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Thieves’ World

Thieves’ World is one of my proudest achievements. It was the first multi-game product, pleased everyone involved, and is a pretty nice product.

I had met Robert Asprin a couple years earlier at a game or SF convention. He told me how his Thieves’ World project had come about because he had played roleplaying games. One day he and a bunch of writers were complaining how difficult it is to make up a new fantasy setting every time they wanted to write a story, and he drew on his RPG experience and suggested that everyone collaborate in a setting, with him as the co-ordinator (GM) and everyone could contribute. They made some ground rules, (i.e.- no killing each others main characters, etc.) and wrote the first book.

Well, after reading it I thought, “Hey, let’s turn it back into an RPG then!” I worked with Bob and Lynn Abbey, who were married in those days, and got the license.

I wanted to keep the whole spirit of cooperation that had inspired the setting and book. Also, I was thinking of the industry and its future. I felt the industry would go on and on, and of course it would change, and I had this sense of history and wanted to record it somehow.

I knew this could be a fun game product, but also a fantastic example of the “early days” of RPG if I did it right. I wanted it to have all the major systems extant at the time, so later folks could compare them and write a master’s thesis or something, after RPG gaming took over the world entertainment.

The industry was small in those days. I knew pretty much everyone involved, and set to to get licenses from all the publishers. I even got ahold of almost all the original authors of the products to contribute. Heck, I even managed to get D&D and AD&D into it, pretty much a miracle in those days.

But it was hard. It cost me. I nearly had a breakdown with all the hassles. Seven companies, nine games, nine game authors, five fiction writers, a bunch of artists, and just about 300 egos.

Thieves’ World won a number of awards: Best Role-Playing Adventure, H.G. Wells Award, Strategists Club Award, Game Designers’ Guild Select Award.

It was supported by several supplements done by FASA.

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