Rediscovering Powers & Perils

"I'm doing a review of the system which wavers between love and hate, enthusiasm and dismay. I've loved the ideas behind P&P for decades, but convinced myself it was probably as terrible as my friends thought it was, and now that I'm going back through it ... it's not perfect, but I have to admire it."

"Yep. Powers & Perils. Avalon Hill's entry into early-80's RPGs, complete with the requisite ampersand. I've been completely fascinated (at times obsessed!) with this system for no real reason ever since I was a kid. Through some accidents of fate (and companies dumping stock onto Kay*Bee Toys) I have all three published works - the box set, the Perilous Lands box, and the Tower of the Dead adventure.
I don't know why I loving love this game, but I do. Its combination of earnestness and terribleness hits me right in the ... well, the imagination balls if there's such a thing. It's a splendid mix of math-heavy gonzo early-80's games, high school algebra, and a weird implied setting with some real charm. It's packed full of interesting ideas because, near as I can tell, the author had no clue what he was doing and just vomited a bunch of rules into a box set, numbering them as kind of an afterthought. It didn't matter - I loved this game, made characters in it, and even figured out the system a little bit.
I could never get my friends to play it with me, though - they were convinced it was a piece of poo poo. And ... um ... they might be right? I'm not convinced this game was ever playtested, and I'll wager hardly anyone managed to actually play it once they bought it. I was so desperate to get people to try it out that I even copied the loving rules into a notebook by hand to try and trick them into playing it. Yeah, dick move, but you should have seen the Dimension Lord my friend Brad threw at us in his D&D game ."

A guy under the nickname of "Dwarf74" is currently writing a sort of overview of the Powers & Perils system.

It is worth checking out, you can find all the articles he has written until now here.

1 comment:

Matthew Schmeer said...




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