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The Flux
by Dave B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/20/2011 11:17:07

The Flux is... Well, a bit of a let down... I mean I am a major ADD GM, much to my player’s dismay sometimes. I read the sales pitch, I had drank the Wick lemonade a long time ago to be honest, and thought that this will be a massive insight into how to tie together many games (systems) into a cohesive concept. It’s not, but it’s not a bad idea either though. Maybe I expected too much.


The Flux approach to handling the many systems and settings is to layer a meta-mechanic over top of them all. It is a light weight mechanic that DOES what is promised. With only 16 pages I am not sure it’s worth the price, it didn't feel as thoroughly explored as some of the other Wick writings. I think I would have liked it more with some more examples of how it works out, funnily in the book he says no one would want that, but I did.


I just wanted... needed more. I hope that that this gets more exploration in future products for the Big Book of Little Games



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Flux
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The Flux
by Anthony C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/08/2011 17:05:00

I've been looking forward to this book/chapter/what-have-you since John Wick offered a tease of it on his blog. Most omni-systems leave me cold because game A does something cool that game B cannot really replicate. Attempting to shoehorn all these systems into one generic system just mostly sucks (Savage Worlds may be an exception for me).


The difference with this product is twofold (1) it lets you keep your original rules to each game you want to utilize and (2) it lets you pull a truly great trick on your players. This is a small product (arounnd 20 pages), but well worth its cost.


If you're sitting on twenty plus years of gaming books like I am and worried you'll never play them all, The Flux has seriously offered some help towards shaking the dust off them.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Flux
by Shane O. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/08/2011 15:16:22

Back in the day, I always wanted to come up with some set of rules or guidelines that would let me move my old D&D group across multiple campaign worlds. I still can’t tell you exactly why the thought of moving them from one world to another was so exciting, but it was. I never got around to it, and in all honesty the entire thing seemed to be more trouble than it was worth – after all, give the PCs ways to move between worlds and they’ll quickly start abusing it. So I shelved the idea and eventually forgot about it.


…until I saw John Wick’s The Flux. This short book, in less than twenty pages, not only rekindled my excitement for a campaign that moves between worlds, but expands the scope of those worlds dramatically, fixes the problems I was encountering, and adds some fun new rules to it all. Let’s take a closer look and see what The Flux is all about.


From a technical standpoint, The Flux presents itself very professionally. It has full, nested bookmarks, and leaves copy-and-pasting enabled. Further, it comes with the necessary formatting to read it on a Mac or as an ePub document. The book is entirely black and white, and save for an alternating page border of a chain and pendant, is devoid of illustrations. And yet, I liked the minimalist approach of its visual design. It really gives a sense that we’re looking at something innocuous, or even deliberately downplayed, which fits with the tone of the book – fluxing is portrayed as a secret only some people are aware of.


But what exactly is a “flux” and what does this book offer?


Described as a “meta-RPG,” The Flux introduces an in-game rationale for changing RPG systems and translating characters between them, as well as offering a few additional rules based around the idea that characters remember their previous incarnations from past games. For example, your character may be a wizard in D&D, but then there’s a flux and the GM pulls out Call of Cthulhu instead, and your character is now a private investigator…who remembers some of the D&D spells he knew before.


Fluxing is nominally described as what happens when the world “dies” and is instantly “reborn.” It’s a cool description for why this phenomenon happens, but I’m not sure how well that works as a concept considering that fluxes seem to happen fairly often (in the author’s examples and from the in-game writing) and because the author talks about cycling through the same select few game systems for fluxes.


But let’s go through the book piece by piece.


There’s a fairly strong piece of opening fiction where a character is describing fluxing to another character before we move on to the rules. The author keeps a very conversational writing style throughout the book, often referring to himself in the first person, which was more entertaining than I thought it’d be. There’s no chapters, but the book is broken down into a number of sections and subsections.


The Flux tells us that when a flux happens the Game Master translates the PCs into their new incarnations – that is, he literally makes the PCs’ stats for the new game system they’ve fluxed to. All PCs also use the new ability score presented here, Memory, which determines how many of their previous incarnations they recall and correspondingly how many changes they can make to their GM-written PCs.


