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Pip System QuickStart
by Stephen D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2017 19:04:12

The Pip System QuickStart is a 2017 release from Third Eye Games. It was written by Eloy Lasanta and features a cover by Gunship Revolution.

Presentation This is a 20 page pdf in full color. It has a page for a cover, one for credits and a back cover. The rest is content. The layout is clear and the editing is top-notch. This is easy to read and easy on the eyes.

Content This is a quickstart and so it's not a complete game. It is comparable to many other quickstarts out there in that it provides a summary of the rules, a sample adventure, and some pre-generated characters to tackle that adventure.

The book does not include character creation rules. Instead it focuses on what happens in a role-playing game, how tests, combat, and challenges are resolved using the PIP system. There's a section on Fortune and how to use it and a brief but comprehensive glossary of game terms. This short explanation of the rules takes about 6 pages in all with a few pieces of artwork.

The next section is the introductory adventure "The Crash Site". The adventure is set in The World After, a post-apocalyptic setting. The players are gathered around a campfire swapping stories when they see a group of planes fly by under enemy fire. One of them goes down and the others continue. The players decide to investigate the crash site to see if there is anything they can scavenge, an important part of life in The World After.

The adventure is laid out as a series of challenges, each of which describes an obstacle and the difficulties the players will face in overcoming it. This part does a good job of illustrating the ways characters can try to overcome problems. It also includes some nice tie-ins to the skills and abilities of the included pregenerated characters and ends with some notes on where things might go after the adventure. This section takes about seven pages.

The final section is for the pregenerated characters. There are six of them, each presented on it's own page. The characters run the gamut from a bad ass bounty hunter to an escaped prisoner and a noble magician among others. Each of them pregens is unique and each of them has a defined goal and enough background to help new players bring them to life.

Evaluation This is a really good quickstart. It has enough of the rules to whet your interest without spending too much time on details you'll never use. It reflects the highlights of the system and accents the focus on getting players up and running quickly.

The included adventure is a bit of a railroad, but it would be difficulty to produce anything else as part of a 20 page quickstart. It does offer multiple ways to solve many of the challenges and allows every character to shine in its own way. It's a well-designed trip and that's good for a quickstart where there's a chance none of the players is familiar with the rules or how to play an RPG.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pip System QuickStart
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Pip System QuickStart
by Raymond S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2017 09:53:28

Great intro to 3EG's Pip System. Like any good quickstart product, it gives you everything you need to understand the basics of the system and the sample adventure/included PCs will have you rolling dice in no time. All you need are some d6s, too, which is incredibly convenient for those new roleplayers or those introducing their kids to the hobby. Fewer dice types lead to less confusion, and for those not yet initiated into the joy of FLGS, d6s are easy to obtain. 5/5, would recommend picking this up (and then the Pip System core rulebook) to a friend.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pip System Corebook
by Charles M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/18/2017 14:25:12

Eloy has really caught lightning in the bottle with this amazing fun and versatile role-playing game system. You can easily create nearly almost any type of character. It is not only kid friendly but also adult friendly. You can really run away with this system and build almost any world or genre you can imagine. Character creation is a snap, within only a few minutes you will be creating well rounded and fun characters. The system is light and very easy to learn. Not only great for group play but I think it also plays well for solo play. This is a super fun game system, give it a try, you will not be disappointed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Pip System Corebook
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Sins of the Father
by Nate L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/01/2017 22:33:24

A very well done concept with a novel, card-based game mechanic and is structured around a character's relationship with the Dark Lord. Are they able to escape their soul debt? Or, I guess you could also just embrace it and see how that is (i.e. the way some of us saw Vampire: the Masquerade as a superhero game). Choosing to fail and embracing evil is a valid method of playing the game. It really is focused on that narrative concept, which is a good one. With the 7 deadly sins as a framework, there's plenty of narrative space for characters to explore their own sense of evil.

The use of card decks instead of dice is certainly different (basically, pass/fail mechanic on high/low card, with a couple additional twists). The lack of a physical "inventory" is also an interesting choice, but it keeps the game timeless (which helps for generational play) and makes the storytelling focused on the central sin/virtue core of the storytelling. (Yes, the game art in the PDF is definitely modern, but the rules are pretty generic about it, especially since it doesn't say that any skill requires any specific implement like a cell phone or a hand-and-a-half sword or whatever. So you could conceivably place this anytime, anyplace.)

It certainly falls into the story game mode, and less into the "kill things and take their stuff" mode of RPG.

