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Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine
by Holden S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/21/2014 13:12:26
This is post-apocalyptic pastoral at its finest. Also, gothic, action-adventure, and several other genres.

The world has drowned in nothingness, but some scant few shreds of the old cosmos remain, largely having forgotten themselves. The gods and devils and Knights of Nothingness of old live on as schoolboys and shopkeepers and mad scientists, moving through mad miraculous tales in the stable remnants of the universe. Will you unravel the mystery of who slew the sun and plunged the universe into oblivion? Resurrect and re-start the world that was? Or just appreciate a slow, sunny day by the shores of Big Lake with your friends?

Chuubo is a game of many stories starring a roster of "pre-generated" characters, who are more like customizable character classes or archetypes than standard pre-gens. (Someone plays The Best Friend, for example, but there's enormous latitude to make that character concept your own, including modding name, gender, personality, etc-- only his 'mythic archetype' and associated powers are kind of fixed.) There's really nothing else on the market quite like it. Rules are diceless and very easy to use, and the art and layout are gorgeous and charming.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine
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Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine
by Jason L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/20/2014 03:32:37
A unique RPG that rewards genre play over "winning." Characters can gain XP -- which is used to advance their personal and group story -- from evoking certain emotions, from working on side quests, and from doing things that fit the type of story being told. In a "Pastoral" game, you can gain XP from just sitting down next to someone and appreciating a sunset, while in an "Adventure Fantasy" game, you might gain it from getting into trouble over your head. Actions are diceless, resolved by skill level + how much Will you're willing to spend; essentially, the game uses the "mortal action" rules from Nobilis 3rd Edition, which are very clear and work well.

The end result is like if you mixed a dozen diverse animes with Adventure Time and My Little Pony. It's fun, it's immersive, and it excels at mixing characters. A player who wants a dramatic, serious PC can coexist just fine with one who wants a goofy, whimsical PC. The only challenge will be picking a genre that everyone can agree on (or blending the existing genres to come up with one of your own), but that's half the fun!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine - EOS7000 (ePub only)
by Zachary B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/24/2014 07:42:01
This review is based on the ePub version (i.e., Kindle), which is currently available for $10 at DriveThruRPG. A PDF version with art and print layout will be out later this year. This review was originally posted at Kill Ten Rats MMO blog.

This is a roleplaying game. It is possibly the roleplaying game. It is genius. It is horrifying. It is a beautiful balance of everything that would drive a story forward. It is diceless. It is filled with meta-game moments. It is quite a task to understand. If you are on a path to better understanding how to grow as a gamemaster (GM) or as a player with a player character(PC) in tabletop RPG’s, I’d tell you to buy it. If you are on Pathfinder this RPG might as well be in ancient Martian.

This game was to play Studio Ghibli films. Perhaps not as adventurous as Princess Mononoke, which would easily fall under a standard RPG system. This system was designed to play Ponyo or Spirited Away. There’s one scene in Ponyo, where the boy takes Ponyo out in a boat to explore the submerged world. It’s such an interesting slice of adventure, but without much purpose. How would you create a game like that where the player is involved?

Chuubo’s started there, but it has grown. I’ve heard from the old guard of the game, having been fans since the Kickstarter, that it actually does miraculous gaming quite well. Want to be able to turn into a kaiju or have the powers of Sephiroth? No problem. Want to play a little boy, like one from Ponyo, that has a machine that lets him ask for wishes? Well, that’s why this game exists.

Whimsical. Anime. Storied. Those are all good words to describe the feeling that the author, Jenna Moran, is trying to convey.

Players as Mechanics

The critical element of Chuubo’s is quests. A conventional RPG has the GM creating an adventure or buying a module. The players are usually the reactors based on that poor bloke in the tavern that needs goblins dead. A good GM will take in to consideration as much PC history and motivation as possible, but the GM us usually the actor. With the exception of some indie games (yes, such as Chuubo’s), this is very conventional.

