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Fight! Challengers
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2014 16:37:25
Fight! is a fantastic system for crazy fighting game action, but it can be quite daunting for the GM to come up with a large and diverse roster of NPCs to fight and befriend. Fight! Challengers helps in this task by providing a bestiary of sorts. It includes enough characters to fill a KOF-esque campaign, with characters from every Power Level. The two PL 8 characters even have stats for EVERY power level, allowing you to introduce them whenever you want without having to advance them yourself.

The characters themselves (including former player characters from the very first Fight! campaign) have for the most part not much to do with each other, and they should all fit well into the typical "modern day with a bit of magic and futuristic technology" fighting game setting. They are also helpful for players and GMs alike because they showcase various builds and playstyles a fighter can have.

Rounding up the book is a list of thugs in all shapes and sizes, from your typical street thug to mecha.

All in a VERY useful supplement with lots of characters that can be used as is, retooled or used as an inspiration.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! Challengers
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Thanks!
Fight! Round 2
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2013 06:50:22
This is how an expansion should be: Fight! Round 2 is full of new options, rule subsystems and move elements to emulate just about any fighting game, though the main focus seems to be games like Samurai Shodown and Soul Calibour (more complex weapon and armor rules), Guilty Gear and BlazBlue (all kinds of exotic special moves and risky instant kill attacks), Mortal Kombat (various kinds of finishers) as well as some King of Fighters games and the "vs Capcom" series (helpers and tag team super moves).

There are also rules for mor unorthodox "fighting" games, from social combat to traditional fantasy to DBZ-style battles where everyone can fly (turning the simple, one-dimensional battlefield into a two-dimensional grid). Even a Tokusatsu and/or mecha campaign is handled.

I can't recommend this enough if you already liked the core book. If there's something you couldn't properly emulate with Fight!, it's very likely you can do now with Round 2.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! Round 2
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Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
by Daniel O. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2013 06:38:59
Roleplaying games trying to emulate the intense action of fighting games have been quite obscure. White Wolf's Street Fighter RPG was the last commercial game before Fight! AFAIK, but there has been no shortage of homebrew systems in the meantime, like Thrash (a very fun, but also very easily broken system).

Sure, even as a fighting game fan myself, I can tell you that many games have a plot that is absurd at best, but there's a certain charm in getting to play a martial artist with ridiculous moves you can tinker to your liking.

Fight! let's you create characters pretty quickly, letting you customize your character with various fighting game tropes (be it the mysterious bishounen, the tall brute or the women with melons for breasts). Determining your three main stats (Strength, Speed and Stamina) basically involves picking an archetype, be it a rather balanced fighter or a very specialised one (like a glass cannon or a slow tank).

The art is black-and-white and from various artists. The quality ranges from "okay" to "gorgeous!", but is always fitting.

There's also an optional meta-aspect of the game: Not only can you have a campaign in the style of a video game, but you can actually have the campaign happen inside a video game. A fighter's level can then represent how good much experience his player has with that particular character, and there are even some character options (like an especially cool theme song or a weird sprite design that looks out of place) for this kind of campaign.

The creation of special and super moves is done pretty elegantly (heck, this is what made me try the game out in the first place). It's an effects-based system in which all special and super moves start out exactly the same, but you have a number of elements you can slap on them to create all sorts of different moves (be it a throw, a powerful uppercut or an energy blast). If you don't have enough elements for a particularly move, you can add liabilities (less accuracy, slow recovery...) to gain additional slots.

How many elements a move has depends on its level (which also determines how expensive the move is to purchase). And how do you determine the level of a move, especially if you want to copy or downright convert a character from an actual fighting game? Easy, just look at how many buttons you'd have to press. This solution is simple, elegant and downright genius at the same time.

The actual combat is very tactical, with various ways to attack and defend. It uses lots of abstractness to either closely emulate the genre (the battlefield is effectively a flat surface that is only really used to measure the distance between characters, though there are rules for environmental hazards and objects) or streamline it (damage is randomized to factor in stuff like block damage or multi-hit moves didn't manage to land all hit). Even the amount of seconds a turn lasted and control (the time you have to pull off moves and combos) is randomized, result in battles with slow downtimes and short bursts of high-speed clashes.
It is no wonder the game encourages players to describe the action at the end of each round, which can be very fun - especially if their character just pulled off a very cool combo.

A very powerful resource during combat is Fighting Spirit, representing a fighter's will (or his player's concentration in a meta-campaign). It's an expendable resource one can spend to boost pretty much every roll that is not a damage roll. As with most modifiers in the game, this usually just increases the die size, so a better result is more likely, but never guaranteed. Spending these points wisely is therefore crucial for success.

Rounding up the rules are a plethora of options to emulate various fighting game "engines": multi-tier super bar (along with multi-tier super moves), air block, rolling, dashing, double jumps and whatnot. There's even an option for "Attack Strings", turning the game into a typical 3D fighter that relies less on classical special moves and more on a whole catalogue of predefined combos.

