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Publisher: Autarch
by Dirk M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/04/2022 15:37:51

Just gave this a spin with my group for our final session of 2021, and we REALLY liked it.

It looked complicated at first, but actually it's not a hard game to learn. The core mechanic is simple enough: AV + Hero Points vs DV + Hero Points = RV. Check that RV on the CHART, and roll a d100 to see what color result you get. Once we had that down it was very fast to use in play--by the end of the night a round of combat was going as fast as D&D, and we've spent years using d20 systems.

We thought the SPs lining up with real-world numbers was cool. I like to run more simulationist-style campaigns in general, and my players like the idea of being able to see what the heroes they made would actually be capable of rather than just me riffing the results. The section on non-combat challenges looks like a very usable and thorough reference for me as the GM, though I haven't used it much yet (the first session was mostly combat to get the hang of the system).

I liked that the system has both a simple and complex method of character creation. Half my group just sent me a concept and wanted me to make their PC for them since it was a new system, and the other two are the kind who enjoy the process of chargen as much as they do playing the game. (One of them is a recovering D&D 3.5 minmaxer.) I found character creation a bit complicated but was able to knock it out reasonably quickly with the simple method. The two players I mentioned said they had a good time diving through all the powers and perks and planning out their character designs--they liked the variety of powers and different ways to tweak them. Also important to me as the GM was that the complex method of chargen didn't mean that their characters were out of place in the same campaign as the ones I built with the simple method.

(Aside: the reviewer who said that the rules are complex and chargen is easy--are you reading the same book as I am? That's the complete opposite of what I found.)

The layout is solid and easy to follow, with good presentation of rules, examples, and designer notes. I see some other reviewers saying the art is over sexualized, but it doesn't seem to be out of place with what's in most modern comics. It definitely isn't "G" rated though, and if buying the book for a younger gamer I'd recommend checking out the preview first.

Overall a STRONG recommendation, 5/5. My group really enjoyed Ascendant and wants to keep using it.

Update: My group has run multiple sessions of Ascendant at this point, and it continues to shine. Using the SP system has become second nature for just about every member of our group and it works exceedingly well.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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