(KS) The Arcanum: 30th Anniversary Edition
  • (KS) The Arcanum: 30th Anniversary Edition


    The Arcanum is a classic roleplaying game and supplement that was originally released by Bard games in the early to mid 1980’s. Now ZiLa Games are bringing the game back in a 30th Anniversary Edition.



    Back in 1983, a company called Bard Games released some books: The Compleat Adventurer, The Compleat Alchemist, The Compleat Spellcaster. These three books would later be combined into an omnibus called The Arcanum. The Arcanum, in addition to repeating an edited and cleaned up version of the three previous books, added an entire game engine to the mix. The two follow-up books (The Lexicon, and The Bestiary) became a trilogy allowing gamers to explore The World of Atlantis.


    The Arcanum had three editions. Bard Games released the first two; the third was released by Death's Edge Games. A new version of The Lexicon, combined with The Bestiary was released as well. Over time, this small press game was all but forgotten.

    The Arcanum was far from a perfect book. It had some editing and typographical errors, some issues with formatting, and so on. In other words, it suffered the issues associated with a small group of enthusiasts trying to publish an RPG in the days before desktop publishing. I am working on the 30th Anniversary Edition of this book; my goal is to make this the end-all, be-all of The Arcanum Role-Playing System. I am cleaning up the text, re-arranging items; breaking up the book into true chapters, and creating a cohesive flow making the rules easy to follow.

    What I am not doing is substantially altering any aspect of the game.

    Some things are quirky. This is not a flaw, or an error -- it is a matter of style. To do this, I have to strive for two secondary goals:

    · This edition is setting free. The game will have reference to some things (certain classifications of higher and lower powers, types of undead, and so on). But no established setting is to be assumed. The Atlantean Setting is the property of Khepera Publishing. I have spoken with Jerry D. Greyson (great guy, by the way) -- he and I have a gentleman's agreement. Where the information in The Arcanum makes reference to The Atlantean Setting, I am free to deal with that as I wish. Anything strictly within the pages of The Lexicon and The Bestiary is off limits. This is a very fair arrangement.

    · I will have to develop a standard system for creatures. Since the animals, beasts, monsters, and other creatures are all described within the pages of The Bestiary, I will have to take every creature that has information or has references to it made within The Arcanum and flesh them out in some way. This adds a chapter (Bestiary) within The Arcanum that was not there before. Without this section, the RPG is sorely lacking as a stand-alone system. If we get enough money, this may become a separate book.


    The Arcanum: 30th Anniversary Edition is live on Kickstarter until Wednesday 14th June 2017.
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