Library of Knowledge Annex
Welcome to the Terra Incognita Library Annex. Here you will find an annotated bibliography of role playing games and motion pictures that serve as inspiration and reference for the TI player and game master.
Role-Playing Games Movies Main Library
Role-Playing Games & Miniature Wargames
The following games and game supplements are background reading for Terra Incognita. None directly represents or portrays a comparable world view, but they have each contributed to the development of the game. I provide the link for those available at Amazon.com. Others are either available from the publisher or are free downloads.
.45 Adventure by Richard Johnson. Rattrap Productions, 2005.
Rattrap Productions’ .45 Adventure is a solid set of miniatures rules for the pulp era. The site contains several free scenarios free for downloading, and you can try the demo version to see if the rules interest you. There’s a comic The Gargoyle and a bit of fiction Death Soldiers of the Jade Hood with guidelines for gaming it. Drop by the Speakeasy, the new online forum.
Adventure! by Andrew Bates and Bruce Baugh, et al. White Wolf, 2001.
Excellent fiction by Greg Stolze, a plethora of adventure ideas, and potential for cooperation (or competition!) with the Æon Society recommend this pulp game.
Adventures and Expeditions by GASLIGHT by Chris Johnston (LMW Works, 2003, $22).
The rpg member of the GASLIGHT family. Purports to require the GASLIGHT core rules, but I imagine one could muddle through without them. Essentially a guide to fleshing out your GASLIGHT Main Characters for a roleplaying experience. I like the Newsman Experience system, which reminds me of Jim Wright’s battle reports from Jimland. Includes a number of adventure ideas and one complete adventure, “The Curious Case of the Desert Submarine.”
Adventures in Jimland by Jim Wright. PDF, 2003.
Adventures in Jimland is more a miniature wargame than an RPG, but I find it lends itself to flights of exciting imagination. The Reports contain more than 800 pages of inspiring reading.
Adventures of Indiana Jones by David Cook. TSR, 1984 [OOP].
I have only glanced at this long-out-of-print game, but it could be mined for adventure settings and ideas.
All Flesh Must Be Eaten by C.J. Carella, et al. Eden Studios, 1999.
I recommend my latest two rpg purchases: Pulp Zombies and Fistful o Zombies. Both books are supplements for Eden Studios All Flesh Must Be Eaten, so youll need the core rules if you want to use Unisystem, but I find the rules sufficiently Fudge-like to allow for easy translation. Both books give some background on the era, detail weapons and equipment, &c. Then each describes several possible Deadworlds in which zombies walk the Earth. Hollow Earth is my favorite of the pulp offerings, a melange of the classic and inspired, including a climactic appearance by an unexpected undead beast. From Fistful (written by Shane Hensley of Deadlands fame) I offer this choice: Spaghetti with Meat or Dances with Zombies. How can you go wrong?
Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic. Tri-Tac Games.
I had heard of, but never seen, this old Tri-Tac Games chestnut. Having checked out the website (the game and supplements are now available in pdf format on CD), I think we have a perfect example of convergent evolution. I would say that much of the Bureau 13 material would fit wonderfully into the World of Nags. The BlackPowder Years 1859-1889 looks fascinating.
Call of Cthulhu by Sandy Peterson. Chaosium, 1998. Cthulhu by Gaslight [Amazon] by William Barton.
Years ago, I thought all of those CoC gods described in the old AD&D Deities and Demigods were just weird now, I Understand. CoC books stand out as examples of well written and compelling gaming material. The adventures can easily be adapted for use in a TI campaign that includes the supernatural. Though firmly in the horror genre, CoC emphasizes mystery, atmosphere, and investigation over violence and cheap frights. Cthulhu by Gaslight, due for a reprinting, provides invaluable information about Victorian horror gaming. The city sourcebooks will be useful to a Terra Incognita game master: Cairo, London, Montreal, and New Orleans.
Castle Falkenstein by Mike Pondsmith. R. Talsorian Games, 1994.
Setting, presentation, and rules combine to render this an original. The NAGS Society would fit seamlessly into New Europa, lending a scientific bent to Falkensteinian political intrigue. The core rules are scheduled for a reprint (as well as the GURPS incarnation), and the supplements are still available. The players guide Comme il Faut provides excellent guidance for getting into authentic Nineteenth century character even dressing like one, should you care to. The Lost Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci and Steam Age will inspire for Nag Technology. Six Guns and Sorcery is simply one of the best RPG supplements I have ever read.
