The one thing I regret is not making up twenty characters across seven game titles and launching into fervent play right away. This was so much fun.
There was a Renaissance, and no one noticed. Or only in scattered experience, in the insistence upon the recognition of this or that title (for me, The Fantasy Trip), individually, against the consensus or hegemony or whatever you want to call it. Fantasy had resurged in a new medium, and in the words of Commander Kor, "it would have been glorious."
I went back and forth regarding a couple of candidates to include, and let the conversation make the final decision. That’s why Arduin gets barely a mention, Blackmoor doesn’t get any, nor does City-State of the Invincible Overlord, perhaps because they are maybe tied more tightly to D&D than the other games. Reflecting on that, however, I think Blackmoor should have qualified and received some discussion.
Contrary to the leading image, some of them get left out due to unfamiliarity, the four to the right of the bottom row. Here soliciting contributions from knowledgeable parties! (yes, I read the Wikipedia and other internet summaries; I'm talking about people who have read and/or played them)
It's a bit rambly, so I focused through some editing. Later, I might present the snippet where I basically just lost it over Liz Danforth, for entertainment purposes.
I followed up on Rod's mention of the great work by Jennell Jaquays and Tim Truman on The Enchanted Wood, an adventure scenario for DragonQuest, and was rewarded with this link - enjoy.
I also followed up on Bushido, getting a copy of 2nd edition. And … holy moley. That is one playable game, with perhaps the single most consistent and understandable core mechanic of all these titles that I’m familiar with. I was especially happy to see that right after this paragraph …
… which seems like it’s setting up to blow past the topic, is then followed by many pages and careful rules for doing exactly those things, for every significant social category in the setting. And they are good rules, full of fun, and as I see it, as full of battles, intrigues, violence, and wild magic as the "just a guy" play that preceded it. High-level social, political, magical, and even religious-philosophical play, here we come!
Also, James M and Victor R were kind enough to consider the question of how exploring catacombs was related to TSR’s relationship to Empire of the Petal Throne. Apparently my speculation is accurate that Barker’s setting gained significant presence of and emphasis upon extensive underground networks full of danger upon becoming a TSR product. Also, that presence and emphasis diminished afterwards, as Tékumel and TSR diverged.
I feel like doing some more focused character creation and prep, for pretty much any of these games for which I own the texts. Anyone up to join me? Use the Contact form; we’ll set up a little session.