Good grief it’s been April since I did one of these, so hopefully you’ve all forgotten that I said I was going to do one post apiece for the 2nd Edition AD&D Gameworlds I’d played. Because I’m not.
My all time favourite gameworld, all my life. Whizzing around on flying boats in space, the setting could be used to tie the various AD&D gameworlds together or as its own sci-fi tinged fantasy setting. I think it worked better as the latter as it offered a change from the norm in that creatures that would be deadly enemies in other settings could end up as uneasy allies in space. And the excuse of new alien worlds allowed it to amplify the AD&D goofiness tenfold. Hippo-men, space orcs called “Scro”, Space Penguins, Aliens that hatch from eggs that look like gold pieces, Elven Guyver Units and of course, Giant Space Hamsters!
A fantasy horror setting that span off from the first edition “module” of the same name, the idea of this setting was characters from other gameworlds would find themselves drawn to the world via mystic mists, and then struggle to find their way home as the world itself tried to corrupt them.
Unlike Spelljammer, whose supplements and adventures stood alone, this was one of those settings where the majority of the adventures were IMPORTANT~! to the gameworld, and by the time the first run of adventures were finished, the world was changed and so they could sell the gameworld to you again! As disgustingly mercenary as that was, that campaign did have some great adventures in it, and the final two were suitably epic. And most importantly they were written to make your characters feel like they were important.
Unlike the opening trilogy of adventures that launched the revised Forgotten Realms for 2nd Edition, which often felt you were sitting around while you listened to your mate read out some crappy fantasy. These were full of IMPORTANT~! things happening involving IMPORTANT~! characters, and you occasionally rolled dice, but you often found youself on sidelines while fucking Elminster or some other crappy Ed Greenwood character did something IMPORTANT~!
Anyway, not a big fan of this bogstandard fantasy setting, even in its Baldur’s Gater & Neverwinter Nights computer game forms. However it did have a couple of spin-offs that I enjoyed more…
Al Qadim & Maztica
These were ostensibly set in the Forgotten Realms world, but were Arabian Nights and Mayan/Aztec/Incan themed settings respectively. My love of pirates and sea-faring adventure made Al Qadim fun and Maztica was designed by two of my favourite games designers John Nephew and Jonathan Tweet.
Well this was an odd one. It’s sort of post-apocalyptic fantasy, with characters far more powerful than normal AD&D ones. And buckets full of psionics. The game line had a very distinct look provided mainly from the awesome Brom. So, psychics in bondage gear fighting on a dying desert planet.
The main problem I found is the psionic rules and the sheer abundance of psychics really bogged the thing down. AD&D 2nd edition was never the smoothest flowing rule system, but adding another rule system on top that was deliberately designed to run against the grain of similar powers already in the game, added to the pain.
This was an attempt to bring the old D&D gameworld to AD&D as an introductory way into the game. It also tried to use CDs to bring extra atmosphere to the game… This was around beginning of TSR’s death spiral that led to Wizards of the Coast purchasing them, and gimmicky releases abounded. It’s probably more famous now as the setting for the Warriors of The Eternal Sun game on the Megadrive and the D&D arcade games from Capcom.
This was another setting that took place on the Mystara gameworld, but had an usual game mechanic addition that made it a world of its own. Essentially it’s the Gold Rush as a fantasy setting. It took place on the Savage Coast, a land permeated with a magical mineral that as well as making the eponymous Red Steel infused every living thing with superpowers.
Yes, superpowers. It was Dark Sun’s problem all over again. If I remember correctly you’d have to roll up a superpower for everything inhabiting the land, be it cat, horse or tortle (a type of turtle man). It’s a great idea in theory, a whole load of paperwork in practice.
In addition to these TSR created settings, there were various settings from other publishers. I definitely played in a campaign that took place in the City State of the Invincible Overlord setting and there was another that I think started from the Thieves World setting (based on Robert Asprin’s shared universe books).