Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lands of Mystery, Trail of the Gold Spike, and Justice Inc.

Way back in the early 1980s, the Hero/Champions game system offered a supplement for its Justice, Inc. roleplaying game entitled Lands of Mystery. Now, back in the day, I was just a young whippersnapper who played Dungeons and Dragons pretty much exclusively, and my knowledge of new gaming products and offerings was limited to whatever was on the rack at the Erich Fuchs hobby shop at the Liberty Tree Mall. And even then, if it was not stated out for D&D, I pretty much ignored it.

Flash forward to the present. I'm older (but likely not wiser). I've got access to the Internet and several decades of roleplaying experience under my belt (not to mention gallons of Mountain Dew, a few hundred subs and pizzas consumed at the gaming table, etc.). I've developed an avowed hankering for anything that whiffs of "pulp adventure," thanks mostly to my fascination with the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game (horror pulp), weird tales, Indiana Jones, the Rocketeer, the Shadow, Doc Savage, and so forth.

A few years ago I was fortunate to stumble upon a pretty much near mint copy of the boxed set Justice, Inc. published by Hero Games. I don't remember what store or what bargain bin I fell across it, but I snapped it up, even though I don't play the Hero/Champions system (I'm more of a keep it simple, Call of Cthulhu/Chaosium Basic Roleplaying type of guy). This is the type of set that I won't read for the rules or mechanics of play, but I will read for the campaign source material.

Along with the Justice Inc. boxed set, Hero Games produced two supplements for the game: Trail of the Gold Spike, an adventure module, and Lands of Mystery, a sourcebook for conducting "lost worlds" type campaigns modeled after the fiction of Edgar Rice Borroughs, Jules Verne, and Arthur Conan Doyle. Or, if you grew up in the 1970s and remember that staple of UHF daytime viewing, the Land of the Lost television serial featuring "lost in time" adventurers Marshall, Will and Holly (on a routine expedition...).

Being an avowed Call of Cthulhu gamer, normally I'd take marginal interest in Justice Inc. and its two supplements. However...

Both Trail of the Gold Spike and Lands of Mystery advertise that - in addition to being stated out for the Hero/Champions system - they also are stated for use with the roleplaying games Daredevils (Fantasy Games Unlimited), Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes (Flying Buffalo), Chill (Pacesetter Games) and...wait for it...Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium). Huzzah!

Having some store credit handy with an online games seller, I'd previously ordered Trail of the Gold Spike and today I've ordered a copy of Lands of Mystery. Both were overpriced, but since I'm trading some of my older, unused gaming stuff for store credit, I had "free money" to burn and decided to beef up my Call of Cthulhu game bookshelf with these marginal, "non-canon" purchases. Trail of the Gold Spike has already arrived and I've flipped through it. I'm very much looking forward to the arrival of Lands of Mystery, since it is written by the very talented Aaron Allston (he of D&D Rules Cyclopedia fame and many other writing projects). Lands of Mystery seems to be universally acclaimed in all of the web sources I've checked, so I look forward to exploring this oldie but goodie when it arrives at my domicile.

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