Home » Ancient Posts » New Project: Astonishing Tales of Swords and Sorcery RPG    
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Chris T

Sounds exactly like Gamma World 2e. That's a good thing : )

JD Neal

I kind of view it as "D&D is popular because everyone plays D&D." sort of thing. To make commercial games, make games like those that are selling. [Ironically, you run the risk of missing out on markets that no one is servicing, which is interesting…]

To make a fun game: make what you like.

I understand the appeal of level/experience games: long term play, variety, etc. I'm finding I don't have the practical time needed to make it worthwhile. I don't have months to work characters up through levels. I don't really have the time and creativity needed to devote hours to making different adventures for different characters. I just wanna design a fun adventure and play it.

The appeal of a "flat earth" game where people play just for the fun of gaming is becoming strong. Rather than start out with a D&D-ism like a simple sort of 1st level character romp — I could start out with an adventure featuring a ship, harpies, a dragon and other things. All chosen for the "This will make a fun adventure." concept not the "Okay, this fits the 1st level characters." concept.

I'm trying to break away from my own ingrained "Do what everyone else is doing." game concepts, and the rather appealing result is players can start out doing things they'd have to wait to do in other games. Rather than pose the game as "Limited." pose it as a chance to say, "Let's skip the boring parts and jump straight into fun adventures."

Matthew Slepin

I think that I'm thinking of 3rd edition. Or I'm just imagining it.


Gamma World 1E had experience. When you got enough XP to reach the next "level" (although the term level was not used), you got to roll a D10. 1-6 raised a one of the six attributes by one point. A 7-8 and you got a +1 "to hit". On a 9-10 you got a +1 on each die of damage you did (with non-energy weapons only).

Matthew Slepin

I'm interested in seeing this. Sometimes, I feel like a lone voice in the OSR claiming that Ye Auld Game isn't that great for S&S because the basic premise of D&D (leveling up) just isn't part of S&S.

BTW, didn't Gamma World use "rank" as the only advancement?


No worries on my part, it was just for your benefit really. If you are happy with the degree of similarity, then that is all that matters.



The titles don't seem that similar to me. They have three words in common: Astonishing, of, and. Two of these are a conjunction and a preposition. Looking back at the pulp magazines of the 1930s and 1940s — which Astonishing Tales of Swords and Sorcery is designed to invoke — there were a lot of different magazines with names far more similar than "Astonishing Tales of Swords and Sorcery" and "Astonishing Swordsman & Sorcerers of Hyperborea." However, if it really bothers you, email me and we can discuss it.


Interesting stuff, Randall, but are you aware of the upcoming adventure role-playing game Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea that Jeffrey Talanian and I have been developing? The game is in playtest, and scheduled to be released in spring 2010. There is a registered website, and it has been advertised in several magazines with adventure support. As the names sound quite similar (serendipitous even), and since you indicate the name of your RPG is currently "tentative", I thought it might be worth mentioning…


I think this project has a lot of merit. I very much like the idea and would like to see where it goes.


This sounds like exactly the sort of thing I myself have been toying with doing. I will follow this with great interest.