To spice things up, there are two other combat systems: Dramatic Combat, which is more streamlined and meant for Anime-esque battles typical for fighting game adaptions (so special moves are used more sparingly, but are also more powerful than in "normal" combat). It also allows the use of skills (normally reserved for out-of-combat situations) to trick or otherwise annoy enemies. This system can either completely replace the normal combat system or just used on special occasions.
Lastly, there is Thug Thrashing, an addon for the two other combat systems used to fight hordes of more or less ordinary minions, similar to a beat 'em up.

The book ends with the obligatory GM section, giving helpful and in-depth advice to design and run fighting game campaigns. It even tackles questions not normally covered, like "What to do if the bad guy wins?"

All in all, Fight! is a fun game designed by someone who not only has deep knowledge of the fighting game genre, but also knows clever ways to adapt it into a roleplaying game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the awesome review! I'm glad you liked the game!
Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
by Thiago R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/16/2012 23:19:50
I approached Fight! with caution. I'm a big fan of 2D fighting games and RPGs so it just felt too good to be through. The other systems I knew related to this (Thrash, Final Stand, Mortal Konquest) were free, so it took me a while to check it out since this one wasn't.
It is very good, though. It covers everything in fighting games in one way or the other. Control is a very good abstraction to represent something other games don't tend to worry about - how hard it is to perform a given move. The list of elements is very rich and almost intimidating, allowing you to make any move you can think about. This can be a bad thing, though - there are so many options you might end up taking forever to choose something.
The system steps dice up and down and while mathematically good, it can be a bit confusing, specially since the progression is not only in die sizes, adding a +1 here and there. Overall, it doesn't hurt the system, but it could be a bit better explained.
Since we lack a commercial RPG for this genre ever since White Wolf dumped the (awesome) Street Fighter Storytelling Game, I would love Fight! to be very successful and stick around for a long time.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
by Shane C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/12/2011 14:52:45
As a fan of fighting games, coming across Fight! The Fighting Game RPG made me smile, and naturally I purchased it.

After an hour or two of reading, and running a few combats in the system, I've decided it was money well spent.

As one can expect, the combat is the core of the system, and from all I've seen, it works excellently at emulating the games it's based off of.

I've run test combats at PL 1, PL 3, and PL 8, and each of them have their own quirks; at PL 1, characters can feel somewhat same-y, as they don't *quite* have enough mechanical differentiation between one-another, due to sparse points.

At PL 3, (which I've found is a good place to start games), this is no longer an issue, as the points available allow for very different characters, as well as ensuring that combats last long enough to be entertaining, without dragging out very long.

At PL 8 (the highest echelon of power), you find characters capable of ludicrous amounts of damage and damage-absorbing, so that combat feels like the best parts of say, Dragonball Z.

Char-Gen is quick and, for any fan of fighting games, fun, and the rules are by and large clear on things.

My only complaint would have to do with the art, which is a little all over the place in terms of quality, and the lack of bookmarks in the PDF, which, while minor, is still a bit of a hassle when you don't have the book in hard-copy. All in all, I definitely like Fight!, and would happily recommend it to others.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! Round 2
by Emma M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/27/2011 08:47:35
A useful book, which adds all kinds of crunch & fan-service goodness to an already great product. 'Fight!' is quickly becoming one of my favourite systems, simply due to its' elegance & breadth of character creation possibilities, and 'Fight! Round 2' adds even more to the mix. Sure, there are one or two bits you'll look at & think 'I am never going to use that in my campaign', but the additions & options offered will surprise you. Want fatalities a la Mortal Kombat? They're here. Want team fighting? Got ya covered. Want fantasy, supers or even mecha? Comin' right up. In other words, the options offered here are as varied and colourful as the 2-D games the system emulates. Some of the crunch seems a bit excessive, as I believe the core system is pretty much playable as-is, but there will always be someone who cites an obscure move variation from some unheard-of fighting game, and this book can help GMs deal with those players without resorting to a cattle-prod. Useful? Yes, very. Essential? For me, yes, but some may not agree. Worth it in any case? Oh yes...buy this. If you liked 'Fight!', you'll find oodles of stuff here to make your game better. FLAWLESS VICTORY!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! Round 2
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Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
by Thomas B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/13/2010 14:25:44
Fight! The Fighting Game RPG is a new role-playing game written by Christopher Peter for Divine Madness Press. As the name implies, the RPG is designed to capture the feel of 2D and 3D fighting games, and this RPG takes a very "metagame" approach to making that happen. How does that work? Well, we'll take a look.

This review specifically covers the PDF version, available at RPGNow.com for $15.00. The download comes in two files, one being the full color cover, and the other being the book itself, an impressive 247 page black and white PDF. The PDF is searchable and allows copy and paste, but does not have bookmarks, which disappoints me as I have come to lean on those more and more as I've gotten used to using PDFs for gaming purposes. Let me put it this way: I vastly prefer physical books for my purposes, so if I'm buying a PDF, I want utility from it that I cannot get from a print product, or I want a deeply reduced price. The PDF for fight is nearly $10 cheaper than the print book, available through Lulu.com, for those interested.

The cover art is vibrantly colored, and drawn in an anime style like many of the games that provide Fight! its inspiration.

Table of Contents

The table of contents spans a whopping six pages, covering every subheading over six chapters, six appendices, as well as a character sheet and contributor bios.

