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Talislanta

Chronicles of Talislanta

Designer
Stephen Michael Sechi (1st and 2nd ed.), Jonathan Tweet (3rd ed.), John Harper (4th ed.), K. Scott Agnew (5th ed.)
Date of Publication
1987
System



Talislanta is the name of a fantasy role-playing game published originally by Bard Games, now in its fifth edition. Talislanta draws its inspiration from the swords-and-sorcery literary genre. Stephen Michael Sechi has cited Jack Vance as a key inspiration. Talislanta is sometimes known for its tagline, "No Elves," from its original advertising. Talislanta is an original fantasy world, resembling a cross between Barsoom, the travelogues of Marco Polo, and the Arabian Nights, with few Tolkienesque elements.

The WorldEdit

Talislanta is continent on the planet Archaeus, a seemingly Earth-like world, although its precise topology is unknown. It has seven moons.

People of TalislantaEdit

Talislanta is home to a variety of peoples, including the Cymrilians, Zandir, Aamanians, and other descendents of the humanoid Archaens; the beast-like Jaka and Mondre Khan; mutants such as the Ahazu; and descendents of ancient neomorphs created by the Archaeans.

Edition HistoryEdit

Chronicles of TalislantaEdit

Chronicles of Talislanta

Chronicles of Talislanta

Writer
Stephen Michael Sechi
Publisher
Date of publication
1987


The original Talislantan book was a travelogue detailing the travels of the wizard Tamerlin on the continent of Talislanta. It was systemless. It bears a dedication to Jack Vance.

First EditionEdit

Talislantan Handbook

The Talislantan Handbook

Writer
Stephen Michael Sechi
Publisher
Date of publication
1987


The original Talislanta debuted its very simple game system. Although inspired by the basic mechanics of Dungeons & Dragons, Talislanta condensed virtually all checks to a single page chart with a unified game mechanic based on the d20. Character creation involved simply selecting an appropriate archetype and making slight customizations. Sourcebooks such as the Sorcerer's Guide and the Naturalist's Guide expanded the milieu.

Second EditionEdit

Talislanta Handbook and Campaign Guide

Talislanta Second Edition

Writer
Stephen Michael Sechi
Publisher
Date of publication
1989


Second edition incorporated material from various sourcebooks.

Third EditionEdit

Talistanta

Talislanta Third Edition

Writer
Jonathan Tweet
Publisher
Date of publication
1992


Third edition marked a fairly radical turning point in Talislanta's development. Jonathan Tweet, working at Wizards of the Coast, wrote the third edition, which advanced the timeline several years and divided magic up into a number of distinct Orders. Various backstory elements were added and revealed. For this reason, Third Edition has an ambiguous place in history for many fans.

Pharos Press EditionEdit

This version existed only as an ashcan edition.

Fourth EditionEdit

Talislanta

Talislanta Fourth Edition

Writer
John Harper
Publisher
Shooting Iron
Date of publication
2001


Fourth Edition brought Talislanta under the development of Shooting Iron. With Fourth Edition, Talislanta discarded levels, fully adopting a skill-based experience system. It also dispensed with all dice but the d20 and moved to a fixed damage system.

Most significantly, it introduced a completely new magic system using Orders as well as Modes. Each Order, as in Third Edition, described a style of spellcasting. The Modes were game constructs, skills that represented categories of spell such as Attack or Transform. Each individual spell was built by modifying the underyling Mode and giving it distinctive characteristics. Thus, magicians were capable of an essentially endless variety of spells, representing a knowledge of hundreds of spell variations. Late in Fourth Edition, optional rules were published to limit magicians to a finite number of known spells, restoring the vision of magic in previous editions as rare, quirky, and secret.

The game engine in Fourth Edition became known as the Omni System.

Fifth EditionEdit

Talistanta

Talislanta Fifth Edition

Writer
K. Scott Agnew
Publisher
Date of publication
2007


Morrigan Press published the Fifth Edition. For the first time, the game was divided into a player's book and a gamemaster's book. It also included customized character creation, as opposed to the archetype system used in previous editions.

d20 versionEdit

Talistanta (d20)

Talislanta d20

Writer
Publisher
Date of publication
2005


The d20 version of Talislanta hybridized the SRD rules with some concepts from Talislanta. The final result, while popular with some fans, was dissimilar enough from standard d20 as to be only marginally more compatible than the Omni System.

LinksEdit

Official Talislanta web site

Talislanta on Wikipedia

Talislanta on Pen & Paper

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