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Novarium $0.00
Average Rating:4.1 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
7 1
0 3
2 0
1 0
0 1
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Publisher: Chubby Funster
by John B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/04/2016 19:13:03

As a free game, there is few better. I was able to read through the entire rulebook in a couple of hours, including making a sample character in the process. The system is a simplified version of Ars Magica in feel and flavor (I'm unsure if there is any affiliation, but the inspiration is easily seen if you are familiar with the both games). The artwork is donated, but that does not detract from the professional feel of the layout. In summary, given that the game is free, there is no reason not to give it a read through and full marks for world-building.

If I had to find flaw with the game, it would come from two directions. The first has to do with editing. There are at least a half dozen or so fairly obvious gramatical or copy errors throughout the work, which at under a 100 pages seems like it could have been avoided. It is so blaring as to make the work unreadable, but it can pull you out of the zone. This is most especially true when you are reading about the world in someof the narrative elements of the book. The second is that the game screams for detail. The write-up is designed with brevity and simplicity, but in doing so it leaves a bit too much, in my opinion, to the architect. That isn't the end of the world, but there is too much of a great idea going on here to not fill it out with more detail. This game needs expansions! The short least of player classes it reminiscient of the old Basic Box set for D&D, with demi-humans being used in the same way as a class. Again, I understand the desire for "short and sweet" but I would have liked to seen more. In summary of the flaws, the game is a powderkeg of potential that is begging for detail and expansion.

The world the game is built on is amazing. It is a classical fantasy game with many of the elements we have come to expect: medieval timeline, fuedal structures, magic, demi-humans, monsters, magical revealed religions, knights, swords, nothing surprising there. The magic system is quick and fairly clean (though it is open ended and in need of care from the architect/GM). The combat system is fast and lends itself to easy combats that don't take half your game night. Weapons have interesting stats that make choosing between a sword and a hammer interesting without bogging down the system. Religion is revealed, leaving little open to interpretation. Overall fairly systematic fantasy roleplay.

Where this game truly excels is in the worldbuilding. In the world of Vaena has been flipped. While many of the elements of high fantasy are present, including it's many anachronisms, the game is set in a dark age between the reign of elves and dwarves, and the reign of humans. Travel is difficult, language is all important, knowledge is cloistered and hard to acquire, and the natural world is a significant challenge. But to make matters worse, magic is present in the world naturally in the form of fonts, places of planar connection between the divine realm and the natural world. If these fonts go untended, they can cause corruption of the natural world, unleashing monsters, demon and fae. Enter the Novarium, a hand-picked party of mages and hireling. Their task is to tame and tend these fonts and use the magic released to return the world to its natural state. Oh, and if you thought you would be playing in a world in which physical might and male-dominated societal structures were prevelent, you would be wrong. The gift of magic was given to women, who have turned that to their advantage. What history tells us about how women were treated in the Dark Ages of our own world are not mapped onto men, who have no access to magic. Of course there is valuable social commentary here, but that isn't the only way to look at the game. As a work of fantasy, it is yet another twist that pulls us out of what we think we know and how we view the world and allows us to fully immerse in a world with avery different point of view. It is no different than trying to imagine dragons or fireball spells. It's a novel approach and can be a great game for living vicariously and imagining a world very different from our own.

Of course, as I have noted so many times before, this amazing world-building is in desparate need of fleshing out, either by the publisher (time permitting) or by individual groups (though that can be a distraction from getting a game going).

Overall, I really enjoyed reading the game and building a character. The very quick playtest with my family seemed reasonable and easy to understand. The world is very interesting and fresh. It just needs more meat!

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher: Chubby Funster
by Phillip S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/31/2016 19:52:54

So. I just looked over a tabletop system that could have easily been written by feminists, for feminism. Novarium. A free game with decent enough gaming mechanics. The problem comes in its very pushy storyline background. I figured I would at LEAST give it a chance and perouse it..being a freebie. So lets dive into the story..brace yourself..there's no polishing this turd.

God is a female, and the Devil is an evil male that questioned her. He went off and did his own thing, but suddenly he was evil. Okay then. Throwing that part of it out the window but finding it odd..we continue. (Religion always was kind of odd, so I can only fault this one so much.)

Apparently, God has had enough of inequality, so he gives the power of magic or the Path of Light to women. And only women. That's right...we're going to promote equality by giving dangerous magical powers on par with nukes to only ONE group. HMM.

Immediately, the social situation changes and females embrace equality...by subjugating males entirely and making them completely subservient pieces of property only good for breeding or occasionally dying in battle..but forget higher forms of learning. (No joke, this is literally in the writing.)