If you're into the exploration of good and evil, and also interested in generational games (yes, the sins of the father do get passed down if you want to do the generational thing), then this is a good concept game for you. It's not like super-mega hardcore kind of game that beats you up with good versus evil, and the game does mention "Tone" - so you can think about going super straight dire/nasty storytelling, or consider a more slappy humorous tone, or a mixture (which is important, given the good vs. evil backbone).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sins of the Father
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Affiliation Guide: Hounds (for AMP: Year Two)
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2016 02:40:47

In Eloy Lasantas' socially conscious AMP setting, Hounds are all kinds of bad. No only are they hunters of the emergent AMP super-humans, with no qualms against using torture and illegal surveillance; all Hounds are also dominated by super-technology to act against their will. Publishing the Hounds affiliation guide I can imagine was the last thing the designers wanted to do; the choice was the backers of the AMP: Year two Kickstarter. There are simply so many obstacles to playing a good Hound campaign, as odds are you'll be playing a character that is either dominated to act against their own best interest, or a total psychopath. Nevertheless, the writers go eagerly to business, detailing the various aspects of the Hound operation. Who they are, how they operate, their short and long term plans, are all covered. Across the AMP line I have found the writing to vary significantly, but overall, this supplement is well written. The supplement also strikes a nice balance between showing how the affiliation is basically state-founded death squad, and the agony of those trapped within. There is also a affiliation-specific power, allowing a character to enhance the use of their Hound technology. Finally, there is a manhunt scenario. It is very Hound specific, and is almost unusable outside them. In this section I feel the writing slips a bit, as the scenario is bogged down in very specific instructions as to how scenes can play out. It could have been written and presented much cleaner. The most interesting part of it, the possibility of Hound technology in the hands of a journalist, is barely mentioned at the end, while other parts are detailed far beyond the necessary. This supplement has a very limited scope, which limits its use. I also feel there is a big opportunity lost with it. Like many Super games, there are good guys and bad guys; in AMP the bad guys are at best misguided in their wish to keep people safe from AMPs, with raging "racists" on the side of worse. Hounds are even beyond that, so playing one isn't really about the social issues AMP is built around. Instead there is a psychological horror of guilt and paranoia; the fact you are made to do horrible things against your will. An exploration of a Hound campaign as psychological horror would have been a great inclusion, and is what truly separates Hounds from other affiliations.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Affiliation Guide: Hounds (for AMP: Year Two)
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Mermaid Adventures RPG
by Patrick H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/27/2016 21:49:05

The artwork in this fills me with existential dread. The urchinfolk evoke body horror. I can't handle it.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Mermaid Adventures RPG
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The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition
by Steven M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/07/2016 17:40:41

There have been a series of good Kickstarters lately. One of those is The Ninja Crusade, Second Edition. (It dropped the "Wu Xing", which makes me a bit sad.) It arrived about the same time that my Runequest II did, and while I was absorbed in my new Savage Rifts PDF. But I pulled myself away from them (no mean feat, because they're both awesome) to read The Ninja Crusade 2E. I carried it around quite a bit for a couple of weeks, read it from cover to cover. (Now I can't find my physical copy. Until I do, at least I'll have my PDF.)

I can't help but compare The Ninja Crusade 2E to the first edition of The Ninja Crusade (aka Wu Xing). I was a fan of Wu Xing, and had invested in it heavily. When the new edition was announced, I wasn't sure if there was a need for it. It's not like I've really gotten to play the original, what with lack of any groups and free time. But I poured over those books, and I didn't want anything to come along that would invalidate it.

But I believe that Second Edition is a worthy successor to the first. Let me explain why.

Overview The Ninja Crusade (both editions) is a wuxia fantasy game inspired by Asia; it doesn't map neatly to any particular nation or culture, but blends numerous elements into its own thing. You play ninja, a warrior possessed of remarkable fighting skill and jutsu (magic). The setting is defined by intrigue and action; as a ninja, you're an outlaw and enemy of the state, and you must walk carefully. But sometimes subtlety just isn't an option, and you have to kick ass and let the jutsu fly.

The Setting For other fans of Wu Xing, the thing to keep in mind is TNC2 isn't just a rules update (more on that shortly), but a setting update as well. It's set two years after the original edition, and quite a bit has happened while leaving the basic premise of the game intact: rival ninja clans band together like Voltron to defeat the Izou Empire. So both editions are the same game, fluff-wise, it's just they do different things with the set pieces.

In First Edition/Wu Xing, it's driven home the clans are forced together in an uneasy alliance. Quite a few ninja are unwilling to let bygones be bygones, and will readily capitalize on any opportunity to shame or even kill their rivals. Inter-clan relations are tense, to say the least, and you really have to reach for justifications for mixed groups. Even if you don't hold any grudges, your clanmates do, and it can be difficult to gain status with your clan if you don't support their policies. And it's not like there aren't reasons for the ill feelings -- a respected member of an enemy clan may have killed your mentor. Essentially, your characters have to come up with their own reasons to associate across clans. While multi-clan groups seemed to be the default assumption for games, there was only a little support for that in the books. I had the sense that one was thrown into the deep end of the game and left to figure out how to swim. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I'm of the opinion that games don't have to hold your hand and show you how to play every step of the way. There's something to be said for finding your own answers instead of having them answered for you. But

One of the big reasons for the ninjas to work together (well, the only reason) is to take down the Izou Empire. The Empire is ruthless, and persecuted ninjas and even its own people. But they have reasons for what they do -- it was a ninja that poisoned the Emperor's daughter and killed his favorite concubine, after all. There are no clear-cut good guys or bad guys. Everybody has their sympathetic points, and everybody has their flaws. I've heard a few people bemoan this relativity, and the lack of clear white hoods and black hoods, but I think it's one of the game's strengths. No edition of The Ninja Crusade is likely to be your bag if you can only enjoy four-color morality In your games.

