Allen Varney here

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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Chimpman » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:10 pm

Have a safe trip Allen - and hopefully a fun one as well!
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by AuldDragon » Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:54 pm

Watch out for moose! :D

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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Ashtagon » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:06 am

AuldDragon wrote:Watch out for moose! :D

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Re: Heading out for a month or so...

Post by RobJN » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:37 am

Allen Varney wrote: I'll be happy to respond when I return in July to my longtime home in Austin, Texas.
Lies. Nobody is happy in Texas in July. At least, not without air conditioning. :D

Sounds like a great trip, Allen. I've only been to the Left Coast of Canada (Victoria and Vancouver). The Royal British Columbia Museum was awesome. Even more amazing, though, were the Butchart Gardens. Not sure how they look in the summer, as I saw them in mid-spring....
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Hugin » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:40 pm

Sounds fantastic! I'm sure you'll have a great time on your trip (although it might just be that I'm slightly biased ;) ).

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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Allen Varney » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:32 pm

I'm back home in Austin, Texas, having cut short my trip across Canada to help my Significant Other handle a medical emergency in her family. In the last two and a half weeks I traveled overland (and over-water) from St. John's, Newfoundland west through the Maritime Provinces (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick) and then to Quebec City and Montreal.

I moved quite quickly, basically a scouting pace, and found many places I'd like to revisit. I didn't run into any Canadian gamers, and I saw only a couple of game stores in eastern Canada, though I could easily have missed a bunch.

Overall I had a fine time. I still want to pick up where I left off, in Montreal, and continue through Ontario and westward to the Pacific. At this point I hope to resume the trip next year.
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Hugin » Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:17 pm

Sorry to hear about about the emergency (and hoping things are alright now) but I'm glad you enjoyed the trip, shortened as it was.

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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Big Mac » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:37 am

Sorry your trip got cut short. I've always fancied visiting Canada.

Did you get any motivation for designing any RPG stuff or Internet articles from this trip?
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by ShaneB » Tue Aug 31, 2010 5:45 am

Allen Varney wrote:
Big Mac wrote:When you look at what the SJ product designers were given, they were really handed an impossible task. Something like TSR's SJR7 Krynnspace is supposed to give people a Dragonlance Crystal Sphere in just 96 pages. Compare that to what WotC's Dragonlance Campaign Setting hardback. That has 288 pages dedicated just to Ansalon, and you can see that Jean Rabe just doesn't have enough "space" to build the planets up in that same level of detail.

When I look at SJ planets, I think that pretty much all of them need to look as if they could be the location of an interesting conventional campaign setting.
I dunno -- it seems, if we're talking specifically about Spelljammer, that planets there should function more like, say, dimensions in the Marvel Doctor Strange comics. (NB: I mentioned above I wrote the Doctor Strange Marvel Super Heroes gamebook, and I also designed the original Mystic Masters supplement for the Champions superhero RPG. Why, yes, I AM a Doctor Strange fan.) Dimensions in those comics, though supposedly whole universes as varied as our own, are functionally equivalent, in the stories, to rooms. You pop into a dimension, size up the situation, face the bad guy, accomplish your goal, and leave.

For a Spelljammer campaign, where presumably you want the players to spend most of their time in space, the planets should likewise be narrowly functional. If the players feel like they're leaving behind a huge and varied world ripe for novel groundling adventure, that sounds like it would be frustrating. I disliked those Spelljammer adventures where the only space connection was sending the PCs on a brief jaunt across the Crystal Sphere to another planet, where they then had a conventional dungeon-crawling adventure.
Big Mac wrote:I'll be adding a link to http://www.allenvarney.com, when I get around to making the Spelljammer Wiki article for you. I'm trying to use the pages for the other SJ designers to help push people onto pages where people can see their later work, but some ex-TSR staff are pretty hard to find (especially the ones who are Americans pretending to be Norwegians :lol: ).
I should clarify I was never a TSR staffer. I did all of my work for them as a freelancer, straight work-made-for-hire contracts.
You make Spelljammer sound like Star Trek episodes :).. which is an interesting way to view it..

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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Big Mac » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:39 am

ShaneB wrote:
Allen Varney wrote:
Big Mac wrote:When you look at what the SJ product designers were given, they were really handed an impossible task. Something like TSR's SJR7 Krynnspace is supposed to give people a Dragonlance Crystal Sphere in just 96 pages. Compare that to what WotC's Dragonlance Campaign Setting hardback. That has 288 pages dedicated just to Ansalon, and you can see that Jean Rabe just doesn't have enough "space" to build the planets up in that same level of detail.

