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What if the original roleplaying game was inspired by colorful superheroes rather than Tolkienesque fantasy?

GUARDIANS is a super hero retro-clone compatible with the original fantasy roleplaying game and subsequent editions, and other “OSR” games that follow in the mould of the original game like Colonial Troopers, Warriors of the Red Planet, and others. If your tastes run towards super-powered four-color heroes and villains you’ve found the right book. In a tradition inspired by the psionic abilities of Eldritch Wizardry and the mutants of Metamorphosis Alpha or Gamma World, even a first level Guardians character begins with mighty powers!

What are people saying?

"They did what people have said couldn't be done for years. They designed a superhero game around the classic ... white box rule set. It is an amazing accomplishment! They did it with an old rule set and put it all in a digest sized book!! Try it!!! You might like it! And you might find that this small book does what all of the other over expanded rules have been trying to do for year! This is an amazing and noteworthy accomplishment. I wish that I had had this book to purchase when I bought my first white box set decades ago!" -Scott Shafer

 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (4)
Discussions (23)
Customer avatar
john F May 20, 2020 7:22 pm UTC
If a character has Super Strength or Super Dexterity, is that the value you add to the attack bonus when trying to hit? Or do the "super" abilities only affect the damage?

Thanks so much.
Customer avatar
Thomas D June 27, 2020 8:18 am UTC
The consensus is that adding that bonus to hit is too powerful.
Customer avatar
Andrew G November 19, 2019 2:47 am UTC
I love this game, it’s got a cleanses that’s reminds me of 1st edition Champions and has become my go-to superhero game. That being said there’s some thing that look wrong or I can’t find. Super characteristic ( particularly super Str) seems unbalanced, I wound up writing a new attribute bonus table for my game that seemed work. After a year of play I’ve got no idea what Computer Mind, Robot, Body or Undead actually do. Teleport has all kinds of issues and some powers I thought should be features (ftl for example). Usually I manage to get slightly more complex by adding features for regular stunts or power matrixes (similar to champions multi power). Bottom line is it’s a game with good bones and concepts, just needs a little GgM tweaking to fit individual games
Customer avatar
Thomas D May 20, 2020 10:04 am UTC
Glad you are enjoying the game. I'd really like to see your revised attribute bonus table. The traits: Computer Mind, Robot, Body or Undead don't do anything, they are simply descriptors like saying a character is female or has blue skin. So if you had an ability like "Give all blue skinned people within 10' +5 Str" would be similar to "may cause Robots or Computer Minds within 10' to malfunction".
Customer avatar
November 16, 2019 6:54 pm UTC
I have been looking through the book again after a long time, and noticed some inconsistencies that annoy me.

For one, the book lists two different attack progressions for npcs. I don't know which I should use. This is my most nagging issue.

Also, the book mentions that you can use descending armor class, and even tells you how to convert ascending AC into descending AC. However, it makes no mention on how to convert attack bonuses into thaco. Also, the instructions for how to roll attacks with descending armor class make no sense. Of course, its not that hard to figure out how to convert everything to thaco, but if I were to do that, that would result in some classes having a thaco a bit lower than your standard white box character. This, I think, could create small compatibility issues with monsters taken from other games.

Moving on, some of the pre-made characters in the back have powers that aren't actually listed anywhere else in the book. Also, some of the stats for...See more
Customer avatar
Thomas D November 19, 2019 1:07 am UTC
The transition from playtest to writing to publication definitely introduces lots of nagging issues that require a lot of careful editing. Especially with a game like this that has such a carefully constructed system. I'll look into these issues when I get a chance to update the game.
Customer avatar
Andrew W April 04, 2019 7:51 pm UTC
I'm really confused by this paragrpah on ability bonuses...

Each ability has a Basic Ability Modifier (BAM) according to the chart below.
The Carry column shows how much weight a given Strength can carry
without encumbrance. Very high strength characters can further improve
their damage capabilities in hand-to-hand melee combat (but not their to-hit
roll). These add a number of extra dice of the type they normally roll for the
weapon or unarmed attack to the damage, over and above the Basic Ability
Modifier. Thus, someone with Str 35 (+8/+3d) with a 1d6 melee attack would
actually do 4d6+8 damage.

