Escapist > Projects > Young Person's Adventure League > The Adventurer's Atlas Page 1

An Escapist project of introducing young people
to the exciting world of adventure games

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Factually Answered Queries - questions and answers

The Adventurer's Atlas - a list of suggested games for young people

The Dromedary's Dispatch - News and updates on the YPAL and adventure games

The Navigator's Notebook - play reports and reviews of adventure games

The Tinkerer's Toolbox - tips, tricks, and helpful hints

 

You have reached the first page of the Adventurer's Atlas, which includes Anthropomorphia, Cliffhanger Falls, and Familiar Worlds

ANTHROPOMORPHIA

The land of talking, upright-walking, opposable-thumb-having critters. If you've always wanted to be an animal or insect who walks, talks, and seeks adventure, then this is the place to be.

There are many RPGs available for fans of intelligent animals, but you certainly aren't limited to the choices listed here. Any RPG at all can be converted into an anthro game with little effort  - you can easily change the races and/or classes in any RPG ruleset into animal types ("Dwarves are now BADGERS in my game!"). It may require a bit of rule tweaking for things like natural weapons and abilities, but researching and learning about such things and creatively interpreting them in your game is all part of the fun!

BUGGIN'
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: Deep7 
Cover Price: $3.95
Availability: Available at Deep7's website, deep7.com
Summary: A mini-RPG about cartoon insects.
Complexity:
Easy
Dice used: d6s  [?]
Supplements: None.

The Good: Inexpensive. Great for one-shot adventures
The Bad:
Character death is easy (though this could easily be changed)
Advisory: Cartoon violence.

1PG games are a series of role-playing games with one page of rules, a character sheet, and a handful of scenarios, all at a very affordable price. The games are rules-lite - in fact, the entire rule set fits on a single page.

Buggin' is an RPG about anthropomorphic bugs that have adventures, and would be a great match for any young people who enjoy movies like Bug's Life.

Find out more about these mini-RPGs at the 1PG atlas entry. 

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BUNNIES & BURROWS
COMPLEXITY:
Medium
DICE:

Publisher: Steve Jackson Games
Cover Price: $12.95 PDF / $10.00 - $12.00 (used)
Availability: PDF is available at e23, or check game stores or eBay for a print copy.
Summary: Rabbits have adventures and defend their warren
Complexity: Medium
Dice used: d6s - at least three, preferably three for each player  [?]
Supplements: None

The Good: Encourages limited-ability problem solving (no opposable thumbs, cannot count past 4)
The Bad: Not a standalone game, requires the GURPS rulebook (though a lite version of the rules is available for free here).
Advisory: Supernatural themes, small amount of kung-fu violence.

Bunnies & Burrows is a rewrite of an earlier RPG based on the Watership Down book and film. Players create rabbits as characters and adventure in a world where almost everyone is your predator.

These aren't Saturday-morning cartoon bunnies, however. They can't manipulate objects very well, or count past four, and they're scared of any loud noises. They're very much like the rabbits you may find at the park or in your backyard - except for the things that make them very unique.

Some practice Herbalism, and can use different plants to heal comrades or attack opponents. Some are Seers, and can attempt to see the future. Some are trained in Bun Fu, the ancient art of rabbit combat. All are heroes when it comes to protecting the warren and its occupants from harm.

Bunnies & Burrows uses the GURPS rules, and the book by itself is not enough to play - to use GURPS, you'll either need to get a copy of the rules (the third edition is compatible with B&B, but an updated fourth edition is also available), or download a free copy of GURPS Lite, which will give you enough to get a game going. Since this is a GURPS book, it also would be possible (with a bit of work) to convert the system to something else that you and your players are more familiar with.

The B&B book contains a lot of factual information about different breeds of rabbits and other wild animals, but it also contains information on psionic abilities, martial arts, and other fantasy elements that are not part of the nature of rabbits or other animals. You may want to clarify that to your players, especially if you are taking the opportunity to use the game to teach a little bit of natural science to them.

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CAT
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: John Wick
Cover Price: $5.00
Availability: Buy the PDF here at DriveThru RPG.

Review coming soon!

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ECO
COMPLEXITY:
?
DICE:
?

Publisher: Morrigan Press
Cover Price: $10.00
Availability: Buy the PDF here at DriveThruRPG

Review coming soon!


