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Thieves' World Role Playing Game - Chaosium - FASA

FASA supplements ~ Sanctuary Boardgame

See Also: Thieves Guild


Thieves' World [BOX SET]

One of the first "Shared World" fantasy settings -- now commonplace -- was Thieves' World. Contributors to the first two volumes included Lynn Abbey, Poul Anderson, Robert Asprin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, John Brunner, Christine DeWees, David Drake, Philip Jose Farmer, Joe Haldeman, Janet Morris, Andrew Offut, and A.E. van Vogt.

The darkly grim city of Sanctuary was an immediate hit with readers. The series with its roots in fantasy roleplaying in turn inspired the Thieves World Sanctuary Adventure Pack. In keeping with the spirit of the montage of authors of the series, Greg Stafford, et al at Chaosium worked with with some of the brighter lights of the RPG industry (Dave Arneson, Steve Marsh, Midkemia Press, Marc Miller, Steve Perrin, Lawrence Schick, Ken St. Andre, and many others) to make the Thieves' World RPG compatible with 9 RPG systems: AD&D, Adventures in Fantasy, Chivalry & Sorcery, DragonQuest, D&D, The Fantasy Trip, RuneQuest, Traveller, and Tunnels & Trolls.

Truly a Rosetta Stone of early roleplaying.


"Skulk through the night on the heels of Shadowspawn . . . delve into the twisted tunnels of the Purple Mage . . . attend the court (or perhaps the harem) of Prince Kadakithis . . . dodge the keen-eyed Hell Hounds with Jubal's Hawkmasks . . . drink your ale and guard your purse at the Vulgar Unicorn . . . boldly walk the streets of the wildest, most varied, and most downright fascinating city in fantasy literature SANCTUARY, the Thieves' World!
* The Players' Guide to Sanctuary the creation of Sanctuary; Thud and Blunder, Sanctuary chronology; 'Hakiem' and 'The Hell Hounds'; a stroll through the city; a captured llsigi document; magic, working ladies, and oaths; glossary /pronunciation guide; a map of the known world; a city map. * The Game Master's Guide to Sanctuary palm-greasing and arrest procedures; a secret Carronnian report; city gods and religions; main city encounters; encounters for the Jewelers' Quarter, Processional, and Westside; 18 tables of specific encounters, descriptions/encounters for The Maze, Bazaar, Street of Red Lanterns, Downwind; business generators and tables by area; 6 area maps, 15 floorplans of typical buildings (including the Vulgar Unicorn); scenario suggestions.
* The Personalities of Sanctuary story/character index; system notes as applicable and character stats for 9 RPG systems (minimum of twenty characters each, each system divided to Prince and Retinue. Transients, and Residents); general descriptions of other characters.
* Wall Map of Sanctuary. Referee Maps of The Maze, The Maze underground."


THE THIEVES' WORLD ADVENTURE PACK contains three books and three separate maps. Each of these is carefully designed to fulfill a particular need, as outlined here.

THE PLAYER'S GUIDE TO SANCTUARY answers those individuals who, new to Sanctuary, ask "What do I know about the place?" It gives commonly-known information about the city, as well as essays portraying ancient city life which will warn the players of the inherent dangers and problems of such places. This book is useful browsing for the gamemaster, also.

THE GAMEMASTER'S GUIDE TO SANCTUARY provides the gamemaster with a master plan and guide to the intricate ins-and-outs of the city. This is the main book for plotting adventures and/or random encounters in the city. It contains extensive and detailed encounter tables, sample floor plans (usable for break-ins and constructing adventures), and it can also generate purposes for empty buildings.

PERSONALITIES OF SANCTUARY holds the NPC statistics for the characters of the books. It is quite likely that player-characters will encounter one or more of these individuals during their own adventures, or that players may wish to role-play these people as their own characters. This book gives stats and notes for the major (and minor) characters of the stories in the formats and terms of nine different FRP game systems. Readers have a unique opportunity to compare authorative stats from different game systems for the same characters. There are additional essays, and several scenario suggestions.

