The Talislanta milieu evolved over the course of several years, starting with a home-grown D&D campaign that somehow veered deep into uncharted territory, evolved into the Atlantis legends, then somehow took on a life of its own.
The first adventure that ever took place in Talislanta occurred when a Druas NPC (from an Atlantis campaign) led a bunch of (converted D&D) PCs into a strange new world in order to help a wizard hunter track down the reincarnation of an old enemy. That strange new world turned out to be Talislanta, which prior to that adventure had been mentioned once in the three Atlantis books, but never explained-mainly because I had no idea of what Talislanta was at that time.
The real work on Talislanta started after I quit my day job (don’t try this at home, kids), stopped working as a musician, and started putting in 14-hour days writing, taking notes,and drawing hundreds of character and creature sketches. My main objective was to create a fantasy world that was not based on Euorpean mythology, as most other RPGs had done; hence the “No Elves” slogan, which we used in Talislanta ads that we later ran in Dragon Magazine.
I read all of Jack Vance’s Dying Earth books, Lovecraft’s The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath, Marco Polo’s The Travels, and back issues of Heavy Metal magazine (especially Druilette’s Salambo, in which if you look closely enough you might find the inspiration for the Jhangarans). And I confess to partaking of one of Turkey’s fi nest products nightly, which helped inspire most of the visual elements of Talislanta, and some remarkably lucid dreams I had of actually visiting Talislanta.
I wish my dreams were that interesting. Instead I'll have to settle for playing the game.