Category Archives: Reviews & First Looks

Adventurers! Event Zero

I have been given a copies of Adventurers! the game and Adventurers! Event Zero, the Supers setting for Adventurers!

I think this is a great game and setting combo. The feel I have from the setting booklet is like the Heroes TV series. We have an event that has created these heroes but the whole thing is shrouded in conspiracy.

So what do you get?


Adventurers! Revised Edition is a mini RPG. It claims to be an RPG in two pages but the reality is that the players guide is two pages, the GMs guide is 2 pages and there there is a bit more for the bestiary and stuff like list of gear that characters can buy or use. Toss in some character sheets and top and tail it with a cover and you have 12 pages of rules.

Adventurers! feels like a framework and not a bolted down game. As such you can do a lot with it. The simpler the framework and the less rules there are then the less chance that a rule will stop you doing something. The core Adventurers! booklet hints as settings and styles of play but it is basically generic.

Characters have 3 main attributes and some secondary attributes that are either derived from the core ones or based upon other skills or equipment. The core attributes are on a -1 to 6 scale and for PCs you get 6 points to spend over the three attributes. You get a couple of skills, one at a basic level and the second at a more advanced level. The skills list is not vast in this core book.  You finally have a character concept made up of two words definition and an archetype, or to quote the rules…

The Concept identifies what a hero is and what he does. It is made up of two parts, a Definition (e.g. Unlucky) and an Archetype (e.g. Detective), such as Dashing Swordsman, Mysterious Mage, or Cop Who Protects Innocents. You have Advantage on knowledge rolls linked to your Archetype. The GM rewards you with Her points when you role-play your Definition (e.g. if you are a Courageous
Swordsman and you behave in a courageous way).

The main mechanic is roll 2d6 and add your stat and or skill. A roll of 7+ succeeds. Opposed rolls are you roll yours, they roll theirs and the winner succeeds. Roll double 1 and you critically fail, roll double 6 and you critically succeed.

You should get an idea for how simple this game it.

The complexity, if you can call it that comes from the other half of the equation, the setting book.

Event Zero

Event Zero is a supers setting for Adventurers. So in addition to the core rules EZ adds a really cool campaign setting. I have read a few Gramel mini settings and this is by far the best to date. After the setting you get NPC character and organisation descriptions, plot hooks and setting specific gear lists. Gear includes actual items but also customisations so you can make stuff bullet proof or resistant, all the stuff you would expect from a super heroes costume. You also get add on rules for super powers, heroes working as teams, super hero bases.

It is easy to pack a lot on when every game mechanic is small so in this 44 page book you are getting the added rules for supers, the campaign setting, adventure hooks but the setting specific ‘monsters’ and foes from Super Animals to SWAT teams and Super Villains.

To counter the super villains you get 6 super heroes with fully worked up character sheets which are ready to play.

The final part of this booklet is the Adventure. Each Gramel mini setting as a full adventure. This one runs to 8 pages and is described in a series of set scenes. These can appear somewhat linear, some more than others. The antidote to that is to include a lot of conditional options. The characters do not have to do everything in the right way and at the right time to make it through. The conditional options give them enough leeway to do their own thing. This is less of a problem with the EZ adventure as there is a villain with a plan and that plan will progress if the characters do not step in so it would reach its natural conclusion anyway. As such I think the linear format actually works well here, if anything it feels quite cinematic.


I am quite curious about the Adventurers! game and would like to try it. I haven’t yet so I cannot tell you how it plays in practice.

The game itself was a successful Kickstarter raising over €5000. The production values are very high and it contains some of the best art I have seen in such a rules light game. I think that is a vote in the games favour.

The setting books I love. I am running a game this weekend and I am planning on using one of their settings and adventures for my weekend’s entertainment.

The settings books cost about $6 each and they are well worth it. The two page edition of the rules is free and the kickstarter revised edition, the one I reviewed here is only $4.99. If you ever find yourself in need of a quick setting or an adventure then I would seriously recommend you take a look at one of Gramel’s books.

