Truth & Justice Roleplaying Game

Truth & Justice Roleplaying Game

From: Atomic Sock Monkey Games

Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Truth & Justice Roleplaying Game is a new PDF Roleplaying Game from Atomic Sock Monkey Games.

Truth & Justice Roleplaying Game is a new roleplaying game that boasts some very bold statements. From the web site it says –

  • Encourages the sense of freewheeling imagination and improvisation that suffuses superhero media.
  • Offers concepts to bridge the gap between comic book stories and superhero gaming sessions.
  • Stresses the importance of a hero’s motivations, personal ties, and behavior alongside their more-than-human abilities in transcending limitations and overcoming obstacles.
  • Focuses on how capable the character is from the context of a superhero story-game rather than strictly simulating reality.
  • Emphasizes quick and flexible character generation.

From the website:

“Superhero stories celebrate heroism and “mad, beautiful ideas” in adventurous, stylish, and fun ways.”

Content: Truth & Justice Roleplaying Game (T&J) opens with a series of essays on truth and justice and all other idealistic concepts of the four-color comic book superhero world. It also gives the reader some general concepts and tools to help understand and customize his superhero world. T&J allows for dark heroes as well as four color; cinematic as well as animated. It lists several different common motifs found in the superhero genre. It also provides a wide range of information to help the reader in understanding a comic book superhero’s world and where he wants to take his game.

Chapter 2 covers the rules, which we will cover more in depth later. The system is called the PDQ system. The core rules to the PDQ system are available free on their web site. It uses two 6-sided dice and a very simple mechanic. Also related to rules and covered more later is Chapter 3: Character Generation. This starts the player on the process of creating a character.

Chapter 4 is the meat of the game and what I would think makes or breaks a superhero game – the Superpowers. Champions is my favorite superhero game, and I found that they worked hard to round out all possible areas of super powers. Because of the nature of this system, the openness of the character design system, and the flexibility of the concepts, this system can just about cover any power the player and GM can come up with. The chapter does list a few common powers, but the list is by no means exhaustive.

Chapter 5: Super Conflict covers combat and other types of conflict in the PDQ system. It includes rules for physical combat as well as mental, social, emotional, professional and superhuman. Minimalist gamers would love this part of the game. The chapter is 9 pages long and 3 of those pages are examples – six pages for combat rules and it covers more than just fighting.

Chapter 6: Gamemaster is your typical game-mastering advice chapter. It is interesting to note that the writer calls T&J a “high-trust” game. This is something I am somewhat cynical about. There are many games that players can take advantage of and power-game in, but one genre that is the MOST abused in my experience is superhero games. As open and flexible as this games is, I can understand why “high-trust” is expected. Unfortunately, I feel that this concept is a little idealistic and as I explain in the Rules review, this game is rife with opportunities for power-gamer abuse. Closing out the book, Chapters 7,8, and 9 are campaign settings – each based in a different style. Lastly Chapter 10 is a bibliography.

Rules: The system is open. It is very flexible – the limits are your imagination, quite literally. Character Generation is a matter of making up descriptive terms for your character and assigning one of five ranks to that particular aspect of the character. These aspects are called Qualities and a character chooses from certain packages to develop a character. The packages simply identify how many qualities of a particular type one can get. Super powers are also qualities separate from the basic qualities. There are also power packages one can choose from as well. Character generation is a collaborative effort between you and the GM because every quality has to be approved by the GM. There are only guidelines on what a quality should and should not be, so there are no specific lists like skills lists or advantages or disadvantages. You, the player with help from the GM, make up the terms for qualities. What these terms mean exactly is either determined upfront or figured out in play.

From the website:

“Truth & Justice (T&J) is the new superhero RPG from Atomic Sock Monkey Press dedicated to just that. Fast, fun, and streamlined.”

An aspect of powers that separates it from other qualities is Intensity. Using the ranks assigned to the Super Power, one can determine the intensity of the power in terms of duration, range, speed, area, weight, force, energy and money. I think this is the most complicated it gets and that is not very complicated.

Combat is equally simply. As mentioned above, it handles many levels of conflict in a simple and fast way. You simply determine initiative and in doing that the last resort is rolling dice. Then you have the Moment of Truth, where both sides declare what they do and determine success with two 6-sided dice, adding in ranks. Damage done is a very figurative thing because damage is not always done. The damage is more a measure of how successful the winner was in the conflict.

Layout: The layout is straightforward and clear. I had no problem finding what I needed The art is well done – very much like a comic book. It is well put together.

In conclusion, although it is an interesting concept and a very flexible system, I do believe there is such a thing as too much flexibility. There is a thin line between playing a game with solid but flexible and fun rules and just playing grade-school pretend with your action figures. This game skirts that line very close. I like a game with meat and this is like a salad to me. I can see why they think that some people who are sick and tired of rules systems would be attracted to this, but I do not see a bunch of people flocking to play this game and I do not see this as a game I would look forward to playing on a regular basis. It might be fine one time or two, maybe at a con or something, but in general, I could not sink my teeth into it.

For more details on Atomic Sock Monkey Games and their new PDF Role Playing Game “Truth & Justice Roleplaying Game” check them out at their website http://www.atomicsockmonkey.com.

Truth & Justice Roleplaying Game

From: Atomic Sock Monkey Games

Type of Game: PDF Role Playing Game

Prose Descriptive Qualities (PDQ) System Design by: Chad Underkoffler

Cover & Logo by: Greg Holkan

Interior Art: Greg Holkan, Scott Kane, & Randy Milholland

Photomanipulations: Chad Underkoffler

Editor: Tom Schoene

Number of Pages: 133

Game Components Included: 1 PDF File

Retail Price: $13.00 (US)

Item Number: ASM-020

Website: www.atomicsockmonkey.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung