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Mermaid Adventures RPG
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/03/2012 23:00:03
WHAT WORKS: The system looks like it would do a find job of handling any type of conflict, not just slugfests, and the charts for stats dropping to 0 are inspired. The amount of Merfolk is similarly impressive, and it would be easy to increase the available Qualities based off of the examples given. The bestiary is also pretty big, and the five adventures cover a broad range of stuff, giving you some good ideas as to the range of the game.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: Despite not being marketed towards girls specifically, Mermaid Adventures has registered exactly zero interest from MY kid, in no small part because of the “Mermaids”.

CONCLUSION: Obviously, I’m a huge fan of Third Eye Games, but I was fairly underwhelmed when I heard the announcement for this game. After reading it, I may put the overall quality of the book ahead of Part-Time Gods and behind API and Wu Xing. The system is simple but has some nice wiggle room, and I’m glad to see it’s living on in another kid-friendly RPG, Camp Myth (which, thematically, may be more up my kid’s speed). Don’t judge the book by its surface…it has some impressive depths to it.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/12/tommys-take-o-
n-mermaid-adventures.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mermaid Adventures RPG
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Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. - Savage Worlds Edition
by Roy P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/04/2012 22:44:22
A fine addition to the Savage Worlds family. I was lucky enough to play a API Savage at Gencon 2012. Admittedly I was a little hesitant with how some of the special powers and different races would translate to Savage Worlds. After playing through API Savage I was pleasantly surprised with how smoothly Eloy Lasanta was able to transition API from his own system to Savage Worlds. Cool new races, racial edges, edges and hindrances. Congrats to Third Eye Games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. - Savage Worlds Edition
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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/09/2012 00:23:14
I find that Wu Xing is a game that has a lot of open spaces for a GM to fill in on his own. Sure there's a large central conflict with the Izou Empire and the Lotus Coalition, but it's just sort of there. The writing doesn't seem to convey the same kind of urgency that being hunted to extinction is supposed to impart. That said, all the pieces to make it feel urgent are there, the Executioners and Golden Lions are all fearsome opponents, and the Firearms mentioned in the game's blurb is barely given more than a short sidebar, a paragraph saying that they're pretty dangerous and take a while to reload and a single row in the weapons table. It would have been nice to see a unit of empire soldiers that specialize in firearms, like Imperial Snipers or something just to amp up how they can turn the tide against Chi-Manipulating Ninjas.

Speaking of the Empire and the Lotus Coalition, even having a small smattering of NPCs from both sides of the conflict would have been nice to see. Giving a name and a face to the big names of the Empire, such as say, a Spymaster could do a lot to make the setting more interesting. Likewise the Lotus Coalition would be more interesting if we knew who were the Ninjas who were squabbling against each other, and what their agendas were.

I'm also slightly put off by the modern language and concepts used in character dialogue in the fiction parts of the book. One particular vignette for the Blazing Dancers Clan had me strangely bothered when the Ninja offers a fan an autograph. It seemed like a very strange anachronism, and one that kept jarring my suspension of disbelief. Some turns of phrase were also far too informal to match the setting, but I think that's just my expectations clashing with the setting as intended by the author. I think my expectations could have been colored by my experiences and comfort in running Legend of the Five Rings.

That said, the game itself is pretty neat. I mentioned some issues I've had about the organization of the rules, such as putting the basic mechanics in the skills portion of the character creation instructions, but once you actually get a hang of the entire thing, it feels like a very solid system. The options for combat, the strong visuals for the Wushu and various techniques, and the little ways to customize your character are all well done. The artwork and layout are all well done, with the various pieces for the Clans being a highlight. Also the character sheet, while dense (and perhaps riddled with just a little too many shuriken) is very useful, and has a mini-reference for all the little rules for combat to help things move along a little more smoothly.

Wu Xing delivers on the promise of being action-oriented, and provides enough magic and mysticism to pull off the whole superpowered Ninja schtick with aplomb. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in playing or running in such a game, but I would also advise them to read the book very carefully just so you don't miss out on any stray rules tucked away in other paragraphs.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
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Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
by Daniel M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/29/2012 01:13:34
Apocalypse Prevention Inc

What is it?

Apocalypse Prevention Inc, or API, bills itself as an action-horror RPG with a dash of humour. It's a small press affair from Third Eye Games and looks pretty slick. The PDF is in black and white and a little sparse in the art department, but the overall layout is nice.


