Vitenka's review (66%)
AesirRaven's review (73%)
Short version? TORG.
Stats are points buy between a renamed DnD set. Skills are poits buy from a different pool.
The sample character is Flash Gordon.
Now on to the mad bit of the system. You generate numbers by making scrabble words.
Skills give +4 per rank. This is clumsy, just multiply the initial values up by 4.
Oh. The system self-sabotages. You do get a bigger bonus for making a word (if it's related to the task), but it's tiny compared to the skill bonus anyway, so you might as well always play your whole hand of tiles as just blanks. (And there's the fix - allow any tile to be played as a blank for the smaller bonus, but still contribute to the word and real tiles in that word are doubled. This makes it much MUCH more likely that the player will have an applicable word that they can make, and thus interact with the fun bit of the mechanics.)
Oh - there IS still some interaction even if you can't make words. Tiles are worth their scrabble score, so you've got "Do I use a high value now, or save it?"
Ah, the system is stat+skill*4+tiles(*2 sometimes) - that should be mentioned much earlier.
A complex death-spiral in combat. Mostly you'll do one point of damage - but if you succeed by their current hitpoints or more, you do an additional one, by twice that, another additional one etc.
And finally we get to the world descriptions. First we have the WoD riff. "Angst and decadence are de-rigeur" And it's paradigm? "Non-humans are a secret." The whole masquerade? It just IS. You have to act as though it's threatened (or take a fairly piddly 1 skill rank penalty) and as though it was operating. Wonderful little twist.
I'm left unsure how to apply the other part, though.
Ok - paradigm rules lack depth. That's a real shame.
Default play has the PCs as members of ... universe cops in the mould of timecops, I guess. Your job is to keep these worlds from realising multiple-world theory andstop them becoming too much of a nusiance from earth. Nice. Not very detailed.
The psychic circle is an oranisation. Nice use of the element there. They don't seem to DO much though.
And again, the game just sorta stops there. I'm left lacking story seeds.
"Psychic circle" it hits with an organisation, "randomiser other than dice" which is hits with the fury of a thousand suns, along with 'board game' (being scrabble). uperheroes it sneaks in sneakily - the capes are a bit tacked on, though.
There's a few odd decisions - the word thing is lovely but seems to be too peripheral. (Unless you have a full 7 letter word, or want to act twice in a turn, it's almost always gonna be worth throwing every tile in.) There's no real discussion of how to generate world rules, or to adjudicate them. Nor do they interact with the core 'letter tiles' system.
The system also makes a big deal out of "Untrained skill use" being heavily penalised, but doens't go out of its way to provide a skill list - look forward to "That's in my penumbra" style arguments.
There are special rules for the world-jumping setting, so that's covered. (I don't think they're very well explained, or good rules - but they're there.)
Ok, you've got books coming to life and taking over chunks of the world (and, it seems, allowing travel through the whole of that other world; that's not explained.)
You've got a mysterious source of 'eschatonic' technology (including the handwavium costumes that let you blend in wherever you end up. And, for some reason, fly.)
So yes - plenty of interesting ideas here. I'd like to see more worlds (maybe they don't need to be more detailed; the whole 'this is based on a novel / other game line' thing makes for an effective shorthand.) and more detail about what the day-to-day jobs in the various presented organisations actualy are.
Yeah - there's bits missing. I don't know how my character keeps these other worlds on a level of problem like a tornado or typhoon, a disaster that just sometimes happens.
I don't know what the border of one of these overlapped worlds is like - can someone inside just walk across? I don't know what other handwavium tech might exist, whether I can go to a world and bring back high-tech and expect it to work, what evidence the psychic circle have...
There's a lot of setting I'd need to flesh out during play. But the rules seem solid (if a little fiddly).
Hard to say. I think I'd really hate the scrabble mechanic, and also think there's not enough done with it. The game lets me take a hard-boiled detective and go shoot diosaurs, or a werewolf and... huh, there's not really many worlds presented, are there? Go talk to dames in Bogart-land, then.(Which is unfair, because some people might really LIKE scrabble. But I don't, and it's my fun rating.)
Huh, I thought this would score more highly. Add a few more pages of setting and it probably will.
There's a mix of good and not-so-good here. The base mechanics are generally clear, but the determination of initiative in combat is not defined, leaving the reader to have to infer whether it's based on alphabetical order, reverse alphabetical order, or numerical value (high-down or low-up). The flavorful concepts of the multiverse are described sparingly, enough to trigger creativity in fans of multidimensional settings, but Venn Sectors and their implications are not explored. Character creation is simple and provides players with a little extra tweaking-leeway with the "traits". It's pretty tight, but the concepts could use some more exploration.I think I could get behind the tile use. I like the option to get a bonus for spelling a relevant word. Chargen is straightforward and quick.
The writing is a bit more complex than it needs to be. I'm certainly guilty of using long, complex sentences and large words, but I think things could have been simplified in a few places without losing the general tone. The Psychic Circle improbably becomes the Psychic Wheel, complete with "spokes", for one paragraph, then returns to being the Circle. A typo here, a missed space there; nothing major, just fodder for an editing pass. The lack of detail on the Venn Sectors and whether they appear in other Paradigms is the major issue, along with the somewhat tacked-on nature of the underlying mythology behind the presented multiverse.
Mechanics use some sort of a draft appears twice, in the tile-draws and the optional trait draft. Pretty cool, double-dipping on the ingredient.
Characters with changing characteristics hits the target, but is not a bullseye. It's a simple bonus based on which world you're in. It counts, but just barely.
Superheroes tropes hits on the secret ID and the cape. The flying bit is added just to satisfy the goal and feels artificial. Further justification of the flight aspect would be welcomed, rather than eliminating it.
Psychic circle image was used for the Psychic Circle organization. I like the flavor and the conflict possibilities. Good job, but do something about that "wheel" paragraph please.
Board game mechanics -- zing! Got Vitenka good with that one. I think I could enjoy using the Scrabble tiles.
A hit with a bonus, two solid hits, a two-thirds hit balanced out by the double-dip, and a just-barely. If I could judge just on the top four you'd get a better score, but that thing with the changing characteristics really didn't work very well for me. Still, great work.
I feel a bit teased. There's enough here to whet my appetite -- more Alternity Tangents than TORG, Vitenka, since the Paradigms don't know about the Pluriverse -- but it relies on me to fill in a lot of information. That could easily be corrected by the author, as could the rough spots with the mechanics (initiative). I'd be interested in playing this so long as you provide the added info about the setting and the mythology -- oh, and those capes too, please. That in and of itself is a good mark.
Despite a few trip-ups, this is a pretty solid basis for a fun multidimensional romp. The Scrabble-tile mechanics look a little wonky at first, but there's really nothing complicated about the ideas. With some tweaking and a healthy dose of imagination, Logosphere looks like a good time.