Chaos in Carpathia by Scott R. Pyle. Four-Color Figures, 2007
If you derive amusement from pushing around little metal people, then Blue Moon Manufacturing’s Chaos in Carpathia ($10.95 for an 88 pp. pdf) might be of interest. It’s a skirmish game pitting Victorian era monster hunters against classic foes vampires, werewolves, and rapacious treasure hunters. The rules boasts Fudge-like simplicity, and there is a campaign system to create an ongoing story. There is a thorough review on RPG.net.
Conspiracy X (2/e) by M. Alexander Jurkat and George Vasilakos, et al. Eden Studios, forthcoming.
One of the many modern descendents of the NAGS Society is Aegis, the secret society that stars in Eden Studio’s Conspiracy X, which is just about to be released in a second edition. Apparently, the PDF version will be on sale April 1 from DriveThruRPG.com. If you prefer, the GURPS version of the first edition is still available.
An aviation-inspired alternate-universe pulp game which has seen various incarnations and publishers. The Crimson Skies Universe page covers the varied incarnations of this pulp aircraft game, from the computer version to the updated miniatures game.
d20 Modern by Bill Slavicsek, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, and Charles Ryan. Wizards of the Coast, 2002.
A reworking of the 3/ed Dungeons and Dragons system for games set in the modern era.
Daredevils by Bob Charrette and Paul Hume. Fantasy Games Unlimited, 1982.
As with many games from FGU, the text is extremely dense, reflecting the nature of the rules. Includes guidelines for dealing with almost anything that might arise anytime, ever.
Dark Continent by David Salisbury and Mandy Smith. New Breed Games, 2001.
Ive just finished reading, and can enthusiastically recommend, Dark Continent. It came out at the same time as TI, but has been an elusive quarry in the U.S., hence my delay in mentioning it. You can read Matthew Pooks review from 2001 in the recent 10th Anniversary issue of Pyramid, 10.24.03).
Dark Continent offer an extremely detailed primer on African exploration during the Victorian era. It includes all the crucial crunchy bits, such as how to hire a guide, how much porters can carry, how African magic works, and how to rid ones self of the filarial worm (you need a needle, a friend with a steady hand, and you dont want to know more). Dark Continent comes complete with its own system, but could easily be converted to another.
You can now get it in the States from Chaosium for $50, or, as I did, from Leisure Games in the U.K. for £25 (which, with the exchange rate and the British postal strike, added up to more than $50 and 2 weeks!).
Dark * Matter Campaign Setting for Alternity by Wolfgang Baur and Monte Cook. Wizards of the Coast, 1999.
Nags and agents from the Hoffman Institute might cooperate or compete depending upon circumstances. The spirit of the game is compatible, if darker. The supplementary Arms and Equipment Guide and Xenoforms are useful. Available as an ESD pdf download from SV Games for $4.99.
Dust Devils by Matt Snyder. Chimera Creative, 2002.
Same time period as TI but with a different sensibility, I heartily recommend Matt Snyders Dust Devils. Players must bring their own knowledge of the Old West and its folklore, cliches, and character types, as most of the games 36 digest-sized pages are devoted to describing an extremely innovative game mechanic using poker hands.
Etherscope by Nigel McClelland and Ben Redmond. Goodman Games, 2005.
Goodman Games posted a 4 page introduction to their “cyberpunk Victoriana” rpg Etherscope, which I consider serendipity itself as I just purchased the core rulebook yesterday [N.B.:the link downloads the file directly]. The introduction reproduces several pages from the book and does a great job of explaining the game’s highlights: Victoriana, but the timeline is advanced to an alternate 1984; “internet”-like technology in the form of Etherspace, genetic engineering, Lemurians, and demons. As with any OGL game, the bulk of the book is filled with rules, but Messers. Nigel McClelland and Ben Redmond did manage to incorporate a tremendous amount of setting throughout. Ben Redmond has also created the Great Metropolis website in support of the game.
Forbidden Kingdoms by Hyrum Savage and Dave Webb. Otherworld Productions, 2006.
The pulp rpg Forbidden Kingdoms has been rereleased with d20 Modern rules and as a pdf download (104 pp., $3.99 US).
Forgotten Futures by Marcus L. Rowland. Heliograph, Inc., 2000.