Chuubo’s broadly swings the actor dial back to the players big time by providing quests, usually of the player’s choosing. With these quests the player starts pushing towards ways to complete that quest within the framework of the world and story that is collaboratively created.

Look at the newest quest card example of “A New Hobby”. It could be any hobby. I’ll say fly-fishing. Immediately, it is apparent what story will be told in some sense. I would talk to an expert. I would hit up a fly-fishing store. Then I might create some hand-tied flies… at a farmer’s market, or the wharf. Whatever the case by my, the player’s, choosing of this quest I am sending my PC and the collaborative story. Now this might seem like a simple story, but imagine where players also have their own quests that would help color the story. Could the PC have a moment of daydreaming about fly-fishing during a kite show put on by another PC?

Game Mode

Going down the quest card, there is a bunch of symbols near quest flavor. These exemplify methods of moving forward on the quest within certain genres. They aren’t limiters, as much as enhancers. The GM chooses (with the group, of course) the genre the game is played in. For example if the genre is “pastoral” players can get XP for doing a Shared Action (“Reach out to them. Try to connect.”). This means a smart player trying to game the system will claim XP on a Shared Action and on the A New Hobby quest by “having a geeky discussion with a fellow hobbyist”.

The Pastoral genre is all about having these Shared Actions. Players constantly are seeking them so that they can gain XP. In the Adventure Fantasy genre players are going to try and (Be in) Trouble – where something really scary is happening and the player is overwhelmed or overmatched. Seek that out, and get XP!

Finally players define their PC’s personality a bit by fishing for Emotion XP. If you want your PC to be a tad neurotic take the “Offering You Comfort” Emotion XP. Every time another player (or the GM, I suppose) offers you/ your PC comfort you get XP! So how are you going to play that PC? Well in a way where they want and seek comfort.

It isn’t hard to foresee what scenes will result from my neurotic fly fisherman in the Pastoral genre. I am going to be lamenting all my failures as a fly fisherman while proclaiming the tragedy of being bitten by the bug. I just can’t quite fly fishing, the perfect art of war against trout!

A PhD in Chuubology

The worst part of it is putting it all together. Instead of doing whatever I feel like for my PC, based on some loose concept I have, I am now trying to chase down XP. It is possibly just as gamist as moving down a dungeon corridor block-by-block with a 10-ft bamboo pole held in front of me for traps. Notecards (or whole sheets of paper) are absolutely critical for bookkeeping what quests, genre actions, and even emotion XP is going on.

I would say this is the worst thing about the ePub. I am constantly flipping all over the place trying to find quests, quest examples, actions, rules, etc. It feels like someone trying to tell me how to bake a cake sometimes with the pouring of batter step before the breaking the eggs step. This is where it loses the star.

MMO-like

In a way Chuubo’s reminds me of an MMO. It reminds me specifically of how it feels after I’ve picked up a couple quests at a quest hub and I am now heading out in to the wilderness. Oh! Look a thing to mine. Now there’s a player in trouble. Now I can farm those 10 ratlings, but I only hit 6 before I have to wait for a respawn. MMO players try to be efficient and think of ways to hit all the quest-like buttons at once, but there is still a story to be told.

I am hoping that Chuubo’s starts something in RPG design that keeps growing. I would love as a GM to be the reactor. Let the players drive forward, and I just react with how the world is. Let the players path out where they want to go while the GM’s job is to marry all those paths in to one grand adventure. Or just about kite flying and fly fishing. Those would be good yarns.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine - EOS7000 (ePub only)
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Legends of the Wulin - pre-sales edition
by Andrew S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2014 03:57:23
I previously posted a poor review as I erroneously believed that DriveThru was providing the old, un-errata'd version with incorrect information. I was very tired at the time and apparently I am a dummy head.

This RPG is great, and this is the correct version. It isn't ~70mb because it lacks bookmarks.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Legends of the Wulin - pre-sales edition
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Nobilis: The Essentials, Volume 1
by william p. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2013 17:17:32
I never read or played Nobilis 1st or 2nd editions, but Nobilis 3rd edition is excellent. It is not like most RPGs, in a number of ways, but I feel it gives more freedom than the average RPG as well. I have never felt more capable of designing a PC whose concept is whole and compelling than when I used the diceless systems in this book to create sample characters.

