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Author Topic: Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)  (Read 1873 times)

Matt

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« on: June 02, 2015, 07:22:50 pm »
So I have seen this on the used shelf from time to time, as well as a magazine that appears to have been dedicated to it. The pseudo-Egyptian cover of a magazine caught my eye with the badass warrior and sexy priestess, or whatever they were.

Anybody ever actually play this game? What was good, what stunk up the room? What made it an improvement on D&D? What made it inferior? Is it worth owning and playing? Is it a fun read, at the very least? Is there a setting, or is it a rules set for which you create your own (as in D&D without additional books)?

Is it better or worse than Cyborg Commando?

David Johansen

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2015, 07:34:08 pm »
Well, I never played it but sometime after I sold it off something clicked and I understood it.  Keep in mind it's not as scary as it looks.

You have three apex stats, physical mental, and spiritual, and two stages below that for a total of 27 stats.  But the tiers are totaled so you only generate 18 of them.  The big things that matter are your social class and birth order because social class restricts career access and if you can pull off a seventh son of a seventh son you can really kick some ass on the magic front.

The careers are simple stat + n packages.

Combat is d% to hit with random damage and armor as DR.  Sure you have around 30 DR levels based one hit location severity and attack type but really it's just DR in the end.

What you do see is monstrous stat blocks and spell lists where a full caster may have a couple hundred spells in their grimoire.

It scared me back when it came out but really, after Rolemaster Standard System it doesn't look much more difficult than BRP.

The setting Aerth is pretty interesting.  It's a fairly generic counter earth with human cultures that map directly to the real world but it has an immediate dimensional twin where the various supernatural stuff for each culture exists.  So in Christian countries hell is down under ground and heaven above in the alternate world.  It's a really clever setup.  And Necropolis is the grand daddy of mega adventures.
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trechriron

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2015, 07:36:34 pm »
It is lavishly detailed, wonderfully over-written, delightfully confusing, excruciatingly complicated and further more incredulously bizarre.

It plays as if one was an astronaut at NASA attempting to define Wonderland in scientific calculations that correspond to real-world terms while randomly determining the scope of Wonderland at the time you were defining it.

It was fun to make characters when we were 12 or something. It took days. We loved all the tables and the 1000s of spells. We played for all but a couple sessions. My friend from those days still uses the system to run a Harry Potter game. I have no idea how he does it unless of course the obtuse nature of the system simply lends to the mystery of the arts (as perceived by the players trying to perceive the system so the characters can perceive).

If this post made no sense to you - run away. If you chuckled a tad, pick it up and give it a go. The worse you'll get is a headache. At best you will have experienced one of the Gygax Mysteries and perhaps will have grown closer to him in the process. YMMV of course.
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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2015, 11:37:00 pm »
Beyond what's good or bad, it's a fantastic reference for all things fantasy. It's like a weird encyclopedia with useful information littered throughout. I can't think of a fantasy campaign I've run Mythus where those books haven't come out for something. Need an idea for a spell? Mythus Magic has 1400+ of them. Need to flesh out a skill or specialization? Chances are it's in there. Demons? Spirits? Elementaries? You know you want to know what those are.

I love the game, warts and all. While all the rest of you get all nostalgic for B/X D&D, I'm looking over my Mythus books thinking of how to convince my group to give it a whirl.

The good: it's just got lots of cool ideas mixed in there. It's a percentile based system that gives you the D&D game experience. Not the gritty realism of Runequest, but more pulpy with some big dice rolls. Characters are cometent, well rounded and bursting with possibilities.

The bad: character creation is...a slog. Especially when you turn on all the bells and whistles. The book tells you all these bells and whistles are optional, but doesn't do much to help you decide what you want or don't want in your game. Spell casters are an even bigger slog. On top of that, the game was edited by blind monkeys. So if your going to play, your going to need to track down the first couple of issues of Mythic Masters Magazine to make things work.

Or you could do what I finally did: start with the basic game (Mythus Prime) and add advanced options until you get something that feels right.  That's where we had the most success with the game.

If you do get it, PM me and I'll point you toward some enthusiasts of the game who can help get you going. But even if you never intend to play, the books are worth it for the content alone.

Tom
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TristramEvans

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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2015, 12:11:47 am »
Gary Gygax's Fantasy Heartbreaker
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finarvyn

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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2015, 11:50:01 am »
I owned a copy of this for years, never played it, finally decided that D&D did it better and so I sold it.

My memory tells me that it was a decent enough game and the sourcebooks were pretty decent, but it just didn't have the spark that I found in OD&D and keeping it on my shelf just because Gary wrote it wasn't a good idea.

It was clearly better than Cyborg Commando. :p
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Blusponge

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2015, 02:08:47 pm »
Quote from: TristramEvans;834694
Gary Gygax's Fantasy Heartbreaker


Hmm...don't think I'd classify it as a "heartbreaker."  Most heartbreakers are built on a pseudo-D&D system but feature a few "house rules" that make it "superior", at least in the eyes of the writer.  Calling DJ and Mythus a heartbreaker is pretty much like calling Shadowrun or Runequest at heartbreaker.  Or maybe even Call of Cthulhu, since the first genre book for DJ was meant to be modern horror (Unhallowed).  That seems like casting the net unreasonably wide.

