Sword Lords (1981)

An old-school fantasy rpg-influenced Wargame. Rules for battles, ship combat, magic and dungeoneering. Lots of Random Tables.Lots of great old school artwork throughout. 

"A game of fantasy armies, heroes, and adventures."

"The ancient stories of elves and men tell much about the titanic struggles of good and evil, but little has been recalled of those who were not of Middle Earth but of its fringes. With this book you may recreate a part of the Eastern Regions, the vast and diverse archipelago that bordered the eastern coast of middle earth, to sail between strange islands, face demons and gather treasure, and to fight large battles between the many powerful contenders for this part of the world long past."


Powers & Perils: review by Matthew J. Costello

So why i am publishing this reviews about P&P?

The author here seems, on the whole, to despise the game.

This is why i'm putting the review, players of the future must know that Powers & Perils is not a game for everyone, that it is a quite different fantasy role-playing experience.

Oddly,part of its fascination stems from such bad reviews, because they highlight its peculiar nature, setting it apart from several other fantasy rpg's. Because it is horrible and incomprehensible to many, but this bizarre complexity attracted others.
Why? No one can tell.

Sure there are and there will always be some to whom P&P amounts to something near perfection, and we can get glimpses of this reading this review as well.The author acknowledges that for some persons, this kind of game might be the right game.

At the end of the review, the author says: "players who demand detail in their fantasy rpg's will find all they desire here"

[...]if there are some rule-devouring sophisticates out there who've swallowed every bit of AD&D, then they just might be looking for this.The detail is overwhelming.

and the phrase i prefer, which i think summarizes the feeling that Powers & Perils conveys when you approach it with an open mind, and get to its heart:

[...] i almost hope that in some bizarre,unimaginable way, it's a masterpiece.

Reverance Pavane, are you out there?

I'm trying to contact this fellow, if you are listening or if any of you readers out there can help me to get in touch with him, please leave a comment below.

The guy i'm trying to contact has a blogger profile here.

It is likely he is a member of some rpg forums (therpgsite? rpg.net?).

Thanks in advance.


Powers & Perils vanquishing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

CHANCES TO HIT AN ENEMY OR MONSTER: In Ad&d you have better chances to hit (THAC0) if you are a fighter than, say, a mage.

In Powers & Perils: You have better chances to hit regardless of the concept of class- rather, if you have high scores in strenght, stamina (to endure the prolonged fight) you'll end up having better chances. Also, your combat experience level plays a role on this aspect.

HIT POINTS: In Ad&d if you are a fighter you roll for more hit points. Instead, if you are a mage, you are doomed to have less hit points.

In Powers & Perils: How many hit points you have depend on a formula which takes into account your strenght, your stamina and your constitution.


In Powers & Perils each time you successfully use a weapon against an opponent you earn experience with that weapon, thus making you more skilled with it (but you have to score at least a certain amount of damage during that encounter in order to have this gain).

EXPERIENCE POINTS: In Powers & Perils when you earn experience points and you reach a specified amount, you can raise some of your characteristics (those that you logically used, such as strenght, stamina, dexterity, will, etc..)
Consequently, if your scores get better, even your offensive combat level (OCV) can get better (thus having more possibilities in the future to hit enemies), and you could get more HPV (hit points value), because as specified above, they depend on your characteristics.

Ad&d doesn't take this aspect into account, you are supposed to never raise your characteristic scores. You were born that way, with no chance to improve your physiology.


COMBAT: In Ad&d, almost every weapon does different damages, if you need a 13 to hit a monster and you score a 18 it's the same. In both cases you hit him, without any significant difference.

In Powers & Perils, all of the weapons do the same damage, BUT the big difference lie in how "high" is your roll. If you need a 78 to hit but you roll a 30 with the 100 sided die, you are likely to score a SEVERE or even a DEADLY hit.

