[PnP] Rediscovering this classic

Paul L. Ming pming at northwestel.net
Sat Sep 15 05:39:33 CEST 2012


  My turn. :)

   First, P&P is an excellent RPG. The one thing you should keep in mind 
is that it was made in '83. That means that it expects that the readers 
(and participants) are expected to use their own brains to decide 
something that doesn't make sense to them, is unclear, or that they 
don't like. So, the old grognard rule of "If it doesn't make 
sense...change it yourself!" needs to be kept in mind throughout the 
entire session. I could go on and on about the "good ol' days", but not 

> (1) Magic Experience Points & Characteristic Increases.  Let's say I 
> take some time to cast an EL0 Healing spell on my buddy.  I get MEP & 
> EP for this.  Do I also get a Characteristic Point bump?  I'm guessing 
> No, but I have no idea. :)

    Looking at the end of Book 1 (page 51 or so), it clearly states "Per 
50 CEP" and "Per 25 MEP", the character gets a single Characteristic 
point. So if you survive an adventure and have accumulated 344 CEP and 
47 MEP, you will get 7 Characteristic Points. In my game, I require that 
the PC try to 'spend' those points on an appropriate ability for whever 
they got the Characteristic Point from  (re: of the 7 above, spending 6 
on 'physical' abilities and 1 on 'mental' ones). They can spend them 
wherever they want, but should try and make it make sense for their 

> (2) The "stickiness" of melee.  According to the rulebook, it looks 
> like once you're engaged in melee you're stuck unless you happen to be 
> faster than a guy who wants to fight you.  Is this pretty accurate?  I 
> was also unclear if you got to counter-attack everyone who attacks you 
> in melee, but I settled on "no."  The book is a bit confusing on this 
> count...

    Well, basically, that's kinda the way it actually is. If a guy with 
a knife is trying to stab you in the gibletts to take your lunch money, 
you don't really have much of a choice. You can just turn and run, 
sure...but if he is faster than you, you're going to get stabbed in the 
back as you flee. Of course, if you try to use the environment to your 
advantage (re: weaving in/out of traffic, running around corners, street 
lamps, fruit carts, and garbage bins, for example), then you may have a 
chance of getting away. But there are no 'rules' for doing that...that's 
where the "grognards rules" come in. Basically, the Ref makes some shit 
up and you keep gaming. Hopefully after a thrilling chase scene! :)
   Of course, the rules are written specifically, IMHO, to *not* give 
"absolutes" with regards to stuff like this. That is --a GOOD thing--. 
One of my most hated 3e D&D things I can think of is all the "absolutes" 
listed for combat...especially "Attack of Opportunity". The 3e AoO's 
basically ignore common sense and list "if X, then Y", which shatters 
believability quite often during a chaotic melee. Example, a fighter 
facing an orc. Suddenly, a kobold runs by, directly behind the fighter. 
Using AoO rules, the fighter can turn 180 degrees around, swing at the 
kobold, then turn back 180 degrees to face the orc...all the while the 
orc just stands there and does nothing because the fighter "didn't move 
out of his 5' square". Luckily, P&P doesn't do this sort of thing often, 
and when it does it is typically followed by a common "Of course, the 
Referee should [make shit up] if it suits his game style".

> If you want to check out my work-in-progress, the main posts are 
> linked here: 
> http://tradwiki.foxxtrot.net/index.php/FATAL_%26_Friends:_P-Q#Powers_.26_Perils_.28by_dwarf74.29 
>  But there's some other comments interspersed.  There's bad language, 
> and I range between admiration and frustration, so be warned!  But 
> have no doubt, I still love this darn thing, and I hope it shows.

    P&P is one of my constant Top 3 game systems. It allows me to play a 
very "heroicly gritty" campaign...something I find no other game has 
allowed me to do. Having a system that allows a PC to obliterate an 
entire dragon with one spell, and yet that same PC could be killed by a 
single dagger thrust is hard to beat, IMHO. One of my best, most 
memorable campaigns was in P&P (using my own world of Shadowthorn). The 
PC's basically were glorified tourists...then walked all over my map, 
going from one interesting place to the next, and never actually doing 
any "typical story-based campaign stuff". We played that for about 2 
years and everyone loved it...advancement was not a concern, nor was 
accumulation of wealth, power, etc. Basically, the players characters 
were all interesting enough that they didn't *care* about advancing 
"levels and stuff". Any game system that can support a 2-year campaign 
of "just wandering around and seeing stuff" has GOT to be good! :)


Paul L. Ming

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