The Second Edition advances the timeline by two years or so. The Emperor is now dead, assassinated by (you guessed it) ninja. It's left up in the air how it happened and who exactly did it; I think this is done intentionally, perhaps the PCs participated or were involved in some way, or the GM can pin the act on one clan. This has left the ninja clans in a precarious position. The ninja were once the champions of the people, but some commoners have turned on their former defenders due to the Emperor's death. So they band together tightly out of desperation, and have formed a multi-clan village called Danketsu. The clans have squashed a lot of the beefs they had, because they all live in the same community now, and they're doomed if they don't. The old tensions and grudges and outright hates are still there, but it's not emphasized as much in this edition, and more is made of the burgeoning ties the clans and the individual ninjas are forming. So at least some good came of the regicide, right? And it's a richer foundation for mixed-clan groups. It's nice when the game doesn't fight you when you try to play it as intended.

I have to say that I like the setting in light of the metaplot advances more than the original... which I feel a little guilty about, because I like the original so much. But it is an improvement, and I wouldn't be fair to the new game if I didn't admit that.

So setting-wise, like I explained, it's still the same basic game. But the rules? These are as different as yin and yang.

The Rules The original Wu Xing was based on the Dynamic Gaming System (DGS), a d20-based system -- its own system with a d20 in it, not the d20 System of the WotC deluge from decades past. Wu Xing's DGS was crunchy, it had a lot of bonuses and widgets and moving parts and stuff. This is normally not my preference, but it was a solid rules set. And the complexity fit the game. You had all these different martial arts styles and magic and weapons and other things, and the mechanical differences made them distinct. Crane Style was different from Eagle Style, and both were distinct from Snake Style, and not in just the fluff. The basics of the system were easy to learn, it was all the specifics it was hard to keep straight in my head at first. I'll admit that I'm more of a fluff and story guy than one that focuses on mechanical specifics. But I enjoyed the DGS ala Wu Xing once I internalized it.

And then The Ninja Crusade 2E comes along with its radically different Chakra System, based on d10 die pools. And while I like the new rules, I'm still not quite sure what to think about that shift.

First, a handful of d10s recalls certain other games that I don't play anymore. Not just the dice rolled, but there are similarities in the basic resolution mechanic. You add stat + stat + mods to make a pool. 7 and over is a success. 10s explode. 1s lead to dramatic failures. Die pools are additive, with number of dice measuring competency. The goal is to build your pool as much as you can before rolling, leading to a lot of dice tossed around whenever characters do something.

This isn't saying that the system doesn't do anything interesting or original, because it definitely does. It nixes attributes in favor of skill + skill rolls, a carryover from the Combo System in A.M.P., and I approve of this. In some places, the Chakra System is simpler and more intuitive than 1E's version of the DGS, yet it still makes each style, each power, each character feel unique. It's a solid system, and I'd love to actually play it at some point. Might as well, I'm already making characters for it! Because I quite like the lifepath character generation system, no reservations there. (I've been working on something similar for my own game.) Character creation is a blast, and you can use it to generate a huge variety of characters.

Let me reiterate, I do like the Chakra System. The resolution mechanic is straightforward and it works; a lot of games can't say that. But it is a very drastic change from First Edition, and there's no easy way to to convert characters and material from it to 2E. It certainly doesn't spoil me on the new edition, but it is a jarring transition. (As far as personal preferences go, I might have preferred d6s over d10s... though part of this is because I have a lot more of the former dice than the latter. I also prefer smaller die pools to larger ones, using roll-and-keep or other techniques to do more with just a handful of dice than rolling buckets of dice. These aren't criticisms of the game itself, but the reviewer's musings. I'll be happy playing The Ninja Crusade 2E with the system as-is.)

In Closing I would definitely recommend Ninja Crusade Second Edition for anyone that liked the original game. And for those unfamiliar with the game or its previous edition, but like high-flying martial arts action and magic in a setting full of intrigue, get this game right now! It's a very worthwhile purchase and I'm looking forward to more books from the line; already, some of the clan books have been converted to the new system.

Just those of you familiar with the old school, don't expect a seamless transition between the two editions' rules.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition
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Affiliation Guide: United Human Front (for AMP: Year Two)
by Karl L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/23/2016 14:29:06

This supplement puts the spotlight on one of the bad guys of AMP. It has some interesting highlights, but suffers under a few huge issues.

It is one of the Strengths of AMP: Year One, that the issues it describes are so allegorical to real world social issues. Furthermore, the game treats all as equals, allowing players to create characters from across the political and legal specter.

Nevertheless, the game is clearly slanted to the left, something which puts a supplement like this in an awkward position. The UHF are the game's version of right-wing groups, just replacing AMPs with Mexicans/Muslims/Colored/Gays/Whatever. The supplement lets you know more about the UHF if you wanted to play that, but I think few would. On the other hand, it can be used as a supplement for the PCs enemies, but since the supplement isn't written like that, it is less effective in this capacity.

Still, it is a fairly interesting supplement, which shows the many faces of UHF. Its recruitment, tactics and disorganized structure are all covered; and the organization has more depth than it first seems. It turns out it has secret genetic tampering project, which can give its members super powers. In a way, it feels a bit like this goes against the concept of the faction, but hey, it's a supers game, so why not.