A sever hit yelds more damage than a normal hit (in this case, for instance, you are entitled to roll more dice when you roll for the damage. You could kill a giant if you are incredibly lucky (remember Frodo?).

In Powers & Perils you can try to use your round to dodge the enemy blow, and there is a dedicated table for figuring this out. Basically, your chances depend on your dexterity and on your agility, compared to the DEX and AG of your opponent plus the kind of armor you are wearing.

These are just a bunch of main diference, but there are several others. I think i'm going to start a series in the future entitled "Powers & Perils" lessons. It might be useful for another purpose as well, that is, to debunk a false myth concerning the unplayability of P&P due to its alleged complexity.
P&P books are full of tables Richard Snider wrote that gives immediate results readily available for the DM and the players, so that you are not obliged to calculate them on your own losing time and making mental effort.

But if i am playing Powers & Perils and i am enjoying it who am NOT an english mothertongue speaker, how much more easily that will be for many of you out there?

Last but not least, there is a final consideration that has to be made: it seems quite difficult to me to go back to AD&D nowadays, and i heard others have experienced this sort of feeling after playing Rolemaster and other similar games. I would not be able to stand the illogicity and "silliness" of many aspects of AD&D, how it handles things. I played P&P for the first time several years ago, i was not hooked with it because i was young and i thought that AD&D was the fantasy RPG, stop.
No need to wonder, no need to explore. Now that i decided to go back to complex rpg's, i found out what i missed.


The OSR not ready for the deepest deed

Something strange has happened recently. Something of the utmost importance took place with the release of DCC RPG.

DCC is a fantasy rpg which is closer to Gygax'original intentions than AD&D itself was, because one of its main goal was to abide strictly by the literature referenced in the famous APPENDIX N, and in my humble opinion it fulfilled its promise.

So, without taking into account its mechanics and regardless of other aspects, it ends up being MORE AD&D than AD&D was. In this fact there lies the paradox.

This is an odd thing indeed, this fact entails something and poses a bizarre threat to the OSR community, an odd challenge which we may or may not be willing to accept and consider worthy of scrutiny.

Those who were enthralled by this achievement (that is, by the actualization of APPENDIX N in its entirety in an rpg for the very first time) - realized that they eventually held in their hands - paradoxically - AD&D as it might have been (or dare is say, as it should have been if Gygax had more thoroughly developed the sources he cited in a cursory way at the end of 1st ed. DMG).

To cut it short, i'm sure that at that point several persons in the OSR community CONVERTED to DCC RPG, thus "forgetting" AD&D.
They were flabbergasted by a new fantasy rpg and behaved in consequence of this emotion.

In a similar way i wondered: how many out there in the OSR are WILLING to forget AD&D (or D&D in general), in 2012? Much as some of us embraced DCC rpg, choosing it instead of AD&D, now i'm posing the question backwardly.

There are several old fantasy rpg rarely spoken of, published in the seventies or in the eighties- which still have to be unveiled to the masses- and which are still floating in an undeserved LIMBO or which sank into oblivion mainly because of their rarity (i think for instance about "Bifrost", which i am lucky enough to own but there are others) which might be- for a variety of reasons- more fascinating or enchanting or just interesting (to say the least) to play than original D&D or AD&D.

But is there anyone willing -wholeheartedly i mean - nowadays to CHANGE HIS MIND and explore such a possibility?

The possibility that the OSR might lead to the discovery of a fantasy rpg "better" than the so-called original fantasy game? To accept this is an act of courage, or is it likely to happen once the OSR will have dug deeper in our hobby's roots?

DCC RPG opened in my opinion the way to this change of perspective, now we should be brave enough to admit the same thing in retrospective.


The Abduction of Good King Despot

just bought!

i think this rarity deserved 50 dollars.NK only had one copy of this, and i was after it.

For those who don't know what this module is, look here.

Noble Knight website immediately refreshed the page, you can see that the item in question is sold out as of today, here.

