Monday, 1 April 2019

Australian Games of 80s

Id like to try and find the makers of these games to see about getting digital versions available. So if anyone knows how to contact the creators of these please put them in contact with me.

If you don't know these games you could be forgiven though some collectors want them. I had RUS and liked it and it was stolen. Planet Hunter was owned by lots of friends and was big in 80s cons. Some combined Hunter Planet with Steve Jackson's Killer to make a early LARP.

Hunter Planet

You are a alien wanting a holiday. The brochure offered you a chance to go game hunting on a backwater planet called Dirt. The natives are harmless and destroying them with high tech weapons is a good way to defrag from office stress.

Except the brochure is a lie. Humans are well armed, hate aliens and organised. All those weapons you got well they are duds. Call for help nobody beams you up. I would describe it as a cross between Paranoia RPG, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy books and the Safari genre which is pretty much dead except for super rich jerks murdering endangered animals.

Lots of people had this and played it. The LARP versions were popular a few years and went beyond the game. It is a simple set up and I still think people could run it from this description. A brochure for players and let them loose in some area known to them. I could see people giving this a go again. It is a simple premise and arguably a box set was overkill. I think it had a module but this was included in some sets so im not sure how it was sold.

Having been a Russoohile in my teens and was getting into non fiction history over fantasy and TSR splatbooks this was interesting. Most reviews online are negative yet high prices are offered. My copy was stolen. A friend of mine in Melbourne gamed with creators at cons in the day.

Basically it is like many games of that era a mash up of DnD and RQ and even a bit like Paladium.It had familiar stat blocks. Skills were modded to be more cultural specific and not quite DnD. The thief equivalent had a skill to use daggers to climb most surfaces. It had a number of classes most interesting were Orthodox priests who had powers like healing and banishing supernatural powers. They gained miracle points by doing priestly things. The Wizard class had a system of controlling elements and combining them for spell effects that was quite interesting and deadly. The wizard and priest class could not co-exist and hated each other. You could only have one. Many supernatural beings had been called to earth by wizards.

One interesting feature was lycanthropy was common so you could be a were horse or raven or badger and other types not in DnD. It was a added feature/problem any player could have. Skills had a base score different for each class and to make  a character you rolled this bae to see if you had that skill. Every character rolled for every skill to see if they had it. They horse warrior was pretty likely to ride. 

The biggest complaint I get was lack of setting and lore but this is unfair. Setting is built into every class and monster description. There is detail on social classes a sample village and adventure. Most of the monsters were familiar to DnD but were different. Elves were becoming extinct and had high chance of having inherited bleeding disease. The supernatural and non human world was quite different. There were leshies and forest spirits that might kill you or help you.

As I have run similar settings with my vikings games and RQ3 dark ages I found it pretty useful. Yes the more recent GURPS Russia is more complete and better organised. Yes the system is flawed but like many oldschool forgotten games inspired by DnD it had lots of ideas. There was a supplement I think I saw in a shop. I could never get anyone to play it as was when we had ADnD1&2 and RQ2&3 around. This was before TSR went history plundering and few people were interested in history settings. Rather than being "terrible" and settingless Id say it is an interesting lo-fi read and curiosity. The art was not great but had detail for equipment and a grungy feel like amateurish Fighting Fantasy style.It did influence my games set in Russia.

Hoping to Contact Makers

Id be interested in contacting the makers and and seeing If it would be possible to get PDFs for sale of them somehow on Drive through. It's just a pipe dream but Im gonna post it on some Australian con sites and pages to see if anyone can help. At least I might scrape out some more history of RPGs.

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