Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Game to Find

I'm also on the lookout for reasonably priced copies of Gary Gygax's Dangerous Journeys books. I keep hearing, from sources whom I generally trust, that there's a lot of good stuff to be found in this game and its supplements. I'll admit to being skeptical, as I'd looked at them briefly during the 90s when they were released and saw what looked like an unnecessarily complex game that used an invented vocabulary to describe many of its basic concepts -- two things that didn't interest me in the slightest, despite Gary's name on the cover.

But, like a lot of things, I'm prepared to re-evaluate my opinion on the matter. I just need to get hold of the books to do so and they seem strangely scarce and/or expensive through the usual methods I employ to find out of print gaming products. So, if anyone has any leads on these books at reasonable price, please do let me know.



  1. I see them pop up on the "Sales/Auctions" section of the RPG.net forums pretty regularly. It's buyer beware, though - there is no guarantee or oversight, unlike eBay or Amazon. Still, I've gotten plenty of old stuff cheaply there, and have only gotten burned once.

  2. I don't have any leads, but I will share my opinion of Mythus (the fantasy component of Dangerous Journeys). You are right about the game itself, it's overly complex and the invented terminology (probably to avoid the inevitable lawsuit)is annoying, but the books (Mythus, Mythus Magic, Vol 1 of the Mythus Bestiary, and especially Epic of Aerth) are treasuries of fascinating ideas based on (by RPG standards) extensive research. I love my Mythus books, read them often, though I've never played the game. Gary himself, in some online fora, recognized that the game was overly complicated.

  3. I am personally of the opinion that DJ: Mythus is Gary's best RPG... yes, even better than D&D, AD&D, and Lejendary Adventure.

    I've run several DJM campaigns, and though indeed, the game is rather complex, once you actually have everything down, it runs quite smoothly. Its greatest failing, of course, is that it is incomplete, due to the lack of a published, final, edited version of the Phaeree Bestiary.

    The world of Aerth, too, I feel is one of Gary's greatest campaign settings. It provides a wonderful medium between Greyhawk and Lejendary Earth, and is easy for players to get into because it is essentially a true alternate Earth, recognizable in almost every way on the Eurasian-African landmass, with plenty of "Here be Dragons" territory in the "Americas," Inner Aerth, and Phaeree (it is indeed three worlds in one).

    I could go on and on about my love for the game and the setting, had I the time. Suffice to say that indeed, even if you do not ever play the RPG itself, the books contain a HUGE amount of material and ideas that you can life for virtually any other campaign.

    And if you want to get a feel for the game without diving all the way in, Mythus Prime works very well in that regard...

  4. Another game on my list to play "when I get around to it". I was smitten when Mythus first came out, as a more complex and tightly woven D&D was just what I wanted. (These days not so much.) A move away from my gaming group for a number of years left it on my shelf, alas.
    The books are a treasure trove of cool ideas, though... the Epic of Aerth alone with it's awesome maps is a great source-book for any kind of alternative-Earth fantasy setting.
    My favorite, though, is Necropolis! Take the deadliness and cryptic weirdness of Tomb of Horrors and mix in an ancient Egyptian setting... and then multiply by ten! That epic adventure alone is enough reason to learn how to play Mythus!

  5. Noble Knight has some good prices on that. I think.

  6. As far as Gary's terminology changes, you have to keep in mind that he didn't want to imitate himself, and he felt different games shouldn't just rip off the same terms used by D&D. It wasn't an attempt to trademark the terms.

    I have mixed feelings about it in hindsight. I loved parts of it but I think some of it was excessive--the stats matrix and especially the armor matrix made creating new beasts a pain, and the worst thing was there wasn't a true "Monster Manual" released at the get go.

    Epic of Aerth is worth it. Probably the best book from the bunch, the best campaign setting I felt he created.

    Mythus and Mythus Magick were once available pretty cheap via PDF, but they got pulled with all of WoTC electronic formats.

    Probably the best catalog of products can be found on this thread at the GaryCon Forums.


    Hope that helps.

  7. The Dangerous Journeys books are a great reference, but not a great game. The character creation process takes a LONG time, and the character death process is very short and to the point. These two factors made the game unplayable for our group back when the game first came out. I still have all of the Dangerous Journeys books on my shelf, though... and I flip through them when I'm in need of inspiration or ideas.

  8. I picked them up dirt cheap as research material for Emprise! The system does indeed strike me as overly complicated, but I think if you look carefully at some of the skills and other things you'll find some familiar stuff that could be applied to any (A)D&D game.

