EverQuest was and remains the archetypal addictive Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG). It’s nicknamed “EverCrack” for a reason. No surprise then that the video game was adapted into a pen-and-paper tabletop edition, the EverQuest Role-Playing Game.
It started in 2002 with the EQ Player’s Handbook, which is what I’m profiling today. The PHB, like so many other RPGs of the last 20+ years, was written in compliance with the Open Game License 1.0 (a), which has been in the news lately. This made the EQ RPG somewhat compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition.
But only somewhat. To fit the tone of the online game, a number of changes were made to the core D&D rules, like mana pools instead of Vancian magic, for example. EQ RPG did not display the D20 System logo, as that would have prevented inclusion of basic elements of character creation, among other things. Instead EQ published under the general OGL, while stating on the cover “compatible with 3rd edition fantasy role-playing rules”.
A number of rulebooks and sourcebooks followed. They were published by White Wolf, under their Sword & Sorcery imprint. Old School D&D artists Clyde Caldwell and Keith Parkinson are featured on many of the covers.
|EverQuest Role-Playing Game Player’s Handbook||16500||1588461254|
|Monsters of Norrath||16501||1588461262|
|EverQuest Game Master’s Guide||16502||1588461270|
|Realms of Norrath: Freeport||16510||1588461289|
|Realms of Norrath: Everfrost Peaks||16511||1588461319|
|Temple of Solusek Ro (plus Gamemaster Screen)||16521||1588461327|
|Monsters of Luclin||16514||1588460649|
|Realms of Norrath: Forests of Faydark||16513||1588461335|
|Realms of Norrath: Dagnor’s Cauldron||16515||1588469530|
|Plane of Hate||16524||158846976X|
|Heroes of Norrath||16504||1588469638|
|EverQuest II Player’s Guide||16550||1588469999|
|EverQuest II Spell Guide||?||?|
EverQuest Player’s Handbook
2002 … 396 pages … White Wolf (Sword & Sorcery) / Sony Online Entertainment … WW16500 … ISBN 1588461254
Beware: I’ve seen reports that some EQ PHBs are missing pages 65 to 96, which contain the all-important character classes.
You’re Not Online
(from the Game Master’s Guide)
“If you and some of your players have played EverQuest online, especially if you have played a lot of EverQuest online (you know who you are!), letting go of the way some things are done online that do not exist in this “pen-and-paper” version of EverQuest might be strange. In EQrpg, several of the online conventions that are necessary for a fun online experience, but which might also detract from having a more internally realistic setting, can be removed. This matter is best explained by examples:
• Characters do not run across the Plains of Karana in fifteen minutes. The Plains of Karana are an 800-mile wide stretch of rolling grass and hills. Crossing the plains takes ox-drawn caravans months, assuming they survive the trek at all.
• The game does not always happen in real time. If characters need two months of in-game time to cross the Plains of Karana, you might have that journey happen in 6 months of play time or 6 seconds of play time, depending on how your story should unfold and where the characters need to be for the story.
• There are no zones or zone lines. The geography of Norrath is dictated more by the map on the following page than by how online zones connect.
• If a character dies, she does not immediately re-spawn naked at her bind affinity point. She stays quite dead until her comrades haul her carcass back out of the dungeon and pay a cleric in town to resurrect her.
• Freeport is a huge city with thousands upon thousands of citizens, not 80+ online computer model citizens. Taverns are crowded with patrons, marketplaces teem with commerce, walls are manned by scores of militiamen.
• The population of tile known world is not confined to a few major cities. Where a lone inn stands in the online world, a large village might exist in your EQrpg version of Norrath. For example, the Western Karanas are filled with dozens of villages and thousands of homesteaders from Qeynos, trying to survive the plains long enough to supply Qeynos with its agricultural food requirements.
• If heroes slay the dragon Nagafen, he stays dead (though some other powerful creature may fill the power vacuum and usurp Nagalen’s former domain, or Solusek Ro might decide to resurrect the dragon as his own servitor — or any of a thousand other stories).
• All “adventurers” in the world of Norrath total far less than 1% of the population. The vast majority of citizens are not brave or talented enough to pursue such lives. The PCs are unique and heroic individuals in the setting, not the most common figures seen running through the hills.”