Talislanta is a role-playing game, with a fantasy character, created by Stephen Michael Sechi in 1987 and now in its incarnation for the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons.

Did you know that this particular product has never enjoyed much… luck? Not meant as luck in sales, just no luck in the bud!

A little history on Talislanta

The editorial history of Talislanta has been quite troubled since its first edition. Born as a breaking point from the classic fantasy, to which we were accustomed, this setting for advertising printed flyers like the one you see below.

Why really no elves? Definitely to try to offer something new to viewers who in those years were dealing with classic games such as Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms.

Well, the idea just seemed to work, at least at first. In fact, after a first edition in 1987, the publishing house of the time, the Bard Games, published a second edition in 1989 with a series of supplements, which have now become non-canonical, and then finally failed in 1990.

Here, then, comes an old acquaintance of ours, the W and it was 1992. Back then, you have to remember, the WotC did not yet own the rights of Dungeons & Dragons, which he obtained only in 1997 after the acquisition of TSR (Tactical Studies Rules), so he still didn't have a rush game, so he decided to buy the rights to Talislanta.

It was in the same year of the acquisition that he published the third edition of the game, a project which was then set aside in favor of Magic: The Gathering, whose success literally exploded between 1993 and 1994 (you can find some of our articles on MtG here: Fblthp, the War of the Spark, Throne of Eldraine, the Terragate affair!).

However, right after the last release for the game, the WotC announced the transfer of rights to a company, the Daedalus Enterteinment, which failed even before sending its edition to print.

A beautiful iella huh? It's not over.

In 1997, for the tenth anniversary of the first publication, the Pharos Press, which had bought the rights after the bankruptcy of Daedalus, announced the release of a commemorative edition of the game. Work that never saw the prints and that led to the termination of the contract between Stephen Michael Sechi and the publishing house.

For a few years the traces of Talislanta, at least until 2001. With the arrival of the new century the Shooting Iron, who had previously worked for Pharos Press, retrieved all the blueprints and began publishing new rules and an updated setting for the game until, in 2004, the Morrigan Press acquired the license to create an edition d20 System of the game.

And here the umpteenth "tragedy" took place. In 2007 the book of rules was published, thus reaching its fifth edition, and the following year this umpteenth publishing house also went bankrupt.

I'm not superstitious eh, but a bit of bad luck I start to see it.

Setting

What happens when "The dreamlike search of the unknown Kadath"Meets and collides with"Alice in Wonderland“, All written by Jack Vance?

It happens that the old woman is born Talislanta!

The game world, for the old editions, was a world full of life, more or less. Millennia earlier the world was destroyed by a magical catastrophe known as "The Great Disaster". The Archaens, the old rulers of the world, had enjoyed playing with magic for too long. They created all sorts of wonders, from spaceships to virtual reality and every other object in our world while using magic.

This, however, had led to a weakening of the structure itself of the various dimensions and, due to this debilitation, the aforementioned destruction caused by magic occurred.

After a millennium, however, the world had managed to recover. New cultures had flourished, a sort of "Renaissance"In some areas of the continent, while in others, still afflicted by the catastrophe, the survivors were forced to strive to get to the next day.

As often happens in this kind of settings, the differences are so macroscopic that it sometimes seems almost ridiculous to see the sudden changes in narrative tone from one area of ​​the continent to another neighboring one. In some respects such a broad setting traces, in an almost obvious way, the story of Greyhawk that comes to life in the world of Oerth.

It is certainly historically a setting full of areas to explore and cultures to understand but, in the latest product released, things are very, very different.

An image of Talislanta

A short review for Talislanta - The Savage Land

The setting of this latest version is profoundly different from what the "historical players" of Talislanta they got to know. Here the world has not recovered from the catastrophe at all, only a few dozen years having passed since the almost total destruction of the continent itself.

The populations are organized into tribes that go to war to raid, plunder, kill or find a slightly better place to try to survive. The buildings of ancient times are crumbling, but the Archaen creations are still active.

Magic is lost, just as faith in the gods is lost. There is no hope in the current world of Talislanta and there won't be any for quite a few more years. You know the Cataclysm hurled by the gods on Krynn in Dragonlance and the resulting "Era of Despair"? Here is more or less the situation is similar.

The manual after a few pages, where we are presented with archetypes of a player and a non-player character, finally balanced compared to other editions, quickly describes some areas of the continent, leaving plenty of room for the DM and the players to create their own stories and deal with certain survival issues.

After these few pages, skills and a sort of magic more similar to ritualism and superstition are explained, compared to magic as we are used to knowing it. This is a very interesting topic explained in the manual, together with group actions. In fact, the manual underlines how it is necessary to be united to survive until the next day.

After this interesting, but too brief description, we are thrown into an all too rich creatures, which unfortunately occupies over a third of the manual. Honestly, the need was not felt.

Finally, we find ourselves in front of pages of tables for casual encounters and objects for survival, without however dealing with interesting themes on survival itself.

Real survival issues? We would have liked to have read them ...

Conclusions

Ultimately I am not very happy with the product. First of all for the odyssey that this has experienced in its realization. Presented in 2017, with an expected release in 2018, the product arrived only today in Europe, but if it were just that, one could also have accepted to wait a little longer, but in the face of well-made and well-finished material.

Instead the images of the manual leave a lot to be desired and, although the layout is good, this manual in all respects resembles a product of the 90s of the last century.

Talislanta images
I don't know about you, but it doesn't drive me crazy

Let's not talk about having embarked on a too complicated path without having the resources, in fact it had been presented as playable in various systems. Lenders could choose between Pathfinder, D&D, Savage World e TSL e Open d6. However, following the low orders for Pathfinder and Savage World, the creative team arbitrarily decided that it would not be worth the expense of converting to these two systems for any production costs and subsequently printing.

I do not deny that there are some positive features in this published material, but honestly after an additional year of waiting I would have hoped for something more than a full-bodied bestiary and little information on the setting, or completely absent. I understand the loss of historical memory following a cataclysm, but this is exaggerating!

So if you are looking for information on what happened previously on the game continent of Talislanta, you will have to rely on manuals of old editions.

Not even the prestigious brand Chaosium, with which this latest manual saw the prints, managed to save this product from ending up in my personal forgetfulness.