Powers & Perils (White Dwarf review, issue #57)

Pee-Pee, as it is becoming known. is one of Avalon Hill's many new entries into role-playing. All the five volumes are clearly printed and laid out in an easy-to­follow manner
The first volume covers character crea­tion using dice to give ten primary characteristics and then adding or sub­tracting various modifiers depending on your race and sex; the races being humans, elves, faeries and dwarves. Social station and age are generated next, and used to work out how experi­enced the character is. Then the charac­ter's initial skills are worked out using a point allocation system (applied to both combat and general skills'. Skills can be improved by training or by using points gained from successful use of skills, but they all have a maximum expertise level which depends on yOur primary charac­teristics. Generating a character can prove to be a very lengthy business, and the large number of abbreviations can cause some confusion. Additionally, some of the instructions are rather ambiguous.
Volume two is divided into two sec­tions. combat and magic. Combat is similar to RuneOuest. and uses the 12- second tactical turn. Skill rolls are addi­tionally used to determine the damage done, and armour and shields absorb damage in the standard fashion.
Magic and magicians are also covered here, there being three types of magi­cians — Wizards, Shamans and Sidhe IFaeries, elves and Alfar). The wizards seek knowledge or power and are divided into three orientations: law, balance and chaos. Shamans are tied to the forces of nature, and the Sidhe are
aligned with the forces of creation and the Elder Gods. Spells are cast using a Mane point system, I he cost and success of the spell being determined by the skill of the caster. Spell deseriptions are ade­quate. and a large selection is available.
The third volume contains a basic description of the three planes of exis­tence, descriptions of the creatures who inhabit these planes, and a very good general encounter system. The list of creatures is very comprehensive and contains the usual legendary creatures aswell as a fair number of new monsters. Physical, magical and psychological attributes of creatures, their alignment and general reaction on being encoun­tered are listed in a clear manner.
Volume 4 deals with the potential human encounters and the different cul­tures of a world. The tables and listings of encounters cover a wide range, from cities through to uncivilised lands, and goes to great lengths to give a rationale for the encounter. This book also covers magical and non-magical treasures.
The fifth and final volume details the county of Donara. This includes a description of the main NPCs, the events and the general background of the county. Also included is a useful basic scenario designed to introduce the players to the game.
Overall, P&P introduces some nice ideas which can be adapted readily into other systems. The game is more suited to experienced players and GMs since it is fairly complex. In general, a greater amount of work than is normal for an RPG is needed for playing Powers and Perils, built is a good system.

 Presentation: 9 Complexity: 9
Playabllity: 8 Rules: 7
Overall: 8 Adrian Knowles

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