The biggest problem with the supplement is the scenario at the end, about a third of the page count. It is horrible. Even after multiple readings, I had a hard time understanding what was going on. It is very unclear why the PCs would even want to follow the investigation, and after a chain of chaotic events, they might even be thrown out of it all together.

The highlight of the supplement was the rules for genetic tampering. It gives the UHF an unexpected edge, and can offer some cool and unique enemies in a game. Probably worth the supplement alone, but I wish there was more useful stuff here, like some of the other Affiliation Guides.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Affiliation Guide: United Human Front (for AMP: Year Two)
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Affiliation Guide: Seekers of Enlightenment (for AMP: Year Two)
by Karl L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/21/2016 13:55:57

While AMP has plenty of factions to chose from, the Seekers have always felt like the default one. They are good guys, and their goals of finding, helping and training AMPs, as well as understanding the condition, seems to hit the game's theme spot on.

This supplement details the organization and their operation, and in doing that also details what it is like for the emerging AMP population. The practical consequences of getting powers, and how to handle that personally, are heavy concepts that are expertly handled. Thoughtful and well written throughout. There are also some new powers. Martial arts is one, and also an intriguing one called Kinship, which is about the relationship between AMPs.

Finally there is a scenario. The concept is very exciting. It goes right into why some might not want powers; the pain and rejection it can all bring. It is a murder mystery, and lets the PCs explore such a heinous crime in the milieu of the Seeker's training program. Sadly, the scenario is written in a way that I think is a major no-no for scenario writing. First of all, the details of the investigation is not offered up front, rather it reads like a mystery, even to the GM. Secondly, there are a lot of scripted scenes, were the GM just has to read the lines as if in a one-person stage play. There is also a scene with trees working like bell chimes, that just didn't work for me.

Overall, this supplement gets to the core of what the game is about, and is probably the best supplement to get if you want to expand on the setting stuff from the core books.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Affiliation Guide: Seekers of Enlightenment (for AMP: Year Two)
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Part-Time Gods of Fate
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 04/23/2016 03:27:59

Von heute auf morgen zum Gott erwählt: Wie schaffen es die Charaktere, die neugewonnene göttliche Macht und Verantwortung mit ihrer 60-Stunden-Arbeitswoche und ihren familiären Verpflichtungen in Einklang zu bringen? Part-Time Gods of Fate macht das gleichnamige d20-System mit Fate Core-Regeln spielbar.

Ersteindruck: Part-Time Gods of Fate – Superheldengleiche Teilzeitgötter (Fate Core)

Part-Time Gods of Fate ist eine englischsprachige Konvertierung des d20-Systems Part Time Gods of Fate von Third Eye Games für Fate Core. Menschen werden vom einen auf den anderen Tag auserwählt und von einer göttlichen Macht erfüllt – sei es aufgrund eines mystischen Rituals, weil sie die Prinzipien der Macht besonders gut vertreten oder auch, weil sie gerade zufällig in der Nähe waren, als ein anderer Gott verstarb. Von nun an kämpfen sie damit, ihre göttliche Macht und Verantwortung mit ihrem weltlichen, menschlichen Leben in Einklang zu bringen. Denn es ist gar nicht so einfach, Beziehungen zu pflegen und die eigene Karriere voranzutreiben, wenn uralte Monster und neidische Götter die eigene Welt bedrohen ...

Das Leben als Teilzeitgott

Part-Time Gods of Fate enthält keinerlei Settinginformationen, dazu müsst ihr euch das separat erhältliche Part Time Gods-Regelwerk kaufen. Um euch zu zeigen, was ich an dem Setting so spannend finde, gebe ich euch daher eine kleine Zusammenfassung: Eine mystische Urkraft – die Quelle – hat vor Urzeiten einige Menschen zu Göttern mit nahezu unbegrenzter Macht erhoben. Die Götter wurden jedoch neidisch auf die Quelle und versiegelten sie gemeinsam, wodurch sie einen Teil ihrer Macht und ihre Unsterblichkeit verloren. Während die geschwächten Götter untereinander Kriege ausfochten, um sich gegenseitig ihre Macht zu stehlen und ihre Sterblichkeit zu überwinden, sickerte die Quelle langsam aus ihrem Gefängnis heraus und verlieh mythischen Monstern die Kraft, sich gegen die Götter und ihre Schöpfung zu stellen.

Die Konversion spielt in der heutigen Zeit unserer Welt, in der Geschichten über antike Götterkriege nicht mehr als Erzählungen sind. Die nunmehr sterblichen Götter haben längst gelernt, dass sie menschliche Nähe und Beziehungen brauchen, um sich nicht zu sehr von den Menschen zu entfremden, die sie sonst aufgrund ihrer Fremdartigkeit bekämpfen würden. Daher dreht sich Part-Time Gods of Fate am Spieltisch um zwei Fragen: Wie nutze ich meine göttliche Macht, um mich finsteren Bedrohungen entgegenzustellen und meine Ziele zu erreichen? Und wie bringe ich dies mit meinem menschlichen Leben in Einklang, ohne alle mir nahestehenden Personen durch meine Geheimnisse zu vergraulen? Im Grunde spielt es sich damit wie ein Superheldenrollenspiel, in dem die Superhelden ihre geheime Identität und ihre nächtlichen Tätigkeiten vor ihren Liebsten verheimlichen müssen, um sie nicht vor den Kopf zu stoßen oder in Gefahr zu bringen. Das klingt erstmal sehr spannend – schauen wir mal, wie Phil Vecchione, Chris Sniezak, Shawn Merwin und Robert M. Eversion das Setting in Fate Core umsetzen.

