The Saving Throw
Mistborn Adventure Game 2012
But I saved his life. Our love was shook, when I made them die. He is of books and made me his knife

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Overall Review
published by Crafty Games reviewed by Scott Wachter
583 pages, 2012, $14.99 PDF, Softcover $34.99, Softcover+PDF Bundle $10.12, Hardcover $44.99, Hardcover+PDF Bundle $49.99
Game Setting 4.0
Art 2.5
Character Generation 4
Game Rules 4
Intelligibility 3.5
Review Scoring

The Mistborn Adventure Game from the gentlemen at Crafty Games with the help of Brandon Sanderson, is guilty of one crime. It doesn't blow me away. Some of that is because licensed games have been consistently good these past few years thanks to the people like Cam Banks and Fred Hicks, the other part is that the Mistborn Trilogy is one of the greatest fantasy series in recent memory. When I look at the text with less biased eyes I must admit the game tackles a very difficult game adaptation with balanced, playable and enjoyable results.

The mechanics work off of a dice pool system. Stats, skills, powers, and gear have a dice value, if they apply to the situation it gets thrown into a pile of d6s. Pairs from one to five count towards a result, each die coming up six adds to that result after which the difficulty of the challenge is subtracted from this result, the better that total the greater degree of success. Players' pools cannot be bigger than ten dice, but for those cases where a character is too awesome to be contained by dice, excess dice count as free 'sixes' toward the result. The text provides copious and detailed examples of how the different types of challenges work. It would be invaluable to Mistborn fan-turned-gamer but could benefit from a summary sidebar for experienced dice rollers who might gloss over two-page long examples of how to resolve a simple action.

Character creation starts with creating a template for the group, then creating concepts that fit into that template. It's something a lot of good gaming groups are doing already, but is now being encoded into the rules because that is how game design works these days, and game design these days is pretty darned awesome like that. Players are given a pile of points to buy nine stats, which include physical abilities, mental abilities, social standing, wealth, and luck. That same pool also fuels racial abilities, magic powers, signature props, and those traits that don't quite fit into any of the above categories. This means that the 'badass normal' character type is very much viable in a setting that emphasizes crazy powers a great deal.

Speaking of powers, the Mistborn Trilogy has lots of them. There are three magic systems for humans to use plus a set of abilities for the shapeshifting Kandra. The entire game's purpose hinges on getting the magic right. I must tip my hat to the game's creators because they stuck the landing. Each power feels fleshed out and true to the setting without getting bogged down. I feared this game would require the supernaturally gifted character to use a spreadsheet in order to play the game. The powers are also balanced, not just against other powers, but across the board of character abilities. These magic systems are worth the price of the book on their own.

The setting of Mistborn is given a broad overview, but it's not going to replace a reading of the original novels, nor does it expand on the original presentation either. That is the most disappointing element of this book. The game would benefit a great deal from a greater understanding of the setting, particularly in the areas that arenít at centre of the plot. The manual also features the obligatory-for-licensed-games stats for all the books' characters section. Not only that, but multiple stat blocks for each character to represent them at different points in the series. These types of sections are page filler and this book weighs in at close to seven hundred pages which exacerbates the filler-ness. But even there it does have a redeeming factor in that each character description comes with alternate scenarios where these characters could be used as antagonists. Itís the best of a bad situation and delivers some very good story seeds for game mastering within the setting.

One last note of disappointment is the art, or more precisely the lack thereof. They're nice black and white ink pieces that give a good feel for the inhabitants and creatures of the setting, but it would nice to see more particularly of the landscape.

The Mistborn Adventure Game has a lot to offer to fans of the setting. While not a mind-blower, the book is a solid foundation for an entire gameline. Not only because of the mechanics and magic it brings to the table, but because it feels like it is a supplement or two from being a something mind-blowing.

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