Others have said all of the big details better than I have, so I will leave it at this. Buy Nobilis, read it over a few times, give it a chance. You won't regret it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: The Essentials, Volume 1
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Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
by Angelo P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/16/2013 13:18:57
Is a great expansion to Nobilis 3Ed. Will blow your mind!

Angelo

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
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The Story of Treasure
by Kirt D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/24/2013 15:00:04
It's a little idiosyncratically written, even more so than the other Nobilis work for this edition, but given that it's free, that's forgivable. If you are a player or GM for the new version of Nobilis, this book is a must-have. I didn't understand Treasure very well, and the insights from this book finally caused the light to go on in my head. In addition, there's some general information about the theory behind Nobilis, mechanics-wise, that's completely worth it.

I would have willingly paid money for this book. Given that it's free, it's almost literally a steal.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Story of Treasure
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Nobilis: the Essentials, Volume 1 - EOS6000 (ePub only)
by malcolm e. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2013 12:40:40
I regret purchasing this in the ePub format. It is the most unfriendly, cumbersome, irritating format. I should have stuck with PDF. I will never buy anything in that format again. It has sucked the life out of trying to enjoy the material.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: the Essentials, Volume 1 - EOS6000 (ePub only)
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Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
by Ted K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/24/2012 20:24:00
This book was very helpful for getting a solid handle on Excrucians in general and Deceivers in particular. As is typical for a Nobilis product, it's excellently written and full of entertaining bits of short fiction. There's also some great art. The quality of the softcover book is also excellent; the pages are thick, quality paper and the background images and the other art is well-printed.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
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Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
by Benjamin P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2012 20:34:20
This book is incredibly helpful in running Deceivers, but also excrucian NPCs. It has rules for playing them, so I suppose you could have that Nobilis/Excrucian team-up game you've always wanted.

It also has another of the 24 finales!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
by Jason L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2012 16:48:50
Not only did this book help me understand Deceivers, it helped me understand Excrucians in general -- how they break through into reality, how they can be formed from the core of a human being, why they do what they do, and so on. That alone was worth the price of the book. But of course the meat of this supplement is the Deceivers themselves, and we get a WEALTH of information about them, particularly rules for building them from the ground up (with a clear and complete example), starting with an avatar/lifepath and ending with the actual attributes, bonds, etc. In theory, you could use this to play a Deceiver PC (and there are rules for that!) but in practice, this will help me (as GM) flesh out my Deceivers (and, to some degree, other Excrucians) and make each one a fully-developed character.

A strong recommendation for GMs, entirely optional for players (who may appreciate the general insight into Persona and be inspired by some of the concepts, which could equally apply to Nobles).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: The Essentials, Volume 1
by Jason L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/12/2012 16:40:47
I think it's hilarious that the largest complaint about this book from existing Nobilis fans is "They changed the art!!!" Why? Because this (third) edition changes so many major things. Literally half of the attributes have been replaced (goodbye Realm and Spirit, hello Persona and Treasure). Bonds and restrictions have gone from a mild weakness to one of the most expanded and important systems in the game. Chancels and Imperators are designed more loosely now, with no point system to min-max. Everything works BETTER in so many ways!

And I guess that's why people whine about the art. Because it's the only possible thing to complain about. (Well, that and the organization. I think this core book can be a little schizophrenic or ADHD in how it presents sections, even if those sections themselves are very clearly written. But that's not enough to knock off more than half a star, at worst.)