Based upon the science fiction (properly termed Scientific Romance) of Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others. While the settings described go further afield than most campaigns set in Terra Incognita, the flavor of the adventures is similar. I could easily imagine the NAGS Society existing in any of the Forgotten Futures settings. Forgotten Futures includes advice on game mastering and campaign design, copious period illustrations, and detailed adventures. The books serve as examples of literature skillfully adapted to the RPG genre. You can purchase the text files as shareware and formerly published in trade paperback format by Heliograph Incorporated (the line was discontinued in early 2002).
Fudge 10th Anniversary Edition by Steffan OSullivan and Ann Dupuis. Grey Ghost Press, 2005.
A flexible, adaptable game engine that encourages customization by the players and game master. Fudge inspired this author to try his hand at game design. I'm proud to be a small part of something this good. The original Fudge rules are, as always, freely available at the Grey Ghost Press website.
Full Light, Full Steam by Joshua BishopRoby (Kallisti Press, 2006, $30)
I’ve not seen this one yet. Looks to have an anime-meets-Æronef vibe going for it. The preview looks interesting, though….
Gangbusters by Mark Acres, et al. TSR, 1990.
I mention this gem for historys sake and because my vague recollections of playing a gang-busting reporter inspired the Hack Area of Specialty. Now available as an ESD download from SV Games for $4.99.
GURPS (Generic Universal Role-Playing System) by Steve Jackson Games, 1999.
The variety of genres covered by sourcebooks for the GURPS system is astounding. Many of the sourcebooks would be helpful to players and GMs gaming in Terra Incognita. Cliffhangers, for example, was one inspiration for the World of NAGS. Places of Mystery and Warehouse 23 are beneficial for adventure design. The historical worldbooks (Arabian Nights, Aztecs, China, Egypt, Greece, Imperial Rome, Japan, Russia) provide excellent background information and seeds for possible adventures. Old West (written by Ann Dupuis, et al.) has an excellent section on Native American religion and magic. See the section on Campaign Crossovers for some suggestions on how Alternate Earths, AE2, Black Ops, or Illuminati might be useful. HighTech will provide guidance on historical and modern weaponry, and UltraTech, UltraTech 2, and BioTech might provide ideas for NagTech gadgets. The first and second Whos Who collections provide invaluable suggestions for historical characters and Villains might provide some. Steampunk, Screampunk, Castle Falkenstein, and Atlantis are inspirational.
Haven: City of Bronze
As promised, Louis Porter, Jr. Designs has released the Haven: City of Bronze “neo-pulp” campaign setting as a free, 17 page pdf download. There’s also a variety of supporting material you can purchase.
Hollow Earth Expedition by Jeff Combos (Exile Game Studio, 2006, $39.99 for hardcover, $24.99 for pdf).
Pulp rpg with simple premise (and therefore lending itself to depth) adventurers explore the Hollow Earth.
The Imperial Age
Adamant Entertainment, which publishes loads of pulp rpg material in their Thrilling Tales line, also have a line for Victorian adventure roleplaying (using d20) entitled The Imperial Age. At the moment you can get a few classes, a magic supplement, and a subscription for the 2007 releases (which, according to the press release, will be “the Gamemaster's Guidebook to Victorian Adventure; Imperial Age: British India; Imperial Age: Engines, and more.”
Into the Shadows by Craig Griswold, 2000.
An excellent free horror/adventure RPG based upon West End Games d6 system. A gold mine of ideas and inspiration. The website contains a number of excellent adventures. Mr. Griswold did it right.
Masque of the Red Death
I never played this one, but it looks interesting: Masque of the Red Death is an AD&D 2/e Ravenloft variant set in the 1890s. At $4.95 from RPGNow, it would appear to be a reasonable investment, even if only for an idea mine.
Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes by Michael Stackpole. Flying Buffalo Games, 1986.
One of the first games I played after AD&D, MSPE includes excellent advice for creating adventures. The Stormhaven adventure is a masterpiece. The rulebook is useful for the detailed discussions of firearms. Beautiful in its simplicity.
OGL Steampunk by Alejandro Melchor (Mongoose Publishing, 2004, $39.95).
This is really a “fantasy” steampunk sourcebook rather than standard Victorian fare, but still useful for inspiration as it is based on d20.
Passages by Justin D. Jacobson and Richard Farrese (Blue Devil Games, 2006, $32.95 in print, $13.95 for pdf).