Players take on the roles of agents working for the titular organization, a kind of privatized version of the Men in Black. These agents spend their days policing the supernatural world. They greet travelers from other dimensions, solve supernatural crimes and deal with dangerous entities. Apocalypse Prevention Inc has access to technology above the modern level, as do demons and other outsiders. This means that future-tech like cybernetics are relatively common place in the game, which at time doesn't mesh well with the intended horror elements. (It comes across a little campy.) That said, cybernetics and future tech are fun, so you won't hear any further complaint from me.


How does it work?


The game begins with players creating their characters. API use a point-buy style system that has players selecting a race and then buying attributes, skills and gifts. There are a good number of races to choose from, everything from fire demons to changelings, but the game makes it clear in the lore that most of the time players should be creating human characters. This feels like a mixed message to me; you don't say that the majority of the organization is filled with humans and then dangle a half dozen alternative choices in front of the players. It doesn't help that there are rules for creating a random demonic race for players to use (Not that I'm complaining, I love random tables.) This all ties back into my feeling that the game doesn't quite match the tone that the author was going for.


Attributes and Skills are exactly what they sound like and there isn't much to say other than there are enough of them to make characters feel diverse, but not so many that they lose their importance. Gifts are where things get interesting. These cover everything from magical ability to cybernetic implants and they are where most players are going to spend the most time agonizing over choices.

One place where the character creation in API veers off from the traditional path is with something called Passions. These passions are an aspect of the character's personality and life that drives them and they are used as an experience mechanic throughout the game. If a player plays their character according to their listed Passion then they earn experience. It's a good mechanic for encouraging players to take on a more active role and it's one that has become relatively common, in one for or another, since API was published four years ago.


The actual game mechanics are really straightforward: roll 1d20 and add relevant attribute and skill. There is an separate combat section which covers things like teamwork and special maneuvers and this is important in a game where players primarily spend their time hunting down demonic creatures. The system reads and plays very much like a lighter version of d20, something closer to Savage Worlds in crunch, maybe a little crunchier. It's a good, simple system and those familiar with d20 and similar systems will catch on very quickly. The game isn't trying to do anything special with the system and, frankly, it doesn't need to.


Final Thoughts


Apocalypse Prevention Inc does what it sets out to do. It provides a great framework for players interested in playing enhanced agents that hunt monsters and any GM that picks up this book is provided with everything they need to start that campaign with minimal effort and planning. The system that runs the game will be familiar to anyone that has played a traditional tabletop rpg and should be easy to pick up for those that haven't, but it doesn't do much that is new or interesting.

The strength of API really lies in the engaging setting that frames the rules. It's fun and should instantly appeal to anyone that loves a good old fashioned monster hunt. It is Men in Black meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer and if that idea grabs you then you will like API. If it doesn't then you aren't going to find much that will hold your attention in this game.

If DriveThruRPG allowed 1/2 stars then I would rate 3.5, but since they do not I will set this at 3.

-Copied from my blog (impossibleboulder.blogspot.ca/2012/06/apocalypse-prevention-
-inc.html)

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
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Mermaid Adventures RPG
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/28/2012 06:15:25
Originally posted at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/06/28/tabletop-review-mermaid-
-adventures/

Mermaid Adventures is a cute little RPG made specifically for bringing young children (and especially young girls) into the tabletop RPG fandom. It came into existence as a Kickstarter campaign. The game was very successful, drawing in nearly two hundred backers and more than doubling its original goal. This allowed Third Eye Games and the game’s creator, Eloy Lasanta, to add four new races and a few more adventures to the game. I wasn’t a backer personally for the game, but I did find it a very cute idea (and god knows we need to really get the younger generation involved in this hobby) so when I was offered a review copy of the game, I leapt at the chance.

Mermaid Adventures contains everything a group of players needs to play the game. The book’s rules are fairly simple, which is a plus for any game geared towards single-digit players, and there is a lot of advice for parents on how to run the game and even help their kids make characters if the point based system is too much for them. You will need a lot of dice though – at least ten of one colour and ten of another (the game suggests black and white), so expect World of Darkness size rolls, especially if you get to have a long running campaign. Rolls are basically contested. A character rolls their die pool, trying to get 4s, 5s, and 6s. Each of those is a success. Depending on the difficulty of the task at hand, they will also have to roll one or more black dice. If the successes on the white dice are greater than the black dice, the character succeeds. If there are more successes on the black dice, the character fails. A tie means a partial success. That’s really all there is to actually rolling in the game. It’s extremely simple and the rolls can be applied to anything from combat to putting together a puzzle. Kids will figure out the rules in no time and really be able to run through the game the same way long time tabletop vets have their favorite core rulebook memorized.

