Monday, February 20, 2012

M.A.R. Barker's Empire of the Petal Throne (Original Manuscript) on Sale at DriveThuRPG-

If you are like me, you've heard of M.A.R. Barker's Empire of the Petal Throne but have never actually come across it.  As far as I can tell, this was the first setting / house rule publication based of the grand daddy of all RPG - The Original Boxed Set of Dungeons & Dragons.

This is a copy (included is both a scan of the original pages and a newly produced and cleaned up via computer pages) of the original 1974 manuscript, of which only 50 copies are known to have been produced.  TSR's version was published in 1975.  To tell the truth, I always thought the TSR edition was the first edition, so this is very interesting news to me (and a nice piece of history.)

Both the scan of the original pages, and the cleaned up computer versions are shown side by side.  They have even included a sweet option to only print out he cleaned up pages if you were to print this out.

This PDF is nicely bookmarked, and a breeze to navigate.

As I poke through this, I see that there are Original Skills tables.  I wonder if this is where AD&D got the idea for secondary professions.  Stats aren't 3d6 but d100.  Wow.

Lots for me to dig through.  It's like being given a piece of gaming history.  Doubt I'd ever run this, but I'm pretty impressed at the depth of a game written and produced in 1974.

More when I get further into it.


  1. As I poke through this, I see that there are Original Skills tables. I wonder if this is where AD&D got the idea for secondary professions. Stats aren't 3d6 but d100. Wow.

    I haven't looked at the particular table in this version, but I'm pretty sure both of those things made it into the published one.

  2. I bought the TSR version when it came out and no, it did not have the table. Not that I recall.

    BTW; Eric, could you include a link to the RPGNow page?

  3. Actually reading a product before you review it will enhance both your review & reputation.

  4. As a well bookmarked PDF that includes scans of the original 37 year old product in addition to a cleaned up version of each page it is excellent.

    As an opportunity to own a piece of history w/o paying premium market price it's fairly unique.

    It's a 38 year old game. It's value is its place in history.

  5. Yes, let us not pry open the covers & discuss the actual contents, what might be interesting, surprising, useful, dated, weird etc within it. What matters is the bookmarking.

    Even what impressed you with the deoth of the game would be a start- that part where you almost began an actual review.


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