Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Saturday Morning Tabletop RPG Core

I was provided a PDF review copy of Saturday Morning Tabletop RPG Core by Nefthalie Ramos and published by Infinite Roleplay.


Are you a fan of 80's saturday morning cartoons, DnD 5E, or games like Cartoon Action Hour? Then Saturday Morning Tabletop (SMTT from here on out) is the game you've been waiting for!

The writing, layout, and art are appealing, fun, and conveys information extremely well.

I heard about SMTT because of the PWYW version and immediately new I wanted to see more.

It opens by discussing, appropriately enough, Rating Systems for your game, based on ages. And then it goes into a key component of the game Awesome Power, which is based on Size (though Class abilities and Feats let you increase this) and reminds me a bit of Mythic Power in Pathfinder. Awesome Power determines what you can do when facing someone of lesser, equal, or greater AP. You will never be able to grapple, for instance, someone with greater AP than you.

SMTT takes 5E and stretches it pretty far, redoing races and classes from the ground up. In fact, if the tone weren't so lighthearted, I believe it would have been spotlighted more by now.

SMTT succeeds as an amazing evolution of DnD 5E.

Races include all of our favorites (though altered for fun) and new ones such as Changelings, Wild Men (a subrace is Yeti), Caretakers (think constructs), Reavers (Dragonborn, sort of), and cat people (who range from running on all fours, to centaur like hybrids, to humanoid).

The Classes are Barbarian (including a Shaman inspired by World of Warcraft and Druids), Knights (where we find our Paladins), Lawmen (including Gunslingers), Peformers (Warrior Poets, Fortune Tellers), Priests (Healmonkeys), Sorcerers (which cool soul bonds to round out their heritages), Thieves (no, not Rogues), Warriors (Massive Weapon Warriors), and Wizards (Spellbarons). Additionally, Classes gain a flat number of hit points + Con Modifier each level.

While most of what we know of 5E is there, it's been expanded and each class has had more mechanical system integrated (things like maneuvers, anger, or performance just to name a few). Yes, you recognize 5E in here, but you also see expansion and nods to DnD's past and other games that have drawn upon it's roots.

Feats include things like 26 Inch Pythons, Beast Blood: Boa (you can turn into a snake), Tall Dark and Ugly (one of several Feats that lets you lower an Ability Score to 6 and that cannot be improved, but increases your AP), and Hyperactive. I'm not sure I would import most of these into a traditional 5E game, but they are well thought out and mechanically sound.

The Experience table has been altered as well, for instance it only requires 18 XP to reach level 10 and it includes how much to award players for a successful and failed encounter at the appropriate level.

Magic uses a spell points system called Mana Well and allows spells to be Overcharged (by doubling the amount of Mana needed). Spells are presented by Schools, that include Bartleby's School of Arcane Shaping, The Creeping Dark, and Visage of the Beast).

The Gear chapter covers mundane and magical weapons, combat, and the fact that heroes never die. Yep, you read that right, you'll get Haggard and Exhausted, but you won't die (though you might turn evil).

For the DM we have the Evildoer Toolkit that is a great asset for new and veteran DM's who want help building encounters. It categories foes by power level and/or Size and it's presentation reminds me of how FantasyCraft handled enemies, though clearer, in my opinion.

All that a DM needs is in this section, including particular types of special actions for their evildoers and 4 specific foes are detailed.

Pros If you want a fun variation of 5E that channels G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, or She-Ra, this game is for you. If you want a gonzo ruleset firmly rooted in 5E and well designed, this game is also for you.

Cons It's gonzo and it's premise channels saturday morning cartoons, which, I guess isn't for everybody...
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