Escapist > Projects > Young Person's Adventure League > The Adventurer's Atlas

An Escapist project of introducing young people
to the exciting world of adventure games

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Factually Answered Queries - questions and answers

The Adventurer's Atlas - a list of suggested games for young people

The Dromedary's Dispatch - News and updates on the YPAL and adventure games

The Navigator's Notebook - play reports and reviews of adventure games

The Tinkerer's Toolbox - tips, tricks, and helpful hints

 

The Adventurer's Atlas is your guide to the best role-playing adventure games for young people, a sort of road map to other worlds where you are free to explore as another character, a tour guide of places to go and people to be (which would have been an even better title for this section if someone hadn't already beaten me to it).

Be aware that there is a lot of information here. Please don't be daunted by the number of entries on this list. The purpose is to give you several options from which to choose, not to overwhelm you with choices.

Understanding the entries

Each roleplaying game in the Atlas is detailed with a series of criteria, followed by a few paragraphs that supply any extra information you may need to know. Explanations of the criteria are listed below.

~ Publisher: The name of the company (or companies) that publish the game. This is good to know if you're trying to order a game from a game or book store that has never heard of it before.

~ Cover Price: What you can expect to pay for the game brand new, or in the case of out of print games, a general figure of what it may cost in an online auction. Prices listed for PDFs are for downloadable digital copies that you can view and print from your computer. Sometimes, these listings will include a PoD price directly after them - this stands for "Print on Demand," a service where the PDF document is printed, assembled into a book, and shipped to you directly. Many books that are out of print can be found for sale in PDF format. You may occasionally see a "PDF & print" price listed - this is a package deal that some publishers offer where a PDF is sent to you to read and enjoy right away, while waiting for your print edition to arrive in the mail.

~ Availability: Explains whether the book is still in print or not - which tells you whether you'll be able to find it new in a store, as a PDF download, or have to hunt for it in some secluded forbidden bookstore in the slums of Calcutta.

~ Summary: A general idea of the kinds of adventures this game contains.

~ Complexity: This is a rating of how complex the rules of the game are, using three different categories: Easy, Medium, and Complex. Easy RPGs are usually very rules-lite, have less detailed characters, and involve little or no die rolling. Medium RPGs have more involved rules, have characters with several stats and/or skills, and rely on more dice rolling (and may even use more than one type of die. Complex games have many rules, very detailed characters with lots of stats, skills, and other abilities, and require a lot of die rolling (possibly with modifiers), using many different types of dice.

~ Dice used: An explanation of the dice you will need to play the game. If all of the "d4s" and "d12s" make no sense to you at all, you may be well served by a trip to the F.A.Q. page.

~ Supplements: Explains the availability of supplemental material for the game - additional books and online material that expand the rules, setting, or both. Remember - you don't usually need extra books to play a roleplaying game; they add interest, and can fill sections of a game that you would like to see fleshed out, but you can function without them.

~ The Good: Positives about the game - what makes it fun, what players will like most about it, and what features of the game might even teach them something, if they're not careful.

~ The Bad: Negatives about the game - usually price, or complexity of the rules, that sort of thing. Weigh this against the good to judge what value the game will have to you.

~ Advisory: Elements of the game that parents, guardians, and/or teachers may want to know about. None of the games listed here contain graphic violence or realistic occult practices, but those that might contain cinematic/cartoon violence or fantasy magic are pointed out here, so that parents and others can make informed decisions.

ABOUT EDITIONS

In these entries, you will see the edition of certain games mentioned frequently. In most cases, when a role-playing game has a new edition printed, the rules are updated - and sometimes there can be drastic changes to them. Because of this, supplements for one edition may not be compatible with editions that came before or after it. It is almost always possible to convert the material to the different rule system once you have a working knowledge of the rules, however.

 

DIRECTORY

There are many games listed here. The guides below are here to help you navigate the atlas, depending on your interests. Click on any link to jump directly to the entry for that game, or scroll down to look at the whole list.

If you know of a role-playing game that is great for young people that isn't included on this list, contact me at and let me know about it.


ANTHROPOMORPHIA ~ The land of talking, upright-walking, opposable-thumb-having critters. If you've always wanted to be an animal or insect who walks, talks, and seeks adventure, then this is the place to be.

Buggin' - Bunnies & Burrows - Cat - Dragon - Eco - It's a Dog's Life - Mouse Guard - Superpets - Tales From the Wood - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Tooth & Claw - Warriors - Woodland Warriors

CLIFFHANGER FALLS ~ Action! Adventure! Excitement! Peril! These are all words that should have an exclamation point after them! If you yearn to have adventures that can only be described with exclamation points, then you've come to the right place!

Agent S.E.V.E.N. - Bloode Island - Dime Heroes - Disaster!

FAMILIAR WORLDS ~ Sometimes, you'd much rather go somewhere that you recognize, a place that's familiar to you instead of a strange new world. Here are some roleplaying games based on worlds you have likely been to before, through a big or little screen, or in the pages of a book.

Adventures in Oz - Broomstix (Harry Potter) - Ghostbusters - Marvel Super Heroes - Men In Black - Mouse Guard - Pokemon Jr. - Sailor Moon - Star Wars - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Warriors

FANTASY REALMS ~ Here you will find worlds of marvelous magic, fierce monsters, brave heroes, and dark dungeons!