There are eight types of playable merfolk: Eelfolk, Fishfolk, Jellyfolk, Lobsterfolk, Octofolk, Rayfolk, Sharkfolk, and Urchinfolk. Like any RPG, each race has their own strengths and weaknesses although I suspect most kids will gravitate towards fishfolk since that’s what is primarily thought of when they hear the word “mermaid.” I can’t see too many people wanting to be sea urchins or jellyfish. I am glad to see a wide variety of sea creatures as it gives little children, who are prone to gender roles, a chance to play a game where they can be a tough rugged shark or a beautiful fishy princess like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. It’s telling that the biggest question Eloy got from the children who playtested the game was, “Do we have to play as girls?” due to the fact since time immemorial, merfolk have almost always been cast as female to the point of it being part of the unconscious collective.

There are only four attributes for kids to keep track of: Body, Mind, Charm (Charisma), and Luck. Attributes for PCs start with five assigned points based on their starting race. For example, a fishfolk has the following starting stats: Body 1, Mind 1, Charm 2, and Luck 1. Then the player gets five extra points to put into stats however they want, with a maximum of five. So a Fish folk could look like anything from Body 5, Mind 1, Charm 3, and Luck 1 to Body 2, Mind 3, Charm 3, Luck 2. There’s a lot of room for flexability which ensures a kid can have whatever type of character they want, from bookworm shark to an extremely strong Jellyfolk. Each starting race also has a free Quality to help it when rolling dice. A Fishfolk gains the free Quality of “Adventurous,” which lets it get an extra white die to roll when discovering something new while an Octofolk gains the Quality Tentacles, which gives them an extra die when trying to accomplish something quickly and yet correctly. Finally, the player then gets to pick a total of four other Qualities from a massive list of thirty regular and ten magic based Qualities. Magic Qualities can be taken freely, but you can never have more Magical Qualities than you do Luck. That’s all there is to character creation. Again, everything is simple, streamlined, and very easy for kids to learn.

The game contains several pages of NPC stats. You can use some of these as pregenerated characters and others as allies or enemies. There are also stat blocks for various aquatic life forms, both mundane and fantastical in nature.

The book ends with five full adventures for kids to play. It’s probably best that a parent acts as the Keeper (DM/GM/Etc) at first, but once kids know the rules pretty well, they can take turns running an adventure instead. The first adventure is “The Rescue” and has the merfolk trying to save the crew and passengers of a sinking ship, all while keeping their existence a secret. “The Queen’s Pearl” has the players finding well…the Queen’s missing pearl. “Undersea Olympics” has characters competing in several sports and is a nice example of how to do an adventure where characters aren’t fighting anything. It’s just good clean sports & fun. “Lost in Dark Tunnels” is the most mature adventure, giving the PCs the mission of trying to find a lost child. “Being Human” has the players wake up on a beach one morning, all magically transformed into humans. The merfolk must figure out how this happened (and why) and how to change back to their real forms. This last adventure is very open ended and should allow the Keeper to start coming up with a series of adventures to play off this one. It’s a nice selection of easy adventures that younger gamers will quickly learn the ins and outs of the system by playing through.

The art of Mermaid Adventures might be its weakest areas. It’s very cartoony and colourful, which I think kids will appreciate. However, because it’s not the typical art found in RPGs, I can see some adults brushing it aside as amateurish or cheesy. Of course, they are not the target audience in much the same way Archie Comics aren’t really written with a 40 year old male in mind. Although I’m not a child, nor do I have/want any of my own, this is definitely the sort of art that would have appealed to me as a young kid, but also something I’d have brushed off as “lame” when in my teens and fully into D&D, Call of Cthulhu, and other RPGs like that. As an adult now I think my feelings towards the art lie somewhere in the middle. Perhaps either quaint or charming would be proper descriptors.

All in all, Mermaid Adventures is a really cute rules lite system that I think a lot of small children can really have fun with. It’s not really something I can see older gamers or even tweens playing a lot of, as they’ll probably want something a little deeper. Still, it’s a wonderful little game to introduce children to the world of tabletop gaming, even if they don’t stick with it for too long. Do you know a budding young gamer who likes your tabletop miniatures but has no idea what you are doing with all those dice and words like “initiative” or phrases like “free action”? Then you might want to consider starting them off with Mermaid Adventures. As it’s only a ten dollar PDF, it won’t break the bank and it just might be the gateway towards your child developing a lifelong love of rolling dice, casting spells, and earning experience.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mermaid Adventures RPG
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API Worldwide: Canada
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/10/2012 15:12:14
The following review was originally published at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=19996.