First Impressions Against The Darkmaster

So I came across Against the Darkmaster this week and it peaked my interest. The game is, according to its website, a fan developed game derived from the original Iron Crown Enterprises MERP.

So right now the game is in the public play test stage and has a kickstarter planned for next year.

This is just a literal first look as I have not even read the play test document yet.

There are lots of things you want to see if you are looking at something that shares its DNA with Rolemaster and MERP. Open ended rolls are one and they are definitely in here, skills based characters are they are in here, combat tables are here and criticals. All of those you can tick off.

The character creation is a little different to how I remember MERP being. Here you just get some may bonus points to distribute between your stats. This not uncommon in Rolemaster circles as the actual 1-100 stat is never used just the stat bonus. vsDarkmaster has gone down the same route and scrapped the unused 1-100 stat and just kept the stat bonus.

VsDarkmaster has eradicated the work Race from the game and uses Kin in its place. Despite the name change the kins are exactly how I remember the MERP races to be and they have even retained the Background options. If you never played Rolemaster or MERP then you can spend background points to get some form of bonus for your character such as a magic item as starting equipment or extra money or something less tangible like coming from a respected family or a bonus to one of your stats.

Characters each have a culture and these give you a selection of skill ranks that you can spend buying skills. Skills are all grouped into categories and the cultural skill ranks are distributed amongst these categories so you cannot just pile them all into combat or magic!

Character classes or Professions are called Vocations in vsDarkmaster. There are six vocations in this play test version Warrior, Rogue, Strider, Wizard, Animist and Dabbler. the first three have no magic and the last three are all spell casters.

Continue reading First Impressions Against The Darkmaster

First Look: Stellar Adventures

imageI was looking for a simple science fiction roleplaying game on DTRPG when I stumbled upon Stellar Adventures. It especially piqued my interest since one of the authors listed in the credits is none other than Jonathan Hicks aka The Farsight Blogger. Only on a second look I realized that Stellar Adventures is actually a game based on Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2nd Edition, a roleplaying game inspired by the Fighting Fantasy game books of old.

Stellar Adventures itself is a 130-paged PDF containing all the rules you need to run games in basically every scifi setting imaginable. The core rules itself are pretty easy and straightforward. Each time the outcome of an action is uncertain you roll 2d6 and compare the result with your SKILL value. Is it lower or equal than your SKILL, you succeed. Otherwise you fail. Characters can learn special skills, that grant bonuses to their SKILL rolls. There are also talents which grant the characters special abilities beyond mere bonuses.


All-in-all characters have four characteristics: SKILL, STAMINA (basically hitpoints), LUCK, PSIONICS or TECH. The latter is only used with robot characters and is a measure of the technology used to construct them. It should be obvious that the mechanics are not as deep as in something like Starfinder, but they are perfectly fine for one-shots, online or convention games, or even short campaigns. What really surprised me, is that Stellar Adventures contains basically everything you might need in a SF game: there’s an extensive equipment list, rules for robots, starships, sector and planet creation, rules for designing your own aliens, mutations, cyberware, and much more. It’s not only a simple SF game but actually a complete toolbox. If you wanted to run a game inspired by Star Trek or Traveller, you should have no problems at all. Heck, the warp drive described in the rules is basically the Traveller Jump Drive with serial numbers filed off.

The layout and artwork of Stellar Adventures is definitely old-school. It looks like something from the early 80s, but luckily it’s better organized and better written than a lot of the games from that era.

So should you get a copy of Stellar Adventures? I’d say yes! Aside from its old-fashioned looks it’s a small gem. The simple rules are perfectly suited for online and convention games and on 130 pages you get a toolbox full of material! If you also own the Advanced Fighting Fantasy rules, you can even combine the two since the mechanics are fully compatible.

Stellar Adventures is digitally available from DriveThruRPG and sets you back $14 or your local equivalent. Print copies are also available from local and online stores.