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AMP: Year One
 
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AMP: Year One
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AMP: Year One
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/13/2015 07:15:20

SIX POINTS:

  • Divorced from the setting, I would grumble at the limitations of the power system...and for a generic superhero game, I would not recommend it. For a very particular type of game (a Heroes or X-Men-style game), it fits the tone very well.

  • The official character sheet is very cool in that it has boxes to fill in when making your character (like four boxes for a Marksmanship of four), which gives you a completed sheet that reminds me of the Power Grids Marvel has used over the years on the website, trading cards and Handbooks.

  • The metaplot mildly concerns me. Obviously, you are not bound to anything in the book, but the more you deviate, the less useful later books are (or, depending on your players, the more they resist you game because of what the next book brings). Previous Third Eye Games entries such as Wu Xing and Apocalypse Prevention Inc. have had a lot of setting material, not so much metaplot. With the right touch, metaplot can enhance a game. With the wrong touch, it can bring back nightmarish memories of NPCs with Plot Armor and stories that are bigger than your PCs.

  • A very healthy and diverse selection of premade characters, complete with art, can be used as quick PCs, as NPCs or just as inspiration for what can be done with the powers system. There's even a "magician" named Citizen Arcane.

  • The Juice mechanic is basically a Power Points system but it reads very well, with the ebb and flow of power being influenced by more factors than just "I spend power points. Dang, I'm out of power points". It is recommended that you use some kind of physical markers (poker chips, glass beads, whatever) to keep track of the flow.

  • The setting reminds me a bit of White Wolf's Aberrant or Green Ronin's Paragons, which sure seemed heavily inspired by X-Men and Heroes respectively, but with a certain vibe (and system) that suits my personal tastes much more. As much as I love Wu Xing, it has never actually hit my game table. We're through character generation with this one, and it will now certainly see play, which I am very much looking forward to.

Right now, at least, I have nothing else to add. If this sounds remotely appealing to you and you don't own it (and you are reading this before March 24), just enter the giveaway and try to win a free copy and see for yourself. You literally have nothing to lose.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2015/03/tommys-take-on-amp-year-one.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AMP: Year One
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2014 23:12:19

Ring Side Report-RPG Review of AMP Year One Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday! Product- AMP Year One Producer- Third Eye Games Price- ~$15 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/132784/AMP-Year-One TL; DR- Want some amazingly customizable superheroes? Look here! 93%

Basics- When they showed up, everything changed. AMP is a near future, heroic RPG. Players take the roles of super humans in 2015. The mutants have only been around and in large numbers for about a year, and the world isn't really read for what they have to offer. Will you fight to save mankind or destroy it? Are you here to put these monsters in their place or will you stand with the mutants? All of these are important questions that you will have to answer as you struggle to find where you fit in.

Mechanics or Crunch-This is a new RPG theme and with a ton of new mechanics. Let's do a rundown of some of the high points that are offer. Base mechanic-This game has echoes of its d20 past, and I mean that in a good way. Everything in this game is a d20 + skill A + skill B or d20 + 1 1/2 skill A. That's it. It's simple, it's quick, and it's fun to play. Want to treat an animal's wound? That's a d20 + beast handling + medicine. Want to shoot a gun? That's d20 +marksmanship*1.5. Simple enough. It only gets slow when both the target and the attacker have to roll to determine if a hit is a success. In my game, I found myself just saying 10 plus the skills for the attack or defense. That change made my game run just a bit quicker. Character Generation-This character generation is complex but has several walkthroughs. This is a true everything point by. You can really screw up your character if you try to min/max and fail horribly! Everything from your speed, to your health, to your attacks is all bought via points. You don't have to take any points in speed, but you will move really slowly. I love this style of customization, but newer RPG players really need to look over the example characters to make a useable character. Unlike DnD5e where you make about five choices, when you make your character in AMP, you have at least 20+ decisions to make. It's easy to do as the math of the system doesn't operate like the point buy from Shadowrun 4e, but don't expect your first character to be made in five minutes. Loyalties-One thing I wanted to point out from the character generation was loyalties. This game has lots of different themes that are really well integrated into the mechanics. One way that is done is with loyalties. When you make a character you decide how important various aspects of your life are. These range from your community, yourself, and to lovers you may have. Each rank in these provides in game bonuses with ranks varying from rank zero to rank five. I like the addition of mechanicals benefits from role-playing choices, and these loyalty ranks really provide that connection. Powers-It wouldn't be a superhero RPG without superhero powers. Powers come from several different general areas ranging from batteries (you store up energy) to behemoths (you are the Hulk!). These powers all have augmentations that provide extra benefits like the behemoth has the crush augmentation that adds extra damage on melee attacks or the bolt ability which allows you to fire elemental blasts at people. Most of these powers are dependent to on Juice. Juice can be thought of as adrenalin, and it powers the superpowers of the heroes and villains. Each broad category has a number of smaller augments that you get as you level up in the power. Some categories have several different augmentations, while some only have a few. It's a quick and easy way to broadly provide the foundation for lots of different hero powers, options, and flavors. Some of the names might be somewhat confusing, but looking over the powers the descriptions provide the rules and the story to how each power works. Summary-The mechanics of this book are well done. The game provides near endless customization and the ability to create the heroes and villains you want to be and see. The new ideas such as the loyalties are excellent mechanics that other RPGs should employ that really developed the mechanics and the theme together. However, this isn't perfect. Some aspects are a tad fiddly such as rolling for both attack and defense on both sides of the GM screen. It's not the worst thing in the world, but sometimes dealing with the amount of rolling in combat can be annoying. Also, character generation is somewhat difficult. If you know what you're doing, you get all the tools you need to make any hero, but if you are just by yourself readying a character for a friend's game, you might be lost in the amount of options you have to choose from. 4.75/5

Theme or Fluff- The basic story of AMP year One is that after World War I governments around the world worked on a super soldier project to stop war altogether. Over the generations, the children of the experiments developed these super powers and passed them on. Now, lots of super powered people are emerging. How will the world change because of this? What kind of person will you be? This is a standard comic book intro, and this is semi-cheesy. But, its super powered people. You have to expect a little cheese in that territory. Just look at the number to times Batman has died and come back to understand. While it might not be my absolute favorite intro story, it does leave a lot of room for the GM to design a story in the near future world of 2015. The first half of the book describes the history of the future, and provides lots of different story hooks as well as doing an excellent job of introducing the various groups at play in the lives of the mutants. Does this feel like the X-Men? Good! This RPG specifically mentions that as one of the main inspirations behind the themes of the game. And since there is no currently published X-Men RPG out there, this is the best solution if you want to play in that world. I think AMP does a great job driving home its theme while providing lots of different stories for the GM to run. 4.75.5

Execution- AMP is done fairly well. The powers section is a bit wordy, but all the powers get nice flow charts explaining what augments you have to take to take the next one. A little more art would be nice as well as color, but for a black and white book, it's done really well. The font, words, and layout all work well, and the hyperlinks don't make my iPad slow to a crawl. I would have liked a few more pre-generated antagonists for the PCs to face as well as a better guide on how to generate encounters. But, on the whole this is a well done book that was fun to read. 4.5/5

Summary-If you want to play a free form superhero RPG? Then, pick up this book. The mechanics are simple, the powers work well, and the execution is great. I have my minor gripes, but overall, this is a fun super hero RPG that isn't too crazy or cheesy. The world is fresh and interesting while providing enough open-endedness to give the GMs free reign in the stories they want to tell. I was actually pretty entertained by the story that this book had to tell. Since the tile of the book is AMP Year One, I hope the authors keep up with other AMP books or splat books to keep the metastory going. 93 %



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AMP: Year One
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Aaron H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/08/2014 20:28:15

The following review was originally posted at Roleplayers Chronicle and can be read in its entirety at http://roleplayerschronicle.com/?p=45197.

AMP stands for people with Accelerated Mutant Potential. The year is 2015 and there is an emerging group of people exhibiting strange powers. These powers stem from experimentation that started in the 1930s. The strange powers that are being exhibited are akin to super powers and with all great things, someone wants to control them. As these individual powers are discovered across the world, several government agencies have stepped out of the shadows to regulate the use of these powers. Adding to all of this, each AMP has a chemical need to attack other AMPS who are in close proximity. They can overcome this, but the urge to fight one-another and the hunt by government agencies makes super powers feel not-so-super.

On the outside, AMP: Year One looks exactly as it should; the combination of colors and art style with a coming at you perspective amp up the energetic feeling that this game has. This game, from a mechanical standpoint, is designed to tell a story; the folks over at Third Eye Games are good at that and they have designed games in the past that attempt to and often transcend your typical hack and slash RPG. At its essence this is a super heroes game and the influences listed at the end of the game affirm that. I was happy that it wasn’t designed to be a silver or golden age heroes type game, but went more along with the Heroes Television series. The addition of the “programmed need for AMPs to clash” was another nugget of goodness that really adds a unique dimension to this game.