I personally shook my head a little at this section. Character creation is one of the areas where the players have near-absolute, if not total, control over how things turn out. Having the GM write up their new characters while letting them make only a static number of alterations certainly made sense – in a new incarnation, you don’t get to choose who you’ll be – but I know that if I did this my players would likely rebel. Personally speaking, I’d invert this rule; I’d let the PCs write up their own new characters (with some guidelines about how powerful they should be apropos to the game system) and then the GM gets to make a number of changes equal to each PC’s Memory score.


Of course, your Memory isn’t a static number. You can, in fact, fail to remember who you were before a flux, though there is a way to be awakened to your previous selves’ memories. Likewise, your Memory score can be increased by certain things.


The major aspect of Memory, however, is what the next section of the book covers: that you remember your previous lives’ skills and abilities, and can try and use them in your current world – these are known as Recall. Like the private eye with the memories of a mage, you can have a character use those powers even if they don’t necessarily fit with the genre/game system you’re currently using. Of course, you might fail to translate that ability to your current world, and even if you do use it there’s no guarantee it’ll work the same (different world, different rules).


It should be noted that bringing in powers from the old world(s) isn’t something your characters get freely. The more they do this, the more likely they are for the world to notice that something’s happening that shouldn’t be. If the world does notice, then there’s Whiplash, where the world tries to deal with the problems that your character is causing. This usually ends badly for the character. And then there’s a brief note about Slippage; rarely, something more than just memories will make the transition to the new world…


Roughly the last third of the book is meant for Narrators; that is, people who run the game (e.g. Game Masters, etc.). This covers some of the basic questions about fluxing, along with presenting some ideas for how things could work in various fluxed worlds. Finally, we get the resolution to the opening fiction, which I quite enjoyed.


Ultimately, I found myself highly impressed with The Flux. The idea it presents is exciting and offers simple yet novel way of easily transitioning from game to game while keeping continuity for flux characters. The few rules it introduces are simple, yet serve to highlight what makes fluxing an addition to a game, rather than just an excuse to start using a different system. The remaining guidelines are helpful without being restrictive, letting you go your own way where you differ from the author’s presentation (as I did in a few places). Finally, the writing is top-notch, being all the more intriguing for its casual tone.


If you and your players want to transition game systems without having to start everything over, if you love the idea of characters and plotlines that span worlds, if you want to see a little more of one game take place in another, then pick up The Flux. New worlds are just a flux away.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Flux
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/03/2011 19:21:59

There aren't all that many RPG products that leave you standing there with your mouth open and at the same time wanting to smack yourself in the head. The Flux is one of those few.


Hello, my name is Erik, and I suffer from Gamer's ADD. No, not AD&D, but Gamer's Attention Deficit Disorder. There is just so much cool crap, i want to run from Labyrinth Lord, to Fate, to Dresden, to Swords & Wizardry, to Tunnels and Trolls - I want it all. As a GM, sometimes I get drawn to the new shiny like a moth to flame.


The Flux embraces my illness and makes it a strength. The solution is obvious really, run them all, yet keep them linked. John Wick is a smart man.


This isn't a long, wordy product, but a tool that may be eye opening and inspirational. I'm already toying with it, and I don't even have a campaign started with any system at the moment.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Play Dirty
by david f. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/22/2010 08:03:46

GM advise can be very hit or miss and John Wick's stuff is the same. That being understood, this is one of the best reads I have had for some time. It is witty and clever, some of the advise you can even use. It has been a while since I read a book from cover to cover in one sitting and if I had not had a four year old to deal with, I would have. Excellent book, would recommend it to any referee that is feeling a bit jaded and needs a reboot as an essential read.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Play Dirty
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Play Dirty
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/14/2010 10:29:27

Advice for GM's is like any suggestion: You can take it or leave it. So, buying a PDF of GM advice might be a tricky proposition: You won't know if its going to be useful until you've read it and thought about it, and then given yourself a chance to put it into practice.


I'd never read anything by John Wick until I bought a copy of Houses of the Blooded. At the end of that book, there's a fascinating chapter on GMing, one that goes beyond the standard boilerplate RPG designers. Based on that, I figured $5 was a safe bet on Play Dirty. And I wasn't wrong.


