Love the material! Very well-done update / 2nd Ed. / Reboot!!
- The rules no longer require each person to have a Bachelors+ in Math.
- The rules are a bit better organized.
- Personally, I like that XP and Possibilities are no longer a shared resource.
- Tharkold from the start!!
- Psionics, not only from the start, but now properly a Social Axiom ability (Note: in other games this might not work, but in Torg it makes perfect sense.)
- The High Lords are not immediately portrayed as dim-wits who just failed-up into super-powerful beings (well, except maybe Uthorion).
- Rules simplifications, beyond just the math, the rules are presented in a more easily grasped format.
- Perks!! An awesome way to add a dimension of expansion; basically similar to Feats in DnD/Pathfinder or Advantages in GURPS/Hero/etc..
- Clarifications! Many rules are actually explained as opposed to just stated!
- Extended examples - as above, but worth their own mention!! Very useful, helpful and cool!
- color art! And it looks good!
- Revised Axiom tables. (I like the 0-30, personal taste there)
- Quinn - awesome nod to the old, and enrichment of the new product - Good job!
- We finally have more Torg to love!!!!!!!!!
- Way skewed, some are immensely powerful, others barely count as fillers.
- Punishing - for any caster- / Cyber-type the initial perk gives three "spells" / 10k for Cyber, but then each additional perk gives only 1 spell / 5k. At a static Perk purchase price this might be annoying, but when each perk increases the price of the next perk, this is a crushing weight to put on the player. Especially assuming future Cosm & Expansion books have more of these in them (a virtual certainty).
- Restrictions - some of the perks are restricted in ways that don't really make a lot of sense (either by being too available, or not available enough). To be fair, this is somewhat rare.
- Depth/breadth: What I mean here, is that, without knowledge of the 1st Ed., it would be next to impossible to "correctly" (ie. flavor, personalities, etc.) run a game with nothing but this book. The original set came with a Worldbook that gave a bit more detail and depth to each Realm. A few spells/miracles, and some commentary on how to get the feel for it. It then also included an Adventure Book, which included a full short adventure across many realms, but then also gave a whole slew of adventure outlines, with bits of flavor included. This book has a tiny smattering of that information but, really just glosses over it, occasionally mentioning "future books" for more/greater detail. On this, I'd say they went about 2/3 where they should have gone. The adventure-making section in the back helps some, but still isn't enough, in my opinion. Having said all this, I do fully understand that the vast majority of "early adopters" are, like me, 1st ed players, which is why this really only barely makes it on to the "bad" list.
- Errors. (This happens to everyone, of course). Some of the Index references are incorrect, meaning you have to search through the whole book to find what you're looking for. Also some grammatical errors make understanding a few rules kinda tough. This is a bad, but not terribly common, thus not in the "Ugly" section below.
- Perks. (Yep, they are good, bad, and ugly!)
- When I said the power is skewed, and the restrictions are somewhat off, I wasn't kidding. The Reality Perks are THE WORST offenders. Powers that, in 1st Ed were inherent to ALL possibility-rated characters, are now available ONLY to Core Earth. Worse yet, the rules talk about NPC's having such abilities, meaning that apparently such restrictions apply only to players, which is not only skewed, but in fact makes no sense.
- One Reality Perk pretty much begs players to break the (whole) game. "Increased Personal Axiom" take it 7x to build a "mad man with a blue box", allowing you to build literally anything you want; 7x (+1 Psionics perk)instead lets your mind expand into everyone else’s within 1km (assuming it's a contradiction where you are), and (reasonable extrapolation here) rearrange matter and maybe even reality to your liking. Raising the Spirit or Magic to 30 this way would be tremendously expensive, but still possible, to similarly game wrecking abilities/effect.
- The book itself (the PDF file). Ok, here I really could be wrong, but it looks like this PDF is basically their page layout for the physical book. OK, no big deal. But that means the PDF itself cost them $0.00. Now, I'm all for making a profit, but I'm also not appreciative of getting screwed. A PDF for $25.00, should, at the ABSOLUTE LEAST be thoroughly bookmarked. Frankly, it really should be cross-linked. Bookmarking a title like this would have taken them less than 30 minutes (trust me). Cross-linking considerably longer. But if I'm right, and the total production cost of this file was "click a few buttons", I truly believe it would have been excessively reasonable to bookmark the thing!
- The Drama Deck (/accessories) this is required to play, but isn't included in the PDF, AND isn't for sale as a PDF (at the time of this writing...), which means you can't play the game when you buy the game... (I almost knocked off a whole star just for this one). The only way to get the cards (again as of this writing) is to mail-order them for $20 - correction, with shipping $30! No clue how long that'd take, and frankly, I'm just re-using my old deck (which is NOT directly compatible, yay more work and confusion...). The most irksome part of this is that the cards ARE available in PDF, they just won't sell them... In fact, that is a star. Originally I was going to give this 4 stars, but in all honesty, selling a game that you can't play (as sold; and keep in mind none of my local stores carry this) is just of wrong-headed!
[Edited 03-29-18; Reality Perks; Drama Deck price]
[3 of 5 Stars!]