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In MAGI, you play as people with mutant genes that give them magical powers. They are feared by those in power, and hunted down by a government task force. The Magi fight back against the oppressive power structure with violence and magical powers.
The premise is an allegory for queerness, where LGBTQ and other marginalised folks are being treated unfairly because they are different. I absolutely adore this!
The games uses the 3 attributes of the LUMEN system, and I love the names and description given to them. Daring, Alacrity and Grace are evocative and straightforward in their applications, and I can totally imagine the Magi having those attributes.
The game has 6 roles (Fighter, Defender, Blaster, Enhancer, Wrecker and Healer), and you combine 2 of them to make your class. There are 15 classes each with a unique name that is badass! I really dig this idea of modular classes.
I like the fact that Crystals are used as the resource/mana of this game. It really blends well with the setting, where magical crystals fuel the Magi's power and are consumed upon use, but they are also ubiquitous enough for the players to replenish them.
The game also includes a great guide on how to structure a session, and it would be very helpful to the GM running the game. MAGI is an amazing TTRPG, and I would love to have the opportunity to get it out to the table some time!
I am going to do a short readthrough review of Navathem's End by Sinta Posadas and Pamela Punzalan, a PbtA game with inspiration from FitD. In this game, you play as Tower Agents in a unique fantasy world, where your goal is to stop the apocalypse before it is too late!
The game takes a modular approach in character creation. You mix and match your Agent Designation, Origin and Hubris Bond. Designation is your class, Origin is your background and Hubris Bond is your affinity to one of Core Seven, who are like the saints of this world. There are also optional Mage playbooks to give characters the power of magic.
I love games with a minimal number of stats. Navathem's End uses only 3 stats; Blood, Crown and Will. Blood represents one's tenacity and perseverance. Crown represents one's mind and analytical skill. Will represents someone intuition and innovativeness.
The game uses your standard failure (5-), success with a cost (6-9), and success (10-13) from PbtA games, but it added a fourth state where you overshoot with your success (14+) and roll on the Threads table with interesting consequences.
Like other PbtA games, Navathem's End uses Moves for its mechanics. I love how there are conflict moves with each stats, allowing characters to approach conflict through their strength, wits or will.
The game also includes the lore of Navathem, which helps bring this fantasy world alive with chaos magic, three distinct Continents, and colossal creatures that roam between them.
Lastly, the artwork of this game is gorgeous, especially the cover, portraits for the Agents and the Core Seven. I love how stylish and detailed they are, with a diverse and inclusive outlook!
the girlfriend of my girlfriend is my friend is an RPG about being trans and a young adult. It employs a cool MS Paint aesthetic and includes 10 friendable and romanceable PCs. This game is light-hearted, fun and brimming with emotions!
The Flexorcists is a supernatural wrestling RPG. You play as wrestlers-exorcists, fighting and banishing supernatural monsters. I love how this game is structured in phases, allowing a gradual build up to the epic beatdown.
The Empire Never Ended is a surreal RPG based on WSCAOS & inspired by the works of Phillip K. Dick. You might be breaking free of the matrix or talking to the alien emperor that is enslaving mankind, or you're just high on drugs, possibly both.
The Creature Comes for Us is a one-shot RPG that lets you create a world, a menace that threatens it, and heroes who fight back. It is a card-based game that can be played solo or with a group, and the setting created can be used for a campaign.
The Broccoli Complex is an introspective solo mini-RPG. You play as a broccoli who envies other vegetables and has confidence issues. Throughout the game. you explore your feelings and learn to accept yourself as a vegetable.
The Anatomy of a Song is a solo RPG on music. You document the life of a song, from its inception to its first performance, charting how it's been continuously reinterpreted, until it enters musical canon or fades into obscurity.
Thálassa is a RPG where you play as explorers of the Mediterranean in the Mythical Age. It incorporates elements from Greek mythology, with mythological weapons, magic and monsters. Give this game a try if you're into Greek mythology!
Test Kitchen is an RPG where you play as a kitchen crew in a stressful environment. It cleverly turns the action-packed Lumen system into a time management cooking simulator. Will you be able to serve all dishes before chaos takes over?
T-DEF is a GMless RPG inspired by X-COM. Two mini-zines (each contain 8 A7-pages that fit onto a single A4) contain everything you need to create your own troopers, understand the rules of combat, and to go on missions to save the earth.
