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Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/17/2017 10:53:24

If you'd like to hear my thoughts on Psionics: The Next Stage of Huan Evolution we reviewed it on the podcast.

http://outofcharacter.buzzsprout.com/13127/559836-episode-101-psionics-the-next-stage-of-human-evolution



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution
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Splinter
by Daniel Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/13/2017 20:53:20

If you like playing mash-up games, Splinter from End Transmission Games is one you will want to check out. There are several levels of combinations taking place in this game, and like the caveat reads when you first open up this book "If this is your very first RPG...put this book down, play another one first, and then come back."

Splinter is set in the future in a dystopian society where you (you), are playing a player (player), who is playing an avatar (character. This multiple level of play can get confusing to new player because even though the two characters you are playing are connected, they also remain separate.

Settings

There are strong elements of 1984, Brave New World, Metropolis, and Rollerball (more the original) in this game. Your player is a member of the dystopian society of the future. There is only one entity in power, the Entertainment Broadcasting Company (EBC), and they are in absolute control. The social classes are deeply divided and strong controls are in place to maintain the order. Being a player provides mobility that doesn't exist anyplace else.

Players choose, or are drafted (depending on where you start out in the social structure), to play in the Splinter. There are a variety of blood sports and story based games players, through their characters, are involved in. The player is working to achieve a fan base to gain stardom and the perks that go along with it. It is not an easy thing to do because the main goal of the EBC is to maintain control by providing entertainment and they have found that death is entertaining.

Players, however, also live in the real world. The real world is filled with the haves, the have-nots, and the in-betweens. The players are part of this real world. As players they have moved beyond the have-nots, but they are not part of the haves. Players may also have their own personal agendas, including politics, and they may have to choose to by joining the structure of the society, or fight against it.

Characters

Having both a player and a character in the game provides two games to be played. In the world you decide from what background your player comes from. There are those who have trained to be a part of the Splinter and those who are playing because they have been found to be criminals. Coming from either background provides benefits and penalties. When creating a character I found the system maintained a balance between the two, allowing you to build on the personality you want to create for your player.

There are more choices with the character. There are different races, bloodlines, in the Splinter and they have different abilities. There is also an element of power, harmonics, which is a form of magic. Characters also have three states of being: man, middle, and beast. In a sense each character is some form of lycanthropy, just not the types we are used to seeing. For example, one is golem or steam-punk style that can change out body parts.

Mechanics

Splinter uses two sets of mechanics for game play. When you are the player you are using the Dicepunk System. When you are the avatar you use another d6 system. This does provide some confusion to beginning players, but it makes for a defined difference between the settings.

There is some overlap between the settings on the basis of what the player and character can do, but there is no physical transference between the settings. To help with this a suggestion in the book is gives is to have two sheets defining each the player and the character. Then, only one sheet is on the table at any time.

The Book

I reviewed the PDF version of Splinter. Being able to bookmark a PDF makes for a quicker and easier reference document for playing. This applies to any PDF, but with the two settings depicted in this game it was very helpful. There is also no back coloring to the text areas, so the material was easy to read.

Concepts are introduced through story. The stories helped in understanding the concepts of what was taking place. I can see where this setting could be a strong setting for fan fiction work because of the tie between the dystopian and the fantasy.

The artwork was helpful in the placement and the understanding of the game.

Overall Impressions

Splinter, from End Transmission Games is a good game for people who are looking for something different. The players and characters are in a high risk setting, which gives to high fatality. Some of the EBC entertainment or straight out blood games placing characters against each other so they have to kill or be killed. This means a game master can set up games, and from some of the reading it appears to be encouraged, that result in player/character deaths. If you are not comfortable with the possibility of losing a character I wouldn't recommend Splint.

Splinter lends itself to both one-shot and campaigns. The blood-sport, short form games are good for a time when you want to run the characters in against each other and see who survives. These are very much like running gladiator fights. The Splinters long-form games for characters (avatars) and the dystopian society setting allows for the building of a longer campaign as you, and your players work on their agendas of supporting or fighting against the controlling EBC.

There is a lot of unique material in how the game is set up beyond the split setting. Not so much in the dystopian side, you will find hints of a number of books and movies beyond the ones I listed above. But, the information of the Splinter and the characters who reside there was interesting.

The results are mixed from the people sitting around the table. Some like the setting and some don't. Those who liked it stated it was because of the split between the player and the avatar, preferring to play just one or the other, while those who didn't like it said it was because of the split. One players was interested in playing a campaign based in the Splinter and not concern themselves at all with the dystopian setting.

Originally published on Guild Master Gaming.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Splinter
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Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/13/2017 09:00:24

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution System-Dicepunk Producer-End Transmission Games Price- $20 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/151035/Psionics-The-Next-Stage-in-Human-Evolution?term=psionics++end+transmi?affiliate_id=239993 TL; DR-Angry teens with psychic powers-THE RPG! 88%

Basics-We all want to crush someone’s head with our mind-BUT NOW WE CAN! In Psionics, you play a person, most likely a teen, whose outsider status has fueled your transition to something greater. You’ve developed psychic powers that make you now stand out. However, now secret groups all over the world want you to study, to be a near god, to use as a weapon, or to just destroy as an act of faith. Let’s break down the absolute basics.

