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Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption $13.00 $9.75
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
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Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
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Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Sophie L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2007 00:00:00

This is the system I want to use to run games based on the TV show "Lost" or the Warren Ellis comic book "Fell", slightly altering the settings' premises to use that of "Dead Inside": the characters have somehow lost their souls and are trying to recover them (or grow new ones.)

The premise of the game makes a strong contrast with many modern horror RPGs, giving the PCs a reason to hope and work. The system is easily learned, taught, used, and can handle surprises thrown by your players.

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Slick, simple mechanics; lovely premise that is dark and on the fringes of horror without the PCs themselves having to be the horror (though they can be), and with a glimmer of hope to guide them. Strong incentive to do more than "murder, pillage, burn." (Also, one of the ads was for good music.)<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The art and layout are only average; too many ads in the back.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Rob M. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/07/2005 00:00:00

OVERVIEW

Dead inside is an ?Modern/Urban Fantasy? RPG that puts players in the roles of the ?Dead Inside?, humans that have lost their souls, by trickery, by theft, by their own corruption and decay, by a soul crushing failure, by accidentally misplacing it, or the most unfair of all, never having had a whole soul to being with. Faced with this fact, the characters must strive for their soul, whether taking back what was lost or stolen, re-growing what they have, or stealing or consuming another. They do this by finding their way from the cold, spiritless Real World into the Spirit World, where the energy of the spirit is alive.

GAME WORLD

The Real World is host to many creatures, from the mostly spiritually unseeing and unreachable ?Ensouled (Average People), to the Sensitives, gifted with brighter souls and the second sight (I see dead people!), to the Dead Inside, aware of the world of the spirit by the loss of the soul which kept them content, to Ghosts, spirits whose bodies have died but whose spirits remain. Then there are Zombis, Dead Inside whose lives ended, but not their existence, and the Magi, whose great spiritual energy allows them powers and the chance for True Immortality. Many of these creatures can be found in the Spirit World as well, along with Tulpas, beings of thought given life by their creators to whom they are enslaved, Free Spirits, Tulpas who have gained free will, mysterious Imagos, spiritual beings that guide and direct others, and dreaded Qlippoth, beings who have lost all their souls, yet not passed on, feeding on the souls of others to fill the emptiness that consumes them. The cosmology of the setting is fairly existential (i.e. all we know is that we exist and this is what the universe is like) and sidesteps any annoying dogma or message by the author.

SOUL POINTS & THE FOCUS OF THE GAME

Players take on the role of Dead Inside, or Sensitives and Magi, following their particular path within the dream-like environment of the Spirit World, at the center of which lies the ever-changing City. Most of play involves the character?s quests to regain their soul, for the dead inside, gaining greater knowledge for the Sensitives, and attain immortality for the Magi, depending on the type of campaign being played. This spiritual journey is tracked by the character?s gain and loss of Spirit points. Which can be acquired nobly by hewing to their Virtues and resisting their Vices (the exact nature of which can be chosen by the players and GM?s), referred to as soul cultivation, or stolen by preying upon other dead inside or consuming ghosts. Though stealing soul points this way is quick (easier, quicker the dark side is.), it can have diminishing returns as doing so causes soul decay for the character.

As players gain these soul points they can use them to evolve from Dead Inside to Sensitives, and from Sensitives to Magi, whose ultimate goal is to achieve True Immortality. To make matters more complicated, the players must deal with their own psyche within the spirit world, in the form of their parasitic shadow. Soul Points lost to soul decay go the character?s shadow, a part of the character intent on indulging their base desires, at once enemy and ally, inextricably linked to the character. A character?s powers are fueled by the use of soul points and, in some cases, his basic spiritual abilities. Abilities and Powers are less effective and require more soul points to use in the cold, hard Real World. Finally, soul points are used as a form of money for commerce in the spirit world. Thus, soul points, and the acquiring, loss, and spending thereof, form the main crux of play.

The GM?s chapter provides ample advice on how to setup a campaign based on the various player types, and decide upon the focus of their adventures, as well as handle the tone and style of the game. It can be New-agey hippy self-improvement, or a harsh struggle to eat or be eaten, or more likely somewhere in between, depending on the type of play in which the GM and players are interested.

