As we march on through Supers Week, I wanted to take today to point out the original Prowlers & Paragons rules by Len Pimentel. He and are furiously at work on the new Prowlers & Paragons: Ultimate Edition, which we’re planning to launch later this year (those really wanting to see some preview stuff should check out my Patreon), but this original set is well worth a look to see the core brilliance that let me to choose it as the foundation for my superhero setting efforts. It’s an elegant, deceptively simple game with immense nuance that lends to both satisfying crunchy (yet easy) supers combat, very robust character creation, and a surprising amount of player-empowered narrative influence.
Prowlers & Paragons (or P&P) is a tabletop roleplaying game with a narration-driven, rules-light system designed to emulate four-color superhero comics. Let’s break that down so you can see what you’re getting yourself into.
P&P is a tabletop roleplaying game. We’re going to assume you’ve got this one covered.
P&P is a narration-driven system. The rules in this game are not effects driven. For the most part, they don’t tell you what happens. Instead, they tell you who gets to describe what happens. And that’s what it’s all about in P&P: describing what happens. Both the players and the gamemaster (GM) take turns narrating events in the game world. This makes P&P feel more like an exercise in collaborative storytelling than a typical roleplaying game. However, P&P isn’t totally freeform and open-ended either. There are rules that help determine what characters can do and how they compare to one another, especially in combat! This prevents the game from devolving into a never-ending debate about what is and isn’t reasonable.
P&P is rules light. It’s chock full of gross oversimplifications and blatant inaccuracies that mimic comic book tropes rather than real-world facts. This also makes P&P a simple game with a streamlined set of rules. Once you know what you’re doing, you should be able to play without ever opening the book.
Finally, P&P is designed to emulate four-color superhero comics. This game is about the heroic things the characters do and the heroic burdens they shoulder. Mundane matters get little attention. There aren’t any detailed rules for dealing with money and wealth, but there most definitely is a rule for smashing into a bank vault. Let’s be perfectly clear: This is not a deep and cerebral game. P&P was designed to let you play stories about super heroes who save the world and beat the snot out of villains who richly deserve it. Like so much of the genre, P&P is a gleefully unapologetic exercise in heroic wish fulfillment.
The core rules are finally here!
Included here are 2 versions of the game, one in full beautiful color and one with crisp, black-and-white line art so that your printer won’t break up with you for printing it out. Both are 142 pages long and include:
Chapter 1: Introduction: Um … it’s an introduction. What did you expect?
Chapter 2: Action: This chapter include most of the rules you need to play the game, including rules for narrative task resolution and comic book slugfests!
Chapter 3: Characters: Here is where you learn how to make heroes! We have full character creation rules that allow you to create street level prowlers, cosmic paragons, and everything in between.
Chapter 4: Heroism: This chapter explains the use of Resolve and Adversity, the narrative currency that players and gamemasters use to bend the rules of the game and even the game world itself in their favor.
Chapter 5: Wonderful Toys: You like gear? Then this is the chapter for you. This chapter includes weapons, armor, miscellaneous equipment, vehicles (and yes, vehicle combat rules), and even rules for creating your own makeshift items on the fly in the middle of a story. What could possibly go wrong?
Chapter 6: Big Bad World: It’s a big world full of bad stuff that give heroes headaches. Disasters, Diseases, Hazards … ther’re all in here.
Chapter 7: Friends & Foes: A veritable rogues gallery at your disposal. A host of mundane (and not so mundane) npcs, from Athletes to Zombies, a large number of animals from Bats to Zebras (yes, of course there are dinosaurs in there), and a collection of archetypal supers from the Acrobat to the Weather Controller that you can used as villains, or even as heroes if you’re in a rush.
Chapter 8: Playing the Game: This chapter provides both players and gamemasters (but mostly gamemasters) with tools, tips, and tricks for running the best super hero roleplaying game they can run. We give you our thoughts about playing and running roleplaying games while desperately trying not to sound patronizing.
Chapter 9: From the Ashes: A light-hearted (and rather forgiving) introductory adventurefor a group of heroes of standard power level.
The world needs heroes.
Take a Stand! Join the Fight!
BE A HERO!
Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!