Dungeons and Dragons came about when wargame groups incorporated fantasy elements at their game tables, with persistent player characters. Many old school campaigns remained in that transition zone between miniatures gaming and RPGs.

The Quest of Thane Tostig (Navwar, 1977) inhabits that same zone. Written to support the line of fantasy metal miniatures by Barry Minot, QTT is intended to be a simple fantasy action game. The rules were intended to resolve issues in play without the need of an arbiter. The writers, Eric Knowles and William Knowles, both encourage and caution:

“…though ideal for the younger wargamer, [QTT] will provide a basis on which older wargamers and fantasy fanatics can build, adding as many further complications as their fertile minds may devise. However, it has always been our experience that the more you complicate the rules, the more you slow down the game and open up that curse of wargaming, arguments of rule interpretation.”

And there a wargame becomes an RPG, by one measure anyway: The need for an arbiter, a Dungeon Master (DM). I’d reckon many QTT game groups would eventually play a game more akin to D&D.

The adventure takes place in the Dungeon… err “Underground Palace” of the Wood Sprites.

Quest of Thane Tostig Ebay auction ended on 10 April 2022 at $89.

Set in 447 AD, this is “the saga of King Arthur’s Saxon contemporary, the legendary Thane Tostig!”

The opposition takes the form of the wood and fen sprites, who live in the dank woods and swamps and “delight” in capturing and torturing any humans they encounter. They are in possession of the “all powerful sword, Blooddrinker” which is the object of Tostig’s quest. The sprites are assisted by a terrible wood witch and her retinue. Several other quests are alluded to involving the man-eaters Grendel and Grendelham, savage goblins called Scuccas, a two headed giant, winged elf-folk called Scinnas, Myrrdin the wizard, and King Medraut who commands the skeletal ghosts of some Roman legionaries. Tostig’s last adventure is against Waerferth, a dragon guarding a hoard. The rules in this booklet only cover the quest against the wood and fen sprites. Presumably other scenarios were planned to cover the remaining adventures.

Fred Daniel talks about background and gameplay (see blog for more)

David Wood has photos of all the metal miniatures. The minis are very old school and for mature audiences.

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