Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution
Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!
Product– Psionics- The Next Stage in Human Evolution
Producer–End Transmission Games
TL; DR-Angry teens with psychic powers-THE RPG! 88%
Basics-We all want to crush someone’s head with our mind-BUT NOW WE CAN! In Psionics, you play a person, most likely a teen, whose outsider status has fueled your transition to something greater. You’ve developed psychic powers that make you now stand out. However, now secret groups all over the world want you to study, to be a near god, to use as a weapon, or to just destroy as an act of faith. Let’s break down the absolute basics.
Base System- This system is called the Dicepunk System. The basics of the dice punk system is roll under sometimes, but not the standard system you expect. You have skills and attributes, and you want to roll under. Want to sneak somewhere? You roll 2 six-sided dice and try to roll under your Speed attribute (a value from 1 to 10) plus your Stealth skill (a +0, a +2, or +4 to the attribute). A natural 2 is always a success, and a natural 12 is always a failure. One of the saving graces of Dicepunk is EVERYTHING is a d6. Dice will never be hard to find.
Combat- Combat is an interesting mix. Instead of roll under or using a flat skill, initiative is two six-sided dice plus a mix of attributes. On a turn you can move, do an action, and do some free actions like yell something. Action range from attacking, doing other things, to using psychic powers. When you attack, instead of roll under, you roll two six-sided dice then add skills and try to beat a defense value. Beat or equal it, and you do the damage on the weapon. After you go, the next person goes, with each turn being 10 second of combat. First one to die-loses! Armor reduces damage, but you only have so much health. When it’s out, you’re down.
Psychic Powers-Alright here is the main attraction to a psychic game! This game uses Power Points for its magic which you spend to power your abilities. Bigger powers use more, and smaller powers use less. Psychic powers also have a cost to your health in the form of drain which causes half the amount of non-lethal damage as the power points spent. This can knock you out! Also fun is Overflow. Every time you use some psychic powers, you fill your overflow. When you completely fill it, you overload and unleash crazy psychic powers on the world and basically become a psychic hand grenade harming yourself and all others around you! Overflow also fills as you get angry. Remember you’re an angsty teen, so being angry is a big part of the deal!
Powers basically work as an attack or with targets making an attribute check. If you throw a car at someone with your mind, you make an attack roll. If you throw a fire blast at some people, some of them may have to make a speed attribute check to see if they get hit by the secondary damage of the blast.
Powers are divided into three groups based on colors with some subgroups. Blue is telekinesis, red if pyrokinesis, and green is psychokinesis. You can level up each individual group, and as you level them up you unlock more powers in each ability and the ability to take subgroups like mastering entropy, magnetism, or luck with pyrokinesis.
Ok, now the review!
Mechanics or Crunch-Overall, the system is strong, but it has a few issues. Dicepunk is a different beast. It works well, but I always have issues with dice systems where you sometimes roll up, sometimes roll under, and sometimes have a strange mix somewhere else. It’s not difficult, but it could take a bit to always make sure you’re doing the right thing. Things are balanced, so it fun and feels fair, but my own personal preferences do take away a bit of the fun. 4.25/5
Theme or Fluff– This is the high point of the book. You can tell the author really focused on bringing their world to light. It’s got secret societies, anger management issues that fuel powers, stories for character development, and art to make you see what they saw. The nature of emotion in the book is strong, and the really forms what the story of angry kids against the world. Some of the aspects of the story are a bit cliche, but that doesn’t hurt this product. 4.5/5
Execution-This book is put together pretty well. It’s laid out well,and finding what I need is pretty easy. That’s good. What I don’t like is the PDF isn’t hyperlinked, and it’s over 300 pages! That can make life a bit harder as you scroll through the entire book to find what you want. As for what’s in here, there are a lot of stories, which is good, but there may be a few too many for my taste in a RPG. Also, I’m not the biggest fan of the art. These are petty concerns though. Overall, this is a well-crafted RPG with no major issues in execution. 4.4/5
Summary-If I was going to run a psychic teen RPG, this is the system I’d use. It’s made well with lots of story starters and is easy to use. It’s got a few issues like why some things are roll under and roll above, but those are problems you can get past pretty quick once you get into it. The theme is on point, and overall the book has great execution. The best praise I can give this book is this-this system feels distinct from magic. Most psychic RPGs feel like it’s magic with people holding their heads. Here, Psionics make me feel like I have psychic powers. 88%