Charaktererstellung

Göttliche Aspekte In Part-Time Gods of Fate stellt jeder Spieler einen Gott dar. Jeder dieser Götter besetzt eine bestimmte Domäne, beispielsweise aus den Bereichen Emotionen (Gott der Liebe), Objekte (Gott der Computer), Berufsgruppen (Gott der Anwälte), Tiere (Gott der Affen), Konzepte (Gott der Jagd) oder Elemente (Gott des Sturms). Neben diesem göttlichen Aspekt besitzt jeder Charakter einen menschlichen Aspekt, der dessen Profession und seine größte Leidenschaft umfasst (z.B. Bauarbeiter und Familienmensch, Barkeeper und frustrierter Autor, ...). Der dritte Aspekt wird durch die Theologie definiert, der ein Charakter angehört. Theologien sind bis auf eine Ausnahme Gruppierungen von Göttern, die ähnliche Grundeinstellungen besitzen. So glaubt eine Gruppierung, dass man sich als Gott über die Menschheit erheben müsse, während eine andere Gruppierung die Ansicht vertritt, dass man mit Menschen zusammenleben und ihnen möglichst helfen sollte. Eine Ausnahme, die mir nicht besonders gefällt, stellen die Koboldfresser dar. Sie sind Kannibalen, die durch das Einverleiben anderer magischer und göttlicher Wesen einen Teil ihrer Macht erhalten. Abgesehen davon, dass jede Spielrunde für sich entscheiden muss, ob sie Kannibalen in einem Superheldenrollenspiel als Spielercharaktere zulassen will, finde ich es konzeptionell seltsam, dass sieben von acht angebotenen Theologien nur Ideologien darstellen, während die achte spielmechanische Vorteile bringt. Dass diese mechanischen Vorteile auf lange Sicht mit dem Fate-Konzept brechen, bei dem jeder Charakter gleich kompetent ist und dadurch ähnlich oft glänzen kann, finde ich auch nicht besonders elegant. Schöner wäre es, wenn jeder Gott die Möglichkeit hätte, auf diese Weise an Macht zu gewinnen, sich aber nur die Koboldfresser kollektiv für ritualisierten Kannibalismus entscheiden.

Die letzten beiden Aspekte werden schließlich menschlichen Beziehungen gewidmet, die neben dem ihnen zugeordneten Aspekt auch noch eine Stressleiste besitzen. Solche Beziehungen können Beziehungen zu anderen Personen, aber auch soziale Verpflichtungen zu Gruppen und Vereinen oder emotionale Beziehungen zu besonderen Orten sein. Die Länge dieser Stressleisten ist abhängig von der Erholungsrate eines Charakters. Kurz gesagt: Je kürzer die Erholungsrate, desto kürzer die Stressleisten.

Manifestationen göttlichen Wirkens Neben der normalen Fertigkeitenpyramide verfügen Charaktere über weitere Fertigkeiten, sogenannte Manifestationen, die separat verwaltet werden. Die Manifestationen stellen die Fähigkeit der Götter dar, die Realität nach ihren Wünschen zu formen. Die acht Manifestationen sind sehr abstrakte Beschreibungen von Realitätsveränderungen (Schutz, Herbeiwinken, Reisen, Schergen, Puppenspiel, Orakel, Zerstörung, Formen), die auch schon im Originalsystem eher als Freiform verwendet wurden und sich daher schön auf Fate übersetzen lassen. Die genaue Ausprägung einer Manifestation wird von der Domäne eines Gottes bestimmt. So kann der Gott des Blutes mit der Manifestation Schutz beispielsweise eine Kugel aus Blut erschaffen, die ihn umgibt und vor Angriffen schützt, während der Gott der Ratten einen Rattenschwarm beschwört, der es seinem Gegner erschwert, ihn anzugreifen. Gefällt mir gut, weil es sehr gut in das Designkonzept von Fate passt!

