Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mazes & Perils Deluxe

Today marks the release of Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition, published by Moebius Adventures, the follow-up to the original  ENnie Award-winning Mazes & Perils roleplaying game. Written by +Vincent Florio and Brian Fitzpatrick, M&PDE is a modified retro-clone of the Holmes version of Dungeons & Dragons. It clocks in at a mere 75 pages, but packs a helluva a lot of content into such a tiny book. While loyal to the eccentricities of Holmes-era D&D, Mazes & Perils isn't afraid to add its own tweaks and modifications to what many regard as the greatest pre-AD&D version of the game.

Absent from the original M&P are two new classes: The Enchanter and the Shaman. While I was initially drawn to paralell them to the AD&D Illusionist and Druid simply based on their names, these classes (while similar) do bring their own unique flavor to the game and because they are included as core classes, show that Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition isn't afraid to go beyond its Holmes roots. Nor is M&P afraid to draw more directly from AD&D for inspiration, while still holding true to its roots. The Fighting-Man (a class wonderfully reminding me of the long past gaming days of yore) who has a Strength attribute of 18 may roll on a special d100 percentile chart, giving them exceptional modifiers in that attribute. This is a direct paralell to AD&D (1st and 2nd editions), without drawing the reader out of the game's simpler-time-simpler-rules feel. In addition, its demihuman races (dwarf, elf, and halfling) are given a broader selection of classes than most old school incranations, but still retain level limits to keep humans important and balanced in the greater context of the game.

But M&P never strays so far from its roots as to feel like a mishmash of various D&D editions slapped together to create a Frankenstein game. It holds fast to the Holmes-era level limit of 12 and the games visual style is both simple and light-hearted. Art is sprinkled liberally throughout the core rules and alternates between an almost comedic style all the way up to grandiose high adventure. All of it is done in black and white line art and the book is cleanly laid out in two column format that's easy to read and reference.

The game also remains true to old school DIY values, by including a complete map which can be easily stocked using the monsters provided. The GM simply needs to decide the thematic elements of the dungeon and stock it in a manner that suits their campaign. While a general sense of how to do so is provided, the reader is not spoon-fed their options and is given ample liberty to make it something all their own.

In short, Mazes & Perils Deluxe Edition does exactly what it claims to do - it is a faithful recreation of Holmes-style D&D that provides a well described rules set, is easy to read, and adds a few bells and whistles without becoming bogged down. At a slick 75 pages it provides a full gamiang experience and anyone looking to re-create the 1977 gaming experience is sure to have a heck of a good time with this rules set.

The PDF version of Mazes & Perils is available at RPGNow & DriveThruRPG, with the print-on-demand version soon to follow.

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