Archive for the ‘AMP: Year One’ Category


Given the changes in my life with the upcoming kid (very soon now!) I’m looking at how I’ll be working some gaming into my schedule. At the moment I don’t really see myself running long campaigns just yet, which makes me more than a little sad. However, it does open up the possibility of running all sorts of one-shot using game systems that I’ve not really had the opportunity to try.

Foremost among these would be Kuro and Numenera, two games that I’ve been very impressed with but have not had time to run. Also on this list is Fantasy Craft, and once I’ve read up on the novels again, the Mistborn Adventure Game. I’ve a few other games in mind as well, with an eye towards supers gaming (so AMP: Year One might see some time in my gaming table as well!)

That’s it for now, I can’t pin things down with specifics just yet, but I’m honestly a little glad to have been given a bit of a break from running games every weekend. I can almost feel my brain decompressing and soaking up new stuff to inspire games in the future. I really ought to take longer breaks more often.


Hey there, welcome to the final installment to the Let’s Study series for AMP: Year One. Today we’re looking at the Storytelling chapter of the book and see what advice we can get to running the game.

Themes / Moods

The chapter opens up with a discussion of the various Themes and Moods that can work with AMP: Year One. There’s a lot of ways to run AMP: Year One, and this is an intentional design feature. Eloy’s games have always been more open to different interpretations than most, and there’s little in the one-true-way of play in this book.

This section presents a few options that GMs can consider in planning their campaign, from the big mystery of the AMP’s origins, to having to survive in a world that doesn’t understand them.

Inspirations

The next section deals with various inspirational media to check out to get a feel for AMP. There’s a lot of stuff here, from TV series to movies and obviously, comic books. Lot’s of good stuff on this section, and the suggestions are solid for nailing the kind of mood for AMP: Year One.

Developing Stories

This section presents various story ideas, and I wanted to call out that I do like the approach of presenting the ideas from the perspective of the various factions. I’ve always been a fan of playing with morals based on where a person is standing so seeing different takes on the various factions and the stories you can tell with each is a major plus in my book.

GM Advice

The last section of the chapter revolves around solid GM advice. There aren’t any big surprises here, though the advice is keyed specifically for high powered games like AMP. This includes the very useful point of handling super-powered conflict in a much more permissive manner. Super-powered characters can and will run over any sort of pre-planned plot due to their abilities, but that can be used as a springboard to interesting situations.

Other Stuff

One of the things I’d like to call out specifically in the book is the fact that there’s a TON of sample characters in it. 33 different, fully-statted AMPs with their own unique backstories and artwork. That’s a lot of work done for you and you can just slap them into your campaign and run them as allies, or opponents depending on where your players stand.

Also included are stats for other threats you might run into from animals to normal people to specially trained soldiers which your AMP might encounter.

Review and Conclusions

To put it simply, AMP: Year One is a great game. It has all the usual hallmarks of Third Eye Games products: A broad-strokes background with interesting bits, a solid set of mechanics with a focus on high-octane action, and multiple factions to align with.

As his latest work, Eloy’s skill at crafting games shines best in AMP, and I feel that he’s really taken major steps forward in making a streamlined and yet inherently flexible ruleset. Wu Xing was funky fun, and Part-Time Gods was even better, but I’m afraid that AMP really spoils a GM and Players when it comes to playable fun.

That said, there are a few minor points that need to be repeated. Mechanics wise, the Skill + Skill setup isn’t quite as intuitive and takes a bit of getting used to. Also, the character sheet feels really crowded in my eyes, but overall, these are, as I said, minor issues that shouldn’t detract from enjoying the game.

Simply put, if you’re a fan of Supers games revolving around ordinary people getting powers and how they (and the world) react to it, get AMP: Year One. It’s flexible enough to go from Lighthearted, to Edgy to full on Grimdark, and won’t get in the way of your group having fun however they want.

For those who’d like to check it out, AMP: Year One is available on PDF in DriveThruRPG for $14.99 or roughly Php 645.00


Today kicks off with a bang as we take a look at the combat mechanics for AMP: Year One.

The Law of Attraction

There’s nothing attractive about this particular law as far as AMPs are concerned.

The Law of Attraction is described as a primal reaction that all AMPs possess that urge them to go into conflict with each other. Whenever an AMP runs into another they both make a Discipline + Empathy check to try and keep in control. Otherwise they immediately confront the other in a manner of their choosing, but never in a nice way.

It’s an interesting mechanic to simulate the usual superhero trope of people punching each other when they first meet each other, but it also makes sense in the context of the setting as they all share a single origin.

