Pits & Perils divergences

Because I am tentatively planning to run a Google Plus hangout game of Pits & Perils this friday, I was reviewing the rules. While doing this, it occurred to me that it might be useful to summarize the aspects that differ from “how things are usually done.”

As a player familiar with traditional fantasy roleplaying games but new to Pits & Perils, I think these are the most obvious differences.

  • PCs have 1 or 2 abilities. As in, you “have strength” (no numbers).
  • Abilities constrain what you can do.
  • To attack, roll 2d6. 9-11 = 1 damage. 12 = 2 damage.
  • Fighters get +1 to attack. Magic weapons grant bonuses here also.
  • Saving throws succeed on 7+ rolling 2d6.
  • Using an ability (for example, dexterity) works like a saving throw.
  • Encumbrance is armor & shield + 10 more items (hard limit).
  • HP is static (for example, a 3rd level fighter has 14 HP).
  • Armor works by adding a small amount of HP.
  • Casting a spell costs one spell point (no preparation).

Image from Pits & Perils title page

Image from Pits & Perils title page

There are a number of other specific rules, but if you already know, for example, B/X D&D, I think this will get you most of the way there.

Also, here’s a list of the core spells with numbers, in case you want to determine starting spells randomly (break out that d24). Or click here for a popup.

  1. Bolt
  2. Call
  3. Calm
  4. Cure
  5. Fade
  6. Fear
  7. Find
  8. Foil
  9. Gaze
  10. Glow
  11. Heal
  12. Hide
  13. Know
  14. Link
  15. Load
  16. Mend
  17. Mute
  18. Null
  19. Pass
  20. Rise
  21. Ruin
  22. Send
  23. Stun
  24. Ward

5 thoughts on “Pits & Perils divergences

  1. Scott Anderson

    I have such an amazing respect for pits & perils & bucklers & backswords. I wrote about 80% of a pirate game setting for the system before losing interest. Great game. Great great game.

    1. Brendan Post author

      @Random Wizard

      No, in general success is absolute. Attacking with 9+ always inflicts damage, for example.

      That said, the text does leave space (and give some guidelines for) common modifiers. So actually there are difficulty classes, but they are downplayed and only come up rarely. Some examples below, from the rules for saving throws and skill-type actions. Quoting:


      Characters roll saving dice to resist the effects of disease and poison or to escape from traps. This requires 7 or better on 2d6, although dwarves get better saves than other characters (+1/+2 against mechanical traps). Of course, the referee can apply additional bonuses and/or penalties.


      Like everything else, players must roll when using their abilities. For instance, climbing walls (dexterity) or lifting gates (strength). Normally, this requires 7 or better on 2d6 (50/50 odds), subject to modifiers for difficulty and/or circumstances. For example, climbing a slippery wall at -1.

  2. StuRat

    The greatest number of characters will have Wisdom as their ability. That seems odd to me, so I came up with an alternative.

    Roll one D6. Their ability is:

    Roll the die again- if they get the same number, the player gets to choose an additional ability; otherwise they just have the one originally rolled ability.


Leave a Reply