Unfortunately, its not a clickable table of contents, but it is still an extensive one. That plus the searchability of the document help make up for the lack of an index. Some folks think I'm being sarcastic when I talk about this stuff, but I truly appreciate a good, strong table of contents.

Introduction

The introduction spends more time on the fighting game genre than it does RPGs, and I think that's wise. Fight! probably isn't anyone's first RPG. Not saying that to be mean, just saying. While there is a paragraph about the basics of RPGs, the author spends the introduction talking about the big story tropes of the fighting game genre, such as the human body being the most dangerous weapon in the universe, how every situation is resolved with combat and more. While not every fighting game, or combat anime follows those tropes, they are common enough to be worth noting. The author also has a sidebar about "metagaming", which the RPG is specifically designed to encourage.

Its a good introduction, one with its priorities straight, covering the ground it should and letting you know that there's a lot of "game" to this role-playing game. A good start to the book.

Character Generation

I should note a couple of things here. The pages are two columns of text, with black and white art interspersed here and there. The book isn't a pretty one, but it is chock-full of text...it is not 150 pages of filler and the rest rules. If Fight! had been formatted to be more aesthetically pleasing, I can hardly imagine how large it would have wound up.

The main character generation chapter falls in under twenty pages, and it is a point buy system, with points broken down by category. However, it is larger than it sounds, because different steps of character generation reference the next three chapters of the book. Character generation starts off pretty straight forward, with the selection of non-mechanical details like name, appearance, background...even fighting style is largely a flavor issue and not a mechanical issue. Dig as deep as you like, even specifying favorite food if you must. One thing noted here is Blood Type, which has a huge significance in Japan apparently, and is believed to help determine people's personality traits.

Mechanically, people are defined by three traits: Strength, Stamina and Speed. Each trait is rated on a scale from 2 to -1, with one always being a 0, and 2 only being achieved by dropping one of them to -1. Next come Qualities, Weaknesses and Quirks. Qualities can be used to provide extra perks and bonuses, as well as additional depth for the characters, while Weaknesses are penalties. Quirks are like very minor weaknesses, and enough of them taken can add up to a full Weakness.

Skills cover combat applications and non-combat applications, while Special Moves and Super Moves are the wacky things your fighter can do that no one else can, like leap in the air and spin like a top, unleashing a torrent of kicks, or hurling a mass of blue energy at your opponent. There is no set list to choose from. Quite the opposite, you have a list of modifiers, and you build your special move yourself.

Glory is essentially experience points, while Fighting Spirit is a metagame feature to model one player being better than the other, even if the character he's using isn't.

A handy checklist provides all the points you have to spend at a given location, with Weaknesses and Quirks available to give you points to buy more Qualities, skill points or Fighting Spirit. There are some useful sidebars here, such as figuring out what KIND of game your players might want by the qualities chosen, or what each Combat Skill means at Level 1.

Through accumulation of Glory, your character advances from Power Level 1 up to Power Level 8, and a handy chart shows you just what each level allows, including your Life Bar, maximum Fighting Spirit, number of Super Moves and more.

Options exist for trading off Super Moves for skill points and Fighting Spirit, depending on what kind of campaign the GM is running, for maximum flexibility, and a baseline table is provided for Glory awards for various actions, such as defeating an opponent, scoring a “Flawless Victory”, and bonuses depending on how much time is left in the fight. As well, a sidebar is provided that discusses altering the rate of advancement, for longer or shorter campaigns.

I think the character generation is pretty clearly written, but I do have one small issue. It directs you to different chapters for Qualities, Skills and Special Moves and that's fine...except it references them in that order, but the book places them “Skills”, “Qualities”, “Special Moves”. For ease of reference, the chapters should have been placed in the order they are needed for character generation. Not a HUGE knock, but annoying.

Skills

As mentioned, Skills come in a few flavors: Combat skills, Non-Combat Mechanical skills and Non-Combat Narrative skills. The default skill mechanic is 1d10 + skill rank vs target number, and the target numbers are provided at the beginning of this chapter. When the Director feels its relevant, Basic Qualities (Strength, Stamina, Speed) can modify the check as well.

Optional rules are provided for Critical Successes (rolling a 10 on a d10), Critical Fumbles (triggered by rolling a 1) and Mixed Successes (rolling precisely the target number), as well as Skill vs Skill situations, in which there is no static target number.

The five Combat skills are Defense (blocking), Evasion (dodging), Tactics (outsmarting the opponent), Combo (stringing moves together) and Ki (harnessing your internal energy for flashy moves, although this can be Gadgetry for more mundane ranged attacks).

Some of the Mechanical Non-Combat skills include Magic, Psychic, Thug Thrashing (the art of beating up tons of mooks at once) and Realize Potential which is a very cool little ability that lets you get the crap kicked out of you by the bad guy, only to rally back tougher than ever for the rematch.

The Narrative skills include Lockpicking, Grim Determination, Lost in the Crowd (which lets you melt into a crowd to avoid detection), The Fighting World (knowledge of the top fighters and such), Endure Great Hardship, Intimidation and more.

Every skill gets at least a small entry explaining its use, with full examples in some places where the author felt further elaboration was needed.

Action Sequences are not unlike D&D4e's Skill Challenges, and an extensive discussion is provided for how to handle those in the game, including setting up the useable skill list, the target numbers and the Glory reward for successfully completing an Action Sequence.

