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Active Exploits Diceless Roleplaying
Publisher: Precis Intermedia
by Goran E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/11/2018 13:33:41

First, let's get rid of a common mistake. It's written diceless not rules-less. so it has rules, quite a lot in fact but they all circle the single identical idea of resource manageament. It's not that this is a bad idea at all, but for example you won't find the grand world-shattering competitive ways to roleplay that Amber introduced. Because yes you need to talk about Amber when you talk about diceless rpg.

So Active Exploits is not designed with a stable group of players in mind, there is no bidding process and all. Here you buy things, and there are quite a few to pick from: ABILITIES which are stats, there are 4 of them. ASPECTS namely luck and discipline which have base values according to game level of reality, SKILLS that you may take and a which level still according to reality level, GIMMICKS (as many as you want as long as the referee agrees) and PRINCIPLES like codes, faults and objectives. Creating a character is easy in fact, the reality level telling all you need, however it is not written in the most explicit way I've seen, but it's just my opinion. What is important is that it is quick, easy, but that players really need to be able to make the differences betwen all the differnt names given to all different possible values.

In fact the system is built upon the idea that you have a base value equals to ability + skill and that you need to burn points of bo uses (like luck etc) to get a sum that is over the target level. You can even spend XP spent on skills to get a temporary boost. It's quite crystal clear except that you need to make really sure players are aware of the many pools they can pick pints from. Especially with the advanced rules that introduces even more pools like flairs (say subskills), convictions, fields of expertise, threads linking characters.

The main problem according to me are these advanced chapters. Because you have character creation, system and combats THEN advanced versions of the same ones then others. All in all I love the way things get described with category after category enhancing game experience. But I must admit that this very depth is also the deepest flaw of the game system because it's easy to get lost and not being able to succeed because you fail at giving a reason why you could add this bonus or that one.

It is a very good game, not doubts. But there are so many resources to manage from that I wonder how far it is a playable game. You need a very committed group that will move farther, advanced option after advanced option. And that will be very difficult to introduce new players in the middle because of the sheer amount of variables to take into account when comes the moment to chose where you pick points from. I tried two games which is not a lot I admit, but each time we had to shatter that wall of "how I am supposed to do that?". In a typical dice-driven game you don't have it because you have clear values to add to a random die result. Here you never know if burning a point or a skill XP on that is useful or silly. On the first game I made all characters were quickly exhausted and succeeding difficult tasks became impossible, on the second one it was the reverse: nobody wanted to burn a dot and the story wasn't proceeding on.

I love this game but I don't know how to make it work properly in fact. How do you play a resource management system when you have no resources left or when no one does want to spend them? And it's the moment we get back to Amber...

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Active Exploits Diceless Roleplaying
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