other literary RPGs?

Guang

Explorer
Some RPGs are written by people who are true students of a centuries-old classic literary work of art, and make the rules and gameplay as close a match for the source material as possible.

King Arthur Pendragon RPG, based on the literature surrounding King Arthur.

True20 Tales of the Caliphate Nights, based on the stories of the One Thousand and One (Arabian) Nights.

Inferno RPG, based on Dante's works. (yet to read through)

Charles Dickens novels would make a great RPG - Has nobody made one yet? I also have my eye on Heroes of the Mythic Americas, hoping it will closely follow the stories it's based on. I'm interested in finding out more about RPGs based on any great literary or oral traditions from around the world. Surely there are other RPGs that also explore their source novels or legends and try to faithfully and exhaustively represent the spirit and the details of the work? Do you have any leads for my search?

Edit: I just finished looking at Sina Una. Richly described, based on pre-colonial oral stories of the Phillipines, but changed when a lot of d&d (and some modern sensibilities, but not much) was shoehorned in. Not really what I'm looking for - but it could have been! The writing team loved and respected the source material, but it's very mixed with standard d&d 5e.
 
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Haiku Elvis

Adventurer
I know I have seen someone mention a Jane Austin inspired game in the past that I think uses OSR style rules. Anyone remember the name?

Of course I may have just dreamed this after eating too much cheese in which case ignore this post and carry on with your lives.

EDIT: apparently there are two. The one I was thinking of is Good Society but there is also a 5e supplement/adventure called An Unexpected Wedding Invitation which is a similar thing.
 
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aramis erak

Legend
There are a couple that referenced Dickens; don't recall titles, but we're talking late 1990s to early 00's, and I didn't buy them.
One that's vaguely Dickensian but not actually Dickens directly is Ghosts of Albion. GURPS Gremlins likewise has dickensian notes.

Legend of the Five Rings is strongly inspired by a particular genre: the Japanese Pillow Books - a form of adventure fiction popular amongst the Samurai at certain periods of Japan. As is Blood and Honor. John Wick wrote 1E of L5R, and wrote B&H.
 

Chaosium kind of specializes in this, having done Lovecraft (Call of Cthulhu), Moorcock (Stormbringer), Pendragon (King Arthur), and now Paladin (Song of Roland). They actually just did Call of Cthulhu meets Jane Austen (Regency Cthulhu).

A quick search produces a few Jane Austen RPGs, none of which seem clearly OSR-inspired:

OSR wouldn't be my top choice for Austen anyway; not enough focus on socializing.

That said, since Austen writes about women competing for husbands (a rival 'good' unless you are significantly changing the setting), it lends itself to gamification well.
 

aramis erak

Legend
I know I have seen someone mention a Jane Austin inspired game in the past that I think uses OSR style rules. Anyone remember the name?

Of course I may have just dreamed this after eating too much cheese in which case ignore this post and carry on with your lives.
There was one, but I can't recall the name, either.

One of the major licensed game families is Literary in origin: Tolkien's Middle Earth.
We have ICE's MERP, Decipher's Lord of the Rings RPG, Cubicle 7's The One Ring, and Fria Ligan's The One Ring 2E, plus the Cubicle 7 Adventures in Middle Earth, Plus a handful of unlicensed fan games, including MEAG... and pre-6th printing D&D OE...
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
There’s that recently announced Stokerverse game.

There’s stuff like Conan, The One Ring. Lots of Lovercraft stuff. Is there a Sherlock Holmes game? There should be!
 


aramis erak

Legend
There are several games directly inspired by Tales of the Dying Earth... Including The Dying Earth RPG. I find it a bit too rules lite and fortune heavy to bring to table.
Monte Cook's Numenera is about as sharp a tribute as I have seen.

Of course, there are a bunch of Conan licensed RPGs over the years... TSR's AD&D modules, TSR's color table variant core game, Mongoose's Conan d20, Modiphius' Conan 2d20. There was also GURPS: Conan.
Conan also inspires Barbarians of Lemuria and gets riffed in a few others, such as Astonishing Sworsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea...

The John Carter Series has both Space: 1889 from GDW and now published by some other company, and the official John Carter of Mars 2d20.

GURPS has a few other licensed literary settings: G: Commonwealth (Allan Dean Foster's Flinx of the Commonwealth series), G: Uplift (Brynn's Uplift series), Vorkosigan Saga Sourcebook and Roleplaying Game (Bujold's Vorkosiverse), G: Lensman (E.E. Doc Smith's Lensman Series), G: Horseclans (Robert Adams' Horseclans series).

One of the staple sales items for two of the three main universal engines (strategy for GURPS and BRP, but not for Hero). The most notable BRP ones being ElfQuest, Stormbringer/Elric, and Ringworld, but they've done others.

The various GURPS and BRP adaptations are of widely varied opinion - GURPS tends to bend the settings a little; BRP tries to bend the system to the setting with adapted cores into the 90s, but in the 00's, switches to the unified core and worldbooks model of GURPS.

Note that Pendragon is one of those BRP adapted cores... switching the d100 for d20, and monthly/per adventure experience checks for annual.

R Talsorian Games' Mekton II and Mekton Zeta are inspired as much by mecha manga as mecha anime, and indirectly, by the Gundam novels.

