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Torg Eternity - Core Rules $24.99
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Torg Eternity - Core Rules
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Torg Eternity - Core Rules
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by ANDREY G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2018 10:39:45

Well.

I was never a fan for original Torg. I discovered its existence three years ago, when my friend, who is a fan of obscure RPG systems (and Torg IS obscure here in Russia) and loved Nile, pointed it to me. I read fluff and never even tried to play (because system was... well, I read it in 2015!). So I have a position of... I don't know... fresh look? I mean, I have no expectations, and, when said friend bought this book (to try playing Nile module or two with our group), I looked on this product with fresh eye. Now I bought it myself because I'm planning to use it, and I can recommend it - if you want to play this kind of games, sure. Everywhere downthere I'm using "Torg" for Torg Eternity. When I'm speaking about old Torg, I'm saying so.

Setting. Setting is good. Not sure if it should be placed on the current development team wholly - as far as I can tell it's still an old Torg in a majority of points. It is written with broad strokes, but I'm ok with it. I don't need a core rulebook that would allow me to play it "right way" (whatever it is) - core ruleset should give, in system and in setting, basic guidelines and some kind of "catching the wind". In my opinion Torg Eternity Core Book do its job. I got a feeling how world here works and I have only one concrete question about it unanswered ("how many information Core Earth Ords without special access have about inner working of High Lords realm and Transformation?"), and one which is really unclear ("how do evil Stormers transcend?"). That's a very, very good result in my opinion. Now I need details; details, I believe, would be in sourcebooks, and I'll need to work some of them myself, and it's ok.

Setting is for the type. There are lizardmen invoking miracles, heroes with some sort of super powers, magic, demons, cyberware, vampires, werewolves, zombies, and even benevolent, trustworthy, effective international organization created by US government. I am the type. But if you don't like an idea of mixing different styles and realities, Torg isn't useful. If you want an eclectic setting where "throw everything into the pot", I would not recommend it either. Torg actually has concrete rules of engagment for different aestetics, and it don't feel like this rules should be violated easily.

And if benevolent, trustworthy, effective international organization created by US government is too much for you and your suspension of disbelieve, I think it can be removed. It's here to help new players to enter the fray, otherwise they could just stand and scratch their heads with "hell, what are we supposed to do now?..". If your party can manage it by themselves, well, lucky you. I'm not so lucky quite often, so having Delphi Council around allow me to give players quests when it's looks ok. By the way, in old Torg, I believe, characters were legally obliged to follow governmental orders; as I can see it's gone. Now DC are just guys who knows stuff and trying to herd cats... sorry, organize actions of multiple Storm Knights to prevent horrible defeat and make them somehow efficient.

Just keep in mind that Core Earth is not EXACTLY our world, so don't allow players to draw you in fruitless discussions about "how high is REAL WORLD Axioms are" or "which our Laws really should be" or "current Law set is too westerncentric" (yes, it is... probably... maybe... until you don't invoke things like classical chinese literature... ahm, sorry). Just use it as you see fit, and you'll be ok.

Rules. Rules are optimized for action game with high stakes, and they're doing their job, as far as I can tell. By awarding Possibilities GM really can regulate the pace, every Law having mechanical effect would allow to moderate changing genres (for instance, between cyberpank of France to dark fantasy of Aysle - to change it this way you'll need to cross the Channel) nicely. Of course, that's a thing master should be able to do himself; so people should not commit crimes - but world is inperfect. Rules should give instruments, they do so. In a way system looks like "old Torg meets Savage Worlds", and both system benefitted.

Rolls are simple enough. You roll d20 and get bonus (or malus) to your stat+skill. My character I created for test Nile play had her professional stat+skill sums at 10-11, with rolling 9+ that means she would achieve normal success. When I need more, I have Possibilities. Linear system of success is quite understandable (5 points beyond difficulty = level of success), and, what's more important, is quite rememberable.

