Phantasy conclave is so old-school

 Yesterday evening we played for the first tim Phantasy conclave rpg with my group.

It was so fun and awesome. My players were enthusiast and appreciated a lot some particular mechanics of the game.

Now, Phantasy conclave is an obscure fantasy rpg first published in 1982 and i can tell you that it is very old-school in feeling and i am sure that a revised version to offer to the OSR community would be a great gift!

Keep in mind that i'm not a fan of rules-light games. I regularly play Powers & Perils which, though it was published in the eighties, it's quite convoluted in terms of game mechanics because, basically, i adore complicated role-playing games.

So no Swords & Wizardry for me or Labyrinth lord. I have come to despise such games...i prefer playing a different kind of stuff.

But was i wrong? Why i was engrossed whilst playing Phantasy conclave?

I comprehended the rules in a couple of hours. Three little books inside the boxed set: one devoted to rules, and the others to races and available classes.

Yes, you can play some strange races if you want, like the Meren (sort of mermaids) and the Aerlings (sort of human eagle with wings), but apart from that there are the basic races such as halfling, dwarf, elf, human.

The classes available are wizard, elven healer,fighter, scout (basically, the ranger).

You have your usual primary abilities, from which your secondary characteristics arise: you PAL and your MAL.

PAL stands for Physical aptitude rating while MAL stands for Magical aptitude rating.

PAL is the peak level of physical or combat proficiency an adventurer has reached.It is the sum of Physique and Endurance (so if i roll 16 and 15, PAL is 31 at the beginning of my career).

What struck us most was this feature of the game, which you rely on during combat: in combat you just need to refer to one single table, where you compare you PAL with the DR (defense rating) of your adversary (which stems from his worn armor).

Your PAL is, at the same time, your hit points AND your capacity for fighting.
Physical damage lowers your PAL.

So here it is how it works: during character generation you roll 4d6, in order for all of your characteristics: physique, intellect, wisdom, dexterity, endurance, appearance.

You discard the lowest die among the four. After all six totals are obtained, you may interchange (this time only) your highest individual score for another score of your choice.

With high scores in physique you can do more damage with your weapon, high scores in dexterity make you harder to hit because you can dodge a little bit blows aimed at you.High scores in endurance give you a bonuse to your PAL.

But the most important attribute is by far your score in PAL (Physical aptitude level).

During combat, i cross-reference my PAL with the DR (defense rating) of the monster i am fighting with and i find my percentage of scoring a hit.

If the monster hits me and damages me for 5 hit points, my PAL drops to 26 (while my PAL never changes, now my PAR [physical aptitude rating] is 26).

So now, just because i am wounded, i won't be able to function like before!
Yes, now i am functioning at PAR 26 instead of 31, it means that i am wounded and somehow fatigued, so when trying again to hit the monster i will cross-reference a PAR 26 with its usual DR (which has not changed).

To make a comparison in AD&D terms, it's as if i have been hit for 5 hit points, and just because of this fact- my THAC0 is no more 18 but becomes 21, for instance.

This was so cool, simple and realistic, and my players appreciated it a lot.
Each time i lose hit points, i deduct them from my PAR so i become more and more fatigued at attacking.

To cut it short, PAR is at the same time your hit points and your combat fighting potency.

Obviously, you can recover your PAR with nourishment and rest, so that you may reach your peak level again (that is, your PAL).

There are other cool aspects, such as rules for aging adventurers, rules for gaining experience (you must spend at least 24 hours away from adventuring to be able to benefit from recent utilization of your abilities),rules for fumbles,and several special rules dealing with injury and death (maybe i'll detail them in a later post).

Weapon damage is much like AD&D, with different weapons making different damage.

The only thing i disliked was the rules for armor, because your defense rating depends on the type of armor worn, whereas i think armor should instead absorb damage (probably because i am accustomed to Powers & perils's way of handling this).

But all in all this game is so cute and it was a surprise for me.
I am sure it would delight many OSR fans if it was in print nowadays.

It is fast and realistic at the same time.
As said before, i am not used to playing this kind of games, but yesterday it was a blast.

I just hope that the new revised edition of this game, which is currently being developed, will stay true to the original version as much as possible.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoy how the Internet has allowed these overlooked RPGs to get a second chance at exposure. Although pen-and-paper RPGs may no longer be mainstream popular, they can still influence populations that create computer games, stories, movies, music and so forth. Thanks for the play review.

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