Grimoire Games

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Grimoire Games was a publishing company run by Jim Mathis. Active from 1978 to mid 1981, Grimoire Games's primary focus was the early Arduin series of RPG supplements, written by one of the grandfathers of the genre, David A. Hargrave. The most famous of these Hargrave supplements is the so-called "Arduin Trilogy".


David A. Hargrave was one of several early RPG players from the San Francisco Bay area to also become a game designer, having started by creating variant rules for his weekly Dungeons & Dragons campaign which was heavily house-ruled and included hundreds of players, and was focused on Arduin, a neutral ground between formerly warring nations.[1]:316-318 Around 1976 Greg Stafford of Chaosium played in Hargrave's Arduin game for a while, and he asked Hargrave about publishing the game system as "The Arduin Grimoire"; the book was placed on Chaosium's publication schedule for February 1977 to be the company's first role-playing release, but the company instead rejected Hargrave's incomplete manuscript.[1]:318 Hargrave self-published The Arduin Grimoire in 1977 and two follow-up Grimoire books in 1978, and the three books became known as The Arduin Trilogy.[1]:319-320

In 1977 Hargrave sold Arduin to one of his players, Jim Mathis, and in 1978 Mathis started Grimoire Games out of an apartment building on the south side of the UC campus to publish Hargrave's Arduin material beginning with a series of four adventure modules and two boxed sets.[1]:323-325 By the time The Arduin Adventure was published in 1981, the company was having increasing financial problems, and in 1984 its last publication for many years was 100 copies of a booklet of revised rules for Arduin; Mathis moved to San Diego and kept selling products from the company for a few years.[1]:326-327 Hargrave continued to publish Arduin material through Dragon Tree Press until he died in 1988, which brought Arduin back to Mathis and Grimoire Games.[1]:328 After finishing Hargrave's unfinished Arduin manuscript, Grimoire Games eventually published it as The Compleat Arduin in 1993 with financial assistance from a games distributor; however the large work was expensive and outdated and only sold less than half of the print run, and the distributor took a loss, and it became the last publication by Grimoire Games.[1]:328-329


  • The Arduin Grimoire (Arduin Grimoire Vol. I). At least two different editions of this volume exist. These editions differ via cover artwork and some internal artwork (p. 79, among others). 1978.
  • Welcome to Skull Tower (Arduin Grimoire Vol. II). 1978.
  • The Runes of Doom (Arduin Grimoire Vol. III). 1978.
  • The Arduin Trilogy is a box set containing the first three Arduin volumes.
  • The Arduin Adventure, 1980. Arduin introductory boxed set. Contained the Arduin Adventure book (which was also available separately), a few sheets of magic items, three character sheets, and two 20-sided die.
  • Monsters from Arduin (24 monster cards)
  • Magic Weapons from Arduin (24 weapon cards)
  • Magic Artifacts from Arduin (24 artifact cards)
  • Arduin Character Sheets Combined Pack: A set of 24 character sheets for different Arduin races/character classes.

Arduin Dungeons[edit]

  • Arduin Dungeon No. 1: Caliban (mid level adventure)
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 2: The Howling Tower (low-level adventure)
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 3: The Citadel of Thunder
  • Arduin Dungeon No. 4: Death Heart (high-level wilderness and dungeon adventures)

Items distributed by Grimoire Games[edit]

  • Manual of Aurania
  • Wizard's Aide


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Shannon Appelcline (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '70s. Evil Hat Productions. ISBN 978-1-61317-075-5. Search this book on Logo.png

External links[edit]

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