Big Eyes Small Mouth (BESM) 2nd Edition
Author: David Pulver and Mark MacKinnon
Company/Publisher: Guardians of Order
Line: Tri-Stat System
Page count: 279
Capsule Review by Conan McKegg on 09/04/00.
Genre tags: Fantasy Science fiction Modern day Horror Far Future Space Comedy Anime Espionage Conspiracy Post-apocalypse Gothic Asian/Far East Generic
THE Anime Roleplaying SystemHaving been a long time fan of the oft over-looked art form known as anime, I have bemoaned the inability of many RPG companies to create a truly anime style game system. R. Talsorian tried, but too bogged down in rules. TFOS attempted to fix this, but wasn't broad enough, and let's just avoid the path Palladium went down...Enter Big Eyes, Small Mouth when I first played this I was hooked. Here was a game that was both flexible and fun to play. We managed to create characters, learn the rules and run a session all in one sitting. I then proceeded to run an "Evil Zone" campaign based off the playstation anime-style game. As a GM I found the rules freed me to do what I and the players wanted...Play the danged game! =)
Second EditionWell, BESM has now gotten even better. One of the key flaws with the Tri-Stat system was that the rules were spread out over a vast series of books. (Predominately due to the fact that this is a system that has taken on a life of its own, and is continuously growing.) Therefore, if you wanted to use skills you needed to buy Tank Police the RPG, which had the Skill rules.Second Edition fixes all that. Finally ALL the rules you will ever need are in one book. Improved Magic rules, streamlined Mecha rules, a flexible skill system, improved combat. It's all here without drastically ruining the existing system. What we see here is not a new game, but a matured, developed version of the original system.Guardians of Order are one of those rare companies that is listening to what their players want as opposed to creating something to generate money alone. It is obvious from reading through this book that the input of the fans was being taken seriously every step of the way. This is most noticeable in two major areas...Magic and setting guidelines.
Magic was always left a little vague in the original rulebook. While workable it was often confusing, and normally houserules had to be designed to allow for it to work properly. Now there are two types of Magic. Dynamic Magic, which is the ability to alter reality without spells and rituals; and Magic (also Psionics), which gives you a certain number of "power points" to build spells with.The expanded guidelines for roleplaying in an Anime game are great. Even if you have never seen anime, it brings a reader up to speed and manages to show why anime is so popular. It is obvious that GOO's team are just as devoted to anime as their fans are.
SummaryA fantastic and virtually flawless system, this is roleplaying design at its best. No system is ever perfect, but BESM 2 is pretty damn near it. Great for both Anime style AND standard roleplaying the rules allow for truly infinite possiblities without sacrificing too much. Rules-Lawyer types might find the Tri-stat system a little light for their tastes, but for those of us who adore freeform roleplaying, there is nothing that can compare to BESM. Nothing.Style: 5 (Excellent!)
Substance: 5 (Excellent!)