MAP OF SANCTUARY is the large map. It shows all of the buildings in the city, the streets (but not alleys), and points of interest. This might be spread out before the players to chart their progress through the avenues of adventure. Note that the Maze is deliberately blank.

THE MAZE map is in smaller scale than the city map, giving more detail than the city map. The Maze map is for the gamemiaster's use only. The premise is that the Maze is a wild and unknown area, even to local authorities, and that if players wish to enter it they must explore it themselves: there are no guidelines for strangers here!

THE MAZE UNDERGROUND is a mate to the Maze map. Anyone entering the Maze area is as likely to take to the secret, underground routes as he is to go over the roofs or take the common streets. This map, too, is intended for gamemaster use only, forcing players to remember (or to map) the routes which they have survived.

1981 ... CHAO 2007-X ... ISBN 093363501X

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Thieves' World Companion: Sanctuary Roleplaying Under the Beysibs
"The Thieves' World stories began in 1979, to instant acclaim. Not long after, Chaosium published a boxed Thieves' World roleplaying supplement which garnered awards and more acclaim. Since the first book hit the newstands, more than 2200 paperback pages and eight additional Thieves' World volumes have been printed - a phenomenon others imitate but cannot duplicate.

Sanctuary, the town too mean to die, has changed little from the time it first saw print, but many new characters now stride the city's streets, pillage the foolish in its alleys, and connive in its back rooms. Lalo, Ischade, Roxanne, Niko, Mradhon Vis, The Beysa, Chenaya, Zip, and many more have come to life, and are now included in the Companion's full character stats for the RQ3 and MERPs systems.

New essays consider Rankan, Ilsigi, Beysib, and Outsider deities in the light of further tales of Sanctuary, that place which is the funnel of the gods and the eye of the Rankan hurricane.

The excellent encounter tables from the Thieves' World box have been revised to reflect later events and personalities, and are presented here in full. There are also floor-by-floor isometrics of the Great Dungeon. Though adjacent to Kitty-Cat's palace, nobody seems to go there. Now you can study its defenses and understand why.

Alone or along with the Thieves' World box, the Companion rekindles the fabulous world of Sanctuary - Thieves' World."

1986 ... Anders Swenson & Steve Perrin & Iron Crown Enterprises & Midkemia Press & Lynn Willis ... 48 pages + fold-out map ... CHAO 2015 ... ISBN 0933635346

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FASA supplements

The following 3 adventures for Thieves' World were published by FASA in 1982. The cover art is essentially the same, though one could play "Where's Waldo" with all the little subtle changes on the back covers... Cover artist Mitch O'Connell was having a little fun. (Example: The butcher sign says either Butcher, Meat, or Beef depending on which book you're looking at!)
I've got a photo of the back covers of the three adventures, side-by-side, over at our
sales site blog. Enjoy!

Pages 22 & 39 are a city map of Sanctuary. All the pages in between are unnumbered player handouts: Characters and Documents 1 through 6.

The character sheets are peculiar. Here is the explanation from page 7:

"Enclosed are five double-sided character sheets which are actually for two groups of five characters for this adventure. It is recommended that these, rather than the gamer's own characters, be used so that the identity of the traitor will be more difficult to determine.

The first two thirds of of each side of the sheet for each character are identical. On one side a section has been added to each of these biographies telling of how that character became the traitor. There is really little in the adventure itself which will expose the traitor. It must be judged by the character's actions as played by whomever gets the traitor sheet.

To begin the game, pass out the five characters randomly. (If there are less than five players pass out a lesser number, but the adventure plays better if there are no less than four.) To all but one gamer, pass out the sheets with just the biography side up. To the other gamer give the sheet including the story of how he became a traitor. Be sure to warn each gamer to keep his sheets hidden, but leave them for players' reference later. Any player who shows his sheet to another (to prove that he is not the traitor) should be expelled from the game.

If you want to create real confusion pass out two sheets for traitors. This leads to all sorts of strange complications, but run the adventure with just one traitor first.

THIS ADVENTURE IS A TRUE ROLE PLAYING ADVENTURE. This means that the gamers and the judge must take care to play the personalities of the characters as accurately as possible. Both the player characters and the numerous NPCs in this adventure can all be assumed to be virtual strangers (all new to being hawkmasks) and somewhat unfamiliar to Sanctuary as well."