Adventures in Oz - Argyle & Crew - Azamar - Blue Rose - Broadsword - Broomstix (Harry Potter)Castles & Crusades - ChangelingDo: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple - Dragon - The Dungeon Adventure - Dungeons & Dragons - Eldritch High - Faery's Tale - Kids, Castles, & Caves -  Mazes & Minotaurs - Mouse Guard - The Prince's Kingdom - Redhurst - rpgkids - Swords & Wizardry - Witch Girls Adventures - Woodland Warriors - The Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo


HERO CITY ~ If you've always dreamed of being a superhero, you really should try one of these RPGs - but make it quick. There are dastardly villians to defeat, and only one hero can possibly save the day!

Cartoon Action Hour - Hero Force - Marvel Super Heroes - Superpets - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Truth & Justice

HERE THERE BE MONSTERS ~ Not all monsters are bad. That's just a negative stereotype! Fight for the rights of monsters with one of these RPGs, and show the world what good monsters can do.

Dragon - Monsters and Other Childish Things - My Monster - RAWR! 

SCI-FI REALMS ~ Strange aliens, sentient robots, distant planets, massive starships, and advanced technology - if these sorts of things are up your alley, you should try one of these sci-fi RPGs.

Exosuit A-OK - Men in Black - Star Frontiers - Star Legion - Star Wars

SLIGHTLY SPOOKY LANDS ~ Ghoulies, ghosties, long-legged beasties, and things that go bump in the night - these are the sorts of neighbors you'll have in the Slightly Spooky Lands.

Ghostbusters - Meddling Kids - Monsters and Other Childish Things - Shadows

SYSTEMS & RESOURCES ~ Here you will find RPG systems - just the rules, and little or no setting material included - that could work well with young people, and replace any clunky rule sets that you don't care for.

FUDGE - GURPS Sourcebooks - Risus - Savage Worlds - Tri Stat dX

TIME TUNNELS ~ Take a step back in time to bygone eras. Experience histories (or alternate histories!) firsthand in - The Time Tunnels!

Bloode Island - Daisho - Og - GURPS Sourcebooks - Pax Gladius - Six Gun

TOONBURG ~ Welcome to lovely downtown Toonburg, where chaos and mayhem are the order of the day. The weather forecast for today calls for sunshine, followed by the occasional shower of anvils, and the department of natural resources has announced that they're still not certain if it's duck season or rabbit season. The mayor would like to remind you to please exercise extreme caution when visiting Toonburg - it is a very silly place.

Buggin' - Cartoon Action Hour - Marvel Super Heroes - Meddling Kids - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Toon - Truth & Justice



~GAMES BY TITLE~
(all games in alphabetical order)

Adventures in Oz
Agent S.E.V.E.N.
Argyle & Crew*
Azamar
Big Eyes Small Mouth
Bloode Island
Blue Rose
Broadsword
Broomstix
Buggin'
Bunnies & Burrows
Cartoon Action Hour
Castles & Crusades
Cat
Changeling
Daisho
Dime Heroes
Disaster!
Do: Pilgrims of the Flying
- Temple

Dragon
The Dungeon Adventure*
Dungeons & Dragons
Eco
Eldritch High
Exosuit A-OK
Faery's Tale*
FUDGE
Ghostbusters
GURPS Sourcebooks
Hero Force
It's a Dog's Life
Kids, Castles, & Caves*
Lashings of Ginger Beer
Marvel Super Heroes
Mazes & Minotaurs
Meddling Kids*

Men In Black
Monsters and Other Childish
- Things

Mouse Guard
My Monster*
Nighttime Animals Save
- the World*

Og
Pax Gladius
Pokemon Jr.*
The Prince's Kingdom*
RAWR!*

Redhurst
Risus
rpgKids*
Sailor Moon
Savage Worlds
Shadows
Six Gun
Star Frontiers
Star Legion
Star Wars
Superpets
Swords & Wizardry
Tales From the Wood
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenagers From Outer Space
Toon
Tooth & Claw
Tri-Stat dX
Truth & Justice
Warriors
Witch Girls Adventures*
Woodland Warriors
Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo

* These RPGs were originally designed to be played with young people.

GAMES BY COMPLEXITY

EASY

Argyle & Crew
Broomstix
Cat
Dragon
Eldritch High
Faery's Tale
Ghostbusters
My Monster
Nighttime Animals Save
- the World
Og
Pokemon Jr.
The Prince's Kingdom
Risus
RAWR!
rpgKids
Shadows
Teenagers From Outer Space
Tooth & Claw
Truth & Justice
Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo

MEDIUM

Big Eyes Small Mouth
Blue Rose
Broadsword
Buggin'
Bunnies & Burrows
Cartoon Action Hour
Changeling
Exosuit A-OK
FUDGE
Hero Force
Marvel Super Heroes
Mazes & Minotaurs
Men In Black
Sailor Moon
Savage Worlds
Star Frontiers
Star Wars**
Toon
Tri-Stat dX

COMPLEX

Castles & Crusades
Dungeons & Dragons
Star Wars**
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles


** Different editions of the Star Wars RPG vary in rule complexity

COMING SOON
Happy Birthday, Robot!
KARP

FREE GAMES

FUDGE
Marvel Super Heroes
Mazes & Minotaurs
Shadows
Star Frontiers
Superpets
Tri-Stat dX

INSTANT GAMES
(RPGs that require little or no preparation time)

Argyle & Crew
Ghostbusters

NOTICE: This index is still under construction, as are all of the Atlas pages. They will feature all of the games listed in the Atlas as more of the reviews are completed.

 


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