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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!]
Click here to issue a publisher reply
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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Part-Time Gods
by Celestial D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2011 08:26:52
Part-Time Gods is an excellent game, in my opinion. It's one of my favorite roleplaying games to date (this coming from someone that has gamed two decades) and I can't wait to start playing it.

In this game, you play a god on modern-day earth, empowered with the powers of divinity... and you inherit the responsibilities and epic dangers of that station as well. You must face rival gods, mythical being called Outsiders, and quasi-divine people called Touched. You must also manage followers, protect your territory, and form pantheons (alliances) with trusted gods. Of course, while doing all this you have to maintain your job, pay your bills, make sure your kids do good in school, and get the oil changed on your car on Tuesday. (Wait, what?) See, that's where the "part-time" comes in: Your human life and its concerns don't just disappear when you're invested with godly power, and you must balance both halves of your life.

Each god has a Theology, which describes his basic beliefs and approach to divinity; unlike pantheons, which are local, Theologies are greater movements inside god society -- they are "splats," so to speak. You also have a Dominion, which determines what kind of god you are: Are you a goddess of storms, the lord of hawks, or the patron spirit of honor? Dominions are very open-ended, allowing you to play any sort of god you want. The system behind Dominions is one of the game's strongest points.

One of the biggest draws of the game in my opinion is the writing. Matters of theology and faith can be weighty and controversial, and some games (like Demon: the Fallen) spin that angle well. However, PTG's approach is more lighthearted. The game has a sense of humor woven throughout, making it an enjoyable read. Not that this is a comedic game or parody of itself; there's serious subject matter in the book, and being a god isn't always fun when an enemy god and his Outsider minions are trying to kill you. But the game doesn't take itself too seriously, and doesn't impose an overarching theme too heavily -- you can play up the drama, or comic relief, or whatever you want without compromising the game's intent.

I don't have the space or time to write a full review here, but I do have one on my blog if you'd like to read it:
http://ihatealllife.blogspot.com/2011/07/part-time-gods--
game-review.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Part-Time Gods
by Jay S. A. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2011 06:31:55
Part-Time Gods is well thought out, and presents a perfectly feasible urban-fantasy rpg about gods hidden among mortals. While it feels very familiar to the World of Darkness, I didn’t feel that it was derivative or a half-hearted copy. I’m pleased with it, and the system is simple enough to teach to new players and GMs and get them started right away.

I’d be very happy to recommend Part-Time Gods as an RPG for any group as it has a little of everything. Tacticians will enjoy the options in combat, story driven players will delight in the Bonds and Passions, and GMs won’t feel like they’re unprepared. Part-Time Gods is a solid RPG that can support one-shots and long term play, with just the right kind of crunch to keep things interesting.

After being burned by Scion, I think that this might just be my go-to game for urban fantasy gods.

For my full review, please check out http://philgamer.wordpress.com/2011/07/05/review-part-time-g-
ods-by-third-eye-games/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
by Arkham D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2011 01:01:49
Interesting take on monsters / demons in the modern / future world. Lot's of material to "flesh" out a campaign (no pun intended when it comes to the "Tark")... Some editorial issues in the rules (repetition of the same description in close poximity, etc), but overall good. Would have liked to have seen more pictures in the rules, but that's a personal preference...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Apocalypse Prevention, Inc.
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Wu Xing: The Firebrands
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/23/2011 21:27:37
The Firebrands is a clan sourcebook delving deeper and expanding upon the Blazing Dancers and Virtuous Body Gardeners clans. The publication is a combination of narrative source material, in-game mechanics, and short adventure with a storyline that times from beginning to end. In addition, there are three new clans introduced in the same fashion as the core rulebook and a landslide of new mechanics to coincide with the narrative source material. The Firebrands is an excellent sourcebook that really encompasses a great amount of valuable material to expand upon these two clans.

OVERALL

The Firebrands is a sourcebook with an interesting presentation. With a combination of storyline, narrative, and in-game mechanics that presents the reader with a lot of options for Blazing Dancer and Virtuous Body Gardner characters, adventures, and campaigns. And in case you’re wondering, I asked the author Eloy Lasanta about using the title The Firebrands in which he explained to me that The Firebrands represents chaos and change, which encompasses these two clans. In addition, they are both the fire-aspected clans within the system. It made perfect sense to me and I really like the title in addition to how the content is presented. Highly recommended!

