What is your favorite RPG book of all time?

aramis erak

Legend
Total Aside: I never played Greyhawk. When people talk about it now, what is often said is that it is more "sword and sorcery" compared to FR's high fantasy feel. But this cover absolutely does not give me S&S vibes. This is straight up Arthurian.
It's a poor fit to the contents, and it being more S&S than FR is just a matter of degree... especially since all the magic is the same.
Early editions had some rulers being Ftr 5... but the earliest Greyhawk is 99% rules - that's the OE Sup 1.

More fundamentally, Greyhawk was EGG Sr's game world. Most of the big name wizards from that campaign are preserved in the AD&D spell list's spell names. The Realms were a mid AD&D 1e addition.

FR does have more "Big Magics" in the settings, but I've never seen rules for casting/enchanting a Mythall - not all the FR magics are PC available, while Greyhawk seems to have no big magics. But I'm not a scholarly level student of either.

Oh, yeah, Mystara, Greyhawk, and FR all have some spacer tech hidden, but for the Realms, that's most certainly because someone didn't get the menu that FR is supposed to be big non-accessible magics instead of tech. And that many modules weren't labeled as to which setting they were for.
 

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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
The Rain of Colorless Fire and the Invoked Devastation are both big magics, although whether some fool has made them PC-accessible or not I don't know. Why you'd even need a writeup for that sort of thing is as incomprehensible as giving a deity 300 hp.
They're definitely big magic, but I don't recall there ever being a hint of "and here's how your character can do it." (Having various groups trying to research how the two devastations were done and then trying to outrun agents of rival powers from getting the ability to do so again would be a great basis for a long-term campaign, though.)

In contrast, WotC has put a scroll of tarrasque summoning in an adventure set in the Forgotten Realms. It's definitely the place to go if you want to be your best quadratic wizard self.
 


Having various groups trying to research how the two devastations were done and then trying to outrun agents of rival powers from getting the ability to do so again would be a great basis for a long-term campaign, though.
Agreed, they work dandy for that - in much the same way a spyfi/espionage game that revolves around keeping a nuke out of the hands of terrorists or some mad scientist type from holding the world hostage with a death ray does. Background threats that the narrative of preventing their use revolves around.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Agreed, they work dandy for that - in much the same way a spyfi/espionage game that revolves around keeping a nuke out of the hands of terrorists or some mad scientist type from holding the world hostage with a death ray does. Background threats that the narrative of preventing their use revolves around.
Honestly, it's hard to figure out who on Oerth wouldn't be terrifying with that kind of knowledge. There are just so many untrustworthy power groups.

I would be shocked at any campaign that doesn't end with the players destroying the knowledge of how to cause a devastation once more, to keep it out of the hands of Iuz, the Horned Society, the Brotherhood of the Pale, the Great Kingdom, the drow, the slavers, etc. ad infinitum.
 

I would be shocked at any campaign that doesn't end with the players destroying the knowledge of how to cause a devastation once more, to keep it out of the hands of Iuz, the Horned Society, the Brotherhood of the Pale, the Great Kingdom, the drow, the slavers, etc. ad infinitum.
Even the "Good Guy" organizations can't really be trusted not to abuse such power if they were backed into corner - facing conquest by any of that villainous roster, for ex. Self-defense is such an easy excuse for atrocity.
 
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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Even the "Good Guy" organizations can't really be trusted not to abuse such power if they were backed into corner - facing conquest by any of that villainous roster, for ex. Self-defense is such an easy excuse.
Yeah, the Shield Lands "dropping the bomb" on Iuz would be something lots of the good guys would try and rationalize, much like happens in our world.

That might be a fun answer to why knowledge of the devastations isn't available on Oerth: Someone has made it their job to erase the knowledge from the world and kill anyone who tries to recreate it. A DM could even go full Oppenheimer and make it be one of the ancient archmages responsible for the original ones, now spending their immortal lichdom preventing something like that from happening ever again. So a "villain" by multiple measures who has a strong argument of being right.
 

Starfox

Hero
For me this would be a book on history or historic fiction, not an RPG book. Neal Stephenson's baroque tribology (Quicksilver - Confusion - The System of the World) is a good starting point.
 

MintRabbit

Explorer
It's hard to pick out of all of the Changeling: the Lost books, but I really liked the additional player options in Winter Masques, and it's definitely the book I've pulled off the shelf the most often. There's just a lot of inspiration there.
 

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