Silver Age Sentinels - Tri-Stat Version
Silver Age Sentinels - Tri-Stat Version Capsule Review by Denaes on 15/12/02
Style: 5 (Excellent!)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)
Very sweet game and system. At 350 pages (full pages size, not BESM size) I'd say its a steal!
Product: Silver Age Sentinels - Tri-Stat Version
Author: S. Kenson, M. MacKinnon, J. Mackintosh & J. scoble
Company/Publisher: Guardians of Order
Line: Silver Age Sentinels
Page count: 336
Year published: 2002
Comp copy?: no
Capsule Review by Denaes on 15/12/02
Genre tags: Modern day Superhero
I ran out and purchased this book on high praise and so far I'm not dissapointed.
Overall it looks very well done. There is a very nice layout to the book, complete with plenty of side bars and even some explainations on why something was done a certain way. I'm also happy that there are often points were the writers view is presented and then they mention an alternate optional way of doing it (presumeably from BESM or just another idea they had).
The super power section seems to be a combination of BESM and Hero, favoring simplicity. So far this is one of two points that kept this game from getting the highest marks. Its very well set up, though favors simplicity over balance and rules.
I've only done one test character, and he was done blindly. I closed the book and wrote down the concept, including how the powers worked and which he had. My task was to create it using the SAS system.
Overall the book lets you make what you want. I had my character all nice and fit. Then I got rules clarifications and found out the system was much more simple than I'd thought and had to redo my powers.
'purchasing' one power, I ended up with more points than when I started the power. It seems when you purchase something to modify a power, for better or worse, it doesn't effect the price of the power. Power Modifier Values (PMV's) just cost points on the side, seperate from your power and Defects just give you points on the side seperate from your power!
I think I had spent all of 15 points on a power and in using the rules to make the power do what I wanted it to do I had gotten back 18 points. Sure, in a RPG session, its the GMs job to arbitrate things. Normally its not his job to double check that in making the character the way he approved in the begining doesn't earn you points instead of costing them.
Also stemming from the same 'quirk' (I won't use problem as some like this idea) some of the Power Modifiers are super cheap. Instead of adding to the cost of the power per level, you just pay them off to the side. Honestly, I can see you paying over a hundred points for a power in some cases, though 40-70 seems more likely.
Given two identical powers, but with different modifiers, the costs are near identical.
For quick example, the deluxe version Nulify at 5th level (not to hard to get) would run you 60 points. To have it effect another person would cost an extra point saying you don't want to nullify your own powers. You can run it up to 67 points by giving it a duration of 5 rounds, area of effect of 10m and make it able to effect up to 5 people.
This is all very cool in that you can modify your power how you like it. 67 pts and you're set to go. The problem I had is that for 3 points more, you can effect up to 50 targets within a klick (km). Add another two points and its 10 klicks and 100 people! You're modifying the power, but its not modifying the cost of the power.
For myself, this was easily fixed. I very much give the Tri-Stat system props for being easily customizable. I just add the cost to any modifier to the Power's cost per level and subtract any defects cost from a power's cost per level. In fact, this is the way I'd done it before when I'd first made my character that came out perfect!
My second nitpick is the skills. having a single rank in a skill is supposed to represent you being about a Bathcalor or Masters degree in it. Thats an Awful large jump from not having it to being 4-6 year degree equivilent.
The skills range from 1 to 5 points. This in itself isn't a problem, but skills act on a 1:1 ratio along with stat. You add your stat to your skill for tasks. The main problem I'd had with this is that an average stat is 4 pts, and maximum human potential is 12 pts.
Right off the bat, this heavily weights any task toward attributes. In fact, if you had an attribute of 2 or 3, you'd need the equivilent of a masters degree work at a level of someone with an average stat of 4 with no skill. Its my opinion that the skills range should be extended at least to 10 to give more of a range (not just starting off at a 4 year degree) and not making things so stat heavy. This I'm not so sure would work, but in principal it would make much more sense and would at least balance the stat-skill ratio.
All this being said, this isn't a negative review. Just the fact that within a week of owning the book, I was able to modify one thing that didn't jive with me, the super power modifiers, and to no ill effect to the system or game. It just made powers with more modifiers more expensive.
Overall the power creation method works very well and should be able to achieve whatever you want through the use of modifiers and defects. The powers seem to start off with a wide array of applications and its very likely that you'll need to take a few Defects to weedle the power down into what you had envisioned.
I plan on using SAS for everything from fantasy to modern day horror to sci-fi.
Everything in the game is based on the same mechanic (for good or bad) which is rolling under your attribute on 2d10 with skill and bonus/penalty modifiers added in.
I'd wholeheartedly reccomend this to someone who wanted a supers game thats easy to use and very flexible