[PnP] re P&P review on RPGnet

Scott Adams longshotgm at netzero.com
Wed Oct 12 07:55:59 CEST 2011

When Alex and myself saw the review recently we chatted about it live for some time.  I also disagree with the full review.  Granted to each their own view, everyone has 2 cents and its free to post on the net.  its not so much the issue that it was a slam to the game but that some kid will see it and forget the game thinking it badly.  

There is no mention of the pnp list, the active group here, the v2 materials, the full website, etc.  So if some kid sees that and realizes the game died in some old box set 25 years ago not knowing there is a v2 to even reference we'll lose a possible fan.  I'd have at the very least mentioned the site Wout runs.  

I also was experienced when I got the game in '84.  I learned the rules in a weekend and soon after ran County Mordara at a convention with a half dozen folks.  Granted it is not for those with short attention spans.  But once a good GM explains the core rules anyone can deal with it.  We've always heard the math is hard.  Nothing more than elementary school kids should know.  Its sad that kids today can't change money at a fast food place if their cash register dies and no one has a calculator, even if its just giving change on 2$ transaction.  So in a way these type of games actually for me improve the odds of smarter gamers.  Who will not be lazy to just roll dice, but actually think.  

The artwork?  Are we serious?  Does the site for the review requires art to even be mentioned? I've been in so many games and with so many players I've not seen one to get a game just on art or not to get one if it didn't have pretty pictures.  In fact many of my games have NO pictures at all.  

Character Book - 

* I also disagree with the task comments.  It is straight forward to me.  
Also the nice thing about P&P is you deal with the rules you want or not.  With tasks you just simply assign a difficulty and its done.  Don't even need to consult charts or the like.  

* Writing style - As Alex says the style was normal for the time.  It was either too simple where you had no rule sections and you had to comb through pages of info to gleam the right info or it was so bogged down you had to use charts to get charts on other charts.  P&P does a good job of taking it between those levels.  It allows you to go with the core rules, optional and exceptions as well.  

* Initiative isn't clear until you dig into the game.  I do agree somewhat that the weapon priority thing I never got used to.  Polearms above or below daggers, etc.  But as Richard said himself if you don't like the rule ignore it.  This is why P&P was so great.  Unlike certain games you HAD to use the rules in order to do it well.  I rarely actually to this day recheck rules.  Main charts is Magic and Combat tables and that's it.  Unless you play it rarely there is little need to recheck rules IMHO.  

* Alex is right that the learning curve is steep.  You will likely either hate or love the game right away.  But that is how all games are.  It will take a good GM to demonstrate the rules and how they are used.  I've only had one player that didn't understand the game and rules in the many I've had.  But he was mostly into arguing than playing.  

* No classes - As pointed out this is one of the best aspects of characters.  You make the character around what you want.  If you have skills that make him a Executioner by day, Farmer by morning, Singer by night then so be it.  There is no restriction which certain games do.  

* Some say a rule is there for everything.  Obviously with V2 that isn't so. Many were added and changed.  But as Richard said use what you want and invent what you need.  We used the game by itself before v2 existed well.  

* Spells - Memorization was pointed out and I agree. The fact that spell books and even scrolls are a good factor to the game is nice.  

* All in one box.  This is the primary reason I got games.  I never actually GMed D&D because it simply has too much stuff out there.  P&P did it all in one box.  The bulk of my games are like that.  

* Time - Someone mentioned the time factors were done well.  This is true though as with most games there are exceptions.  Most players forge the 3 second phase doesn't allow them to speak a big speech in 3 seconds.  That tends to be the biggest issue.  By time combat ends most are still speaking to stop the bad guys from attacking.  

* One thing Lev didn't mention was the races.  the typical ones were there as we know but the fun thing was Faerry. Not many games allow that type of character.  One bonus to the character book.  

* The nice thing about the books is it allows players to see what they need for character generation without using other sections of the rules.  A character really once made only needs a photocopy of the equipment charts and that's it for the character book.  

* Combat in p&p can be deadly.  There are a few other fantasy games that do that but if a character is done well he can survive their first combat encounter.  

* Mention should have been given to the segments which is done in other places.  I admit it takes a few encounters to get used t it as many get confused on do they move before missile and such. But once learned its easy.  It structures the phase in a fast way.   

* Slight mention in a review would be the alternative combat situations like horse combat that is covered well.  

*  While most fantasy games have the same old spells the universe of P&P with its alignments should be mentioned in any review.  There are very unique spells.  

* Sadly no mention of Innate magics was covered which many games do not separate as well as P&P does.  

Creature book
* Every game has the monsters but the random encounters were well done and should have done mentioned in terms of that. It was not overaly complicated.   

* I would have liked to see more world info in terms of lower/upper world.  But the way Richard started it and worked on the gods and such was excellent work that should have been mentioned.  The cross reference and detailed work of the gods and history was top notch. 

Human Encounters
* Mention was made on the encounters but only briefly.  The big part not mentioned that should have been was the magic and treasure system.  
Treasure Generation is excellent and few can compete with it.  Even a lazy GM has enough to work on a great lair in seconds.  

* The in depth rules on creating magic items and such was also ignored and should be mentioned that most games fail to get as detailed.  


My main point is that in whole the review is great for 1988.  Reading one now it would have turned me off.  Granted no review can cover everything that should be done.  For every review you'll have others saying that it should have been more.  

But there is no mention of what is out there today.  If it was just a simple review of the old box set that's fine.  But mention of followup material makes it a bad review.  

PL, Heroes, Supplements, BOT, Wout's website, etc...

So to all those who may google this strange game called P&P and come across the review I hope your google finds the list and websites.  There is MUCH more than just the old 25+ old box set.  

Lastly on a personal issue I'd recommend making it clear in the review if one is doing an initial appraisal (thus not confident in core or new rules) or if the reviewer has invested the time and energy to fully learn the system. 

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