Looks to have that Victorian humor about it. Andrew Branstad’s review for RPGNow is informative and extremely positive.
Pulp Adventures by Timothy Parker and Erik Dewey. Iron Crown Enterprises, 1997.
A sourcebook for the Rolemaster System. I dont find ICE books aesthetically pleasing, but one cant argue that they are not jam-packed with information. This one contains a wealth of information about the 1920s through the 1940s.
Pulp Hero by Steven S. Long. Hero Games, 2005
Even if you don’t use the Hero System, Pulp Hero is a worthy resource for pulp gaming. There’s a month-by-month calendar recording pulp-worthy from 1920 to 1939, precis of the countries of the world with an eye to adventure, psychic powers, gadgets, GM advice, &c. As far as I know, it’s the first commercial RPG to list Terra Incognita in the bibliography!
Pulp Heroes by David Noonan, Polyhedron/ Dungeon Magazine 149/90, updated to d20 Modern rules in 161/102, 2002/2003.
An excellent adaptation of the d20 rules for playing the pulps. The update includes a setting, The Seedy Streets of Northport.
If I had to look for information about a roleplaying game, one could not do better than John Kim’s RPG Encyclopedia. As an testament to the obscurities Mr. Kim has dug up, the encyclopedia not only list Grey Ghost Press and Terra Incognita, but also Circa Games, which is a “company” made up by me to publish TIs forbear, the NAGS Society Worldbook.
Savage Worlds by Shane Lacy Hensley. Pinnacle, 2003.
Billed as a generic system, the Savage Worlds core rulebook contains everything you need for play in the pulp era. I see it as a cross between Fudge and d20, so it should have something for everyone.
Sidewinder by Burns, Masterson (via lengthy quotations of his work), Peck, and Spakes. Citizen Games, 2002.
A d20 system old west rpg. The 192 book contains lots of historical information (all useful for wild west TI), interesting d20 character classes, descriptions and a map of Dodge City, two complete adventures, numerous adventure seeds, and various and sundry characters, both original and historical.
Space: 1889 by Frank Chadwick. Game Designers Workshop, 1988; reprinted by Heliograph, Inc., 2000.
The original hardcover is one of the most beautifully produced rulebooks I have ever encountered. Space: 1889 is a science fiction game based upon the same literature as Forgotten Futures in which explorers achieved space travel in the Victorian Age. The rulebook is interspersed with tidbits about Victorian culture, politics, and personalities. The illustrated equipment list is gorgeous. The world is sufficiently rich and detailed to allow for the existence of the NAGS Society. Space: 1889 is a perfect example of how an alternate world can integrate history and literary speculation. Heliograph plans to reprint the entire Space: 1889 oeuvre.
Spirit of the Century by Rob Donoghue, Fred Hicks, and Leonard Balsera.
Employs the FATE System, which descended from Fudge. This one has received extremely good reviews.
Terra Primate by Patrick Sweeney. Eden Studios, 2002.
A wonderful guide to gaming in worlds with apes ascendant, from Planet of the Apes to Congo.
Two-Fisted Tales by Matt Stevens. Spectre Press, 2003.
Two-Fisted Tales was originally available as a free rpgone of the first pulp rpgs available, I believe. I cant wait to read this new incarnation! You get a 120 page pdf formatted for printing and 160 page pdf formatted for onscreen reading, $16, 10.1 MB.
War of the Worlds (Action Classics!) by Christopher McGlothlin. Gold Rush Games, 2003.
If youve ever considered gaming a version of The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, you can find a good bit of guidance in the Action Classics! War of the Worlds sourcebook by Christopher McGlothlin. Heres what you get in the 112 page, $6.95 pdf file:
Following an introduction by James Cambias (author of the excellent GURPS Mars) is the complete text of the novel with new illustrations (72 pages). Of course, you can get the book in a number of cheap, mass market paperbacks or online for free from the University of Virginia.
The sourcebook (pages 73-109; the last few pages are the OGL and advertisements) is helpfully formatted so you can print it out separately from the text of the novel. It opens with some cursory information on setting the scene in Edwardian England. Youll find some additional rules for the Action! System (which is also available for free). Next come game statistics (Action! System and d20) for the Martians and all of the other significant characters in the book. Ten pages of advice will help GMs to work PCs into the action of the novel or to change the story altogether. Just before the bibliography comes the all-important one-page summary of how to wargame the novel using the Monster Island rules.
