[Review] Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition

Posted: December 18, 2011 by Jay Steven Anyong in Articles, Mistborn Adventure Game, Reviews, Roleplaying Games

Let me go ahead and preface this review with the fact that I have never read any of the Mistborn novels (something that I intend to correct soon), and therefore I approach this book with no knowledge of the setting beyond the product description of the product in the Crafty Games Website. That said, I am quite familiar with Crafty Games, and I trust them with regards to their ability to create good games with interesting and flavorful mechanics that both emulate and highlight the coolest part of whatever genre they’re going for.

And that is why I decided to check this game out.

The Mistborn Adventure Game opens with a short story called The Eleventh Metal by Brandon Sanderson himself. It’s a good read, and already I can see why the Mistborn series is so highly regarded. The story also fits remarkably well to serve as an introduction to the most crucial element of the setting: the Art of Allomancy, a brand of magic that deals with metals. The description of how the magic works is done in a manner that is both cinematic and refreshingly new.

Sanderson’s setting is presented as one of great danger and great opportunity. The Player Characters are assumed to be part of a Crew, a group of like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds who band together to achieve their goals. Whether they are a self-serving group of thieves and bandits that keep one step ahead of the law, or rebels seeking to overthrow the oppressive authorities that run civilization as you know it is left to the Players to decide.

There’s plenty of room for various stories in the setting, and the description provided of the Dominances of the Final Empire paint a vast expanse where any number of stories can be run. While it might seem a little too dangerous at first, enterprising player characters can actually do a lot to change the status quo.

Scattered throughout the book are various callout boxes that contain a few notes from Brandon Sanderson himself, discussing some of the reasoning behind decisions made in the creation of the book, a nice touch that lends itself well to giving a better understanding on why the game was built that way by the boys of Crafty-Games.  As someone who has tried putting a game together before, I appreciate these for the insight they provide.

It is at this point that I believe I ought to state that the Mistborn Adventure Game is NOT powered by Fantasy Craft, and employs an entirely different system that caters towards a more rules-light approach. I must admit that this was a pleasant surprise when I first heard that such was the case.

A set of pre-generated characters are introduced early, to give a nice snapshot of just what kind of characters are possible in the setting.  Each has a single page character sheet that looks like a mix of FATE traits and Savage Worlds at first glance.

The Character Creation section is remarkably well written, considering that someone like me who struggles with systems like FATE understood it perfectly, each step described in detail, and with an accompanying example. Definitely one of the better Character Creation chapters I’ve had a chance to read.

The Rules are simple, but the way that simple building blocks interact in play is a remarkable testament to how Crafty Games pays attention to how mechanics and concept go hand in hand. The rules seem simple enough, with a d6 based dice pool mechanic, with modifiers and traits adding or subtracting to the pool. The aim is to roll at least a pair of a high value, and as many 6’s as possible.  6’s don’t count towards the value of a roll, but instead are called Nudges, which modify the final result towards a better success, or mitigating the complications of a failed roll.

That said, conflict is given a thorough treatment, with examples for both physical conflict (combat) and social conflict detailing every step with examples althroughout and a summary of all the rules laid out again for good measure.

The magic chapters discuss each and every one of the forms of magic in the setting in great detail, covering history, methods and mechanics.  Each type of magic is unique and flavorful, and immediately brings up ideas for character concepts (which is always a good thing.)

The chapters dealing with the respective Metals follows, which is something that I found to be very fascinating.  I’m a fan of magical metaphysics in games, and having a structured magic system like this laid out was quite an intresting read, though I suspect that it will take some more time before I get to commit this information to memory so that I can run the game.  There’s a lot of information to digest in one go.

The third portion of the game is the Game Master’s book, which contains a large amount of information on how to run a game.  It’s written from a perspective that doesn’t overlook any detail, giving examples of stories, how to deal with things like Destinies and Tragedies, NPC Creation and how to handle Secrets.  These are all very well written and provide the necessary tools for a GM to start developing their own campaigns in their version of the Final Empire

The Mistborn Adventure Game is by no means a simple game, but the rules themselves aren’t exactly “Crunchy” by definition.  Crafty-Games has done an excellent job in making something that’s different from their usual niche yet without losing the same rooted foundations in sensible mechanics that I’ve come to expect from them.

The art is still in the excellent Black and White style of the Fantasy Craft books.  There’s not a lot of it though, and some readers who have gotten used to seeing a lot of illustrations may find the book a little bare.

There are a few minor errors in the digital edition such “page XX” references but I believe that these will be corrected shortly.

Overall, the Mistborn Adventure Game is a genuinely pleasant surprise. Crafty Games has proven that they can put together a rules-medium game that remains faithful to its source. Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn setting is a refreshingly unique vision with exotic magics and a unique look and feel that doesn’t come off as trying too hard to be different. I highly recommend this game and I’m looking forward to running a campaign in this setting.

Check out the Crafty Games Website to buy a copy of the game in Hardcover, Softcover and Digital Editions

The Digital Edition of the Mistborn Adventure Game is also available for download from DriveThruRPG for $14.99 or roughly  PHP 675.00

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Comments
  1. [...] [Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer] [Review] Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition (philgamer.wordpress.com) [...]

  2. Thanks for the great review! We appreciate the kind words and attention to detail. :)

    Those missing page pointers and a few other foibles will be corrected before the book goes to press, and all editions of the game will be updated at the same time. (We had an unfortunate late-game version control issue, and didn’t have the time to go back and pour over every missing tweak before this early edition went out. Our apologies, but we’ll get ‘em fixed.)

    Thanks again!

