Kurgan Kurgan at FASTMAIL.FM
Mon Jan 26 21:01:35 CET 2004

Sd> Appreciate the kind words. Don't know if I agree that the magic system sucks
Sd> but I do admit it needs streamlining, expansion and some major revisions.
Sd> Will definitely concentrate a lot of effort in that area when the time comes
Sd> to seriously tackle the project. Any suggestions would be considered
Sd> appreciatively.

    I was looking back over some of the older posts, and spotted one I
    wanted to comment on. Better late than never. :)

    I don't think the magic system sucks at all. I've always said the
    one drawback to P&P was the original editing job, which was
    practically non-existent. The running joke for the last 20 years
    has been, "Two weeks and a bottle of extra-strength Tylenol, and
    you'll fall in love with P&P." Quality, sadly enough, has never
    been a good selling point for entertainment properties, be they tv
    shows, games, whatever. P&P will *never* be massively popular to
    the masses because, by its very nature of quality and not pandering,
    it will only appeal to those that appreciate such depth. Any
    attempts to "dumb down" the game will ruin it, and you might as
    well, at that point, just slap a disgusting d20 banner on it.
    Remember, you don't find caviar sitting on the corner market's
    shelves or on most people's dinner tables. Nevertheless, it always
    makes people think of quality.

    The skill max formulas are the biggest thing that needs
    streamlining. I love the idea of having maximums that are based on
    the individual character. That's great, and I wouldn't want to see
    skill maxs removed from the game. However, having three different
    formal types, and each based on a different mathematical equation,
    tends to really confuse things. When AH asked me to do the
    rewrite, that was the first thing I'd planned on tackling and
    streamlining, and I still think it's where someone should start if
    the game ever sees the light of day under a second edition.

    I'd like to comment on some of the unique high points of the game,
    that make it great. These things should never be removed:

    No "classes" or "levels." My main character, when asked what he
    is, always replies, "art dealer." :)

    Skills that each have their own experience. Seeing someone kill a
    monster and suddenly become a better lockpick was always a
    ludicrous idea, and P&P treats skills logically and avoids such

    Spells. Individual colleges, individual expertise, spell branches.
    These were fantastic ideas. A little bit of universal expertise
    from general mana manipulation, but each spell still relies
    primarily on skill with that spell, or spell grouping (eg. fire
    related spells), was a masterstroke. How many times have we seen
    someone go up a level in other games, and instantly they can toss
    around spells they've never seen before? It's great to see a
    system where, if all someone does is toss fireballs all day, then
    they *only* become a fireball king. :)

    Exponentially higher skill/spell costs. The tougher things become,
    the harder they are to learn. Great.

    The combat system. I really love the way degrees of success are
    determined, and subsequent degrees of damage. Higher skill plus a
    good swing, and you have a greater chance of scoring more damage.
    Very nice. I wouldn't cry if this system got revamped, but I'd
    hate to lose the essence of it, that keeps the skill involved with
    the results (although personally I could live with things the way
    they are). Might be nice to expand on it with a more detailed hit
    location and damage description set of tables, similar to
    Rolemaster. I'd love to incorporate specific medical conditions,
    such as cumulative blood loss, etc. :)

    Anyway, I could go on for hours, but I'll close with one last
    item, and that is money and magic items. I like that prices are
    more realistic, and that everything isn't based on piles of gold.
    I also like that magic items aren't monstrously powerful, and the
    system lends itself more easily to having a low-powered game where
    magic items aren't falling out of everyone's pockets. (I prefer
    games where magic items are extremely rare.)

    Oh yeah, on a side note, I'll mention a couple of things I've
    avoided using for 20 years, because I thought they detracted from
    the game or weren't too whoopy.

    Upper and lower planes of existence. Way too vague. In my world
    everything happens in one reality, on one world, and everybody has
    their own patch of earth somewhere to call home.

    Perilous Lands. I know, to my surprise everyone here seems to love
    it, but I didn't really like it very much. Regardless of that, my
    point is that a game shouldn't (in my opinion) be tied too closely
    with a specific game world. It makes it difficult sometimes to then
    adapt it for use with one's own.

    Ah well, I've rambled enough. That's all for now!

Best regards,

   Kurgan                         mailto:Kurgan at

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