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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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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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