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[necro][Obscure Gem Awareness] Let me tell you about Adventurers!

Cult Classic

A cautionary tale
Validated User
Looking back over this past year, I can say without a doubt that my best RPG purchase in that time was this obscure gem of a game I'd never heard of before called Adventurers! Since I've enjoyed this game so much yet never see anyone else talking about it here I've decided to create this thread to both raise awareness and also provide a breakdown of the available supplements for anyone that might be interested. The core game is around two bucks (as is each supplement) so I'm hoping that if enough people say "what the heck, for two bucks I can at least check it out" then I'll have others I can actually talk about the game with (and who could then maybe help me with my sci-fi setting mod.) ;)

About Adventurers!


Adventurers! is a rules light fantasy game that kinda sorta reminds me of The Fantasy Trip- not so much in the specific rules, but rather in the way there is a surprising amount of depth for so few pages and stats. Adventurers! really shines as a system for running one-shots, but full campaign length play is supported as well. The players guide fits on two pages and the GM guide fits on another two pages. That said... Those are some pretty darn solid/crunchy four pages- there's enough heft to keep a tinkerer interested.

For example, let's talk about character creation. A starting character divides six points between three traits and selects two skills from a concise list. One of the skills is 'Power' which then allows the character to select a power from a separate list. There are some simple race templates that modify this formula a little bit and then there are ways to start with better gear at the cost of trait points, but you get the idea- a simple system that yet provides a surprisingly wide range of options and differentiation for the low word count.

The game runs on a basic 2d6 mechanic, which is a personal favorite of mine. Skills and Hero points can allow you to reroll some or all of your dice under certain circumstances.

Although a few sample monsters are provided with the basic rules, there is no default setting. For that you would also need to pick up a supplement. Each supplement contains a barebones setting, new character options and skills, setting relevant equipment, and new monsters/antagonists. Oh, yeah, and each has a starter adventure to get things going. I've outlined all the available ones below, but new ones appear about once every month (very roughly.) I've also rated each on a 1-5 scale, but as with most rating systems it is highly subjective to my personal tastes and experiences with them. Feel free to ignore that part.

The Dungeon (4 out of 5)

Basically just expanded rules including more race options, traps and treasures, new magic items, and a bunch of new creature cards. Oh, and there's also rules and support for running mass battles and having the players build their own keep. Strongly recommended if you want to run campaign length games, but you don't necessarily NEED it otherwise.

Gothica: (5 out of 5)

The Gothic horror supplement puts the characters in Dreiburg, a town that lives in fear of the night and the whims of the ominous Count Vurdalak. Basically, you could use this to run a game in The Witcher setting just fine. Rules for insanity, gear for staking vampires and silver weapons, skills for tracking werewolves, and a creepy starting adventure make this one a winner.

Dark Camelot: (3 out of 5)

Imagine an Arthurian setting that starts with the maiming of King Arthur himself, then everything goes downhill from there. I always thought this one looked like it would be a lot of fun under the right GM, but unfortunately, I'm apparently just not that GM. I've had a hard time getting the tone right or thinking of adventures beyond the one included. Still, I'd recommend picking it up just for the new gear and creature cards which finally include lances and different types of horses.

Dawn of Tomorrow (5 out of 5)

A comet strike has destroyed civilization and made the ground a twisted post-apocalyptic nightmare... Think Mad Max only with zeppelins and dirigibles instead of cars and trucks. I mean, seriously, do I even need to say anything more than that? Get this one. The included adventure is probably the best of the lot, and runs like a fast-paced Indiana Jones film.

No Happy Endings (2 out of 5)

Ehhh... I don't really 'get' this one. I mean, it's supposed to be some kind of dark mixed-up fairytale land thing where you might find Goldilocks using her three bears to corner the black market, but the setting just didn't really grab me and the adventure is honestly kind of goofy and not particularly inspiring. Still, it is worth getting just for the creature cards alone where we *finally* get different types of demons and a proper dragon.

Voodoo Pirates (1 out of 5)

At first I was pretty excited to get what I thought was Pirates of the Caribbean with the serial numbers filed off (I'm a sucker for swashbuckling pirate-y adventure on the high seas) but nothing about Voodoo Pirates turned out quite right. The way the slave uprising is presented is pretty distasteful, the new gear is just stuff you could have gotten or extrapolated from the other supplements, the new creature cards aren't particularly compelling or new, and there aren't any new setting-specific rules you might expect (like sailing or dueling for example.) Worst of all is the included adventure, which might actually be worth getting just for the comedic value. (*Spoiler Alert* the mastermind behind it all is a parrot named "Beaky" who has somehow convinced the natives that he is a god. Yeah, it makes about that much sense.) Skip this one unless you just HAVE to have stats for more ships and a giant squid.

In closing
We don't use Adventurers! as our primary gaming system, but it makes a heck of a 'Plan B' for those no-show nights or such. It's nice having a simple system that everyone is already familiar with and just being able to pick a setting on a whim and going from there to get a game running as quickly as possible when the main event falls through. In retrospect, it kind of scares me that I only found out about this game from a Google search fluke. In case there's anyone else out there with similar gaming interests and tastes, I thought I'd throw this obscure gem out there since it doesn't seem to be advertised very well.

