Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tommy's Take on Resolute, Adventurer & Genius

Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, powered by the "WYRM" system behind Warrior, Rogue & Mage, is another free RPG by Stargazer Games, this time set in a pulp setting, rather than a fantasy setting.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: Using the same basic mechanic (roll d6, add relevant stat and bonuses based on skill), with some tweaks (the most notable being the lack of magic and the inclusion of skill ranks - you no longer just "know it or don't"), RAG is a completely free 36 page PDF that improves on the presentation of WRM in many ways, from production values to organization.

The book includes a helpful summary at the beginning for those familiar with WRM, summarizing the changes. Resolute and Adventurer largely duplicate the effects of Warrior and Rogue, while Genius tweaks the utility of Mage a fair bit, given the lack of magic in the setting.

Skills can now be Basic (+2), Advanced (+4), Master (+6) or Peerless (+8), although that rank requires a Talent in order to achieve. Speaking of: Skills and Talents are now in the character generation section, and the Talents are blown up nicely in a number of categories, like Mesmerism Talents and Mystic Talents.

Other important, genre-specific changes include the addition of vehicles (airplanes just aren't needed in most fantasy games...a little more important in pulp games, however), and chase rules. The bestiary also gets an overhaul, from more pulp specific enemies such as mad scientists, to some animals and paranormal foes. Enemies are also scaled in three ranks: Minions (nameless, "faceless" mooks), Henchmen and Villains, each with more detail than the last.

Rather than providing a specific setting, RAG includes notes on adventuring in the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, as well as a section covering more non-standard eras. A really nice looking character sheet rounds out the book.

WHAT WORKS: The organization is way better here, and I like the wider range of Talents, which also do a nice job of covering up for the lack of magic. Some fine proof that the WRM formula can be tweaked quite a bit, and the WYRM system used for a number of things. The layout is also very handsome, especially for a free product (not that WRM suffered any).

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: The penciled-looking black and white art is a step down compared to the rest of the layout. As with WRM, I would have liked to have seen a larger Threats section, but it's a free book, so what are you gonna do? Thus far, RAG hasn't had the level of support WRM has. I'm not completely sold on Resolute, Adventurer and Genius being QUITE as iconic as Warrior, Rogue and Mage, which may be part of the problem.

CONCLUSION: If the concept behind the Wyrm system sounded good, but fantasy isn't your cup of tea, maybe the Pulp version will be more up your alley. I mean, it's a pretty risk-free purchase, and I guarantee you have spent money on way worse. For my "money", the main reason I like WRM better is because I HAVE pulp options I, personally, enjoy...while I'm still searching for that fantasy game that really does it for me. That said, it's hard not to show love for the Stargazer Games crew, putting out very impressive products for free like this. Hm...Wyrm Supers, anyone?