Thursday, 3 September 2009

Adventurer by Joe Pruitt For when you need to crawl through a dungeon - Right Now!

Review by Jason Kline (aka the Great Chainsaw Aardvark)

Adventurer is a one page fantasy RPG by Joe Pruitt.


You have the stats Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence, each of which begins at seven, modified by your chosen class (Fighter, Rouge, or Wizard) and Race (Human. Dwarf, Elf, Goblin). Roll 2D6 – if the outcome is equal to or less than the attribute tested, you pass the test. Those two sentences sum up almost everything you need to know about creating a character and playing the game. In fact, the entire document fits on one side of an 8.5 x 11 inch page.

Delving a little deeper, we find the system to be a little more intricate, but not by much. Each race and class has a special ability – Fighters get +1 on weapon checks, and Dwarfs get dark vision. Combat order is determined by Dexterity, and damage once the roll to hit is made derives from the equation:
(Margin of success + Weapon Rating) – Armor Rating = Hit Points lost
Any injury requires a test to remain conscious (roll less than or equal to remaining Hit Points) and, of course, zero Hit points means death. Notes about non-combat injuries from falling, fire, poison, and drowning, as well as advancement rules also appear in this short game.

Free form Magic

Perhaps the most impressive element is that is that about a third of the document is dedicated to a free-form magic system. A Wizard chooses one of 20 effects (such as bolt, cure, heal, and ward) then adjusts the duration, magnitude, range, and size/area then determines the final cost in Hit Points to cast (there are no spells per day or mana points. One shot scrolls and Hit Point storing crystals are available though). The caster's margin of success reduces the cost – so players can take exciting gambles for high powered spells, or stick to low power and greater safety.

Single page simplicity

As you might expect in such an abbreviated work, there are no graphics. Die-hard layout artists would call the formatting very amateurish – the text is small, headings are the same font, just slightly larger and in all caps. However it's unfair to compare this to games without such a staunch space limitation, and its not like your eyes have to wander far to find what you need. More importantly, it has excellent design compared to most of the other one page games. Compared to other one page games, the document has excellent design as information is set in useful blocks rather than simply crammed together to put as much information in a limited space as possible. A complete character sheet rounds out the bottom right hand corner of the game – so every player can have both abilities and the complete rules in front of them.

Admittedly the game lacks any sort of monster list, background, maps etc. However, a Gamesmaster has both the time saved from not reading a 128 page retro-clone and the whole back of the page to work these sort of things out.


Joe Pruitt not only managed to make a playable game on a single sheet of paper. He also managed to inspire a few other writers. Hence we have Excalibur: The Complete Guide by B.G. Selidio Tan. This expands the game to sixteen pages – keeping the simplicity of playing and most of the rules. (though a fourth attribute – faith – is added.) However, player and Gamesmaster options expand greatly - the number of races is increased to twelve, classes to fourteen, six pages of spells, and twenty assorted summons/creatures.

Given that the review you just read is actually longer than the game it describes, there is really no good reason for you not to head over to 1KM1KT and download it to try for yourself.

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