Thursday, January 16, 2020

Through A Veil of Blue Mist Did I First Behold Talislanta

I've mentioned my appreciation for Stephan Michael Sechi's Talislanta setting. Since I'm contemplating running a Sword & Planet game that uses Talislanta as the "planet," I though it was a good time to revisit the setting, and it's publication history in a series of posts, as I think about what I'm going to use and what I might do differently.

Historically, Talislanta is both a setting and a game. It's core, however, has always been the systemless Chronicles of Talislanta, first published by Bard Games in 1987. Chronicles is the narrative of Tamerlin, a wizard from another world, as he explores the continent of Talislanta. Sechi's imaginative setting is made more compelling by P.D. Breeding-Black's distinctive illustrations.

When I first encountered Talislanta, I didn't have much experience with Sechi's inspirations: the works of Jack Vance, Marco Polo's Travels, The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, and the comics of Philippe Druillet. To me, it seemed more daring than the implied setting of D&D, and at once goofier and more lurid than the likes of Middle-Earth. It reminded me of Star Wars and comic books. I liked it instantly.

My appreciation has only grown over the years. So, I'm going to trace Tamerlin's journey and the places it visits across editions and think about how I might make it my own, influenced by my understanding of Sechi's stated influences and influences of my own.

More to come.


Anthony Herring said...

I relate. Big fan of the setting and of its creator.

The books are available as free PDF downloads at

Looking forward to your future posts.

JB said...

Talislanta always fascinated me, though I could never quite pull the trigger on getting it...even after it became free! However, I am a big fan of Sechi's earlier books (The Compleat Adventurer, etc.) which I understand were part of the impetus for creating his own setting/system.

Regardless, I'd love to read a series on the subject.

Peter C. said...

I plunged into Talislanta after seeing your previous post with an image from the cover of The Chronicles of Talislanta. Amazing stuff. Looking forward to reading your reflections.

Anne said...

Looking forward to seeing more about this! If the art and list of influences you included here are any indication, Talislanta sounds quite psychedelic.

Ben L. said...

I’m excited for this series. My next campaign is going to be swords and planet too and I’ve been curious about talislanta for a long time