The line that matters most to me is the "Complex fantasy system" line.
I am obsessed with complex fantasy rpg's, otherwise- i obviously would not be playing Powers & Perils.
According to the timeline, no complex fantasy system existed before 1977.
There have been many games that I've seen come and go. Fantasy games. Science Fiction games. You name it, someone's put it out. P&P is one of the best games out there, above the multitudes of games that you see on the market today (most of which, sigh, combine themselves with the D20 system instead of striking out at new territories). If you want a rich, detailed, and well-developed setting and rule work, then you need to pick this game up now. It is hard to find. It is an old game. But it is worth every penny to buy it. I've worn out several of my box sets myself due to heavy use of the rulebooks (which, sadly, are paper bound ... which is the only negative thing about this game). The rules are modular, you can put in or take out what you want, you the GM and you the players are in control. Most of the time, you'll end up using D100 style rolls. The magic system is grandiose and spectacular. And if you can find it, the Perilous Lands setting is one of the wealthiest settings alive. Get this game and have a blast. Flush the D20 systems down the toilet.
P&P is as stated obviously not a system for the simple player or
GM. It does require some level of brain power than say a pot smoker
who could easily play the vast majority of other games. Not that all
simple gamers are that way. But the vast majority of all rps tend to
have the six-pack-Joe type that can cookie-place the game. Give some
teen a pair of dice and majority will play the most popular systems
out there in no time. But on the other hand there are some systems
that are a bit more complex that require thought and patience. For
example some board games or miniature games require more than just
tossing some dice. P&P is the same but for the rpg industry. BUT
with a good skilled GM even the confused players can have a good time.
I run about 26 rpgs of various genres. Probably countless board
games. Miniature games maybe a dozen. It is in the skill set of a
person to learn the game for themselves. Back in mid'80s when we
got the game at some Con we enjoyed it in hours not weeks. Two
years later at a con I ran a 8 player game in on session teaching new
players who never even played it how to use the system. Course I did
have tons of prepared things like cheat sheets and such. But if a new
group can enjoy it in a few hours then I think anyone can with the
Some consider the system just another hack. This can be debated.
We can go back to Shakespeare and find only a few story lines in
history. Does that mean some unique movie is not worth watching
cause it was just a 'typical murder' movie? The problem is this
system is a love or hate it game. GM and player will either love
it or hate it on that awful first impression likely the first hour.
But is that the fault of the game? The complex rules? The bias of
the player? The bad GM who can only read some adventure text and
not come up with his own original idea?
Given the chance 99% of my friends/players have enjoyed the game.
Only one player didn't seem to like the math. Another player
refused to play team player and created havoc because he didn't
like the game. Two out of hundreds.
The math is complex for some who don't like simple math. They need
a calculator to figure out the things needed done. But then these
are the same people who work at a fast food place and can't make
change from a 5$ bill on a meal of 2$. They need a cash register
to figure out for them. This isn't the fault of the game but of
the person who decides to be just lazy or give a brass bit.
There are much more complex games out there. Chartmaster a certain
name we give to a X-Master game I'll not name that is so full of
chart flipping that a typical combat takes a full hour for one round.
Sometimes details can be overwhelming and it is up o the GM to
decide what is needed in their game. This is why this game works
so well it was designed on purpose to give that flexibility.
Frankly many other games out there do not have that flex nature.
I've done the system for almost 3 decades. I've run a game constantly
for the last 17 years. Before that off and on for a decade or two.
I am biased I bit but aren't we all?
RPGs adapt and change. We've seen it go from that certain dungeon
style to complex visions of worlds. We've seen rpgs rise and fall.
Now kids consider Magic or those other systems to be 'rpgs'. But
P&P to me has stayed the same for the last 3 decades. We've seen
this version and the Xth version of this game come out - even to
the point of stupid changes or just a new trick to spend money on.
Yet you can get P&P in 2 boxes and that's it. No suitcase of just
side supplements to cover one aspect or a briefcase of rule bonks
that debate on one rule.
To me this game has stayed in my heart for that. I'll still play
the other games but I prefer to RUN and play in P&P. It is tied
to another game system (fantasy genre) which I like and nothing
else really compares to it in the scope of creativity. This doesn't
mean P&P is BETTER than X or Y system. Been there done that debate.
This is only my view.
Given enough brain energy and time anyone can learn the game and
Don't want the game to allow one to have the Hand to Hand skill -
much rather add a martial arts skill? So be it! Do it.
Sadly many other systems do not have that a good flex ability as
Some say it takes a player 3 hours at least to generate a player.
In the first few months I could do that in minutes. Now I could do
a dozen full players in a flash.
Again this is just how one learns and handles the system. Come in
without a open mind then you will just see another hack.
I rarely get to play the game myself due to time. In the last
decade we did have 2 GMs run pbem games. As with the vast majority
of PBEMs out there they failed shortly after. But I have done a
pbem (still so - on my 5th adventure) since mid-90s. Some with the
Another aspect I like about the game is the fans. While we aren't
as diverse as certain dungeon fans we have a tight enough group
that allows us to just have fun. None of the "well the spell says
it can do this but the 3rd edition said the movement was changed
and the physics of the spell mechanics..." blah blah. Debate to
How many do you get to deal with the author personally over the
years and help create a entirely new version/update as we did for
To think that I'm a 100% fan of the game isn't right either. Sure
there are issues. Minor ones which I simply ignore or change. NO
game is perfect. IF you believe that then you are in your own
fantasy world and no need to play in another fantasy world.
My 2 Brass Bits.