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IT'S A DOG'S LIFE
COMPLEXITY:
?
DICE:
x 5-6

Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
Cover Price: $2.50
Availability: Buy the PDF here at DriveThruRPG

Review coming soon!

This RPG is available in a bundle with two other kid-friendly RPGs - Lashings of Ginger Beer and Tales From the Wood - a very good deal for the price!

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MOUSE GUARD

See the full listing in FAMILIAR WORLDS, below.


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THE NIGHTTIME ANIMALS SAVE THE WORLD
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:
Diceless
(Uses 4 types of coins)

Publisher: Vincent Baker
Cover Price: FREE!
Availability: Download the game here.
Summary: A simple storytelling game
Complexity: Easy
Dice used: None, but you will need a bit of loose change - pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
Supplements: None.

The Good: Very easy to play. Encourages outdoor play. Playable anywhere, and the system is usable for any kind of simple storytelling. No character death.
The Bad: Nothing.
Advisory: None.

This is a very rules-lite storytelling game designed to be played while going out for an evening walk. The GM and players each choose three different coins before the game starts, and the players create their characters by choosing a nighttime animal (from opossum, rabbit, raccoon, or skunk) and describing a bad feeling that they have towards the other characters (with the hope that such feelings will help drive the story).

The story begins when you begin your walk. During the story, the coins are used whenever a "dangerous" story conflict arises. If a nighttime animal attempts to run from a badger, for example, the GM will announce the danger - "The danger is that the badger might catch up with you and tackle you." The GM then presents a coin to the player, who must respond with a different coin. If the player's coin is higher, his character avoids the danger, but if the GM's coin is higher, then the danger plays out just as the GM described it. The two then exchange coins, and continue the story.

It is a simple and ingenious storytelling system, not only for the mechanics, but the materials used as well.  Almost everyone has access to loose change most of the time, and the rules of play are simple enough to commit to memory and be used anywhere.

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SUPERPETS

See the full listing in the HERO CITY section.

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TALES FROM THE WOOD
COMPLEXITY:
?
DICE:

Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
Cover Price: $2.50
Availability: Buy the PDF here at DriveThruRPG

Review coming soon!

This RPG is available in a bundle with two other kid-friendly RPGs -It's a Dog's Life and Lashings of Ginger Beer - a very good deal for the price!

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TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES AND OTHER STRANGENESS

See the full listing in FAMILIAR WORLDS, below.

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TOON

While not specifically an anthropomorphic RPG, Toon does provide the opportunity to play anthro animals in lots of situations, and two of the supplement books (Tooniversal Tour Guide and Toon Tales) contain settings for the game that mimic popular movie and RPG genres with animals in place of humans (such as Dungeons & Toons and Crawl of Catchoolu).

To see the full listing for Toon, please visit TOONBURG.

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TOOTH & CLAW
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:
x 5-6

Publisher: Memento Mori Theatrix
Cover Price: Unknown
Availability: Currently unavailable for purchase, but you could try contacting the author to see when it will be available again
Summary: Players portray various species of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic era.
Complexity: Easy
Dice used: d6s - at least five or six of them  [?]
Supplements: None

Review coming soon!

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WARRIORS

See the full listing under FAMILIAR WORLDS, below.

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WOODLAND WARRIORS
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: Beyond Belief Games
Cover Price: $5.00 PDF
Availability: Available at DriveThruRPG
Dice used: Full set of polyhedrals - d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, & d20 [?]
Supplements: Greyrock Isle setting ($2.50, available here), Out West setting ($3.00, available here), bundle of all three ($9.00, available here)

Review coming soon!

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CLIFFHANGER FALLS

Action! Adventure! Excitement! Peril! These are all words that should have an exclamation point after them! If you yearn to have adventures that can only be described with exclamation points, then you've come to the right place!





AGENT S.E.V.E.N.
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: Deep7
Cover Price: $3.95
Availability: Available at Deep7's website, deep7.com
Summary: A mini-RPG about superspies.
Complexity: Medium
Dice used: d6s  [?]
Supplements: None.

The Good: Inexpensive. Great for one-shot adventures
The Bad:
Character death is easy (though this could easily be changed)
Advisory: Cinematic violence.

