Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The World of Mansut

Over the years, I've come to adore fanzines. That might not seem like much of a surprise, since I produce two 'zines myself, but the truth is, aside from a few Traveller fanzines from the late '80s and early '90s, I didn't have a lot of experience with them until comparatively recently. They're a vital part of the hobby that I somehow never encountered. That's a shame, because they're an invaluable window into what people were doing with RPGs back in the day. Over the last few years, I've learned so much from reading the fanzines of the first decade of the hobby.

One 'zine I discovered recently is called simply Fantasy World and it had only one issue (December 1983) so far as I have been able to determine. Billing itself, the "Magazine of Fantasy and Fantasy Role-Playing Gaming," it was produced by Role Players' Workshop of Batesville, Indiana. Fantasy World is an amazing document of its era. Calling it a fanzine doesn't really do it justice, because it's over 100 pages in length and contains an immense amount of material, including a lengthy adventure – or "addventure," as it calls itself, playing off the fact that it's intended for use with AD&D – that is itself over 40 pages long. The whole thing is profusely illustrated by its editors, Candy and Rob Washburn, and appears to be handwritten rather than typed. 

For my money, the most remarkable things in the whole issue are its maps of the World of Mansut, the campaign setting for much of the material contained within. Maps, especially hand-drawn ones created for roleplaying games, always grab my attention. I've shared some of my own maps previously, but the ones in Fantasy World are much more impressive in my opinion. Take a look.

This is amazing stuff and exactly why fanzines are among my favorite gaming artifacts. If anyone knows more about Fantasy World, Role Players' Workshop, or the Washburns, I'd love to hear about it.


  1. Fantasy World had at least two issues for sure, James. The second (July 1984) covered these topics (from the TOC):

    Special Feature: Mists of the Night Mound - A tournament module by Rob Washburn

    - The Decision by D. G. Gieser
    - World of Mansut Maps by Rob Washburn
    - Great Men of Quelan by Donald L. Davis
    - Life Among the Barbarians of the South by Donald L. Davis
    - Let's Talk about Fangdeep by Scott Moore
    - The Beastmaster, Part II by Troy Ilderton
    - Upon a God's Finger by Chris Stroebel
    - Patterns by Chris Stroebel
    - Kings of Dwarnor by Erik Johnson
    - World of Mansut Timeline
    - In the Eye of the Beholder by Mark Stock

    - Treasure Chest
    - Reviews
    - Gaming News
    - Laughing Dragon
    - DMs' Forum


    1. I did not know this. I've only seen issue #1.

      Thanks for the information. I shall have to go searching now.

    2. There were 2 issues of Fantasy World published. He later changed the name of the Magazine to The Mansut Compendium and went to a loose-leaf 3 hole punch format, before 2E did it, which why your pdf of FW#1 is punched. FW 1 & 2 were hand written.

  2. Those maps are beautiful. So much detail for a fanzine!

  3. If you were interested potentially setting up an interview with the creator, the phone number on page 21 of Fantasy World #1 is listed online as still in use (as Washburn Consulting) by Rob and Candy Washburn who are credited in the magazine. :)