Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Many?

Receiving my POD copy of Metamorphosis Alpha this week got me to wonder: how many old school RPGs are currently available in unadulterated print form? By that I mean original editions that haven't had been altered from when they first appeared. Most of the Fantasy Games Unlimited catalog (the primary exception being Chivalry & Sorcery) is available, as are Starships & Spacemen and Timemaster (both from Goblinoid Games).

Are there any others?

23 comments:

  1. Traveller Books 1-3 are available in a single combined booklet that is more-or-less unchanged from the original releases. There is a new cover and a short story added, so that might not count as unadulterated. Still, it's a handy format.

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  2. Traveller, of course! How could I forget those, since I have a nearly complete set of the reprints within reach of my desk?

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  3. Star Frontiers is on Lulu- believe it's a straight reprint.

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    1. Really? This is with the blessing of WotC, I presume?

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    2. It appears Star Frontiers Fans originally got permission to a limited release of CDs with conditions nine months before the TSR Buyout and re-asked Wizards, and then later Hasbro. With Wizards it looked like they were able expand their permission to post the original.

      http://starfrontiers.com/Home/OfficialPermission.aspx

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  4. Monsters! Monsters! is available as a reprint from Flying Buffalo.

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  5. Star Frontiers is the reformatted version from Bill Logan. It's fantastic, and is essentially the same, but not unadulterated.

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  6. http://www.farfuture.net/hardcopy.html

    These guys got Traveller and a few other old school games in hardprint to order.

    Learned about them in a post on my blog. I posted a few games I wished where still in print.

    ERIC!

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  7. They've recently expanded the amount of Star Frontiers stuff available in hardcopy on Lulu. It's reformatted and cleaned up, but I believe the text is essentially the same.

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  8. Twilight: 2000 can be bought at Far Future, too!

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  9. I suppose "technically" Timemaster isn't totally unadulterated. The text is the same but the interior art was public domain stuff in the original (plus I could tell I wouldn't be able to scan it very well) so that is swapped out with some great art by Mark Allen. However, the supplement Timetricks and most modules have little or no public domain art so I don't anticipate needing to swap any out as I slowly get the rest of the product line available for POD. I can attest to the fact that it is hard, tedious work to scan a book, do OCR and check the text for errors, do a new layout, etc. But it is necessary in the long run, IMHO, and in the end it's really sweat equity since after that the books can be available for sale with no further investment. Although I do plan to have Timemaster (and Rotworld) in distribution in April or May, so there is cost there in print runs.

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  10. Is Marvel Super Heroes still available gratis? The original Empire of the Petal Throne is available from RPG Now. Those are both PDF, but that counts as print to me. ^_^

    Seems like Dragon Warriors should get a mention even if it isn’t unaltered. From what I understand, they didn’t change that much.

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    1. I don't know about Empire but, yes, the entire line of Marvel Super Heroes (both Basic and Avanced) is available for free at The Classic Marvel Forever website (http://www.classicmarvelforever.com/cms/) in addtion to fan revised versions and a pdf that's a compilation of all the "Marvel-Phile" articles from Dragon Magazine.

      -SJ

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  11. James Shipman used to sell photocopies of old T&T rulebooks and the like, unethically, sometimes selling them on Ebay under the pretense they were actual copies of those old editions. Does that count? :P

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  12. Oh, and don't we forget Beasts, Men & Gods via Createspace!

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  13. More seriously -- You can still buy 5th edition T&T (came out in 1979 right?) from the original publisher; it's been *continuously in print for 33 years*.

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  14. @Ed H:
    Actually, FBI 's been selling *5.5* since 2005. The 'update' just adds Appendices of ~30 more pages total, to a slightly different printing of 5th Edition.(Astonishingly none of this new material breaks the game) An illustration was moved from the end of the book to the back of the copyright page, IIRC. Other than that, though, it's the Original 5th Edition from 1979! And the price has only gone up around 10 bucks, with the Rules becoming $19.95 and the Box Set, the contents of which have changed very little since the early 80's(Rulebook, 3 Dice, Pregenerated Characters, A Solo Adventure[Usually Rick Loomis' Buffalo Castle... T&T's 1st ever!] and a GM Adventure[almost always Mike Stackpoles' Castle Ward]), I might add, going up to only $24.95. A bargain in today's market!

    Empire of the Petal Throne:
    There are reprints of the Different Worlds version, itself a virtual reproduction of the original TSR EPT, sold by Tita's House of Games .(As well as every other version, it seems!

    Looking forward to seeing how many RPGs meet James' conditions.

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    1. Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes, one of my favourite games, ever.
      Swordbearer (published by FGU, but not originally an FGU game).
      If pdf or print on demand counts, I would add Star Ace to Timemaster, also from Pacesetter.
      I think that Dragon Warrios should also count, the changes (except the format) being minimalists.

      Funny, I did write a post recently about retrogaming (to distinguish it from retrocloning), meaning playing old games now.
      It was the result of some irritation about a few indie games comments (which can be summed by something like "rpgs have evolved and narrativist games are what rpgs should have been all along and old games suck").
      If you are intersted:
      http://toybox-sw.blogspot.com/2011/10/retrogaming-and-retroclones.html

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  15. If someone is also interested in the history of (miniature) wargaming, the 'History of Wargaming' project also offers a variety of reprints, often with unpublished additional content added.
    http://www.wargaming.co/
    Of particular interest, the book on pre-WW2 wargaming:
    http://www.wargaming.co/books/ewvol1/homepage.htm

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    1. I have a couple of these - the text has numerous spelling errors from the OCR and the layout is awful. Pictures have highly visible pixelation and the typesetting is far, far worse than the originals that I have seen (although some reprints old amateur newsletters and whatnot so may be comparable in quality).

      These are not examples of what James is admiring about the MA reprint. It is really too bad that the person who has rights to these has no interest in producing competent reproductions.

      For all that they are still of great interest.

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  16. I think a case could be made for Call of Cthulhu.

    Obviously, the art and layout have changed a great deal. Likewise, the text is much longer -- but a lot of the original text is still in there, unchanged. Mostly, it's just had things rolled into the core rules that used to live in supplements.

    It's more changed than most of the others, but it is pretty transparently backwards compatible.

    Likewise, Chaosium is selling PDFs of Superworld, their early-80s BRP superhero game through RPGNow.com.

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    1. RPGNow has (or at least had) CoC 2nd edition, if you want something closer to the original.

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  17. What is this silliness?! All this stuff is available and I still can't get a copy of Hunter Planet? What gives?

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