Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A Harsh Sentence

Kyrinn Eis recently reminded me of this vaporware game from my youth, Imperial Earth. It was advertised in issue #118 (February 1987) of Dragon and I recall thinking that it sounded intriguing. There were also apparently ads in the pages of White Dwarf and Different Worlds around the same time, though I didn't see them. Based on the second ad below, Imperial Earth was one of two settings – the other being called Fireland – intended for use with a RPG called Anywhen.

So far as I know, none of this was ever released. Likewise, their would-be publisher, K Society, is a mystery about which I know nothing. Imperial Earth is far from unique in this regard. There are no doubt many such RPGs in the annals of gaming, but this is the one I always think about.


  1. I also remember seeing these adds. I was disappointed when it turned out it was never published. I wonder if setting info is somewhere.....

  2. I remember seeing some color ads in I think White Dwarf. Was sort of intrigued at the idea of playing a Vice Admiral-Inquisitor in the Papal Attack Fleet but it never came to pass and forgot all about it until now.

    Kind of amazing a company would roll out what was likely a relatively expensive ad campaign and then release... nothing?

    1. The story I heard was that right around the time the last adverts appeared a stand was booked for the launch at one of the major gaming conventions, but no one turned up to make use of the stand reserved. If it indeed did get that far, it would imply that a completed product existed, but was never released and in all likelyhood is now lost for good with only these adverts standing as a mute reminder about what was intended.

  3. The adverts for this "game" lurk in my mind too! Could it be the most successful hype for a failed RPG launch ever? I scanned the ads I saw in White Dwarf back in the day.

  4. I remember these ads!

    After seeing Ralph Bakshi's Wizards some time later, I realized that Fireland was a serial-numbers-filed-off version of that setting.

    There are at least a couple more games that never got past being ads in Dragon -- TSR's own Proton Fire (in which I believe you were supposed to play robots) and the very intriguing A.I. (a bit like Numenera, where the "magic" was ridiculously high technology) that was lost in a hard drive crash.

  5. Add me to the list of people who were captivated by the Imperial Earth ads. I wonder if there's any link between Anywhen and Torg?

  6. A colour advert for Fireland was in White Dwarf 89, May 1987