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 9 out of 10
The Firebrands is a beautifully assembled publication. Not only is it laid-out well and filled with awesome illustrations, but the narrative sections all flow very well. When I read them (excluding the prologue Confessions), I get the feeling of the method one would use when introducing someone new to their world and their surroundings. Somewhat like a tourist guide but in a fashion similar to training. I can visualize myself asking this person questions, and then I read their response. Such as “What is that large building there?” and the content begins to point out that building, explain its purpose, and give a bit of history or detail or simply description. It reads like a story. Once you read through the narrative, you come upon the section where it’s all brought into the game with real in-game mechanics including character creation options. The Firebrands really ties the content into the system very well.

Mechanics: 10 out of 10
The Firebrands contains a great number of new mechanics. However, the way in which these new mechanics shine the most is how they directly tie into the source material, giving the storyline purpose. I especially like how these two clans are brought to life and given new options to coincide with the depth and color being painted in the narrative.

Value Add: 9 out of 10
The Firebrands is a great addition for GMs and players, not only for those who wish to run characters from one of the two clans. There is a large amount of source material here detailing the lands in which these clans live along with some of their background and history which can be directly used for adventures and campaigns. The only thing that is out of place is the three new clans simply introduced. This small addition to the publication is completely outside of the context and purpose of the bulk of the content and would fit better elsewhere. This doesn’t reduce the value but rather means if you desire the ability to play one of these new clans, you need to purchase this clan sourcebook even if you don’t want to use the rest of the content.

Overall: 9 out of 10
The Firebrands is a definite must for anyone player who wants to be a Blazing Dancer or Virtuous Body Gardener character and GMs who want to run adventures or campaigns within the lands of one of these clans. There is so much valuable content concerning these two clans that you can fully flesh out all the details and add a wealth of depth to your game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Firebrands
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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/12/2011 21:32:18
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade claims itself to be a “Action RPG of Martial Arts, Mysticism and Rebellion” and truly sticks to that description. The setting is influence, quite obviously even, by traditional Asian themes such as Taoism (Yin and Yang) and ch’i (qi). However, the setting itself is unique (although influenced by Asian legends and folklore) and contained within its own world filled with ninja and a seemingly large empire. Traditional fantasy themes are replaced by those of martial arts philosophies and cinematic fiction. The setting, and much of the mechanics, is also influenced by martial arts Anime creating a seemingly over-the-top effect filled with kick-butt ninja action!

Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade is powered by the Dynamic Gaming System. A basic roll-over d20 system where bonuses are added from a characters attributes and skills and then compared against a fairly standard target number (doesn’t float around as much as THE d20 System). The system utilizes only a single d20 with in-game mechanics based upon bonuses and penalties instead of using different dice for each roll. After learning how the mechanics work (as noted later on), it almost seems as if the system was built around the non-stop, martial arts action prevalent throughout the setting. Game-play should be very dynamic, interactive and filled with ninja action!

OVERALL

One of the strongest points of Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade is how the mechanics can replicate high-action, cinematic combat (common to many ninja-themed movies and Anime). If you’re ever looking to replicate this type of gaming experience, then this is the game for you. The setting is very focused upon the atmosphere it’s trying to create (that of the latest war referred to as The Ninja Crusade) and characters are bound to find themselves wholly absorbed into that setting. As stated before, the game is very dynamic and very interactive.

RATINGS

Publication Quality: 8 out of 10
The chapter-by-chapter layout and presentation is very smooth and well done. Along with lots of great looking illustrations, the publication quality is high. However, the overall layout of what order the content appears could be improved upon. I found myself skipping ahead to Character Building to make sense of the Clans section (where the in-game mechanics for choosing a clan are found). While seemingly minor, I found myself not fully understanding the first two chapters due to a lack of knowledge concerning how to create a character. Once you get past this hurdle, everything flows well and the content is very easy to read. This content is also done in a very concise manner which meant I rarely found myself misunderstanding what was being presented. Much of this is easily overlooked when you see the illustrations and how awesome some of them are. While they have a bit of an Anime feel, they are definitely fit perfectly with the settings theme.

