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Stefan Jones/Pentacle Plot - Appreciation

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Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 26
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I recently bought a few vintage V&V adventures published by FGU in the mid-1980s, including "The Pentacle Plot," written by Stefan Jones.

My teenaged collection of V&V materials show that I pretty much stopped buying V&V supplements in 1985, after the first (roughly) dozen V&V supplements had been published.  I remember picking up a copy of "Pentacle Plot" at my local comic book store back then and specifically not buying it in part because I didn't see any indication of involvement by Jack Herman or Jeff Dee, and because I thought, at a a glance, that the artwork (cover/back/interior)  "sucked."

It was totally lost on me at the time that it had been written by Stefan Jones, who had already written two V&V supplements I really liked, "Opponents Unlimited" and "From the Deeps of Space."

Additionally, I would, of course, have had no way of knowing back in 1985 that the artist, Jill Thompson, would go on to have an acclaimed and successful multi-decade career, and that, since the cover art is dated 1984 and wikipedia states that she was born in November 1966, she was likely only 17 when she drew all of that. A high school kid. I would have been 15 when I was holding that published book in my teenaged hands and scorning the art.  

Now knowing all of that in 2019, I bought it. 

What an intriguing package, including a plot device to enable inter-dimensional travel in V&V games and introducing (to the best of my knowledge, anyway) alternate Earths in V&V.  Because the specific alternate Earth in this adventure, called Vine, had Medieval technology, there are new rules to address several aspects of V&V gaming  in a pseudo D&D-like environment. I also liked several of the suggested other, alternate Earths, including one where Europeans/Conquistadores had not yet come to the Americas, so the Aztecs still ruled Mexico.  Having  been interested in the Aztecs and Incas since I was a teenager, I would've loved to put my favorite V&V characters in that setting.



Estimable Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 112

I felt the same way when I first saw it, though I still bought it. I think it's time I actually read through it and use it. Thanks for your perspective.

Estimable Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 134

I wasn't crazy about the art, either, but did watch Jill Thompson's art over the years (she did many issues of the Elementals a few years after this).  I had no idea she was so young when she did PP!

The adventure is kind of a fun.  Quite a change from the ordinary V&V tale, as you had skirmishing armies and siege weapons and hours of continuous battle.

V&V GM and player since 1982, my current campaign is 29 years old

Eminent Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 20

Thanks everyone!

I checked in there just by chance, to see of there was any mention of Jack / Jeff being at GenCon. I find myself attending, as an exhibitor, after just a few weeks notice. This is the first real gaming convention I've been too since the 1980s! (I am helping out at the Flying Buffalo booth, as Rick Loomis is busy battling cancer.)

I don't remember what got into my head when writing Pentacle Plot. I wanted to do something with the Tarot organization, for sure, but how did that lead to dimension gates and a medieval earth?

I do remember enjoying making that mini-wargame with rules for superhero involvement.