Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Important Notice

This advertisement appeared in issue #109 of Dragon (May 1986).  Somebody footed the bill for a full-page ad, so consider the message carefully.

What noble intent!  What profound sentiment!  Alas, despite their enthusiasm, the PARAGON SOCIETY FOR WARGAMERS was not “credited for making the most revolutionary impact on the industry” or any impact for that matter.  In fact, other than this advertisement, there is very little – if anything – that we can attribute to the society.

Obviously, the society (the only non profit gaming association of its kind) presented itself as an established entity – something that had been around (albeit covertly) for years.  They even claim to have registered trademarks on the PARAGON SYSTEM and – what I assume is a setting – the Amaranthine Universe (although the spelling is inconsistent*).  Perhaps the society should have designed a logo to better convince readers they were a going concern.

Readers might infer that the society has thousands of members; however, the notice doesn't actually claim that.  It merely states, “over 5000 gamers, working together,” can create quality products.  Maybe the society hoped that the ad would bring in five thousand memberships.  Regardless, thousands of gamers “working together” doesn't sound very practical, not in the information age and certainly not in the quaint era of 1986.

I'm curious as to how the system works; it is built on entirely new concepts after all.  Supposedly, it had a “Complete combat and magic system,” but – according to the last paragraph – the society was still playtesting.  Of course, had the system been perfected (and released to the public) it “would surely challenge the very foundation of the fantasy roleplaying populaion” – the very foundation!  “Each spell has over 100 combinations” – sounds kind of crunchy, but I would like to see what they managed to put together.

Unless it was entirely a scam, there must exist some PARAGON SYSTEM literature out there.  Has anyone seen any of it or heard any gossip?  Catacomb Librarian?  Anybody?

*  Looks like they misspelled 'receive' as well.  I trust the reader will forgive my indulgence in a “kindergarten obsession.”


  1. i constantly daydream of this.

    1. So it's legit according to mikemonaco (whom I have no reason to doubt). It's interesting that it was loose leaf. It makes sense because they were playtesting, but if there was never a bound version it may not be possible to find a copy.

  2. Well as I said at CL's blog, my bro & I actually "joined" and got a stack of three-hole punched, single-sided pages of manuscript game. I can't remember a lot about the game because we never even got so far as rolling up characters for it. It went into a large binder, and was eventually tossed. I forgot they promised to send updates and all that. Nothing else ever came but a few hundred pages of loose leaves. From what little I do recall, there were fixed (rolled) stats and many derived stats from the fixed ones. I think there may have been some distinction between sharp and blunt weapon damage, and a fatigue system. All very complex and confusing (we like 14 and 15 at the time). I think we moved shortly after we got the Paragon package and I suppose there is a slight possibility that other things did come in the mail, but were not forwarded.
    Basically a huge disappointment though. $25 in 1986 was a ton of money. Maybe the whole thing was more of an overly optimistic project than a scam, I don't know.

    1. Thanks for providing more details. I'm inclined to think it wasn't a scam.

      Yes, $25 was mucho dinero for teenagers back then and that was the ANNUAL membership fee. I'm guessing that you were only entitled to updates for a year, but the society probably did not last much longer anyway.

  3. If only they had Kickstarter in 1986... ;)

  4. "there were fixed (rolled) stats and many derived stats from the fixed ones. I think there may have been some distinction between sharp and blunt weapon damage, and a fatigue system."

    Mikemonaco'description only makes me crave for this game more than before :)