1PG games are a series of role-playing games with one page of rules, a character sheet, and a handful of scenarios, all at a very affordable price. The games are rules-lite - in fact, the entire rule set fits on a single page.

Buggin' is an RPG about anthropomorphic bugs that have adventures, and would be a great match for any young people who enjoy movies like the James Bond series, or even espionage films geared at younger audiences, like the Spy Kids and Agent Cody Banks movies.

Find out more about these mini-RPGs at the 1PG atlas entry. 

 

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BLOODE ISLAND
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: Deep7
Cover Price: $3.95
Availability: Available at Deep7's website, deep7.com
Summary: A mini-RPG about pirates.
Complexity: Medium
Dice used: d6s  [?]
Supplements: None.

The Good: Inexpensive. Great for one-shot adventures
The Bad:
Character death is easy (though this could easily be changed)
Advisory: Cinematic violence.

1PG games are a series of role-playing games with one page of rules, a character sheet, and a handful of scenarios, all at a very affordable price. The games are rules-lite - in fact, the entire rule set fits on a single page.

Bloode Island is an RPG about swashbuckling adventures, and would be a great match for any young people who enjoy movies like Pirates of the Carribean.

Find out more about these mini-RPGs at the 1PG atlas entry. 

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DIME HEROES
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: Deep7
Cover Price: $3.95
Availability: Available at Deep7's website, deep7.com
Summary: A mini-RPG about pulp novel adventurers.
Complexity: Medium
Dice used: d6s  [?]
Supplements: Jungle Adventures, Magic & Mysticism, and The Aviator's Handbook.

The Good: Inexpensive. Great for one-shot adventures
The Bad:
Character death is easy (though this could easily be changed)
Advisory: Cinematic violence.

1PG games are a series of role-playing games with one page of rules, a character sheet, and a handful of scenarios, all at a very affordable price. The games are rules-lite - in fact, the entire rule set fits on a single page.

Dime Heroes is an RPG about cliffhanging, strong-jawed hereos from classic pulp books and movies, and would be a great match for any young people who enjoy movies like the Indiana Jones series.

Deep7 has three mini-supplements for Dime Heroes that expand the adventure into other areas - Jungle Adventures, Magic & Mysticism, and The Aviator's Handbook. Each is available for the paltry sum of $1.95 each.

 

Find out more about these mini-RPGs at the 1PG atlas entry. 

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DISASTER!
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:
x 5-6

Publisher: Deep7
Cover Price: $3.95
Availability: Available at Deep7's website, deep7.com
Summary: A mini-RPG about disaster survivors.
Complexity: Medium
Dice used: d6s  [?]
Supplements: None.

The Good: Inexpensive. Great for one-shot adventures
The Bad:
Character death is easy (though this could easily be changed)
Advisory: Cinematic violence.

1PG games are a series of role-playing games with one page of rules, a character sheet, and a handful of scenarios, all at a very affordable price. The games are rules-lite - in fact, the entire rule set fits on a single page.

Disaster! is an RPG about strong-willed characters who must survive extreme situations. Due to the themes of this RPG, it is recommended for older players.

Find out more about these mini-RPGs at the 1PG atlas entry. 

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FAMILIAR WORLDS

Sometimes, you'd much rather go somewhere that you recognize, a place that's familiar to you instead of a strange new world. Below are some roleplaying games based on worlds you have likely been to before, through a big or little screen, or in the pages of a book.

ADVENTURES IN OZ
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: F. Douglas Wall Publishing
Cover Price: $6.99 PDF / $14.99 print
Availability: Buy the PDF here at DriveThru RPG
Supplements: Character pack ($1.99, available here)

Review coming soon!  

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BROOMSTIX
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: Memento Mori Theatrix
Cover Price: Free
Availability: Free at memento-mori.com - PDF version - character sheet
Summary: Possibly the closest thing we'll ever see to a Harry Potter RPG.
Complexity: Easy
Dice used:
One d20, preferably one for each player.  [?]
Supplements: None. Read the books, watch the movies - THOSE are your supplements!

