There, with a revolver in his hand, stood Rodd, tall and formidable, his dark face looking like that of Satan himself, a very monument of rage and jealousy. There in front of him on the couch sat Heda, grasping its edge with her fingers, her cheeks as pale as a sheet and her eyes shining. By her side was Anscombe, cool and collected as usual, I noticed, but evidently perplexed.
“If there is any shooting to be done,” he was saying, “I think you had better begin with me.”
—H. Rider Haggard, Finished
The daredevil is the kind of character that might actually be called an “adventurer” by members of common society – someone who is driven to regularly and intentionally do things that are clearly dangerous and frightening. Some daredevils are driven by the desire to experience ever-greater thrills, while others feel a sense of duty to undertake perilous tasks so that others don’t have to. What unites all daredevils is that no matter why they run into a building when everyone else is running out, they have a personality that allows them to do dangerous things with a calm and poise that belies the great skill and concentration such tasks demand. A daredevil is more than a thrill-seeker, he is a professional risk-taker who is trained and predisposed to accomplish deeds often described as suicidal, foolhardy, or even impossible. Daredevils may be stunt men, masked vigilantes, professional escapists, espionage agents, or military commandos given missions regular soldiers know better than to accept.
Or course many are also delvers into mysteries they keep being warned “man was not meant to know,” and as a result thrust into a typical fantasy campaign.
The “modern” person of great bravery and skill getting stuck in a more primitive, fantasy-themed world is a common trope in a great deal of adventure fiction, especially the “time travel adventure fiction” more common in the early part of the 20th century than today, but still very popular with a wide range of gamers (and game writers). The daredevil is the third in a line of Anachronistic Adventurers products designed to provide rules for running modern (or near-modern) heroes in a typical fantasy roleplaying game setting. While it’s impossible to address every possible issue that might arise for such characters (can the adherent of a modern, real-world religion become a cleric?), each product in the line will look at one area where the modern and fantasy realms are most likely to overlap and give guidance for running heroic anachronisms.
We also present rules for ritual magic, the dangerous tool of mad cultists and mystics often opposed by anachronistic adventures, but also a power the bravest (or most foolhardy) of heroes sometimes seek to claim as their own. Finally we touch on the idea of Progress Levels (PL), a simple way to determine the general technological advancement of a campaign (and outlined in more detail in Anachronistic Adventurers: The Enforcer).