I'll tell everyone on this blog what this adventure is like, because i'm planning to play it, as a series of adventures for a Powers & perils campaign. Sure, i will have to modify several stats because at the time it was published with AD&D in mind.

Anyway, while i wait, we can read this fom a comment at Grognardia here:

The Abduction of Good King Despot (by Will & Schar Niebling and Russ Stambaugh; New Infinities, 1988): This module is the epitome of the "funhouse with internal logic" that I just praised in a post at dragonsfoot -- the dungeon is a completely linear and completely non-ecologized (there are some joking nods to what the monsters do when the PCs aren't around but they're not to be taken seriously) gauntlet of tricks, puzzles, and monsters that at first glance seem completely random and arbitrary but are actually all part of a complex and internally-consistent pattern that clever players will eventually recognize and be able to use to their advantage while less-perceptive players will waste tons of time and resources on red-herrings. This was Gary Gygax's favorite module to run at conventions and it's obvious why -- the combination of whimsy and tough challenges (both tactical and intellectual) represents the best of old-style D&D, and the linear nature makes sure the players will get a good dose of fun in a short time-frame (but that said, neither of the two times I've run it did the party get anywhere near all the way through -- or even halfway).

I'm sure i made an excellent purchase, and as time passes i'm hoarding more and more rarities to my collection...i am happy.


Clark Ashton Smith, virgin

Nostalgia of the unknown - by Clark Ashton Smith

On EBAY, here.

When does you character die in Powers & Perils?

First of all, the way HIT POINTS VALUE (HPV) - are calculated in Powers & Perils is beautiful and highly reasonable, unlike the way they are calculated in AD&D:

HPV= Strenght value + Stamina value (which is the same as Constitution in AD&D) + Constitution value (which represents the physical health of a character) / 4

so, to sum it up:

HPV= (S+St+C) /4

 Then you have to take into account DAMAGE TOLERANCE VALUE:

((C/20) +Stamina bonus) x (-1), round up.

You usually end up having a DTV of -3, -4 or something like that.

Last, you calculate your Lethality index.
Each character has a Lethality Index. The value = DTV * 4. If your DTV is -4, your LI is -16.
Effects are as follows:

Between 0 and DTV - The character is limited and semiconscious. He may take one action per tactical turn OR move MR/10 (RU) in a tactical turn. When less than DTV and not less than LI - The person is unconscious. Less than LI - Dead.

When a wound is suffered that leaves the character with an HPV value less than ONE, a roll is taken on the Death Table, (a sort of "critical hit table") so that if you are unlucky and roll a 20, you can instantly die (head severed, for example). But this dpends on the potency of the blow received.
If, for instance, you received a severe or DEADLY blow, it is likely you will die if you roll on the DEATH table.

So, to sum up: you calculate your HPV, then DTV and your LI value.


The Compleat Tavern (1981-1983?)


Who will re-release this for the OSR community?

I think it can be done, if the author is still around. I am eagerly waiting

As our Powers & Perils adventure unfolds

Ennon: Human herbalist, he had to escape from the city because in the past he was accused of murdering a king. Now they are chasing him. He heard bad news about guards that are looking for him,so the tavern owner warns him, he has to escape.

Gunnard Martin: Warrior, he can fight with two weapons (sword and hand axe). He is approached by the elf named Darrel, the elf has a letter to give him. The letter was written by the elven King Locklomin, it is a strange letter where the king tells Gunnard to go to his castle as soon as possible.

Gunnard is flabbergasted when he receives the letter- he never met the elven king Locklomin but his father told him that he was a friend of him in his youth and Gunnard's father even went on war with the king once, where Locklomin eventually saved his life. So Gunnard just doesn't hesitate an instant, and he moves towards the Castle of the seven towers.

At the same time, Gunnard has to stay near Ennon, the herbalist, because he has a wounded limb and the herbalist is the only one able to cure him at the moment. So all the three of them (Darrel, Gunnard and Ennon) starts their journey to the castle.