GAME SYSTEM

Dead Inside uses the Prose Descriptive Qualities (PDQ) system for resolution. This rules-light system rates players abilities as poor [-2], Average [0], Good [+2], Expert [+4], and Master [+6]. Which is the rating added to a 2D6 roll and compared against a Difficulty to determine success, with a Difficulty of 7 being average. Qualities are freeform in his game, and are chosen by the players, with examples given for various categories. Any ability not described for a character is assumed to be Average [0]. The system uses multi-step conflict resolution, resolving the results of the actual conflict, rather than individual tasks. As part of this conflict resolution process, characters can suffer Failure, or Damage Ranks, which are then used to reduce their listed abilities.

When all of their listed abilities have been reduced in this manner, they are out of the conflict, and have lost. A character that loses a combat conflict isn?t automatically dead however, as a player must specifically state that he is going to kill a character on the losing side of a conflict. After an appropriate time after a conflict, a character?s abilities return to normal, depending on the nature of the conflict. This system can be pretty random, and players can quickly be wiped out, and lose a conflict, by a lucky die roll. Certain abilities, however, can be used to provide ?armor?, thereby allowing you to ignore damage from a conflict, at the cost of temporarily reducing that quality. As you can see, the system is rather abstract and there is not much crunch and little detail involved in its application. It favors a narrative approach, indeed there is a ?Being Badass? rule that rewards players who come up with compelling action description.

ARTWORK & PRESENTATION

The PDF itself is a 128 page document, done in a 2 column format with a non-descript and functional layout. Section headings are in a large bold font, text in an fairly easy to read serif font, fiction and mood material is in different font and indented. Important notes and are block quoted in italics, and there textboxes with explanations, examples, and additional rules as well. Overall it is readable and functional, with no fancy borders or excess white space to waste your ink. The artwork is acceptable, if rather amateurish in spots, many pieces of which are done in a ?pen-doodles-on-a-high-school-notebook? style. My favorite piece is the Qlippoth(?) on page 36.

SUMMARY

Dead Inside presents a unique and interesting game experience to its players, as noted by designer Chad Underkoffer in his forward, one meant to turn the ?Kill Things and Take Their Stuff? meme of most games on its head. With the choices of Dead Inside, Sensitive, and Magi characters, as well as Free Spirits, and Ghosts, it provides many different options for play and depending on what elements the players stress it can offer an introspective, surreal, heroic, or horrific tone. The rules-light nature of the system and the narrative emphasis of the mechanics can well serve the dreamlike nature of the Spirit World and support the thrust of the game well. So if you are looking for something a bit different than say Wraith, or your typical horror game, or just something besides the old KTaTTS grind, I recommend you give Dead Inside a look.

<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: Qlippoth are neat, and Eyes of the Dead God, and I like the dichotomy of being able to prey on others to gain spirit points or to be virtuous and self-less.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: the PDQ system can be pretty random in conflicts, the artwork was pretty weak. <br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br><BR>[THIS REVIEW WAS EDITED]<BR>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Jonathan G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/13/2005 00:00:00

An original concept and idea that manages to be both innovative and enthralling. A mix of new ideas enriched with traditional concepts (the Spirit World, ghosts, zombis etc) given a new twist. Though the built-in system I am not 100% certain of (though I must add I have not playtested it) the book is more than worth having for the background concepts alone and would convert well to other gaming systems, particularly NWoD and games of that ilk.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: New, interesting ideas that really do make the product unique. You won't have seen anything quite like Dead Inside before. The fiction interspersed throughout is of a particularly high standard for this type of product and really brings the setting to life. Plus I want an alarm clock that says 'Help'<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The game system is a touch esoteric and may be a trial for newcomers to the hobby. Some of the artwork is a little scratchy and pixellated in the print edition. The cover on my copy is slightly too large and overlaps the edges as a result, although I understand that this may have been corrected by now so don't let that put you off. Finally, though the fiction is pretty good by RPG standars, there is an awful lot more of it than there needs to be and it sometimes gets in the way of the rules.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Very Good<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by David L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/22/2005 00:00:00

