Rules systems for the Vanished Lands

Rules sets for the “Vanished Lands” and related campaigns

  • 1982 to 1985: Dungeons & Dragons (BECMI oD&D)
  • 1985 to 1987: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st Ed.
  • 1986: “Vortex” (original house rules from space opera game; see below)
  • 1987 to 1999: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Ed.
  • 1993 to 1999: Generic Universal Role-Playing System (GURPS) 3e Fantasy, Time Travel
  • 2000 to 2002: Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 (and D20 Open Game License)
  • 2003 to 2008: Dungeons & Dragons 3.5
  • 2009: Dungeons & Dragons 4e
  • 2010: Pathfinder
  • 2011: Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment (FATE) 3e: Legends of Anglerre
  • 2012 to 2015: D20 Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game /Pathfinder /FATE 3e (see below)
  • 2015: Dungeons & Dragons 5e

Game Master Gene D.’s campaign settings:

Setting, genre: The “Vanished Lands” (fantasy)

  • Systems: See above
  • Run dates: 1982 to present Lands
  • Game dates: “c. 1982 to 650 B.C.E.,” current year: “1229 B.C.E.”

Setting, genre: “Gaslight Grimoire” (“G3,” steampunk/fantasy)

  • Systems: GURPS 3e Castle Falkenstein , D20 Ravenloft: Masque of the Red Death , D20 Etherscope
  • Run dates: 1998 to 1999, 2010
  • Game dates: “c. 1789 to 1939 A.D./C.E.,” current year: “1891”

Setting, genre: “The Societe de Justice Internationale” (“S.J.I.,” superheroes/espionage)

  • Systems: DC Heroes, Top Secret S.I., GURPS 3e Supers , D20 Mutants & Masterminds 2e/3e ( DC Adventures/Icons ?)
  • Run dates: 1989 to present
  • Game dates: “c. 1939 to 2050,” current year: 2012

Setting, genre: “Vortex” ( space opera )

  • Systems: Star Frontiers , house rules, Shadowrun , GURPS 3e Space , FATE 3e Starblazer Adventures/Mindjammer and Bulldogs
  • Run dates: c. 1982 to present
  • Game dates: “c. 2050 to 2500,” current year: “2195 (1 Terran Galactic Era)”

Setting, genre: “Chaos Wars/Immortals” and “Voyagers II: Adventures in the “Dimensional Corps” (time/dimensional travel)

  • Systems: “Vortex,” AD&D2, GURPS 3e Time Travel
  • Run dates: 1982 to present (with Steve M.R., et al.)
  • Game dates: “c. 2200 to 2900 A.D./C.E.,” current year: “2872/anytime”

The hierarchy of references for “Vanished Lands” parties 39 and 40 (as of autumn 2012):

1. The core book for the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game . After much discussion, this D20 retro-clone is our baseline set of rules. They’re a free download, or you can pay $10 for a softcover edition from Lulu. In addition, I’ve made hardcopies of most of the sections we’ll need for Player Character creation (except for full spell descriptions).

2. Support for “BFRPG.” For things like additional races (Gnomes and Half-Elves), classes (Bard and Druid), spells, and equipment, these free PDFs will be helpful. I’m also thinking of adopting rules such as background traits/skills and cantrips/orisons.

3. House rules. I don’t expect to make many, but we can discuss subsystems like critical hits, cultural bonuses and magic unique to the “Vanished Lands,” and customized classes.

4. Other “old-school Renaissance” games. It should be easy to borrow spells , items, and monsters from other fantasy retro-clones, such as Labyrinth Lord , Dungeon Crawl Classics , or OSRIC .

5. Other editions of Dungeons & Dragons and other D20 games.BFRPG” is most compatible with the “BECMI”/ Rules Cyclopedia version of oD&D, but we should be able to incorporate bits of AD&D, D&D3.x, D&D4e, and even D&D “Next” as desired.

In general, I’d probably add a level adjustment to reflect the higher power levels of more recent editions. I’d also like to avoid the complexity of those editions and stick to the old-school style of Game Master adjudication, player narration, and shared improvisation.

Third-party support during the D20/OGL boom of the early 2000s was inconsistent in quality, but I’ve held onto many excellent books on different environments, magic, and subgenres.

6. Non-D20 fantasy references. While the “Vanished Lands” isn’t quite as sprawling a kitchen-sink setting as “Greyhawk” or the “Forgotten Realms,” many gamers have brought in ideas from their favorite works and RPGs over the past 30 years. Characters and creatures inspired by mythology and fiction, locations and loot from movies, and visuals from video games and MMOs are all OK, but please check with me.

For example, dragon riders from Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern” novels and the “Dragonlance” franchise exist, but they’re relatively rare. I’ve also made a few exceptions to the overall campaign Tech Level, such as Gnomish dirigibles and Dwarven full plate, but there’s no gunpowder.

Rules systems for the Vanished Lands

Vanished Lands GeneD5