Dungeoneer (1989)

Ah, here we go now. This is Dungeoneer (1989) by Marc Gascoigne and Pete Tamlyn, with lovely art by the legendary John Sibbick on the cover and throughout the interior. Dungeoneer is the cornerstone of Advanced Fighting Fantasy which, despite the name (which really serves to distinguish from yesterday’s post and the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks rather than the game’s inherent complexity), is an excellent introductory RPG. It also provides the basic mechanical framework for the highly weird modern RPG, Troika.

So you get the standard three FF attributes: skill, stamina and luck. You get special skills, specializations basically, that augment regular skill rolls. You get a magic skill that runs on stamina (health) to cast spells with (love that) (I could swear there was an arcane misfire table in here too, but if there is, I can’t currently find it). You get opposed rolls for combat (combat against multiple foes is…tedious). The broad category of other stuff, like jumping and poison, that was sort of handwaved in the previous FF RPG are here, accompanied with robust situational modifier charts that…are probably a slight over correction. Oh, dwarves and elves are playable too. There is guidance for experience and advancement, character downtime and a nice general primer on how to run and play these sorts of games. It is pretty robust!

Oh, and two adventures, the first a pretty good if actually physically linear dungeon crawl and the second a more open-ended city scenario set in Port Blacksand. I like the city stuff in that one, but its dungeon bit is a little rough around the edges.

What is not at all rough is the treasure trove of John Sibbick art. A feast for your eyes!

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