A Full-Time Game Of Part-Time Gods

I reviewed Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games' Pip System Corebook on EN World, interviewed him about his AMP Year Four Kickstarter, and talked about my brief run-in with him at AndoCon. Every Third Eye game I've tried has improved my gaming table. With that in mind, when he sent the quickstart for his latest project and Kickstarter, Part-Time Gods 2nd Edition, I knew I wanted to try it out.

Part-Time Gods 2nd Edition is a system/setting where you're a god with powers and adventures and followers and a day job and bills and responsibilities. The quickstart portrays a world where you control so much, and yet, so little. Really, you're playing as Marvel Comics' Thor. The one where you're a parody of the Norse god and, sometimes, you practice medicine as Dr. Donald Blake. On the god side of your life, your pantheon are the Norse deities (House of Ideas-style). From the mundane side, the premiums on your home-owner's insurance must be through the roof because of all of the lightning strikes around your place. Sometimes you god, sometimes you doctor, sometimes you avenger, but all of the time you live. That's a fair approximation of what PTG2E offers.

How does PTG2E create the feeling of both divinity and mediocrity? By granting powers as well as quantifying your character's Free Time and Wealth, then requiring you to spend those commodities in-game in order to participate in scenes or use certain abilities. Unlike many RPGs, your actions in this game are not just limited by your level or HP, you also need to have enough time in the day and money in the bank to meet all of your obligations.

Let's talk about the things you can do – Skills and powers. Part-Time Gods 2nd Edition uses d10 dice pools created by combining two Skills, or a Skill and a power. A roll of a 7 to 10 counts as one or more successes and that number is put "against a Difficulty (number of successful dice needed)". Your godly powers include Fragments (add successes), Blessings (either a bonus success or a power), Pantheon Dice Pool (a communal dice pool for gods in need [of more dice to roll]), Curses (a voluntary negative that lets you replenish the Pantheon Dice pool), Truths/Relics (potentially special powers), and Bonds (NPCs). How does it come together? An example of a Manifestation is "Shaping: Used for physical molding of ones Dominion or even the god themselves." An example of how a Manifestation would be conveyed through a Dominion is "A god of cold cannot turn himself into a dog, but could turn himself into ice to deflect attacks…"

Beyond the rules, there's another level to what this game offers – modern and diverse gods. The game does not suggest that you limit your table to the gods of yester-year. In the vein of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, this RPG opens the doors on what is possible. The quickstart's pre-generated characters hail from varied backgrounds offering options from the God of Death who runs a boxing gym in a rough neighborhood to the Goddess of Ravens who is a Youtube celebrity (her Youtube fans are also her followers).

PTG2E is the seamless combination of RPG sensibilities with board game rules. The execution brings something not always seen at the gaming table, resource management to enhance game immersion. You will worry as much about your assets as your mission and followers. Using these rules, the quickstart allows the GM and players to create their own divine comedy.

contributed by Egg Embry

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