Saturday, January 19, 2019

Fire & Lightning - Using May Fair Games Role Aids - Wizards by Bill Fawcett (Editor) For Campaign Construction

"For sheer power, originality, & cunning, no other group approaches Wizards. Collected here are original articles written by the creators of some of the most famous magicians in history."
Quite the tagline from the back of the Mayfair Games Role Aids Wizard's book. And yet I went into this book back in '83 thinking that this was going to be a PC class book. Boy was I wrong!? Well, yes & no. The book isn't an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons character class book but it doesn't make it any less useful nor exciting. 

I don't particularly agree with the Amazon four star review from Jay Epps who said; "Due to the copyright limitations of the time, Mayfair Games was intentionally vague on the stats to skirt around TSR's lawyers. Though it's easy enough to figure everything out if you are familiar with First or Second Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Translating for those more familiar with Fifth Edition D&D or Pathfinder might be a bit more effort than you might want to spend. It's really an artifact of interest and use to old school gamers more than anything else."

Well what is in fact is an adventure anthology featuring write ups for ; Gilgamish in an adventure for eighth through tenth level, a version of Merlin, another adventure for Morgan Le Fay for third level through sixth level , Lythande of the Thieves world Trilogy by Marion Bradley for fourth through seventh, Shadow Jack 
from Roger Zelazny's "Jack of Shadows" for fifth through eighth levels, Circe for characters from sixth through ninth level. And then a massive write up on S.Carlonius  by Gordon R. Dickson's  "The Dragon and the George" and "The Dragon Knight" along with a bestiary . Then there's a great bit of Ahaz & Skeeve from Robert Aspirin's comedy "Myth" series get write-ups and an adventure "Mythified" which will work with most levels.

What's here is very useful especially for adventuring in the world or campaign settings based on the fiction of the Wizards featured in the anthology. But this is only part of what can be done here. Instead these NPC write ups could be used for as a jump off point for a party of adventurers NPC patrons! Imagine having a party of adventurers recruited by 
Shadow Jack from Roger Zelazny's "Jack of Shadows" for an adventure on a post apocalyptic land scape ala Gamma World second edition.  Or locking horns with Merlin & the knights of the round table for an artifact or magic item.
Everything in this book is keyed with more then enough information to act as a jump off point for an old school or OSR  campaign. The adventurers could have these wizards as patrons for their parties. This is a great book to act as perfect set up for Troll Lord Games Castles & Crusades campaign.

Want a straight up Sword & Sorcery campaign with a twist or two use Gilgamesh's write up & set the PC's on to the path of greater glory & perhaps godhood. What about a super hero game ala Amazing Adventures! rpg?! Surely there can't be anything here for that game? Actually if we reach back into the mists of time to  
Whiz comics #47 then we have echoes of Captain Marvel's the wizard Shazam. He's a perfect profile for using a wizard as the origin key point for a pulp or super hero! Thanks to the World's Mightiest Mortal blog we get a complete outline of this classic character's origin. 

This same style of hero or even demi god origin could be used with Circe, Merlin, or even gasp Morgan Le Fay for that matter. The limits here on the dungeon master's imagination. I've been toying with using the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide listing & generation rules for artifacts for this upcoming demi god game.

This leads me back to an idea that I had within my B/X & AD&D hybrid campaign notes on artifacts transcending time & space. Wizards might have the ability to use said artifacts like the gods to bend the very laws of physics & history to pervert reality. This would make gods such as Greyhawk's Luz very dangerous indeed. It also means that wizards such as Circe could indeed have very different agendas then what PC's might expect. This is another way of using Mayfair's Role Aids Wizards book in an even more unexpected & dangerous light. 

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