Just thought I should post here my first thoughts on the game.
I pledged around the Kickstarter for a ton of stuff, so I’ll be receiving stuff hopefully towards the end of April or the beginning of May, but I did purchase a copy of the Core Rules for the game and the Narrator Screen at my local gaming shoppe recently.
I have to say the rulebook is gorgeous and readable in terms of both colour scheme and style, though like many, I suspect I’m not the only one who finds that reading the landscape style book is awkward for the most part. The 2d20 rules used in this version of the game are the simplest so far, and seem to give a solid flair to the John Carter of Mars feel that the game aspires to. There are some glitchy places in the rules that I may have questions about later on, but for now it’s a good read and a fabulous game.
I just do wish that I had my pledge backer materials already! Impatient, I am.
So, for those other folks out there who have the game, what are your thoughts and impressions of the game so far?
I love the landscape format so much. Picked up the slipcase at my LGS and it’s a thing of beauty. Going to drop back in and pick the Narrator Toolkit/Screen this week.
Love the streamlined 2d20 System and after playing Conan and Star Trek Adventures I like how each iteration changes while keeping core elements the same. I think I may actually adapt this to Conan, which is a little too crunchy for what I expect. Good information on Barsoom but more importantly some really good advice on the genre trappings and how to bring them to life.
So far of the three Modiphius game lines I’ve bought they’re hitting 100% and I can’t wait to see more in this line.
For me, the landscape format is not a selling point. The book is hard to hold when reading, and in my experience of landscape rpgs, the spine being on the “short end” can cause the book to fall apart easier. Back on the KS, it was said that the reason to go landscape was to make it an “art style” book, with 2-page spreads of piece of art. So far, through 184 pages of the Core Rulebook, the only two-page spreads are in the front inside cover and the rear inside cover. Meh.
I think this is one of the best, if not THE best, iteration of the Modiphius 2d20 system to this point. Definitely more of a narrative feel to it, and the rules don’t seem as “messy” as those from STA or Conan (from what I remember of them). They’re not completely clean and neat, but they’re excellent.
The Barsoom material presented is top notch, and it’s easy to see why Jack Norris is the Guru-of-All-Things-Barsoom. Definitely loved the Narrator’s chapter of the book, some excellent advice on how to run the game and some of the trappings of sword-and-planet and how to use them in the JCoM game.
I recognize that pic/name from Torg Eternity forums
I like the landscape because it immediately marks it as different, though I do appreciate that the slipcase is still portrait oriented. I tend to read at the table so holding it isn’t an issue for me…I broke that habit with the massive BNS: Apocalypse book.
I like this iteration of the 2d20 system quite a bit and would definitely use it for Conan as they share similar pulpy roots. The version for STA though really captures the feel of that license in ways other games have failed.
I was part of the alpha and beta playtests and eventually dropped away because I wasn’t sure about whether or not I liked the 2d20 system. Since then I got to play a session of Conan and found it to be more fun than I expected, and when I saw the JC rulebook at a local game store I just had to buy it. Now I wish I had backed the kickstart, but since I have the rulebook (and ordered a GM screen and some dice online) I probably can’t find the right “late pledge” option so as to not duplicate what I bought already. I haven’t had a chance to play JC yet, but I like what I’m seeing in the rulebook. The landscape format is a little strange, but not a deal-breaker IMO. Also, is there a “cheat sheet” so that I can figure out 2d20 faster?
I wanted to playtest the game during that period myself, but due to other commitments at the time didn’t have the opportunity to do so.
The 2d20 Momentum system is actually pretty good and the rules are flexible enough, though with so much narrative element to the games, one has to be careful to be consistent in mechanics rulings (especially with JCoM). It’s not a system for everyone, but it sure does allow for a great John Carter game!
The landscape format is still driving me crazy somewhat, especially the handling of the book itself, given that the spine on the “short end” of the book is more prone to coming apart. If this were a true coffee table book that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but in a roleplaying game book that one uses and flips through a lot, the wear and tear is higher.
No cheat sheet that I know of, sorry to say, but the 2d20 system isn’t that difficult to get a handle on.
The biggest thing I’ve found for both Conan and Star Trek Adventures is that I do up sheets with the PC’s Talents listed for easy reference and a double sided sheet with momentum spends on one side and Action Scene momentum spends on the other. In JC though there’s less spends so you could easily have it single sided.
Well, given there’s an almost inifnite number of Talents for the game, I’ll let the players write down their Talent details (or put them on character sheets for convention pre-gens) for their characters.
As for the Momentum spends, there’s quite a few ways to spend them in JCoM RPG. Can’t remember if there’s more in Conan or STA, but I can definitely see a typed sheet with this material on it.
It would be nice to have either an official or unofficial handout summarizing all the talents with descriptions. The core book has an pretty good index, but you’re flipping around to find them quite a bit.
There is the summary of Talents at the back of the Core Rulebook with page references, but it’s very tiny printing (even on the monitor, which I don’t want to access it through). That what you’re referring to?
That said, there’s enough Talents in the game that even now, to summarize them with some details on them, you’d have a good 5 page document or so. And that’s with what we’ve got right now.
We do not need a list of talents, because all the talents in the book are just examples. You can create thousands of talents only using the core rules.
A list of attribute combinations of possible test is more important than a list of talents.
Grendel, what you are describing for Conan and Star Trek rules sounds a lot like what I’d like to find for John Carter. Some sort of sheets that I can reference instead of having to flip through the rulebook so much. I was hoping that someone else would have done the prep work, however, instead of me having to do it myself.
Yes, that’s what I was calling out–the index. It would be nice to have a summary document that consolidates all the pre-made talents in one place. Although making your own is encouraged, I know my group will be just as happy to use a handful of the pre-existing talents, especially as they get to know the rules.
For Conan and ST I made the sheets character specific. For John Carter the talents are already on the NPC sheets and when I make my own NPCs they’ll likely be custom talents anyway (because I love the talent design element a lot!)