It seems other persons are interested in reaching the castle, strange figures moving around the city. Is there anything important at the castle waiting to be discovered?

While on journey, Ennon has an odd dream where he sees himself sorrounded by strange tall men clad in black garments, in a frozen land where he alone is roaming. Those men are whispering commandingly something to his ears (or to his brain), he can't understand what THEY WANT. He looks back and sees Darrel with a shining arrow inside his stomach, he seems on the point of dying. 

On their journey, they meet some thieves/bandits, and they have to fight with them.They succeed, and after the fight Gunnard (who has the skill of "executioner" begins torturing one of them). This poor man confesses that a group of 50 of his comrades - all belonging to a sort of sect of thieves- are heading to the castle of the seven towers, because Cebracon, chief of the thieves- ordered them to go on this mission to steal something in the castle. He doesn't know more).

On the following night dark clouds gather in the sky.

During that night, a cloud seems to descend on earth and from it there emerges a nightmarish vision, a creature from the abyss, an Arch-Devil.

As soon as he appears, this music is heard (at the table, by my players):

He says to the characters they have to take something which is hidden at the castle of the seven towers, an object that he himself is not able to take, because King Locklomin's powers prevent him from entering the gate of the castle.

He speaks as if that was an order which cannot be refused by the characters.At the end of this diabolical conversation, he offers to the characters, as a gift (and to help them in their quest)- four objects which are lying on the ground. He promises great wealth to them, should they do his will, and together with the objects there appears a bag full of golden coins on the ground.
The player characters see a green cloak, four azure potions, a glaring ring and a sword.
The characters, scared, decide not to take any of them. The Arch-devil disappears, saying he will chase them and avenge in case they won't do what he ordered. He says they may have a good, enjoyable and long life OR a life full of torments.



The world is an eternal dream

That is the title of the french version of Powers & Perils (Le Monde est un Rêve Eternel), located here.

For whoever can read the language, you'll find there plenty of material, and several different versions of the game (revised, french version, consolidated,corrected), as you can see here.

So, besides the official international community Powersandperils.org (only 61 game masters able to play this game in the world- counting me -according to this list), Powers & Perils has a legacy in France, too.


Richard Snider's collected wisdom - PART I


Announcing "The Compleat Fantasist" project (help needed)

 AT LAST . . . no longer need characters from system be stuck there. And never more will you have to arbitrarily decide how to change personal statistics to fit a different set of rules. Fantasy role playing veteran Mark Wagner gives guidelines to help convert many parts of each system to the others, and describes aspects that don't convert well.

"The compleat fantasist" was published by Dimension six in 1980.


It aims to provide tables in order to enable the conversion among the major fantasy rpg's of that time.
I came to obtain a copy of this little book (i was after it for quite some time), and i am in the process of perusing it.

I would like to post its content on the blog, and i think it would be a great idea to expand its scope.
It actually covers: AD&D, Arduin, Tunnels & Trolls and Runequest.

As it says:

 So, i am looking for help from players worldwide. I could do it myself, maybe, but that would be too demanding to accomplish for just one person.

I am going to contact, at least Chivalry & Sorcery and Powers & Perils fans all around the globe on different forums, as well as Empire of the Petal Throne ones.

If you are one of them and would like to help, stay tuned and don't hesitate to contact me on this blog. In any case, this might be a long-term collective effort.

Dragonraid (1984)


The world where we play



Monsters! Monsters! (1976)



The Dark Eidolon - The journal of Smith studies - issue III

I'm looking for this, someone can help?

I am willing to buy a copy, it is quite rare and i only own volume 2 (which i bought several years ago directly from Necronomicon press together with a cassette tape with the recording of Smith's voice).

Someone should really scan this little volume and put it online. If i am not wrong, on Eldritch dark volume 2 is already online in its entirety, but volume 3 is sorely missed. Hence, i leave this post here for posterity.