The Good: Simple game mechanics. Includes simple rules for playing Quidditch.
The Bad: Very little background information or spells - but anyone wanting to play this should have a good knowledge of these things anyway. The rules-lite, freeform magic system may require an experienced gamemaster to run it.
Advisory: Fantasy magic, supernatural themes

The story goes that J.K. Rowling has refused to give permission to allow anyone to make an official Harry Potter RPG, for reasons that only she seems to fully understand. Whether the story is true or not is most anyone's guess, but the fact remains that no one has released one to date. Broomstix is an unofficial HP RPG by Jared Sorensen, and since he would probably find himself chased by a mob of Death Eaters if he tried to profit from it, he has opted to make it available free of charge.

Broomstix is a mostly bare-bones set of rules for roleplaying in the Harry Potter world. You won't find extensive information on the setting or characters here, mostly because the books and movies are so accessible. Characters are made by spending points on three character stats - Athletics, Knowledge, and Intrigue. A fourth stat, Magic, is determined by your character's year, so a first-year would have a Magic stat of 1. Skills are divided by appropriate stats, and a character gets one point for every point in that stat to spend on those skills. Players then choose a house for their character, and a Unique Situation - a special quirk that makes them unique. (For two of their starting points, they can purchase a second Unique Situation, but that will leave them short on stats in the end.)

The system is very simple - roll a d20 and add the appropriate stat or skill to the roll. A result of 0 or less is a Bludge, 1-5 or less is a Flop, 6-10 is a Bumbling Success, 11-19 is a Success, and 20 or over is a Smashing Success. Opposed actions are resolved by subtracting the opponent's skill modifier from the final result.

The magic system is limited to magical duels, and even then, no specific spell results are outlined. Though it doesn't say it in the rules, it's assumed that any spell that a character tries to cast will automatically succeed, unless there is something to oppose it. There are no rules for spells that a character may not know how to cast very well, or any limitation on what spells a character would be able to cast. This keeps the game light and unencumbered, but it also means that it requires an experienced GM to keep the game fair for everyone.

If you have young people who are waiting for their Hogwarts letter - and you know the background well enough to take them there - this is your game.

(See also Redhurst Academy of Magic, listed above)

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GHOSTBUSTERS
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:
x 5
(plus special die)

Publisher: West End Games
Cover Price: $10.00-$12.00 (used)
Availability: Long, long out of print - check eBay for used copies
Summary: Based on the hit movies - characters investigate supernatural phenomena and battle ghosts, spirits, and higher powers.
Complexity: Easy
Dice used:
Five d6s, plus a special "ghost die" (a d6 with a Ghostbusters logo in place of the 6)  [?]
Supplements: A few, plus an updated edition (Ghostbusters International) and several supplements for that edition.

The Good: Lite rule system. Adventures can involve lots of investigation and research.
The Bad: Last printing was in the early 90s, so it may be difficult to find.
Advisory: Supernatural elements. Some mention of gods and demons.

(This entry is based on the original Ghostbusters RPG released in 1986, not the later version released in the early 90s. This is only because I do not have access to the newer edition.)

Ghostbusters harkens back to the day when role-playing games usually came in boxes, and included extras like cards and dice along with the rulebooks. Because of its age (it was released around 20 years ago), it may be difficult to find a copy that includes the dice and extras, let alone the box itself. But if all that you can dig up are the two rulebooks (the Training Manual and Operations Manual), you can still manage to get some ghostbusting done.

The game system is simple - characters have point values in Brains, Muscle, Moves, and Cool, and one Talent for each of those four stats ("Brawl" would be a good Muscle Talent, for example). When a character wants to do something, they roll as many dice as they have in the appropriate stat - and can add three dice to the pool if they're using their talent at the time. The dice are added, and the resulting total must meet or beat the difficulty level (5, 10, 20, or 30, judged by the gamemaster) in order for the action to be a success.

Every die roll must include the Ghost Die as one of the dice being rolled. The Ghost Die is a regular d6 with a Ghostbusters logo in place of the 6. If this logo comes up during any roll it counts as a zero - and something bad happens, as determined by the GM. If the roll is a failure and the ghost comes up - something REALLY bad happens!

(If you can't find a copy of the game with the dice intact, you can use regular d6s and choose a different colored d6 to be the Ghost Die, counting it as a zero whenever it comes up with a 6.)

The back of the Operations Manual contains 21 random story ideas, a random adventure generation system, and three different "routines" (with suggestions for creating more), all of which are great for those times when your players want to bust some ghosts, but you don't have anything ready for them.