Mechanics: 9 out of 10
I love how the mechanics fit in so well with the martial arts, action theme. When you think of a cinematic fight between two ninjas, it’s a constant exchange of blows – actions and reactions. The choices you make effect the length of time your action and reaction requires. The seemingly more difficult the move is, the more time it should take. And as opposed to simply taking turns, a single round is interactive in which all characters are performing moves instead of simply waiting until your opponent resolves all their actions. Another big plus is how the mechanics are tailored to fit the theme of the setting (such as wushu replacing magic). Character creation is fairly straight forward but the number of character bonuses and penalties can be a bit daunting. There are a lot of bonuses/penalties to calculate outside of a simple bonus-to-hit or bonus-to-damage. There are bonuses/penalties for the different combat moves and opposed checks and it becomes a bit much. You don’t want players to worry about too many mechanics during game-play. However, this fairly minor and the system still works wonderfully with the setting’s theme.

Desire to Play: 9 out of 10
For a game focused on high-action martial arts, there’s no need to look any further than Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade. Many of the Asian themes and influence come through quite nicely and the interactive turn sequence means that combat should never be dull. Many of the stereotypes surrounding ninjas and their high-velocity combat is felt within the mechanics (especially the fighting styles in chi). This is a definite, solid action system that keeps all players involved in every step of that action.

Overall: 9 out of 10
With solid mechanics, an interactive system that reproduces cinematic action and a fully fleshed out setting, Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade is an excellent choice for fun-filled action adventures. Those who enjoy Anime and ninja-clad movies should get plenty of enjoyment out of this game. Those who enjoy high-action, cinematic combat will also get lots of enjoyment out of this game. There’s even opportunities for long-term campaigns pinning the PCs in a struggling rebellion against a repressive empire.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
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Wu Xing: The Firebrands
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 05/10/2011 19:05:19
What Works: The adventure is very well done if you don't mind a fairly linear adventure, and is keyed to the strengths of the Inks and Dancers (ESPECIALLY the Dancers). The extra information on the clans is great, from the different sects inside the Dancers (and the mechanical support in the form of Gifts) to the different types of body modifications for the Inks, and the new Wushu is some pretty great stuff. The Gracious Illustrators and the Winds of Aion are interesting extensions spinning off of the existing clan concepts, providing more options for players. The production values take a step up here with tighter editing than the core book had and a GORGEOUS cover. Having the "perspective" characters from the Wu Xing corebook as narrators in the Clan chapters was a very nice touch.

What Doesn't Work: I'm not a fan of large chunks of books written from an in-character perspective, and many of the voices felt so similar that I didn't realize at first that we were switching narrators on my initial read-through. The Grey Tigers are a cool concept, but just seem very out of place to me in *this* book...seeming like they would be much more at home in a book about the Recoiling Serpents or the Pack of the Black Moon. In fact, the only link I could see to the Dancers or Inks was that they count Way of the Fire among their Favored Wushu.

Conclusion: The Blazing Dancers are not one of my favorite clans, but this book does a lot to make them very cool. While there is some room for improvement, the basic template for future clan books is in place and looks great. Like any great supplement, there's nothing in here that you ABSOLUTELY NEED in order to play Wu Xing, but if you like Wu Xing, you will have a lot of cool stuff you can use, especially if you are a fan of The Blazing Dancers or Virtuous Body Gardners. Great start to the Clanbook series...I can't wait to see what's next.

For my full review, please visit: http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2011/05/tommys-take-o-
n-wu-xing-firebrands.html

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Firebrands
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Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
by Lee L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/27/2011 11:15:36
Wu Xing takes all the things I love about Ninja based anime and rolls it into an elegant, fast and east to play system set in a world of intrigue and contradictions. An Emperor who want the Ninja dead, yet has ninja power himself, and one of his major allies is one of the ninja clan he is fighting against.

A fantastic game with a lot of rich background and fantastic online support! I have to say, I now need to pick up other products by Third Eye Games. If they are half as good as this book, I will be a very happy gamer!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade
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