Superstition is a solo journaling RPG about a community and its rituals. You play as the oracle, trying to guide a community through the seasons, teaching them rituals that can ward off calamities (or maybe they are just placebos).
Sunken Island is a folklore-inspired time-loop RPG that can be played solo or with a group. Based on the tale of Wasserburg, a rich bronze age city that fell suddenly, you relive its last day again and again, trying to prevent its tragic fate.
Stories to Astonish the World is a pointcrawl RPG where you journey through Chinese landscape paintings. You play as a group of travellers each with your own quest and destination, facing perils both supernatural and mundane along the way.
Spring Comes Again is a solo journaling RPG where you play as an elfling whose job is to prevent winter from coming before its time. To do so, you stop rampaging beasts and help them direct their energy into healthy activities.
Spectre Moose is on the Loose! is a mini-RPG about the Spectre Moose of Maine, for one or more players without a GM. You play as the titular cryptid trying to get the recognition you deserve by spooking the humans.
Space Samurais is a Star Wars inspired Honey Heist hack. The Honey Heist mechanics somehow fit really well with the light and dark struggle of the not-jedis. It is all about the balance of the Force.
Soft Focuses is a journaling game where you retell events of your day through the lens of someone with ADHD. The author has created this game using his authentic experience, and does a great job portraying the symptoms of ADHD.
Sodalitas is an RPG aimed at a big group of new players, with sessions under an hour each. This fantasy RPG is centred on a guild the players belong to. It uses a PbtA-esque mechanic, with an elegant design that is well suited for beginners.
So You're in a Tavern is a mini RPG where adventurers are retelling exaggerated stories of their exploits in a tavern. Each player tells their own tall tales, with other players being able to interrupt and add even more far-fetched details.
Six Figures Under is a series of 6 solo-games about the life of a freelance necromancer. I like how games with different mechanics are tied together to form a bigger narrative. The humour is top-notch too!
Session Zero is a solo game that helps you flesh out a character. You divide a deck into 4 piles — representing happiness, sadness, bond and character — and answer questions presented by the cards to learn more about your character.
Scrapyard Junkbots is an RPG with a unique and interesting premise. A high-tech fantasy world was destroyed by the Eldritch gods and the AI Singularity, and you play as scrappy robots in the aftermath of the apocalypse.
Scramble Wizards is a mini-RPG about racoons imbued with magical potions. The kind wizard is missing, probably kidnapped by some evil-doer! It is up to you and your magical racoon friends to save them.
Sallow-Séance is a horror-comedy RPG about gossip. You and your friends have summoned a terrible monster who hungers for rotten souls. In order to stay alive, you need to convince it that your friends' souls are more rotten than yours!
Rodents with Guitars is a fun TTRPG where you play as rodent rock stars in a band battle. It is a hack of Honey Heist, with simple rules and lots of animal puns. I particularly love the rodent rock band Nine Inch Tails.
Rewwixta is a solo story game inspired by anti-colonial uprisings in the Maltese Islands. The innovative mechanics cleverly combines polyhedral dice with inspirations from Brilli, a Maltese folk game.
Resist & Remember is an anti-fascist historical TTRPG. Using a familiar D20 system, this game is supposed to let players have fun punching Nazis, while also serving as a history lesson to the rise of fascism in the Weimar-era Berlin.
In Renewal & Riot, you are residents of a small urban neighbourhood. You have two stats; Renewal helps your with community building, and Riot lets you fight back against threats such as corrupt politicians and evil corporations.
Recipe on Kmiydish Paper is inspired by the experiences of pre-WWII Jewish Quarter residents in Eastern Europe. You explore a fictional diasporic community through a food recipe that is passed on from chef to chef.
Reaching in the Dark is a PbtA game inspired by Florence + the Machine's High as Hope album. You play as beings exploring a misty land hoping to find something you've lost. The layout is fantastic, and the writing is very poetic/lyrical.
RAYCATS!™ is a Lasers and Feelings hack about radioactive cats. Inspired by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and similar media, you are swole sexy humanoid cats fighting evil in the post-apocalyptic future where humans are long gone.
Rainbow Runaways is a Sonic-inspired TTRPG. It has got easy-to-learn rules from the Caltrop Core system, and is played with D4s and a deck of cards. I can feel the speed and video game rock soundtrack by reading through the game!