Base System- This system is called the Dicepunk System. The basics of the dice punk system is roll under sometimes, but not the standard system you expect. You have skills and attributes, and you want to roll under. Want to sneak somewhere? You roll 2 six-sided dice and try to roll under your Speed attribute (a value from 1 to 10) plus your Stealth skill (a +0, a +2, or +4 to the attribute). A natural 2 is always a success, and a natural 12 is always a failure. One of the saving graces of Dicepunk is EVERYTHING is a d6. Dice will never be hard to find.

Combat- Combat is an interesting mix. Instead of roll under or using a flat skill, initiative is two six-sided dice plus a mix of attributes. On a turn you can move, do an action, and do some free actions like yell something. Action range from attacking, doing other things, to using psychic powers. When you attack, instead of roll under, you roll two six-sided dice then add skills and try to beat a defense value. Beat or equal it, and you do the damage on the weapon. After you go, the next person goes, with each turn being 10 second of combat. First one to die-loses! Armor reduces damage, but you only have so much health. When it’s out, you’re down.

Psychic Powers-Alright here is the main attraction to a psychic game! This game uses Power Points for its magic which you spend to power your abilities. Bigger powers use more, and smaller powers use less. Psychic powers also have a cost to your health in the form of drain which causes half the amount of non-lethal damage as the power points spent. This can knock you out! Also fun is Overflow. Every time you use some psychic powers, you fill your overflow. When you completely fill it, you overload and unleash crazy psychic powers on the world and basically become a psychic hand grenade harming yourself and all others around you! Overflow also fills as you get angry. Remember you’re an angsty teen, so being angry is a big part of the deal! Powers basically work as an attack or with targets making an attribute check. If you throw a car at someone with your mind, you make an attack roll. If you throw a fire blast at some people, some of them may have to make a speed attribute check to see if they get hit by the secondary damage of the blast. Powers are divided into three groups based on colors with some subgroups. Blue is telekinesis, red if pyrokinesis, and green is psychokinesis. You can level up each individual group, and as you level them up you unlock more powers in each ability and the ability to take subgroups like mastering entropy, magnetism, or luck with pyrokinesis.

Ok, now the review!

Mechanics or Crunch-Overall, the system is strong, but it has a few issues. Dicepunk is a different beast. It works well, but I always have issues with dice systems where you sometimes roll up, sometimes roll under, and sometimes have a strange mix somewhere else. It’s not difficult, but it could take a bit to always make sure you’re doing the right thing. Things are balanced, so it fun and feels fair, but my own personal preferences do take away a bit of the fun. 4.25/5

Theme or Fluff- This is the high point of the book. You can tell the author really focused on bringing their world to light. It’s got secret societies, anger management issues that fuel powers, stories for character development, and art to make you see what they saw. The nature of emotion in the book is strong, and the really forms what the story of angry kids against the world. Some of the aspects of the story are a bit cliche, but that doesn’t hurt this product. 4.5/5

Execution-This book is put together pretty well. It’s laid out well,and finding what I need is pretty easy. That’s good. What I don’t like is the PDF isn’t hyperlinked, and it’s over 300 pages! That can make life a bit harder as you scroll through the entire book to find what you want. As for what’s in here, there are a lot of stories, which is good, but there may be a few too many for my taste in a RPG. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of the art. These are petty concerns though. Overall, this is a well-crafted RPG with no major issues in execution. 4.4/5

Summary-If I was going to run a psychic teen RPG, this is the system I’d use. It’s made well with lots of story starters and is easy to use. It’s got a few issues like why some things are roll under and roll above, but those are problems you can get past pretty quick once you get into it. The theme is on point, and overall the book has great execution. The best praise I can give this book is this-this system feels distinct from magic. Most psychic RPGs feel like it’s magic with people holding their heads. Here, Psionics make me feel like I have psychic powers. 88%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution
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Phantasm (2010)
by James M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/25/2013 21:03:37

I have to agree with the other reviewer who said they couldn't believe the game was FREE. It's really professionally done. One gripe is that I feel with the game mechanics and great writing, I wish this game would have been more of a generic paranormal game and less "fannish" as the art director for the game put it. Fortunately, the designers of this game are at work on another one. It would be great if that game was a "go to", all encompassing horror game that covered everything paranormal and everything generally in the horror genre. Somrthing that might compete with World of Darkness...

This is FREE!! Get it now, it's great.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Phantasm (2010)
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Creator Reply:
Wow! Thanks so much for your review! And yes, we are definitely working on a new release with this system soon. The next one will be more centered on one subject rather than a broad spectrum... and I'd love to say more but unfortunately we're still keeping mum about the project. But we're taking your comment into consideration and I think we'll definitely be releasing a book for the system that works for all-purpose horror. I know I'd love to work on it. Thanks again!
Phantasm (2010)
by Mark M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/21/2012 22:23:24

Let me start by saying that I can't believe this is a free game. The production quality is outstanding! I've had games I've paid for which weren't half as beautifully laid out and produced. I wish all game makers made product as lovely as this is. Not printer friendly mind you, but I use a tablet so it's not a big concern for me.

