Here is a little history for those of you too new to Talislanta to know the intricacies of its publishing history. The final Talislanta supplement published by Wizards Of The Coast in 1994 was Sub-Men Rising. A special message was included on the very last page of the book;
This is the last Talislanta book from Wizards of the Coast — Talislanta is now available from Daedalus Games instead. Talislanta was one of WOTC’s first product lines, and has been identified with our company since the start. But we’re moving on to other games and game ideas, and passing the torch to a company as new as we were when we first began publishing Talislanta. Daedalus is very excited about the game and plans to do some terrific things in 1995 and beyond.
Sub-Men Rising author Robin D. Laws is working on more books for the game, including a new edition of the rulebook. We’d like to thank all the Talislanta fans who have followed our work for the game and told us how much they’ve enjoyed it. in gratitude for your support, we’ve taken a lot of extra time and effort to make Sub-Men Rising the best book we could. We hope you enjoy it, and continue enjoying Daedalus Games’ Talislanta books for a long time to come.
Daedalus Entertainment, a small company which had gained some attention for creating the game Feng Shui, was set to release a new edition of Talislanta. The new rulebook, written by noted game designer Robin Laws, was scheduled to be released within a year’s time. Unfortunately this was simply not meant to be and Daedalus faltered before its version saw print.
The next company that would attempt to revive Talislanta was Pharos Press. Fans were foaming at the mouth when Pharos announced they would be creating a special tenth anniversary edition of the game, scheduled to be released in early 1997. Despite early promises and enthusiasm, this release was long delayed, till the actual anniversary was years past. The particulars of what happened next are still largely unknown.
Pharos Press finished the 10th anniversary edition and created 20 to 40 ashcans (test prints) for an upcoming convention. Shortly afterwards SMS, who maintained creative control of the game through all editions, rescinded the license with Pharos Press. Upon request they were allowed to sell off the remaining ashcan prints. The exact number of 10th Anniversary ashcans printed and currently in circulation are unknown. Shooting Iron would be the next publisher for Talislanta and went on to release the 4th Edition “Big Blue Book”. The 10th Anniversary Edition is the prominent foundation of the Big Blue Book but each is different enough to warrant a healthy desire to own both =D
Jonathan Elliot has seen both editions first hand. He was kind enough to summarize the differences between the two; “In terms of content, it’s pretty close. There were quite a few errors that were fixed, some artwork changes and additions, the addition of an index, and possibly a couple of tweaks to the magic system. The layout was changed quite a bit, and a lot of that was due to the change in physical size of the book. The 10th AV was approx 7×9, with tiny text, possibly 6pt. What the 10th did have, that the 4th did not, were really bad photos of Steve, John, and Adam Sonfeld in the bio section.”
Adam Black adds; “The layout stretched the artwork to fill in empty spaces with absolutely no regard for the aspect ratio of the original artwork. It was mildly disconcerting, to put it politely.”
The physical quality of an ashcan is inferior to a normal book. Acquiring a proper scan would undoubtedly require that its binding be destroyed in the process. Due to the extreme rarity, the unlikeliness that anyone would use this over the near identical 4th Edition, and how unpleasant it would be to read a 6pt fond with stretched art, we are not seeking this book for the Talislanta Library.
What we can offer you is this lovely 10th Anniversary Edition Sampler. On the off chance you own a 10th Anniversary Edition and would like to donate it to be scanned, please Contact Us. Otherwise enjoy what is easily the most ultra rare piece of Talislanta memorabilia.
Images courtesy of Mark Reed.