Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Review & Commentary On The Pay What You Want OSR PC Resource - Advanced Ape Class From Great Khan Games For Your Old School Campaign

When I was growing up back in the 1970's the world was ape crazy! Planet of the Apes was the biggest thing to hit the planet! The options for playing a Gorilla warrior or fighter was limited for Gamma World or Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. The craze of Planets of the Apes was starting to wind down but there were two options on the table at the time. One of course was the incredibly dark Planet of The Apes Saturday morning cartoon.

The other option was the Planet Of The Apes Television Show which had an equally dark opening but wasn't quite as bleak a vision as the Ape films. But every kid that I played Gamma World with wanted to bring their apes and ape kind into Advanced Dungeons and Dragons or original Dungeons and Dragons. This often times didn't work out for the player in question.
This brings us to the Advanced Ape class pdf from Great Khan games, this is a pay what you like title with a stripped down character class crossing over with the apes. This product fills a very specialized niche allowing the DM to create from whole cloth each ape science fictional or fantasy element.  and everything they want is right here in this book.

According to the introduction to the book everything is perfect to use in exactly this style of campaign;"Advanced Apes are a variant species of Gorilla that have developed a human level of intelligence and and have become capable of speech. Advanced Apes are roughly human sized, but weigh about twice as much due to denser bone and muscle structures, even their skin is tougher than that of a human."
This material does work for the pdf but it has little background and the book assumes you know what to do with this racial class. The pamphlet takes a very no nonsense approach to its PC class and it assumes you know the pop culture references and so forth.
So what can you do with the Advanced Ape Class? Its more like what can't you do with it as a DM? There really are several options on the table right out of the gate  You can add this class into Mutant Future and build your own Empire of the Apes or Planet setting as you see fit. These can be  for PC options or NPC enemies. Watch the new movies such as Rise of the Planet of the Apes or the classic Ape films and properties from 1968 through 1974. A ton of information on the various Ape time continuum's right over here Needless to say that adding in an empire, faction, Cryptic Alliance, etc. of apes to your post apocalyptic wasteland is damn easy and many folks automatically do so.
""Just what the white ape-like creatures could have been, Mwanu had no idea, but he thought they were the builders of the ruined city."
-H.P. Lovecraft, Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family

The White ape comes from this wonderful Lovecraft artist.
But those really are the obvious options here; another Goblinoid Games book itself that adds in more possibilities is  the Realms of Crawling Chaos book that has the White Ape as a playable PC option from the time when the oceans drank Atlantis all the way into modern times. You get the Half White Ape as another possibility for your table.

But by looping this back around to the  Advanced Ape Class From Great Khan Games it gives the DM another class from that time of lost sword and sorcery for their campaigns. Suddenly these ape like horrors become a very real and far more dangerous threat to your wizards and warriors while  the White Ape sorcerers becoming the ruling class and so forth. There is a ton of information on this subject over at this Wiki entry and more.
Yet another option that could be used is to place a hidden volcanic  valley someplace down near the Texas and Mexican border which seems perfect for the introduction of a lost world ape empire into your Boot Hill style games! Advanced Apes and six guns seems like a perfect Weird Western theme.

Another possibility is the use of  Advanced Apes is in your pulp games and with the recent release of The Front WWII retroclone this suddenly becomes a possibility at your at your table. DC comics beat me to the punch by decades and I saw this comic on the stands as a kid. I also came across these minis which really stirred my imagination.

So do I think that Advanced Ape Class From Great Khan Games  is perfect? Umm no but it does a nice job of filling in a much needed gap in the old school market for a 'pay what you want' ape warrior for the table top that can act as a dangerous threat to PC's or as another D&D style class that will work for a player whose bananas over this style of game!

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