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Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
by Gerben v. d. B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/29/2019 08:22:31

One note up front: I only guided a single one-shot before writing this reivew. The 3 players didn't have any prior experience with tabletop RPG's. After leading a second one-shot my view hasn't changed. The only exception is that I first thought a gritty realistic setting wouldn't be possible with the Dreamchaser system, but I now think it is.

I will follow the same order here as we did in the one-shot and when describing rules or mechanics I will not go into extensive detail, but instead hope to give a general idea of how things work.

Let's start with the dream map. Because the one-shot was based on part of a larger sandbox game that I ran some time ago, I placed the dream (end goal) in the center of the table instead of having the players vote on what they should be doing. I also added a second dream underneath since the first goal was meant as a red herring. The players each wrote down one thing they wanted to accomplish as part of the session/story. These are called milestones and are numbered to give a flow to the story. Once numbered we placed the milstones in a triangle around the central dream.

After the dream map is created we performed so called "vision rolls". These die rolls give players an opportunity to see a possible future and gain an advantage if that future comes to pass. Each outcome is assigned to a milestone and can be "used" until the milestone has been passed. Two example visions are giving first aid to a different player or decrypting an encrypted message.

Now it is time to get into character creation. This process is remarkably easy which is always a plus. At the start you describe your character using tags like selfish or relentless. Strategies are chosen after that. Think of these like abilities or knowledge a character might have. For instance occult knowledge or shapeshifting. And now it is time to write numbers on the character sheet. First off the players distribute points between reason and imaagine. Reason is used in game when something would logically be possible, while imagine is used when skills (or reality) have to be bent to make something happen. I will get into this in the next paragraph. After that it is time to give the character his/her attribute points. Dreamchaser characters have 3 attributes: Body, mind, and spirt. Body indicates hit points when physical challenges are encountered, mind for mental challenges, and spirt for social or faith based challenges. The character now exists, but has no depth. To fix this the character gets 2 or 3 relationships to make the character part of the world. A relationship might be a generic and nameless reference, but could also be a soul mate. Lastly each character gets a few belongings that are unique for that character. An effigy or customized computer for instance. While the book contains lists of tags, strategies, relationships, and belongings they don't have to come from a list. Come up with your own, but also take caution that players don't make them either to broad or powerful. Academic knowledge might sound fine initially, but it can cover anything from arts to physics.

After all of that it is now finally time to talk about the rules. The players perform all die rolls while the guide merely states the difficulty of each roll. When players throw dice they throw 2 10-sided dice. One die for either reason or imagine, and the other for a strategy that is applicable to the challenge. Characters are able to use tags that apply to a situation to reroll dice, but the guide can also do this to force players to reroll. The game has a limited resource called belief which can be spent to force a specific outcome when rolling dice. Die rolls don't have modifiers. Challenges have their own tags and body, mind, and spirit statistics. If a player fails a challenge he or she determines what happens, as a few examples the character might be knocked out, killed, or exhausted. This is something we did not follow during the one-shot. At the end of a session players get to level up. This is not done like Dungeons and Dragons where a level dictates what increases and what abilities you gain, instead it is more freeform. You can increase for instance the body statistic or gain a new strategy.

Finally after all of that it is time for the conclusion. Dreamchaser is a game that is easy to pick up, even for players new to RPG's. It also has no inherent setting, meaning the system can be implemented broadly. Originally I thought gritty realism would be extremely difficult with this system, but after running a game in the style of Call of Cthulhu I think it can be done if the group is clear on what strategies to allow and how far players are allowed to stretch the use of strategies. This (being separate from a setting) opens a whole lot of options like supplements for other RPG's, movies, book, you name it. The dream map is a way to create a story together with the player so everybody gets what it is that he or she wants. The game does require players that are more interested in a good story than in powergaming or min-maxing statistics. What I got from both reading and playing the game is that it is a creation of love. The creator cut away anything that was or could be unnecessary and polished the game into a generic system that I would describe as excellent.

At the start of this review I mentioned some changes I would make to the system or at least contemplate for future games. These are the following:

  • Adding modifiers to challenges. To give two examples, a surprise attack will give players a single easier to achieve attack or better tools might also make a challenge easier.
  • Different damage types. While I am not yet sure how this could be done with how damage is dealt, the previously mentioned modifiers could be one way.
  • Give players a limited pool they can tap into or need to safeguard. Think of this like mana for spellcasting or sanity in a horror game. In the case of sanity the decrease might be a test against the current value so becoming mad becomes easier and easier as sanity decreases.
  • Limited use abilities would be another thing I would add. An example strategy is shapeshifting, but I think that shapeshifting into anything (or anyone) at any time is overpowered. Taking such a power away completely would be a shame, so I would instead allow a player to spend one or two points from the previously mentioned pools to allow such an ability.
  • Add a second tier milestone. Milestones are meant to be completed within a single session. What I would offer players is the chance to create a large overarching milestone that can be broken down into smaller milestones. Once all small milestones are completed and the larger one is in turn also completed, the player gets a small bonus reward for the long term commitment.
  • The last thing I would add would be ranges to weapons. These would of course be relative since they would otherwise bog down the system too much, so think of the following: Melee, close, medium, long, extreme. A weapon might have a "preferred" range in which it will work normally, but it can work one step outside of that by increasing the difficulty of the shot by one or two. Due to how easy and open the system is most if not all of these ideas could be added without any issues.