Worldwide: Canada is a sourcebook for Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. (API) detailing, of course, Canada. But don’t think of this is a geographical reference book as everything inside is geared toward expanding the API setting to the frigid north (in regards to the US of course). If you think about it, Canada is a natural choice for oddities within the API world with its general size and large areas of wilderness. Demons, as they are called in API, can thrive in a land where humans rarely travel. To add to this natural value, the book is filled with great new options including applicable organizations, locations of interest, new races, and two detailed adventures. Even if you don’t want to run a game in Canada, this book is filled with lots of great content that can be incorporated elsewhere.

OVERALL

If you want to confine your Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. games to the borders of the United States, then Worldwide: Canada won’t do you too much good. However, a crafty GM can easily find a way to pull some of the organizations and adversaries in Canada into the northern fringes of the United States. So what does this mean? It means the book is a must have for adventures in Canada and a should have for those near the border. Everything else and it’s just another great addition to your library.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Worldwide: Canada is a well-put together book with a high quality layout and format. There are many minor editing errors, but none that stand out so much they broke the flow of the content. The book follows the same clean, simple layout as with other Third Eye Games’ books and a smattering of great-looking art supports the content. Third Eye Games has a tendency to stick with simple layouts that are efficient and effective, and look great.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
Only about 1/3 of the book contains mechanics, but what is there, really adds value to the system (especially the setting). The new mechanics include character races, equipment, adversaries, paths, elite techniques, and mechanics for fighting in the frozen north. These alone are enough to add plenty of value to the sourcebook, but Third Eye Games includes plenty of content to tie all the mechanics to the setting and create a 3-dimensional description of API’s involvement in Canada.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
Worldwide: Canada is a great value for any API Game Master or player. The only drawback, albeit a small one, is that much of the mechanics are tied directly to the Canadian setting making them a little more difficult to adapt elsewhere. Granted, the intent of the publication is to create mechanics that embrace the Canadian setting, but that also means that if you don’t plan on running any adventures in Canada, then much of the content is lost. While this does not make the product less valuable as it is extremely valuable for those running adventures in Canada, it does mean that its use is very specific and not everyone will find it necessary.

Overall: 9 out of 10
Worldwide: Canada is a great addition to anyone’s API library should they want to branch off their adventures into Canada or even just to run adventures that occur within northern regions (or southern regions in the Southern Hemisphere) similar to that of Canada. Players will find new options for creating characters and outfitting them and Game Masters will find a wealth of new organizations and adversaries to throw at those players. It’s an extremely well-rounded product.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
API Worldwide: Canada
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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
by David C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/28/2012 08:31:20
I love the concept of this ninja rpg and I was enchanted enough to purchase it. I also really like to support small game companies where possible so there is a nice synergy.

However, there are a few glaring problems that keep this product from being a truly great product:

1. There are glaring grammatical errors, that sometimes make it difficult to understand what the writer was even intending to say (sometimes seems as though not written by an English speaker). The designers seriously need spell check and a decent editor on this product. I, for one, find them so glaring it would be worth putting out a revised edition.

2. The dice mechanics are essentially a variation on the OGL that are made overly complex - instead of Reflex, Fortitude, Will we are given specific Fear, Insanity, Flexibility, Balance, etc... checks resulting in a complex series of bonuses. While not specifically a problem, it seems like the needless level of complexity that the OGL was designed to eliminate. Also there is a surplus of bonuses when compared to target numbers that seems to make the dice rolling irrelevant.

3. The rules for Chi (a key mana source in the game) are not sufficiently explained. For example - if your Chi becomes "depleted" it can cause personality changes, yet some Elemental Souls (aka alignment) begin with 0 Yin or Yang Chi. As the rules read, there is no way for these characters to not be depleted. It is also not clear as to exactly how overall Chi level is calculated for purposes of buying Wu Shu (spells). For such an essential (use several times per session/fight) mechanic the writers definitely should have given Chi more elaboration.

4. As with the White Wolf system it is copied from, the Wu Shu system has grievous disparity of power. For example "Way of Heaven's Judgement" provides 4 different overlapping Wu Shu for determining truth, but only 2 Wu Shu that might help in combat, and those might never help the character unless chasing a guilty individual. By contrast "Way of Great Serpents" is filled with 7 different Wu Shu that help a character in combat.

