Thursday, July 2, 2009

What the heck is happening in this RPG picture? The Legend of Weathertop

This is it, the first RPG product I ever encountered. I bought it at the school book fair. This was a gamebook, one of those books that combined dice rolling with Choose Your Own Adventure style numbered entries. If I remember correctly it was a hex crawl followed by a dungeon crawl. You had to find the entrance to a cave and find the scepter at the bottom. I remember playing it until it literally fell apart. At the time Dungeons and Dragons was not allowed in my house so my friend Corey and I took the rules from gamebooks and made up our own adventures for them. This series of books was especially interesting because while it had its own rule system it also had stats compatible with ICE's MERP. We had never heard of MERP andhad no idea where to find it. In fact I would not encounter a rulebook for it until I went to the Orc's Nest in London several years later.

Even though we never played it MERP would be the wedge that opened up D&D for us. We did find some sourcebooks for MERP in bookstores. These detailed different locations in Middle Earth. Tolkien was very much encouraged by my mom, and we eventually wore her down because some of this books had stats to make them compatible with D&D. Obviously D&D could not be evil, it went along with Tolkien.

Looking back it is funny that gamebooks are pretty much gone. I actually went looking for some for my nephew the other day and they don't seem to carry anything like them in the stores. Back then they were actually a better approximation of RPGs than the computer RPGs. In fact many of the computer games used a similar numbered entry system. Although I am sure that this was for copy protection and memory management reasons.

So that is what was going on when I encuntered the picture. What do you think is going on IN the picture? I'll post mine later, I want to hear yours. I have been looking at this thing for 24 years, I have had a lot of time to come up with stuff.

1 comment:

Joe Procopio said...

I loved this series of books, especially the first two or three, which included hex maps. I think I started with the very first one in the series, "The Night of the Nazgul." I still have my copies and have been very tempted to revisit them. Great little self-contained RPG system. I'm not surprised you used it to create your own games (especially if D&D proper was verboten in your household).

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