Saturday, October 12, 2019

OSR Commentary - Vegas,Cha'alt, & Mayfair Games Role Aids

This little thought experiment came about after I cancelled my game last night after real world concerns came to light last night. I've been thinking of dusting off some older AD&D campaign notes for my my a Godbound/Cha'alt campaign set in Las Vegas. The demand here is a modern AD&D world. Now how the Hell does a dungeon master pull that off? Well by reaching for Mayfair Games's Role Aids material. Rick Swan's comments from Space Gamer issue # 72 pretty much reflect my own attitude towards Role Aids; "Rick Swan commented on the line in The Space Gamer No. 72: "Gamers new to Dungeons & Dragons are often surprised to discover that TSR isn't the only company producing suitable roleplaying material. Mayfair is among the best of them, and their RoleAids series is certainly worth checking out by any Dungeons & Dragons fan. Unlike so many so-called 'universal' roleplaying modules, which can require extensive reworking before they're in a playable format, RoleAids modules have been designed with D&D specifically in mind."

 If your not familiar with Role Aids & its sorted history here it is from the wiki entry ; "
As a veteran role-playing gamer, Bill Fawcett decided to get Mayfair Games into the RPG field, and the company kicked off its Role Aids game line with Beastmaker Mountain (1982).[1]:166 Darwin Bromley was involved with the Chicago Wargaming Association's convention, CWAcon, where Mayfair's first fantasy adventures in their new Role Aids game line were run: Beastmaker Mountain, Nanorien Stones (1982) and Fez I (1982).[1]:166 With Bromley's legal expertise, he felt that Mayfair could legally use TSR's trademarks as long as they were careful, so beginning with their Dwarves (1982) supplement Mayfair made it clear that they were not the trademark holders by printing on the cover: "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of TSR Hobbies, Inc. Use of the trademark NOT sanctioned by the holder."[1]:166

Gary Gygax had advocated arranging a licensing agreement between TSR, Inc. and Mayfair Games for their Role Aids line of game supplements, but was outvoted in the board meeting considering the question.[2]
In the early 1990s, Ray Winninger resurrected the Role Aids line, determined to recreate it with AD&D material that was more sophisticated than what TSR was offering at the time.[1]:168

In 1993, Mayfair was sued by TSR, who argued that Role Aids—advertised as compatible with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons—violated their 1984 trademark agreement. While the court found that some of the line violated their trademark, the line as a whole did not violate the agreement,[3] and Mayfair continued publishing the line until the rights were bought by TSR."

I've had lots of different attitudes in the OSR community about the  Role Aids line from outright dissmissive to completely positive. Either way I really don't care because at the table top level Monsters of Myth & Legend I By 
Greg Gorden & Neil Randall made a really nice companion piece for Kuntz & Ward's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition  Deities & Demigods 

This goes right along with digging out my notes on the Mayfair Role Aids release of Fantastic Treasures in 1984. This was a fantastic two book series that went along with the old school idea of the treasure cards being handed out during game play sessions. There were all kinds of  treasures from mythology in these volumes & they were excellent pieces of old school writing. A Paladin in the Citadel blog has an excellent review & break down of these volumes here. 

Now let's go back to Cha'alt for a second here. If I were Venger then I'd make a few old school style Monsters & Treasure cards for his OSR mega dungeon reminiscent of  the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Cards

Yeah I totally stole this photo from Wayne's books. 

So how does all of this relate to my Vegas campaign? Well the appearance of Cha'alt means that the flood gates have been open. The gods for better or worse are now walking the Earth again ala the Mortal Combat video game. This could be very bad. The doors of mythology should be closed but they've been blown open due to the appearance of the megadungeon! Now this has got me thinking of Castles & Crusades Tome of the Unclean what other demonic powers of the Abyss are taking full advantage of such a breech in the local time space continuum.
Now the Mayfair Demons I & II box sets aligns nicely with the  Castles & Crusades Tome of the Unclean!

Many of the ideas presented in the Mayfair Demons I & II box sets dove tails very nicely with the cults, powers, & guidelines withinin the Tome. The advantage to Castles & Crusades is that both as system & resource the whole thing fits very nicely with old school Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. 

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