Thursday, August 21, 2014

Commentary and Review Of The Free Comic Book Download SwordQuest Mini Series From 1982 For Your Old School High Fantasy Campaigns

I was asked by a friend for a fast setting that he could use for an upcoming kids Labryth Lord game over the weekend and one that would be kid friendly but could twisted into a high end fantasy world. I thought of  the Swordquest comics from way back in 1982.

Download Issue #1 Right

So here you go Peter, a quick setting that you can play with the girls and your older players. Welcome to the world of Swordquest. 
SwordQuest is one of those dimly remembered  and really strange cross over comic products that came with Atari video game cartridges way back in 1982. The comic property never had a chance but the artwork was great in it. This comic book project happened right in the middle of the DC implosion action and hasn't been heard from since. There were three comicbooks and the artwork is very typical of DC during this time pre Crisis On Infinite Earth's. So what does this have to do with retro clone gaming? If you need a generic high fantasy setting for your old school gaming, this one might be for you.
I've read through the series and this might make a great setting to introduce the kids to the table top gaming world.
The plot of the comic books goes something like this according to the DC wiki: 
The story of the comic book series follows the adventures of twins Torr and Tara, children of the noble knight Tarr who was killed along with his wife at the command of the evil king Tyrannus, who feared a prophecy that the children would someday take over the throne. They stumble across a crystal that contains the spirits of Mentorr and Mentara, who lead them on a quest to find the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Tyrannus and his sorcerer Conjuro. The quest takes them (so far) to three of four different worlds, each based on the four primal elements: earth, fire, water, and air. On each of the worlds, Torr and Tara encounter various forms of dangers, weapons, items, and treasures. Their final journey, to Airworld (the intended final game of the series), remains unwritten to this day.

Down load Issue #2 

Download Issue #3 

SwordQuest Video Game Melt Down 

According to wiki the SwordQuest affair was part of the meltdown of video games back in the 80's: 
Swordquest is an unfinished series of video games produced by Atari, Inc. in the 1980s as part of a contest. Each of the games came with a comic book that explained the plot, as well as containing part of the puzzle that had to be solved to win the contest. The series had its genesis as a possible sequel to Atari's groundbreaking 1979 title Adventure, but it quickly developed a mythology and system of play that was unique. The comic books were produced by DC Comics, written by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, and drawn and inked by George Pérez and Dick Giordano.
The games of the Swordquest series (along with Atari 2600 Raiders of the Lost Ark) were some of the earliest attempts to combine the narrative and logic elements of the adventure game genre with the 'twitch' action gameplay of the action genre, making them some of the very first 'action-adventure' games. However, the series was unable to hold the last two contests, the grand finale contest and release the final game in the series due to Atari's financial problems leading up to and being a part of the Video Game Crash of 1983.
More Information right over HERE
The history of table top gaming, comicbooks, and video games are tragic as well as sad. Broken friendships, betrayals, and sin seems to follow in wake of these hobby's developments throughout the early 70's and 80's.

Using The World and Mythology of Sword Quest For Your
Old School Gaming Campaign 
The twins are dead and the worlds need new heroes. Your PC's must take up the gauntlet and continue their journey. They're mythological journey is now your PC's quest. The worlds have been plunged into darkness and only real heroes are needed to heal the schism that plagues these worlds. 

The balance must be restored and the tyranny of the villains broken upon the mantle of elements.
The worlds of Swordquest can be used as a high fantasy campaign that will challenge a small party of PC's or a very large one. Because of the nature of these comics and games the can be used and dropped as needed for a campaign. They make great fodder for a retroclone game because of the very nature of the elements of the worlds. I love the artwork and back drop of these comic books. Because they were never finished these comics make an excellent way of bridge gapping your party and the older twin adventurers of the comics actions.
Most of the monsters, items, etc. are all available through OD&D or AD&D editions or retroclones. This is going to be a high level fantasy campaign but the body count is also going to be high as well. The NPC villains are going to play for keeps and the DM is wise to remember this. Even though this might look like an unholy blend of pseudo Greek mythology and high fantasy, SwordQuest is really its own animal and should be treated as such.
 All in all SwordQuest is one of those generic setting that with the right DM can become a solid and interesting setting that players will talk about in years to come.

Once again this blog post is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not a challenge to the copyright or trademarks of DC comics, Atari, or the holders or makers of the artwork of this comic. Thank you for your patronage and there's more to come. 

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