This sourcebook will be extremely useful to those who want to jump into the War of the Worlds right away. If you know the book well (N.B.: more than half of the file is the text of the novel), or want to go in an entirely different direction, it may be less helpful. The original price of $4.95 seemed about right; it now has jumped to $6.95. One æsthetic note: you dont get the cool cover with the pdf file.
For those miniature fans out there, Reviresco has some nice 25mm martian tripods. Or, if youd prefer that screaming mob look, make a leap and order some 10mm tripods and troops from Pendraken (get the stock numbers from the Pendraken catalog and then email Blake at Papa Willies Wargames in the US).
Wuthering Heights Roleplay is Philippe Tromeur’s take on literary roleplaying in a world of anguish and despair (based on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights). It’s not a new free, online game, but it’s worth a reread as it forges a different path of roleplaying.
Movies & Television Shows
Through the wonder of kinematographic technology you can view the following pellicles at your home campus.
African Queen (1951, John Huston)
I finally saw this Bogart/Hepburn African river adventure classic. Read the book it was based upon (by C.S. Forester of Horatio Hornblower fame) for a non-Hollywood-ized version. Heres a link to a website featuring the actual boat used in the movie.
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001). Although in no way a classic, this steampunk adventure (set in 1914) is ripe for the picking.
Brazil (1985, Terry Gilliam)
As with The Difference Engine, this movie got me thinking about a society based upon large bureaucracies. The vision is darker than Terra Incognita, but the convoluted technology suggests the kind of innovations I see as characteristic of Nag Tech.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968, Ken Hughes)
Not as farfetched an influence as it might seem. Chitty persisted in my mind from childhood as archetypical Nag Tech a flying, aquatic car. Provides inspiration for an extremely comic Terra Incognita campaign. The movie has it all a lovable gadgeteer, retired British Army men playing with miniatures, mad scientists, nefarious villains, and Ian Fleming's peculiar genius for naming female characters.
Gunga Din (1939, George Stevens)
Continuing my series of movies I should have seen a long time ago (which began with African Queen) I can heartily recommend Gunga Din. Inspired by a Kipling poem, the movie has English colonialists in India, Cary Grant, pitched battles, and those nefarious Thuggees who will show up again in Indiana Jones.
Island of Lost Souls (1933, Erle C. Kenton)
If you can get your hands on a copy, I recommend this 1933 adaptation of the Island of Dr. Moreau. Charles Laughton is an oily rather than intimidating Moreau, while Bela Lugosi puts a wolfman suit to use as the Sayer of the Law. It would also seem that George Lucas lifted the make up from one of the beasts for his Sullustans in Star Wars. The movie departs from the original book by Wells, but agreeably so. I only wish it were longer.
Land of the Lost
The classic children‘s television show Land of the Lost has its own Wikipedia page. Visit and learn a little more about this inspiration from the days of yore.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
I recently saw this classic epic, apparently a faithful rendering of the exploits of T.E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt of 1917. The T.E. Lawrence Studies page will fill in those historical details that filmmakers missed.
I’ve never seen, but read much about, the popular TV series Lost. There is a bit of the Wikipedia devoted to it, appropriately entitled the Lostpedia.
The Lost World (1925, Harry O. Hoyt)
Silent Movie Monsters: The Lost World is an informative, if aged, site dedicated to the 1925 silent movie version of Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, which, owing to the NAGS Society’s recent upgrade to a “modern” internet connection, I was finally able to see on the Internet Archive.
The Man Who Would Be King (1975, John Huston)
Based on a story by Kipling, starring Michael Caine and Sean Connery, this classic film can inspire any number of adventures.
Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1981, 1984, and 1989, Steven Spielberg)
Perhaps the best known modern adaptation of the pulp genre. The hero could in no way be considered discrete, but the flavor of the adventures is appropriate.
The Wild, Wild West Movie (1999, Barry Sonnenfeld) and The Wild, Wild West Television show (1965, Michael Garrison)
Spies in the Old West. Both the classic television show and the recent movie depict heroes and villains employing outré technology.
The XFiles (1998, Rob Bowman)
Aside from the UFO-based uber-plot, this show masterfully employs equivocal expanded reality in which mysteries could have either scientific or occult explanations. You can also buy collections of episodes of the television show.