Oh, and if you're a male with magic, then you're not a rarity. Oh no, according to the rules you must always be evil and in league with the Devil. And questioning or stepping outside of these guidelines and you are brought before their version of the inquisition and denied any form of afterlife and basically going to hell or doomed to walk as an undead. You could also be ostracized, tortured, or put into a form of "legalized slavery." What...the...hell, people.

Holy. Shit. Its like Anita Sarkeesian and the worst elements of Catholicism from ancient types had the most demented bastard child you could come up with and then they threw crystal meth into the equation. This is literally what is written in the text. Geeze, I mean...it has some really, really nice mechanics to it. But then you get to the story and the only way you could honestly enjoy something like this is if you're one of those feminists or one of those white knight male neutered feminists that has some severe mental issues of the "I deserve this because i'm a male" variety. Laugh it up, but those do exist and in numbers. Mechanics wise, I give it a 4/5. But anything else is in the negatives. Roleplaying games should be open and fun, not a political fuckfest because someone's latest facebook rally didn't get enough likes and they felt triggered by going into the real world. I would ALMOST go so far as to say that giving this away for free is a war crime, as the game itself promotes ideals that are quite frankly for the mentally unbalanced. I WOULD go so far as to say that its pushy enough to be acceptibility wise on par with a tabletop game made explicitly around the concept of rape. That is, entirely unacceptable. Avoid this game.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher: Chubby Funster
by Ryan M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/15/2012 19:59:46

Novarium is first off one of the most beautifully put together games than I have enountered in a long time. While this is superficial and largely unimportant it is worth mentioning up front. The art is amazing and the layout is eazy to read even on a computer screen.

It is the simple, elegant rules system that is both easy to learn and easy to follow. This is both a major strength and a minor weakness. It makes play easy and keeps things from bogging down in overly complex rules. On the other hand the system feels almost limited by that as well. There are no really complex combat maneuver rules presented in the rules. This leaves a lot of interperation up to the GM as far as what difficulty dice something should use.

The world is well put together. The design elements are solid and while the history could be epounded on a little more it's really not, especially for a free product, all that much of a detraction. In a sense it also helps with the dark ages feel of the world. The culture and religion are well documented and color the enite volume well which only serves to make the setting far more interesting.

The simple, class based character creation system is the only major detraction from the system. It is definately limiting in what a character is. There are only a handful of choices and only limited options to really customize the character. On one hand this forces the player to really role-play to make their character's unique and vital but for some players this is a major detraction, especially those who prefer dice mechanics to player interaction. On the other hand however, it does serve to reinforce the world rather well. The culture in the setting is very good about pidgeon holeing its citizens so the limited class options make sense in that respect, still a few more options would be nice.

Overall, it is a well put together system and an interesting read that is more than worth the price of admission. It's a rules-light system with an engaging and interesting world. Download Novarium and enjoy.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher: Chubby Funster
by andrew b. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/08/2012 08:59:50

This is an incredible product. Image the best made core and world rulebook made by the industry giants... you know the two of them. Now, imagine its been simplified down to a flexible system.... and it is FREEEEEE. Beautiful artwork, wonderful mechanics, lots of background covered. I have to say, I downloaded both of Chubby Funster's free books... and was thoroughly impressed. For free products, these are very high quality and have lots of wonderfully evocative multicolor art from multiple artists. If this is any indication of the quality of Chubby Funster's work, I cant wait to see the other 5 products he has to offer that might actually cost a few dollars.

Just so you know, if this sounds too friendly, Ive never met or heard of Chubby Funster before today. I came across his free products, downloaded them, and became an instant fan. Please, give these products a chance, you will be glad that you did. I was in the middle of a MMORPG, when I got sucked up on this from my laptop. My character literally stood in the corner while I read this stuff... like some insolent child. Not since I downloaded C.J. whatshisnames Witchcraft have I been so entranced by a product.. and that was gritty black and white.

This review covers both of his free works, which I just downloaded and perused, Cascade Failure and Novarium. Ones an alternative to a good medival setting with a nice, simplistic system. The other is kind of a d20 post apocalyptic space opera... I know, just sounds intriguing. Check out both of them, did you notice they are both FREEEEE, and then give Chuggy Funster's products a try. I know thats where Im going after posting these two reviews up.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Publisher: Chubby Funster
by erik f. t. t. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/05/2011 19:08:17

Leave it to Greg (aka Chubby Funster) to gift us with another free RPG. This time he gives us Novarium. It has it roots as a re-imaginating of sorts of Ars Magica, but with the Chubby Funster twist.

Players have their primary PC, and a secondary PC to use when their main is otherwise occupied off stage. This allows for the world to grow and time to progress. The last game I played that had multiple characters for the PCs stable was Dark Sun in it's first incarnation. I feel old now ;)

Production quality is, once again, what every professional should hope to release upon the public. It's made for ease of reading on computer screen or tablet. Fully bookmarked. Amazing art. Very well done.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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