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When I was in high school back in the mid to late 1990s (between 1996 and 2000), my friends and I play-tested a fantasy role-playing game that one of them had received through the mail. The main conceit of the game was that you (the player) was pulled into a medieval fantasy world with nothing more than the clothes you were wearing right now and whatever was in your pockets. You made characters based on your real-life stats and skills. I don't remember much about the system itself. It may have been percentile based, but I also seem to recall that there were basic stats similar to D&D (Strength, Constitution, Charisma, etc.)

I don't know if it actually became a published product or not. It was definitely a separate system, rather than an adventure for another system.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Was it perhaps based off of the Dungeons and Dragons Cartoon show? \$\endgroup\$ – Zibbobz Sep 23 '14 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ No. We already played D&D and knew of the cartoon show, so it wasn't related to that. \$\endgroup\$ – Discord Sep 23 '14 at 16:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hmmmm, Villains & Vigilantes (published in 1979) used the same conceit...but clearly isn't what you're looking for given that it was superhero themed. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villains_and_Vigilantes \$\endgroup\$ – Jeff Fry Sep 23 '14 at 23:17
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Timelords (1987 for 1st edition, 1990 for 2nd) was another RPG that had the players generate characters based on themselves. It was not actually a fantasy game, but a time travel game. It did have, as a default setting, the idea that the GM had brought a strange new d20 to the game session, which turned out to be a timetravelling device. The device inadvertently activated during the session, and so the characters were placed into the ingame setting with whatever happened to be in the player's possession at the time (along with anything within a certain distance). The game posited alternate universes, and so could potentially have sent characters to some sort of medieval setting that would seem like a fantasy world.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This sounds very close, but I don't think this is it. Seeing as we were fans of Dr. Who, we would have commented on the title. The timeline doesn't quite fit for playtesting a new game, unless it was for a different edition. \$\endgroup\$ – Discord Dec 10 '15 at 22:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I believe I played a session of this game once in the late '80s. I remember some trepidation, because I happened to be carrying a concealed gun that day, and wasn't sure how showing it to the GM to prove my character had it would go... \$\endgroup\$ – Zeiss Ikon Mar 11 '16 at 16:44
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Multiverser (published 1997)

has a system in which the PC is an alternate version of the player. The game starts with the DM describing you dying, traditionally by electricity, and then you start controlling yourself in another universe. Whenever you die, you go to another universe. Anyone who travels this way is known as a 'verser. The universes you travel to are created with biases which determine what they are like, and range from sci-fi to fantasy. This game was even available as a mail order.

Unfortunately, the creator's website is down, but the website is still available on the Internet Archive here.


Deliria (published 2003)

matches the description, except for the date. Its motto is "Ordinary people in an extraordinary world." The PCs in Deliria are ordinary people who go through their lives. Wikipedia doesn't have much more to say on the game, unfortunately.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I came up with that after skimming all Fantasy RPGs created pre-2000 on Wikipedia. \$\endgroup\$ – Smurfton Oct 4 '14 at 9:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Multiverser sounds rather fascinating. A shame that the publisher's page seems to be broken. \$\endgroup\$ – Avestron Oct 4 '14 at 20:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Smurfton A more complete version of the webpage can be had at an older URL in the Wayback Machine. It's not really organised, but via the FAQ you can dig into a bunch of essays about it and a TOC of the rulebook. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 14 '16 at 16:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Yeah, just saw that! (good job) I'm thinking about either editing in a link or reading it, then editing the response so I'm not just regurgitating Wikipedia anymore. \$\endgroup\$ – Smurfton Mar 14 '16 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's also this old RPG.net review by Justin Alexander. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 14 '16 at 17:19
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It doesn't quite fit the timeline, but could it be...

Monster Horrorshow by JH Brennan (1987)

...in Horrorshow every player plays themselves, with a specialty layered on top, selected from Fighter, Wizard, Healer and Trickster. ...
Essentially, character creation in Horrorshow boils down to four steps - choose a specialty, note down you have 100 LIFE POINTS, roll 2 six-sided dice and multiply by ten for your starting cash in gold pieces, and be aware that anything a player wears or carries is available to their character at the start of the game.

JH Brennan wrote the Grailquest series of single-player gamebooks. This is in a similar sized paperback book.

Despite the "horrorshow" name, it has a humorous fantasy setting. It has spells such as "Suss Magic" instead of Detect Magic. One item I remember is the "Hypodermic Noodle" - a syringe with what looks like a piece of macaroni on the end.

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