By Jason Vey
So here it is, August 2014, and I'm neck-deep in the first Kickstarter campaign related to a core game of my design: Troll Lord Games' Amazing Adventures. I first embarked upon this project almost nine years ago (believe it or not), not long after TLG's flagship product line, Castles & Crusades, hit the market. It began as a set of house rules I put together for C&C, and used in my home campaign for several years. In general, they were the sorts of things that many C&C players were doing, but as time went on they began to coalesce in my game into something more.
Eventually, I got to know a couple of the Trolls, and was able to present my ideas as a pitch for a new modern take on the SIEGE Engine that was based on pulp tropes of the 1920's through the 50's. Steve liked the idea and I set to work.
Fantasy to Pulp-Modern
Translating the SIEGE Engine's class and level system to a modern rules set was surprisingly easy, partially because my gaming group play-tested the new rules set extensively, but also because the system just fits for that type of gaming.
I know a lot of gamers are raising an eyebrow: a class and level system for pulp? Am I nuts?
I promise you, it works well. The SIEGE Engine is uniquely suited to pulp because of the way the system scales, adding the character's level to your checks. It provides a constant, smooth and incremental advancement and increase in abilities instead of the "you get a bunch of stuff all of a sudden" mode of most level-based systems. In addition, combat plays so fast and open that it just begs for descriptive, action-based scenarios. All that's required is imagination… and a Strength or Dexterity check.
A Growing Fan Base
I was a bit nervous about how well Amazing Adventures would fare. Pulp is something every gamer seems to love, but not as many like to play, so I was just hoping it might gain a bit of notice. Not to mention, it's got some serious competition out there.
Much to my joy and surprise, since its release at Gen Con 2012, Amazing Adventures has not only shown strong sales, it has gathered a devoted fan base, which is vocal in its support of the game. I could not ask for better fans.
I was thrilled at how well AA sold at this year's Gen Con 2014, and couldn't be more excited about moving into a second printing, and trying to get that puppy out in hardcover as well as push two brand new full sourcebooks for it!
What Is Amazing Adventures?
Amazing Adventures is a pulp-modern rules set for the SIEGE Engine, the rules that power Castles & Crusades. It is over 99% compatible with C&C, and if you know that game, you can be up and running with AA in five minutes flat. It is designed to be a toolkit game to build any type of pulp you like, whether it's steampunk, Weird or Wild West, sword-and-planet in the style of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Chandler-style Hardboiled Noir, or Lovecraftian horror. Whatever your preferred flavor or vintage, AA can do it!
Character classes include the Raider, Arcanist, Gadgeteer, Gumshoe, Hooligan, Mentalist, Pugilist, and Socialite, any of which can also be dropped into your C&C game with little modification. Special optional character customization rules (also compatible with C&C) include backgrounds, traits, knowledges, generic class abilities, sanity rules, and Fate Points for over-the-top heroics. It has an alternate magic system, and psionics rules, both of which are also usable with Castles & Crusades.
Why Should You Play It?
I often say that by the time I'm done developing a gaming book, I never want to run it again. I'll happily play in my games, and that's not an indictment of them—in fact, I'm darn proud of every game and sourcebook I've ever done. It's just that generally speaking, when a game designer finishes a product he or she has lived and breathed it for a few years. You get oversaturated with it.
That, however, is not the case with AA. I will happily run this game any time (and actively do, with my home groups) because I just have so much fun with it. And I credit that to the elegance of the SIEGE Engine. I really can't give much higher of an endorsement than that: I never, ever get sick of this game.
My plans for AA in the future could develop it into the definitive modern and future rules set for the SIEGE Engine. If you're a fan of C&C, of fantasy gaming, or of pulp gaming or fiction in general, I really believe this is the game for you. As for what sets it apart from other pulp games, that's simple: the SIEGE Engine. It's a fast-playing, easy-to-grasp, familiar rules set that gets the heck out of the way and lets you get on with telling awesome stories.
If our Kickstarter goes well, the Amazing Adventures Companion will include new character classes such as the soldier, archer, acrobat, gunslinger, duelist, feral, and more! It will feature rules specific to pulp sub-genres, from sci-fi to sword and sorcery. It will include expanded vehicles rules, weapons, mystic locales, live-action rules, a darker take on sorcery, and so much more! Not only that, you'll get a full bestiary, the Amazing Adventures Manual of Monsters, including a ton of classic critters re-tooled for pulp, plus over a dozen new creations from your worst nightmares!
If this year's Gen Con and our early support numbers are any indication, Amazing Adventures is only going to continue to grow in popularity. With a number of really cool stretch goals and add-ons in the pipeline, now is a great time to get in on the game. Support our Kickstarter. You won't be disappointed!