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Sparks of Light
Publisher: Twisted Die Productions
by Simon G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/10/2015 23:45:13

Sparks is a narrative game of good vs. evil that draws heavily upon the tropes of the Magical Girl genre of anime. You play a Magical Girl or Magical Knight of the Light trying to balance your personal bonds with your duty to protect the world, both physically and spiritually, from the Dark that wishes to dominate it. The Dark taints the land with the help of Dark Magical Girls and their allies but it can be fought and redeemed. Of course the real world often intrudes. Even Magical Girls have to go to school, study, do chores, get dates and avoid rabid Magical Girl Stalkers, normal people who have seen a little too much of the magical world and obsess over it.

Creating a character is a co-opearative venture, a group takes a number of turns to define a character's Bonds, interpersonal relationships with each other, NPCs and the world around them. This creates a Bond Map which represents the things that are important to the character and the group. Bonds are important for receiving Hope Points, which can be spent to give the players narrative control. Characters also has Aspects which define them personally. Players experienced with the FATE system will see correlations here. You start with a number of Hope Points equal to your Bonds and replenish the same number during downtime. Hope Points are spent by invoking your Aspects which give a bonus on rolls. There are no base statistics, only by using your Aspects and roleplaying can you gain an advantage on rolls. Magical powers are entirely descriptive and open, this is very much a rules light game.

Sparks is very specifically modelling the Magical Girl genre, and personally I think it hits the nail right on the head. It captures the secret identity, dealing with other worlds, idealism vs. pessimism and the importance of community and other elements perfectly. The art is of good to exceptional quality. My gaming group is definitely going to play this, it's a solid, uncomplicated, narrative game.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sparks of Light
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Divine Blood: RPG Supplement
Publisher: Thrythlind Books and Games
by Simon G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/06/2014 01:51:15

Before you read this review, please note that I was involved with playtesting this product but I have at no point received any monetary compensation for my time or this review. My name is in the credits for playtesting and some small contribution to editing.

I have also purchased this product for two reasons: to support the author and because it's a setting and rules expansion for the FATE system that, in my opinion, deserves support. I thoroughly enjoy the setting which also has a novel and several short stories and I have had a real blast playing games set in this marvellously detailed world. If I honestly didn't think this was worth everyone's time and money, I wouldn't be writing this review.

The setting is anime-inspired cyberpunk meets mythology. There are Gods, Demons, Psychics and Mecha. There are nations in crisis, a grand political stage for you to explore and a fully fleshed-out magical system different to any that I've experienced in over twenty years of roleplay. There are so many styles of campaign that you can play from high school drama to psychic investigators to military campaigns to gods and demons fighting for the soul of humanity. Divine Blood builds upon Strands of Fate well, so much so that it has beaten out other styles of FATE for me personally.

If I have a criticism of this book it's that the quality of the artwork varies greatly. Some of it is sublime, some of it is ok and some of it is not so hot. Despite this there is some real talent on display and those pieces that are really excellent are worth it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Divine Blood: RPG Supplement
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Venture City • A Superpunk Sourcebook for Fate Core
Publisher: Evil Hat Productions, LLC
by Simon G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2014 15:39:40

This product has some great art. Unfortunately, the superpower content is inadequate. There are two major problems:

  1. It's not so much a system as a group of templates with amped-up heroic advantages attached. Bricks are Bricks, Psychics are Psychics, Speedsters are Speedsters; there's no mixing and matching of powers here.

  2. There's no sense of scale. Psychics get Telepathy, which comes packaged with ESP, reading minds, probing minds, melting brains and mind control. Speedsters get a flat +6 on certain checks in certain circumstances involving running.

Sure, you can argue that this is true of comic books but this is the difference between comics and running a game people play together. There's no cost to being a Psychic over a Speedster and anyone who has ever played an RPG should know that mind control is one of the uber-abilities that needs to be handled with utmost care at the table. It's given to Psychics in an off-hand comment.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Venture City • A Superpunk Sourcebook for Fate Core
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Creator Reply:
1. Those are the sample PC builds provided at the end of the product (pages 26-30). They were built using the character creation information on the pages immediately prior (pages 23-25). 2. Those powers were built according to the methodology outlined on pages 23-25. You could build psychic or speedsters with an entirely different range of effects, at different scales, if you care to.
Divine Blood: Errands
Publisher: Thrythlind Books and Games
by Simon G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/11/2014 15:25:47

This short story centres around Damir Milos, one of the main characters of the Divine Blood novel. Damir's 16 years old and was raised to be the perfect soldier at the cost of a normal childhood. Pragmatic to a fault, he finds himself having to puzzle out the awkward social interaction of buying gifts for two injured girls.

Following the events of the Divine Blood novel, Errands is a good short intro to some of the main characters. I found myself wanting more at the end. If you want to dip your toe in to test the waters before buying the first novel, this is a good place to start. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and I'm looking forward to more.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Divine Blood: Errands
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