Does this mean the BAM is not added to the attack roll after a certain point? (which would make sense, as it seems way to powerful as is.) if so, where is the cut off?
Customer avatar
Steve D April 05, 2019 11:02 pm UTC
I believe it is referring to the dice listed on the chart don't add to your Strength BAM, but they do add to your damage.

In my opinion, super strength is broken in this game. In the comments below, I've listed a couple of suggestions.
Customer avatar
Andrew W April 03, 2019 6:41 pm UTC
Could someone answer a few quick questions about this game?

1. How flexible is the power system? Is there any kind of stunt ability?
2. How does the game handle things like vehicles and vehicle combat?
3. How does movement work? Is there any way to use minis and a battlemat with this game? Either grid based, or even just Fate style zones or something?
Customer avatar
Steve D April 05, 2019 10:49 pm UTC
The powers are specific rather than general. There are no rules for stunting. However, it would be easy to change the trappings/special effects.
Vehicles are defined by their AC, HPs, movement, and passenger capacity. In combat, they function just like characters. There are no specific vehicle rules for combat.
Movement and ranges are given in feet. There are no particular rules for grid based movement; however, they should be easy to add to your game.
Customer avatar
January 13, 2019 9:50 pm UTC
This game definitely looks interesting, but the book has contradictions in it, particularly when it comes to weapon and armor proficiencies. The description in the armor section contradicts all of the class descriptions of which armor and weapons they may use. Its like the book is describing two completely different systems. I'm going to be trying to run this game next week, and I have no clue which system is right.
Customer avatar
John K May 04, 2018 6:37 am UTC
The problem with Superhero games has always been balancing damage and healing. I certainly don't see how the healing rules help this.

"Damage may be “healed” after any combat with 1 turn of rest and first aid.
The amount healed is 1d4 hit points: this amount cannot exceed the amount
of damage incurred in the combat immediately preceding the rest, and will
not heal damage incurred in earlier combats. Double this if the attending
character has a Medical Background gift.
A character able to get eight hours of rest “in the rough” heals 1d3 points
of damage after the rest. Characters able to get 24 hours of rest in a
comfortable location (home, motel, HQ, etc) will recover 1d3 points plus 1 hit
point per character level. A full week of full rest heals all hit point damage."
Customer avatar
Thomas D June 13, 2019 4:48 am UTC
I think this almost perfectly emulates Silver Age comics. Heck, it's pretty much like all the superhero movies being made these days!
Customer avatar
Ryan D March 15, 2018 5:34 am UTC
Has the Guardians book been updated for errata or clarifications mentioned in the other discussions here? I would love to buy a print copy, but I don’t want to buy one only to have it updated shortly thereafter.
Customer avatar
Thomas D November 20, 2018 6:08 am UTC
It's been updated and there are no plans to revise this edition further.
Customer avatar
Gabriel H January 10, 2018 6:24 pm UTC
Psychic Weapon (p.41) has no damage listed. So is this an omission or is damage dependent on which type of weapon you manifest (sword versus dagger, for example)? I don't understand why it would be latter because it is massless psychic energy and also because Charisma bonus is added to the weapon's damage instead of Strength bonus.
Customer avatar
mark M September 15, 2017 11:04 pm UTC
awesome, i will by it later, good review, i am surprised yo never played mayfair dc system, which is my favorite. If you play it with your grandson, see if you can read Godsend agenda, godsend agenda has the best sperhero backgrond I have ever seen and I think that the background wold go well with this system.
Customer avatar
Glen H April 20, 2017 1:17 pm UTC
No character sheet?
Customer avatar
Thomas D June 25, 2017 11:53 pm UTC
Free character sheets at the Night Owl Workshop website:
Customer avatar
David B November 23, 2016 2:26 pm UTC
Cool game. Worth picking up for OSR retroclone collectors.

Here's a review I did on youtube of the POD version:
Customer avatar
Steve D October 05, 2016 1:24 am UTC
I like the game and will have to pick the pdf at some point.