I like the skills. For a game with a “large” skill list, I didn't feel like it was a chore looking through them for character generation. For flavor purposes, there are catch-all skills like “Occupation”, as well as more genre-appropriate skills.

Qualities, Quirks and Weaknesses

This section has proved to be somewhat controversial, due to the inclusion of gender-specific Qualities and Quirks. This, it seems, is a Bad Thing. I, personally, have no problem with it, and I won't be placing any strikes against the author for it, as I see what he was trying to accomplish with it.

You begin with four Qualities, more if you select Weaknesses and Quirks. At Level 2 and every even numbered Level, you can either gain another Quality or remove a Weakness. These are generally used in-game to either gain “Story Points”, or (in the case of Qualities) use Story Points to power them.

Some of the controversial Qualities include Tomboy (female only), Dashing (males only), Sexy (female only), Bishounen (male only) and Buxom (female only). Now, I truly believe the author was just aiming for genre emulation and nothing more. That said, a few of those can be handwaved into gender-neutral Qualities, and the rest can be omitted, still leaving a good number of Qualities to choose from, like Great Destiny, Followers, Lucky, Reputation and Powerful Item.

Weaknesses include Amnesia, Curse, Fragile Self-Image, the metagaming Poorly Drawn and Unlucky.

Some Quirks are Dead Serious, Scarred, Rivalry and the again controversial Fan Service, a females-only Quirk that sometimes leads to bits like underwear exposure in fights and so on, and can generate Story Points.

Like skills, every entry is given at least a reasonable entry, usually a paragraph, detailing its application to a character, including mechanical effects.

The chapter ends with a discussion of Story Points, starting with how to gain them (miraculously pulling victory from the jaws of defeat is one way, Weaknesses and Quirks are another, and skills like Realize Potential are yet another). Story Points can power certain Qualities, re-roll skill checks and even gain minor creative editing to a scene. Normally, they are not allowed for combats, but guidelines are provided for their use in combat if the Director so desires.

The Qualities are handled similarly to Skills and that's a good thing, but again, the two chapters should have been reversed for maximum effect.

Basic Moves, Special Moves and Super Moves

Here we get into an important part of any fighting game character: Moves. Whereas the Street Fighter Storytelling Game made mechanical distinctions about the basic moves, Fight! does not. A jab is an uppercut is a haymaker. If you want it to be anything different, make it a special move. All basic moves do the same amount of damage and can be used in any round of combat. The exceptions to this are taunts, sweeps and throws, which are not included with a character by default, but options are present that allow them to be added as part of the “basic” moveset.

Special Moves are the next step up, and now we're getting into the Dragon Punches, Spears flying from people's hands and so on. Move Points are spent on building special moves, which must be at least Level 2, and cost a number of points equal to their level (3 point minimum). Once more, we delve back into metagaming, as you are meant to take your controller function into account based on the level of the move. The system is simple, the power level should be equal to the number of button presses on a controller to do the move. The exception being sequences like the “fireball sweep” which removed the down-toward button press from the total since its part of the natural flow of movement.

From there, you add a number of Elements based off of the Power Level+1. A large list is provided, including Liabilities which can be used to gain more “slots” for Elements if you run out of them while designing your move. Again, I won't list them all, but some Elements include Increased Damage, Ranged (which costs 2 slots and bases damage off of Ki), Anti-Air (for those jumping opponents), Temporary Invulnerability (which costs 3 slots and, well, makes your fighter temporarily invulnerable). Move Liabilities include No Combo (can't Combo with the move), Reduced Damage, Non-Finisher (cannot end a fight) and Negative Positioning (which lets the opponent move you after taking the move, often giving them an advantage in follow-up).

The moves enter much crazier territory, including Elements that allow a fighter to transform into another fighter, steal their moves, cause explosions, turn invisible and more.

A second combo system is supplied called Attack Strings, which can replace Special Moves if you want a slightly more “grounded” campaign.

Super Moves are not gained until Level 3, and are big, mind-blowing moves that are often other special moves chained together and require a lengthier series of button presses in order to trigger. Super Moves have a number of elements equal to twice its level, plus an liabilities added, although the rules specify that certain elements must be used in a given Super Move. Before a Super Move can be used, Super Energy must be accumulated, by being beaten on in a fight, hitting successful moves and combos, and a little is usually gained each round regardless.

I have to concede here: The Super Move system is not the mostly clearly written portion of the book. The discussion about using Super Moves when the opponent is using non-Super Moves and so on made my had rattle a couple of times and I'm still not sure I get it. From there, delving into a 3-tier structure in which fighters have 3 versions of the same super move...yeah, not the clearest part of the book for me.

A final sidebar in this chapter discusses fighters transforming into beast forms. I'm much more of a Street Fighter player, but I'm sure this is emulating a certain game or game series, I just couldn't tell you which. Still, it seems like a nice option.

I love the Special Move system. It reminds me a bit of the wrestling move system from the WWE d20 RPG from a few years ago, which surprised me at the time with its elegance. That said, I am less sold on the Super Move system. Should I get a chance to run this game, I have a feeling that as we approach Power Level 3, I'll have a ton of questions about this one.

