Thursday, April 28, 2011

TFT: The Land Beyond The Mountains

All this talk of sandboxes has me thinking of Metagaming's still-born foray into the mega-campaign sandbox marketplace, a product that was designed for use with its The Fantasy Trip role-playing game.

Entitled The Land Beyond The Mountains, and published in 1982, shortly before the demise of Metagaming, that mega-campaign sandbox setting is comprised of two published adventure supplements, The Warrior-Lords of Darok and The Forest-Lords Of Dihad. Two additional adventure supplements were announced, for the provinces of Muipoco and Soukor, but never saw the light of day.

In this sandbox setting, all four provinces (Darok, Muipoco, Dihad and Soukor) are bounded by impassable hills, mountains and wastelands to the west, north and east. To the south is the sea. Each of the provinces are at odds with each other, and the overall setting is post-apocalyptic, with scattered ruins, mysteries, monsters and artifacts left behind by a vanished and technologically and magically advanced culture.

The adventure supplements for Darok and Dihad are slim: 32 pages each. An interesting innovation of this series is a fold-out 11x17 hex-map of the featured province, attached to the supplement cover. Other than the roads, rivers, settlements, mountains and sea hexes, the map is open for the gamemaster to add her own hex-crawl elements.

The first three pages of each supplement are identical. They briefly cover the history and legends of the overall mega-campaign region, and explain some of the shorthand and symbols employed throughout the supplements. The bulk of each supplement is filled with significant personalities, treatises on the culture of that province, along with sample towns, encounters and scenarios, and supported by several random tables.


The Land Beyond The Mountains is billed as a perfect vehicle for sandbox play: "Here lie rich deposits of gems and ore, and the buried relics of a forgotten golden age. Here are wizards and warriors aplenty, scheming to seize new territories for their liege lords or striving to keep the major trade roads safe and free for all. On these pages you will meet spies and scholars, raiders and traders, and many wondrous and dangerous beasts. In short, a myriad of opportunities for players to make and lose their fortunes, or attain positions of great political influence within a fast-changing, often unpredictable environment."

Even considering the thin-ness of the adventure supplements, I don't think the above statement is entirely over-reaching. After all, the benefit of supplement slimness is that it gives the gamemaster greater latitude and opportunities for sandbox play, beyond the adventure-as-written.

19 comments:

spielmeister said...

I missed this again at the time it came out, but it sounds very intriguing as a sandbox gaming environment. The illustrations look very good indeed. Thanks for sharing this.

GrayPumpkin said...

Never heard of this before, but it has piqued my interest and I must agree the art work terrific.

austrodavicus said...

Excellent, I'd never heard of these. Thanks to the magic of Scribd.com I was able to have a look at them. They'd definitely make a great foundation for a sandbox campaign. Thanks for the tip.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

spielmeister said...
Thanks for sharing this.

You're welcome!

A Paladin In Citadel said...

GrayPumpkin said...
Never heard of this before, but it has piqued my interest and I must agree the art work terrific.

It certainly had promise. Too bad the series was never completed.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

austrodavicus said...
Excellent, I'd never heard of these. Thanks to the magic of Scribd.com I was able to have a look at them. They'd definitely make a great foundation for a sandbox campaign. Thanks for the tip.

The most important of the four, Soukor, was never produced. Based on the descriptions, it held the greatest secrets of the vanished civilization.

It would be neat if someone developed the last two provinces.

Scott said...

I loved TFT and was also unaware of these products. Thanks for bringing them to our attention.

Lee Reynoldson said...

"The most important of the four, Soukor, was never produced. Based on the descriptions, it held the greatest secrets of the vanished civilization."

Isn't that always the way. Shame the TFT is in IP no mans land. It's crying out for a rerelease, I know there's the Legends version, but still.

http://redwald.blogspot.com/

Ragnorakk said...

I've never seen these before either - thanks!

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Scott said...
I loved TFT and was also unaware of these products. Thanks for bringing them to our attention.

You are most welcome.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Lee Reynoldson said...
Isn't that always the way. Shame the TFT is in IP no mans land. It's crying out for a rerelease, I know there's the Legends version, but still.

LotAW and its adventures are not too bad.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Ragnorakk said...
I've never seen these before either - thanks!

Welcome!

Scallop Skulled Skald said...

Based on the descriptions, it held the greatest secrets of the vanished civilization.

Was this revealed to be a Mnornen civilization, or some other super-advanced species?

Kudos for the TFT love- we played the hell out of the game, and it really lends itself to some gonzo gaming.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Scallop Skulled Skald said...


I believe it was alluded to in the introduction to both supplements.

Akrasia said...

Intriguing!

I vaguely recall that the company "Gamelords" was involved somehow with this campaign setting. (Although I never played TFT or purchased any TFT products, I was a fan of Gamelords' "Thieves Guild" RPG and modules back in the early 1980s.)

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Yes, there was some sort of licensing agreement with Gamelords, one or both of the supplements were published by GL.

Bree Yark! said...

At first, I thought this was all Roslof art. I still can't get over how similar their styles are.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

Interesting observation, I need to go look at some Roslof art again.

Angantyr said...

Gamelords did write the material, though Darok was in fact released by Metagaming through Games Design Group.

Note that two other modules in the series were sort of released. City modules for the capitals of the two provinces, Shaylle and Plaize, were due to be released just before Metagaming shut down in April 1983. Gamelords then rewrote the material for their Haven series of modules, with the TFT modules "Soldier City: Shaylle" and "Intrigue in Plaize" being rewritten and rebranded as "City of the Sacred Flame" and "In the Tyrant's Demesne". Note that both of these modules can still be obtained - do a web search. There is a company that actually has them new for like $7 a pop.

If you want more info, I have a blogpost that makes mention of some details on unreleased TFT material here: http://angantyrs-games-things.blogspot.com/2013/10/proposed-metagaming-fantasy-trip.html