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games from the past arduin

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I know that many of you only know of D&D as it is the king of the roost, however back in the dark days of Role-playing circa 1975-1980 there were other games, some good, some not so good and some of them have influences on things to this day.
This particular game was named Arduin and it appeared in 1977 about the same time as the first edition monster manual. Yes the monster manual was the first of the AD&D books to appear. Anyway Arduin was a setting written by a man named David Hargrave. Arduin featured many new and interesting items that we borrowed and used for our D&D games at the time. The most feared was the critical hit charts. Crits in third are weak in comparison to some of the results listed. If you rolled a 20 then you rolled a percentage dice to see what type of crit it was. Here are a couple of examples 01-02 head penetrated immediate death and a damage range for the crit 4-32 also in case the creature didnít have a head, a slime or something like that. My favorite was 71-75 heart pierced die immediately with a 1-10 value for those things that didnít have a heart. There was also a fumble chart. You could hit yourself or possibly critically hit an ally. Rolemasters crit system was derived from this in my opinion.
Arduin was one of the first proponents of the spell point system for spells after the Warlock game. All spells had what was called a mana cost. All spell casters still had to memorize their spells but could cast any or all of them without forgetting them as long as they had mana points to work with. A caster would get mana points equal to the spell casters intelligence x his level and divide by 4 if his int was 8 or less, by three if int was 9-12 and by two if greater than 12. This was his power point allotment for a 24 hour period. Spells were one mana point per level. 6th level spell =6 power points.
Some of the spells were outright nasty. An example Masayukis mist of malevolent reason. A 5th level spell actually cost 5.5 mana points and .5 to maintain. Effects a purple rolling greasy mist that moans and gibbers and moves at 80 feet a round. All 2nd level or less just die, up to 4th level a saving throw or die. If they save then they are suffering nausea, confusion, dizziness and watering eyes for 1-5 minutes. Area of effect is 15í cloud per level of caster. There are nastier and worse spells in here.
Magic items- some very cool. Javelin of devastation-when thrown it looks like black lightning, if it strikes depending on its plus to hit, it could do from 4-24 to 8 to 4-48 points of damage AND blast one to three levels
Monsters-Arduin had the traditional monsters but there were lots of others, so much you wondered how anybody survived in the wilderness. Firesnakes breathes fire and constricts. The flame breathe is 2-16 up to 3-24, if touched it does 1-8 points of damage.
Arduin introduced the concept of technomagic. You could have firearms and blasters in your fantasy game. ďany technology so advanced will seem like magicí as a philosophy. You had a class that believed in technology and not in magic.
Arduin also introduced a plethora of classes beyond what D&D had. There were the rune weaver, the techno, the psychic, the courtesan, and many others. Arduin also added new races for player characters such as the Phraints, a logical thinking insect race from space, the Saurigs, a desert dwelling lizardman race and deodanths, an undead time travelling elf race.
Arduin also introduced the concept of Natural armor, touch attacks limited hit points as well as giving abilities based on class and background.
It was all fun and exciting for us at the time. We would call Arduin nuclear D&D. One thing for certain in a pure Arduin game that if you died it would be spectacular. Most of the time you came out of a run maimed and changed in some way
There were eventually eight of the books printed. The first three I consider the best. After Davidís death one distributor redid his game into a series of two books call the compleat Arduin but the color and flavor werenít there and the game eventually passed into history.

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  1. Mournstorm's Avatar
    If you're interested in Arduin you might visit

    It's a Yahoo Group dedicated to Dave Hargrave's Arduin. Game's still alive, just so's ya know.