It is a game well worth tracking down if your players enjoy Ghostbusters and can't wait to strap on a proton pack.

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MARVEL SUPER HEROES
COMPLEXITY:
Medium
DICE:

Publisher: TSR
Cover Price: FREE!
Availability: Free to download at www.classicmarvelforever.com, or if you're looking for an original copy, check your local game store or eBay.
Summary: A classic 80s superhero RPG
Complexity: Medium
Dice used:
d10s, at least two of them, preferably several pair.  [?]
Supplements: Many, available on the site - magazine articles, too!

The Good: Lots of well-known super heroes included. System gives a clear idea of the level of success. Lots of supplemental material available for free online.
The Bad: Rules can be a little dense.
Advisory: Comic book violence.

Marvel Super Heroes was originally published in the mid 1980s by TSR, the company that was at that time in charge of Dungeons & Dragons. Since that time, the Marvel license moved on to other publishers, and TSR vanished in a flurry of corporate purchases. Because of this, the MSH RPG will never be republished, but due to the kindness of its former masters, permission has been granted to make this RPG available as a PDF - and this is the best part - as long as no money changes hands whatsoever.

Marvel Super Heroes lets players take on the role of many of their favorite Marvel characters, or design one of their own. The game system uses words to describe a character's abilities (years before Fudge came along) and a color-coded Action Chart to determine not only if an action is successful or not, but the degree of success as well. It's a great visual aid for demonstrating probabilities, as a player can easily see their potential for failure and different levels of success every time they attempt an action.

The Advanced rulebook can be a bit of a difficult read for younger players, so they may need an older gamer to help them out with it.

With the recent popularity of superhero movies (and more seem to be on the way each year), Marvel Super Heroes may be just the thing your young gamers are looking for.

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MEDDLING KIDS
COMPLEXITY:
Medium
DICE:

Publisher: Pandahead Studios
Cover Price: $5.99
Availability: Buy the PDF here at DriveThruRPG.
Summary: A gang of teenagers and one 'wild card' character controlled by the GM (think Scooby Doo or Captain Caveman) investigate mysterious happenings most everywhere they go.
Complexity: ???
Dice used: d6s - at least 3, preferably 3 for each player.  [?]
Supplements: None. 

The Good: Lite rules system. Kids love to play teenagers. Investigation RPGs help build research and problem-solving skills.
The Bad: Other than a little bit of book padding, not much to tell.
Advisory:
Supernatural themes

Meddling Kids is a little RPG designed specifically for introducing people to role-playing. The combination of a simple rule system with a very familiar setting makes an excellent formula for that sort of thing. Players take on the roles of teenagers who, along with a 'Wild Card' character, investigate mysterious happenings, find the culprits, and bring them to justice.

The 'Wild Card' character can be most anything from a scaredycat Great Dane to an unfrozen flying caveman to a talking shark or dune buggy or purple ape. The gamemaster controls this character, and can use it as a 'nudge' if the players get stuck for a clue or the story begins to slow down.

The game system is very simple, (3d6 + stat vs. a target number, for those of you who understand that shorthand) and encourage creative play. All in all, it's a great little book to use for an introduction to role-playing for most anyone, kids and adults alike. If there has to be a negative, it would be the amount of 'padding' the book seems to have - a chart of every possible target number complete with a sentence or two on the difficulty it represents, for example, takes up both sides of a page. Some of that space could have been better spent or something else, like a list of story seeds, or something as useful.

Pandahead announced two other games as future releases in the 'Meddling' series: Meddling Spies and Meddling Heroes, but the release dates for both have passed as of this writing, so it's not clear if these will ever be released.

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MEN IN BLACK
COMPLEXITY:
Medium
DICE:
x 5-8

Publisher: West End Games
Cover Price: $6.00-$10.00 (used), sometimes bundled with the other MiB RPG products
Availability: Out of print, but available cheaply on eBay.
Summary: Based on the popular movie where agents in a secret government agency protect the planet from dangerous illegal aliens from all over the galaxy.
Complexity: Medium
Dice used:
d6s, about 5-8 of them  [?]
Supplements: Two, a Gamemaster screen with Director's Guide, and an Alien Recognition Guide

The Good: Semi-lite rule system. Can be found very cheaply on eBay.
The Bad: Published after the first film, so no information from the second (or upcoming third) movie is covered. Not much in the way of supplemental material available
Advisory: Comic book violence.

