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Bare Bones Multiverse Core Rules
Publisher: Scaldcrow Games
by Alfredo S. D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/31/2012 04:49:19
It took me a long time for me to decide on buying Bare Bones Multiverse or not, mostly due to the (initially) steep price tag. I finally bought it, after much considering and taking advantage of a current promotion, but it was a bit of a letdown when I finally got to read it. I'd really like to write some glowing reviews like other buyers of this product have done, but as it stands now, I simply cannot give this book more than 3 stars.

First off, I will begin by saying that I think there is a good system in there. I like how it applies a simple 1-10 scale for everything, and the way it is used in the book for writing up anything, from a single character to a complete army or even a building to be destroyed by a Kaiju monster. Conditions are like Fate aspects, whereas abilities are mostly free-form skills and powers, much like Heroquest. It is possible to describe anything with them, and this could be defined as a fractal design: you could probably take the Mass Combat rules and run a conflict between fantasy kingdoms or cyberpunk megacorporations with little effort.

The rules for combat and other situations are probably simple, but the way they are explained make them look more complex than they are, and I think some of the rules - like those for autofire - are way too klunky for what otherwise is a simple and elegant system. The Cosmic Eye rules are not too different to the tables used in the Mythic Roleplaying rpg and they surely might come in handy during a game, if only for quick guidance in unexpected situations.

However, I have a number of important issues with this book:

- The rules are poorly and confusingly explained, with few or no examples for combat and other situations.

- The book is not very well designed or laid out, specially given its price tag. I can understand not everyone is a professional book designer or can afford one, specially when you are an small-press publisher, but the fact is that you can find a number of lower-cost or free independent rpgs at rpgnow/drivethrurpg which are brilliantly (or at least, correctly) designed and laid out, even when using stock art.

- There is a lot of wasted space: very large margins, way too many blank pages and using an entire page for presenting only 1 or 2 NPCs or creatures are some examples. That would be OK for a system using a more complex format for these (like most d20 games or the HERO system), but in Bare Bones Multiverse a short paragraph is all it takes to write up most any creatures or characters. In one single page of this book you could probably fit 4-6 simple NPCs with little difficulty. There is also some filler material which is difficult to justify, like the starship floorplans in the Sci-Fi section. With a tighter layout, the same amount of text included in this book might probably fit in about 150 pages or so.

- No bookmarks or internal links in the PDF at all, something which in these days of e-readers and tablets I still cannot fathom, as they reduce significantly the usability of any PDF file.

So, in the end, I am sorry to say that Bare Bones Multiverse did not live up to my expectations, but I really hope we can see a corrected version which solves all these issues.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Bare Bones Multiverse Core Rules
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Other Worlds
Publisher: Signal 13
by Alfredo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/27/2011 06:55:46
Disclaimer: My name is listed as a playtester in the book, but in fact I only provided some observations about a previous draft. I must say, however, that I am very biased, as I a was excited about this project right from the beginning.

Other Worlds (OW) is a very well done conflict-based generic game. Player characters are made up of abstract abilities grouped into Cultural and Professional templates to which other abilities reflecting the character's specific individuality are added. Depending on the genre, characters can also have one or more Trademark templates which include special powers, magic, abilities reflecting the characteristics of sci-fi or fantasy races, special equipment (like having a super-spy car or a tricked-out Corellian tramp freighter), etc. Each ability gets an specific rating based on the power level of the game and can be used both as the base ability in a given conflict or as a supporting ability, increasing the base ability's rating. Anything can be an ability, and any ability can be used in a specific conflict: personality traits or quirks, professional skills, relationships, whatever.

Rolls are made using percentile dice in a very abstract resolution system which can be easily adapted to the flavour and tone of most any settings, with the possibility of using a more detailed resolution method for specially important or exciting conflicts. Consequences translate into new abilities which can help or hamper the character in further conflicts. Spotlight Points can be also used to modifiy the result of a roll.

Even though you can easily use OW to play in a stablished setting, one of its main strengths lays in the setting creation chapter. In OW, the group as whole creates the setting in which they want to play. It is basically a group brainstorming exercise in which genre, tone, setting details and main NPCs are created by the group. The rules also facilitate adding further detail to your gameworld as the game develops. Even if you have no interest at all in brainstorming a new setting with your players, you can easily use this chapter as a guideline for quickly creating a playable gameworld on your own. There is also an excellent chapter on customizing OW and adapting any setting, and a few short genre snapshots for sci-fi, superheroes, fantasy, pirates and wild west games.