Combat

Combat takes up nearly 75 pages, which probably isn't a surprise that a game focused on emulating fighting games is heavy on combat. Three systems are provided, the first being standard, heads-on combat. The second option is “Thug Thrashing”, for a fighter versus many mooks and the final is dramatic combat.

Standard combat is further complicated by tidbits such as adding a time limit or making a fighter a best 2 out of 3 rounds or the like, both being options commonly found in tournaments, but not necessarily a given. The sequence is pretty straight forward: first, everyone rolls for Initiative and Control. Initiative is how fast you get to act, Control is how complicated of a move or combo you can pull off. Then, everyone acts in order of initiative. Glory and Super Energy are tallied. Time is deducted from the round (if applicable), and then the Director and players narrate the combat. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Base dice for most everything is d6, but this gets modified by Strength, Speed and Stamina. As well, Fighting Spirit can be used to modify the types of dice rolled, or the level of skills. Rules are in place to cover simultaneous combat, with attacks taking priority over movement in the event of tied initiative.

Movement is abstract, covered in terms like “Range 1, Range 2, Range 3” and so on...the game does mention using an abstract grid as a guide, and that may be a really good idea, especially if you have more than two combatants fighting at once.

Attacking is straightforward: 1d6 plus the move being used's Accuracy total, compared to the opponent's defense (based off of a defense skill chosen by the defender). If the attacker hits, the damage is rolled, based off of Strength and the opponent's stamina, which is then deducted from the opponent's Life Bar. If they hit 0, they're KOed.

This chapter gives a detailed treatment of combos and the rules for them, as well as a little metagaming sidebar about why they didn't include certain things.

The author also goes into detail here about the three defensive skills and how they are used in defending against attacks, with extensive treatment given towards the options provided if someone is using the Tactics skill. Instead of just blocking or dodging, Tactics opens up a slew of counter attack options, especially if you have moves with the right Elements.

One issue I saw here is that the “effects of a successful attack” is largely reprinted on pages 132 and 139, lengthening an already large chapter. This, and the sidebar on random damage, would have been fine on page 132 and did not need repeating, or could have been left off of 132, either one.

With the “basics” out of the way, we move to extra effects like Knockdown and Knockback, plus Hit Stun (which reduces the amount of Control available to a given fighter). Finally, other options are discussed such as trying to regain Fighting Spirit, or holding back in hopes of the opponent making a mistake.

This chapter also discusses Environmental Hazards, which can include pits, fire or what have you, as well as walls and ring barriers, for those hoping to emulate “Ring Outs” commonly found in 3D fighters.

By default, Fight! takes a very cinematic approach to injury and death, refusing to hard-code death into the rules under any circumstances, or even healing rules for that matter, noting that a fighter should begin every round with a full Life Bar anyway.

As RPGs tend to have more than one player in a given game, Fight! addresses the issue of team fighting by providing two options, the first being a “fighter stays until he loses” team fight like in the King of Fighters games, or a tag team type fight, in which fighters can dynamically switch in and out over the course of combat. “Basic” combat concludes with a lengthy example of combat over multiple rounds.

Thug Thrashing is much more abstract, simulating a single fighter versus a group of up to ten “non-fighters”. A series of thug templates are provided, giving the base stats for thugs of a certain power level. As well, thugs have their own Qualities and Weaknesses that can be used to modify them, which is basically the shortened list available for normal characters.

To add some spice, a “Thug Events” chart is provided, which is generally bad for the fighters, ranging from thugs slipping away to fight again, to the thugs coordinating their attack in such a way as to cut the fighter's defense in half. Like with normal combat, an extensive sample fight is detailed, showing the various steps of thug-based combat.

The third version of combat, Dramatic Combat, is meant to emulate anime moreso than fighting games. It deemphasizes special moves in favor of basic moves, and add Action Points, which must be used in order to do things like escape from combat when opposed, hit a Climactic Super Move or even finish off the opponent with a Final Blow. There are a ton of movement, attack and defense options here. The Dramatic Combat system (which can be combined with Thug Thrashing) adds a great layer for climactic battle if you don't want to do standard tournament fighting for a big “boss fight”.

The chapter concludes with a detailed example of dramatic combat as well.

The combat system is just chock-full of options...and some are going to find it too fiddly, I'm sure, but if you wanted, you could bypass normal combat altogether and use a combination of Thug Thrashing and Dramatic Combat.

The Worlds of Fight

Fight! doesn't include an assumed setting, but this chapter helps guide you through the common tropes of the genre, in hopes of helping you make your own martial arts sagas. A list of common character types are included such as the Hero, the Big Guy, The Old Man, The Ladies Man and The Rival, each of which gets a full paragraph discussed the character type and how to incorporate it. Next is what amounts to a campaign checklist, including location, tone, power level and so forth. The section also discusses incorporating “the tournament” into the game, and you should probably have SOME kind of tournament if you're emulating the fighting game genre.

A handy checklist of common plot elements is present as well, such as the tournament being a cover for some dark scheme, the tournament spanning multiple dimensions and so on.

A section is included on making NPC fighters, with special mention of using the number of fighters to set the “feel” of the campaign, from the dozen or so fighters present in the Street Fighter II to the sprawling number of fighters in the later Mortal Kombat games.

