Sunday, April 20, 2014

D is for The Dying Earth

A series on games I wish I'd played more of.

For this installment I'm going to cheat, and choose a game that I have actually never played but desperately want to: The Dying Earth Roleplaying Game.

This is a game by Pelgrane Press that some [1] will recognise immediately as being based on one of the marvelous universes created by the late, great Jack Vance. [2] By all accounts, it is an excellent game that skillfuly blends the traditional dice-wielding of more mainstream games with the compulsion to role-play that diceless games like Amber bring to the table.

And it's based on the worlds of Vance: this alone is a selling point for me.

The game has accumulated significant reviews like this one, despite being a fairly niche product, and has survived for years.  I am not surprised: Jack Vance apparently not only approved the game, but was actively engaged as a consultant, and the reviews say that it shows.

I am an unabashed fan of Vance, and in fact if I were to be asked to name three authors whose work would remain after a purge of all other books in the world, I suspect my list would be:

1. Jack Vance
2. Vance, Jack
3. The Baron Unspiek

I yearn to play in this setting [3], and I have found everything I've read about the actual mechanics intriguing - should I ever get the chance to buy this game I almost certainly will, even if I never get a chance to play it.

1. You know who you are. And so does the Baron Unspiek.

2. Sadly, this font of beautiful writing (and inexplicable footnotes) passed away on May 26th, 2013. May he be remembered until the Sun is infested with a strange alien mildew.

3. From everything I've read of the mechanics, it actually sounds as though it would be easily adapted to allow play in Vance's science fiction worlds as well.

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