    __
    Alex and Pat
    Crafty Games
    http://www.crafty-games.com

    • Hi Pat!

      That’s great to hear! I’m very impressed with the Mistborn Adventure Game and I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like when everything is all done.

      (Apologies for the delay in approving your comment by the way, it was placed under the Spam category by WordPress for some reason.)

  3. Meann says:

    I’m a fan of Sanderson and the Mistborn series (as reviews on my book blog will probably reflect), but I’ve never ever played an adventure game / tabletop RPG before! This makes me want to start, though, since you gave the game such a good review. I hope the print version of the game will become available locally. :D

    -Meann (NewWorlds.ph)

    • Hi Meann and welcome to the blog!

      I believe that the print version will be out pretty soon, the Digital Edition I reviewed was an advanced copy and the fine people of Crafty Games are collating any and all of the typos or possible errors to make sure that the Print version will be pretty much flawless. I immediately bought the Mistborn Trilogy as soon as I finished reading the game, and I’m with you on hoping to see the Adventure Game here in the Philippines in print. Maybe Fully Booked might bring it in?

      • Meann says:

        I’m not sure if they have a lot of gaming books; I’ve never really had any reason to look for them there. :D But I hope they do carry it. FB is the only one who carries Sanderson’s non-WoT books. Are there other likely places to look for the print edition when it’s out?

        So you bought the entire trilogy in one go? :p

        • FB has been known to carry *some* gaming books. I’ve spotted some Dungeons & Dragons books up in the “Art” section for some reason. That said, we could always special order it if I can find the ISBN number from Crafty-Games. Most of the time I tend to buy RPG books in pdf form as there’s currently no really reliable source of gaming books in the country right now. If I do buy them in physical format, it’s often via the internet.

          And yes, I did buy the entire trilogy in one go. I may pick up Alloy of Law if I ever see it anywhere.

          Oh, btw the Mistborn Adventure Game focuses primarily with the setting as it was in the first book. Sanderson makes it clear though that in the Adventure Game, GMs are encouraged to make their own vision of Scadrial, so Vin and the others may or may not even exist, to give players more space to do stuff as opposed to perpetually playing second fiddle to the canon characters.

          • Meann says:

            I’ll ask FB if they intend to order it.

            If you bought the entire trilogy in one go, I take it you got the US mass market paperbacks? I got my copy of Alloy of Law at Bibliarch. There’s a copy in Sketchbooks Greenbelt 3 the last time I looked, but I’m not sure if it’s still there now. FB’s stock of Alloy is the UK trade paperback format, but if you’re “edition-agnostic,” I guess it won’t matter to you. Hehe. (I’m not; all of my Mistborn books are UK eds. :D )

            Let me know when you finish reading the books. I only have one other person to talk Mistborn with, and he hasn’t started with Book 2 yet! :P

          • Yep, got the US mass market paperbacks for now. But I did make a personal note that if I like the books enough I’ll buy the UK trades, since they look nicer. I’m OC that way too. That also means I can hand someone else my US copy of the Mistborn Trilogy as a post-Christmas surprise or something.

          • Meann says:

            Re: The Game — Ah, that’s cool, actually. The world changes so much within a span of 4 books, so it makes sense for the game to be that way to make it more manageable.

  4. Meann says:

    I hope you like the series! And I hope the person who eventually inherits your US eds. likes it too. :p Sanderson can sometimes be a little difficult to read, but Mistborn is a very good place to start.

    • I like his writing so far. The characters are amusing and the Crew remind me a lot of the old Pulp novels like Doc Savage, with one all-around superguy and a team of quirky yet supremely skilled specialists. I’m inclined to agree with the people who described the first book as “What if Ocean’s Eleven had been hired to bring the One Ring to Mordor?”

      That said, it’ll make for a good break between reading Guy Gavriel Kay’s books.

  5. Hey everyone,

    Here’s the info for the Softcover Retail Edition…

    Softcover Edition
    ISBN: 978-0-9826843-9-9
    Product Number: CFG7001
    MSRP: $34.99

    The Deluxe Hardcover Edition is only available directly from us at http://www.mistbornrpg.com.

    We ship worldwide BTW, using an API that communicates directly with shipping services. So basically you’re paying the naked cost to get the book from us to you. We take no service charge, and add nothing at all to the carrier’s cost of shipping.

    P.S. No worries about the delayed approval of the comment. We know how it goes. :)


    Alex and Pat
    Crafty Games
    http://www.crafty-games.com

  6. [...] [Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer] [Review] Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition (philgamer.wordpress.com) [...]

  7. nuronv says:

    Thank you for your review!
    I’m reading through the books at the moment and was happy to see that the Mistborn Adventure game existed.

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the review. The game really does a fantastic job in simulating the world of Scadrial and is a great resource for those who enjoy the setting and the magic system.

  8. [...] [Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer] [Review] Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition (philgamer.wordpress.com) Share this:ShareEmailPrintDigg Alex Flagg, Book, Books, Crafty Games, Design, Dice, Dungeon Master, Fantasy, Fantasy Craft, Game, Game design, gamemaster, Games, gaming, GM, GMing, Mastercraft, Non-player character, Patrick Kapera, PC, PDF, people, Products, Publishers, Reviews, Role-playing game, Roleplaying, RPG, RPGs, Scott Gearin   Alex Flagg, Crafty Games, Fantasy Craft, game, Non-player character, NPC, Patrick Kapera, roleplaying games, RPG, Scott Gearin      Ancient Scroll’s Secret Room: What makes evil *really* evil? » [...]

  9. [...] the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. At about the same time, I came across this review of the Mistborn RPG. So, I picked up the first book in the series, Final Empire, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. [...]

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