Above all, Adventurers! is a game that lends itself very well to tinkering and easy modding. If you pick the game up and like what you see, let me know and maybe we can talk shop. In particular I've got some ideas for a sci-fi themed hack, and I'd love to put together a modern-day-monster-hunters type deal as well.

Thanks for your time. Happy gaming!
 

richsmithston

Retired User
Re: [Obscure Gem Awareness] Let me tell you about Adventurers!

Bizarrely enough I am the first to reply. This confirms the underground status of Adventurers! What a shame as I think its awesome too. I like its 'Savage Worlds' lite feel.

I have an irregular group on Roll20 but I am predominantly a solo role player. Its tailor made for solo because the rules are so beautifully concise.

Its got some great reviews on Drivethrurpg but it definitely deserves more respect.
 

Cult Classic

A cautionary tale
Validated User
Re: [Obscure Gem Awareness] Let me tell you about Adventurers!

I think 'Savage Worlds lite' is a good way to put it, with the freedom of character creation and the pulpy fast moving adventures.

Ah, yes, I can see how this game would also make a good match for solo play. Didn't even think of that.

I continue to live in complete bafflement that the game doesn't get more internet love. I mean, it still sells pretty darn well on Drivethrurpg and the rating is still strong so *somebody* is playing it... I just wish more of them posted here so I could hear what other people are doing with it. (I do so love to tinker!)
 

Shu-Woon

Registered User
Validated User
Re: [Obscure Gem Awareness] Let me tell you about Adventurers!

I'll give this game a shot now, solo play as in a single player & 1 gm? Or solo as in just 1 guy by himself? (Stupid question.
Or solo as in, no need to play with friends, just jump in with a random group instead of premeditating everything?

I'm new to TRPGS still.
 

Shu-Woon

Registered User
Validated User
Re: [Obscure Gem Awareness] Let me tell you about Adventurers!

Ok, what's worse is this game is IMPOSSIBLE to google. There is no keywords you could possibly enter to find the game without "Gramel" the author in the search term. It is simply not going to happen. This is not a game you can find, even if people tell you about it.

The reason this game is obscure is because of its name, and the developer would have a much better time to just rename his RPG, which is why it's so cheap because no one can find it. Even though you told me about adventures I actually couldn't find it, even by going to drivethruerpg and typing "adventures!"

Even when I quote "adventures!" "tabletop" "rpg" it won't show up for the first 20 pages.
No matter how good your game is, if you name it adventures then it will fail. This is the worst business decision he could've possibly made, more than releasing a game that's not good.
 

Bailywolf

bwakbwak
Staff member
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Re: [Obscure Gem Awareness] Let me tell you about Adventurers!

Is this available as PDF?

More details on the system?
 

Bailywolf

bwakbwak
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Re: [Obscure Gem Awareness] Let me tell you about Adventurers!

Also, holy shit is it impossible to find anything about this. That title! It's the death of search.

An author/company might help narrow it.
 

Cult Classic

A cautionary tale
Validated User
Re: [Obscure Gem Awareness] Let me tell you about Adventurers!

I'll give this game a shot now, solo play as in a single player & 1 gm? Or solo as in just 1 guy by himself? (Stupid question.
Or solo as in, no need to play with friends, just jump in with a random group instead of premeditating everything?
Solo as in "one GM + one player." And no, that's not a stupid question- we really need some better terminology for that distinction in the hobby.

Note that I've never played it that way myself (I've got a group of three players usually.) I was just agreeing that it could work that way.

Is this available as PDF?
Not only is it a PDF, I'm not sure if it even comes in print. I mean, the total page count is so low it would be better to just run your own copies off. I ran the first few sessions from my my Kindle or iPhone and a few notes, actually.

More details on the system?
I would describe the system as a simple "opposed 2d6 + Stat" mechanic where degrees of success can sometimes matter. A skill in a specific area usually grants a drop die or some other beneficial effect. An advanced skill does something beyond even that. Gear can grant different dice tricks (such as one type of weapon will penetrate armor on a doubles roll while another might do something different if X is rolled, etc.) There is also a way to resolve short, medium, or long extended tasks like quickly building a bridge or arguing a court case. The rules don't take up much space but are very dense, and there will be times where a GM will need to logically extrapolate how something works based on the rules for how something else works. (That is pretty par-for-the-course "rules light gaming 101" stuff though.) I'd say the one area I still have trouble is with making rulings on non-combat magic. Sometimes the GM just needs to make a ruling and run with it. In The Dungeon supplement there are more combat maneuvers and resolution options.


Ok, what's worse is this game is IMPOSSIBLE to google.
Ha! Yeah, really. Maybe that really is why more people aren't playing it.

I believe the game was originally written in Polish, so it might be hard to pull up results in English. The translation is very good with no more or less awkward/confusing phrasing than any other compact rules-light game. (I actually had no idea the game was originally written in another language for several months of playing it.) I do wish they had come up with a more search friendly title.

Probably the easiest way to find it is to just type "Gramel" into a blank Google search. The first hit should be the Rpgnow page, where you can get to Adventurers in the "Hottest Titles From..." bar.
 
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