This chapter covers most of the bases, featuring lists of stages to place fight scenes at, more common tropes such as “Mirror Matches”, and pacing the campaign, with some good advice on how to handle Glory awards if you want the campaign to just run the length of a tournament, building to the final fight with the Big Boss at Power Level 8. This advice is combined with the advice about populating the setting with fighters to make for a great primer on setting up the campaign.

Special attention is given to the final boss, including advice on how to have the group battle the last boss, since everyone will probably want a crack at him by then, as well as what to do once the boss is beaten, or even if the boss happens to win. As well, the book provides a few options for continuing past the defeat of the Big Boss, such as a Secret Bigger Boss, starting all over at Power Level 1 (with rationale for why your characters aren't using their famous moves all at once) or even plowing ahead at Power Level 8.

This chapter really ties everything together nicely, giving a ton of great advice for campaigns in the fighting game genre mold.

Appendices

The first appendix covers sample characters, namely the two from the cover of the book, complete with backstories and full character sheets.

The second appendix collects the basics of everything you need for character generation, including point totals, all the Qualities, Weaknesses and Quirks and even all the Elements that go into Special Moves.

Appendix three is a series of sample special moves that you can swipe and re-skin, or use for inspiration for your own.

Appendix four is four pages of charts and modifiers for combat.

Appendix five is the glossary, while appendix six covers the various source material that inspired this RPG.

Finally, a blank character sheet is included, followed by a list of contributor bios.

Conclusion

This is an odd mix of crunchy and narrative. You can play pretty much any kind of character you can think of, but there's not a huge list of “racial qualities” or so on supporting being a vampire or cyclops or cyborg warrior from the future. The fact that the game both has a list of “narrative skills” and nearly locked my brain up with the Super Move system is almost a contradiction in terms.

I know a large amount of manga is published in black and white, but the black and white art in this book, combined with the walls of text, doesn't do the writing any favors in regards to accessibility. As well, some tighter editing could have gone a long ways, but the worst part I found on the editing was easily the repeating of “what happens on a successful attack”, so that's not a HUGE sticking point...but I would definitely have switched chapters two and three, since the appear in a different order than they are referenced in the character generation.

Now, if that sounds like I'm kicking the book around, I'm not. I'm getting the bad stuff out of the way. On the surface, this book not only appears to be more balanced than the Street Fighter RPG (my main frame of reference for this genre of pen and paper RPGs), but also far less likely to be broken. It is a very complete game, with room for expansion, which the author seems to intend on pursuing. Modeling the complexity of Special Moves after the number of button presses that are “needed” to perform them is one of those things that will have some people terribly excited about it, and others scoffing at it as a silly gimmick. However, the author is very upfront about the metagaming aspects, so if that's something that bothers you, be warned now: This probably isn't what you're looking for. That said, there is a pretty active community for this game at http://groups.google.com/group/fightrpghttp://groups.google.-
com/group/fightrpghttp://groups.google.com/group/fightrpghtt-
p://groups.google.com/group/fightrpg who have gleefully embraced the RPG and all it entails. A very strong effort at genre emulation. Incidentally, in my run-through with character creation, I went outside the box with a “serial numbers barely filed off” version of Ash from Army of Darkness. It worked out really well, IMHO, a testament to the versatility of the character creation.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
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Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
by Peter N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/09/2010 18:34:04
I purchased this product after some personal debate because I quite enjoy Fighting-style video games and hoped that this would make for an easily handled and light hearted game.

After several hours of reading I've decided that it was a purchase well made. The rules presented in Fight! seem to be quite adept at simulating a fighting game. The book and rules do exactly what they promise to do in the product description. What would be complex or vague in other wide systems is very direct in Fight!. And since non-combat skills are quite widely available to characters and broad in their definitions it is perfectly possible to play the game with substance beyond the combats which give it focus.

If you want to play a role playing game based on any fighting video game or if you want to play in a campaign where martial arts and combat can be highly personalized and fantastic, than I greatly recommend Fight! The Fighting Game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wake: The Second Creed of Pandemonium
by Oliver S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/14/2009 12:28:32
Wake, a sourcebook for Dread the First Book of Pandemonium, sets out to bring Dread in line with the rule additions found in Spite the Second Book of Pandemonium.

Disciples now have their very own Personas with individual Powers. There are also new spells for Disciples that help fight the new demons found in Wake.

Most of the book explains how to use the rule additions found in Spite and how to use them in Dread. All this is done with good examples and clarifications and giving you options to customize the game to your liking.

There are also new movement rules with which you can really surprise your players who think they have seen it all.

The heart of Wake is most certainly the demons: the Megiddim and the Abaddim, the Dread equivalent of the Ophanim and Erelim found in Spite.

The new demons are exactly what I have come to expect of the Books of Pandemonium.

The demons are all unique and are some of the worst nasties I have read about.

There is also a very helpful chapter on running the game and a chapter which lends an interesting twist to the established world of Pandemonium.

The artwork took some getting used to since it is very different to the ones found in Dread and Spite but overall it is a good effort IMHO.

If you already own Dread & Spite then their is no reason not to own Wake.