The last thing I want to cover in this review is about the supplements. I have not yet read any adventures yet, so I can't comment on those. This game has several supplements for different genres. These supplements aren't meant as complete settings or world building books. Instead each supplement contains lists of dreams, milestones, tags, etc. that serve as ideas for the relevant genre. A supplement I would like to see is one that tweaks the system in different ways to better suit specific settings.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
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Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
by Kevin I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2017 23:06:05

How do I explain Dreamchaser? And how do I convey how much I thoroughly enjoy it?

Well, let me give it a shot.

First of all, the game is a "setting free" ruleset. Normally, I don't really like the rules without a setting book. However, Dreamchaser is so much more than that. It's the first game that I can honestly say would be CONFINED by a setting. Because Dreamchaser is really only limited by your imagination. Now, a lot of settingless games would try to tell you the same thing, but this game is the first one that really encourages you to not only dream up something big, but to do it WITH your players. It's not only the GM who gets to design this world. The players are just as (if not more so) responsible for creating the setting as the GM.

Let me explain a little how this works. First, the players decide on a Dream (a game) they want to play. It could be, "Save the Princess", or "Prevent the Singularity", or "Defeat Organized Crime", or (my favorite) "Make the Perfect Sandwich". Every player throws their idea out there and then you all vote on the one you want to play. If your idea isn't chosen, never fear! You still get to decide your Milestone! These are personal achievements you want your character to obtain on your journey. Each character gets one! Decide the order the milestones are achieved, make some characters (an easy process) and watch your GM squeam as he tries to put all of those ideas together into a coherent story. (Actually, this is my favorite part as GM. And the players really, really help you along in this effort. More so than many an RPG).

Add in a very simple, yet deceptively deep system (roll 2d10 and get under various benchmarks on EACH die) and you've got yourself a hell of a game.

Dreamchasers is a wonderful, wonderful game that is truly unlike anything else you've played. It's a game that will come out again and again on my table, especially if another game has ended and nothing new is lined up or we want to play a game when one of the crew can't make a session. In my experience, this game is not a one-shot, but more like a 2 or 3-shot. However, the more players you have, the longer it will take (more Milestones = more adventures). With that being said, you could definitely make it a long term campaign. You're really only limited by your ideas and if you have a whole table contributing great ideas, you've got yourself long-term fun.

You won't regret getting this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
by Erik C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/08/2017 15:48:46

What an amazing game! This rpg let's you experience anything you ever dreamed! It is based on a unique premise that makes the players come up with an end goal they want to acheive, as well as milestones along the way, and then the game master facilitates that dream by playing the part of npcs and moderating challenges. The analogy of the dream map being a "movie trailer" and then the game play is the movie is very apt. You know how it ends, but finding out how you get there is what makes it fun.

The mechanics are very simple, and easy to pick up for players new to rpgs. All dice roles are made by the players, which keeps them engaged and makes them feel like they are in control of their own destiny. Having a skill in an area related to a challenge let you re-roll dice, which avoids complicated math associated with modifiers, plus who doesn't love rolling dice!

Dreamchaser perfectly balances gaming with collaborative story-telling. It works great as a one shot introduction to rpgs. I reccomend anyone who looking for a fun game to play with a group of friends pick this up.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
by Jeremy S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/07/2017 11:11:49

Fantastic game! Very easy to learn and to play. I could go on about this game but Michael's review hits all of the important stuff. Just get this game :-)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny
by Michael P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2017 11:59:09

Dreamchaser does what so many games try to do; it hands narrative control over to players. But it does so in a way that forces players to really use their imagination, and encourages critical thinking to make your limited skills work for you (or against you).

At times, the game can almost feel GMless because the flow between player and Guide narrative is so seemless and fluid. At the same time, the structure exists to drive the story in a more traditional way if players are floundering. This is the real strength of Dreamchaser: Emergent storytelling. It's almost impossible to get through a session of this game without saying, "Well I didn't see THAT coming." Even though, by design, you technically know where the story will lead.

Rules are light enough to encourage even the greenest of gamers, while still giving enough knobs to tweak for the experienced crowd. Character creation is a fun and interactive experience that is core to the game itself.

Dream Mapping may be my favorite aspect of the game. Essentially you are laying out the major plot points of the game before you even set out. It gives bones to the story, and allows the sessions to become the meat, muscle, and skin to surround those bones. But even when those goals are written out, sometimes the interpretation of those goals change somewhere along the way and everyone is surprised just how that goal technically gets met.

In the hand full of Dreamchaser sessions I've been a part of I've had some of the best role playing moments I've ever had. I can't recommend this game enough. Just get it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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