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Giantlands: Part the first.

(1/1)

LiferGamer:
All:  It's a chore for me to thumb through this game and truly analyze it, so this will be broken up into at least three or four parts.  It's going to be pretty raw, but I hope it will enlighten or entertain.
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In short, drama/company switch nonsense aside, they made a nice little boxed set that's well put together.

The version I got via Kickstarter now seems to retail for $129.99

Too expensive.  IF your inclined to get it, wait for a cheaper reprint of some kind.

I plan to playtest it before giving it a more in-depth review. 

My first impression, back-of-the envelope review is its Gamma World 1.5 or 2.5.  Many, many years after the big bad events and the world is a civilized-ish Thundar the Barbarian-ish high science and fantasy.

There are three booklets in the boxed set.  (roughly 9"x5")  Well bound, well made.  Each of them with the tagline "Science Fantasy Roleplaying Game Playable with Pen, Paper, Dice & Masks"

More on that in a bit.

Spirits Guide (85 pages)  is the main setting/rulebook talks about character creation, the 5th age and so on.  In short, The land was ruled by hi-tech giants who poisoned the land and in their hubris "angered Gaea, and she cast them down and revived the harmonious tribal cultures etc. etc.

My eyes glaze over when you get too new-agey.

The art, fonts and everything  take me back to the earliest editions of Gamma World, which is unsurprising, considering James Wards involvement.

(There is some great Jeff Dee art in there)

I dug in a little more.  The "Spirit Keeper" and the "Spirits" (Dungeonmaster and players).   The game wants to be a LARP/Table-top Hybrid.

Among the list of things you need (pp 13-14) the standard fare of Spirits (players) Spirit Keeper (DM) Dice, Sigil Coins (cardboard chits included) Pencil, Paper, Imagination (thanks for specifying)
Lusory Attitude - I had to look that up.  Bascially, it means buy-in.

Masks and Costumes:

"Masks are a way to help us stay safe while stepping even more out of our everyday selves and into other roles.  Decorate your mask with Sigils, human or animal features, or anything else that make you feel more like your character.  Costumes of any kind  also help us and others to imagine more deeply and to suspend disbelief in the fantasy."  (Giantlands Spirits Guide pg 13)

Skipping ahead, you +5 to ALL your attributes for wearing a mask, and +10 if you wear a full costume.  (d100 based)

In the forward Drawmij himself was waxing on about a "Theme Park" for Giantlands, where the lines blur between reality and play:

"…then those same players take their characters into the Giantlands theme park.  They arrive in that theater already knowing how to play the game, and ready to live out a day in character with friends and other players."  (Giantlands Spirits Guide pg 1)

Ok.

-Might- be fun at a convention, and at least partly explains the coin mechanic.

You have six attributes Spirit, Mind, Body, Toughness, Urgency and Luck.

Not sure why Body and Toughness are separate.

Character creation rules are quite generous.  Six stats, d100 based, with a d10 of extra points to put where you wish AND a mulligan rule:

"If you don't like one of the rolled numbers, you may take a single "mulligan: and re-roll that number until the result is larger than the rejected number.  Yes, it is possible to re-roll a larger number.  In this case, you and the Spirit-Keeper may agree on a larger number so that you aren't wasting time rolling and rolling until a higher result comes up.  If a larger number is not rolled in 20 re-rolls, you must accept the 20th roll, whatever that result may be."  (Giantlands Spirits Guide pg 15)

20 attempts.

Your "Life Force" is the total of the Highest and Lowest of Mind,  Body and Spirit.

You pick a Ley Line School, an emotion and roll a fear.

It touches on sigils, and the four kinds of Ley energy - you are affiliated with one, and on death you can flip a sigil coin, spending one of your three souls and if the coin flip matches, you are reborn in your chiefdoms temple.  If you don't have one, YOU'RE DEAD MARINE.

There's a section on chiefdoms and tribes, a 'party' being less than 10, a band being 20ish probably related onward to a tribe, and how each chiefdom is also affiliated with one of the ley energies...

...all I know is its draining my energy.

On to TURNS

A round is 6 seconds, a turn is 6 minutes, a "Game Turn" is 60 minutes, and a Game Day is... a game day.

One thing I like is that turn order is decided by Life Force order, so as you get wounded and worn down, you slow down.  But then what the fuck is the Urgency stat for?

Attack roll: I roll vs my skill, and IF you have armor, you roll under your armor to confirm the hit.  I've never cared for this style of mechanic personally, "Ah I hit, oh, no I didn't."  In GURPS  I always had defender roll simultaneously to save time.  At a glance, most armor values are fairly low.

Ability checks are what you expect, roll under to succeed.

Digging into attributes, we find out that Spirit is ability to use ley magic well AND charisma, and at a fairly low level, gives bonus life force (+5 with a 6-15, +10 at 49-54, etc.)  Life Force bonuses are cumulative, Ley saving throw bonuses are not.

(I'll give them this, WHEN things get mechanical, it's at least well explained.)

So for you min-maxers, since Spirit is included in life-force, and buffs it, you probably want to spend those 20(!)re-rolls here.

Mind helps you figure out gadgets, check for traps and at the highest levels buffs Ley damage.

Body lets you brute force doorways, and determines your healing rate.  "Physical effort" checks are vs. Body.

Toughness not only gives you a varying amount of damage resistance, but also buffs melee damage...

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I'm done for now. 



Dan Davenport:
Interesting review! I've been curious about this one. I look forward to your next part!

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