It's fair to dislike the system – it has some substantial drawbacks – but lets not make it out to be what it is not.

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Matt

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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2015, 08:28:18 pm »
Quote from: Blusponge;834688
Beyond what's good or bad, it's a fantastic reference for all things fantasy. It's like a weird encyclopedia with useful information littered throughout. I can't think of a fantasy campaign I've run Mythus where those books haven't come out for something. Need an idea for a spell? Mythus Magic has 1400+ of them. Need to flesh out a skill or specialization? Chances are it's in there. Demons? Spirits? Elementaries? You know you want to know what those are.

I love the game, warts and all. While all the rest of you get all nostalgic for B/X D&D, I'm looking over my Mythus books thinking of how to convince my group to give it a whirl.

The good: it's just got lots of cool ideas mixed in there. It's a percentile based system that gives you the D&D game experience. Not the gritty realism of Runequest, but more pulpy with some big dice rolls. Characters are cometent, well rounded and bursting with possibilities.

The bad: character creation is...a slog. Especially when you turn on all the bells and whistles. The book tells you all these bells and whistles are optional, but doesn't do much to help you decide what you want or don't want in your game. Spell casters are an even bigger slog. On top of that, the game was edited by blind monkeys. So if your going to play, your going to need to track down the first couple of issues of Mythic Masters Magazine to make things work.

Or you could do what I finally did: start with the basic game (Mythus Prime) and add advanced options until you get something that feels right.  That's where we had the most success with the game.

If you do get it, PM me and I'll point you toward some enthusiasts of the game who can help get you going. But even if you never intend to play, the books are worth it for the content alone.

Tom


Thanks, Tom. Next time I see it I may buy it if the price isn't too bad.
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TristramEvans

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2015, 11:54:31 pm »
Quote from: Blusponge;834800
Hmm...don't think I'd classify it as a "heartbreaker."  Most heartbreakers are built on a pseudo-D&D system but feature a few "house rules" that make it "superior", at least in the eyes of the writer.


Most, not all. The concept extends further than that.

Quote
Calling DJ and Mythus a heartbreaker is pretty much like calling Shadowrun or Runequest at heartbreaker.  Or maybe even Call of Cthulhu, since the first genre book for DJ was meant to be modern horror (Unhallowed).  That seems like casting the net unreasonably wide.


Not seeing where you're drawing those analogies.
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The_Shadow

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2015, 12:14:47 am »
Thing is, it wasn't really Gygax's game. He was the less active half of the design team.

I want to like DJ, but it's clearly the dinosaur that evolved to a ridiculous size right before the pesky little mammals came and ate all its eggs. Too baroque for this world.
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Blusponge

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2015, 09:42:44 am »
Quote from: TristramEvans;834951
Not seeing where you're drawing those analogies.


Perhaps you should give me your definition of a heartbreaker.

Quote from: The_Shadow;834956
Thing is, it wasn't really Gygax's game. He was the less active half of the design team.


What?!?!  Where the hell are you getting that?  Gygax was extremely prolific for DJ.  Is your contention that it was Mike McCulley's game (co-writer on Unhallowed)?  Dave Newton's (co-writer on Mythus)?  Frank Menzter's (editor and publisher of Mythic Masters Magazine)?  This doesn't jive with ANYTHING I saw or read while Mythus was being actively published.

Or are you talking about Cyborg Commando?

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TristramEvans

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2015, 12:03:45 pm »
Quote from: Blusponge;835006
Perhaps you should give me your definition of a heartbreaker.

It comes from 2 essays by the person who coined the term, which I wont provide links to on this forum as it would be like mixing matter with antimatter.

I also find your pedanticism in the face of humour incredibly offputting.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 12:42:04 pm by TristramEvans »
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Phillip

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2015, 12:22:22 pm »
I've never used the rules set, mainly because I have only the core book and Epic of Aerth (Mythus Magic being the main addition I'd want). It has yet to spark my interest for a less-fantastic scenario.

Aerth is intriguing, and I have the d20System version of Necropolis. The scenario looks quite excellent, though geared to highly skilled players. I look forward to running it when I have an appropriate group and time, but probably not with either DJ or WotC-D&D.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 12:26:44 pm by Phillip »
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« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2015, 12:33:41 pm »
I still have a promo poster from a magazine advertising the release of:

DANGEROUS DIMENSIONS  

The title, obviously was subject to change. :D
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Matt

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Dangerous Journeys (Gygax post-TSR)
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2015, 02:12:58 pm »
Quote from: Exploderwizard;835035
I still have a promo poster from a magazine advertising the release of:

DANGEROUS DIMENSIONS  

The title, obviously was subject to change. :D



Everyone knows TSR had the exclusive rights to alliteration involving the letter D. They would have sent Marvel a C&D over Devil Dinosaur had it not been cancelled before TSR's lawyers could draft their letter.