The first outing, though second edition, of this heroic game series provides the 146 page Player’s Guide, which contains everything needed to create characters for the adventures ahead. My hardback is on its way.
If you are familiar with Blue Planet, which I’m not, then the brief introduction to the game mechanics will be like a sensual plunge into those balmy waters of ‘Synergy’, as this game uses that engine. More on that in a moment. Just to be clear, you don’t get much in the way of game in this book. The opening section gives an outline providing some context for the characters to come.
Characters are mostly defined by Attributes, Aptitudes and Skills. You start with a power level that essentially governs how may points you can spend in each of the key areas: Everyday, Exceptional and Elite. The example character is an Elite. Unless you are wanting to level grind, or want to play ordinary people in extraordinary situations, you’re going to pitch for the bouncy elite’s with lots of skill and muscles and dice. The ten Attributes and four further derived ones are strewn across the usual physical, mental and magical categories. That’s a lot of Attributes. These are modified by your race, which suggests the usual core of human, dwarves and various elves and gnobbits. The races give you neat starting packages to tailor you from the genetic get go.
Aptitudes are a key part of the game. These are a series of skill groups rated at one of three levels: Average, Strong or Superior. Aptitude examples include things like Artisan, Close Combat, Stealth and Transport. Each Aptitude area has a host of finer grained skills within. This game is a roll and keep the lowest system. Average gives you a pool of 1d10, Strong 2d10 and Superior 3d10. Skills are quite detailed. In Savage or Fate you might find that the Aptitude categories would be the skill list. Instead, for Worlds of Adventure, you’ve got a more detailed list, at a kind of Runequest level, but not as voluminous as Eclipse Phase. Skills are rated at 1-10.
Just so you know, the game is: add an attribute and a skill together, modify by difficulty to give you a ‘Target Number’ and using your Aptitude dice (1-3 d10) roll and keep the lowest trying to get equal or less than the number. Done. You also have ‘Fate Stones’ to spend to give bonuses and cool shizzle.
Skills are acquired through a really nice lifepath system where you pick up origin, background and professional skill packages to build up a list of skills. Along with racial variation you’ve got complete control to create a story concept and find a path that gives you the skill base to reflect your pre-game experiences. The amount you get depends on the power level you are playing with.
The character profile process is a twenty question list that serves to deepen the understanding of the character, their goals, motivations and attitude. It can probably also be used for when you are next putting a profile on a dating website.
We then have 30 pages of magic and spells. This is a pretty good list of whizzy stuff grouped into domains such as Illusion, Transmutation and Evocation 36 pages of equipment covers in step by step detail the prices and capabilities of Ale and Armour to Swords and Sausages. The ‘Adventuring Essentials’ section provides you with everything that a well healed ravager might need whilst out and about in the wilderness. Any game that affirms that a ten foot pole is 'a surprisingly versatile addition to an adventurer’s kit', knows where its tropes lie.
The character sheet is a functional series of boxes that I might like to have seen more evocative, if not illusory. One for a home redesign.
At the end you get a tantalising page of all the other core books to come. The Moderator Guide (now a few weeks off as at end of Sept 2016) gives you the core rules of the game and how to slaughter each other. Also promised is a bestiary, big book of even more spells, and a ‘companion’ tome of dug up trivia. Now, it seems to me that you really need the Moderators Guide to have a full game. The blurb states that:
This book covers all the information you’ll need as a moderator for Worlds of Adventure; from combat to creating new magic to wilderness survival, moderation tips and a small bestiary.
For now, we have the free Quickstarter (get it on Drivethru), which gives you the core of the game and enough to get started. I’d probably have liked to have had the Players and Moderators Guides together in one book to give you a core game that you can play in one purchase. The others are fine for add ons.
Nicely written, some good illustrations and layout, a sound little system and lots of options to get you started. I like it. The proof is in play of course and I really want to give it a run out with the Moderator Guide in my sweaty palms.
When I do, anyone fancy a game?