consists of Basic Role-Playing and three additional
rulebooks: MagicWorld, SuperWorld and FutureWorld. Characters can be made using
any of the four books and can cross freely between the three worlds thanks to
the City of Wonder, a kind of trans-dimensional crossroads (think the Floating
Vagabond bar or Planescape’s Sigil, but with a sci-fi district).
MagicWorld is an attempt to bring the RuneQuest rules more in
line with a Dungeons & Dragons experience (that chimera is pretty sweet,
too). FutureWorld mirrors aspects of Traveller, the most popular science
fiction RPG of the time. SuperWorld is superheroes in the vein of Champions.
Worlds of Wonder never took off, at least not in the way
Steve Jackson’s GURPS (Generic Universal Role-Playing System) would a few years
later in 1986, but with Basic Role-Playing forming the backbone of the majority
of Chaosium’s games – RuneQuest, Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, Nephilim,
ElfQuest and more – its legacy is still a huge one.
Bonus: One of the cool perks of collecting stuff like this is
finding cryptic messages written by past owners. What happened at 4:13 on
September 18, 1984? (It was a Tuesday, if that helps…)
Think of it like this… I always find it so strange when people just, don’t like fantasy. I don’t get it. The world we live in is limited to only so much. We live a certain way, we survive a certain way… what we have is limited, everything we are has limitations. We can’t have wings, or scales, or tails… everything we are is plain and ordinary, because we’re simply so used to it. But out minds have the power to create fantastic worlds. We know more than we ever tell. Every single person you walk past has a world you’ve never seen before. So why on earth do people like ‘realistic fiction’? Okay, I don’t hate it, but like?? There’s so much MORE out there. There are worlds about floating islands! About DRAGONS! How about worlds you’ve never even heard of! Galaxies FILLED with things you’ve never seen! And all you have to do is pick up a book and read about it! And sudden;y we’re there! In a place we can’t feeling in real life. But it is real. because in our head, everything is real! We create our own worlds! We are our own gods and goddesses. So why would you ever stick with the whole ‘I’m a human and my life is boring’ stories? Why not “Welcome to literal hell would you like a ticket to our first rate alter reality dimensions and portals into extravagant lives and lifestyles?’ find of stories. I’d pick dragons and knights in shining armor over teen dramas that I already see in school anyday.