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The Fantasy Trip

The Fantasy Trip (TFT) is a role-playing game that was designed by Steve Jackson and was published by Metagaming.

It was developed from Metagaming's Melee and Wizard Microgames, which provided the basic combat and magic rules. These games could be played on their own, or, using the Gamemasters module, In the Labyrinth, expanded into a full-fledged role-playing game. The basic combat and magic rules presented in Melee and Wizard were greatly expanded specifically for purposes of role-playing in Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard.

An extensive set of solitary adventures were publised for The Fantasy Trip. Called "MicroQuests", these inexpensive adventures allowed for group or solitary play. A total of eight were published. In addition, more traditional role-playing modules were also released. The first was a regular dungeon called "Tollenkar's Lair". Later, two modules detailing countries were written, "Warrior Lords of Darok" and "Forest Lords of Dihad".

Metagaming also published two magazines that featured TFT material. Most well known is "Interplay", which actually had articles regarding all Metagaming products but focused most on TFT. There was also a lesser known magazine called "Fantasy Forum" which was devoted to TFT. Both are scarce, but the latter magazine is especially hard to find.

When Steve Jackson left Metagaming he was able to negotiate the rights for OGRE but the price asked for The Fantasy Trip was beyond what he was prepared to pay. Within a couple of years of Steve Jackson's departure, the owner of Metagaming, Howard Thompson, disappeared, leaving this role-playing system as an orphan game without any contactable copyright owner.

Before Metagaming went out of business, Howard Thompson attempted to change the direction of The Fantasy Trip by releasing "Dragons of Underearth", a simplified version of TFT. It is believed that he wanted to keep the game but get rid of Steve Jackson's "imprint"; the two did not part as friends.

Steve Jackson's later universal role-playing system GURPS was obviously inspired by The Fantasy Trip.

Released products

3103 - Melee'

3106 - Wizard

2102 - In The Labyrinth

2103 - Advanced Melee

2104 - Advanced Wizard

3201 - Death Test (MQ#1)

3202 - Death Test 2 (MQ#2)

3203 - Grail Quest (MQ#3)

3204 - Treasure of the Silver Dragon (MQ#4). Notable for its associated contest. The game contained clues to a real silver dragon hidden somewhere in the U. S. The 31 troy oz. dragon was found by Mr. Thomas Davidson, who was afterwards awarded with a $10,000 cheque to boot.

3205 - Security Station (MQ#5)

3206 - Treasure of Unicorn Gold (MQ#6). Identical in concept to Treasure of the Silver Dragon, except this time the quest was for a small golden Unicorn. There is no indication as to what happened after Metagaming folded; it does not appear that the prize was ever awarded.

3207 - Master of the Amulets (MQ#7)

3208 - Orb Quest (MQ#8)

2201 - Tollenkar's Lair

2202 - The Warrior Lords of Darok. The first module released in a series called "The Land Beyond the Mountains", a full campaign setting designed exclusively for TFT. This detailed the province of Darok, whose inhabitants worship a mean and nasty god of war and fire. This land was to be detailed over the course of several modules, but only this and The Forest Lords of Dihad were released before Metagaming's untimely demise. In the works were two more province modules for Muipoco and Soukor, along with two and probably more city modules, detailing the provincial capitals. As noted below, the city modules for the capitals of Darok and Dihad were redesigned and released under other names by Game Lords, Ltd.

2203(?) - The Forest Lords of Dihad. The last TFT release before the closing of Metagaming. The product number is speculative, as it does not appear anywhere on the module itself.

2301 - The Fantasy Master's Codex. Originally called the TFT Yearbook, this was planned to be a supplement that would be updated annually, to include rule changes, expansions and new rules interpretations. It was also planned to include variants and expansions submitted by TFT players, as well. Only the first one was ever released.

2302 - The Game Master's Screen. A GM's shield, featuring useful reference charts and tables for game play. Similar in concept to the DM's shields produced by TSR for Dungeons & Dragons, the screen summarized all game mechanic information likely to be required during a given session.

5102 - Dragons of the Underearth. This was a basic introduction to the TFT rules system, with simplified combat and magic rules - in other words, Melee, Wizard, and selected spells and rules from the Advanced modules and ITL.

3118 - Lords of Underearth. Technically, this was a separate Microgame, but was designed with TFT in mind as a mass combat system for armies. Featured a set of conversions for building up units based on TFT characters. Conversely, with a little work, one could turn Underearth into a fine labyrinth for the players to explore and get eaten in.

Unreleased products

City of the Sacred Flame. This was originally intended to be Shaylle: Soldier City for the Land Beyond the Mountains campaign, but when Metagaming went out of business the module was rewritten and issued under the new title, for use with the Thieves' Guild rules system. The history section was heavily redone and the main non-player character's names are changed, but many of the area descriptions and the adventures remain essentially unchanged. In fact, at least one quest in this module still has the original NPC's name, unchanged.

In the Tyrant's Demesne.  This was originally intended to be Intrigue in Plaize for the Land Beyond the Mountains campaign, but when Metagaming went out of business the module was rewritten and issued under the new title, for use with the Thieves' Guild rules system. As with City of the Sacred Flame, the history is rewritten, but many descriptions and references remain largely unchanged. The product number would probably have been 2205.

Conquerors of Underearth. Slated to be an adventure module for use with the Dragons of Underearth system. It was never released but had at least progressed to the draft stage. Interplay #8 gave a couple of details, stating that "It deals with Adventurers entering a Goblin fortress and encountering organized military units, and as such often involves 10-20 or more fighters in a battle." Since CUE was fairly streamlined, it lent itself to these sorts of encounters.