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Powers & Perils is a role-playing game written by Richard Snider and published by Avalon Hill in 1983 as a boxed set. It consisted of four main rule books (The Character Book, Combat and Magic, The Creature Book, and Treasure and Human Encounters) and a fifth book describing an adventure set in Mordara County. A second boxed set contained information on the world, named Perilous Lands, in the form of three books, The Map Book, Sites of Power, and The Culture Book. Subsequent expansions were printed in Heroes magazine and an adventure for high level characters, Tower of the Dead, was released in 1984. Unfortunately Avalon Hill had no previous experience with role-playing games, being primarily a producer of strategy and war games such as Tactics II (game); Blitzkrieg (game) and Squad Leader (game), and Powers & Perils died before its time. Overpricing and strong competition from 1st ed. Dungeons & Dragons saw P&P on store shelves at 2 to 3 times the price being asked for its contemporaries. The game was discontinued after 1984 and all support for it dropped. All questions since then regarding errata and reprinting have been rebuffed by Avalon Hill, Wizards of the Coast, and Hasbro as the company and rights changed hands, this despite the number of people still playing the game over 20 years after it went out of print.
What makes Powers & Perils different from most role-playing games is the high level of detail in all aspects of the game, from characters to magic to the world itself. Characters’ skills and spells gain expertise and power through use. Likewise using magic and participating in combat increases the characters magic experience and combat experience levels respectively which in turn grant points for increasing characteristics such as strength, stamina, dexterity, agility, intelligence, will, empathy, eloquence, appearance, and constitution. It may seem complicated, but once past the learning curve the system results in greater responsiveness and potential for character growth than any other modern role-playing gameTemplate:Or.
As an example of the level of detail in the game world, the County Mordara adventure book is 24 pages long. About 10 of that is the actual adventure. The rest is details on people of note within the county, geography, economy, demographics, legal system, background events such as the hereditary curse covering the ruling family (which is breakable by the players should they realize it exists and dig deep enough), history, current events, a timeline for certain events, and other things. Even the random encounters are a notch above that commonly found in fantasy games with the traditional fantasy races (elves, dwarves, goblins, etc.) being joined by a host of rarely heard of creatures some of which are intelligent on a level well above humanTemplate:Or.