5. There is very little in the way of a money/purchase/resouce system, the system relies on GM decision in "giving appropriate gear" based on Class. Considering how important shuriken, weapons, clothing, costumes, and gadgets are to the ninja this is a poor choice.

6. The world description is nice, but as with most of the "Game master" section there is insufficient adversaries. The only actually intelligent "villain" is the Empire, and they are described vaguely at best - for example there is no description of how the government functions (Does it use Daimyo's, Judges, Samurai, Lords?) and most notably there is no "arch villain" such as a powerful evil ninja or clever Oni. Also it seems that the Empire is surrounded by nations that are either weak or are allied, so there is little to indicate that could/would employ ninja against the empire.

7. Highly complex character creation will involve needing multiple books to create characters as there are 3 different shopping elements in character creation (Skills, Wu Shu, Bonus Points) that will likely involve intense reading. Esimated time for character creation with an experienced group 2-4 hours.

All that being said, I have been having fun contstructing my own variation of the campaign setting and there is alot of originality in this game.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
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Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/17/2012 20:23:00
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a modern fantasy horror setting powered by an action-oriented system designed for interactive combat encounters and flexibility in character creation. It takes place in an alternate version of Earth where a company, called Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. (API), has been thwarting major disasters for centuries, keeping the world safe from that which aims to destroy or enslave it. API uses diplomacy first and combat second, resulting in a world where non-humans (colloquially referred to as demons) live side-by-side with humans. These demons find employment within API to fight against the malevolent demons that wish humanity harm.

API uses a rollover d20 system by utilizing the appropriate attribute and skill combination as a modifier to your d20 roll against a known target number (using the chart for difficulty). Each action has an associated combination dependent upon what is being performed. This dice rolling method is used throughout.

OVERALL

I definitely recommend Apocalypse Prevention, Inc for a multitude of reasons including: cinematic action (via the DGS combat system), flexible character creation and advancement, and a great approach to modern horror that puts the power in the hands of the characters to stop and destroy the horrors that threaten the world. The only thing missing is a pre-designed adventure that gives a glimpse into what the designer was aiming for in the setting’s mechanics and fluff.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a wonderfully produced book. Its layout and formatting is very simple and extremely effective. There is a good amount of illustrations, mostly character portraits, that look really good and fit the action feel the setting creates. I found a lot of editing mistakes, but nothing of major concern. The PDF is extensively bookmarked which makes navigation a lot easier, especially when using it for quick reference during game-play. Third Eye Games tends to pay a lot of attention to layout and formatting to produce a product that is extremely easy to read.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
I have previously read and reviewed Wu Xing and Part-Time Gods. Wu Xing uses the same Dynamic Gaming System as Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. while Part-Time Gods uses a lite version. As-is, the Dynamic Gaming System is designed to be extremely cinematic, simulating what real hand-to-hand combat is like. This works perfectly Wu Xing but I can see it getting bogged down a bit during certain encounters in Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. I’d rather see the DGS-Lite version in Apocalypse Prevention, Inc., but that may defeat some of the “action horror” style designed into the setting. DGS fits into the cinematic action possible, but I see most encounters being less hand-to-hand and more ranged and tactical. With that said, all other mechanics for the Dynamic Gaming System fit perfectly in Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. providing a high number of options for creating the different types of agents working for API.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a modern action horror version of Earth with a twist of fantasy. It’s like taking the non-Godlike mythos from Cthulhu and combining it with Men In Black and throwing in some magic to boot. There aren’t very many action horror games where the characters are not creatures of gothic horror fame (such as vampires or werewolves), putting the power back into the hands of humanity and its allies to fight against the horrors that breach the inter-dimensional portals and step foot upon Earth. The setting’s theme is beautiful and comes through quite clearly within the fluff and the mechanics. But you’re not tied to playing a human, you can also choose from one of humanity’s allied “demons” (a demon is any species living on earth that is not a human) working for API hunting the malevolent beings that don’t belong. If you’re looking for modern fantasy horror with cinematic and possibly humorous action, then Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. really fits the bill!

