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BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition $19.99
Average Rating:4.4 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
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BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Christopher D C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/28/2013 22:19:12
BIG EYES, SMALL MOUTH 3rd Edition (or BESM 3e) is sadly the final bow for the Tri-Stat System, as Guardians Of Order went out of business in 2006 and White Wolf/Arthaus has declined to continue supporting the Tri-Stat line (for both legal and financial reasons). This is truly a pity, as BESM 3e is one of the best multi-genre RPGs ever published and is a fitting capstone to the Tri-Stat Era. It has just about everything a gamer could ask for: an easy to learn rules system, character creation options that allow you to build any sort of hero or heroine you can think of (and I do mean ANY sort, the rules allow you that much flexibility), fast-as-lightning combat rules, an extensive section on equipment, helpful hints for Game Masters, and even a "multi-verse" campaign setting. There are also options that allow you to play a stripped down, "Basic" version of BESM 3e to make the game even more versitile, and there's even a "Take 6" variant that lets you play the game without using dice at all!

Only a few small quibbles keep this from being a full 5-star review. As other reviewers have mentioned, the Dynamic Powers Attribute is very poorly defined here; I suspect this was a problem with the editing, as previous editions of BESM and Tri-Stat dX have made it far clearer what a character can do with Dynamic Powers (for example, Tri-Stat dX states a character may use Dynamic Powers to simulate a number of Attribute Levels equal to twice the level in Dynamic Powers, with the restriction that no one simulated Attribute may have a Level higher than the original Dynamic Powers Level). Only one sample character is provided; a few more examples would have been helpful, especially ones for NPCs with lower point values. And for long-time players of BESM 1e and 2e, they have to rework every character/equipment sheet they've created, as the changes in 3e make it completely incompatible with all earlier Tri-Stat products.

But all in all, BESM 3e is a master work, and well deserving of a place in your RPG library. The demise of the Tri-Stat System is a sad thing, but it certainly went out on a high note with BIG EYES, SMALL MOUTH 3rd Edition. And if you're not really a fan of Japanese animation, don't let that keep you away from BESM 3e: you can, after all, do ANYTHING you want with the rules....

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Matija P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/29/2012 10:33:46
This is probably the best roleplaying system ever devised. We have been playing the 2ed and 3ed for 5 years now, playing d&d before that for at least 10.

Even though the book focuses on anime, the rules themselves can be applied to anything. We do not play anime themed campaigns, instead we at first used it to run a typical D&D 3.5ed campaign. Except the focus got removed from killing things and taking their stuff into actual heroics and character development. What it should have been about all along.

Only thing you should avoid in this system is the dynamic powers attribute, it has been planted there as a "catch all" exception handler, and it is seriously not necessary. Power flux does the job just as well.

My group became very evangelical about this rules system, and we converted quite a few other gaming groups to it, once they gotten over the "I am not being railroaded" shock.
Simply said, new players try to look at attributes, then make their character after them (as they used to do in D&D, by picking a class, then tailoring a personality to fit that class), while in BESM you first make a personality, and then it is a simple measure of picking attributes to go with it.

The game avoids numerous issues in other roleplaying systems, and doesn't introduce any issues of its own, except perhaps the need for someone to guide you through the book initially (depending on how quick you are to figure things out). The system looks very daunting at first glance, but once you get the basics down, it is the easiest system ever to work with.

I am almost always a DM, and no other system ever let me create opponents as unique and interesting as this. Players claim the same for their character concepts, you are absolutely not limited by anything but your imagination. Also, characters do not grow as "tall, thin pillars" as they do in systems like D&D, instead they become more and more versatile, which avoid the horror of having each character play its own small part, while others wait, that is so common in D&D and similar systems.

All in all, get this, and play any campaign of any style you can possibly imagine.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 05/29/2012 23:04:08
I was eagerly anticipating the release of BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition. Of course by the time it was released Guardians of Order had gone belly up and the rules were now being released by Arthaus/White Wolf. My anticipation was tinged a little with stress. What had happened to the game I had just recently become very fond of and what was going to happen now? And of course would I be able to convert Willow and Tara to new version given how much fun I had with BESM 2nd Ed Revised?

Well many of fears were put to rest, only to be replaced by new ones (and a couple that just never seemed to go away). I'll detail those all below.

Briefly here are my comments on the system and the book.

The book is very attractive and one of the most colorful RPGs I have seen in a long time. It reminds me of Mutants and Masterminds in terms of color. It is a thick tome, and now sized to fit well on my shelf. The Niko Geyer artwork is great and really captures the feel of the game well. On the other hand I have seen all this artwork before, maybe not in color, but certainly in other editions of this book. Now I understand that money was very tight at GoO and the art is great, so I am willing to cut them some slack here.
The text though also has the same problems. There is text in here that I am now reading for the 5th or 6th time over (BESM 2.0, BESM d20, SAS, SASd20, Tri-Stat core). Some of this text still has the same problems as it always did (Dynamic Powers in particular).