Stunts, Superkräfte und Artefakte Schließlich wählt jeder Charakter noch einen menschlichen Stunt und ein göttliches Extra aus. Göttliche Extras sind Superkräfte oder Artefakte, die in der Regel wie mächtige Stunts aufgebaut sind und ein bis zwei Punkte Erholungsrate kosten. Von den maximal vier übrig behaltenen Punkten Erholungsrate kann der Charakter anschließend noch bis zu drei für weitere Stunts oder Extras ausgeben. Die im Regelwerk vorgeschlagenen Extras sind sehr kreativ und zeigen gekonnt, wie sich Superkräfte im Rahmen des Fate-Regelwerks umsetzen lassen. An manchen Stellen erscheinen sie mir persönlich aber auch zu detailliert in ihrer Mechanik (wer Mindjammer kennt weiß, welchen Detailgrad ich meine). Außerdem bezweifle ich, dass alle Extras in Bezug auf ihre Erholungsratenkosten ausbalanciert sind. Da aber schon das Fate Core-Regelwerk zeigt, wie schwierig es ist, gute Stunts zu formulieren, will ich dies nicht zu stark kritisieren. Schließlich bin ich kein Freund davon, dass einige Extras dadurch aktiviert werden müssen, dass eine Probe gegen eine Schwierigkeit von +3 bestanden wird: Extras sind einzigartige Eigenheiten eines Charakters, Elemente, die ihn ins Spotlight rücken und dort glänzen lassen. Das Nutzen eines solchen Extras sollte nicht vom Würfelglück abhängen. Da für das Aktivieren der meisten Extras auch noch Fate-Punkte ausgegeben werden müssen, kann ein missglückter Würfelwurf wohl nur noch selten korrigiert werden, sodass das Aktivieren des Extras – also das Nutzen der coolen Kraft, des mystischen Artefakts – einfach fehlschlägt oder nur mit einem großen Haken gelingt. Weil diese Regelung den Einsatz von göttlichen Extras oft unspektakulär machen wird, finde ich sie sehr unglücklich.

Fate-Punkte: Der göttliche Funke Apropos unglücklich: Auch sehr ungünstig finde ich, dass der Funke (die Göttlichkeit der Charaktere) mit dem Vorhandensein von Fate-Punkten gleichgesetzt wurde. Im Originalsystem gibt es Funken-Punkte, die der Charakter bei Steigerungen kaufen und dann einsetzen kann, um Proben zu verbessern. Diese Funken-Punkte spiegeln seine göttliche Macht wider: je mehr Funken einem Charakter innewohnt, desto weniger menschlich ist er und desto weniger menschliche Beziehungen besitzt er. Sollte er jemals zehn Punkte besitzen, wird er vollständig zu einem unmenschlichen, unverständlichen Gott – und damit zu einem NSC.

Was vor dem Hintergrund der Spielwelt plausibel erscheint, funktioniert leider nicht reibungslos, wenn man diese Mechanik in Fate-Punkte ummünzt. Natürlich indizieren Fate-Punkte auch die Macht und noch mehr die Bedeutung eines Charakters für die Geschichte: Namenlose, menschliche, machtlose NSC haben weder Funken-Punkte im Originalsystem noch Fate-Punkte in der Konvertierung. Anders als im Originalsystem bedeuten Fate-Punkte aber auch Erzählrechte: Ein Spieler, der häufig die Schwächen seines Charakters anspielt und dessen Aspekte reizt, wird viele Fate-Punkte erhalten. Wird sein Charakter aber auch dadurch göttlicher, dass er von seinen Feinden ausgetrickst, von seinen Freunden hintergangen und von seinen Ängsten beherrscht wird? Ich glaube nicht.

Über dieses konzeptionelle Problem hinaus vermute ich, dass die hohen Fate-Punkte-Kosten vieler göttlicher Extras im Spiel ein Problem sein werden. Wenn ein Charakter nur über zwei Punkte Erholungsrate verfügt und dann noch für das Aktivieren eines Extras ein bis zwei Punkte zahlen muss, bleiben am Ende nicht mehr viele Punkte übrig, um Fakten zu schaffen und Erzählrechte einzuführen. Ich bin zwar auch der Meinung, dass Fate-Punkte nicht im Übermaß vorhanden sein und eine Währung harter Entscheidungen darstellen sollten, aber aus meiner Erfahrung mit dem System befürchte ich, dass entweder die Götter nicht viel von ihrer coolen Göttlichkeit darstellen können, weil sie ihre übermenschlichen Fähigkeiten nur selten nutzen können, oder Fate-Punkte ihren Status als Währung des Erzählrechts verlieren.

Auch die Notwendigkeit, die Stressleisten der menschlichen Beziehungen an die Erholungsrate zu knüpfen (siehe oben), sehe ich nicht. Hier wird meiner Meinung nach ein Element des Ursprungssystems konvertiert, das so aber nicht notwendig oder zuträglich ist. Schließlich kann man sich ohne Fate-Punkte auch nicht gegen bestimmte Formen von Angriffen oder Manipulationen wehren; wie viele Erfolgsstufen ein solcher Angriff hat, wenn ein Charakter keinen Fate-Punkt besitzt, wird jedoch nirgendwo beschrieben.

Preis-/Leistungsverhältnis Part-Time Gods of Fate kostet 14,99 USD als PDF bzw. 24,95 EUR als Softcover inklusive PDF. Der Preis ist für 187 Seiten Konvertierung auf jeden Fall in Ordnung, allerdings sollte man bedenken, dass man eigentlich wegen der Settingbeschreibung auch noch das d20-System (für den gleichen Preis erhältlich) sowie das Fate Core-Regelwerk benötigt.

Erscheinungsbild Das Layout orientiert sich am typischen Fate-Layout und ist gut zu lesen. Ein Inhaltsverzeichnis mit Lesezeichen im PDF ist vorhanden, ein Index (zumindest in der von mir gelesenen Beta-Version) jedoch nicht. Das Buch enthält einige Schwarzweiß-Illustrationen, die ich im Vergleich zu anderen Rollenspielen, die ein ähnliches Genre bedienen, als unteren Durchschnitt bezeichnen würde.