Well, I'm here to say that the art is GREAT! The relaxed, anime-style approach is exactly what Nobilis needed -- it's a wonderful change from the Serious Art Pieces of the second edition. I think it will help to dispel this notion that Nobilis is some pretentious, serious, intimidating game. Seriously, there are a LOT of gamers who look at Nobilis and think, "I can't run that. I wouldn't even know where to start!" and a large part of that is presentation. When the truth is, at heart, Nobilis really boils down to, "OMG I'm a demigod now. I can do cool miracles and stuff! I'M GONNA GO DO COOL STUFF!!! :D"

Nobilis can be played seriously or lighthearted, but no matter what, it's supposed to be FUN, and this new edition really puts that in the foreground. So five stars from me for taking an RPG I already loved and making it better, clearer, and more accessible. Thanks, Jenna and everyone involved!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: The Essentials, Volume 1
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Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
by Brandon Q. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/08/2012 20:30:37
Let me start out this review by saying that, prior to its release, I had been eagerly anticipating Nobilis Antithesis, Minibook 1i for for several months. Ever since I first heard about its potential existence. A book on the Excrucians was something that I very much wanted since 2nd edition, and craved with the arrival of the 3rd edition. This book seemed to deliver on that promise, at least in part, purely from the concept. I was excited! The fact of the matter, however, is that author Jenna Moran both met and exceeded my expectations and delivered a book that completely floored me.

First, this book talks a good bit about Deceivers... where they come from, the kind of power they have over Creation, how the Flower Rite or the Rite of Two Skins function in play. It introduces a Lifepath system to let you flesh out Deceiver antagonists for your game or to actually create them as characters. The same system accomplishes both flawlessly! There's even character creation guidelines for a Deceiver that 'probably' balances well with the Nobilis characters, and numerous nods within the text (and the Lifepath system) to allowing a Deceiver character to co-exist with a Familia of powers. If that is what you want to do.

The book doesn't stop there. It does more than just explain to us what Deceivers are and how you might create one for your game.

It does one better: It gets into the nuts and bolts behind the way that their powers work. It gives us a number of Excrucians in varying level of detail, supplies guidelines on how their Persona-based powers work in game, provides worked up "Persona Miracle Charts" for most of the Decievers mentioned in the book. One of the new Deceivers so mentioned, Morrowen Hollow, is fully developed from concept to full-game stats as an example of the Lifepath system in action. The book even discusses creating Properties for the Excrucians' Pseudo-Estate, while the Lifepath system can help you do something that I've found quite difficult to do on my own. Namely, come up with interesting example Pseudo-Estates for Deceivers.

All of this, and its written in author Jenna Moran's usual voice, which adds color and humor to every page. So, Minibook 1i isn't just a great RPG manual but also a joy to read. Still not done singing its praises though; I was holding off on this review until I got my PoD. Rather than simply commenting on its quality (excellent; great binding, layout, no issues with 'full page bleed' or anything), I find myself once again simply overwhelmed. What was already a beautiful PDF is a breathtaking Print-on-Demand Full Color Softbound book with a very distinct (and gorgeous) art style. The illustrations just leap off the page, artist Miranda Harrell helps the Deceivers breakthrough into our reality through her medium, and her talents are joined by too many other wonderful artists for me to mention (except for Alexander Benekos, because, wow...)

Do you like Nobilis? Buy this now, and buy the PoD. You can thank me later.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
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Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
by Richard E H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/06/2012 09:56:12
If you play Nobilis, or if you just read it, this is a worthy investment of your funds. It transforms the Deceivers from a cypher to a mandala of meaning, explaining what they do and why they do it in a way that doesn't spoil mysteries, but spawns them. It will enlarge the scope of your game and the ease with which you can include Deceivers in it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Nobilis: Antithesis, Minibook 1i
by Rand B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/04/2012 03:42:32
This expansion to the Nobilis game covers the Deceivers, one of the four kinds of Excrucians, making these enemies of reality playable at last. The book includes lifepaths for Excrucian characters and guidelines to designing and using pStates, the bizarre self-referential powers that Deceivers use.

Deceivers range from the hilarious to the terrifying and are frequently both. (Iolithae Septimian, whose lies frequently supplant reality, reaches out to the reader and says sweetly, "No one can really know whether God exists or not.") This book is completely suitable for those who want to play them or who want to use them as antagonists for standard Nobilis games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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