Thursday, January 10, 2013

Two fisted tales of Adventure! / The best game ever

I often describe Adventure as 'the best game ever'. This is not just hyperbole. One of the authors, Bruce Baugh, commented last year that he and the other authors had "bottled lightening" with the book.

For a game that I originally only bought to complete my set of the Aeon Trilogy (including Trinity and Aberrant) it has had a significant affect on me.
If I had never bought Adventure! I would never have read Planetary or Hellboy. I wouldn't have been exposed to Pulp literature. It paved the way for me to appreciate and enjoy Trail of Cthulhu and read Lovecraft's work.
This book, this game fired my imagination like no other.

Why? What makes this game so God damn good?
Everything. The commissioned short stories (including ones by Warren Ellis and Greg Stolze), the setting - presented as journal entries, newspaper clippings, letters and notices that makes up the first third of the book.
The control that just stops everything from tipping over the edge into complete absurdity and keeps it running on that razors edge of genius.

It is the swinging 20's and everything is possible if you're willing to seize opportunity by the lapels and shake it until the good stuff falls out. Those with the initiative to make a difference can change present and define the future.

You play one of the Inspired: either a Daredevil, a Mesmerist or a Stalwart - a traditional hero possessed of luck and determination, a person with mysterious psychic powers or a demi-god, a man of bronze capable of impossible feats.

The second reason that the game shines is the system. It's based on the standard White Wolf/Storyteller system, with additions that fit the setting perfectly.

Stunts: The game rewards creativity and engagement with mechanical bonuses. Describe what you want to do. If you've put on effort you get a bonus. If it's cool you get a bigger bonus. If everyone at the table goes "whoa" then you get an even bigger bonus.
You do cool shit, you get could stuff. Fortune favours the bold and all that.

Knacks: The Inspired get Knacks. Not quite powers, not quite enhanced abilities. Both. Neither. Daredevils get Knacks that allow them to push the boundaries of good fortune, Mesmerists get powers of the mind to push and pull objects and thoughts and emotions whilst Stalwarts get to dodge bullets, lift cars and walk across deserts without water or shade with no ill effects.

Finally, Adventure! is a game of undisputable character. It oozes it from its every pore. It is bold. It is bright. It is everything you need from a game.

And it is being republished. Onyx Path Publishing, the successor to White Wolf, has bought the rights and are working on new editions of all the Aeon Trilogy.
I cannot tell you how excited I am.