Other Games Romance of the Perilous Land

#1
A few people expressed an interest in this game so I thought I'd create a thread we could use to share our experience.

RotPI.jpeg
Having had a little time to skim through it I can now report that this is an OGL game and as such utilises a D20 system. I haven't dived very deeply into that yet. What I have looked through is the setting.

It's largely Arthurian legend but it has Robin Hood thrown in there along with a smattering of other bits and pieces of British folklore. So be prepared for quests and chivalry but also a society being corrupted by insidious evil.

The book is nicely presented with some lovely artwork in Osprey's usual realist style. Some of the pieces are generic medieval but I'm pretty sure some have been commissioned for this book.

This is, in fact, a second edition. The first, self published, edition is available on Drive Through if you want to pay less and get less.

The archetypes are: Knight, Ranger, Cunning folk, Thief, Barbarian and Bard. Knights have a code of honour and can take a hit instead of their fellows. Rangers are rough folk of the woods, swift of bow and cunning of herb use. Cunning folk are magic users able to cast spells and curses. Thieves strike from the shadows when not ducking and diving. Barbarians dress in furs and paint themselves blue before going into combat which involves 50% shouting and 50% bashing things with an axe. Finally a bard's song will inspire their friends and unnerve their foes.

Can you see those F20 classes yet?

It also allows characters to have "backgrounds" which I am told is a feature of 5th edition D&D. Each one gives you a couple of skills and some minor gear. Regardless then can add a nice WHFRP flavour to the game. You can choose to be an aristocrat or a courtier but on the other hand you might prefer to be a Jester and start questing armed with 4 juggling balls, jester's make-up, a yellowing joke book and 5gp.

There's a brief gazetteer describing the kingdoms of the Perilous Land. Many of the locations come with a plot hook which is a nice touch for GMs. Unfortunately there's no map so the first thing I'm going to have to do is sit down with graph theory and a pencil to work out how the kingdoms relate to each other.

There is also a fairly extensive bestiary. This runs the gamut from the mundane like adders and hawks to the fantastical such as giants and dragons. It reflects the fact that at one point bears and wolves were dangers in the British countryside and it is chock full of folkloric perils. Want to menace your PCs with kelpies or shug monkies? We have stats for those. Not everything is an evil monster either. If you need to try and herd dun cows then that is also possible.

All in all this is a nicely presented game although the absence of a map or enough illustration of the bestiary suggests money was tight. I hope to write an adventure and try it out at a few conventions this year so I will report back on how that goes later.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#7
I was loving this a lot right up to the point I met parts of the system. There is some unfortunate clunk in the attribute check side.

Most rolls are roll under attribute take HD or level. Attribute rolls use base attribute less a modifier based on difficulty.

Clunk: the modifier gets harder the higher level you are. So a simple check is harder at 3rd level when you’ve raised your attribute (by two for levelling up). The increasing difficulty effectively reduces your stat boost by one u less you have a simple task, all of which give a zero modifier, meaning your proficiency at simple checks jumps much faster.

It’s non-linear and having a scaled difficulty is frustrating and doesn’t seem to make sense. I know quirkiness is very OSR but this could have been a lot more intuitive. Annoys me more than roll under in TBH.

But I’ve liked what I’ve seen so I’m pushing on.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#8
Simple, Regular, Tough, Severe and Fixed HD_Level.png

Okay, this what I mean. In this I've used an attribute of 12 as a based and a fixed HD/level of 4. You can fiddle with that on the sheet below but it doesn't really make a difference.

The line shapes are the important bit.

  • The Blue line is a simple attribute check, it steps at +2 at third and then every 2 levels.
  • The Red, Yellow and Green lines are more difficult attribute checks. These step +1 at third and then every 2 levels
  • Both of these are the same mechanic (!)
  • The dashed black line is a fixed HD/level opponent. This steps +2 at third and then every 2 levels, like a simple attribute check
The master sheet is here if you want to play around: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1EjI06abtOwd2sAfttGBAVo6rbWjfiCLCNg5nJQlSdH8/edit?usp=sharing
 
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Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#11
That matches exactly on all task levels bar simple (although why you'd make anyone rolls simple?! and not narratively resolve).

It'd make hitting an opponent harder (eg Lvl 10 character would be missing 4HD/Level 4 40% of the time vs 20% of time for base rules).
 
#12
Yeah, you'd probably need to reduce each difficulty increment against an opponent to +1 rather than +2. Ah, the issue with interlinked systems... changing one thing means changing everything.
 

First Age

D&D h@ck3r and Hopepunk
Staff member
#13
Why is it different to TBH? The way I play it the difficulty level or opponent HD that is higher than the PC power level is the penalty.

After a particular fashion, that seems to work.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#15
I’m coming around to the thought that you may just have to write your difficulty modifiers on the character sheet and accept the quirks in the system. There’s no space to do so, of course.

Irksome.

System design is one of those things I prefer to be simple and clean.
 

Dom

Administrator
Staff member
#17
Finished the book, loved it. Quirk still irks but not enough to put me off.

Can't find the character sheet on the Osprey site though.

Review will drop in the morning.
 
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