On page 84, it says, "Fighters may utilize the two following special abilities." The next entry lists Combat Specialty but there is no second ability. What is the second ability?
Customer avatar
Thomas D October 31, 2016 5:36 pm UTC
That could be worded a bit more clearly. The second ability is included in the next entry. The two special abilities are +1 to hit AND +1 to damage (choose either Melee or Ranged at character creation).
Customer avatar
Steve D October 31, 2016 7:50 pm UTC
Okay, that makes more sense. It would probably clearer if the "Fighters may utilize the two following special abilities" line was removed.
Customer avatar
June 03, 2016 2:52 am UTC
I had a question about character creation for a gadgeteer. I have a human gadgeteer with a +3 BAM (19 INT with paragon) to INT and I used four of the five gifts for more gadget points, leaving me with a total of ten to spend. I use the first nine to build a battle suit and then notice the super attribute power. If I use this to make a gadget increasing my intelligence x2 it increases my BAM to 13. Can I use these new BAM points to create more starting gadgets or am I finished, having used up the original 10?
Question aside, I am enjoying guardians quite a bit.
Customer avatar
Steve D November 24, 2016 4:01 pm UTC
In the interests of balance, I'd ignore super INT BAM for this purpose just use the base INT BAM value.

As an aside, the extra gadgets be self limiting. Many powers require energy points, so the more powers the less energy points available. However, a gadget is a power and a power could be three features and a feature can be 1 energy point. Something to consider...
Customer avatar
November 25, 2016 6:35 am UTC
Ok, that makes sense.
Thanks for the response!
Customer avatar
Andrew G April 25, 2016 1:19 pm UTC
I may be going slightly insane but I noticed a lot of the sample characters had the Paragon gift which doesn't appear in the rules?
Customer avatar
Thomas D May 16, 2016 4:48 am UTC
Paragon is on page 18, it is 33-40 on the Gift table: "Paragon (+1 to every ability score)"
Customer avatar
Austin L April 21, 2016 11:19 pm UTC
Am I reading this wrong? Apparently starting with a 17 in Str and then taking Superior Super Strength lets you deal 14dX+19 damage at level 1? That's... really really high, especially since most other damaging powers cap out at 8 dice period.
Customer avatar
Steve D November 24, 2016 3:46 pm UTC
The damage from super strength is not in the same realm as the other powers. I have a couple of suggestions.

Drop the strength damage progression and just add Strength BAM to melee attack damage. This provides a simple consistent damage adder. I'd also add the damage to thrown attacks as well. In addition, you don't have to use your precious energy points to fuel your super strength attacks.

Alternatively, drop the strength damage progression and use the same progression for other attacks: 4d6 super, 6d6 superior, and 8d6 ultimate. It should cost 1 EP to activate this damage just like other similar damaging powers. To this damage, you also add your hand-to-hand/weapon damage die/dice. With this house rule, I wouldn't allow Strength BAM to add to damage.
Customer avatar
Andrew W April 06, 2019 1:31 am UTC
What about to-hit rolls? The BAM modifiers pretty quickly make it impossible for a super strong chracter to miss in HTH combat. The AC and DR numbers don't scale anywhere near as much.
Customer avatar
Steve D April 06, 2019 5:06 am UTC
I would house rule Super Attributes to give a fixed increase like +6 per level. This keeps BAM from totally dominating the game. With this rule, I'd also base the STR carry value on a multiple of the character's base STR say x10/x100/x1000 (super, superior, ultra).

A "normal" character with STR 17 has a BAM +2 and is unencumbered at 300 pounds.

A super character with STR 11 and Super Strength has a modified STR of 17 giving BAM +2 and is unencumbered at 1000 pounds (for STR 9-12 100 x 10). If this character spends an EP, they can inflict an additional 4D damage for the round (taken from my house rule above).

The same character with Ultra Strength (effective STR 33) has BAM +10 and is unencumbered at 100,000 pounds or 50 tons (100 x 1000). Spending an EP, they can do an extra 8D damage.
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