The quality of writing is excellent and a generous amount of advice for playing the game can be found throughout the book, covering all you need to take into account to play OW. All this is wrapped in a simple but very professional and attractive layout by none other than Evil Hat's Fred Hicks, with a good number of eye-catching art pieces by Storn Cook.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Other Worlds
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Story Bones Plus PDF
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Alfredo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/24/2010 04:29:16
A promising update of this classic ruleset, better than the original Story Bones (originally published by Hubris Games), and benefitting from Brett Bernstein's clear writing and a few interesting additions. The original full version (Story Engine) was one of the most interesting (and overlooked) narrative-type rules-light games ever published and I'd recommend waiting for the updated version by Precis Intermedia, which will add several new genre plug-ins to the previous version.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Story Bones Plus PDF
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Open Core Quick
Publisher: Seraphim Guard
by Alfredo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/28/2007 05:27:10
Open Core can be defined as a point-based system with two basic attributes (body/mind) and six derived ones (life, movement, defense, initiative, toughness and perception) and the possibility of specializing your character in a specific application of the basic attributes by taking certain abilities. You also have a short list of standard which can also be further specialized by taking abilities. You must also choose one or more descriptors and both a virtue and a vice which describe your character's nature.

Abilities are effect-based (à la Hero system or BESM) and allow you to replicate any kind of special powers and perks (superpowers, magic, psionics, contacts, etc.). You can also buy disabilities to get a few more points to complete your design.

A 3d6 roll plus the applicable attribute and abilities is made against a target number for all tasks. Rules are included for combat, experience, exposure, etc.

The download also includes a supplemental file with detailed rules for guns and weapons and an abstract wealth system. A simplified mecha/vehicle construction system in the same vein would be an excellent addition.

What we have here is an streamlined mixture of Action! system rules and BESM/Open Core rules for powers and special abilities. It is not terribly innovative or groundbreaking, but it certainly is a lighter "traditional-style" alternative to other more heavy systems out there which many gamers might find interesting.

It is definitely worth a look and offers a lot of content for the price.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Open Core Quick
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EABAlite v1.0
Publisher: BTRC
by Alfredo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/30/2007 00:00:00
An excellent introductory product which also makes a good handout to give to new players so they can figure out how the system works and how to make characters.




LIKED: Short and concise. Covers the main aspects of the system without any fuss.

DISLIKED: Nothing. It does what it is intended to do.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
EABAlite v1.0
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Stuff! (EABA)
Publisher: BTRC
by Alfredo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/05/2006 00:00:00
The best design sourcebook ever published for ANY rpg. Period.

It is a lot simpler than, say, Guns! Guns! Guns! or VDS, by the same publisher/designer, but covers the same areas and then *much* more (societies, general gadgets, creature & species design...).

Most design work is done by selecting the modifiers you will apply to your creation and then using an expanded version of the EABA universal chart to get the hard numbers (damage, weight, speed, etc.). Lots of reference tables are included to help you out during the process, so you know the basic parameters of most things you will probably design.

It can probably be used with other "realistic" (Action! System or GURPS, for instance) rpgs with some number crunching.




LIKED: Great layout. Outstanding use of PDF format. Grayscale copy included (so you don't suck the life out of your toner cartridge). Expanded EABA universal chart. Easy to use. High quality all through. Automated sheets which allow you to use your computer to do all the hard work.

DISLIKED: Nothing yet.

QUALITY: Excellent

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Stuff! (EABA)
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F20 Gamers Against Cancer Edition
Publisher: Better Mousetrap Games
by Alfredo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/28/2006 00:00:00
This comment deals with the new version - updated January 2006 - which makes a great little game even better than before, specially with the new magic rules and the enhanced innate powers rules. Practical and utilitarian and a welcome change from other, more involved and expensive 'traditional' (ie. d20 or GURPS) games.


LIKED: Everything. It is concise, playable and short.

DISLIKED: The equipment chapter deals mainly with modern equipment, but it is easy to 'steal' it from other games. It is a great product.

QUALITY: Very Good

VALUE: Very Satisfied


Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
F20 Gamers Against Cancer Edition
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Mecha Aces
Publisher: Avalon Game Company
by Alfredo S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/11/2005 00:00:00
This might be a very interesting Fudge supplement, but...

- The layout is simply terrible. Lots of tables are cut in half or are superimposed on the body of text (see pages 70, 100 or 101, for instance).

- The art is not only made up of stock crappy/mediocre pictures, but it also has been reused from other products, such as the Open Core roleplaying system from Battlefield Press.

I have been awaiting for a long time for this game to be released but, unfortunately, now I find myself quite disappointed.



LIKED: The mecha construction rules looks interesting... nothing that cannot be done with other rpg mecha toolkits, such as the mecha/vehicle rules from BESM, Silcore, Mekton Z, etc, though.

DISLIKED: The layout. Is it that difficult to check the product before putting it for sale? How come this kind of mistakes are not found when creating the pdf file?

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Disappointed


Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Mecha Aces
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Publisher Reply:
Alfredo, I deeply apologize about the mistake. In our excitement to get our first products up, we uploaded the incorrect file. Please be rest assured that the correct file is being uploaded shortly, and that comp copies will be sent with our apology to everyone that had bought it. As for the artwork: Like many small publishers, we do avail ourselves of stock art. While some of the artwork was not from art packs available here at RPGNow, some of the artwork was (and therefore may also have appeared in BPI's game). Again, I apologize for the mistake, and assure you that we will correct it and make right by anyone that has purchased the book. Thank you for the compliments on the mecha construction rules. Respectfully, William
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