Overall: 9 out of 10
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. is a great system and setting, and one that feels familiar. Being placed in an alternate version of modern times allows Game Masters to produce great adventures set in real world locations they can research by simply traveling there, finding pictures, or reading a magazine. One thing I really like about the content of the publication is how the mechanics are tied to the fluff, including the background history of the legal demons. I’m not a big fan of using the term demons as there are good demons, bad demons, legal demons, and illegal demons. To me it can quickly get confusing, but it is just a term (like alien.) I am, however, a big fan of the flexibility with character creation and advancement, alleviating the need for restrictive character classes that stifle your creativity. Essentially, you can truly make an API campaign your game in many different ways.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
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Wu Xing: The Land of Seed and Blossom
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2012 00:38:07
WHAT WORKS: Crazy cool new powers, which is kind of the Wu Xing specialty, and a group of unique clans, who have a whole game mechanic that somewhat sets them apart from the Lotus ninjas (the Birthstones). The writing has great flow, as the Province descriptions move seamlessly from one clan to the next. The book is full of plot seeds that can be picked up on and developed. I nearly complained about how the new clans were kind of useless with the old clans, due to hostilities, but that was resolved nicely with the adventure.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: I'm a sucker for a good bestiary, and Wu Xing doesn't have one. Oni are still vaguely defined, and one art piece has ninja fighting off carnivorous plants, which are kind of outside the purview of the setting thus far. Shouldn't be too hard to swipe monsters from Part-Time Gods or API, but what if folks don't HAVE those games?

CONCLUSION: I still love Wu Xing for all its crazy, over the top stuff like turning into bug swarms and transforming your bones into weapons. A very worthy collection of material for Wu Xing and a very promising start to the regional sourcebook series. In fact, I would say the adventure is the most *useful* adventure included in a Third Eye Games book because of how simply and effectively it ties the Lands of Seed and Blossom to the Lotus Coalition. Strong recommendation for Wu Xing fans.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/01/tommys-take-o-
n-wu-xing-land-of-seed-and.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Land of Seed and Blossom
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Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
by Charles M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2011 11:04:07
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc. (API) API calls itself “An action horror RPG… with a twist of humor.” Reading it reminds me of movies like Men in Black, where the action and weirdness are so over the top that you can’t really take it seriously; where the dark evil things in the universe are fought with magic, big guns, snark, and sarcasm. The PCs work for API, a business whose mission is to keep humanity safe from the things that threaten the planet – plagues, demons, aliens, etc. So rather than being a post-apocalypse game, it’s an apocalypse prevention game.

How does it play? API uses Third Eye Games' “Dynamic Gaming System (DGS). That uses a single D20 roll for all actions. Characters are created from a Concept, Passion, and Race. The attributes are assigned from a 30 point pool. The attributes are Power, Agility, Vigor, Intellect, Insight, and Charm. These more or less correspond to D20’s Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, and Cha. However, the point values are on a spread from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 10. Since die rolls are 1d20 + attribute + skill, there’s no need for higher attribute points. This actually makes sense: why use D20’s scale where attribute= table look-up for modifier when you can just add the value directly to the die roll? Well played. Skills are on a 1 to 10 scale, also. The rules list 20 standard skills and 12 combat skills. Skills specialize at specific levels. Experience points are used to buy skill points, bonus points, or attribute points instead of acting as a level-up measure. Combat is fast-paced and deadly enough that avoiding it might be a good first choice. I’d happily play or GM this game, based on the rules, examples, and plot hooks provided.
4 out of 5.

Does it have good Layout, Style and Art? The book (pdf) has a color over with black and white interior. The page layout is a two-column setup with different “blood” splatters on most pages. There are plenty of text boxes to highlight key points. The text reads well. Some of the writing could use a bit more “polish” in editing and there are a few typos, but overall it is clear and easily understood. Interior art includes anime-style sketches that fit the text well and help convey the look and feel of the world. The author provides good examples throughout the text. The book includes a thorough index.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
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Part-Time Gods
by Michael C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/06/2011 19:44:29
My first thought looking at Part-Time Gods was that, if White Wolf were to make a superpowers game for the World of Darkness, it would look a lot like this. It has many of the same ideas: supernaturally-endowed people hiding amongst humanity, split into several societies that they hang out with, all with different agendas. It works there, and it works in this game as well.

First off, the book is pretty to look at. The illustrations are nice, and I like the side borders. It adds a nice gothy/dark feel to it. The layout is easy to read and nicely written. There's a good history on the world and people in it that's not too lengthy big gives you a good idea of what's happened and what's going on now.

The point of the game is that you're playing ordinary people that have been given the divine Spark, which makes them gods on the level of the Asgardians or Olympians. However, they need humanity to keep them grounded, some kind of attachment to a person, group or location (no items - there's a good explanation why), otherwise they're overtaken by their divinity and the basically go insane, becoming more a force of nature than a god who listens to followers.