Finite skill lists with specialized skills, broad enough, is quite adequate approach - to prevent a need to have eight rulebooks opened for every second to manage every character in play. Familiarity system and limiting number of skills worked good for Savage Worlds, and familiarity actually can be nicely achieved with Axioms. As our test rule we set a familiarity penalty at 1 per axiom difference - that means human with Fire Combat and Tech Axiom at 21 would fire AK-47 with 1 penalty, and same for Tech Axiom 23 - until he used to (try to shoot old AK-47 when you was learning shooting with M16A4, or drive 30s year car when you learned drive on modern car with electronic controls and AT, and you'll get why penalty came), and human with Tech Axiom 16 would have -6. Looks like it worked nicely.

Perks can be disbalanced (I didn't test it, but by sight it's quite possible), and I foresee a problem with new sourcebooks. In my experience, system that works on perks tends to give more intresting things in later sourcebooks (and it's quite understandable - in basic books you get basic things, for generation, and balance of system isn't tested hard yet), and that's making old characters obsolete - new perked character would be so more effective. Also moving specialized perks into sourcebooks makes situation uneven for different cosm characters, and that's kinda sad. I mean, imagine Orrorsh sourcebook published last one (I don't really know exact order in developers mind, but some book should be the last!). That means that Orrorsh characters would have their improved content so later then, let's say, Living Land one. If I'm to offer suggestions, I'd offer developers to publish "Clearance Compendiums" with perks for every cosm for some Clearance Level (level of experience). I believe something like that "Beta Clearance Primer for Players" supposed to be, but we'll see. I'm not sure that 8 pages for all cosms would be on par with special LL miracles and perks.

Combat modifiers and actions of note also can be put into one page, and actually quite logical and understandable. Tons of status effects changed into two, one which gives you -2/-4 on rolls (something hinders you), and second gives +2/+4 on rolls against you (something put you in the jeopardy). "Effect" skills (like Taunt, Trick or Maneuver) allow you to impose this statuses on enemies, against their defences, like attacks. Multiaction, multiattack and grapple (things I always check myself to see if combat system esoteric) also are streamlined and don't need to check rules every time player says "ok, I'm going to shoot full auto on this group of characters". Now came my primary objection with a system, and store method. Drama Deck.

Yes, I know, Drama Deck is what made old Torg special. Yes, I can see how it helps to control flow of battle and give players options without overwhelming. But.

Firstly, personal preference. I'm conciously against any kind of mechanic that can't be replaced with a notebook (paper, not computer) and dice. Card rules are build around reshuffling deck, playing cards on table and playing them from table. If I wanted to play MtG, I'd play MtG. And even if I found replacement for Drama Deck (and it looks nice and graceful - thanks Carl Matthews for Torg Eternity Playing Without Cards!), I can't find one for Cosm deck. And to play without Cosm deck I would need to rewrite quite a lot of Laws.

This, secondly, summon a convenience issue - subjective again. I'm living in Moscow, Russia. My players live in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Russia (625 km from me), Voronezh, Russia (464 km), Kiev, Ukraine (755 km) and Haifa, Israel (2,564 km). Let me say using a physical non-standard deck (Savage Worlds using poker deck, that is emulated by dozens of apps) is not convenient. Even using non-physical non-standard deck isn't convenient. That's why, if I had a deck, I'd rewrite it's descriptions into table and make players roll d10 when they, by rules, should got a card; then they would write it and play as they want. Virtual deck emulator.

And then third thing occured. I can't buy PDF deck. I can't find list of all texts written on Cosm cards, only some examples from previews. I can, theoretically, order a deck from USA or Europe (by Amazon, by friends or somehow else), then wait until it would be delivered (if it would - our mail service isn't exactly reliable), just to rewrite texts by hand - to be able to play a game as it written.

So, I urge developer team. Please consider including card texts into Core Book (because it IS part of rules you need to play, and Core Book advertising like "include all the rules and setting information you need to create characters and play the game". Or at least sell (and better just publish!) non-formatted, non-illustrated list of EFFECTS cards have, not cards itself.

