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Perilous Ages
by Kyrinn E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/24/2016 10:33:16

The preface informs us that this is not a retroclone, but more of a simulacrum, harkening back to the older games, and even attempts to evoke this feeling through a less crafted presentation, as well as reproductions of mediaeval woodcuts and paintings. It works. From the cover fonts, which remind me of Dimension Six, Inc,'s The Compleate Fantasist, to the physical presentation of the rules, this feels like it is from the earliest Seventies of wargaming-RPGs.

Character generation involves rolling three dice and choosing the best two, as well as a few figured characteristics. We are then presented with three classes: fighting, mystical, and roguish. Each of these has several stages of development each of which has its own rolled additions to the character's statistics. Next come the brief descriptions of kit-like professions which do a lot to customise and differentiate characters from the basic classes. Equipment is added from a few of the professions, but not all.

Next is the Addendum, which opens up more individual customisation of characters, further removing the sense that a fighter is a fighter is a fighter.

The presentation of armour, arms, and combat provides a wonderful addition of details that matter based upon choice of kit and in just a few statements (asterisk notes), we understand how to apply these modifiers to conduct one on one, melee, and ranged combat. Initiative is modified by both armour and arms employed, and armour provides protection points to reduce damage.

Beasts and Humans are presented with enough statistics to perform combat, but so much detail as to become cumbersome.

The Referee or GM's rules section is intended to be Eyes Only and with good reason.

There are no spells, no lists of magic items, but there are great random tables, and some are very creative, and all are useful for games of this sort.

Is this a modern, multi-gendered take on Perilous Ages? No. GMs expecting non-binary gender, heterosexual brothel visits will be undeservedly disappointed. This game is not intended to emulate the present enlightenment, but rather, the Perilous Ages it makes clear through the tables is a rough, merciless world and era. Is it multicultural, no, again, not surprisingly considering what it is emulating. Can a GM run it in a more enlightened, multi-gendered, multi-cultural version of mock-mediaevalism. Of course. Just don't expect it to be part of the base text.

What I like most about it is that is feels both fresh and forgotten, like the non-mainstream published gaming supplements of my youth that called out from the shelves of the Davie, FL. Compleat Strategist of yore, and from the amateur gaming mags of a bygone era. It feels like it belongs to the world of my gaming history.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Perilous Ages
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Bandits and Battlecruisers
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/25/2013 20:48:50

It isn't often that I review Sci-Fi RPG products. The few that I do are pretty much firmly entrenched in the OSR, at least mechanics-wise. Bandits and Battlecruisers fits that bill, at it is firmly in the grasp of the OSR / Classical D&D rulesets. It is however, much less Sci-Fi and more Space Opera. Heck, even that isn't really all that accurate a description. Let's Try Sci-Fantasy Space Opera. Too long?

In any case, Bandits and Battlecruisers is a Space Opera themed supplement for any of the OSR clones and should be useable with minimal adjusting (but will work better with LL, S&W and the like and need more adjusting for OSRIC). As it pretty much replaces many of the core assumptions, such as character generation, stats and bonuses, skills, is classless - the reality is, if you already know one of the older systems, you can run straight with B and B and just use the system of your choice to fill in any gaping holes. You will need another system to be your reference point for any spells (yes, there is magic in the setting, but no spells in the book - so, dig out the rules you feel comfortable with).

Tables. Lots and lots of random tables. Whether you use them as inspiration or let the dice fall as they may, there are lots of tables in this book. Personally, I like the Creature Creation Tables. Not as crazy as Raggi's but easy to use and quick. Note to self: making my own Things in the Room Table for Rappan Athuk would be pretty neat.

Descending AC is the default. That being said, AC 2 is as low as one can obtain without magic, so the chance of being nigh invulnerable is near nil.

The equipment lists take up about 4 pages and even includes duct tape. Any equipment list that includes the universal jury rigging tool is pretty complete in my eyes. Heck, I'd like to see a fantasy equivalent ;)

The spaceship section (about a 1/3 of the book) is the most Sci-Fi heavy part of the book (most of the rest is a combination of Sci-Fantasy and Space Opera, shaken not stirred ;) It's approach reminds me a bit of Traveller Lite, which is fine as that of course is yet another Old School game. Actually, the space combat reminds me a lot of classic Traveller, as best I can remember. It has been over 20 years since I played a game of Traveller, let alone spaceship combat.

Heck, it even includes hexagonal graph paper (in two different sizes) in the back for you to print out and use. Very convenient.

The art is all public domain (most if not all from comic books) and nicely evocative.

Overall, it's a very nice twist on the old School ruleset.

I do have 2 minor quibbles:

  • lack of bookmarking for the PDF. If I have a choice, I always want my PDFs bookmarked. It makes navigating through the virtual pages so much easier.

  • no sample adventures of even a random table to develop plot hooks. The random space encounters and space stations don't quite cut it. That being said, I suspect most of the people that purchase this will already have an adventure or a series of plot hooks in mind. It's just that it would have made a fine product even fine.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Bandits and Battlecruisers
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