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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Pits & Perils IV: The Divine Spark

Last year we promised an expansion to Pits & Perils, and it's our pleasure to finally deliver its latest rules supplement: Pits & Perils IV: The Divine Spark. As you might imagine, this divinely inspired book offers clerics the attention they deserve (and their adventuring party doubtless demands), along with more about the gods they worship, cosmic powers who now more than ever interract with a material world. But it's not all about them... 

Yes, there's druids and Paladins (not quite clerics, but a subclass nonetheless) and the hermit (contemplative)/militant split offered in The Collected book. And yes, there's special provisions for additional powers by a god's spehere of influence quite a bit beyond what some games offer in this regard, although I can't speak for everyone.

But it's not just clerics. Dwarves, elven and human fighters get new maneuvers, and magicians get new counterspells to resist magic they're more familiar with. Not to be outdone, thieves can now use the shortbow for additional reach. Non-human classes benefit from specialized secondary skills and everyone gets a boost without going overboard...

Pits & Perils has always been simple; and it aspires to a low/medium magic world, so machanical buffs (and an active role for the gods) threaten the order. Don't worry, we've made every effort to preserve its unique ethos. The rest is referee discretion.

Now an important feature of the expansion is play-styles. Up to now, everyone's been going so-called role-style, with the P&P buffer and emphasis on enduring characters in a story-centric campaign. But the new (and optional) war-style transforms Pits & Perils into a classic wargame from the 1970s for a more lethal approach. Less combat whiff and more death, although good strategy ensures survival, and levels aid their ongoing adventures...

Of course, the game includes new spells, some quite powerful to aid newly vulnerable magicians under the war-style. Old spells get new revisions, the works. But it's the enemy and treasure rules that take a hard left from the previous rulebooks, for while we get a handful of new baddies to stock adventures, much is given over to earthly avatars of the gods, formerly manifestations, each commanding a unique material sphere.

And treasures are given over to cosmic artifacts; powerful by P&P standards, but with a price demanding cautious use. Some of these map to the so-called legends, characters offered from the author's own campaign to give the rules a sense of history. Divine relics go easier on the players, who might need to take sides (no free lunch). It's all designed to present new challenging situations - and the gods - without imposing on the referee's universe.

The book ends with a bit about high-level campaigns, a look at Heaven, Hell, and lost Etherium (afterlives are simply apportioned), and rules for legendary status. Chatracters are still limited to 15th level; but upon completion of a special quest, gain additional utility to enable the sort of adventures this supplement promises. We hope you like it... 

Pits & Perils IV: The Divine Spark is a digital file on Drive-Thru, but available in softover sooner than later (November, probably). It's been seven years since we've tackled more than adventure modules and/or updates to the Referee Companion, and it's been an enjoyable return to form and a walk down memory lane adding to a system we still play. Even so, it's the fans we'd like to please. You're the ones who dig the pits and give them perilous life!


  1. Can't wait for the physical book in November!!

  2. You've really outdone yourselves. There's a lot in here!

  3. A really fun read, love the new classes types, and love the new maneuvers.