The author really went the extra mile to please the Fans of Dread the First Book of Pandemonium.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Wake: The Second Creed of Pandemonium
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Wake: The Second Creed of Pandemonium
by Conrad m. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/30/2009 01:48:56
OK first off I have a few declarations to make. One, I am a big Dread fan and have been known to frequent the Dread RPG forums; this is how I have made the acquaintance of the author of Wake. Second the author Christopher Peter asked me to write a review of Wake for him on RPG.NET and I was given a free PDF copy of the book in order to do this. I have subsequently purchased a printed copy as it makes reading easier for me and frankly I have wanted this supplement since it was announced. I just want it to be clear that despite my associations with the author my review is entirely unbiased.

OK so for those of you who do not know Dread. Dread is a modern action horror game by Rafael Chandler. It is a rules-lite action heavy game of horror where the players are Disciples. They are Earth's last line of defence in the last war with the minions of Hell. Initially the setting of Dread was not my cup of tea, it was the rules-lite aspect of it that intrigued me, however once I read it the background drew me in. It has now become one of my favourite games of all time. Dread is a very popular game and there are numerous threads on RPG.Net and reviews as well singing its praises and just to be clear this very has no Jenga blocks in sight.

Rafael has developed the Books of pandemonium line giving opportunity to other authors so they can develop their own books. This has allowed the line to grow with some excellent fan material; Wake is one of those books and a damn fine one as well.

After Dread came Spite, the second book of Pandemonium. This tells the story from the Angels side of the War and not in a way many people would expect it to. Angels are not the saviours of mankind, in fact in many ways they are worse than Demons, judging humanity for its sins. Players became Zealots whose role was to protect us mere mortals from the Angels heaven sent to cleanse us of our sins. Spite expanded and revised a number of the rules in Dread opening up new ways for players to fight the forces that would eliminate mankind. It introduced new types of antagonists for the players to fight and generally was bigger and bolder work than Dread. Spite introduced many new things but this is a Wake review, not a Spite review. I will do one of those next I think.

Wake is a supplement for Dread by Christopher Peter that brings Dread into line with the evolution of the series with the arrival of Spite. Weighing in at a hefty 150 pages this is a guide on how to combine Spite and Dread to make a bigger and nastier game as well as make your Dread game as bad ass as Spite. Owning Spite is not entirely necessary to get the best from Wake but as there is reference to rules changes in Spite I would advise it.

So on to the review.

The cover of Wake is possibly one of my favourite RPG covers of all time. It is a dark cover depicting some malevolent being with wings and a tail shrouded in a hood. In the foreground a man in a full face gas mask holds what looks to be a shotgun of some kind. This is set to a backdrop of a street which looks eastern European. For some reason this cover reminds me a lot of the general architectural theme of some of the levels of Half Life 2. Anyway the artist is George Cortonis and I feel he has done an excellent job of capturing the dark tone of the game. The style and layout of the book has been done by Rafael Chandler and this ensures it conforms to the overall look and feel of the other books in the line. Interior art varies in style and quality and has been supplied by Bob & Jennifer Noberini, it supports the style of art in the other books of Pandemonium so all in all it fits nicely with the game line and I enjoyed it.

The hefty tome covers the following subjects.

Characters
Magic
Combat
Advancement
Demons & Monsters
Direction - For the GM
Setting

Most chapters start with a piece of fiction as seen in both Dread and Spite. The fiction I found to be enjoyable and fitted the overall theme of the book well it generally follows the exploits of the same few characters and as I say is atmospheric and well written. The fiction aspect of the previous books was always something I liked so I was happy to see it return here.

1. Characters - One of things with Dread was that there were 3 types of character "class" as it were and a limited number of ways to customise them. This resulted in only so many ways you could string a cat and the potential for characters of a similar class to mechanically be very samey, potentially. With the introduction of Spite there were new options for characters that allowed not just variation within a particular "Class", Combat Disciple, Sorcerer or investigator but different persona's that a player could be as well. This resulted in some 90 potential configurations, so I am told, so vastly improving the mechanical canvas with which to work with when making your character. For those who do not own Spite, a persona is a type of personality type which a player gets to chose on top of his character "class". Each persona gives the player a choice of powers on top of the abilities their class gives them. A welcome addition to Dread and not just a carbon copy of what was in Spite. Each new persona has been thought out specifically along with the powers they bring.

2. Magic. One new antagonist type introduced in Spite was the mighty Ophanim. Gargantuan creatures of destruction sent to Earth to pass judgement on the cities of man. In order to fight these terrifying monsters Zealots (the Spite equivalent of Dread's Disciples) use Imprecations, powerful magic designed to help combat Ophanim. Wake introduces the Megiddim, demonic equivalents of the Ophanim. In this chapter it introduces the 3 types of Imprecations Disciples can use to fight the Megiddim. The new spells are broken down into 3 types, Invocations, Consecrations and Benedictions which are tied to the specific characters types of combat, investigator and sorcerer respectively. All are designed specifically for Megiddim combat, mechanically not a lot of variation is seen between the spells but the narrative effect is where the difference lays. One thing to be aware of with using imprecations is their affect on the world where they are used. As they are powerful beyond the normal Disciples spells they have consequences for their use, so they should be used wisely. Spite is required to get full use out of this chapter as specific rules are referenced from that book relating to the use of imprecations. There is also a discussion in this chapter around the potential crossover between the different types of magic Disciples & Zealots use.

