One Page RPG Review: Newtype

Newtype  by \u\DeathMcGunz  is a one page rpg about anime-style mech combat- see the featured picture or follow one of the links for the rules.

The Good

The system of creating characters by picking words and syllables is interesting and flexible- my players enjoyed setting up their characters and the rules made it quick and easy.  I also had an easy time rolling up mooks and we got started in a few minutes.

Newtype was mechanically flexible and broad without being complex- Eldritch moth monsters and giant robots fit into the same system snugly and assigning dice to vaguer words created some interesting effects and helped make character creation fast, and the tradeoff between attack and defense felt meaningful.

Loading up on defensive dice in place of health let me recreate the minion system from 4e easily, allowing me to throw out a lot of enemies without having to do much bookkeeping.

The interludes out of combat were satisfying in their contrast when they worked; I wish I had planned more for them- you need to be very genre savvy or have players who are comfortable roleplaying to make this work well

The Bad

The simplicity can become a downside; even with improvised maneuvers the combat got stale within a 3 hour session, with one strongly encouraged option each for defense and offense providing little variety, and no mechanical support for out of combat like skills and such.  The group was left in an odd place where, unlike The Witch is Dead, there wasn’t any framework to determine success for anything besides fighting, and it made it harder to both vary the content while providing a challenge that had a clear mechanism to resolve.

The Ugly

Some of this is my fault- outside of one Evangelion marathon I haven’t watched much in this genre and I probably didn’t focus enough on the interaction between the pilots.  I treated this as something DnD-esque and designed encounters with the possibility of escaping serious injury- making something that was more of a meatgrinder would have suited the shorter play time implied by a one play rpg, used more the mechanics around trading off life for power and would have been more in theme with something partially based on Evangelion.  I liked the session I ran overall and so did my players but making these changes might have made things more enjoyable.

TL,DR:

This is a fun little system but like many one page rpgs the system shows some cracks by the end of the session- I would strongly recommend it for a one shot but I wouldn’t build a campaign around it.

Houserules/Improvements

Something as simple as just allowing 3 or 4 general devices could be a lot more effective, allowing each to be applied to attack, defense, and utility purposes as appropriate in the fiction- possibly by splitting dice between mechs and pilots.

A simple out of conflict resolution system, maybe 1d6 based plus 1d6 for a related pilot trait, would really flesh the system out and would give it some staying power, at least enough for a 3-5 session campaign.

 

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