When I look at SJ planets, I think that pretty much all of them need to look as if they could be the location of an interesting conventional campaign setting.
I dunno -- it seems, if we're talking specifically about Spelljammer, that planets there should function more like, say, dimensions in the Marvel Doctor Strange comics. (NB: I mentioned above I wrote the Doctor Strange Marvel Super Heroes gamebook, and I also designed the original Mystic Masters supplement for the Champions superhero RPG. Why, yes, I AM a Doctor Strange fan.) Dimensions in those comics, though supposedly whole universes as varied as our own, are functionally equivalent, in the stories, to rooms. You pop into a dimension, size up the situation, face the bad guy, accomplish your goal, and leave.

For a Spelljammer campaign, where presumably you want the players to spend most of their time in space, the planets should likewise be narrowly functional. If the players feel like they're leaving behind a huge and varied world ripe for novel groundling adventure, that sounds like it would be frustrating. I disliked those Spelljammer adventures where the only space connection was sending the PCs on a brief jaunt across the Crystal Sphere to another planet, where they then had a conventional dungeon-crawling adventure.
You make Spelljammer sound like Star Trek episodes :).. which is an interesting way to view it..
I think the "Star Trek model" is definitely one that would encourage movement via spelljamming ships. Robert S. Conley has also suggested that Traveller concepts could be converted to Spelljammer.

I saw something a while ago (I've lost the link ;( ) that said that Spelljammer was supposed to be a science-fiction D&D campaign setting, but was sneaked under the RADAR as a space-fantasy setting. I'm not sure if that is true, but you can certainly steal sci-fi concepts (especially pulp sci-fi concepts), file off the serial numbers and then put them into a Spelljammer game.

I'm glad you brought this back. Reading it again, what I find interesting about what Allen said is the comparison with Dr Strange adventures. It makes me wonder how many of Allen's Marvel Super Heroes concepts could be raided and turned into crystal spheres. I suspect that "Spelljammr Kitteh" might struggle a bit with Marvel Super Heros, but if there is something good in there, it might be worth the effort. ;)

@ Allen: Do you have a list of MSH adventures or accessories that you think might work with Spelljammer?
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Big Mac » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:43 am

Big Mac wrote:@ Allen: Do you have a list of MSH adventures or accessories that you think might work with Spelljammer?
Actually, I'd love to know how to raid all of your non-D&D work to find the things that could most effectively be recycled into Spelljammer material. :geek:
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Allen Varney » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:41 pm

Big Mac wrote:Do you have a list of MSH adventures or accessories that you think might work with Spelljammer?
I don't, offhand, and it sounds conceptually tricky. Superhero adventures focus on specific personal rivalries worked out in cunning and violence. Spelljammer focuses on exploration of strange new places, with rivalries and violence as lesser ingredients. It would be more fruitful to Spelljammer-ize standard SFRPG adventures, like Traveller. I imagine many of the published Traveller adventures would work, though I haven't looked at Traveller in decades.
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Havard » Mon Nov 08, 2010 12:51 pm

Allen Varney wrote: I dunno -- it seems, if we're talking specifically about Spelljammer, that planets there should function more like, say, dimensions in the Marvel Doctor Strange comics. (NB: I mentioned above I wrote the Doctor Strange Marvel Super Heroes gamebook, and I also designed the original Mystic Masters supplement for the Champions superhero RPG. Why, yes, I AM a Doctor Strange fan.) Dimensions in those comics, though supposedly whole universes as varied as our own, are functionally equivalent, in the stories, to rooms. You pop into a dimension, size up the situation, face the bad guy, accomplish your goal, and leave.
Interestingly, Doc Strange was a big inspiration for the D&D Planar Stuff, when Gary & Co were coming up with things like the Astral Plane and all that.

Did you work closely with Allston when you were writing for the Champions RPG? I only ever got to play a single session of that game, sadly...

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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Allen Varney » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:25 pm

Havard wrote:Did you work closely with Allston when you were writing for the Champions RPG?
No, though I followed Aaron's work closely and tried to live up to his high standard. When I was writing Mystic Masters, or more accurately assembling it from the contributions of several talented writers, Aaron sent me an extremely useful categorization of the origins of magical superheroes, which I took more or less whole-cloth for my character creation chapter.
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Big Mac » Wed Nov 10, 2010 8:08 pm

Allen Varney wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Do you have a list of MSH adventures or accessories that you think might work with Spelljammer?
I don't, offhand, and it sounds conceptually tricky. Superhero adventures focus on specific personal rivalries worked out in cunning and violence. Spelljammer focuses on exploration of strange new places, with rivalries and violence as lesser ingredients. It would be more fruitful to Spelljammer-ize standard SFRPG adventures, like Traveller. I imagine many of the published Traveller adventures would work, though I haven't looked at Traveller in decades.
Thanks for the answer, Allen.
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Chrysalid » Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:15 pm