I do like what is new. The analysis of anime, maps of Japan and Tokyo, and the overview of Shôjo anime. The section about the anime multiverse is also rather fun and full of ideas that can be used for any game. Especially as a way to run those pesky crossover sessions.

The new game mechanics are now a Roll-over; 2d6 vs. Target Number. Makes it very much in feel with Unisystem. No Success levels as such, but a very loose difficulty class system similar to many d20 based games. It was reading over these rules in fact that help re-tool my dice mechanic for Unisystem that I have come to call The Chicago Way .
But otherwise it is still mostly the same BESM. We still have our 3 Stats, Body, Mind and Soul. Still have attributes, defects and skills. There are different scalings for the game depending how you want to play it.
Like M&M the powers are all effects based. So if you wanted to make a Pyro Girl for example its not a matter of choosing levels in pyrokenesis, but choosing a particular power and have it act like it. This could be Elemental Control (Fire), Power Flux- Fire or something else.

That gets me to a big issue. Magic.

Magic has always been an issue in BESM. There are basically three magical powers. The first is the easiest. Pick a power and call it magical. No big deal really.

The second is Power Flux, which used to be called magic. The idea here is pay for this at 15 points per level and you get 4 points per level to buy any other power temporarily. For that loss of 11 points per level you gain flexibility. So every power in the book then becomes a spell that your magic using character can use. So lets take the power Invisibility as an example. The power says you become invisible, it does not say how or why. Since its results or effect based then the Invisibility power can come from magic, be a spell cast by Power Flux, or be a cloaking device of a super-science item. Power Flux does not just have to be magic, it can psi powers, super-science, or just about anything else. For people starting out in BESM I say go with Power Flux. This is what I usually do for starting games and my Teen Witch below uses Power Flux.

Then there is Dynamic Power. Dynamic Power used to be Dynamic Sorcery, but the name change didnt help clear anything up. It is bought like Power Flux (including some of the exact same text copied and pasted in). Now the idea here is to be able to replicate all those kewl powerz you see in anime that the characters just seem to think of and they get. The really weird stuff. The trouble is the power as written is ripe for abuse and it is not very clear. Turning to BESM d20 you can get an idea of what it can do there, but none of that is here. So there is no telling what a person with 3 levels in this can do say differently from what someone with 3 levels in Power Flux do.

The BESM d20 version has Dynamic Sorcery (its equivalent) casting D&D type spells with restrictions on how many, which ones and how often. But nothing like that here. IF I am going to use Dynamic Powers I am going to have to figure out a way to convert over the magic in BESM d20 Advanced Magic for some guidelines.

Though I should not *have* to do this I am going to take my cues on proper leveling from BESM d20 Advanced Magic. There Dynamic Sorcery goes to 10, to make life easier I am going to limit it to 5 levels in BESM 3.0 (level 6 is the realm of Gods). This will correspond to 1 BESM 3.0 level equaling 2 BESM d20 levels. Not perfect, but it is a guideline. Similarly Ill say 1 BESM 3.0 level of Dynamic Powers is roughly equal to having 2 levels of Magic/Sorcery. Its not perfect, but it works well enough.
Still though, I am unhappy with this power as written. Its a cool idea, but not as it is now. Ill revisit this when I do the BESM d20 conversions.

More Mechanics
The rest is very familiar. The main feature of the system is still the Tri-Stat, or Body, Mind and Soul. All skills, attributes and defects as well combat roles are made with these three in mind. They range up to 12, but cannot go over.

Attributes and Skills convert pretty much as is. BESM 3.0s new mechanic is such that the chances of success for a character is about the same as their Unisystem counter-part. Many of the Attributes are nearly the same as Unisystem with minor name differences; Tough vs. Hard to Kill for example.

BESM 3 Skills are now part of Attributes, but otherwise mostly unchanged. Skill Levels range 1 to 6, with 0 as unskilled or unable to use this skill and 5 representing the human maximum in most cases.