While this might appear to be tricky, I expect most GMs will only really use this on player characters in their first interaction or ignore it entirely when dealing with PC meets PC situations

Battle Rules

Combat is broken down into five main steps:

  • Roll Initiative
  • Acting player chooses their action
  • Defending player chooses their reaction
  • Both players choose applicable skills
  • Resolve damage, if any

Initiative

Initiative is checked in combat at the start of every round, which involves a 1d20 + Intuition + Speed check by all combatants. The highest rolling character moves first, followed by the next highest and so on. Ties are broken by comparing speed skills, and a roll off if further necessary.

An alternative Abstract system is presented as well, where the GM determines who goes next by what “feels” right. The suggestion is to let characters who plan to take noncombat actions to go first, followed by those with ranged actions, and finally close combat actions.

Choosing Actions

The Players whose turn it is in initiative then decides what actions they’d like to take. The actions listed in the game aren’t meant to be exhaustive, but do cover the most common options, and a few others that serve as maneuvers. These include:

Inflict Harm (Close Combat), Inflict Harm (Ranged), Inflict Pain (which is more of an non-lethal attack that is meant to inflict penalties), Prepare, Grab, Break Grab, Feint / Distract, Knock Back, Knock Down, Touch, Take Aim, Change Emotional State, Move, Sprint/Rush, Use Power, Non-Combat Action and Retreat.

As you can tell, it’s a LOT of actions that you can choose from. Each one has a short writeup and talks about any minor bonuses or penalties you’ll have to take to perform them, as well as the results of a successful action.

Choosing Reactions

Like Actions, Reactions are also listed in the book. A character gets one free Reaction per Round, but suffers a cumulative -1 penalty on each additional Reaction they use during a round. Reactions include:

Block, Dodge, Grab, Find Cover, Catch, Resist and Protect.

There might not be a lot of Reactions, but that’s because it’s easy enough to counter several action types with the same action.

Choose Skills

Given the flexibility of the DGS-Combo System, the players can pick their choice of skill combo for the action they’re taking as long as that makes sense. This allows for a lot of creativity on the part of the players and the GM and may end up putting a lot of non-traditional skills into combat. Kung Fu Movie junkies will probably get a kick out of this.

Deal Damage

This is where the actual resolution of the actions are taken. Both parties roll the respective actions, and if the attack is successful, damage is resolved by a simple calculation:

Close Combat Damage = 2 + Weapon Damage + Boost + Modifiers

Ranged Combat Damage = Weapon Damage + Boost + Modifiers

Modifiers and Special Cases

The rest of the chapter talks about the special cases of combat, everything from Automatic Fire, Armor, Pain, Bleeding, Fear, Dying and all sorts of other unpleasant things that happen in a fight.

Other things discussed in the chapter would be a fairly exhausted listing of weapons, drugs and poisons and other gear.

The chapter wraps up with an example of combat, which goes into a standard fight scene in AMP: Year One and will be of use to any GM who is starting to learn the system.

AMP: Year One certainly lives up to it’s promise. I’m particularly impressed by the simplicity of the basic mechanic, paired with the number of options in combat. Given the focus on combat in a title like AMP: Year One, you can’t really get away with just having a system that can’t handle it and it seems that Eloy managed to knock this one out of the park.

Tomorrow we’ll wrap up this series on AMP: Year One with a look at the Storytelling chapter, and calling out some of the other neat features of the book, including the rather extensive sample AMPs in the book.

For those who’d like to check it out, AMP: Year One is available on PDF in DriveThruRPG for $14.99 or roughly Php 645.00


Today we’ll be taking a quick look at the mechanics that power AMP: Year One. We’ll be calling out what is of note and how everything comes together. Third Eye Games has always had interesting mechanics, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve come up this time for AMP: Year One.

Two Skills, No Attributes

The Basic skill check for the DGS-Combo System is done by rolling 1d20 and adding the Primary and Secondary Skill levels related to the task being performed.

Examples of skill combos are helpfully listed in the skill list of the character creation section. Here are a few to give you an idea of how it works:

  • Crafts + Technology: Assemble or Deconstruct Computers
  • Empathy + Intuition: Detect a lie
  • Marksmanship + Athletics: Thrown weapons

Sometimes though, the combinations can get a little harder to figure out:

  • Fortitude + Performance: Pretend not to be drunk
  • Intuition + Beast Handling: Thinking like how an animal would think
  • Fighting + Crafts: Use improvised weapons

I think that after a bit of time, and perhaps haggling between player and GM on what skill combo would work best for a situation, these confusing cases will melt away, but it wasn’t quite as intuitive to me when I was reading through this part.

In cases when a combination of skills do not apply, the player instead rolls 1d20 and adds the Primary Skill, and half the Primary Skill again.

I’m not too clear just yet on which cases a single-skill check would happen, and I think it would have been nice if the book included even one or two examples to help the GM along.

Difficulty

The Difficulty ratings for challenges in the DGS System start off with a difficulty of 10 to represent a simple challenge with minimal complications, and goes up in intervals of 10. 20 represents a moderate difficulty and is probably the standard difficulty that most checks will be. 30 represents very challenging tasks and 40 represents nearly impossible feats.