I remember seeing Phantasm back in the old days. Plus Killdozer, Hellraiser, and the original Salem's Lot. I remember being scared witless by that shiny ball with the spikes in it. And I'm thrilled to find it here, in RPG form.

What do I like about Phantasm (2010)? Character creation is fairly quick and easy, using a point buy system for both attributes and skills. And I like the fact that the level of Badassery of the characters is customizable from Joe Normal to Samuel Jackson on a good day.

I also like the system, which seems to be fast for play and simple to remember. It's a set of rules that you can teach anyone quickly, and not have them always asking "what do I roll now?"

It also has a nice little campaign setting built in, with some good suggestions on how it can be used, as jumping off points for GMs. But the setting isn't so locked in that groups are trapped in system-given storyline and the only way out it so basically scrap everything they give you and start fresh. And I like how they wrap it all around The Tall Man.

What didn't I like about Phantasm (2010)? There are a few minor quibbles about the editing. There are one or two Techniques (such as Boom! Headshot) that are referenced but I couldn't find in the book. And there are a couple of instances of Techniques (Critical Attack for example) that say if you roll a natural 12 you automatically hit, but earlier on we're told you need to roll low to succeed and a natural 12 always fails. But really these are minor quibbles easily fixed or house-ruled into submission.

One thing I did miss is the lack of a "supernatural" system. There's no magic except what the creatures have a creature abilities. There is an attempt to use "faith" as a means of countering monsterly-evil but it doesn't seem developed enough to my thinking. There's no way you're making Willow if you want to run a Buffy vs the Tall Man type of game.

I think the biggest issue that Phantasm (2010) suffers from is indecision. It's almost like it should be two products. It tries to be both normal Joe Normal vs the Evil Dead AND Ash with his chainsaw, but the two are to me very different sorts of things. In the movie Phantasm (and others in that category) the characters are really just normal people without special skills who are forced to battle unnatural monstrosities. But the system is far more geared toward a grindhouse sensibility with characters able to have dual-wield capability and combat masters starting the game with twin AK-47s. And the equipment section has a weapon list more geared toward a special forces game than a horror game. Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate the effort in producing such a list, and it makes it a snap to play a "28 Days Later" game. But 28 Days Later isn't Phantasm.

Overall I'm happy with Phantasm (2010). You can't beat the price or the production quality. There's a lot there to work with and it looks like it would make for a good pickup game or even long-running campaign with the right setup. For the spirit I'm looking for I'd only ever run it in Badass-normal mode, on the Joe Average end of the spectrum, but that's just me. I'm happy that the system will let me do that. I gladly would run or play this game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks very much for this review, and we're so happy you liked it! This is the art director writing, so I can only speak to the editing and layout and art, but I will check out the missing hyperlinks to the Headshot technique. As a side note, if you like this system, we're going to be kickstartering another project using the same system (Cinema6), centering around more supernatural stuff/player characters and drawing from a more original/less fannish perspective. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts! -M. Barree, Art Director
Anathema
by Jose F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/18/2012 04:39:56

This RPG was written in 24 hours by one person, so I did not expect much from it. Boy was I wrong. The author packs more creativity in a scant 27 pages than most would-be RPG designers do in hundreds.

The PDF is well bookmarked. There is a table of contents but no index. The typesetting is not great and the section titles are rendered in a hard to read font. The cover image is the only art.

The game world is set in the near future where Earth's population is at 9 billion. The Balance has decreed that the population must be reduced by 4 billion. Players are Shrouds, the definition of which is surprisingly lengthy yet concise at the same time. Shrouds are former humans which now serve The Balance and are now responsible for harvesting human lives - as many and as quickly as possible.

Action resolution is dice pool and threshold based using D6. Every roll of 4-6 is a success, and each action requires a certain number of successes in order to succeed. Opposed tests result in the character with the larger number of successes subtracting their opponent's lower number of successes to determine their own level of success.

Characters have 6 abilities, 5 shared among both humans and Shrouds - Combat, Perception, Manipulation, Resistance, and Will - Life unique to humans, and Anathema unique to Shrouds. Humans start at 5 life and die when reduced to 0. Shrouds spend Anathema to activate supernatural powers.

There is a surprising amount of unique content here that is somewhat hard to describe. Central to character creation is describing how your Shroud's human Husk died. There are three sample reasons why the Husk was chosen by The Balance, and a great list of "powers" such as Accident Freak and Typhoid Mary.

I can't see a long-running campaign evolving from the setting, but it would make a fantastic one-shot. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Anathema
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Creator Reply:
Thanks so much for your review - we're so glad you enjoyed the game! Hope you have a good time playing it :)
Phantasm (2010)
by Alan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/10/2012 17:34:38

Extremely detailed, at over 200 pages. Background template throughout book sustains the horror mood. Love the description-heavy richness, which goes past the usual ubiquity of stat blocks. Thank you for making this product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Phantasm (2010)
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Creator Reply:
Thank you so much for downloading, and your review! :)
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