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Guardians

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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


 
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Reviews (4)
Discussions (33)
Customer avatar
Timothy L November 15, 2021 3:36 am UTC
PURCHASER
Is there a character sheet for this game online?
Customer avatar
Thomas D November 17, 2021 10:33 am UTC
PUBLISHER
The publisher offers a free Character Sheet Bundle https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/234190/Character-Sheet-Bundle
Customer avatar
dave B September 13, 2021 12:11 pm UTC
PURCHASER
For those that don't know Thomas D has a fantastic blog on this and other games he's involved with. He posted this excellent Vigilante class for Guardians.
https://dungeoneering.blogspot.com/2021/08/the-vigilante.html?m=1
Customer avatar
dave B July 20, 2021 10:40 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Question on the Ability Score Modifier Chart.
Some of the examples of Str do not match up on the existing chart. Was this due to changing of the chart during playtests?

Example of correct with the chart:
Record the Basic Ability Modifier parenthetically after the score, e.g., 18
(+3). For high strength only list the extra damage dice after a slash, e.g., 40
(+14/+8d)

Examples of incorrect with the chart:
EMBER
Supernatural Bruiser (5th level)
Str 22 (+4)

DAMASCUS STEEL
Mutant Bruiser, 1st level
Str 16/48 (+9/+4d)

VOLKSGEIST
Superhuman Bruiser, 10th level
Str 55 (+10/+5d6)
Customer avatar
Thomas D July 20, 2021 11:12 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Example characters are a little off. They're being updated and will be put in the FAQ. https://bit.ly/3isflrv
Customer avatar
dave B July 21, 2021 2:52 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Sweet.
Customer avatar
Thomas D July 20, 2021 6:12 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
There has been a recent surge in interest for Guardians. For those new and old to the game we have an errata sheet including suggestions from players. It is a work in progress and has some duplicate information and needs some cleanup. You are welcome to comment. If you do and would like credit for your contributions let me know. https://bit.ly/3isflrv
Customer avatar
dave B July 20, 2021 6:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Loving it. Just sent off for paper copy. Good stuff.
Is the erratta on that bit.ly link? Can't get it to work.
Customer avatar
dave B July 20, 2021 10:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Scratch that got to it on my laptop. Android weirdness. Thanks for the link!
Customer avatar
Andrew W July 21, 2021 1:16 am UTC
PURCHASER
That's great news! I've been posting a bunch of Guardians conversions up in the World of Supers RPGS group on Facebook, and a thread on rpg.net... This game deserves more attention!!!
Customer avatar
dave B July 21, 2021 2:53 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Thanks for the heads up on theconversions!
Customer avatar
dave B September 13, 2021 12:08 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I think we need to find an old school forum oh, something friendly to this old school type of game and post our favorite Night Owl Workshop material and ideas there.
Customer avatar
Thomas D September 19, 2021 4:45 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I frequent the ODD74 board a lot because it is a great group, discussions are civil and thoughtful (and they never talk politics!). They have a board for my Warriors of the Red Planet RPG, maybe with enough interest they could open a Guardians board. Tell them I sent you.
https://odd74.proboards.com/
Customer avatar
Andrew W July 18, 2021 1:01 am UTC
PURCHASER
Question about the super agent’s martial arts specialty… it says you get +2 AC when not wearing armor. Does this include the armor power? Or just the conventional armors listed in the back? Or both?
Customer avatar
Andrew G July 18, 2021 2:06 am UTC
PURCHASER
I usually say the prohibition only applies to armour without a power point cost. Lot of my Batman-esqe characters have a 1 power point suit using Combat Atmour, Super Vision, and usually swinging
Customer avatar
Andrew W July 18, 2021 5:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
That’s what I was thinking as well (since that armor power could be flavored as anything)
Customer avatar
Andrew G July 16, 2021 12:58 am UTC
PURCHASER
I’ve played around with a lot of house rules and thought I’d share a few
Super Attribute - the characteristic modifier becomes too powerful. I allow super attrib to work on secondary effects like damage and lift for strength or HP for Con. If you want a better characteristic mod, you can up a stat 2 points for a feature point
Teleport - way expensive in energy, it seems to be for big long range teleports. I added a Blink power (A1 cost) which basically lets you travel normal foot distance for 1 feature point in line with swinging.
Wall Crawling - should be a feature
Utility belts/Magic - for 2 power points you can have a 1 power point variable power that you can change on a successful save roll. A more limited option is you can buy a power and for a feature point be able to change that into another predefined power as a free action
Mind Sheild - should be a feature
Faster than Light - should be a feature

