Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sailing & Strolling Down The Seas of Memory Lane With Flying Buffalo & Fighting Fantasy

Today was one of those days where I fell down a memory hole of my life and back to the early days of New York City Dungeons & Dragons scene back in the early Eighties. New York City isn't the cultural mecca it likes to pretend it is because the place has fantastic adverting & marketing departments. Anyhow back in Dragon magazine in the late Eighty two I saw the following advertisement. Way back in August of last year we lost Rick Loomis & its when you least expect it that some of the angst of a friend's death grabs a hold of you..

 Anyhow Mike Stewart's Facebook post grabbed me by the throat & forced me down as memory rabbit hole. But it also got me thinking about the overarching  urban theme of the Catalyst books according to the Wiki entry;"Catalyst is a series of fantasy role-playing game supplements created by Flying Buffalo as a series of game aids that could be used with any medieval fantasy-themed role-playing game system. The first one, Grimtooth's Traps, was released in 1981. Numerous other Catalyst books were produced including the Citybook series, seven Traps books, Treasure Vault, and the Lejentia campaign setting. The newest one, City of the Gods Map Pack was produced in 2011." Now one of the things that's got me thinking about Catalyst series is  sheer weirdness of some of the books  entries. Many of the businesses seemed to me to overlap providing the DM with a ready made urban & city environment. And before we get into isn't that the idea behind the supplement Mr.Obvious!?  Hear me out here folks. 

These books were made in Eighty two & yet there's some major rpg hobby & writing talent here;"Major contributors to the Catylyst books include Michael A. StackpoleLiz DanforthSteve CromptonKen St. AndrePaul Jaquays, Deb Wykle (aka Debora Kerr and Wynn Mercere), Rick LoomisLarry DiTillio, and Bear Peters along with many others." When Citybook III was published I couldn't wait for the next one. Why?! Because these books presented a perfect & I do mean perfect for using as a space going sailing ship port long before Spelljammer  was even a setting idea in TSR second edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons writers & designer's brains!

This goes all of the way back to Dragon magazine issue #91's cover artwork which was one of my all time favorites. Sure I used Spelljammer much later on but with a few additions. Such as the fact that the Jammers could travel between planes & underwater.

Spelljammer was a 'johnny come lately' setting & as much as I liked it part of me still to this day resents the Hell outta of it. But back to Citybook setting there's everything from otter people to slime crime bosses. It was perfect to drop into its mini or demi plane or use right with Judge's Guild adventures & material.. 
 Anyhow this all goes back to my campaign notes & some idea that have been knocking around since the early Eighties. This goes back to staring at the cover artwork by Rodney Matthews for Fighting Fantasy #16 Seas of Blood. Damn I used to stare at that cover artwork for hours imagining all kinds of campaign adventures. Fighting Fantasy had/has some of the best cover artwork. BTW this is a damn fine adventure to run through for FF..

Rodney Mathews artwork makes this on point for me.

But its been a long time since I sailed these seas of dream & dungeons so I need to refresh my memories again. But already a lot is coming back to me & we'll cover this in the next blog entry coming up tomorrow. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.