  9. There are over a dozen available on Amazon, 2 new (including one at an outrageous price), and a bunch used.

  10. You're about 4 weeks too late. I just gave a set to Goodwill. I tried to sell them on eBay, but no takers.

    I think you'll be able to pick up a set for next to nothing.

  11. Fun fact:

    The original name of the game was to be Dangerous Dimensions. A certain large gaming company of Mr Gygax's previous acquaintance had a problem with those initials, and more besides, thus unleashing their lawyers.

  12. Unfortunately I just sold my entire DJ collection on ebay for a pittance. A complete set, and included the DJ magazines as well!

    Sadly, the production quality: binding, paper, printing was so poor it took away from what was some of Gary Gygax's most inspired writing and design work. Oh, and the annoying intentional mispellings like "Magick" didn't help.

  13. The first five of them used to be just sitting there at my local Half Price Books for under $10 each. I often thought about buying them, just in case anybody I knew wanted them. But I never did.

  14. If you're still in touch with Erik Trautmann, i'm pretty sure there' a couple of the books at his/his wife's store in Olympia. If you're not in touch with him directly, well, I can check it out or try to arrange something for you, but with the things on my plate right now, i might be a li'l while.

  15. There are a few copies here in Eugene at Smith Family Bookstore (downtown location) and Emerald Comics on campus. I bought a few of the books for $5 at Emerald Comics a while back and I think there are at least a few more copies floating around town right now.

    It seems like you should be able to find these pretty cheaply.

  16. I have them, they are indeed too complicated for me to play with. Once in a while I pull them out and consider trying to play a game of "Mythus Prime" (the supposedly lighter beginner version), think about everything it would require to start, and put them back on the shelf.

  17. DJ was well written but the combination of Gygaxian prose and the heavy rules were a bit much for me . Aerth the default game world was really good one of the best "magic Earth" iterations in any RPG.

    Getting the game shouldn't be hard though, it was printed in decent numbers and ought to show up at a reasonable price on E-Bay or at used game stores

  18. http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1558781315/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&qid=1274266801&sr=8-1&condition=used

    You can get a "Very Good" used copy starting off at $7 and change.

    Ah, Mythus. I was on a mad search for Mythus books a couple of years ago. I have Mythus, Mythus Prime and a whole bunch of PDF's.

    Mythus Prime is a breeze. Regular Mythus is much tougher, but it was supposed to be used as a reference and you didn't have to flip all the switches (what I've heard, no experience with playing). I will say that the Aerth setting kicks tail. I have read that Gary wanted GDW to release Prime first and then the full blown rules, but things went the other way.

    Dude, I'm never going to use either one. If you want, I'll sell them to you really cheap ($10 plus however much it costs to ship to you in CA. I'm in CT). If you're interested James, just drop me an email at reggiekingpin (at) yahoo.com


  19. One thing to look for is Mythus Masters Magazine. The ASCII versions were paid for by fans on the Internet. When TSR/GDW reached their settlement, a few years later they were release on the FTP site for TSR. I'm not sure if you can get them anywhere on the WoTC though, but since they were given away gratis.

    I wish I still had my ASCII disk, I misplaced it, though I did pay for the Pen and Paper versions and have those guarded carefully.

  20. I did not see any of the stuff you've asked about recently at Flights of Fantasy yesterday, but it occurs to me that you might find stuff there in the future.


    Good luck!

  21. I'll second Half Priced Books here in the states. I've seen Lejendary RPG books go for $5.

  22. Personally, I would get the Epic of Aerth and forget the rest. There is some stuff that is mineable for other games but, as a whole I find DJ too complex to really be enjoyable.

  23. Epic of Aerth is worth getting if you want a earth-like campaign world. It's also a great inspiration for world design - lots of great ideas on languages, major artifacts, and filing the serial numbers off of real-world cultures.

    The rest? Horrible. It's not the worst game I've read, but it's the worst I've purchased. It's like AD&D Skills & Powers meets Rifts. The best compliment I can give it is that the combat system isn't as complex as Phoenix Command.

  24. Epic of Aerth is the book I don't have. Apparently I need to correct that.

    Some friends played in a campaign for awhile and said the magic was cool but horribly unbalanced. Things that challenged the magic-user could easily slaughter the rest of them.

    To me, it's not especially complex, though not simple by any means, but the unique terminology makes it seem that way. Very hard to get into and understand.

    I still remember what STEEP stands for, though.

  25. i love this game. theres a 'rules lite' game within the game, mythus prime