A roll is successful if it meets or exceeds this difficulty number.

Near Successes

That said, there’s a 5-point threshold of “failure” called a Near Success. If a roll doesn’t make it to the difficulty number, but is still within 5 points of meeting it, then the GM has the option to rule it as a Near Success. This is usually a success with complications.

Variants

Aside from the straight single check, other permutations of the basic system include the standard Opposed and Extended tasks.

Trying Again is also covered, as well as a short discussion of bonuses gained from Tools and Teamwork.

Boosting

For every 5 points by which a player rolls over the Difficulty, they gain an additional bonus effect to the result. This is called a Boost, and can take the form of Additional Targets, Bonus Damage, Bonus Info, Style, Streak Bonuses or Time Crunch.

Critical Successes and Failures

AMP’s system also features critical successes and failures, which occur on a Natural 1 or Natural 20. Critical successes automatically succeed regardless of the Difficulty and also receives 1 Juice for it. Critical failures on the other hand automatically fail, but also receive 1 Juice.

Overall it looks like the DGS-Combo system is a solid rules-medium implementation that makes for a good foundation for any RPG. The Skill-Combo mechanic is interesting, if a little obscure at times, but I think once I’ve got a few hours sunk into running or playing this, it will become a lot easier to figure out.

Tomorrow we continue our look into the mechanics by delving into the Combat mechanics for AMP: Year One.

For those who’d like to check it out, AMP: Year One is available on PDF in DriveThruRPG for $14.99 or roughly Php 645.00


Welcome back to Let’s Study AMP: Year One from Third Eye Games! Today we’ll be taking a quick peek at the powers chapter for the game. Normally I don’t go into too much detail on the powers, equipment and spell lists in most games, but AMP deserves a quick look at the powers systems to give a better idea of how they work.

Strains

Each AMP comes from any of several strains, each of which grants access to 6 different main powers. The Blaster Strain for example, has access to Battery, Bolt, Constructs, Enhancer, Flux and Vampire powers. These powers are also further refined by the Enhancements and Tricks that are bought for them. A Bulk Strain AMP with the Behemoth power for example, could be different from other Bulks in that he knows the Boost Jump trick that enhances his leaping distance. It’s a neat way to further differentiate one AMP from another of the same Strain.

Anatomy of a Power

Each power writeup in the game is given an extensive writeup composed of several sections. Looking over it reminds me a little bit of Aberrant and Exalted’s power writeups, but in a good way.

I think it’s unavoidable to have a decent chunk of detail in a rules-medium supers game, and AMP is really no exception to this. I won’t go into full detail as that’s reserved for the book itself, but just to give an idea of the things that go into a power we’ve got:

  • Name
  • Skill Check, if any are applicable
  • Range – Which is sorted into Short, Medium or Long range bands, while also having options for Self, Touch and Line of Sight.
  • Duration – Options include Instant, Scene, Battle, Concentration, Support, Reaction and Permanent
  • Resistances – Which denote any applicable resistances to the powers. These are Dodge, Dodge/Block, Dodge/Find Cover, Strength and Mental Trauma.
  • Core Ability – The basic ability gained by having this power.
  • Augments – These are additional sub-abilities that further enhance the power and allow for enhancements to the core ability or tricks that are a slightly modified implementation of the ability.

As you can see its got a lot of detail into it, but thankfully each power writeup has pretty much everything you need to know about it in one place. I expect that repeated play of AMP will improve familiarity considering that starting characters only begin with 3 different powers.

Enhancements and Tricks

The Augments in a Power are also worth mentioning as they factor in just how an AMP decides to specialize in their use of their powers. Enhancements are modifiers that further improve the base ability, such as adding more damage to an attack from the base power. Tricks on the other hand are much flashier. These are essentially ways by which an AMP can utilize the power in an interesting fashion, from long-distance jumps to turning their skin into stone.

Thoughts

The Powers System of AMP: Year One is definitely a result of a lot of thought and planning. As a big Supers fan, I’m happy how AMP was able to balance having a wide range of interesting powers in a fashion that makes sense with the fiction of the setting. Given the pseudo-scientific nature of the setting, there’s nothing here regarding Magic as a superpower, but I can live with that. It’s a design choice that I agree with as it makes AMP step away from the usual “everything but the kitchen sink” approach to superpowers.

The use of trees to denote prerequisites was giving me Exalted PTSD flashbacks, but thankfully they weren’t bad at all, which is something I am incredibly relieved to learn. If a Supers Game is made or broken on the merits of its powers system alone, then AMP is certainly a winner in that category.

For those who’d like to check it out, AMP: Year One is available on PDF in DriveThruRPG for $14.99 or roughly Php 645.00