The first chapter predictably gives a history of Project Black, the super secret joint international government project that developed the serums that created the AMP bloodlines in the 1920s. There is a time lapse and the current information includes a series of events that occur when the decedents of Project Black start to manifest their powers. Because this is year one, many people are unaware of their own powers or the powers that AMPs are displaying. All the while the government is trying to cover up and hunt down the AMPs before things get out of control. I think this was a good choice as it allows the players to be on the ground floor and supplements to the game can easily be introduced as year two and so forth. Each year could introduce new major events as well as rules tweaks based on the activities presented in the game timeline.

Next comes the character creation and this is another area where Third Eye games tends to do a good job, AMP is no exception. Like many companies, we start to learn the rules as we create characters. I like this approach as it makes the first time I read the rules section of a book feel like a review rather than something completely new and foreign. I appreciated the warm up that is provided by requiring a character concept followed by loyalties and affiliation. These are good because it forces the player to have a really good idea of what type of character they are going to play before they choose their skills and peruse the over fifty powers available to them. I found that power choice was the most difficult phase of character creation for my players and me. There are so many great powers and a few of them don’t show up exactly where you might expect them to, so getting players to read through all of them was a time sink that required some pre-reading. In a few cases, I actually took the players concept and married it up with the powers in the game that supported it to save time. This had the added benefit of the players not knowing what powers their adversaries might have. If during the game one of my players felt like they witnessed a power that was better suited to their concept, I let them switch it, no big deal. Third Eye Games was kind enough to include a quick creation guide not only in the rule book but on the character sheet as well. This system includes special gifts and drawbacks which not only make a character feel original, it provides mechanics that help create conflict.

The next chapter was the “spell book” section of this book; only, replace spells with powers and wa-la, you have super heroes, or at least people with super powers, they are not all heroes. Each power has a sort of power tree, like the ones you might find in popular MMORPGs. The powers are broken down into nine different strains and each hero can have three powers, so no character is really a one trick pony. Heroes must have their primary power originate from their strain, but can pick powers from other strains as their secondary and tertiary powers; this adds to that oh so fresh feeling and gives players a chance to play around a bit. The characters can’t just use their powers whenever they want; they need juice or mana if you are stuck on the whole MMORPG thing. This is basically adrenaline, and on top of their base juice things that cause adrenal spikes give a character more juice.

Following the powers chapter is the rules chapter. This system takes some getting accustomed to; it isn’t that the system is so complicated, it just requires less dice and more skill combinations than most D20 gamers might be accustomed to. This chapter caused me the biggest growing pains (as all rules chapters tend to do). Once you use the system, it makes sense, but by this point in the book the amount of examples had fallen off dramatically and while numerically the addition of numbers on a one skill check made sense, they got in the way during game play. This isn’t Third Eye Games first rodeo, but I wish there had been a work around on this. Minus that and a few other calculations that seemed cumbersome, especially during tense combat, the system works for the spirit of the game.

The final chapter is for people running the game. It gives storytelling tips and talks about how the setting should feel. This chapter asks the important question of what would you do if you woke up with these powers? Third Eye Games once again showed that they are all about the gaming experience. Most of the advice falls back on the rule of cool and reminds the people running the game that games are made to have fun.

This is a super heroes game that for the most part feels right. There are a few things I’d tweak, but if you are looking for a game that allows to become the super powered person you always wanted to be, the person with the powers you read about in the comics, then this is the game for you. The overhead of dice and rule books is small and with a D20, pencil, and rulebook, you are ready to go. I had a great time playing this with my group and I think you will as well.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AMP: Year One
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Lee L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2014 22:19:18

First, I have to disclose that this review may be a touch biased, as I am in the book under playtesters.

That said, this is one of my favorite Superhero systems. I have played Champions, V&V, Marvel [TSR and Cortex], Mutants and Masterminds [all versions], Savage Worlds Supers, Icons, Capes and MANY others. You could say Supers game are my favorite genre. I am also a fan of Third Eye Games products. I own most of them and am in Part-time Gods [pg 196]. Everytime they come out with a new rules set the system gets refined a little and this is one of their best. The system plays smooth and has a feel of Season One of "Heroes" or "Misfits". It is gritty and flexible. it is also a great start [it is called Year One after all] to what I hope becomes one of their best lines. I have run several sessions of the system and find my players coming up with some amazing combos that they think breaks tha game, only to find that they are still on par with all the other players and NPC's. Great timeline style background and some wonderful NPC's in the book to get the juices flowing on character ideas. I cannot wait to see where this system and setting end up going in the "Years" to come!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
AMP: Year One
Publisher: Third Eye Games
by Shawn C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/23/2014 20:23:41

In the interest of full disclosure, I was involved in the Kickstarter for AMP since the very beginning, and have been greatly looking forward to AMP’s release since day one. There are six chapters to AMP.