That’s about it, hope it’s useful to someone
Customer avatar
Andrew W July 17, 2021 3:07 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Those are some great ideas! I love the simple VPP you came up with... easy and elegant! I've been going back and forth on whether the BAM modifiers are too high... On the one hand, super strong bruisers are downright deadly. But on the other, there are lots of High Armor classes and DR powers running around.
Customer avatar
Thomas D July 20, 2021 5:35 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thanks. I'm taking notes.
Customer avatar
Neil S July 15, 2021 12:11 am UTC
How many powers
Customer avatar
Steve D July 15, 2021 12:43 am UTC
I count 108 different powers. Also, there are 24 features which are like minor powers that count as 1/3 of a normal power. The list is extensive and can they can serve as a guideline for making your own powers.
Customer avatar
Andrew W July 13, 2021 6:11 am UTC
PURCHASER
Do the armor types listed on page 59 not provide damage reduction? I don’t see any values listed ( it does note that bruisers & power wielders can only wear ac 9 [11], but none of the armors that follow are listed in that format)
Customer avatar
Steve D July 13, 2021 9:41 pm UTC
I don't see any mention of damage reduction, so no.

The armor values are listed with only their ascending value. They should have both listed descending[ascending] i.e. light armor vest 5[15], long leather coat 8[12], tactical body armor 3[17]. The author is using base 10 for descending armor class values. 20 - Ascending value = Descending value.

The class writeups state Bruisers and Power Wielders cannot wear armor giving them a base AC of 9[11]. However on page 59, there are three types of armor they could wear that do not exceed their base AC: leather jacket, spandex, and war bikini/jeweled harness. Each of these armors should have been listed with the AC stat 9[11].
Customer avatar
Thomas D July 15, 2021 1:50 pm UTC
PUBLISHER
Thank you, I collect this information for future reference. I also like to hear what can be added or improved. Cheers.
Customer avatar
Andrew W July 15, 2021 4:09 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I see now... I mistakenly thought the way armor was written , ie: 3 [17] meant AC 4, DR 17. Now I realize it was referring to ascending / descending. Makes perfect sense.
Customer avatar
Thomas D September 19, 2021 4:32 am UTC
PUBLISHER
I should stop listing Descending armor in my rulebooks. At the time there was still a vocal faction amongst the "OSR" crowd that insisted that it was essential to the flavor of old school games. I think over time the general utility of ascending armor and its ease of use (particularly for new players) has far outweighed the nostalgia of the clunky descending AC system.
Customer avatar
Andrew W July 12, 2021 10:01 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Anyone know where I can download a form-fillable pdf char sheet for Guardians? Thank you!
Customer avatar
Thomas D September 19, 2021 4:34 am UTC
PUBLISHER
On my todo list! It is much trickier with this game than some other RPG's because all the calculations involved. But I could probably make a basic one that doesn't calculate much and has blank text boxes to fill.
Customer avatar
Andrew W March 29, 2021 2:50 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Question for the publisher: Was this game ever updated to take feedback into account? There was some talk below about changing the attribute tables ,to hit bonuses, etc. Just curious if I should download a new copy or not..
Customer avatar
Thomas D April 01, 2021 8:05 am UTC
PUBLISHER
Yes the book here is the latest updated version.

If you have a PC or Mac I recommend the DriveThru app, it works really well to organize your collection and keep it updated.
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
PUBLISHER
The consensus is that adding that bonus to hit is too powerful.
Customer avatar
Andrew W April 06, 2021 11:41 pm UTC
PURCHASER
So how does that work exactly? Do you just cap to hit bonuses at 18 str?
Customer avatar
Andrew G April 07, 2021 12:14 am UTC
PURCHASER
I usually use the rolled bonus for to hit BUT there’s a little line that says you can trade a feature point for +2 to a characteristic. I’ll allow attributes bought up that way to count in every respect. Attributes bought up with super characteristic I won’t allow the increased bonus into the hit/armour equation but will allow for stuff like, damage, saves and initiative
Customer avatar
Steve D April 08, 2021 1:26 am UTC
Currently, I am capping the STR and DEX bonuses for hitting and AC to +3 but adding +1 for each power level in super STR and DEX. I still use the full attribute bonus for saves (though a natural 1 always fails).

I have couple of suggestions for STR damage in the comments below.
Customer avatar
Andrew G November 19, 2019 2:47 am UTC
PURCHASER
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
PUBLISHER
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
Andrew W July 13, 2021 5:37 am UTC
PURCHASER
Thomas, any recommendations for alternative BAM to hit bonuses? I really love the game!
Customer avatar
Steve D July 13, 2021 9:55 pm UTC
A lot depends on how much the dice rolls matter. Low bonuses dice have a high influence, high bonuses dice rolls don't matter much.

As a house rule, ignore the attribute multiplier effect of super attributes. Instead each super attribute level give a bonus BAM of +1 or +2 for street level campaign, +3/+4 for a super heroic campaign, +5 or more for a cosmic level campaign. Choose a bonus that is right for your campaign.
Customer avatar
November 16, 2019 6:54 pm UTC
PURCHASER
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
PUBLISHER
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
PURCHASER
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
PURCHASER
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
PURCHASER
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.
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Product Information
Electrum seller
Artist(s)
Pages
98
Publisher Stock #
NOW1002
File Size:
2.61 MB
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