Fenris Games is the creation of Ian and Jo Brumby, also known as The Brothers Brum: the home of incredible miniatures and table-top modelling sculptures. Before they found fame, perhaps not their fortune, in the world of model-making, they created WyrdWorld, the world base for a play by mail (PBM) in 1987/88.
Manual PBMs need a lot of effort to make them work. In Episode 14 I talked about my descent into madness trying to keep up when the turn-rate and the level of detail seemed to grow exponentially. My paltry efforts are nothing compared with the herculean campaign worlds created by Fenris.
They ran other Play By Mail games (Children of the Morning Star, MMCII), but it’s WYRDWORLD that has captured my imagination. Inspired by the Alan Dean Foster Spellsinger series of books, the players become humanoid animals. The animals have become people with fur and claws and teeth, “Fancy playing Conan the Barbary Ape? Then this is the game for you.”
The rule book reveals a story based approach that was way ahead of its time with indy sensibilities: Magic? Tell me what you want to do and the effects, and we’ll work it out from there.
Ian has sent me some of the turn reports that he completed, they’re like mini-novels as they are full of inventive verve. Thankfully some of the essence of the PBM can be found in their Prachettesque novel Genesis (well worth reading, available from Amazon)
The characters of WyrdWorld Inspired some of their greatest miniature creations, including the menacing SNUURG himself.
The independent model-making trade is a tough business, the amount of effort to produce fabulous, finely detailed, expressive miniatures, is rarely rewarded with sufficient income. If you want to learn more about the trials and tribulations of the business, I recommend listening to Ian being interviewed on GMS Magazine podcast. It’s worth listening to, just for the sound of the dog’s ears flapping with vigour every so often.
They have some ideas about developing WyrdWorld in the ‘some-day-maybe’ tray (perhaps the power of the GROGSQUAD can tempt them). Until then, here’s a glimpse into peoples and magicks of Urth.