The first chapter includes the background story of the Project Black that ultimately results in the AMP (Or accelerated mutant potential) individuals. Project Black occurred in the 1920's when a group of governmental agencies pooled their resources to create the perfect soldier through genetic manipulation. Ultimately the project was shut down due to some slight rampaging mutants as a result of the project. Fast forward to 2015, when the descendants of the survivors of the experiments start displaying their AMP potential. The story line then continues with a series of key events through the beginning of 2016. At the beginning of 2015, very few people are aware of the AMPs and the story will be an origin story where the players explore what it is to be superhuman. As the year continues, the public starts becoming aware of the AMPs and the story starts to explore how the public reacts and individual AMPs ability to shape that perception.

The second chapter explores character creation. In addition to concept, character creation includes selection of skills, power selection (Which I’ll discuss with the third chapter), spending bonus points which includes gifts and drawbacks selection, and loyalty selection. The system in AMP is a skill based system, where two skills are combined together (in most cases) with the random dice element to generate an event outcome. At first I saw this as a bit of an odd choice for the superhero genre, but the more I considered the system, the more it fit what the story was attempting to accomplish. The two skill system allows for the development of characters in a little more accelerated manner that fits in with the superhero origin story. In addition to skills, you have gifts and drawbacks that range from physical, mental, social, as well as AMP based special gifts and drawbacks. The gifts and drawbacks really make the chapter shine, because they allow you to shape and create very specific hero concepts. Finally, there is the selection of loyalties. Loyalties allow you to set and shape the priorities of your character by assigning points to eight different values that shape your character, allowing me to be a selfish jerk that is only focused on accumulating wealth and fame, or I might focus on community and a desire to protect those around me. Loyalties are more than background fluff, because each loyalty carries a mechanical benefit and later on can allow you to gain more experience when you sacrifice for your loyalties.

I have to admit, I read the third chapter first, as it covered the powers which in my mind are a large part of the meat of the superhero tradition. There are nine different strains of AMPs including blasters, bulks, elementals, ferals, mindbenders, psychs, shapers, shifters, and travelers. A blaster can for example shoot fire from his hands, while a bulk might display super speed or super strength. An AMP may have up to three powers. The primary power must be within their strain, but the others can be any power selection, although it becomes more expensive to develop powers outside of your strain. Within each power, the AMP gains a core ability, but can also develop augments that change and enhance how the power is used. I should also discuss juice which is the energy which fuels the various powers. Juice is associated with the adrenalin response. Each AMP has a certain baseline of juice when they’re calm and at rest, but things which kick in adrenalin (such as getting into combat) increase available juice to fuel powers.

The fourth chapter covers the baseline mechanics of AMP and basis of combat. The system is fairly streamlined and once you get used to the system, it looks like it will run very smoothly, though at this point I haven’t been able to try it out. One neat element of this chapter is called the law of attraction. When an AMP meets another AMP, there is a powerful instinct towards immediate conflict. This might be a spirited philosophical debate or out and out combat. This drives individuals with AMP powers to conflict. It creates a dynamic of conflict that helps drive the story forward without being heavy handed. Chapter five provides a list of generic antagonists as well as a list of different sample AMPs that the players might have a run in with. I particularly enjoyed the background stories of the AMPs and a chance to look at how different characters fit together mechanically.

Chapter six includes storytelling advice as well as a discussion of theme and mood for the setting. An interesting element of AMP is that it is not a traditional four color comic book world where everyone that develop powers decides to immediately put on a cape and either start fighting crime or robbing banks. Instead the theme fits more into a how would you react if you if you suddenly developed super powers? Some people might seek fame (and reality television) while others might try to pretend the powers don’t exist. At the same time, there is also a larger dynamic where the individual’s reaction is shaped by the reaction of society as a whole to the revelation of people with super powers.

All in all, AMP is one of the best takes on the superhero genre that I’ve ever seen. It pushes the border between the realistic and the fantastic while fitting the two together in a neat package. I would also add that AMP, year one is the first book in the series with additional releases planned that will develop and expand the story and the abilities of both AMPs and saps. (or those humans without powers) I can not recommend AMP year one highly enough.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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