Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Rediscovered Book - The Complete Guide to Role-Playing Games by Rick Swan (published 1990)

It's amazing what a little emergency cleaning before the installation of Fios can dig up ;)

The Complete Guide to Role-Playing Games by Rick Swan was apparently an 88 cent pick up at Odd-Job (pretty sure that discount chain is defunct now).

Sweet cover art by Phil Foglio too.

Looking at some random reviews:

GURPS 4 stars (4 seems to be max)

Rolemaster 2 1/2 stars

Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes 3 1/2 stars

Role Aids 3 stars (wasn't this a line of supplements and modules for use with (A)D&D?

Tunnels & Trolls 3 stars

AD&D 4 stars

High Colonies 2 1/2 stars (never heard of it)

High Fantasy 1 1/2 stars (ouch - and never heard of it)

Supervillains 1 star (Bamn! Pow!)

Alright, I may have to alternate some pulls from this book with EGG's Role-playing Mastery for future postings...


  1. This was an insta-buy as soon as I saw your post, Erik. Going for 26 cents + S/H on Amazon.

  2. I have a copy of this. It's not actually that bad given that any sort of review is fairly subjective. What is great about it is that you would be hard pressed to find a better or more complete listing of old RPGS circa the mid 80s. With descritptions to boot.

    RoleAids was indeed a line of AD&D supplements and adventures published by Mayfair Games. Many of them, especially the Race books are quite good. Lots of monster ecology sort of stuff.

  3. Wow, Gorgon - nice score. Makes you wonder what the profit is on selling a book for .26 after Amazon takes their cut, they seller bought it in the first place, etc etc.

  4. I don't have anything to add to this other then I love the fact that you use your cat as the book stand for these. Does he/she get royalties?

  5. I believe this kind of book has been replaced by the modern day blog.

  6. I've always wanted to check out Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes. Haven't got a copy of it yet, but it's good to know somebody thought it was good in 1990.

    1. i have a copy - i really should run it someday

    2. Heard it was the basis system for the original Wastelands computer RPG and the system was itself loosely based on Tunnels & Trolls.

      Not sure if Wastelands 2 attempts a similar tabletop system emulation, but if it does, Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes should try to put out a Wasteland licensed product, might help raise the profile of the system.

      Does seem like one of the more venerable games for the modern setting, plus the name is catchy despite its length.

  7. I've seen "High Fantasy" mentioned amongst the more 'obscure' fantasy RPGs discussions. This page has a brief rundown of the published products: http://www.waynesbooks.com/HighFantasy.html
    It had a few modules and went through a couple of editions at least.

    High Colonies seems to be the only product of Waterford Publishing House, definitely obscure. http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=6226


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