Help us find "The Dark Eidolon" issue 3.

If you don't buy this you are not into the OSR, really.

I just got my copy today (thank you, anonymous!)

It's great, inspiring, seems excellent. I can't believe anyone claiming to be in the OSR without perusing this little treasure. Get your copy here for just 15 dollars.


Bloggers that would deserve more followers

THE ONGOING CAMPAIGN: This guy has already written some excellent posts about obscure fantasy rpg's.

Besides feeling less lonely now that i found out someone else is concerned with forgotten gems from the past, Faoladh compiled long review of exquisite fantasy games such as "Land of adventure" - which, naturally, everyone should play instead of AD&D. And other posts about Arcanum (how can you not know Arcanum if you are into AD&D?), and Swordbearer, just to cite another example. Check his blog and follow him instead of re-reading every day Grognardia who doesn't seem to have grasped the beauty of Powers & Perils. (but i do love you James, nonetheless).



I think this is the last post in the series, where i am concerned with magic and miracles.

I am fascinated by how Magic was conceived in Middle ages, and by the theological views about the nature of God.

Basically, that is why i cannot find satisfaction in how magic is portrayed in AD&D. It is too childish to me, and it fails to have an emotional impact over me.


A girl had died just in the hour of her marriage, and the bridgegroom was following her bier lamenting as was natural his marriage left unfulfilled, and the whole of Rome was mourning with him, for the maiden belonged to a consular family. Apollonius then witnessing their grief, said: "Put down the bier, for I will stay the tears that you are shedding for this maiden." And withal he asked what was her name. The crowd accordingly thought that he was about to deliver such an oration as is commonly delivered as much to grace the funeral as to stir up lamentation; but he did nothing of the kind, but merely touching her and whispering in secret some spell over her, at once woke up the maiden from her seeming death; and the girl spoke out loud, and returned to her father’s house, just as Alcestis did when she was brought back to life by Hercules. And the relations of the maiden wanted to present him with the sum of 150,000 sesterces, but he said that he would freely present the money to the young lady by way of a dowry. Now whether he detected some spark of life in her, which those who were nursing her had not noticed,--for it is said that although it was raining at the time, a vapour went up from her face—or whether life was really extinct, and he restored it by the warmth of his touch is a mysterious problem which neither I myself nor those who were present could decide.
(Flavius Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius, 4:45).

[...]And in just keeping with his visits to the Arabians were the studies he undertook among the Persians also, according to the account given by the same author. For after forbidding Damis, so we are told, to go to the magi, though Damis was his only pupil and companion, he went alone to school with them at midday and about midnight; alone in order not to have as his companion in the study of magic one who was clearly without a taste for such things. And again when he came to converse with Vardan the Babylonian king, it is related that he addressed him as follows: "My system of wisdom is that of He professed the wisdom of PythagorasPythagoras, a man of Samos, who taught me to worship the gods in this way and to recognize them, whether they are seen or unseen, and to be regular in converse with the gods."

The "miracles" performed by Apollonius caused great consternation in the young Christian Church. Justin Martyr, the great Church Father of the second century, pertinently asked:
"How is it that the talismans of Apollonius have power over certain members of creation, for they prevent, as we see, the fury of the waves, the violence of the winds, and the attacks of wild beasts. And whilst Our Lord's miracles are preserved by tradition alone, those of Apollonius are most numerous, and actually manifested in present facts, so as to lead astray all beholders?"

[...]Everywhere Apollonius received almost divine honors and legends about him grew up everywhere. His capacity for clairvoyance enabled him to make predictions that were verified by events and which had the effect of increasing his fame. He had no difficulty in escaping Nero's persecution of philosophers, and his admirers said that when confronted with the tribunal that was to try him, he was able, through his Hermetic art, to erase the writing on the document on which his indictment was written.


Heroes (1979) to be re-published soon

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...