The Arcanum is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG) originally published by Bard Games, set in The origin of both the “Complete Series” and eventual “Atlantean Trilogy” came out of a (Jerry D. Grayson) owns the rights to The Lexicon and The Bestiary, the original follow on books will not be released by ZiLa Games. THE LEXICON is the cyclopedia and atlas of the Atlantean world, and the second book of Bard Games’ ATLANTEAN TRILOGY (the companion volumes being. I soon found the Bestiary and the Lexicon published in one book (I don’t If the Atlantean Trilogy is at the dawn of the world, Talislanta takes.
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Thanks for posting this. The system sounds like one that I’ve wanted to house rule for ages. I picked up the Death’s Edge version so hopefully that stays true to what sounds like an excellent system.
I’ve been interested in RPGs for decades and never seen or heard of Arcanum. I’m looking forward to reading the rules and the setting. I read this blog a few months ago and scored versions of Arcanum and just love the details to the magic, combat and detail to alchemy and herbalism.
I’m planning a campaign using these rules for a homebrew world. Seems some aspects of the rules beg to be house ruled. Anything you remember house ruling or links you remember regarding house rules for this system? Wednesday, October 20, Memories: In a recent post I helped explore the meme of 15 games in 15 minutes. Now, as the mists of time part, one game rises to the fore.
One game that I used to be enthralled with: I first discovered this in through a friend who was visiting from California at the time. He had a copy of the Arcanum, the first edition, the cover in living greyscale. I looked through it, and was enrapt with the game-related art inside.
The Atlantean Trilogy | RPG | RPGGeek
Gone were the nebulous Armor Class rules and attack matrices and saving throws. Ability saves were used to resist spells. Given that the hobby was still quite young at the time, lexicom was still shackled to some of the more cumbersome engines, tables for things that would have better used a target number, variable percentages for skills, etc.
You didn’t have the bog-standard choices for races — you now had Druas Dark Elves, before anyone else ever didAesir giantsZephyr like ordinary people with huge eagle wingsand Andaman half-human, half beast. You didn’t have the standard array of spells anymore. They separated the spells into nine schools of magic, such as Black Magic, Astrology, High Magic, et al.
All of this gave the game a definite flavor, a “feel” to it. Skills were given to you based on race, class, level, and what climate you were raised in.
The skill list not only included Martial Arts, several different sub-types of Acrobatics, but also Knife Throwing, which gave you the ability to “call” your shot to any location, including throat, heart, etc. CON or be incapacitated by the wound. If I had to quibble with the skills, it would be that some of was trlogy, and others were based on attack rolls in combat.
One of my house rules was that each skill was trrilogy to an ability and got a bonus if the ability was “exceptional. Combat itself was almost rewritten from the ground up, and was a whopping four pages long.
Combat ability was defined by three different ratings: Highly Trained, Skilled, and Untrained. Each determined to hit bonuses and hit points per tri,ogy, and each of the classes had one of these ratings. Each opponent rolled a d20 — the attacker and the defender. The standard offensive tactics were in lexico — melee, missile, hand-to-hand, dirty tricks, and called shot.
Defenses included parry, evasion, dodge, or counter which you wait for your foe to strike first, then you strike him back while he’s off-balance from his attack. AC was gone, so Armor actually subtracted points from your damage, based on whether it was leather, ring, chain, plate, ad infinitum.
Also, chain, plate mail, and plate armor gave you -1, -2, and -3 on DEX saves respectively. Alignment was handled a bit differently, too. It had only atlnatean Alignments: Lawful Good characters were committed to honor, truth, justice and mercy.
Lawful Evil characters despised honor, lied, had no sense of mercy or justice. Neutrals uphold and maintain their own beliefs.
Chaotics trioogy a situation and then acted. The best of these are loners. The worst lack all conscience demons. The spell system was markedly different from the Vancian system. At first level, all spellcasters get every first level spell from their school of magic. Any higher level spells must be found, and they offer ways to do that, from private collections to libraries, to learned mages, and adventuring in ruins and tombs.
RPG Archive: Atlantean Trilogy
It is worth noting spellcasters may only cast two spells per day, plus 1 per level. In combat, it is also impossible to cast anything other than a first level spell, due to the stress and frenzy of battle. They also had extensive rules for the properties of various plants and metals, alchemical rules, signs and symbols, and spell research.
I went home the next morning and dug up one of my dragon magazines that had that book in it. I sent in a check to Bard Games. They told me that it really cost a buck more, but they’d send it to me anyway. I soon found the Bestiary and the Lexicon published in one book I don’t recall where — the now-defuct Crown Books? Easy to remember, easy to apply and easily consistent.
This was an interesting book. The interior illustrations were rendered by comic artist Bill Sinciewicz. His crazy, somewhat manic-messy style fit the tone of the book. They had an interesting way of handling the monsters. Each monster was given a class and a level. From there you could figure out the to hit bonuses. The other thing is that they had mythical or quasi-mythical names for the monsters.
For those who wish to see a sample of the gonzo art, here’s a peek: The Lexicon was the atlas of the antediluvean world. This product was obviously a labor of love, and parts of it resembled nothing so much as Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age even going so far as to use some of the names, themselves taken from ancient historybut everything was ripped from myth and folklore and ancient cultures.
The entire earth is described.
Roll ‘Em: Memories: The Atlantean Trilogy
trilohy In a nutshell, the world suffered a massive Cataclysm, and Atlantis is a shadow of its former self. Mu and Lemuria and similar mythic continents all share space in the Lexicon. All in all, it’s a fascinating read. This is one of those games I kinda wish had reached ascendancy, but it is a very different game than it started out as. The first time some of this material saw print was in the “Compleat” series by Bard Games.
Then, Bard Games put out these three books. And later, Talislanta was born and would change publishers again and again. If the Atlantean Trilogy is at the trliogy of the world, Talislanta takes place at twilight, well after the Atlantean Cataclysms and the ice ages that followed.
A decade later, Death’s Edge Games picked up and republished the Arcanum, the Lexicon, and the Bestiary, added some new material and changed the art. A decade after that, Morrigan Press decides to update and revise the material, calling it Atlantis: They changed the game to a series of suggested templates, spells that are created from different “elements” that combine to create specific effects, and a different system more based on the one found in Talislanta.
I’m not sure what Morrigan Press set out to achieve, but it has a very different flavor than the original Atlantean Trilogy. I’m no less intrigued, but I miss lexicpn old game. Posted by Eric R. Anonymous November 13, at Anonymous April 25, at 9: Newer Post Older Post Home.