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Marcus Rowland (author)

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki
Marcus L. Rowland
Hampstead, London[1]
🏳️ NationalityEnglish
💼 Occupation
Forgotten Futures
🌐 Websitewww.forgottenfutures.co.uk

Marcus L. Rowland (born 1953) is an English retired laboratory technician and a notable author in the field of role-playing games, particularly games with Victorian era content.[2]


Marcus Rowland owned a copy of the original boxed set of Dungeons & Dragons as early as 1977, then switched to Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in 1979 and started to act as Dungeon Master.[2] Rowland had an interest in writing magazine articles — he had already written two articles about scientific photography for Amateur Photographer.[2] After playing AD&D for a couple of years, he started to submit articles about role-playing games to hobby magazines, beginning with a variant character class for AD&D, the Detective, that appeared in the April-May 1981 edition (Issue #24) of White Dwarf.[2][3] He became a frequent contributor to White Dwarf, Dungeon, Challenge, Different Worlds, The Space Gamer, and Dragon, starting with articles about AD&D, but quickly branching into Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, and Judge Dredd.[4]

Scenario and game design[edit]

Starting in 1985, Rowland began to write complete adventures and sourcebooks for various role-playing games, including seven adventures and sourcebooks for Call of Cthulhu (such as The Great Old Ones, 1989), Judge Dredd, GURPS Steam-Tech and Space: 1889. In 1990, Rowland wrote Canal Priests of Mars, a Space: 1889 adventure, for Game Designers Workshop (GDW), but objected when GDW cut 15,000 words from his 55,000 manuscript without consultion. At the same time, he was having trouble writing a large Call of Cthulhu adventure for Chaosium; he finally gave up on the project and voluntarily returned his advance.

The fate of these two projects caused Rowland to consider the idea of self-publishing. He had already written a few small computer programs as shareware, and reasoned that he could do the same thing with a role-playing game. The result, in 1993, was a new steampunk role-playing game, Forgotten Futures, the Role-playing Game of Scientific Romances, set in the early 21st-century utopia envisioned by Rudyard Kipling in his stories With the Night Mail and As Easy as ABC. Rather than selling the product to a publisher, Rowland released the game rules as shareware, initially on a 720-kilobyte floppy disk.[2] This has been noted as an early example of independently published role-playing games, along with several other of his self-published works.[5]

Rowland enjoyed enough success to expand the concept as technology advanced, adding HTML, switching to CD-ROMs, and eventually selling products via a website.[2] From 1994 to 2010, a number of Forgotten Futures expansions followed. In addition, Rowland created the "Forgotten Future Library", an anthology of genre literature by George Griffith, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Rudyard Kipling, William Hope Hodgson, and other Victoria authors, as well as Victorian-era resources, including two world atlases from 1903 and 1913.[6] His adaptation of Kipling's Aerial Board of Control setting has been described by scholars as "a remarkable piece of extrapolative worldbuilding".[7]

Other writing[edit]

Rowland has also written some short stories, "Frog Day Afternoon", "Playing Safe", and "The Missing Martian", published in the Midnight Rose collective's anthologies. He has also written for 2000 AD, New Scientist, and various computer magazines. He also contributed to articles on gaming in the second edition of Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and the Encyclopedia of Fantasy.


  • RPGs
    • Forgotten Futures (shareware release 1993 onwards)
      • Arcane Presents Forgotten Futures (Future Publishing 1997 - abridged version of rules)
      • Forgotten Futures (Heliograph Inc. 2000 ISBN 0-9668926-2-3 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png. - expanded version of rules)
    • Diana: Warrior Princess (Heliograph Inc. 2003 ISBN 1-930658-13-3 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png., PDF 2005)
    • The Original Flatland Role Playing Game (PDF 2006)
  • Game Modules
    • Queen Victoria and the Holy Grail (Games Workshop 1985) - Golden Heroes
    • Trail of the Loathesome Slime (Games Workshop 1985) - Call of Cthulhu
    • Nightmare in Norway (Games Workshop 1985) - Call of Cthulhu
    • Do Troubleshooters Dream of Electric Sheep? (Games Workshop 1987) - Paranoia (2nd Edition)
    • Judgement Day (Games Workshop 1988) - Judge Dredd
    • Canal Priests of Mars (Game Designers Workshop 1990, abridged ISBN 1-55878-039-4 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.) - Space 1889
    • Log of the Astronef (Heliograph Inc. 2000 ISBN 0-9668926-4-X Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.) - Forgotten Futures
    • Elvis: The Legendary Tours (For Diana: Warrior Princess, PDF publication 2006)
  • Other works
  • Contributions
    • The Judge Dredd Companion (Games Workshop 1987 - Judge Dredd)
    • The Great Old Ones (Chaosium Inc. 1989 - for Call of Cthulhu)
    • Blood Brothers (Chaosium Inc. 1990 - for Call of Cthulhu)
    • Fearful Passages (Chaosium Inc. 1992 - for Call of Cthulhu)
    • Blood Brothers 2 (Chaosium Inc. 1992 - for Call of Cthulhu)


  1. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Interview with Marcus Rowland". Victorian Adventure Enthusiast.
  3. Rowland, Marcus (April–May 1981). "Detectives". White Dwarf. Games Workshop (24): 16–17.CS1 maint: Date format (link)
  4. "Marcus L. Rowland". RPG.net. Skotos Tech Inc. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  5. Clute, John; Langford, David. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (3rd ed.). SFE Ltd. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. "Interview with Marcus Rowland, creator of Forgotten Futures". The Guild Companion. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  7. Wong, Gary, Kin Yuen; Westfahl, Gary; Chan, Amy Kit-sze. World Weavers: Globalization, Science Fiction, and the Cybernetic Revolution. Hong Kong University Press. p. 141. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

External links[edit]

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