Monday, May 10, 2010

Talislanta!

Through a veil of blue mist did I first behold Talislanta: dreamlike and surreal, as if suffused in amberglow.

Many years ago, I bought a slim volume called The Chronicles of Talislanta. Is is a book which opened my eyes to a new world, literally, and have brought me much fun. It's not uncommon for fans of fantasy rpgs to have heard of Tekumel, but for me the lands of Talislanta is just as weird and mysterious.

The Chronicles is a book totally devoid of rules content. It's just the dreamlike story of the wizard Tamerlin as he travels the lands. The combination of Stephan Michael Sechi's prose and P.D. Breeding's marvellous illustrations is a heady brew. I usually re-read it once in a while to remind myself that fantasy should be strange, surreal and fantastic.

Some have complained that Talislanta is something of a kitchen-sink-setting, and in a way they are right. It's a small island, with a lot of cultures. Many of them are archetypal fantasy and might not break much new ground. But, the way they are presented makes them retain a sense of wonder, which makes me dream. What more could you ask for?

For quite a few years I have now been a member of the Talislanta e-mail list. It have moved around a few times, and now reside on Yahoo. Now I am a moderator and even though I'm not as active as I once was, it still feels like home. One reason is the incredible cool atmosphere there. SMS, as the Creator is known, is very friendly and gladly answers questions and is probably one of the most generous game designers I've ever had the fortune to interact with. Now he have decided to give away all there is of Talislanta, the RPG!

Having been through a few editions, the game have had a few books published for it. For a while now, volunteers have been scanning them all, and SMS is presenting them all for free download at the new Talislanta site! Check it out.

Whatever you feel about the whole of the game, it's rules or the world, this is almost too good a gift to imagine. Go to the site and grab some pdfs, cut some things out and use in your own game. There are quite a lot I think any lover of fantasy would like. Steve have many times talked about his love for the fantasy of Jack Vance, and if you have read his stuff I think you will like Talislanta.

If you happen to meet Tamerlin on your travels, tell him I said hello. Bon voyage!

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