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Ape Victorious

Goblinoid Games recently released Apes Victorious. As a fan of the Planet of the Apes, it immediately caught my interest. In the past I'd flipped through Terra Primate but didn't want a new system for something I probably wouldn't use. Apes Victorious listed conversion notes for Labryinth Lord, Mutant Future and Starships & Spacemen in the description. Thankfully Goblinoid Games released an artless version for people to try for free.

I'm not the target audience for this game. While I enjoy the Planet of the Apes, I prefer more modern game systems than old school. When I saw ascending armor class and to hit in Gamma World fourth edition, I immediately wondered why D&D hadn't done the same. Third edition D&D standardized to high being good and usually using d20. Apes Victorious is like older systems where high or low being better depends on the task being performed. It often uses d6 in addition to d20 and sometimes d100. This doesn't make the rules bad just do not match my preference.

For the most part the rules are clear. The muscle check being one exception. It describes various actions where you would need a muscle check and says modifiers from column 1 are used. This is followed by "this roll is successful on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6, before considering modifiers." If you are ignoring modifiers, what is column 1 being used for?

Combat could benefit from an example as well and making the language clearer. The defense modifier from dexterity applies to enemy attack rolls and armor's attack modifier applies to the hit roll according to the instructions. For attacking you want to roll under your to hit value. The better values for armor and dexterity are negative so if they are applied to the roll, it would make you easier to hit. It must mean that they should be applied to the to hit value. An example would remove all doubt.

There are seven classes provided, Astronaut, Bonobo Agent, Chimpanzee Scholar, Gorilla Soldier, Humanoid, Orangutan Politician and Underdweller. (Character attack table incorrectly lists Bonobo Diplomat instead of Agent but it is an obvious mistake.) The humanoid is a human native to the world but the class has several disadvantages compared to the others. Otherwise the classes seem alright and have the diversity I would expect. Unfortunately the game doesn't really provide suggestions on how to start a mixed class game. It seems much more designed with everyone starting as Astronauts and replacing the dead with new characters as appropriate.

The starting adventure has this exact setup. It is one of my only complaints about the adventure. I really like the adventure and there are ways to introduce other classes but it would have been nice to have an example where players can start as anything. The adventure leaves plenty of questions at the end to provide jumping off points for more adventures. The adventure is usable for d20 modern or other games you might want to do a Planet of the Apes style game.

The general GM material doesn't go as far as I'd like. While this game can be run with killing the monsters and taking their stuff, the source material aimed for a greater story. The book tries to explain that but somehow I feel it doesn't provide enough guidance for a new GM. The wilderness design section annoyed me with "it is best to use hex graph paper." I agree that is traditionally used in games but I wouldn't state it is the best. There is not information on how fast you travel on that map. The sample map is similar to examples in older games but leaves me disappointed. It provides very little details or adventures hooks.

Overall I'm interested in trying the sample adventure although I may run it in another system. An adventure series would be a great addition to the game. I probably won't pick up the print version nor the pdf with art. I do encourage you to look at the art free pdf if you like the genre and judge for yourself.


#1 - K. T., Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 00:53:

"Unfortunately the game doesn't really provide suggestions on how to start a mixed class game"
I was pondering this problem as well, in the end came up with a table that can provide some reasons for mixing classes, and also maybe some adventure hooks as you go:

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Last modified: 2016-10-23, 19:43

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