Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review: Power-Ups 8 - Limitations

The cover art is now three
pieces of clipart repeated.
This is not a joke.
Power-Ups 8, like the installment on Enhancements, is pretty much a book aimed at "power-users," and no, that's not a pun. This is a book for people who like being able to control and customize and get things just right right. I think it is kind of an interesting choice to split the enhancements and limitations across two volumes, but meh, I dunno if I even care that much. Altogether, this book is a bit of a pleasant surprise in my opinion in that it is better than I expected, but whether or not it's valuable to you, individually, the lady or gentleman reading this right now, is hard to say, but if you like having all your limitations in one place, this book might be worth it.


Lovely table of contents.
This is an inexpensive 23 page pdf, and chapter 1 starts on page 4, the final chapter ends on page 19, we are given a two page summary appendix, and a one page index. So, trimming the bookends, we have 16 pages of stuff. Chapter 1 is a bit of a 6 page player's and GMs guide and editorial on how to get the most out of effective limitation use, and chapter 2 is a 10 page catalog of detailed explanations of all the big limitations in existence up to the date of its release in December 2014.
The book is mostly catalog, or data, of course, the main attraction is a big list of limitations one can use to customize advantages and disadvantages, but it also has a surprising and appreciated amount of guidance. Less surprisingly maybe, and is typical for the power-ups line, there is next to 0 fluff, but there's also not a lot in the way of novel rules; some limitations have some novel and interesting mechanics though.
As for the window dressing, the pull quotes are all interesting, and some of the art is nice. Some... is literally copied and pasted clipart... The "cover illustration" is even repeated later in the book, but rotated 90 degrees, with the hand moved... but all other shapes in the exact same location.
Overall this book is, I think, for people who *love* creating perfectly modified abilities because 1) no amount of fluffing can do and 2) they want to get their points worth out of the creation budget.

Limitations Without Limits

This is a kind of short treatise on limitations and their applications. It starts with a walk through of the sometimes more wibbly-wobbly Accessibility limitation, it then talks about some thematically appropriate combinations of limitations, how to handle some interesting unusual use-cases, and thoughts on other similar subjects. It ends with a conversation on some of the big discount avenues available through mechanics like alternative abilities and character point powered abilities.
This chapter surprised me, and it is something of a hidden gem I wasn't expecting, but I really appreciated.

New Limitations

This is actually new and existing limitations, so don't let the chapter name hornswaggle you as chapter names are wont to do. It seems like it contains a combination of limitations from all sources except the Basic Set itself. It seems like a funny thing to skimp on, I guess they don't want to galvanize sales, but come on, no one buys Basic Set - Characters for those sweet sweet limitations... the other thing is potentially word and page counts, but come on, this is never going to be printed and turned into a hardbound book, and if it's about paying the writers/editors/etc, why not just totally copy the existing material word-for-word in Basic Set? That said, I found a lot of limitations here from sources I don't own or that are completely new that I found interesting, novel, or helpful. I just think skimping on the Basic Set limitations is a bit of a missed opportunity to make a one-stop shop.

Other Thoughts and Conclusion

Altogether, it's enjoyable, but it fulfills a very specific niche that is right on the tin. I found it surprisingly interesting though, so if you are on the fence about it, ask yourself if you spend any time before a campaign statting powers, or if that is something you like to spend time on just for the mental exercise. If you say yes, you will probably find Power-Ups 8 useful. If the idea is either overwhelming or you prefer buying catalogs of abilities to rolling your own, you might not enjoy it.

1 comment:

  1. Cheers! I had, at one point, looked at doing a sword and sorcery campaign where all of the wizard spells were Powers, but nothing came of it. If it ever comes back around again, I'll have to keep this one in mind. Might check it out sometime soon regardless, in case it finds use somewhere else...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...