3. Combat. The combat section outlines the subtle differences between Dread & Spite when it comes to combat. With Spite Rafael tweaked the lite rules and added just a few more options, addressing some concerns but without damaging the speed and simplicity of play. On the whole there is little in this section that an experienced Dread/Spite GM couldn't derive himself but it is still nice to see it stated here. One interesting addition though is the way the author discusses exempting Angels & Demons from the range penalties of the system whilst still imposing them on the players. Previously Demons were constrained by having to be in close range to players to fight them, for the weaker Demons this was a serious disadvantage. With the new rules suggestion things just got a bit more interesting, this mechanically and with imaginative narrative description can make both enemies more deadly, especially the less combat orientated ones. Frankly I would have never have thought to go this way with combat so I take my hat off to the author for thinking out of the box. This chapter is quite slim but has some though invoking ideas in it.

4. Advancement. Something lacking in Dread were character advancement rules that had some substance to them. There were notional rules that merely tipped their hat at the idea of Disciples getting better. Despite the fact Disciples start off pretty rock hard anyway many players need that feeling of progress in their character when playing. So along comes Spite and offers bigger & better rules to cater for this. This chapter basically offers the Disciple the same capability. In addition to that in Spite there were rules for War machines. Warmachines are normal vehicles that are converted to be of assistance to Disciples in the Last War. Again Christopher has done a Dread conversion of this and called them Baphomets. These biomechanical vehicles actually have Demon body parts fused to them that become alive; the whole process turns the vehicle into more than just a sweet ride with a very base level of sentience, very groovy but not subtle. Driving one of these around the streets of Soho in London will draw all kinds of attention unless of course the Last War has reached a point where everyone knows about it and is cowering in their houses waiting for the inevitable. Also in this chapter are similar rules for creating enchanted weapons as in Spite, and how to make a substance called Sarx. Sarx is a gross concoction made from Demon body parts, when eaten it bestows special abilities upon the consumer. This chapter is a welcome update to Dread not least for the advancement rules.

5. Demons & Monsters. The demons section covers the Megiddim and the Abaddim. The Megiddim are gargantuan creatures of destruction as I mentioned earlier in the section on magic. They are generally unique and not just a type of Demon so the destruction of one is something the forces of Hell do not recover from very easily as they as difficult, if not impossible to recreate. Frankly and my comments go for Spite here as well, the use of the Megi or the Ophanim in Spite will only work for a certain type of campaign. If you are hell bent on running the Last War as a game of subterfuge with the events going on in the shadows of alleys and dark dank sewers the Megiddim and Ophanim are not for you. Creatures that tower hundreds of feet high trouncing through central London will convert your campaign irrevocably, the secrets out guys, the lids off and there is no going back. However if you campaign runs on a path of escalation then these will be ideal for the closing days if you want there to truly be Hell on Earth. These creatures are not for the faint of heart and only the most experienced and organised groups of Disciples/Zealots will be able to tackle them. There are 9 of them and each is truly terrifying to behold. Another nice touch in Spite was the inclusion of the Erelim. The Erelims sole purpose and design is to hunt down Zealots. Wake introduces the Abaddim so Disciples will not feel left out. Unlike Spite the Abaddim are unique creatures not types like the Erelim. There are 6 in all and again terrifying for Disciples as they are very well equipped for the task. These are again something to be used on experienced groups only otherwise the usual high death toll in Dread could become a complete party wipe out. There is also a brief discussion in here on how the more traditional monsters introduced in Spite, werewolves, aliens etc, can be used in Dread. Nice and well thought out and truly terrifying.

6. Direction. A section designed to guide the Director on how they can run a game using both Disciples and Zealots together. It also explores subjects such as alternative themes to Dread/Spite as opposed to the straight action horror style of play. It covers how to role-play Demons & Angels as well as how you may handle encounters where they may come face to face. A short but useful section for the Dread director on how to handle the new elements introduced in this book for your game.

7. Setting. This section begins by stating "Everything in this chapter is absolutely true, or maybe none of it is". Essentially the author has devised a number of options to add to the existing background of the last war. A director could determine that some items are completely true or they could just be rumour and speculation. Interestingly some of this explores the subject of God and his place in the last war, something that neither Dread nor Spite touched upon. This chapter contains some interesting ideas, as well as a number of new beings and organisations that are involved in the last war. Either way none of it is considered canon, so whether you use it or not is up to you but I liked some of it.

Overall Wake is an excellent addition to the Books of Pandemonium line. It takes Dread and gives it the update it needed to bring it in line with Spite. Production quality is high with me spotting I think one typo in there, there may be more but if there are they are far from obvious. Content is overall very good and offers more than just a few extra ideas on upping the ante on your Dread game to bring it in line with the power upgrade Spite introduced. Wake is now one of the largest source books for Dread and offers excellent value. I heartily recommend Wake to any Dread director, as I have said you don't need Spite to use it but it helps for the odd rules reference but if you don't own Spite get it anyway it will supercharge your Dread game!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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