OSR wouldn't be my top choice for Austen anyway; not enough focus on socializing.
That depends upon the users; a significant portion of OSR fans are in the "Ignore the rules most of the time" so mechanicalization would be ignored in that portion of the OSR fanbase. Another portion basically use it as the underlying framework for Frei-Kriegspiel Revival style RP.
That said, since Austen writes about women competing for husbands (a rival 'good' unless you are significantly changing the setting), it lends itself to gamification well.
Agreed, but a lot of those interested in Austen's P&P as a setting may not be interested in the mechanicalizing of relationships, seeing instead the opportunity to handle it all in RP.

No, I'm not one of those - participating in dialogue RP of romantic relationships makes my skin crawl - but it's something of which I know people who would prefer to simply RP instead of my preference for abstracting to mechanics.
 



Guang

Explorer
I'll check out the rpgs that reference Dickens, and try to find out more about pillow stories. Holmes could be good - hopefully someone takes that up. And of course I love what the One Ring RPG has done. I can't stomach Regency, unfortunately, since there seem to be several Jane Austen RPGS, as some of you have mentioned - the squalor and societal dichotomies of Dickens speak more to me, somehow.

But I'm thinking less Vance and more Beowulf, One Hundred Years of Solitude, maybe Dostoevsky? Sinbad. I've heard there's an RPG based directly on old Hong Kong Kungfu movies. Lovecraft is a bit too much, looking for more subtle that I can add to myself. And directly tied to a very old book or traditional story, rather than pulp-era fiction - no newer than Verne, for Western stuff. Would love to find something authentically closely representing Nigerian stories, or India, or the Pacific, or Australian Aborigine. Many RPGs have "inspirations" or are "loosely based" on a hodgepodge of sources - But are there more, perhaps slightly obscure, RPGs that attempt to bring an epic series of legends to life, without changing it too much in the process?
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
There are a few RPGs based on PG Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories.


 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Chaosium kind of specializes in this, having done Lovecraft (Call of Cthulhu), Moorcock (Stormbringer), Pendragon (King Arthur), and now Paladin (Song of Roland). They actually just did Call of Cthulhu meets Jane Austen (Regency Cthulhu).
There’s at least one other Chaosium RPG based on Moorcock’s Eternal Champion novels: Hawkmoon.
 


Bluenose

Adventurer
Conan also inspires Barbarians of Lemuria
Only in so far as Lin Carter's Thongor of Lemuria books were somewhat inspired by Howard's Conan. I wouldn't say they're too similar setting-wise.

Anyway to add a couple to the list there's Scheherezade with some supplements and adventures that's based on 1001 Nights. Which is not only very pretty but rather good at evoking the feel of the stories. Arrows of Indra and Against the dark Yogi are based on various Indian mythological texts such as the Mahabharata. And I'm pretty sure there's an RPG based on the Tale of Genji though I'm not sure where I saw it or what it was called.
 

Strider1973

Explorer
About Conan there were a TSR Conan specific rpg, with also some adventures, and TSR published, IIRC, a couple of AD&D 1ed adventures featuring Conan and his companions, set in the Hyborian World. There's also a GURPS 3ed supplement dedicated to Conan. Modiphus some years ago published a rpg based on Conan adventures. There should be also a fan made supplement for Conan based on Castles & Crusades rules.
There were third party books dedicated to Iliad and the Bible (this latter was called Testament, if I'm not wrong) to be played with the 3rd edition of D&D, back in the early 2000s. More recently Green Ronin, if I'm not wrong, published a supplement for Fantasy Age to play in the Trojan War. There was also an old rpg called "Man Myth & Magic" set in the Mediterranean history, folklore and legends.
Back in the AD&D 2e days, TSR published supplement books dedicated to various historical and literary settings, such as Ancient Greece or Charlemagne's Paladins.
The expert set D&D (BECMI) adventure The Castle of Ambeville was inspired by some works of Roger Zelazny, if I'm not wrong.
There should be at least a couple of rpg based on the G.R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire.
There's a rpg based on Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn saga, published by Crafty Games and called "Mistborn".
Brancalonia is a recent D&D 5e rules/setting to play a sort of very down to earth italian fantasy, now known as "spaghetti fantasy", and also the rpg "Katakumbas" (that some years ago has been rewritten using the Savage Words rule set, much like what has done with Savage Pathfinder) is based on a fictional medieval Italy. In italian there are also a rpg dedicated to Ariosto's The Frenzy of Roland, a rpg based on greek legends ("Mediterraneo"), and a rpg based on Finnish myths ("Kalevala"). In Italian there's also "Lex Arcana", a great rpg based on a fictional version of the last centuries of the Roman Ancient Empire.
Dragonlance is a literary setting based on D&D, as Forgotten Realms are.
Just my two cents.
Happy new year, happy life and happy gaming!
 
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pemerton

Legend
For Homeric RPGing, I strongly recommend Agon 2nd ed.

For absurdism, or even some approaches to magical realism, perhaps Over the Edge?
 

BigJackBrass

Explorer
Forgotten Futures - The Scientific Romance Roleplaying Game is not only based on various (mainly Victorian and Edwardian) works of fiction, it also includes the novels and short stories themselves. There's even a worldbook for Victorian melodrama.

Each of the eleven worldbooks adapts the system to the style and themes of a particular set of works, such as William Hope Hodgson's Carnacki the Ghost Finder, or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger books.
 


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