Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More Color from the Enchanted Islands

The Star Dance, Coral J. F. Mosbø © 2015; used with permission

The setting of Avalon Hill's 1982 game Wizards is especially robust; so much so that I would be remiss if I did not supplement my earlier 'inspiration' post.  Even with all of the information presented in the game, Thomas and Coral Mosbø claim in the designers' notes, “We have discovered much about their realm while working on this Game, much more than we have included here.”  In this quote, “their” refers to the Elflords and Wizards of the Enchanted Islands.  (Also, note the capitalization of 'game'.)

One of the three Magical Orders, the Sorcerers, originated with the Dragons:
These wise but evil creatures sought to lure men away from good magic by offering an alternative power.  Many Men who sought knowledge and power were drawn to the Dragons and became Sorcerers.  They thought that served none but themselves yet, in reality, they were caught in the cosmic struggle between Good and Evil.  In the end most of them found themselves consumed by their own desires and by the Dragons.
Fortunately for the cause of Good, the High Wizards were able to remediate three Master Sorcerers.  The most powerful, “Megmoran, the mysterious Sorcerer of Fire, possesses the Powers of the Inner Earth and the Enchantments of the Stars.”  Melekok is the Sorcerer of Water; “He is the Crafter and Master of all Jewels and Metals which reflect the fluid radiance of the Waters of the Universe.”  Finally, the Sorcerer of Air, Meligar “is Master of the winds and closely associated to the creatures of wing.”

Each of the eighteen territory tiles “have their own unique qualities and history.”  For instance, the first tile, Torwall is...
Home of the royal city of the rulers of Men.  Torwall was once held under a Spell of Darkness by the Evil Spirit, in an attempt to take over the realm.  This attempt failed, for the Men of Torwall built walls to lead them back to their city and thus overcame the curse.  Eventually, the Spell was broken, but the walls remain as a constant reminder of the strength of the royal city, even in the face of desperation.
Another tile, Green Grove, contains “the place of the origin of the Elves, the Star Crest, shrouded in the Mysteries of Time.”  The Star Crest is shown in the image above.  (Note the spaceship at five o'clock from Truvior's knee.)

By ending his or her movement on certain spaces, the player will have an encounter based on that space.  For other spaces there is the possibility of a random encounter.  In the event of an encounter, the player rolls two dice and the higher result is checked against the appropriate table to determine the encounter's effect.  If a table offers both beneficial and detrimental results, the worse results tend to be associated with lower numbers.  For example, on the 'Common Towns' table, a result of '1' means “Thieves steal any Magical Objects or Sacred Gems that the player possesses.”  A result of '5' means “The Common Folk speed the player on his way,” entitling the player to “Take an extra turn immediately.”  Since only the higher result is used, players are much more likely to obtain a beneficial result.  If my math is correct, there is only a 2.8% chance of getting a '1' result and a 75% chance of obtaining a result of '3' or greater.

Aside from encounters, players will occasionally draw 'event' cards; a few examples being:
The tune of the Canticle streams from the Source of the Wind and caresses your soul, giving you new understanding. Role ONE die and gain double the number of Knowledge points indicated.

Arra-La, Daughter of the Gardens of Belief, incites new hope and purpose in your being, increasing your Perception by the roll of ONE die doubled.

Hemex, Ancient Spirit of the Dead, bars your path with visions of Evil, causing you to flee aimlessly.

Boriel and Bellara, Maidens of the Timber Lane Elven Dwelling, bring you the Lamps of Love which enable you to retain all Magical Objects and Sacred Gems in the face of thieves, Demons, Dragons or the False Wizard.

Dignol, the Serpentheaded Sage, in jealousy of the favors shown you, casts you into a trap...
As is evident, a Wizards player needs to keep track of a great deal of information.  A 'Wizards Player Record Sheet Pad' is included in the game; below is an image of an individual sheet.  The rules refer only to players and not characters; however, (at least some of) the people who played my copy of the game (before I obtained it second-hand) adopted personas.  Among the 'character' names indicated on used sheets include:  Aaron, Balbaroy the Centaur (which seems to come from something called Shining Force), Rick, Morgan, Michael, two Tims (probably Monty Python inspired), and two Raistlins.

© 1982 The Avalon Hill Game Company

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