World of Indiana Jones
If Adventure has a name, it must be Indiana Jones.
Now you can travel to exotic lands, challenge ancient mysteries and brave dangers beyond imagining. Plunge into a world of treacherous spies, thrilling chases, arcane artifacts and nonstop excitement with the greatest hero of them all!
Official Description [ edit ]
"I found this ruleset, which is supposed to be more or less a universal rule system ... not only easy to use, but almost charming in a sense."
The Masterbook system is undeniably a very old system, having been created in 1994 (with the Indiana Jones product coming later in 1996). It's creator, West End Games, was a major gaming force in the 90's, but its parent company went bankrupt in 1999. The last World of Indiana Jones product was published two years prior in 1997.
However, unlike TSR's system, the Masterbook system continues to have fans even today. The rights for the system have been acquired by Precis Intermedia, and although they haven't published any new Indiana Jones products, they have re-published the original Masterbook rules, and are also developing a second edition of those rules.
The Good [ edit ]
The Masterbook system is probably the best "dedicated" Indiana Jones system, with a significantly higher (thought certainly not high) ranking. The system still has fans, despite going through multiple publishers and decades of disuse.
The system has some interesting features, such as a form of "social combat", a success/failure check which can result in varying degrees of success (not just "success or failure"), and a deck of cards which provides more interesting forms of random game-shaping beyond that provide by the game's two d10 dice.
The Bad [ edit ]
As an older system, the Masterbook rules have their quirks. For instance, to determine the success of an action you need to not just roll dice, but also consult a table. While this does allow for varying degrees of success on rolls, the reliance on a chart may feel slow to gamers used to modern "target number" systems. Similarly, the Masterbook system also relies on a special deck of cards, which again add interesting play options at the cost of slowing play down.
Perhaps the biggest downside to starting an Indiana Jones Masterbook campaign though will be the lack of material. The modern Masterbook system has only a few core rule and genre books, and the World of Indiana Jones had less than ten non-rules products.
Also, despite still having some fans, the Masterbook is not a widely-beloved system, with an RPG Guru rank in the very low 600s. As a result, you can't expect to find a ton of community support online.
Recommendation [ edit ]
If you want to "go retro", and try an older and quirky system, which still has both fans and a publisher behind it today, the World of Indiana Jones (ie. Masterbook system) is a great way to start. While you will have to learn a new and decidedly not modern system, you won't have to do any conversion of any of the Indiana Jones products: you can just use them "out of the box".
However, for most modern gamers the downsides of this older system will outweigh the benefits. For such gamers, a much better option for an Indiana Jones campaign will be to use a more popular and modern generic RPG system.