Allen Varney ? I know this name... i'm trying to translate Wildspace in french ! It's really hard to understand !!! (it was easier with the Concordance of Arcane Space, I dont know why). But i'll do it !! (one day...)
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Allen Varney » Fri Jan 07, 2011 5:23 pm

Chrysalid wrote:I'm trying to translate Wildspace into French ! It's really hard to understand !!!
Sorry! Bon chance!
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Chrysalid » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:09 pm

Thanks a lot !!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Big Mac » Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:18 am

Allen Varney wrote:
Chrysalid wrote:I'm trying to translate Wildspace into French ! It's really hard to understand !!!
Sorry! Bon chance!
Hey Chrysalid. Why don't you start a thread about this, back in the Spelljammer forum (and drop a link in Allen's thread). That way the Spelljammer fans can try to help you with the bulk of the translation problems and we can ping Allen if we need clarification on something specific that we are struggling to translate.

To be honest, there is so much invented imaginary stuff for Spelljammer, I would be surprised if it was not hard to translate.

Oh, Allen. While I'm here, in your thread, we have been having a conversation about two "missing spells" Voidscan and Retain Air (both mentioned in the AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set, but never actually created).

Someone (sorry, I can't recall who) said that they heard that the SJ authors had access to notes of things that were due to be published later, and thought that these spells were already created (presumably by Jeff Grubb). I know it is a long shot (and I know that you can't access your Wildspace files) but do you by any chance recall reading anything about either of those spells, while doing your research (and deciding what cool concepts to pull out of the SJ universe)?
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Allen Varney » Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:59 am

Big Mac wrote:we have been having a conversation about two "missing spells" Voidscan and Retain Air (both mentioned in the AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set, but never actually created).

Someone (sorry, I can't recall who) said that they heard that the SJ authors had access to notes of things that were due to be published later, and thought that these spells were already created (presumably by Jeff Grubb). I know it is a long shot (and I know that you can't access your Wildspace files) but do you by any chance recall reading anything about either of those spells, while doing your research (and deciding what cool concepts to pull out of the SJ universe)?
No, sorry, I don't. I wrote Wildspace, the first SJ adventure, while TSR was still preparing the Spelljammer boxed set for publication. I worked from a thick printout of Jeff Grubb's typeset manuscript. I don't recall the Voidscan and Retain Air spells at all, though I assume they must have been in that printout and were cut for space before publication.

I'll try pinging Jeff Grubb and see what he says.
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Big Mac » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:38 pm

Allen Varney wrote:
Big Mac wrote:we have been having a conversation about two "missing spells" Voidscan and Retain Air (both mentioned in the AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set, but never actually created).

Someone (sorry, I can't recall who) said that they heard that the SJ authors had access to notes of things that were due to be published later, and thought that these spells were already created (presumably by Jeff Grubb). I know it is a long shot (and I know that you can't access your Wildspace files) but do you by any chance recall reading anything about either of those spells, while doing your research (and deciding what cool concepts to pull out of the SJ universe)?
No, sorry, I don't. I wrote Wildspace, the first SJ adventure, while TSR was still preparing the Spelljammer boxed set for publication. I worked from a thick printout of Jeff Grubb's typeset manuscript. I don't recall the Voidscan and Retain Air spells at all, though I assume they must have been in that printout and were cut for space before publication.

I'll try pinging Jeff Grubb and see what he says.
Thanks Allen.

We could knock up our own versions, but if Jeff Grubb actually made the spells, I'd rather use his ones.
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Chrysalid » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:11 am

Hey, you mean you could contact Jeff Grubb ? Is it possible ? Clear, if we can obtain the real descriptions of those Spells, it could be amazing !
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Chrysalid » Tue Apr 05, 2011 8:19 am

No news ? :(
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Allen Varney » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:01 pm

I sent Jeff Grubb a note on Facebook, and even mentioned the note in a comment to one of his posts, but no luck. I'm guessing he has no recollection of the early Spelljammer drafts. I certainly don't!
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Re: Allen Varney here

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 24, 2011 4:15 am

Allen Varney wrote:I sent Jeff Grubb a note on Facebook, and even mentioned the note in a comment to one of his posts, but no luck. I'm guessing he has no recollection of the early Spelljammer drafts. I certainly don't!
Thanks for trying Allen. It is all a long time ago and was always a long shot.

Just to confirm, did Jeff say he couldn't remember anything or not get back to you with an answer either way.
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