Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Peek at Perilous Journeys 1

My initial post about Perilous Journeys was just my way of drawing attention to the free download of the game. I've decided to take a closer look at Perilous Journeys in pdf form.  I will be purchasing a print copy after the holiday season calms down.  

Before I begin looking at Perilous Journeys I feel it is important to explain my experience with Lejendary Adventures.  I stumbled across the Lejendary Adventure players manual in a FLGS one day and immediately purchased it after I noticed the name "Gary Gygax" and skimmed through the book.  I was pretty excited because it looked like a simple and straightforward skill based game using percentile dice for resolution.  Unfortunately, I just did not "get it" at all. 

I made multiple attempts at character creation and never went further with the rules.  My biggest problem was that I came away with a different understanding each time I read the rules.  I agree with others about the language or writing style being biggest stumbling block to understanding the LA system.  I disagree about the use of nontraditional role-playing terms.  I have no problem understanding that Avatar is equal to player character, Order is basically equal to class, and on down the line with the rest of the terms.  I believe the use of these unique terms is a plus and helps set the tone as something different from the previous work of Gygax.  

I am no stranger to the works and style of Gygax.  I read and understood the AD&D works, Cyborg Commando, and Dangerous Journeys. After reading through the character creation process in LA repeated times I grew very frustrated with the rules.  At first they seem pretty simple to follow but using them left me utterly confused.  I downloaded the quick start and that seemed to help a little but I was unable to bridge the gap between the quick start and the core rules.  

Ultimately, I came away from the LA rules disappointed.  I got the impression that a smooth rules-light game was waiting to be discovered with the rule book. I also felt that the writing style did not facilitate the understanding of the rules.  I must point out that this is not a dig against Gygax.  I am just saying that the rules as presented did not work for me. 

As a quick aside, I just wanted to point out that I thought it was interesting that both Arneson and Gygax stepped outside the realm of D20 based gaming and explored percentile based games with Adventures in Fantasy and Lejendary Adventure.  

How did I find Perilous Journeys?  I frequently check the threads at Dragonsfoot; specifically, the General Discussion, AD&D, Workshop, Lejendary Adventure, and Simulacrum Games forum.  I was checking the forums one day and came across this thread bringing attention to a new game with a design similar to LA.  After a download and a little investigation of the rules, I decided to bring attention to this game by taking a closer look at it in my blog.

Basic Details
I am taking a look at pdf version of the Perilous Journeys core rule book.  The document is black and white with illustrations and weighs in at 129 pages.  The artwork does a good job of capturing old school adventuring and there is an overall absence of dungeonpunk characters and monsters found elsewhere.  That gets a big thumps up from me because I really dislike a lot of the modern art in 4E.  I assume the only thing missing from the pdf version is the front and back cover.  The cover of the print version is displayed below.

The preface states several important things that form my impression of where this game is headed with the rules.
  • PJ is a skill based game that attempts to mimic the feel of OD&D but not the mechanics.
  • PJ has streamlined and flexible mechanics that will not hinder play of the game.
  • PJ has broad skills that allow the customization of characters.
This sounds an awful lot like what I heard about LA but that is a good thing.  If Perilous Journeys delivers for me in the ways that LA could not then I will be a very happy gamer.

The next section is a list of the common terms used in Perilous Journeys.  Usually I just quickly skim through these in other rule books to see if anything unfamiliar catches my eye.  I actually read every one of these definitions and found them very satisfactory in their explanation of the respective term.  The terms and labels used in Perilous Journeys should be familiar to most people that have played just a few role playing games.  The few new terms are explained in a clear manner that causes no confusion to the reader.  


That concludes the beginning of my examination of Perilous Journeys.  Fatherly duties call at the moment but I will continue with this later.  The next part of the rules is about character creation.

1 comment:

  1. I'll be following these posts. I've had a similar experience with LA. Reading PJ I had many "AHA!" moments. Darius did a great job of making the game much more accessible than LA.