I like this take on the achievement of godhood. In a lot of games of this sort, you have to separate yourself from humanity because you're no longer one of them. Here, you need them in order to keep being the person you are.

In reading it, we get to my biggest gripe about the game: It really needs to be proofread. There's no spelling errors to speak of, but a lot of cases where the wrong version of words were used: accept/except, they're/there, picque/peak, etc. Seeing that is kind of jarring to me.

The mechanics are nice and simple: Attribute + skill +d20. You use that for everything, and it works quite nicely.

Making characters can be a little lengthy, but that's because it requires a little forethought. Like I said before, human attachments are required to keep your sanity, so you have to decide who or what you're attached to, like a parent, sibling, best friend, organization, whatever. Names are good, too. So you have to plan out a little ahead of time.However, the creation system is fairly straightforward, so it's not a problem at all.

My only other problem with the game is in the setting setting. When you make your character, you pick which group you're a part of, like Clans in Vampire. In this case, they're called "Theologies." I had some trouble sympathizing or finding something to like about most of them. While they all do have some strengths that are good for characters, most of them seem like a bunch of right bastards. This is a minor thing, however, and might make for a good role-playing challenge.

All-in-all, though, I enjoyed looking at this game and I look forward to playing it with my group. The setting is clever and nicely thought out, and the mechanics are simple and easy to do. Characters are complete with a little preplanning and balanced out well. I'd definitely recommend Part-Time Gods.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Part-Time Gods
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Wicked Quills (Clan for Wu Xing)
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 12/05/2011 23:59:26
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Wicked Quills is a new microsupplement for Wu Xing, tying in nicely with Land of Seed and Blossom which released last month, introducing a new clan called, well, The Wicked Quills. They are a clan of ninja that are constantly besieged and don't get along well with others...oh, and they have crazy wushu involving their hair. In fact, this supplement introduces the Way of the Piercing Jacket, which allows them to use their hair to great effect as a weapon...and I don't just mean the hair on their heads. The effects include hair jackets, stiffening their hair into quills - and firing them, and hair strangleholds.

WHAT WORKS: Well, a new Wushu and a new clan are always nice. The hair powers are very interesting, if a bit niche. There's only one piece of art here, and it's gorgeous.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Well, they're hair ninjas. That's a pretty big oddity, but that's also a good reason why they weren't in Land of Seed and Blossom, and are instead floating around for hardcore completists to buy or ignore. I did catch a typo or two in the text, but nothing major.

CONCLUSION: Thoroughly unessential for someone who likes Wu Xing but doesn't get to run it very often, but a very cool, quirky and unique option for the hardcore Wu Xing group, or even for a GM who just wants to toss his PCs a curveball.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wicked Quills (Clan for Wu Xing)
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Part-Time Gods
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/26/2011 21:03:55
Part-Time Gods is the latest DGS-powered game by Third Eye Games, although this uses the new DGS-Lite system. It is properly placed within modern day, essentially today, filled with characters that carry divine characteristics. Gods and goddesses are now found everywhere, although not quite with the strength you would think. Part-Time Gods is not only a romp through the streets with divine power, but a struggle of balance between becoming a full-fledged god and retaining a semblance of human-like qualities such as devotion to your family.

This is not a game that simply turns humans into gods, it places responsibility into their hands (or rather forces it upon them without their knowledge) and allows the player to role-play their life as they balance being human and exhibiting godlike abilities. These ideas are developed directly into the mechanics with everything tying together flawlessly.

OVERALL

Part-Time Gods is a richly created system with game mechanics that are designed into the theme rather than the theme being simply placed on top of pre-existing game mechanics. The move to DGS-Lite is advantageous to the style of play concerning combat as the setting is meant to be focused upon much more than just regular combat. In fact, after reading through it, I wonder how often typical combat would actually come into play. There are lots of role-playing opportunities and stories will be filled with depth and flavor. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to broaden their role-playing horizons.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 10 out of 10
Third Eye Games consistently produces high-quality books. Not only does Part-Time Gods follow that same idea, but it also contains some very interesting illustrations. While picturing characters as unstoppable gods or goddesses, there are plenty of illustrations that give the illusion of being characters that are almost superheroes or at least very powerful spellcasters. However, when you move to the multitude of pre-generated characters, the illustrations show a different picture. These illustrations depict regular people who don’t appear to exhibit any fantastical powers. This is what the game is about. Regular people who have been given fantastical powers and abilities (as they travel the road to godhood) that make them feel or appear as though they are almost superheroes. It’s brilliant!

