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Metamorphosis Alpha 4th Edition
by Edmund W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/29/2008 00:37:39

This is a particularly sweet book. It is a particularly enjoyable return to the Starship Warden. Although the setting is revised from the original 1st edition, it is really easy to adapt in either direction. The rules revisions and expansions only add and take nothing away. Although I am more of a fan of the original 1st edition setting, the overall work builds on the strengths of the original.

The style of game might not be for everybody, however. Characters are quite flimsy in this setting - this is not new to Metamorphosis Alpha, however, so fans of the original should not be startled. Players who are over-attached to their character's needn't get this book, but if a fun death is as great as a fun life in a character for you, then welcome aboard (the wolfoids will love you).

New players should approach this game if they enjoy survival-type games (without the "horror" element), and are able to suspend disbelief (radiation produces not-quite-X-Man mutations, mutant badgers conquer plots of land, and a tree might well be the most cunning, vicious, and versatile villain in your campaign). If this is the case, then the game is nothing but fun from beginning to end.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Metamorphosis Alpha 4th Edition
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Creator Reply:
Edmund, Thanks for the kind words. We are glad that you are enjoying the book, and hope to release more material that you will enjoy just as much over the next year or so. Craig J. Brain WardCo.
Metamorphosis Alpha 1st Edition
by Edmund W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/05/2008 03:21:43

This product is all that, though it lacks a bag of chips (even for the reasonable price, less than 50 pages does not earn a bag of chips). The original Metamorphosis Alpha setting has not been emulated in the newer editions per se (currently on its 4th edition, and a very worthy book that is to get, though unavailable in PDF), rather presenting an alternate Warden whose population are a lot closer to being original crew. Thus, for the data on the original setting, devoid of aliens and other colony ships, this is the thing.

The rules set is still workable, although even with errata it's bare bones. This was actually standard fare at the time, the idea being that you would do most of the creation of the ship yourself on the fly as you play/run the game, using the brief notes on each of the decks of the ship, all of its technologies, etc., and fleshing it out. Dragon magazine articles (available online at www.metamorphosisalpha.com, as opposed to www.metamorphosisalpha.net which is the official website) gave notes on androids, rules for robot PCs, and a whole host of other tasty elements.

This setting is, to me, superior to the new 4th ed one. Although the alien plotline in itself is fun, the change of making PCs who are technologically semi-literate and historically aware, even if addled or debased, doesn't convey the original feel of the game. Playing or running this original version of the game, and reading the text, is like reading an existentialist novel, only it lacks the pretention or heavy-handed morality play. That in itself is worth gold to anybody who likes to mix dramatic roleplay with dungeon crawling goodness, such as any long-time fan of D&D settings like Ravenloft or Dark Sun.

The game itself is better than good, and although the older mechanics have a number of dings and breaks, it's all good fare.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Metamorphosis Alpha 1st Edition
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Creator Reply:
Edmund, Thanks for the kind words. I'll make sure that Jim Ward sees this review. Warmest regards, Craig J. Brain WardCo.
Metamorphosis Alpha 1st Edition
by Daniel P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/05/2007 23:33:10

This is a classic game for a great price! (watch for the POD version due to hit the scene at lulu.com before Christmas)

The main question readers of this review will want answered is - should I buy this? In a word, yes.

Why?

This isn't JUST the very first science fiction RPG ever published. You won't JUST be supporting one of the founders of the whole fandangled RPG hobby. This game is an old-school icon for what it means to play in a gritty, fight-for-your-life environment where smarts, mutations, and a bit of luck can save you from the android maniacs and mutated beasts that are out for your blood. Don't even get me started about the insane AI running the whole show.

This game's system is an adapted version of AD&D 1e/ OD&D (both available here at RPGnow as PDFs).

Look, don't expect some glossy, fancy, "unified game mechanic" nonsense here. We're talkin' an old-school kick-you-in-the-gut system with role-playing (and maybe a radiation blast) as your only means of survival, buddy, and don't let any "3.5/OGL" confuse you!

Take the Metamorphosis 1e challenge. I dare you. Buy this game, play it as written for a few sessions, and decide for yourself if RPG "advancement" means anything. This game is just as relevant today as the day Jim Ward wrote it up. Buy it, play it, house rule it, and for god's sake have fun with it!

This game is a piece of gaming history, so don't let it pass you by.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Daniel, Thank you for posting this. I think you captured Jim Ward's intent perfectly with your sentence: "Buy it, play it, house rule it, and for god's sake have fun with it!" We will continue to work hard towards getting this out as a POD product as well. Regards, Craig J. Brain A piece of the WardCo. puzzle.
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