Sunday, May 6, 2012

WIZARDS' WORLD: California Gamin' Redux

Most people reading this won't have ever heard of a fantasy RPG called WIZARDS' WORLD. Goblinoid Games recently discovered this little gem, hunted down the author, and bought the rights so that a new audience can examine this game.

Recently, James Maliszeweski wrote a blog post titled California Gamin' in which he asked whether there is a common thread between the various RPGs that emerged from what some people call a different gaming culture in California during the late 70s and early 80s. I'm not yet sure I've developed a firm opinion, but I now offer another fantasy RPG specimen for your perusal.

Back in 1983 a small Californian game company, Fantasy Worlds Unlimited, released WIZARDS' WORLD, a fantasy RPG. The result of how the author's home game evolved, WIZARDS' WORLD included several innovations for its time, not unlike other efforts from the 80s, such as The Complete Warlock or The Palladium Fantasy RPG. WIZARDS' WORLD is an important game in the history of fantasy RPGs, because it reflects the design enthusiasm of the early 80s and is an interesting example of how many people at this time were taking inspiration from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In many ways WIZARDS' WORLD might be what Second Edition could look like in an alternate universe.

From the back cover:

In Wizards' World you can

— Explore uncharted wildernesses

— Do battle with fierce monsters

— Accumulate great hordes of gold and silver

— Gain amazing magical powers.

You create the characters and play them the way you like. The game master determines the challenges to be faced and the rewards to be reaped; you and your fellow adventurers decide on the strategy.

This manual provides guidelines for play, including

— Character races

— Character professions

— Magical spells

— Combat rules

— Monsters.

All that is needed to enjoy many hours of fascinating adventures in the comfort of your home is in this book. You will need a variety of dice, and a vivid imagination.


Billiam Babble said...

I'd buy it!

Dan of Earth said...

Someone over at DF wanted some details about how this game is different from games like Labyrinth Lord, so I will paste my response here:

Here are some of the differences between WIZARDS' WORLD and your "typical" fantasy game:

Spells work on a spell point system.

There are three new PC races, Metamorphic Dwarves, Demon Halflings, and Vampires.

Armour reduces damage.

Combat progression for most classes isn't just level based, but also works in increments between levels (combat is based on percentile dice).

There are new classes-- The Attacker (kind of like a berserker), The Defender (a fighter-type who specializes in shield use), The Scout, The Spy, and The Jester.

Overall there are some interesting design elements to this game, which is even more intriguing when you consider that it was published in 1983 so it had fewer examples of other work to build on.

Hedgehobbit said...

You should track down the rights to Thieves Guild by Gamelords. While the game itself is a minor hack of D&D, it was a based on the idea that all of the PCs are thieves (and not just the thief class but musclebound thugs and scoundrel wizards), so it includes many adventures that are seldom seen in FRPGing. It would make a great set of add-ons for LL.

Anonymous said...

Snap, I will buy this.

Gavin Norman said...

The cover art is awesome!

landlord dombrowski said...

Got it. For some reason I'm thinking a spy, a jester, a demon halfling, and a vampire would make a kick a** adventuring party.

Dan of Earth said...

Sounds like a great party! Maybe throw a DESTROYER in for good measure!

Dan of Earth said...

Print version no up:

Anonymous said...

"Copyright 1882, 1983, 2012."