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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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Publisher 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!]
Publisher 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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Publisher 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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Publisher Reply:
Thank you so much for downloading, and your review! :)
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