Someone needs to keep the Earth safe from hostile aliens - and keep the friendly aliens safe from Earthlings. Those someones are the Men In Black.

The official Men In Black RPG was released almost simultaneously with the first film in 1997. Two supplements were released shortly after - a Director's Guide with a gamemaster screen, and Aliens Recognition Guide Volume One. Sadly, the game never took off, but because of this, it's very easy to find the game for cheap online, and sometimes it can be found bundled with the two supplements.

The system works similarly to the Ghostbusters RPG (also by West End Games) - each attribute and skill has a die rating, like 2D or 3D+2. When a character attempts to use a skill, they roll the amount of dice they have in that skill (or attribute, if they have no dice for it) and add the modifier, if any. The total is compared to a difficulty number for the task (as determined by the GM) - if the roll meets or beats it, the character is successful.

Men In Black uses a clever game mechanic - Cue Cards - that might be worth stealing to use in other games. Cue cards are cards written up by the gamemaster before the game that have an action and a reward written on them. Before the game starts, the set of cards are shuffled and three (or more or less) are handed out to each player. The actions are things such as saying a certain catch phrase at a good time, or performing a certain maneuver. If, during the course of the adventure, a player performs the action on one of the Cue Cards at an appropriate moment (or manages to make most of the other players laugh while doing it), they get the reward at the bottom of the card - anything from getting to act first in a combat round, to gaining some character points, to healing wounds.

Men In Black is a good graduation from the Ghostbusters RPG - it uses a similar system with a slightly higher level of complexity, and young people love both of the movie series. You may even consider cooking up a crossover setting between the two - it wouldn't be difficult at all to convert one set of rules to the other, and an MiB/GB crossover would be too cool for words.

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MOUSE GUARD
COMPLEXITY:
?
DICE:
?

Publisher: Archaia Entertainment LLC
Cover Price: $19.99
Availability: Buy the PDF here at DriveThruRPG

Review coming soon!


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POKEMON JR. ADVENTURE GAME
COMPLEXITY:
Easy
DICE:

Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Cover Price: $1.00-$5.00
Availability: Out of print, but available for very cheap when you can find it - check toy liquidation or department stores.
Summary: A simple, choose-your-path Pokemon adventure for a gamemaster and one to six players.
Complexity: Easy
Dice used: One six-sided die and a 'Pokecoin' (both included)
Supplements: None

The Good: Quick and easy to play. Requires very little preparation time. Pokemon contests can be played without the adventure game. All required components are included in one box.
The Bad: No further support after the basic set. Limited amount of Pokemon to collect. Replay value is low once the basic book has been finished (though, you could create your own adventures and Pokemon for it, if you were so inclined...)
Advisory: Cartoon violence.

The Pokemon Jr. Adventure Game is a great little game that, sadly, didn't go very far. Packaged in a 4"x6" box, the game includes an adventure book, 26 Pokemon power cards, 48 hit tokens, 2 Pokecoins, and one six-sided die. One player acts as the Narrator, and reads the adventure aloud to the other players as they choose their first Pokemon, enter into battles, capture more Pokemon, and add their own details to the story.

The adventure gives the players many opportunities to act out in their roles as Pokemon trainers, and to help develop their environment ("What kinds of animals live in the forest? What do you see and hear in the forest?"). Once the book is finished, the adventure is over - no further adventures or expansions were ever published, despite the number 1 on the box, and the enclosed checklist of extra Pokemon that are not included in this set.

Replay value is medium to low. It is possible to play Pokemon battles without a story behind them, but then you're not really playing an adventure game anymore. Most young people would not be that interested in playing the adventure over again, but there are some exceptions. It would be possible to design new adventures and create more Pokemon to collect using some of the cards from the Pokemon Collectible Card Game, if a person were so inclined.

The Pokemon Jr. Adventure Game can still be found in some department stores (usually in the clearance section), or in any good toy liquidation store. In either case, you should be able to find it for a very reasonable price.