I like BESM. I wish more people did too. Despite it's flaws (and it still has them) it is a great little game. I like what it can offer other games too. The biggest tragedy of BESM 3.0 is it's wasted potential. ArtHaus/White Wolf go it on the death of GoO and promptly did nothing with it. I get it in a way. BESM is not their product, not their line and really not in the same genre of their games. But I think it would have been great if someone had picked it up and expanded it some. Mark and GoO had some great ideas for the future of BESM 3 and it is sad that these will never come to pass. The loss of GoO and BESM is more than the loss of one small company and their game in the industry; it was the lost of something very unique.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Douglas E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/12/2010 09:54:34
I love this system; it has a great deal of flexibility and customization. For a game master that wants to create their own worlds it really is a wonderful system to work in. That being said it takes a great deal of work to take the open rules and use them to frame in your own world and a context for characters to exist in. Character creation rules for your games should be clearly defined. BESM is a point-buy creation system that resolves conflicts with an open ended 2d6 roll.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Jared M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/02/2010 19:29:46
Was introduced to this by a friend, and while i've never been one for tabletop rpgs, this got me interested. Call it the anime nerd and writing geek in me finally getting a chance to talk to eachother.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Adrian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2010 19:26:35
Still the best all-round Anime game. Excellent production quality, great source of ideas and inspiration, fantastic modular system - easy to play and learn but complex when you want it to be.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Mathew C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/28/2010 21:39:12
This system is unique and intuitive. It provides a canvas for the imagination with nearly limitless applications and story capabilities.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Gabriel W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/03/2008 21:36:00
If you have ever wanted to recreate the awe, action or just plain comedy then this is the book you want. A simple system and the posiblity to do everything you have seen in your faveorate anime (be it Inuyasha, Naruto, or even Excel Saga... Though I warn of migranes to any GM who attempts this) makes this book just the one for you. Even if you are new to role-playing this book is easy to understand and play.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Drew S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/23/2008 06:20:43
By far the best in the BESM Range. Keeps the flexibility of the original system. Streamlined and simplified, but as as durable as before. Now includes templates and a ready to run Anime style campaign setting - two things missing from the earlier versions of the games. I have played more than my fair share of RPG's in the past, and this one is by far one of the best I have ever purchased.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Richard C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/21/2007 06:45:03
This system is excellent.
The Character Creation system allows you to create anything, which can be an issue if you do not have a firm idea of what you actually want to create, but once that step is over with you really can run anything, and run it with the minimum of Fuss!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Russ M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/19/2007 13:55:23
Great source for any Anime or RP gamer looking to tweak the D20 or D6 rules into their own cartoony format or system!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Michael H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2007 01:10:58
One of the things that makes me so sad about the demise of GoO is that what they were good at, they were REALLY good at. The 3rd and presumably final edition of Big Eyes, Small Mouth is a grand addition to the line, with cleaner character creation and an idea-inspiring template system that is what classes SHOULD have been in most other RPGs. If you love anime RPGs, you need to have this in your collection.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Gungrave O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/27/2007 09:38:15
INCREDIBLE ! Besm is take to a higher level. After a one year long of waiting i m not at all disapointed, i m pretty excited. Many changes, a High Roll resolution instead of a Low Roll saw in BESM 2nd, SAS and Tri Stat game. There is also a brand new damage resolution.

And at least more exemple and template for the character creation, but not only that, spells, powers, vehicules, items weapons, evrything you could need to run a campaign regardless genre.

Finally two brand new bonuses, a japan and tokyo guide almost look like the Hong Kong guide in HKAT! 2nd edition, and a part about how to run a shojou manga campaign.

Final words, BESM 3 is a good universal core rules and the perfect mangas / animes game, much better than OVA.

Thank to white wolf to keep this licence alive, because BESM worthes it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BESM (Big Eyes, Small Mouth) 3rd Edition
Publisher: White Wolf
by Ronald L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/27/2007 04:24:59
This review is based on a one-time readthrough which took about two hours. Also, I am very familiar with many of the previous BESM and Tri-Stat products, such as BESM 2nd Edition, BESM d20, and Tri-Stat, and let me tell you that BESM 3rd Edition is superior to all of them. At the core, it's the same BESM we all know and love, but it just includes everything from the previous editions and spin-offs and more. As for the differences: point costs and starting creation points have been expanded, making items is simplified and unified, damage is calculated differently, dice-rolling has changed from "roll under stat" to "roll 2d6 + stat", which is easier to remember and implement (none of that dX nonsense from Tri-Stat dX), and there's an official campaign setting called the Multiverse. For those of you who prefer simplicity to detail, there are several sections in the book where simplified ways of doing certain things are mentioned, such as not using skills or Variables (which are PMVs [completely optional] but given a different name) and whatnot. For those of you who prefer more detail, there are also treats for you, too, such as customizing attributes, expanded combat rules, and variable damage resolution (I especially like the ones that vary based on margin of success).

All in all, a very fine product indeed and I can't wait for my physical copy to arrive. Guardians of Order went out with a bang on this one.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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