In a nutshell, it's good game with a glimpses of outstanding, and it would get 5 stars from me if problem with cards were solvable for me. Before it I'd give it 4 and recomendation - if you like games with a lot of action about worlds with different rules meet each other.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Core Rules
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Jeffrey A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/29/2018 13:24:22

Love the material! Very well-done update / 2nd Ed. / Reboot!!

The Good:

  • 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!!!!!!!!!

The Bad:

  • Perks
    1. Way skewed, some are immensely powerful, others barely count as fillers.
    2. 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).
    3. 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.

The Ugly:

  • Perks. (Yep, they are good, bad, and ugly!)
    1. 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.
    2. 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]



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Core Rules
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Jason F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/09/2018 14:00:16

I am a veteran of Torg since it originally launched and I can handily endorse this new product. I backed the kickstarter when it launched, and my current group has been playing with the digitial materials since October and its a smash hit. I am the only one in the group with previous experience with the game / system, but the players absolutely love it. Combat is fun and dynamic, the characters feel heroic and the fact that it takes place on Earth allows for players to feel connected to the game and those struggling against the Cosm Raiders. The party is exremely diverse, with a pulp, fantasy, noire, sci fi and modern day characters mixed together into a just motley crue of awesome. It's a great buy and I could not recommend a game higher at this time.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Core Rules
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Marcus T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/24/2018 14:40:36

This was clearly a labour of love for someone, which is why it's such a crying shame it's so dreadful. 'Fixes' for problems that didn't need fixing, like glass-jaw ninja. Keeping the clunky system that feels every one of its 27 years. Worst of all, the mechanics - pitifully weak, disposable characters that die easily and barely ever succeed at anything - actively fight the action-movie feel it's going for.

The writers clearly loved the NPCs which is whyt the new game is all about them and the players are a pathetic afterthought.

As flawed as the original game was, it's a million miles better than this.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Core Rules
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Kevin E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/21/2017 18:30:55

I'd been a diehard fan of the original Torg, running a campaign for 5 years--longer than any other campaign I've ever run. So when a reboot was announced, I had great trepidation about my beloved classic being remade.

As it turns out, the game was greatly improved. It still maintained a lot of the core mechanics that made it so revolutionary in 1990, but years of RPG evolution have revealed some of its ugly flaws that were smoothed over nicely.

Much of the game has been simplified to be more accessible to the general populace, but it still has a lot of crunch. The crunch may still turn off some of the lighter gamers, but it's nowhere as chart-heavy as its predecessor. Admittedly, there were some aspects that were simplified that didn’t thrill me, but I can work with those. Certainly, the payoff is well worth a few glitches—many of which can be house-ruled pretty easily.

It was my favorite game in the early 1990s, and now Torg Eternity has reclaimed the crown in 2017.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Core Rules
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Jimmy D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/21/2017 17:45:06

I was a fan of the original TORG and I must say that the new version live up my expectation and some.

The story is great, the rules are more simple, my only complain is that I want more! I can't wait for each individual cosm to have their book.

Thanks!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Torg Eternity - Core Rules
Publisher: Ulisses Spiele
by Paul E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/21/2017 17:23:21

I am forty (40) pages from the end of reading the new Core Rules through for the first time. This is what Torg: Role-Playing the Possibility Wars should have been in 1990. This game is elegant, streamlined, fast and, although I don't agree with two of the changes (Awarding XP and Possibilities instead of just Possibilities, and the Bonus Dice, which will not actually solve the glass-jaw Ninja problem), this game is beautifully done, in layout, artwork, and the way it's written. I'm also glad Ulisses Spiele North America is taking the time to collect information on corrections to spelling, syntax, structure, etc. before releasing the Core Rules in October for those of us who participated in the Kickstarter that brought this most magnificent of RPGs to life.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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