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SAILOR MOON
COMPLEXITY:
Medium
DICE:

Publisher: Guardians of Order
Cover Price: $10.00-$15.00 (used)
Availability: Out of print. Check your local game store, Amazon, or eBay for a used copy.
Summary: The official RPG of the popular anime series Sailor Moon, plus an extensive episode and character guide.
Complexity: Medium
Dice used:
d6s, at least two, preferably several pair.  [?]
Supplements: A couple - Complete Book of Yoma, Vol. 1 (a collection of different monsters), and a character diary.

The Good: Characters are popular with girls. System is similar to Big Eyes Small Mouth (see above), so material from that game can be used with this one, or vice versa.
The Bad: See description below.
Advisory: Supernatural elements. Fantasy magic. The name of one character attribute contains a minor expletive. Some of the images from Sailor Moon episodes printed in the book may concern some parents (see more, below).

The Sailor Moon Role-Playing Game and Resource Book (the full title) was published by Guardians of Order in 1998. It contains an easy role-playing rule system similar to the one found in GoO's multigenre anime RPG Big Eyes Small Mouth (see above) and their generic rule system Tri-Stat dX (see below) - so GMs looking to expand on this game could use some of the source material from BESM (Sailor Moon MECHA, here we come!)

The Sailor Moon setting is similar to modern day Japan, but with magical teenagers who battle evil magic-users and creatures from other dimensions. The book contains a short section on Japanese life, to help players put themselves into the role of a Japanese citizen - it's far too short to give a cultural lesson in Japanese life, but it could be used as an opportunity to research the subject.

Some of the material in the book bears mentioning. The name of one character attribute contains a minor expletive ("_ _ _ _ Healthy!"), but this can easily be changed to something more appropriate ("Very Healthy," perhaps). Thankfully, the attribute name does not appear on the character sheet, so this revision is easy. The end section of the book contains an episode guide for the show accompanied by images from some of the episodes. Two of these images may be of concern to those who haven't seen the episodes and don't know their context. One is of a young girl holding a gun to an older girl's head, and the other is of the Sailor Scouts trapped on large crystal crosses.

Sailor Moon could be a great way to introduce girls to roleplaying, especially if they are interested in the anime series and movies.

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STAR WARS

If you're interested in roleplaying in the Star Wars universe, you will need to be aware that there have been two Star Wars games in the past. One was first published in 1986 by West End Games, and later editions and supplements were published well into the 90s. In 2000, Wizards of the Coast acquired the rights to make the Star Wars RPG, and released it with a different game system, along with a handful of sourcebooks. At the present time, it does not look as if Wizards will be supporting their Star Wars RPG any longer, which makes it possible for yet another version to pop up in the future - or possibly even a resurrection of one of the existing games.

This shouldn't shy you away from diving in to some good old Stormtrooper-blasting fun, however - you just need to be aware that there are two different sets of rules from two different companies, and because of that, you could end up getting a batch of supplements that are incompatible with the rules that you own. Even that's not such a tragedy - the best part about Star Wars is that a lot of the material is based around the sorts of things that don't have a lot of rules attached to them - strange aliens, planets, and cultures. So you can use a lot of the things you'll find in just about any Star Wars RPG book, and once you've played for a while and become familiar with the system of your choosing, you'll be able to convert the "crunchy stuff" - statistics for ships and weapons and such - without too much hassle.

If you're checking out a Star Wars RPG book and are confused about which version of the game it works with, check the back cover for the publisher's name and logo. West End Games is the publisher for the older version, and Wizards of the Coast published the newer one. The listings below will hopefully help you decide which ruleset is right for you.

COMPLEXITY:
Medium
DICE:
x 5-6

Publisher: West End Games
Cover Price:
Availability: Out of print - check your local game store, Amazon, or eBay for used books.
Summary: It's Star Wars. Do you need more than that?
Complexity: Medium
Dice used:
d6  [?]
Supplements: Many, including hardcover guides for the Empire and the Rebellion, alien and planet guides, lots of adventure books, a boxed set campaign (DarkStryder), and even a long-running digest (Star Wars Adventure Digest) that was packed with fiction, adventures, and new characters, aliens, weapons, ships, and planets.