Wonderful writing, he has clearly also put lots of thought into the themes.<br><br> <b>LIKED</b>: Virtually everying<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: many of the graphics were rather mediocre<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Nicholas M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/10/2005 00:00:00

Enjoyable read. Will hopefully find the right group of players to use with.<br><br><b>LIKED</b>: The system, the basis for the setting.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: The artwork.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Rodney C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/20/2005 00:00:00

I first came across the title while reading a review of the author's Truth and Justice supers rpg. I was interested enough to dig a little deeper, and ended up buying this first. I really like this game, if for no other reason (and there are many others) than it's inversion of the "kill people, and take their stuff" paradigm.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Fred H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/05/2005 00:00:00

Chad U. takes everything you know about a roleplaying game and rotates it about 90 degrees off from normal. This is everything you haven't done yet in an RPG. Buy it now.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Jason B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/18/2004 00:00:00

This is a fantastic take on a fresh subject. DEAD INSIDE doesn't just sparkle, it doesn't just shine, it is a supernova of cool that will blind lesser eyes and open all others.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Acceptable<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Brook F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2004 00:00:00

DI takes roleplaying in a new direction. It really is a game of redemption. After having lost your soul in one several different ways you need to regain it by making both yourself and the world a better place. Definately a refreshing new take on gaming.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Brad R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/27/2004 00:00:00

An RPG that focuses on positive, redemptive quests in which being nice is more important than being tough? That's actually fun and playable?

Dead Inside is that and more. A really beautiful, imaginative, and orriginal game that offers solid and interesting play with a minimum of fuss but a maximum of support.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Michael S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/08/2004 00:00:00

The coolest game I've seen for years. Dead Inside has a really evocative, cool world which spawns ideas for stories without even trying.

The intention of the game - that the characters are nice to people - is a great change from pretty much every other game out there.

The other thing that makes it stand out for me is that my non-gaming wife was intrigued enough by the ideas in here that she wants to give it a try.

I haven't played the game yet, so those comments are based merely on reading it, but the system looks solid and well-fit to what the game is about.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Kirt D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2004 00:00:00

BUY THIS NOW. Interested in personal horror or urban fantasy? Screw Vampire, buy this.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Alexander H L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/29/2004 00:00:00

Very creative, very cool. The game has an interesting premise and setting, along with at least one idea that made me think "Shit, how come no one's thought of this before!" I got the strong sense that the author knows what he's doing and created a solid game.

Unforunately, the book also seems fairly amateurish. The organization was poorI didn't get any sense of what the game was about until I had read 20 or 30 pages in. The game also suffers from a lack of art, and the mediocre quality of what's there. Also, there really isn't that much here: the whole book is under 200 pages.

Still, what is there is pretty good. I'm happy with my purchase and I feel there are some good ideas here for almost any game you would care to run, with almost any system.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Kingston C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/11/2004 00:00:00

This is a well written, inteligent game. I really liked the PDQ system and extensive GM section. The spirit world setting is excelent, a sort of "phantom tollbooth" for the human soul. I especially liked the way that the system encourages character development and setting exploriation to play off of each other, instead of working a cross purposes. I would definatly recomend this game for others.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dead Inside: the Roleplaying Game of Loss & Redemption
Publisher: Atomic Sock Monkey Press
by Devin G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/28/2004 00:00:00

I suspected that this game was something special as soon as I started reading the vignette text -- I normally don't like vignette text.

I knew this game was something special when I finally identified that sick feeling in my gut during our game: here we were, a bunch of soulless people on a quest to recover what we'd lost, and to do so we're planning to break into a house to get a set of car keys and then break into the police impound lot. If those were the kind of actions my character was willing to take to get his soul back even before he'd tried to accomplish his goals with integrity, did he deserve it?

This game has smacked me upside the head like no other I've purchased or played. Having that moment of realization really hammered home the wisdom behind Dead Inside's rationale: "help people and give them stuff."

My group is clamoring for more. You can bet we'll be playing this -- and they'll be buying it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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