Sunday, November 18, 2018

OSR Review & Commentary On Jarkoon - Adventures on Planet X! By Simon Washbourne From Beyond Belief Games

"Astounding! Amazing! Incredible! Non-stop action using familiar rules! Who wants to read through reams of text just to get to the action? No-one right? These rules assume you know how to role play. They assume you know about “Golden Age” comic book space fantasy adventures. (Sword & Planet rules through a retro lens). They assume you know how OSR products work. There, it’s done. You know how to play already. Just get on with it. Ray guns set to kill! Flash! Bang! Zoom!"
Last night I logged into social media & found that a friend of mine had slipped me a pdf  from the 'X' series of OSR supplements  from Beyond Belief Games.
'Jarkoon Adventures on Planet X ' is a pretty fast & loose Sword & Planet style setting for the X series of  OSR books which borrow heavily from public domain comic books & pulps. According to Brian Courtemanche;" the X series is a growing number of fantastic, fast-start, fun-to-play OSR games by the talented Simon Washbourne of Beyond Belief Games. "

Jarkoon is a setting we've seen a billion times, a Barsoom like planet of adventure with new PC classes, monsters, equipment, etc. The X series is done in a Swords & Wizardry style & this is fine. What separates Jarkoon from a thousand other OSR Sword & Planet settings is the authors enthusiasm & the fact that its packed into twenty pages.

There's no baggage & anyone who plays standard Original Dungeons & Dragons will be picking this setting up in four minutes or less. We get lots of old school Pulp role playing here with the Astronomer class which is your standard Dr. Hans Zarkov style mad scientist who invents gadgets & messes with things man was not meant to know.
"Astronomers are scientific advisers to Kings and Nobles. They know science and can even build small gadgets and devices but rarely venture into the territory of the “Science-Lords” whose ancient mysteries are outlawed in the City-States." All of the artwork is public domain comic book & Pulp artwork re-purposed for this supplement. We get a Jedd erm noble class & this is your typical Prince Voltan from Flash Gordon type or one of the countless Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoomian noble style. We get a scout class which is a redress of a Ranger style space man spiff type. Then the John Carter off worlder PC class of course. Then comes your standard PC warrior class & a Thark style Lo’Kreen race as class PC class;
"An ancient race from a distant sun, dislocated from their own world by the power of the Science-Lords. Somehow, they ended up on Jarkoon where they helped to overthrow the tyranny of the Science-Lords and make a home for themselves." Then there's the Psion class with a psionic system thrown right into the PC class.
You then get into a history of Jarkoon which again is a Barsoom or Sword & Planet setting but the author manages it in three pages!? We get flyers & air craft straight out of ERB's imagination.
A set of really super quick rules & then Jarkoon style names & NPC stats for your nameless folks who seem to come up as NPC's on the fly during game play. This happens to me each & every time. Then its four pages of monsters that have a surprising array of creatures for its size including the dreaded Science Lords. Missile weapons & melee weapons along with armor & the class combat tables.
The layout is clean, the tables easy on the eyes, & the bare minimum of clutter is welcome to someone like me who is getting very jaded with overarching OSR books I've seen over the last ten years. Your could drop your existing Dungeons & Dragons party onto

'Jarkoon Adventures on Planet X '  to watch the fun This is the thing this a pdf that demands to be played & Jarkoon simply a solidly done tool kit for Sword & Planet adventures. This is definitely a solidly done book coming in at twenty one pages & 'Jarkoon Adventures on Planet X ' is definitely worth picking up at three dollars. Why?! Because this little beauty can be used to add zip to existing Sword & Planet settings such as Planet Algol or even Lamentations of the Flame Princess's Carcosa. And yes the 'X' series of books covers a wide range of genres from Wild West to interstellar Pulp adventure. How do I know because I bought a few titles after reading through 'Jarkoon Adventures on Planet X '.

'Jarkoon Adventures on Planet X ' could also be used as a side supplement to
Barrel Rider Games White Star series of Star Wars film inspired rpg supplements.  I give 'Jarkoon Adventures on Planet X ' five out of five. Stay Tuned because I will be doing more  Beyond Belief Games  product reviews in the near future.

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