Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Rereadings & Commentaries On Judge's Guild's Wilderlands of High Fantasy By Bill Owen and Bob Bledsaw

Wilderlands of High Fantasy By Bill Owen and Bob Bledsaw
"Wilderlands of High Fantasy is a supplement for fantasy role-playing games published by Judges Guild in 1977.[1] It is part of the same world as their earlier City State of the Invincible Overlord setting materials. "

"Details the wilderness areas of the City State. Valley of the Ancients, Valon, Tarantis, and the Barbarian Altanis. This playing aid includes s 32-page booklet on the villages, populations, leaders, technological levels, citadels and castles, and wilderness monster lairs of these areas. The first of our wilderlands series, this covers the settlements of the City State of the Invincible Overlord, Tegel Manor, Modron, Thunderhold, and Haghill. This Playing Aid has been Created and Approved for use with D&D."
So while everyone is extremely concerned about the mass migration away from G+ social media collapse. I've kept my head down & my mouth shut & I've been going back over some of the Judge's Guild's
Wilderlands of High Fantasy By Bill Owen and Bob Bledsaw. I've been looking for a Swiss army knife of sand box & wilderness settings.  For me this is the standard of those. The dungeon master is given a thumbnail sketch of a settlement, an alignment, a title or bit about the ruler, & very little basic information. 
The dungeon master is fleshing out just about campaign level everything else from the ground up &  filling in the blanks as the player play through the adventure location & affairs of the Wilderlands. This approach was summed up on Grognardia in the comments section on the Wilderlands entry by Mundi KingAugust 31, 2011 at 9:15 AM 
who sites Rob Kuntz's feelings & opinions quite concisely;
"I think Rob Kuntz gave a concise response to the issue of level of detail in adventuring products in a post over at Greyhawk Grognard.

"As there are literally 3 camps that exist within this sphere (DYI and fill in the blanks yourself, give me a little context to mix and match with my own, and DO IT FOR ME) this argument cannot be resolved cross-camp, but only by the weight of numbers attached to each of the three. So the best response is: YMMV." --
Original Post"

This quite literally sums up the entire approach that Judge's Guild had toward their products & their campaign settings. It also matches out my feelings about the Wilderlands as a whole. The focus here is on 'adventure' & eventually on running an entire kingdom. The Wilderlands really allowed the player's PC's to make an impact without whole sale damage to the entire setting. There's just enough detail without phone book of background to filter through. The strong points are
the random tables and all those maps. They make world building easy & high customization possible within the Wilderlands.
Other modules seem stale and stagnant while the JG stuff is completely inspirational all of  these years later. That's the key for me with the Wilderlands, their not a cantonal setting these are the settings that you & the players customize through actual play.

So is the
Wilderlands of High Fantasy By Bill Owen and Bob Bledsaw still actually useful for old school & OSR style games?! Yes it is perhaps more so now then when it came out. How can I justify this answer? The truth is that the materials haven't changed nor have they needed to. The same tight descriptions & ideas that made the
Wilderlands of High Fantasy great still apply in spades. I've seen the lower tier adventure locations used in Lamentations of The Flame Princess games & even as stand ins for Gamma World game adventure locations. The adventure  material of the
Wilderlands of High Fantasy is great stand in adventure locations for games such as Labryth Lord & Labryth Lord Advanced.
This also means that its original Dungeons & Dragons as well as its Advanced Dungeons & Dragons roots still are firmly in place. The
Wilderlands of High Fantasy was made to be used with the original Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide. The random tables, charts, & stats line up perfectly with the material by Gygax in the DMG.  

"Don Turnbull reviewed Wilderlands of High Fantasy for White Dwarf #6, and commented that "It is good, and well worth the money, particularly if you are a 'fantasy campaign' fan." After rereading Wilderlands of High Fantasy this past week I hardly agree with the reviewer's assessment.
Classics are classic for a reason & in my mind the Wilderlands of High Fantasy By Bill Owen and Bob Bledsaw stands the test of time for campaign easy & table top utility.

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