The Good: Supplements are easy to find and usually cheap in game stores or on eBay.
The Bad: Only covers the people, aliens, places, and tech from the original trilogy (for some, this is not seen as a bad thing).
Advisory: Swashbuckling violence, supernatural themes

WEG's Star Wars plays very fast and furious. The system uses dice totals for ability scores, which are then rolled to meet or beat a target number. 'Multitasking' is one of the unique qualities about this system - a player can announce that their character is performing several actions in a round, instead of just one. For each additional action over the first, all action in that round are penalized by one die. So if you wanted your Smuggler to shoot at two Stormtroopers, then dive into a garbage compactor, he would roll two fewer dice for each of these actions as a penalty. If you have enough skill, and the difficulty numbers are low, you can perform some pretty heroic feats in this version of the game.

COMPLEXITY:
Complex
DICE:


Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Cover Price: $29.99
Availability: Out of print. Check your local game store, Amazon, or eBay for used or new books.
Summary: Star Wars with very similar rules to those in Dungeons & Dragons
Complexity: Complex
Dice used: Full set of polyhedrals - d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, & d20  [?]
Supplements: A few, including sourcebooks for Naboo, Coruscant, and Tattooine, plus a Dark Side sourcebook, Galactic Campaign Guide, Arms & Equipment Guide, and more.

The Good: Uses a form of the d20 system found in Dungeons & Dragons, so experienced players will have a jump on the rules. Material covers the original trilogy, plus some of the people, aliens, places, and tech of the first two prequels.
The Bad: The d20 system can be complex, which may not be a good fit for a fast-paced setting like Star Wars.
Advisory: Swashbuckling violence, supernatural themes.


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TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES AND OTHER STRANGENESS
COMPLEXITY:
Complex
DICE:


Publisher: Palladium
Cover Price: $10.00-$15.00 (used)
Availability: Out of print since 2002 - check your game store, Amazon, or eBay for a used copy.  (Some supplements are available as PDFs - see below.)
Summary: A classic RPG from the 1980s that allows players to play the Turtles themselves, or make their own mutated animal superteam.
Complexity: Complex
Dice used:
d4, d6, d8, d10, & d20  [?]
Supplements: Many, mostly for different settings (Australian, Yucatan, post-apocalypse, time travel, dimensional travel, etc), plus a couple of adventure books. Most all include new 'races' of animals (including dinosaurs!) to use as mutated characters. (See below for links to PDFs.) The system is compatible with Palladium's RIFTS RPG, which opens up a lot of other supplemental material that can be used.

The Good: Younger kids love to play teenagers. Flexible character creation rules allow for lots of different kinds of mutated animal characters. Compatible with RIFTS, which allows a lot of options and supplemental material.
The Bad: Out of print for so long that most copies that you find may be in pretty worn condition.
Advisory: Kung-fu violence

Based on the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books, which were released in the mid-80s, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness can be played with the characters from the comic books, or the players can create their own mutated animal characters (or even human ones, if they really want) and start their own superteam.

Character creation not only includes stats and skills, but four human features - Hands, Biped, Speech, and Looks, each of which can be none, partial, or full. Each modifies the character based on how closely those features resemble a human's. The Turtles, as an example, would have full Hands, Biped, and Speech, but their Looks would be "none."

For a more up-to-date alternative, you can get Palladium's updated version of After The Bomb (PDF) - but make sure it's the 2002 edition with the black cover, which is a full game - not the older red-cover edition, which was a supplement for the original TMNT game. The new edition contains the complete set of rules from the original TMNT, but without the specific characters from the comic books, and an apocalyptic-style setting.

Whichever path you choose - the classic 80s book or After the Bomb, you will find a wealth of material available in Palladium's RIFTS books, all of which are compatible with both games. And the supplemental materials for the original TMNT RPG are also compatible with the newer version. Links to PDF versions of these classic supplements are below.

After the Bomb (original TMNT supplement)
ATB Book 2 - Road Hogs
ATB Book 3 - Mutants Down Under
ATB Book 4 - Mutants of the Yucatan
ATB Book 5 - Mutants in Avalon
ATB Book 6 - Mutants in Orbit
Adventures in the Yucatan

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WARRIORS
COMPLEXITY:
Medium
DICE:
Diceless
(uses three different types of tokens)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Cover Price: FREE!
Availability: Available at warriorcats.com
Summary: An RPG based on the popular book series, about intelligent cats and their adventures.
Dice used: Diceless, but you will need three different types of tokens for the players.
Supplements:
None (Read the books!  They are your supplements!)

Review coming soon!

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