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The Robotic Age
by Josh M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2015 20:44:55

Re-posted from Krazy Ivan's RPG Emporium:

The Robotic Age is an action oriented RPG that takes place in 22nd century. Players take on the roles of sentient android, cyborgs, transhumans (robot bodies housing a human consciousness), or even unmodified humans living in a society that is trying to come to terms with what it means to be human. It wasn’t long ago that androids started to spontaneously gain consciousness. The question is are sentient androids equal to humans? What about those humans who modify themselves so heavily as to become more machine than man? Is a person even still a person if they download themselves into a shiny, new robot body? Characters will explore these questions, and more, while facing off against anti-robot human extremists, android terrorists, and mysterious digital entities that haunt cyberspace.

Most of the book is devoted to character creation. New characters are granted a number of points that can be used to purchase abilities (think “stats”), combat skills, general skills, upgrades, weapons, and followers. Upgrades are cybernetic or robotic systems that grant a character various special abilities including armor, flight, heightened senses, and more. Rather than spending money on gear, equipment is created with character points. Want a shoulder mounter plasma cannon? You can design it. Fiery cyber-claws? Spend a few points. A lightning cannon that would make Telsa proud? It can be yours. Character points can also be spent to design robotic followers called Support Units or even powered battle armor referred to as Exosuits.

Most of the rules section is devoted to combat, and those rules lean toward over the top action. The game uses a percentile system to actions. Modifiers are added to a skill rating and dice are rolled. If the result of the roll is lower than the modified skill rating the action is successful. In the case of opposed rolls if both side roll successfully then the one with a higher skill rating succeeds. This mechanic is used for all actions. While I haven’t had a chance to actually play the game it looks to me like it will great fun, particularly for fans of anime.

Production quality is generally very good. All interior art is black and white. The artwork has an anime/action cartoon feel that, while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, is well done. The best part, in my opinion, is that all of the illustrations were done by the same artist which gives the book a consistent “feel” throughout.

The fonts chosen for the headers and main text are crisp and clear which makes for easy reading. The only time reading the book is a hassle is during the fiction at the beginning of each chapter. The short stories are written in a font that is difficult to read on a digital device. On both my 7″ tablet and 17″ laptop the text seems to be a bit fuzzy because the chosen font is too thin and italicized. I suspect that this wouldn’t be a problem in a hard copy version of the book.

Brother can you spare a hyperlink? My biggest organizational complaint in this world of electronic media is that too many RPG publishers neglect to bookmark and hyperlink their PDFs. The Robotic Age is completely bookmarked but lacks any hyperlinks. This is especially annoying in the ‘Quick Character Creation Rules’ section that references other pages in the book eight separate times.

Aside from the hyperlink issue the rest of book is well organized. It includes and index and the PDF version is fully bookmarked. The flow of the book is intuitive and follows the standard fluff-character creation-rules-GM section that any seasoned RPG enthusiast should find easy to navigate.

The Robotic Age provides a fully customizable, action packed, cyberpunk experience with straight forward, consistent mechanics that handle meat-space and cyber-space adventures equally well. The game’s appeal to story gamers is somewhat limited as it lacks any of the narrative tricks found in games like Fate or Apocalypse World. That said The Robotic Age make a great addition to the collection of any fan of action RPGs.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Robotic Age
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