Tabletop Review: Amazing Adventures: Quick Start Rules & Adventure

Amazing Adventures: Quick Start Rules & Adventure
Publisher: Troll Lord Games
Cost: Free
Page Count: 17
Release Date: 07/04/2014 (Kickstarter backers)/TBD (Everyone Else)
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com (Eventually)

Amazing Adventures has been out for about two years now, but I’ve never picked it up. In fact, had I not received this Quick Start Rules set as a bonus for backing the Castles & Crusades Kickstarter, I probably never would have. You see, Amazing Adventures is a pulp style action game, and I already have a lot of systems that let me do that. There are various super hero games, Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu, Basic Roleplaying and more. I just didn’t have a real need for yet another system. However, when given a free QSR and adventure, of course I’m going to take a look at it, especially when the Amazing Adventures, Revised Edition Kickstarter starts on July 21st. I wanted to see if this would be a product I wanted to throw money at or not.

Of the seventeen page PDF, seven pages are devoted to the adventure, two are to rules, two are to pre-generated characters and two are to the character sheet. The other four pages are art or ads. The adventure itself pits up to five players against a eugenics conspiracy that feels a little bit like The Island of Dr. Moreau. Players are thrown into the middle of what appears to be an entirely separate affair, then learn this is actually the start of a second, apparently unconnected adventure. The adventure itself takes place over four acts, but I wouldn’t really call it an adventure. It’s more fleshed out than story hooks, but far less detailed than an adventure should be. It is more akin to those collections Catalyst Game Labs puts out for Shadowrun, where the GM is given the basic trappings of how the adventure will flow, along with a beginning and an end, but the GM is really left to do most of the work themselves. This is very true about this adventure, “Ashton and the Augments.” The Keeper is going to have to really fill out details and do the vast majority of the work themselves, or this will rapidly fall apart. I was really disappointed by this because, to me, a Quick Start adventure should really be extremely fleshed out and hold the hand of the GM somewhat, because this is likely everyone’s first experience with the system/setting. This Amazing Adventures QSR simply doesn’t do that. You can’t run it directly “out of the box” so to speak, because the information is too sparse and you have to do a lot of prep work for this. This adventure would be more something you’d find in the back of a core rulebook rather than a QSR adventure. This really was not the best way to sell someone, especially me, on Amazing Adventures and I will more than likely sit this Kickstarter out.

Two pages of the Quick Start Rules are devoted to the mechanics of the game. It’s a very simplified version of the Siege Engine, which is used to power both Amazing Adventures and Castles & Crusades. I was actually impressed how the rules were able to be distilled to these two pages. What’s here does leave a lot of questions unanswered, and it’s not the most intuitive read-through, but it does a good enough job of explaining the rules that you can play this adventure without owning the core rulebook or even any C&C releases. If you are unaware, the Siege engine is essentially a modified version of the rules for 1st/2nd AD&D, so it is often referred to as a “Retro-Clone.” Generally, all you will need to do most of the time is roll a d20 for combat and skill checks. Pay close attention to the section on “Fate Points,” as this is unique to the Amazing Adventures version of the Siege Engine.

The five pre-generated characters are okay. There’s no attempt at character creation rules, which makes sense considering the size of the QSR. So if you don’t have the first edition core rulebook, these are the characters you are stuck with. To be honest, I could look at the characters and figure out how to play them, but I am also left with no idea as to what the fully fleshed out character classes will be like. There are Socialite, Gadgeteer, Raider, Pugilist, and Mentalist/Hooligan, but I’m sure there will be more options in the core rulebook. Also, I’m not sure if Mentalist/Hooligan is dual classed or not, or even if there is dual-classing in this game. It’s too hard to tell from this QSR.

Unfortunately, the Amazing Adventures Quick Start Rules just didn’t do enough to pique my interest in the product. I’m glad I got to take a look at it, but if this is indicative of the writing and adventure quality that will be in the Revised Edition of the game, I will probably stick with Basic Roleplaying, especially their very similarly named Astounding Adventures release, which I loved. Now while *I* won’t be backing the Amazing Adventures Kickstarter, you should still take a look at the QSR when it is released to the general public. Who knows? You might like it a lot more than me! You should also at least peruse the Kickstarter for the game when it comes out because, while the QSR left me with an unfavorable first impression, the crowdfunding attempt itself might be a lot better. For now, though, I’m content to still throw money at Troll Lord Games, but only for their extremely well done Castles & Crusades line. If you haven’t invested in that, you really should strongly consider it.

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