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
Part-Time Gods presents the players with a number of new mechanics that link their character to the real world along with the divine world. While the divine mechanics are fairly simple relating to divine powers, theologies, and worshipers, connecting characters to the real world through means other than role-playing is not quite as easy. Characters are kept grounded with mechanics that ties them directly (either emotionally or mentally) to people, places, and/or organizations within their regular lives. The mechanics present bonuses and penalties for using these connections in addition to mechanics that allow you to break these ties (through force or desire) thus creating new bonuses and/or penalties. Essentially, instead of just allowing you to role-play your connection to the human world, the mechanics create those connections and give them in-game effects giving the player a reason to role-play and continue their human-life connections.

Desire to Play: 10 out of 10
Part-Time Gods is extremely unique. You’re not playing divine beings in the middle ages nor are you playing spellcasters in modern times. This is modern divine fantasy like no other; you are playing regular people in the modern day that have been given divine abilities and can strive toward godhood. The game is full of flavor and the characters are full of depth. If you’re looking for something completely different, this definitely fills that niche.

Overall: 10 out of 10
One of the greatest strengths of Part-Time Gods is how the mechanics tie the player characters not only to their divine abilities but also the real world and the regular men, women, places, and things they live with. There is a sense of dramatic role-playing along with fantastical combat and basically everything in-between.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Part-Time Gods
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Part-Time Gods
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/01/2011 22:16:35
WHAT WORKS: Again, the art and layout are a step beyond anything Third Eye Games has produced to date, and maintaining the same cover price as the previous two corebooks. The Manifestations cover a wide range of standardized effects, with details from Dominions being used to keep them from all being identical. The backstory is crazy, but cool, and does a nice job of explaining WHY the Part-Time Gods need their humanity. The Source being the fueling power behind The Outsiders also pretty much provides any excuse to use any kind of monster you want, really. Once more, Eloy Lasanta sets up a great premise without a metaplot driving it.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: Not a fan of the cover art. Something about the artist's style just didn't click with me. Interior stuff? Fantastic. Exterior? If I wasn't a big fan of Third Eye Games already, I'd probably overlook this just looking at the cover. Also, I'm not a fan of the "buy your way into the game" thing that's so common in Kickstarter. I get WHY it's there, but it's my least favorite part of the book, easy. Cool for the people represented in the book, I'm sure, though. None of the Theologies really "jumped" out at me the way they were presented. I don't mind the concept, but in "faction" RPGs, I can usually find something that would REALLY appeal to me as a player, and none of the eight did that.

CONCLUSION: If I had to go to a deserted island with just one Third Eye Games book, it would still be Wu Xing. That's not a knock against Part-Time Gods, that's just how awesome I think Wu Xing is. That said, Eloy's distinctive voice as an author again hits a home run, this time believably humanizing Gods in an RPG setting, and providing new mechanics that reinforce the need for the newly Divine to hold onto their mortal ties for as long as possible. He has now released a trifecta of great corebooks, each with a similar feel but still very much distinct from one another, and the streamlining of the Combat should go a long ways towards swaying some folks who found the other two games too cumbersome in combat.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/08/tommys-take-o-
n-part-time-gods.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Part-Time Gods
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/07/2011 19:55:09
Part-Time Gods is awesome. It's well-written (with the occasional mistake- but that could be attributed to sleep deprivation (misspellings, homophone misusage, etc) or just plain not having enough editing), has lots of content, good art, and enough fluff to smooth things along but enough crunch to get things going.

Now, I liked Wu Xing, one of Third Eye Games' other games, so I wanted to see how this compares. Part-Time Gods focuses a lot less on martial arts, but comes out the better for it (mind you, not if you wanted martial arts), with a d20-based system with modifiers (normally I'd whine endlessly, but for gods I'll make an exception) powering a smooth narrative gameplay. It takes what I like about d6's advantage/disadvantage system, adds in a non-obtuse magic system, and ports it to d20, more or less, if you want a general feel of how the system works.

There's also a focus on nice, consistent styled art. It's good, but there are a couple times when I feel that the proportions are just too horrible to comprehend (almost every woman in the book has a midriff that would imply a 45 degree turn away from the viewer in relation to the rest of her body, without appropriate cues for this). All in all, though, it's well done and interesting without being intrusive.

Admittedly, it really depends on what group you could get in when roleplaying, but with the right group Part-Time Gods is wonderful and excellent, and a definite go for a group that doesn't like overly dark and oppressive settings, but does enjoy a nice grand conspiracy and checking under the bed once in a while.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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