Product– Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game
System– Valiant Universe: The Roleplaying Game
Producer– Catalyst Game Labs
Price– $40 for the physical book here http://www.amazon.com/Valiant-Universe-RPG-Core-Rulebook/dp/1936876965/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434994698&sr=8-1&keywords=valiant+rpg, $10 for a PDF here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/132548/Valiant-Universe-The-Roleplaying-Game, OR PLAY NOW FOR FREE with this PDF http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/128948/Valiant-Universe-RPG-Quick-Start-Rules-Featuring-Unity
TL; DR– The heroic evolution of Cosmic Patrol 92%
Basics– Step into the pages of the Valiant comic books. Valiant RPG is designed to use the Cosmic Patrol light mechanics system in the world of the Valiant Comics. You can fight alongside X-O Manowar or even start fights in the Harbinger Wars! The book spends half its time setting up Valiant universe and half its time describing the system with adventures provided to jump start you into the system.
Mechanics or Crunch– There is a lot here, but it’s also quite similar to Cosmic Patrol
Non-Combat, Combat, and 90% of the system-Valiant RPG feels like the next stage of evolution for the Cosmic Patrol RPG. Players use a d12 + a d4 to d12 for all the characters actions vs. the Lead Narrators roll of d20. Just like Cosmic Patrol, the game is quick and easy to pick up. For a much fuller explanation of the base rules read my cosmic patrol write up here: https://throatpunchgames.com/2015/06/05/ring-side-report-rpg-review-of-cosmic-patrol/ . Overall, it fits well with the comic book style of the system. Players feel heroic being able to take blasts from large robots while facing odds that would decimate most small nations.
Powers-The major addition to the Cosmic Patrol system by the Valiant RPG are powers. Powers are extremely varied with few if any rules guiding their creation. Players spend points to choose a die type, a bonus to the die, and if the die replaces, if two dice are rolled and the better result taken, or if the two are added together. How these dice are used is completely up in the air. Since this is a superheroes game, the powers are all kept loose to allow for a variety of powers to come out. Everything from flight to energy swords are powers the players can design and use in this game.
Summary-This is a very loose, fun game. It does play well with all the characters feeling like superheroes. It all works well as the Cosmic Patrol system is an amazing system. The powers are a great addition to the system adding a wide variety of options at player creation. It’s very flexible, allowing for the creation of any superhero a person could think up. The only problem I have with the system is combat tends to drag a bit. I’d like player characters to do a bit more damage to make them feel a bit more heroic. Most people should go down in under one hit from the Eternal Warrior, but based on how damage is dealt, a Visigoth can go toe to toe with him for at least five rounds. However, this is an area where the powers can be used to fix the system based on player creativity. Otherwise, this system allows for players to battle through any adventure from the comics well. 4.5/5
Theme or Fluff- The first half of the book is the quick notes of the Valiant universe. I’ve read a bit of the comics, but this is a much better introduction to the world than I expected. Each comic gets four to six pages of explanation as well as the general explanation of some of the major events of the universe. It’s well done, and if you’re at all interested in Valiant Comics, it will draw you in and make you want to read some of the graphic novels. 5/5
Execution– I like what’s here. Starting with the comic universe helps those who’ve never read the comics get on board in a hurry. Also, it has enough depth that you don’t feel completely outgunned when the diehard comic guy/gal in the RPG groups starts talking. It won’t give you a master class in the subject, but it will help you hum most of the harmonies to the Valiant Universe song. Character creation is simple, and has a few examples to help you make the heroes you want. I’d like a bit more for game mastering as, like Cosmic Patrol, players can do a round robin GM style with the lead narrator position rotating, allowing everybody to a chance to play. But, just like Cosmic Patrol, the adventures are barebones. It allows for quick, on the fly game play and mastering, but it also means that the current lead narrator has to have some serious improve chops. I do like how much the writers provide by both giving you lots of enemies to fight as well as several adventures to start with, but I think this book needs a bit more to be completely new game master friendly. 4.25/5
Summary– Valiant and Cosmic Patrol occupy an interesting niche in the RPG market. It’s got more rules then Fiasco, but much less rules then DnD or Shadowrun. If you need every minuscule rule spelled out for you, then these are not games you will enjoy. If you want a ton of improve opportunity, then you will enjoy this. If you want ONLY improve, then you won’t enjoy this RPG. If you want a bit of dice rolls and crunch, then this is your sweet spot. It’s a great RPG that’s set in a fun universe with great comics. It builds upon the solidly squishy base of Cosmic Patrol and adds a fun universe to play in with new powers to destroy it with. However, it’s not without its faults. Some combat can drag a bit, and I’d like a few minor additions to the GM section of the book to better teach how to run the game. But, it’s still a great RPG with lots of options that are only limited by your imagination. 92%