Fazit: Konvertiere das Setting, nicht die Regeln! Das Setting ist spannend und weckt in mir zahlreiche Abenteuerideen. Insbesondere die Betonung des Konflikts zwischen der menschlichen und der göttlichen Seite der Teilzeitgötter ist eine interessante neue Spielart in einem ansonsten schon bekannten Genre. Ich kann mir vorstellen, viele unterhaltsame Spielabende als Teilzeitgott zu erleben. Das hervorragende Spielleiterkapitel sowie die zahlreichen Beispiele für spezifische Götter und göttliche Artefakte sowie Superkräfte sind dafür sehr hilfreich. Sehr elegant finde ich auch die Manifestationen – also die Fertigkeiten, mit denen Götter die Realität nach ihrem Willen verändern. Ihre Ausprägung und die Tatsache, dass sie immer von der Domäne des Gottes abhängig sind, mechanisch also von den Aspekten des Charakters gefärbt werden, passt sehr gut ins Fate-System.

Weniger gut gefällt mir der Detailgrad der Regeln, wenn es um die Spezifikation von Extras geht, aber diese Bewertung ist sicherlich sehr subjektiv. An einigen Stellen merkt man der Konvertierung deutlich an, dass eher das Regelsystem als das Setting konvertiert wurde – so erhalten Charaktere mit einem bestimmten Theologie-Aspekt mechanische Vorteile, die andere nicht erhalten, und werden plötzlich Probenerschwernisse oder -erleichterungen eingeführt, die sich in Fate eleganter als erhöhte Probenschwierigkeiten oder Vorteile abbilden ließen. Schließlich habe ich wie oben erläutert Zweifel am Fluss der Fate-Punkte aufgrund der hohen Anforderungen durch die göttlichen Extras. Persönlich hätte ich mir auch gewünscht, dass der erzählerische Konflikt zwischen der menschlichen und der göttlichen Seite der Charaktere nicht nur durch Beziehungspflege und soziale Verpflichtungen abgebildet wird, sondern auch in Konflikten zwischen widerstrebenden Aspekten der Persönlichkeit oder gegenläufigen Zielen eines Charakters zu verorten wäre.

Alles in allem ein Setting und eine Konvertierung, mit dem sich sicherlich viele unterhaltsame Spielabende verbringen lassen. Einige Probleme der Konvertierung würde ich für meine Spielrunden jedoch anpassen, falls ich das System am Spieltisch ausprobieren würde.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Part-Time Gods of Fate
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API2E - Savage Worlds Expansion
by Robert H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/20/2016 08:01:19

Bear with me as this is my first review and I am going to make it short.

Okay I purchased the deadwood copy of the game setting last week while visiting a brick and mortar shop on vacation. I didn't buy the pdf so I am not sure I could review it here, however last night I bought this expansion so I will wrap them up together.

The setting (Pro): always loved it and wanted this conversion for a longtime, as I am one of those lazy GMs. I think the first book was very innovative, the tweaks to the SWD are minimal IMO and easy to grasp especially the magic "circles". Captures the setting well and also has beautiful racial edges for humans (keeping them in the fight) in the core setting book. The addition of the gear customization in this expansion? Beautiful! Added races? Beautiful!

(Cons): editing and information inboth books are a a little scattered and sometimes out of context with grammer errors. I was still able to use my typonese to get past it, as I was raised by an english professor and hated being corrected myself though am not an author or publisher.

That is it, in closing, it is a beautiful fun setting and I would still recommend it, just try not to get stumped on the misused words. I know you Savages can work past this and enjoy this rich setting. It is more of a monster hunting save the world game than an apocalyptic setting, the heroes are out to thwart unathorized demonic incursions. It's kind of like "Buffy" meets, "MIB" with a twist of a television show called "G vs. E" originally "Good vs. Evil" (look it up I highly recommend it).



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
API2E - Savage Worlds Expansion
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Mermaid Adventures RPG
by Crystal M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/07/2016 20:58:55

Mermaid Adventures Written by Eloy Lasanta Art by Melissa Gay Published by Third Eye Games Pip System

Originally posted on Crystal's Review Blog

Mermaid Adventures is a fun and easy underwater adventure game system designed for players of all ages. The book is small enough where young players and players who are new to roleplaying games will find it easy to follow, which is great for recruiting new players into the roleplaying world. I personally love the premise of this game. The genre is very appealing for younger gamers, and the overall system is very easy to bring new players into the gaming world.

The mermaid world is based in Atlantis, which is the underwater home of all of the merfolk. There once was a great war, in which all of the merfolk and surrounding areas were pulled into it. The war ended when the current King and Queen were able to peacefully settle the differences. Atlantis is still ruled by this King and Queen, who work to keep the peace and continue the alliance between all the different merfolk under their protection. Different merfolk have different alliances as well as rivalries, but overall they work to ensure peace throughout their world. Outside of Atlantis is the Dark Water, a creepy and dangerous part of the world. The Top-world is also briefly described, as there are chances for the characters to interact with the part of the world that they hide from.

