This will be my last post covering the contents of the Perilous Journeys rule book; now I can concentrate on providing resources for the game. I have discussed the sections covering character creation, professions, guilds, terminology, and other topics in previous posts. That leaves only four sections that I have not covered: Gameplay, Appendix A: Advanced Combat, Appendix B: Creating and Modifying Professions, and Appendix D: Monster List.
The Gameplay section covers all of the rules that basically tie everything else together. Some of the topics include what the numbers mean, combat, movement, experience points and application, carrying capacity, encumbrance, and saving throws. These sections are written just as clearly as the rest of the rules so everything can be easily implemented in play. Also included in this section are optional rules such as Fate Points and Reputation.
Appendix A: Advanced Combat, similar to the guild rules, is a short section that has a larger impact than its size. The simplest way to explain this section is that if you use it in your game then the warrior type characters will have something more to do than just swing an axe, sword, etc. every round of combat. The rules describe a simple system of special moves that can be learned and used in combat. Of course, the more skilled your character is in combat the more moves they can learn; any character can learn them, though. It just makes sense for the warrior types to be more capable in this area. The use of these special moves is regulated by an Endurance Pool. An example of a special ability is presented below.
Disarm Endurance: 6
The PC is able to attack a target is such a way as to cause the target to drop his weapon. The target is allowed a save vs. Speed to avoid dropping the weapon.
The Advanced Combat section ends with a section covering Advanced Magic. Rules are presented in this part to explain spellweaving and spell weaving. Spell Weaving is producing an effect by mixing two or more spells together. Spell Failure in Perilous Journeys could mean one of two things; the spell could fizzle out with the caster still using the Mana or an additional effect like double Mana loss, loss of memory, the spell’s effect is reverse, or more.
Appendix B: Creating and Modifying Professions discusses some guidelines for when a player desires to play a character type not covered in the rules. The gist of this section is that it makes more sense to modify an existing part of the game to accommodate the player rather than making unnecessary additions. That really makes a lot of sense if you think about it. In essence, what is the difference between a Paladin and a Cavalier, a Thief and a Bandit, or any other similar professions? If it can be simulated by swapping out one or two abilities then it should be, right? I like this approach and I wish that some of the older games would take a similar approach instead of just adding an endless barrage or new material. That does not mean the rules disallow creating completely new professions at all. The rules simply encourage that you ensure any new additions are truly unique and can not be handled by simply swapping a single ability or two.
The final section I have not covered, Appendix D: Monster List, provides statistics for 43 monsters; that number is deceptively small because several of the monsters have multiple sub-entries to illustrate the difference between common variety, leader, etc. The entry on Dragonkind alone provides enough information for 45 different types when you take into account size, color (for Drakes), and element (for Dragons). In addition to the Dragonkind category there are also categories for Humanoids (covering PC races, goblins, orcs, etc.), Spirits and Undead (covering ghouls, lich, skeleton, etc.), Netherbeings (covering demons, devils, oni, etc.), Large Monsters (covering ogres, giants, and trolls), and Insects and Animals (covering bear, snakes, tiger, etc.). The entries typically cover the attributes, description, number encountered, combat, and treasure. The only omissions I could see in the monster entries are monsters from classical myth such as centaurs, Minotaur, hydra, medusa, etc. On the other hand, it is kind of refreshing not to see the same old monsters fleshed out for yet again fantasy game and I believe the Minotaur and medusa are both unique anyway. The best way to deal with those two monsters might be in an adventure that showcases them and their background as part of the story.
Final ThoughtsI should have completed this read through of the Perilous Journeys rules a long time ago but I got side tracked. I am glad that I picked it back up and continued on because I continue to be impressed by the rules. They are easy to understand and put to use. The rules accomplish the same things that many other games do but they accomplish it in far less pages and that is a good thing. I hate giving a numerical rating to anything like this and this is not a review but I would definitely rate it as an “A” effort. There is a lot to like in this slim volume and I look forward to seeing what comes about in the second edition. I was given a sneak preview of some of the stuff and all I am going to say is that it looks like it just keeps getting better. If you are interested in a new set of fantasy rules I highly recommend picking up Perilous Journeys.