Monday, April 29, 2013

Cosmic Patrol - Matt Heerdt

A different approach to running this game - collaborative improv with a 'Lead Narrator' rotating between the players. The setting is basically Captain Future. Space Patrolmen adventure in an old school planetary romance setting a la Edmond Hamilton. Amazons of Mars, Venus madmen, robots, Lizard People, three eyed guys with big heads, all that sort of thing. It uses the different dice for stats type idea, too, d6, d8, d10, d12 that you assign to a few basic statistics. Character tag and cue ideas in an aspect type sense, the use of plot points to change things. There are some sample NPCs and plot scenario ideas at the end. So this would be cool seeing it is along those lines to already to lift as a FATE setting/adaptation too. 4 out of 5

Cyberpunk 2020: Hardwired - Walter Jon Williams

Here's another rpg supplement written thanks to the author of the original material. Generally a good thing. Throatsnakes and crystaljocks and sysops abound in this particular corporate dystopia. 4 out of 5

Wild Cards: Aces and Jokes - John Joseph Miller and Steve Kenson

A companion volume to the Wild Cards sourcebook giving as much detail as anyone knows and will fit - along with some game stats guides for all the minor characters in the Wild Cards universe. Up to the point of time of the Committee trilogy. Rather comprehensive. 4.5 out of 5

ICONS - Steve Kenson

An interesting game. Which you would expect from an experienced designer and more so an experienced superhero designer. See the Mutants and Masterminds Wild Cards books for an example. This is what you get if you take TSR MSH Advanced game, trim it back a litle (or at least the 4CS public domain version) and add some parts of FATE. The game mechanic is 1d6-1d6 (or 2d6-7) rather than 4dF or (4d3-8) to get a wider range of outcomes. Changing the dice result range would be a interesting genre tweak for superhero games I think. The artwork is rather more cartoony than I like but would seem to be certainly fitting for a younger crowd, and the mechanics and writing is simple enough that it would work very nicely there, too. Random power creation is included with the various character archetypes, so that is fun. The FATE point and Karma pool for teams ideas are combined to be bit easier on the adding up front. The Leadership skill has a game function here. Power levels are capped at 10 for the super mega cosmic type - or lift mountain ranges. The strength of using a FUDGE type mechanic to replay the Universal Table is in ability opposition....a valid criticism of which is that the defense of both Daredevil and a thug as far as being punched by someone is the same. Which is great if you are a PC trying to hit someone and bad if the reverse. Give I like FASERIP and FUDGE and FATE a lot. So if any of those appeal, you will like this game, and could certainly hack a few bits into your preferred flavour. Suggests 'reskinning' the ability levels with your own favourite adjectives. Fantastic being a good and obvious one instead of Monstrous - especially given that is actually the Thing's strength level. Aspects for characters and teams completely fit superheroes with catchphrases, battle cries, mottos and more. So a natural. Compels also help to keep subplots and complications and disadvantages involved rather than forgotten about. It is certainly good enough that I'll have a look at some supplements. Also, Cactus Man. Who actually gets used in a podcast game online! There are print and digital versions. 4.5 out of 5

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mutants and Masterminds: Wild Cards - John Joseph Miller and Steve Kenson

How do you get a great role-playing game supplement? Have it written by a gamer who is one of the authors of a decades long running shared world series, along with a good game designer. After so long you'd want to get something better than the GURPS version and this most definitely is. Characters implemented in the versions of Mutants and Masterminds. So d20 superheroes, which is fairly reasonable. Hence the ability to transfer to any game you like. You'll also learn about the setting and history in condensed form going backwards and forwards between characters here without reading all the books. Definitely worth it for those interested. 5 out of 5

Thursday, April 18, 2013

White Picket Witches - Filamena Young

A New England USA island setting with five supernatural families and one defunct. Which means they still might be supernatural. Emphasis on playing the conflict as per tv soap opera drama, with explicit rules for Face Offs that could be conflict from basketball to teary accusations to drowning. Required some clever media analysis to come up with this. Also deserving of taking this and making a more meta supplement for applying this to any particular setting, the various drama/tension/places of power type mechanics so that you can Soapy Drama up whatever you like. Similarly for horror which obviously this rather more Practical Magic style urban fantasy has elements of. FATE Core could use a horror toolbox like the crime one and like this could one could . So a couple of possible spinoffs. A really very interesting expansion, showing again that the people putting together FATE Core have an eye for the interesting and different in the broad range they have come up with here for inclusion. 4.5 out of 5

Tower of the Serpents - Brennan Taylor

A classic Sword & Sorcery adventure module, here. A crimelord and his organisation. An axe-wielding maniac warrior. Giant ape. Evil sorcerer. Monster. Dodgy politician. What more could you want? Also with hooks to lead into further shenanigans. The opposition is certainly tough enough that Conan or equivalents will be challenged. 4 out of 5

Timeworks - Mark Diaz Truman

A company employs criminals on operations throughout the timestream. A dodgy company who has the ability to separate these agents from the timestream so they can't affect their own pasts. Which can do strange things to their memories. No travelling to the future and possible attack by Shadow time agents. And the timeline has stress, too. So ideas that can be easily adaptable to various crosstime, time patrol, time police type stories. 4 out of 5

The Ellis Affair - Lisa Steele

Another variety of expansion for FATE Core and variety in type, as well. The Ellis Affair is a full-blown and fully developed game module of two-fisted adventure and espionage in South East Asia. Suggested for four characters, with some pregenerated included for fast play. Investigation and some weird in this historical pulp flavoured 1920s mysterious disappearance oddity. Plus, the Pirate Queen of the China Coast. 4 out of 5

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No Exit - Shoshana Kessock

An expansion taking psychological horror, suspense and altered reality. Yet another fine example of FATE Core variety. Think The Prisoner meets The Matrix for some of the flavour. As people find themselves moving into an apartment Complex with a capital C and are unable to leave as things get stranger and more tense. Certainly like to see sessions of this written up or youtubed. 4 out of 5

FATE Magic System Toolkit - Fred Hicks

A brief guide talks about magic as skills, aspects or extras and gives three different magical systems, storm summoners, viziers and void callers as examples of what can be done. 3.5 out of 5

Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie - Clark Valentine

A mad German scientist and his galvanic technology fleet complete with German airship versus Allied aces and support. Complete with some historical figures. Or really good for a game that focuses on pilot competition in war or elsewhere, even duelling pulp heroes as mentioned in the text - very good for Spirit of the Century flavour. Designed to be a bit over the top as opposed to The Dam Busters. The part on between character social dynamics, keeping Ernest Hemingway the reporter happy, getting the senior officers to sign off on your kills, all very interesting parts. 4 out of 5

Fight Fire - Jason Morningstar

One of the most interesting and original RPG supplements I have seen, detailing the operation and building of American-style firefighting teams. Who presumably have high similarities. With a lot of technical info and research this is extremely well done. The roles on the team, aspects, skills, advantages, modifiers: it is all here. 5 out of 5

Wild Blue - Brian Engard

A superhero Western. In a fantastic ahistoric setting superheroic power prevalence is in the population. Worrying if you are the garden variety human monarchy used to having all the power and privilege. So, finesse it and give them power and prestige working as a sort of elite police force of Wardens for you. 4 out of 5

Crimeworld - John Rogers

This breaks down Cons and Heists into their constituent parts, detailing the use of Concepts and Aspects in FATE Core and adding a couple of genre flavoured skills. Plus all the professional lingo for those involved. So rather than a setting, this is a crossgenre supplement for a particular type of adventure. 4 out of 5