Saturday, March 30, 2024

Amazing Adventures (TSR Box Games)

First, there is an Indiegogo for a new edition of Amazing Adventures. There are no new rules, but it has been cleaned up and reorganized in a much more usable format. There have been a few delays, but they said the print layout was done, and they are getting it to the printers soon. I have been waiting for this one for a while, and they are stripping out OGL references, so this will be a better game.

The Companion is a must-have book for the modern era. Grenades? You need to look for these in the C&C Castle Keeper's Guide. They are an odd omission but easily added in.

If you are buying in the current version, get this bundle:

And if you do sci-fi, this book for Star Siege is helpful, too:

I am amazed at how well the AA system works for modern-day and sci-fi games. It is an OSR throwback; what if TSR made Top Secret, Gamma World, Gangbusters, and Star Frontiers (the classic box games) with a straight B/X system. This uses the Castles & Crusades SIEGE Engine, so messy things like saving throws and class skills are gone, though they do have the concept of backgrounds, traits, and knowledge skills. All of the classes are hackable, and their abilities swappable, so you can have an explorer medic or a soldier medic if you want, and just swap out one of the class abilities for the generic "Medical" class ability.

The game is 100% set in the Gangbusters era, so converting to this is no effort. You could stick to a straight cops-and-robbers theme, play a private detective, or play a gangster. AA also has rules for magic, gadgets, and psionics, so you could go to more "radio shows" like The Shadow, Chandu the Magician, or Radar Men from the Moon.

And yes, I know about B/X Gangbusters, which is excellent too.

The classes in AA have pulp names, but they are all generic archetypes you can reskin and rename as you please. The Gumshoe can be a Vice Cop in the modern era, a Star Cop in sci-fi, or even a Town sheriff in a Gamma World setting.

Also, you can multiclass anything with anything and even pull in Castles & Crusades classes, so your variety of character types is impressive. You can simply reskin the C&C barbarian as a primitive warrior in Gamma World and even use them as a class for characters.

I could remake all the TSR boxed games with this system, port in a few equipment items here and there, and have a classic, OSR-style experience for each one. If I did a Gamma World, I would use hit points like Gamma World (1d6 per point of CON) and keep the damages the same if I kept the original system's monsters and weapons. Gamma World will be the most difficult since the AC system was out of whack in the early editions, and classes won't work that well.

If I did a total conversion, I would rebuild everything for an average level progression and eliminate the 1d6 per CON hit point starting range. Monsters would get rebuilt and hit dice, like normal B/X monsters. Weapons would be reduced in damage to Star Siege levels and kept on the B/X scale. This is how you do it right and stay in class-level progression so your C&C classes port in seamlessly.

Gamma World would be the most work.

I am working on Star Frontiers, and the conversion is fantastic. Having a level one Star Law officer may seem strange, but it works well. My rookie will level up, go on cases to find Sathar agents and gain abilities as they level. Monsters can port in from any OSR source or even the Castles & Crusades monster book. This sort of d20 sci-fi works well in a game like White Star, so it will work well here, too; only the engine powering the system here is the SIEGE Engine. All of White Star's monsters, gear, and adventures port in easily since they are OSR.

Of all the conversions, I am most looking forward to this one. Having space heroes level up and go on dangerous space dungeon crawls seems fantastic.

This is a medium level of work, but well worth it as I convert things in.

Ship combat will be handled by Knight Hawks, with skill and attack rolls being based on a character's attack bonus a d20 roll, and maybe a -1 to-hit per hex penalty for attacks. Damage, the ship hits, critical damage, and everything else will be handled by Knight Hawks.

The AA gadgeteer will be very useful in a Top Secret-style d20 OSR game, and I will probably want to build custom classes for the investigator, confiscator, and assassin. I will base them off the closest class (gumshoe for investigator), but align their class abilities better to the original game. The AA socialite class may also be a great "face" style character with a few tweaks adding a disguise ability, so adding this and gadgeteer increases the character types in Top Secret by quite a few useful ones. I would also keep this game for fun in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

AA can easily do all the TSR box games and rebuild them in a familiar d20 format, with the B/X rules providing the base. The conversions, if necessary, are decent. The above is from my notes for the iconic SF laser pistol. I limited the maximum SEU to three to keep the balance in check (the rifle is six). Some of the melee weapons have been toned down, and their damages have been aligned with more of the Star Siege ones.

Gunplay at low levels will be lethal, but we have gear like the albedo suit that halves laser damage in the game, so survivability should go up. The damage conversion is 1d6 AA to 1d10 SF, so the suit will absorb up to 60 hp of laser damage (instead of 100 in SF) reflected before becoming useless. We allowed our skiensuit-wearing characters to wear an albedo vest, halved damage but absorbed half the maximum hits (30 hp).

I will eventually make better versions of everything as I complete the conversions. My laser pistol is far enough from SF to be my own creation once I eliminate SEU as a term. We had gear from Space Opera in our game, like armored vests and other gear, so that may be ported in too, depending on how successful my game in.

The conversions are dirt simple, and the chance of having the classic TSR boxed games back with a classic B/X system is too good of a feeling for me.

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