"Jubal has made it clear. In three days deliver the one among you who betrays the Hawkmasks or all must die. In a race against time you must find which of you is the TRAITOR and recover a valuable document. TRAITOR is an adventure in Sanctuary, the city of Thieves' World anthologies edited by Robert Asprin. TRAITOR includes a detailed adventure, dozens of new characters, maps, and locations for Sanctuary, and Gaming Jubal by Robert Asprin."

1982 ... 60 pages

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The Spirit Stones
"Home nowhere, but at home everywhere, the S'Danzo are found among all the lands of Thieves' World. The history and mythology of this, perhaps the most ancient race in the Rankan Empire, is presented in a lengthy, original article by Lynn Abbey. Then your task begins.

On the hill near the city, you look down upon its maze of streets and crowded bazaars. Somewhere in Sanctuary is the bandit who stole the most sacred relics of your people, the Spirit Stones. The city seems strange after years of travelling the roads and seaways of Ranke. Recovering the lost Spirit Stones from this den of thieves would be a daunting task for a regular city dweller. Slowly you descend the hill discouraged, but determined to regain the only sacred relics your far flung peoples treasure and to return their meaning to the millenial wanderings of the S'Danzo."

1982 ... 44 pages ... FASA

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Dark Assassin
"An ancient feud between two powerful families is the cause of an assassination plot against a young Rankan noble. You have to stop it. The one problem is that the weapon to be used is a magically created monster.

Dark Assassin is an adventure in Sanctuary, the city of Thieves' World. This booklet includes a detailed adventure, new characters, maps, locations for Sanctuary and Gaming Sanctuary by Robert Asprin."

1982 ... 48 pages ... FASA

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The Blue Camel
Rare convention pamphlet with 2 printed pages inside a cover.

"3 Hours to live...
It's broad daylight and somehow you've got to get hold of this stinking blue camel in order to get the antidote from that murderous little madman...
This is just the first of a series of exciting Thieves' World adventures being introduced by FASA. Each adventure will include detailed building diagrams and maps to assist in play. New characters will be introduced and illustrations will add flavor to the adventure. each adventure will also feature an article by Robert Asprin. These articles will include in-depth descriptions of characters and new information concerning gaming in the utopian paradise of Sanctuary."

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Vengeance of Markeesh
Probably never published.

Sanctuary Boardgame

Sanctuary: The Boardgame of Thieves' World [BOX SET]

"Sanctuary contains one puzzle-cut board (in six pieces), a sheet of cardboard counters (4 Thug and 2 Amulet Counters and 48 silver coins), 112 cards, 5 black and 5 colored pawns, 2 six-sided dice, 1 ten-sided die, a rules booklet (including Introduction to Sanctuary, Solitaire Game Rules, Advanced Game Rules with special Rumor Results Section, Charts and Tables, and Sanctuary area map), and a Basic Rules sheet.

Two to five players compete for the most silver pieces. The first player to get 300 silver pieces in his cache wins the game. Players obtain silverpieces by traveling the streets of Sanctuary to steal them where rumor says silver can be had. Players must survive the hazards of life in the most dangerous city in fantasy, particularly the Hell Hounds (law enforcers in Sanctuary) and the unusual residents of Sanctuary they confront in the Event Cards."

1984 ... Mayfair Games 504 ... ISBN 0425066169

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Sanctuary: The Thieves' World Boardgame [BOX SET]
"Sanctuary, 'the meanest, seediest city in all of fantasy' is waiting for you! Based on the Thieves' World series of Robert Lynn Asprin and Lynn Abbey, Sanctuary challenges you to match your wits against the hard-core, streetwise criminals who stalk its dark alleys. Follow the trail of clues that leads to riches. To survive in Sanctuary you must be cunning, alert, and clever... just don't count your silver too soon; in Sanctuary there's always someone waiting to snatch it away! Sanctuary is an exciting game for 2 to 6 players ages 12 to adult."

1988 ... Mayfair Games MGI 451 ... ISBN 0912771976

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