The essence of John's guidance is simple: There's more to the RPG experience than you might know from just reading the rulebook. Far more. John offers suggestions on ways to take what might just be an enjoyable evening of gaming into an experience that transcends dice rolls. Wick focuses on players and their characters, and how to manipulate both to create tense, emotional, memorable moments.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood & Honor
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2010 20:30:39

Blood & Honor is the antithesis of a game like Eclipse Phase. It lacks hundreds of pages of background and numbers. Instead, there is a simple core mechanic that is built up into a sort of network until everything meshes together flawlessly.


It's great.


I have never seen a game for $5 that presents as much as this one. It has some of the best advice I've ever seen included with a game, for both players and narrators. Professional typesetting with authentic art makes the game more natural to read.


For a unique take on an Eastern adventure, look no further than Blood & Honor.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood & Honor
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Play Dirty
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/12/2010 17:47:31

This is the best guide to GM'ing I have ever read. Ever.


Including advice and ideas, this will renovate your game mastering.


I'm not sure how much I could say without giving too much away (there's already a preview), or managing to look like an idiot, but I'll say this:


This is the most enjoyable read I've had this week. It is enlightening and also funny, with a mixture of good advice and anecdotes. It's worth the $5.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Play Dirty
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7th Sea: Players' Guide
by arthur p. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/23/2010 10:24:42

Beautiful layout and easy to read. I loved the way that the artwork really set the tone of the game. The concept of ‘swashbucklers and sorcery’ with a more gritty feel is clever and well done.


The rules mechanic seemed simple and payable, but unusual for those unfamiliar (it comes with a learning curve) with it with some odd things like ships rated in character attributes. I found the ‘stuff’ side of the universe a little light on the ‘enchantment’ side – spell casters but no magic swords, flying characters but no magic ships, etc.


Four stars for an innovative concept, well executed.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea: Players' Guide
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Blood & Tears
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2010 20:45:37

I'd probably rate this 9 out of 10 if that were an option, as it isn't a flawless product, but it's still very innovative and eye-opening. The system streamlines a great deal, while remaining completely compatible with the table-top version, and directly addresses some of the complaints our extensive LARP group have about other LARP systems. In particular, I enjoyed the cut-down character sheets, and the simplicity of the Style economy (It's easier and less character-breaking to hand someone a couple of tokens than it is to roll dice or play rock-scissors-paper). In some ways, the game over simplifies, and in others, John Wick doesn't take into account just how different the mechanics behind his two versions of the game really are (for example, you're allowed to bring your Blessings with you, but Blessings have decidedly table-top mechanics, such as letting you see a character sheet's secrets, when the LARP game requires that every sheet be public. Thus, I had to personally rewrite all the devotions), but all in all, for a mere $5, if you're a fan of Houses of the Blooded, I think you really owe it to yourself to pick up this product. It's Houses of the Blooded the way it was meant to be played: In corsets, in gloves, with a rapier slung at your waist.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blood & Tears
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7th Sea: Game Master's Guide
by Tim C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/16/2010 23:42:46

Excellent book, the only reason it doesn't get 5 stars is because the picture on page 40 covers part of the text and this still hasn't been fixed after two years.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
7th Sea: Game Master's Guide
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Houses of the Blooded
by Daniel D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2010 12:01:24

Not perfect, but well supported, innovative and evocative. John Wick's finest work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Houses of the Blooded
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Blood & Tears
by RAISTLIN W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/22/2010 05:14:18

This is a solid, effective, and SIMPLE system for playing "Houses of the Blooded" in live-action. And as far as that goes the system is excellent.


This would be a five-star review if not for one thing: none of the information from the original book is recapitulated, even in drastically summarized form. (And in some cases bullet-point summaries are very necessary -- ven society is COMPLICATED.)


One can get started as a Vampire LARPer after reading 20-odd pages and being walked through character creation, and most theatre-style games have "rulebooks" in the 4-5 page range. Right now there's no "gateway" product for use in recruiting players, and a LARP system kinda really needs it.


Maybe some third product could be produced that provides a summary of ven society so it's at least possible to get players up to speed without handing them hundreds of pages to read as a prerequisite?



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Blood & Tears
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Vendel & Vesten
by Christian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2010 12:07:24

an interesting background book about the merchent princes and guildmasters. TEchnical Quality: top



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vendel & Vesten
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Los Vagos
by Christian S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2010 12:05:20

a great book about one of the most noble secret society of 7th Sea.
technical Quality: Top
content: top



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Los Vagos
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