Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wilderlands of High Fantasy - Do you have this?


If not, you should. Unlike certain other (ahem) publishers with classic old-school RPG products, Judges Guild has its stuff up for easy, cheap download (and is also relatively easy to find on ebay). This particular book here, Wilderlands of High Fantasy, I first bought in the local corner hardware store when I was in 5th grade. It was the third RPG product I ever bought, but it was the one I used the longest (and still use).

It achieves just the right balance of detail and vagueness to inspire a referee's imagination. Its easy to play around with. My first campaign with it (B/X) was very Tolkeinesque, with elf lords and rangers and orc chieftains and abandoned dwarven mines (I'm getting a little excited just thinking about it;). In the 90's, it was home to my very own personal 1E OSR during the 2E era, and home to the classic TSR 1E adventures Temple of Elemental Evil, the Slavers series, and the Giant/Drow series (the pastel versions, of course;). In the early to mid 00's it was home to 3E and the Dungeon Crawl Classics. The last few years (C&C, Microlite20, and finally Swords & Wizardry) its been home to a series of picaresque adventures Cugel, Conan, Elric, and Fafhrd would have felt very much at home in.

Its a bit like an empty canvas that helps you fill it in as you paint. Pick a hex anywhere, make a couple of rolls on the multitude of random tables JG provides, and you're good to go.

Do yourself a favor and pick this up. The main book is here, you should get at least campaign map 1 to go with it, and it doesn't hurt to add the City State and the Ready Ref sheets.

That's 30 years or so worth of gaming material for less than $10.00.

If you have it already, share a little love in the comments below.

14 comments:

  1. and yet, I still use my originals....

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  2. For what it's worth, the original maps are sold separately, and are almost always available cheap on eBay or Noble Knight. There's no real reason not to go with .pdf for the main book, but the big foldout maps are great and can be had for a song.

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  3. Amen, Brother! Preach it! I managed to find the complete set of all the JG Wilderlands stuff at a used book store 25 years ago. It was $75, had all the books and all the maps (Judges and Players). I've used it consistently ever since. It's the best gaming product (next to the Ready Ref Sheets) that I've ever owned. In case of a fire, they'd be one of the first things I'd grab as I would try to escape.

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  4. I've got Wilderness, City State and a couple of other JG's stuff! They're worth the download!

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  5. How useful is this if you have the 3.x box set Necromancer put out?

    I still have mine and since it doesn't take very long to make stats for OSD&D I'd probably use it. Is there anything I would be missing?

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  6. I also have the third edition box with one campaign running in Lenap and one I'm hoping to start up in the Sea of the Five Winds region.

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  7. I wish I had it in 5th grade, but the later aquaintance was also pleasant. I own three different printings plus a few extra maps. Maps maps maps. Which is my suggestion to Evan - go with the Necromancer boxed set for the content, but buy a few original maps. They are on very resilient stock and look gorgeous, plus the NG box didn't have player maps for cost-related reasons, and you need those for the full experience.

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  8. It's a masterpiece - I had it back in the day, lost it, bought a new copy a couple of years ago.

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  9. If you do go for the PDFs, you might be interested in Paul's very helpful instructions for cleaning up the scans a bit.

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  10. The fact that they've combined a Mongol warrior and a spearmaiden in pink faux fur makes me think this is one of the best things ever.

    So the actual content is good too?

    /win-win

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  11. I own the box set that was produced for 3e (as well as the CSIO book, and PDFs of all the 3e JG modules from Necro and Goodman Games).

    It is, hands down, my favourite 3e-related product. Just flipping through it is enough to fire one's imagination!

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  12. The 3E Wilderlands set is indeed an awesome effort, and worthy of its own blogpost. Not the least due to Melan's involvement with the project :) Along with Rob Conley's Majestic Wilderlands, these are great examples of how to take the barebones presentation of the original product and make it into something truly personalized and special.

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  13. My brother and I started with Holmes, before I went to college. Once I got there and joined a real group, I got my first taste of JG. The campaign was set in the Wilderlands. I think we started with Citadel of Fire. Then we headed off to CSIO. We used the new 1st Ed AD&D books as they came out. When I got home from college, I started up a campaign of my own in the Wilderlands. I ran it for over twenty years. JG is king.

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