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Maelstrom (Puffin Adventure Gamebooks) Paperback – Illustrated, 22 Nov 1984

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books (22 Nov. 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140318119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140318111
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 542,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Imagine a band of travellers on the long road from St Albans to London - a dangerous journey in troubled times. Which will YOU be? - An alchemist - skilled in the dark arts of magick - A rogue - on the run from justice - A noble lady - on her way to stir up intrigue at court - A spy - disguised as a herbalist, carrying vital messages to the king - Or any one of a host of different characters... YOU choose the characters, YOU decide the missions and YOU have the adventures in the turbulent world of Europe in the sixteenth century - either as a player or as the referee. Complete with Beginners and Advanced Rules, Referees's Notes, maps, charts and a solo adventure to get you started, Maelstrom is a great game for three or more players.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By JWH on 12 Oct. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book gives the rules and background for roleplaying in C16 England, although the system is easily adaptable to any locale (this is easier in pre-gunpowder periods as there are no rules for firearms).

It uses a 'career' system a bit like that in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: A Grim World of Perilous Adventure rather than the 'class' system favoured by many Fantasy RPGs. Characters are very much 'normal' characters in their world - rather than being fighters and bards, they can be fruiterers and masons (although they can be normal mercenaries and musicians as well). The emphasis is very much on low-powered adventures rather than vast fantasy epics.

The mechanics are primarily based on 'saving throws' - a roll against a percentage-based skill. The only mechanic that works differently is the combat damage mechanic, which is simple enough, but can take a bit of recording.

There are some very elegant rules for the use of magic, which do not require the use of the spell lists and magic points required by other rules. Magic is potent but hidden and can easily fit into the Tudor world without substantially re-working the background.

As well as some basic rules covering the various careers, general game mechanics and combat, and then some advanced rules to build on these, the book contains a short-but-challenging 'Fighting Fantasy'-style paragraph adventure to introduce new players to the rules mechanics. As a diversion and as a tool to teach the rules, it is brilliant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Jacobs VINE VOICE on 27 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I discovered this book when it first came out, and what made me want it was the fact that unlike the Steve Jackson The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (Fighting Fantasy) books, this one is broader, and is based on a very real fantasy world. It is set in a very real England, but sorcery is real, and the adventures are easier to get in to.

There are extensive sections on life in England, and the format of the information is conistent with the historical period. Maps look like long strips of road, a format used even today for motorway maps. The equipment lists and medical herbs catalogue are very detailed, and add to the realism.

There is an extended pick-a-path adventure with many branches to challenge the new player, but unlike the Fighting Fantasy books, this one encourages you to write your own adventures rather than slavishly buying the next volume.

The main advantage of this book over FF is that it is a stand-alone role-playing game, and written by a very young teenage author. He shows great ability as a game designer. His rule system is simple to use yet satisfyingly sophisticated enough to make for a great game session, and I'd be interested to see if he ever had anything else published. Apparently the Maelstrom Companion has been published, which updates the game and expands the Tudor England background and fills in gaps in the rules.

Suffice to say that I bought a replacement for this book after losing my original, and I haven't done that for many other authors.
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By Kernewek on 1 Feb. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brilliant book from my teenage years, had to get it again!
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