The denizens of this world are extremely diverse, using features from undersea creatures such as sharks, fish, sting rays and even lobsters. Each of the different merfolk have a very interesting niche to which they fit into within their society. What is very cool is that the merfolk have talents that resemble their real life counterparts in the animal world. Alongside the merfolk are other animals of the seas, some friendly, others not so much. These animals can become friends with merfolk if the merfolk work at building up their relationships with them. Other animals are a danger and only should be approached with extreme caution and weapons.

Character creation for the game is very simple, using 4 steps to finalize a character. What is really neat is that this section there are several randomization charts for helping to create a physical character as well as some goals for the characters. This is a fun way to help new players flesh out their characters in a quick and easy way. Players have a lot of support in building any type of characters they want. As far as rolling mechanics go, there are contested rolls, but the only difference is one player rolls both dice sets. There should be a black set and a white set (or opposing color schemes). The player rolls the appropriate amount of dice for attacking and defending, and goes from there to determining which dice rolls won and lost. There are wound charts for randomizing what happens when a character goes to 0 in an attribute. There is no character death in this system, so this is a wonderful solution to things that happen to the character in a really bad fight.

What I personally liked about this book is that there is a small section in the book specifically for narrators. It sets up how to create an interesting story and also emphases that a narrator has the right to suspend disbelief for telling a story. This is something that narrators can forget, and it is nice to see it in the book. There are also random charts for creating an event or plot to bring characters into the story. This is a fun option to help kick off a game night and get characters involved. There are also pregenerated characters which can be used for non-player characters or for players who want a quick character to play.

At the end of the book there are five adventures that narrators can use for their campaign. The adventures are written in a way where it is easy for young players to be able to play, but the difficulty can scale to meet the needs of older or more experienced players. These scenarios take the players to different parts of the world, including a land based scenario in which the characters are stuck on land, an Olympic style competition, a rescue operation in the dark lands, and a mystery in the great Kings castle. These adventures are a great addition to the book, giving a well rounded resource for players and narrators.

The art in this book really captures the feeling of the game itself. The colorful and lively characters are all captured beautifully in the book, and help the give a visual representation of what the denizens of the sea look like in this setting. The pregenerated characters in the book are also designed by backers of the Kickstarter, which is very cool to see. Having fans of the game involved in the book is very neat, especially for a game written for younger players.

Overall, I am very impressed with Mermaid Adventures. It is a very fun and simple game that is laid out well in an easy to read book. There is both a PDF, which can be found on DriveThruRPG, and a soft cover, which can be found through Third Eye Games. I would recommend this book for any young players or new to gaming players who may not have an experienced player to help them. Parents will also find this book helpful. Teachers who are adventurous will also enjoy aspects of this book for their classrooms!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mermaid Adventures RPG
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The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition
by QDOGGY D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2016 12:54:43

Interesting, very wuxia, almost have to remind myself it is supposed to be Japan/Ninja, we keep playing like Wuxia.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition
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Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. - Savage Worlds Edition
by Nathan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/15/2016 10:35:11

Seriously, I want to love it.

I think that this setting is creative and has a huge upside potential. Unfortunately, the material is extremely hard to get through. The book is poorly organized, dropping you directly into character types, races, etc. after a page of setting and mood summary. This would be fine if there were any sort of assistance such as, "If you'd like more information on the setting before reading a whole bunch of setting specific system, go to chapter 3." (Yes, my suggestion for anyone who buys it is to start by reading chapter 3.)

Beyond organization, the copy edit is bad. I understand that people have different styles of writing, but there are numerous grammatical errors and there are times that words are simply misused. For example, a line on page 109 reads "as anything that could protect against ensuing supernatural forces was rare." Ensuing is absolutely the wrong word as it places an event in a causal or chronological structure. The author uses it to mean something more like "encroaching" or perhaps "overwhelming." While this may seem a bit nitpicky at first, it becomes less so when one realizes that either word misusage or some other grammatical error occurs an average of 2 or three times a page. (See footnote 1) It isn't as if I can't figure out what is being said, but it becomes laborious to get through the material. I too often had to reread a sentence or an entire paragraph to be sure I was following what was being said.

Like I said, I want to love it. Perhaps I will love it once I've gotten the material under my belt. It seems like the perfect setting for me to run one-shot sessions on the weeks that we don't have our entire crew available to play our long-running "epic" campaign. I just regret that I have to struggle to read what is obviously creative and useful material that simply needed more careful editing.

footnote 1: On page 109 alone there are at least two more grammatical errors. A paragraph after the misusage of "ensuing" we are given an incomplete sentence; "For huanity's safety, of course." Two paragraphs after that a comma is misused in the sentence "Despite API’s best, memory-erasing efforts, some people are exposed to the supernatural world."



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. - Savage Worlds Edition
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The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/06/2016 21:26:43

A really great system that allows for all sorts of fun, cinematic-style characters that each feel unique in their own right. The book has a slightly weird ordering that makes you flip back and forth between some of the pages while making a character, but once you get everything down it all flows great! The ruleset also lends itself to very creative storytelling, allowing battles to become far more interesting than simply "roll your strength to hit 17."



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition
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