I really bought into ads like that one in Dragon Magazine. I don't know why, but, when I saw that ad I thought, yeah, fuck elves. I never liked (still don't) commonness, normalcy. Back then (and still) every freakin RPG had the same elves, maybe shorter or taller. But, all pointy ear, better than humans, long lived, douche bags. The only thing worse than elves is having a dozen minor subspecies so that wanker min-maxers have more options to "build with". Looking squarely at you 2nd ed.
I didn't read any Talislanta material until 25 years later. It's freaky, Petal Throne freaky, 99 out of 100 players aren't gonna bother to get into it freaky because most people like commonness and normalcy. I digress...
Almost all the Talislanta Stuff is Free Online now. Five Editions plus d20 and 10th Anniversary. An amazing wealth of unique weirdness to mine or spur your imagination. And, wow that's a lot. Someone was must have been playing this. Who? Do you live in Austin?
Quoted from Talislanta.com
Talislanta is a truly fantastic place with dozens upon dozens of exotic races and cultures, enough to fuel just about any type of fantasy campaign you’d like to run. Very few of these races are considered inherently good or evil. They are just different peoples with different ways of life. Talislanta itself is actually a continent roughly divided into seven large sections, each of which shares certain characteristics or qualities. There is no “baseline” race that populates most of the world, so you can’t learn about one race and thus have knowledge of how most of the world works.
Every race has its own geographic homeland, although many of them do travel the world and intermingle for business and other purposes. The lack of a standard and overly dominant primary race, like humans for example, really adds to the exotic feel and fantastic nature of the setting. A Talislanta campaign can easily be modified to reflect a variety of gaming styles, from cinematic “larger-than-life” Heroic Fantasy to gritty “by the skin of your teeth” Dark Fantasy. Talislanta focuses on breadth instead of depth. While there are so many different lands and cultures in the book that I won’t even attempt to count them all, due to the time and effort it would take, each of these lands or peoples is described in an average of about 3 pages.
Gamemasters should view this as a good thing. What it means is that you are given a vast world with limitless possibilities and well-defined cultures. At the same time you are spared the minutiae and laborious detail that other settings focus on.
Hmmm, sounds like nice old-school sandbox. Hey, every setting should have cheezball (that's a compliment) video overview like this one. [D&D Mystara is another]